Alley-oop

Scale 18 Editors Column

Jon Phillips, [email protected], https://rejon.org

Mother’s Day, May 12, 2019. I had a mission. My grandmother is 93 and requires more care. My Mom, is her primary caregiver. And, my Dad is right there with her. It takes most of my parents time these days. I have already mentioned how proud I am of my Dad, whom retired December 30, 2018. As a man, he hit his goals. He did what he set out to do, and then some plus plus. Both my parents have always served people and now they serve where there is need, my Grandma.

It came from an accidental stopover on Saturday, May 11 at the St. Louis Public Library where I checked out an amazing exhibit, Print to Pixels1. My project Openclipart2, I put on vacation because it has been under a denial of service attack by bad guys on the Internet. And, I had a lot going on, travel, business, and trying to get home to see my family. At Print to Pixels, I was able to start over at the beginning of print, 1100 BC.

What an amazing exhibit and space! On this rainy day, I met Eric, founder of Firecracker Press, and read about Sumerian printing on stones. And, I used a printing press to make a bookmark requested by the libraries head of information services, Scott. He asked for two and I took them to where they were needed, a tour group in a private room with old original printed books. A 9th copy of German bible, detailed exquisite manuscripts, and on the table, a stack of St. Louis Letterpress Society Annuals. This was the tour group! I spent the next couple of hours with the group reconnecting to the past of printing to realize my work, Openclipart, and Scale, both which came from my work at University of California, San Diego, are part of history. Thankfully Mike and Eric, leaders of the group allowed me to the join the St. Louis Letterpress Society and the rest will be history. Well, after I get my “rejon” printers (avatar) mark up to date and understand why the groups annuals stop around 2003! Time to get that started back up, and fill in some missing time, crypto-style :) I digress.

I went on my merry way and on my daily cycling, the idea struck me! I must continue connecting to history, not just with improving Openclipart, or Scale, but even on a deeper level, with my family. After the way too early passing of my sister Charis in 2003, my parents and I have both been on intense missions. My mom has been talking about writing books even before she retired as an educator. And, my dad, only 5 months into his retirement from full-time ministry, continues, to write, but for himself.

My goal was simple: spend Mother’s day unblocking my Mom and Dad from publicly writing, by first getting them to write and then publishing their writing in Scale Week 18.

I continued to my family home in Columbia, Missouri, because also on my mind is my Grandma. At 93, just before I arrived back in USA from Hong Kong, my grandmother passed out and now she is 3 weeks into recovery. The wear and tear on her body is too great. I made it pririty to listen to my grandma and I asked myself, could I write for her? iphones have nice audio recording and audio-to-text features ;)

We had some dessert and tea together, and I got to see how she is doing while we pushed her around in a wheel chair. She has a nice room, with a park out the window and chirping birds. That is refreshing. I gave her my Chinese necklace she can play musical tweets from, also useful to get peoples attention, the analog way.

I asked, “Grandma, what wisdom do you have for us today.” She said, “Never get old.” Ha-ha. We all laughed at that one. Then she looked outside, and looked back at me and said, “Alley-oop”2.

My Grandma loves basketball. An alley-oop is in basketball when one player sets up a shot for another player to make a goal. Yeah, Grandma, you are helping us connect up to our history so we can make the team stronger. THANKYOU.

Back home, I woke the next morning. Ding Ding. I got a message with two writing submissions for Scale, one from my Mom and one from my Dad. Alley-oop!