Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 07

                             Into the world of work spins Mother

Dressed in a bright white nurse's uniform with her little cap and spotless shoes
that were
religiously coated every evening at dusk with Sani-White shoe polish,
she hastened toward the train.




How easy it would have been for her to take the car and park it near the station,
but Mother would hear none of that for she was carefully monitoring her weight
and much in need of the exercise. A brief appearance at the In & Out Shop for a
coffee and the morning paper was always in order for the day. Then it was down
the old concrete staircase. Once there, she would stand behind the yellow line
on the stations platform with other passengers of the day, silently congregating.

Gazing at her old Movado wristwatch, the time read 6:40.

                               Two & a Half - Suburban early morning station

She would have dipped into her purse for a cigarette had she not quit three years
ago. Ah yes, those Benson & Hedges I remember so well. What a terrible fixation
it was, and that damn smoke was everywhere. Puffing away like a fiend at the drop
of a hat for no reason at all, but to fulfill an addiction. Every time she reached for a
cigarette I would cringe. Whenever she lit one up, I would feel the onset of nausea.



If it was cold out, light a cigarette. If she ate too much, she'd light a cigarette.
If an electrical fire had started in the basement, I'm pretty sure that before she
began looking for ways of exiting the bedroom, she would
be clutching a pack
of those minty smelling, cancer causing little marvels.




When I was growing up, she had her own systematic way of doing things. There was
seldom any change to the usual method of these habits, and so, I came to understand
they were devised to torture me. On several occasions a feeling of seasickness overtook
me, and I had no other choice than to throw up in the car. That was because whenever
my mother lit a cigarette, the windows were either shut tight or rolled down only about
an inch. Must've been some kind of groovy fad they had going on back then in the early
seventies because everyone was doing it. If I'm not mistaken, the name of the game
was called, kill the person you're with.

                                               Steve Purdy and The Studs - The Weed                                                                                

Often, I would try to imagine what Mother would look like in forty years
if she continued on the
path she was headed down, and in the back of
my mind the image was always the same.





                       Around the bend she could hear the train approaching.




As it slowed to a screeching halt where other citizens of the morning stood,
the doors slid gently open. Mother wasted no time finding a place to sit.



One by one they got on and everyone found their prospective seats. Not so lucky were the
people at the New Dorp station who seldom, if ever got a seat. There, some chose to wait for
the next train. “Please step away from the closing doors,” said the conductor in a refreshing
voice
that was interpreted by the intercom as “pzistst sheb avray rhum tde crosching draws.”

Then
the bell sounded, and the doors slid tightly closed.

Only then, did the train slowly begin to pull
away from the station. As each stop welcomed more
passengers who boarded. Some wandered on as if in a robotic trance, while others accepted their
chore of duty with affluent grace.
There were even a few straphangers who appeared so miserable
that Mother thought they might be happier
standing in front of the train, than on it. Overall, the
ride usually took about fifteen minutes, but
today it would be about twenty.

Before long, Mother would be arriving at her destination.




Getting off in Clifton, Mother walks casually across the street to the Navajo brown
building, located on a neighboring hillside. It is called, United States Public Health
Service Hospital and requires eleven stops on the Staten Island Rapid Transit line.

While the outmoded structure would appear somewhat haunting at night
to a passerby, its commodious interior was still busting with activity.

                                                                              Pg 33
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Who had to get what done first and what needed to be done next had not stopped
at all this century. Time moves on in its usual fashion as always, but when you are
sitting in that office, it feels like the old electric wall clock is still calibrated to 1942.
There is nothing in that whole entire room that has been made after 1940, including
Mother. Most of the time she's there a half hour early to read the morning paper or
to chat with her colleagues before beginning her tasks. Today, she's right on time. 


In her office, you will find a big industrial fan situated in the corner to get her through a
roaring hot summer and two big cast iron radiators to keep her comfortable as the snow
falls and the wind chill drops below zero. The windows in that building are enormous and
still bear sash weights concealed within the confines of a sliding sash. Windows you can
open and close with two fingers instead of two arms, and frames constructed of wood.

Whenever I'm there, my mind fills with images of World War II and big Sherman tanks.
I can imagine those war planes flying overhead with loud propellers and when you
turn to look out the window, you almost expect to see them coming.




Mother thinks nothing of it though. She says, “when you've been here as long as
I have, you become acclimated.” She also tells me one day she hopes to have
a modern office. That the room is too dreary, like it's always raining outside.
I have always found that to be rather pleasant, if not totally exhilarating.


Occasionally, I would go there to visit my mom. Upon doing so, I took my time
in strolling down those long, impressive hallways. As I gazed about ever
observing
my environment, I would find nothing had really changed since the
McKinley
administration. I must admit the exterior face of the building's facade is
a bit
uninteresting and perhaps quite drab, but overall, it served its purpose and its

country quite well.

The way the floral arrangement is presented on the bright green
lawn which
is cordoned off by the dark wrought iron gate, and the way it is always
kept
perfectly mowed for all to see is an advantage. It infers you are entering a

clean establishment, and that is very important, but not necessarily true. The
archaic gate not only surrounds the lawn, but it also encompasses the entire
hospital. Every ten years or so, the maintenance crew were paid to paint it black
.

You cannot enter without first seeing the guard alongside the building in his little
security booth. You either show him your card, or he phones in an extension of
the person you are coming to see, thus confirming your appointment by arrival.


                                                                              Pg 34
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What I found to be the most interesting about this hospital was the basement.

Walking down those long inviting corridors you can literally see the changing of
time. Look up and you will see exposed pipes covering the ceiling going to and fro,
and how strange they are to observe. The asbestos wrap coming free from the pipes
and the discoloration of the exposed material is quite formidable, to put it mildly.



Strolling down the narrow winding hallway, with its antique lighting, and
its sinister appeal you can almost feel a haunting stare behind you. Like an
asylum for the criminally insane turned hospital for Americas war veterans.
As we continue, you will see a scabrous trail of paint that has
fallen to the
floor like contaminated snowflakes. Along the walls of the high ceiling and
down one can see the old lead paint curling up like innocuous leaves growing.

Only recently has it been touched up,
but only to the point where the wall inverts.


I can recall stepping on one of the olive-green shards back in 1969, when I was
admitted for scarlet fever. It made a distinct crunching sound, almost like I had
stepped on a small fragment of a light bulb. Gazing down at those perilous slivers
of splintered paint beneath my feet, I could not shake the feeling that I had been
taken there to die. Needless to say, everyone was friendly to me because my
mother was an integral part of their organization. Being a good nurse does
require a fair amount of camaraderie, and that was comforting.

Even so, I could not visualize ever returning to a normal state again due to the
disorientating effect of the bacterial infection. Aside from a persistent fever that
would not break, I had the horrible sensation of a nightmarish post-nasal drip.
A thick mucus coating that had adhered to the back of my throat like Elmer's glue
left me swallowing endlessly, yet to no avail. So numb and raw was this area that
a simple swallow resulted in great torment. Like sharp metal objects in a region
of Novocain or swallowing over a thousand impressed thorns, it simply did not
wish to end. Though I languished in misery, waiting for the end to come.
 
 



                                   I ponder through a looking glass

                                          The mirror of the mind
                                         To see what lies in wait
                                          Time has me confined


                                           Crystal Sect - Days & weeks



To imagine the world put into perspective from a distant time. . .
One
which precedes our own can be quite alluring to the stimulus
of
the senses when the rationalization of coming forth in an apathetic

society proves to be disheartening. Yes, we have more than we had
before, this goes for any age, but we lose a little bit of ourselves
each time we turn over our values for technological advancements.




                                                                              Pg 35
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Do yourself a favor, if you are from out of town and decide to visit the wonderful city of New
York, make sure in your travels you remember to include McSorley's Old Ale House. Just tell
the cabbie to take you to the little saloon on 15 East 7th Street. Trust me, you will not be sorry. 




Unless you are a recovering alcoholic, then I would strongly advise against it!

Indeed, the world is constantly changing with each passing decade, until
the world we know and love is no longer the world we long to embrace.
And so, through God’s enduring mercy we are taken away. Transformed
into spiritual beings soaring through heavenly clouds in ethereal bliss.


And yet even still, we weep for our dearly departed because they are
no longer with us. It is the age our shame. The beginning of our trial.

There was once a saying painted on the window of McSorley’s.
It reads as follows, “Good ale, raw onions, and no ladies.” The
saying was abolished in 1970 thanks to the women’s liberation
movement. It was the last bar in New York City to keep women
from entering its doors. The saying now reads, “We were here
before you were born.” Each year the countdown begins.

Today in the year of 1982, the words above read, “This
is our 128th year, and ale is well. The pub opened in 1854.

But will I live to see it’s 200th? Perhaps that is the year of my demise.

During the daytime hours when it's quiet you can look around and take
your share
of pictures. If you're not a picture buff, and you enjoy being
in crowded places,
then I suggest you go there at night. Better yet, go
there on a Friday or Saturday
night. If you are an introvert, then doing
this will be like committing social suicide.




On the weekend, there will be a man standing beside the door.
This man will only let people in as people exit because the little
pub
tends to get too crowded, and regardless of what time it is
or
how many people are inside, last call is
1 am; like it or not.

It's a nice feeling to be in an environment where you are surrounded
by the past. Where you can light a cigar, and no one gripes about the
smell. Where you can drift in and out of pleasant conversation and no
one really seems to mind. McSorley's may very well be the only bar
in all of Manhattan that has yet to install a television set.





On a busy night, it can take a while just to reach the bathroom and believe me when I tell you
it hasn't changed much. 
Oddly enough, the outmoded urinals ‘with their turn of the century
design’  have a transparent crackle effect, which can be found on old china and dishware
dating back hundreds of years. It's funny how the passing of time can bring out such an
interesting phenomenon, and yet, still allow 
it to remain completely intact and undamaged.
Indeed, they are original and date back to 1911. . . For what it's worth.


                                            http://www.urinal.net/mcsorleys/

I only hope the ale house is still serving patrons long after I'm gone.




They have a saying inscribed on a wooden plaque that hangs within its walls.
It reads, “Be Good or Be Gone.” It must have been referring to those ruffians
of yesteryear who lived as people once lived in the Wild West.




Those delinquents with no manners, morals, or proper upbringing. The bullies who lived on the
streets, to drink, smoke, and commit thievery before they even turned twelve. Like demons in a
godless world who never saw the inside of a classroom, they would taunt, tease, and provoke
until a fight ensued. And as they grew older, they would still behave as though they were in sixth
grade making damn sure they found a reason to kick somebody's ass before the day was through.

I am happy in knowing the only things they are pushing
nowadays are flowers in an old defunct graveyard.


Chances are you will not see any troublemakers in McSorley's.
That is because people of today have earned an endearing respect
for our nation's history, and the struggles of early American life.

Unlike the hooligans of age's past.

                                              The Bleach Boys - Wine, Wine, Wine




Close your eyes, you've walked into another time.

A time where sawdust is still sprinkled on wood floors,
and the tables and chairs that were once used for writers
and poets to compose their works are still there today.

As you sip your light or dark beer, pause to reflect in silence
the years gone by while observing the museum-like atmosphere
captured in time by pictures and paintings that adorn its walls.


Here you can find Houdini’s handcuffs along with countless
paintings, newspapers, and hundreds of artifacts of ages past. Not
only was McSorley’s the headquarters for the fighting 69th infantry
during the 1863 draft riots of the Civil War, but it was also where
President Abraham Lincoln went afterwards to celebrate his Cooper
Union address to the public. Historians believe that speech was
responsible for his victory in the presidential election the same year.
As fate would have it, there is also an original deteriorating wanted
poster of his murderer on the wall. A man named John Wilkes Booth.


Don't be surprised when you come to realize that the vintage
gold
cash register adorning the bar is no longer in use either.

Look around. . . Watch as the cats come and go.

See the cobwebs sagging down from wishbones left behind
by young men of the Civil war, who had not returned home
to claim them. They are, in fact, still fighting.

If you should go there in winter, gaze at the pot belly stove in the middle of the

room and see how effective it is in keeping the whole establishment warm.

Get a feel of how life use to be and be thankful for all you have now.

Look out in the twilight hours of the day and if you are lucky,
you may see snow coming down on the old cobblestone street.

Watch as it falls right outside the window where seldom a car will pass.

People walk by but not that many, and it isn't long
before
inebriation unfurls a sad truth. . .

They've left the horse and wagon behind.




                                                                                     The Cuppa T - Brand New World

                                                                              Pg 36
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Reviews for chapter 7



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      This review was posted on Apr/4/22

Ella's, Jacob & Sarah's review

We absolutely loved this chapter.
We think it was a much better read than the previous one.

We liked the different use of narration, which directly addressed the reader,
then using “I” and then writing as “Mother”, in the third person. This is so unique,
and it creates a sense of intimacy, as if a story is unfolding, slowly, and cinematically.

We really enjoyed the beginning of the chapter that told the story of “mother”
and then the chapter became more self-reflective, introspective, and like the
rest of the chapters in the novel thus far.

Although the scenes with Mother were so detailed and cinematically told,
we do feel like it could have been a little bit more interesting, we do not
know why, but it kind of gave us a horror/eerie type of feel, and it would
be very interesting if you explored that.

Once again, your lines of poetry in the middle of prose had us hooked.
It was mesmerizing to read, and it was fantastic to see that you still
continue using it in the rest of the chapters.

This chapter can be read completely as a “horror” chapter.
It has an eerie mood just like an Edgar Poe poem. Really well done!

Our favourite quote is:

Look out in the twilight hours of the day and if you are lucky, you
may see snow coming down on the old cobblestone street. Watch
as it falls right outside the window where seldom a car will pass.


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                                                This review was posted on May/2/22

                                          Lameez' review


   Beta-Read Report for 'The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe - Chapter 7'

                            Beta Reader: Lameez Rushin (Lameezisreal)

 

 

Overall Impression

This chapter was informative and thought-provoking. It danced between what was
and what is while focusing on key points such as the nurses and their importance,
as well as aging while finding one space that hasn’t aged a day.

Chapter Notes

Highlighting the importance of nurses was handled tactfully without overstating
anything or dramatizing it. The pub was perfectly described, it felt as though I
had walked into it when the MC did.

Character Notes

The Main Character (MC) seems ageless, moving between two different time periods.
And the shifting between the two is seamless and well-written. The language is spot
on and easy to read, to understand as well.

Thoughts After Finishing The Chapter

The homage paid to nurses was perfectly executed. Nurses are so frequently
overlooked and severely underappreciated. This was such a surreal and honest view
of what nurses go through and just how much they contribute to the medical world.

The chapter then dives into the progression of the mindset of people,
from sidelining women to the inclusion of them. The progression was
smooth and accurate. And though we’ve moved through time, the idea
that there’s a pub still decades behind the rest of the world is a nod to
traditions. Again, progress is good but old traditions aren’t all bad.

It’s the nostalgia that tends to keep the old traditions alive.
Thank you so much and I’m excited to see your next chapter!


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                                            This review was posted on May/11/22


                                          nehanegi1905 's review
           
The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 7 -
Into the world of work spins mother

                                             Reader's Report by nehanegi1905




Hey Chas! What can I say?

Every time I read a chapter from your book, it
feels like I’m getting more immersed in that world.

It was so refreshing to learn about her mother and her workplace.

This chapter took me on a little journey of the boy’s relationship
with his mother with things coming from the past.

I really like your style of describing places and you did a great job with
McSorley as well. I could perfectly imagine the aura of that place
just
from your words and I think it will really click with the reader as well.


I’m really excited to see what will the next chapter unravel. Thank you

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PG 33) Hollywood sani-white shoe polish circa 1950's - http://tinyurl.com/nyodmsh

PG 33) Pachka cigarettes poster
- Soviet Advertisement - http://tinyurl.com/cfspdgp

PG 33) Benson & Hedges advertisement
circa 1973 - http://tinyurl.com/n6qoz2t

PG 33) Gnashing of teeth
by
Chet Zar - http://www.chetzar.com/

PG 33) Steam engine #7
by Stanislav Plutenko -
http://tinyurl.com/kmjo8kf

PG 33) Stuck in the machine
by Tetsuya Ishida - http://tinyurl.com/ykkbz67

PG 33)
World War 1 poster - Be a trained nurse
- http://tinyurl.com/2axlw7x

PG 34)
World War 2 poster - Memo for tomorrow. . .
- http://tinyurl.com/49k8l68

PG 35) Fibrous asbestos pipe covering
- newspaper ad - http://tinyurl.com/6ebw8rg

PG 35) A painting
on the wall of an abandoned Soviet clinic - http://tinyurl.com/m6g5mz7

PG 35) Gifts
by Ilene Meyer - http://www.ilenemeyer.com/

PG 36) McSorley's wonderful saloon
by Joseph Mitchell - http://tinyurl.com/m6ew976

PG 36) Farbenspiel
by Peter Hutter - http://www.editionhutter.de/

PG 36) Destroy your TV
(propaganda ad by the legendary) Robert Banksy - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banksy

PG 36) The Bones
by Ciruelo Cabral - http://www.dac-editions.com/

PG 36) A goober and a tuber in an exchange of fisticuffs
by Todd Schorr - http://www.toddschorr.com/

PG 36) Party at Bagend
by Christiaan Iken - http://crsia/kkwqphu

PG 36)
The Cicero Stage makes a stop in North Syracuse - http://tinyurl.com/m3oy7bs