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Husky on Edwards (Draft, first six chapters)

Husky on Edwards (Draft, first six chapters)



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Published by GregoryKreisman

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Published by: GregoryKreisman on Jan 18, 2010
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Husky on Edwards (Draft) Greg Kreisman1
Husky on Edwards
 byGregory Kreisman
Draft, first six chapters
Husky on Edwards (Draft) Greg Kreisman2
Husky brings to mind a noble arctic dog with the spirit and power of a wolf,majestically running over a snowy, windswept landscape. This is exactly the wronghusky for our story. The husky I am referring to is corduroy or denim. Husky is asize. Husky was the name of Sears department stores' largest size for young boys.There is no wolf like spirit here; the closest thing is sweaty armpits and chafed legs.Huskies were made from a treated fabric that would be pulled uncomfortably tightover pudgy frames. The fabric would resist staining. The fabric acted like a personala drop cloth for fat kids. It would resist spills of coke, cool-aid, BBQ and pasta sauce,as they trail from the mouths of over eager eaters. Mothers can then simply wipeaway the drops of sauce and dribbles, from these errant gobbles and chews.Huskies are for that special type of American child, the one who overindulges, theglandular, the big boned. And it was to this weighty child's mother, that Searsmarketed the clothing line. A mother buys Huskies for their child for practicalreasons, not for aesthetic ones. And it is the child who must suffer the indignity of the brand, or wear it with pride. This is the story of an unapologetic, heavyweight,
Husky wearer, waddling over the landscape of a middle American town, aboveaverage in every way that is physically possible.
Edwards is a street on the near south side of St. Louis. Missouri, a city founded in the
late seventeen hundreds at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Most people who are not from there, associate it with Huck Fin and his raft. The city has
several major league sports franchises, hockey, baseball and football, for which it isalso widely known.St. Louis has large Catholic and Jewish populations that it owes to nineteenth century
immigration from Italy, Germany and Eastern Europe. The 'Louis' in St. Louis isoften pronounced
by people living south of the the old Mason Dixon line. Butnone of the papists or Jews who actually live there would say
. The Catholics,Jews, and most everyone else who lives there, pronounce it
, in a distinctlynorthern way.In the nineteenth century St. Louis was the fourth largest city in the United states.And during that gilded age the city was outfitted with beautiful public buildings andsocial resources as gifts from wealthy philanthropists, like the St. Louis library, artmuseum, Forest Park and the symphony orchestra.The worlds fair was held there in 1904 and transformed a large part of the city's ruralareas into a world stage for the exhibition of the emerging modern world.When I was young my grandfather, Bud Whacker, used to tell me that just aboutevery modern convenience was invented at the 1904 worlds fair. Inventions such as
ice cream cone and the hotdog bun were believable, but the paperclip, the garden-hoseand the can-opener, what's more, the car window roller-upper and roller-downer, the
club sandwich and the toothpicks used to hold that invention together, seemed, to me,a bit too much. Think of some invention, anything, a soda bottle top or copper wire,for example, Grandpa would proudly say it was invented at the worlds fair.
Husky on Edwards (Draft) Greg Kreisman3
The 1904 Worlds Fair left a powerful lasting impression on the city, a high water mark of cosmopolitan possibility and importance.The twentieth century was less kind to St. Louis. It saw its population slip to theranks of the 52nd city in America. And far from being a world stage, it became moreof a quaint museum, with a few bright spots of culture supported and protected fromubiquitous social ills and urban decline.This cultural St. Louis was a world physically close to Edwards street, in the southside of the city, but conceptually far afield from my world, which consisted of a twostory converted duplex at 2015 Edwards. This two story building on a small lot in adying city in the Midwest marks my origin. This building formed my original celestialsphere; a young boy's universe constructed of red brick. This small world of minewas situated in the little Italy section the city bordering both the Irish and Jewishquarters.For most of my young life there was just five people living at Edwards, my mother,sister, grandmother and grandfather and me. The Edwards house was built just after the Worlds Fair as were many of the buildings in the surrounding ethnicneighborhoods. The bricks of these buildings were reclaimed from temporary
structures used for the Worlds Fair exhibition. Some of the bricks were glazed withdifferent colors and were smooth to the touch like semi opaque ancient glass. I have
a lasting tactile memory of feeling the smooth glaze on the bricks of our house. Theglazed bricks were gathered together in batches of mismatched colors, like a patchwork quilt over the buildings of the ethnic neighborhoods. These bricks oftenformed a beautiful color pallet that, I believe, was most elegantly demonstrated in the brick shed in the back yard of our Edwards house.The ethnic neighborhoods shared these glazed bricks as a meager but fitting familyinheritance from the World's Fair. But that is perhaps just a small part of the Fair's
impact on these neighborhoods which were built in the shadow of the greatexhibition. There was no shortage of colorful stories. St. Louisans called the Irish
neighborhood dog town, and not out of some ethnic slight against the Irish. Rather, tohear my grandpa tell it, it's a ethnic slight against the Chinese.Grandpa maintained that a group a primitive Chinese people were displayed at theWorlds Fair. But the exhibitions ran out of money and they had to cut the Chinesefree, instead of sending them back home."you know let them out of their cages.", Grandpa said"Cages, Grandpa?", I replied"OK maybe not cages but some sort of hut or other kind of enclosure. The importantthing is the fair organizers just let them fend for themselves.""Now Greg," Grandpa continued, "do you know what Chinese people eat?"

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