A couple of odds and sods to dispense with this week; we’ll start with the biggest one.
I’ve decided that my last regularly scheduled Hope Street post will be written for the week of next April 13, more or less the blog’s four-year anniversary.
I haven’t felt inspired for quite a while, and feel like I’ve used up the really good calendar entries. And, I’ve fleshed out my grandparents’ lives about as much as they can be. They didn’t lead particularly dramatic existences, and I feel like I’m repeating myself each time I mention either their personal attributes or the physical surroundings of Hope Street.
(There have been times in the past week when I’ve wondered whether I shouldn’t end earlier, and whether I have 25 more half-decent entries left in me. I guess we’ll see.)
If I come up with an incredible binge of inspiration between now and next April, I reserve the right to change my mind and keep going.
If not, it’s been fun. Thanks for reading.
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I wrote last week about the dank basement of my grandparents’ home at 1107 Hope Street, noting that, to my knowledge, my grandfather had never taken a picture down there.
My dad was kind enough to do some legwork in his own, considerably less primitive basement. He swears he remembers a photo that was taken in the Hope Street cellar around 1946 or ’47, to document the replacement of the old coal furnace with an oil boiler.
He couldn’t find that one; but he did find another one of himself, taken in the basement during the same period or maybe a year or two later.
It doesn’t show much of the room … but it qualifies as a picture taken in the basement, so I include it here.
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Finally, I’ll get back to this week’s subject line, which refers to the latest in a series of quixotic searches I’ve been on over the past three-and-a-half years.
My grandfather’s calendar for October 1975 features the following notation, made in the blank space immediately prior to Oct. 1. (Hence, Sept. 31.)
To my 2014 eyes, the acronym BAC stands for “blood-alcohol content.”
I knew DUI laws across America were tightened in the ’70s and ’80s. And a quick Google search told me that stricter drunk-driving legislation was cited as an achievement of Thomas Meskill, Connecticut’s governor from 1971 to 1975.
With those two red herrings tucked safely in my pocket, I went off on a lengthy search, hoping to establish that Connecticut had lowered its BAC limit effective October 1975, and my grandpa was making note of it on his calendar, the same way he would make note of gas rationing or increases in the postage rate.
No such luck, of course. Even the New York Times archives, which provide regular insight into the goings-on of New York’s nutmegger neighbors, offered no information on any change to Connecticut’s drunken driving laws in the first half of the 1970s.
At some point back in the day, most states went from an .015 limit to an .010, but no one seems to want to tell me exactly when, where and how.
My grandfather was a temperate sort who was never known to overindulge in alcohol unless it was literally handed to him for free. So, a change in drunk-driving laws would not have made any direct difference in his life. Still, I could have filed a couple hundred words of comment, interpolation and flat-out gasbagging on the subject.
Instead, I have to assume that the BAC acronym on his calendar meant something else. I scanned a page listing 150 different interpretations of the acronym, but none looked like an obvious match.
I resign defeated, then. Whatever “BAC” meant will remain forever mysterious … along with the sunrise, sunset, news, weather and other occurrences of Sept. 31, 1975.