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  • When I was ten and ravenous, I spent winter Saturdays feasting on rummage sales, stuffing my bike baskets full, fuller with ballgown confections, succulent shoes and juicy hats–a buck a bag--until I ran out of money. Summer weekends my father and I grazed at flea markets, antique shops, yard sales, he devouring coins and books, I consuming antique spectacles, postcards, photos–anything tasting of story. My artist grandfather would come along just for fun.

    One day at an old boatyard sale I found a fanciful wicker rocking chair, so out of place, so odd, so compelling that I felt my hunger shift and become something else. The chair needed a home. It needed a rocker. It needed me. And I needed it -- this wild chair-- a perch from which not to hanker after stories in the vestiges of people past but to feel them in the thrumming waves and sky beyond my window.

    My father, pawing through a pile of bits and pieces, wouldn’t lend me the quarter it cost. If I had spent all my money, then that was that.

    But my grandfather not only dug into his pocket but into the far reaches of our dirt-floored basement where he turned up an orphan rocker, mustard yellow, a perfect fit.

    And that was that. The next year my grandfather died. His son, my father, still hungering after history's flavors, continued to feed at the junkyard treasure troughs while I, rocking in the chair, ear and eye and heart turned to the window, found story.
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