Of Sound Mind?

An empty nester once again hears little voices. Now please excuse him while he puts the microwave back to bed.


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Illustration by Clay Sisk
www.siskart.com

Of Sound Mind?
An empty nester once again hears little voices. Now please excuse him while he puts the microwave back to bed.

I once owned a 45 rpm recording of a song called "Beep Beep." One of those little novelty songs popular in the late 1950s, the ditty about a guy in a Cadillac being chased by a guy in a Nash Rambler. (At this point, anyone unfamiliar with the song title, Nash Ramblers or the late 1950s are excused from further reading.) The chorus, without any hint of irony, went:

Beep Beep (beep beep)
Beep Beep (beep beep)
His horn went beep, beep, beep.

Because my entire collection of 45s at the time consisted of this song, part of an "extended play" 45 that contained five other songs produced by "American Bandstand" (really, you guys should stop reading now) and "The Legend of Tom Dooley" by the Kingston Trio (you were warned), I tended to play "Beep Beep" to the point of auditory nausea.

I bring this up now because technology has evidently brought me full circle with my youth. In my home, we have a dryer that beeps when its cycle has run. (Actually, it starts beeping sometime prior to the cycle's completion as some sort of advanced notice to get ready to unload before the clothes start wrinkling-as if the dryer doesn't want to be blamed.) We have a microwave that beeps after nuking, a toaster oven that beeps after toasting and, finally, a coffee machine that not only beeps when its brewing cycle is complete, but again, two hours later when the warmer is about to shut off.

There are three cell phones in the home; they beep when there's a message waiting. My computer's battery backup also beeps when the electricity goes out, generally the result of a Comcast contractor cutting underground cables with a backhoe that also goes beep when he puts it in reverse. (That moment occurs simultaneously with the operator going "oops!" as all the central air conditioners in nearby subdivisions suddenly go quiet.)

Just a thought: Anybody considered putting a beeper on a TV remote?

I'm essentially at the empty nest plateau of life, and yet I find myself surrounded once again by needy voices, this time in the guise of appliances demanding my attention and indulgence.

"Beep beep," cries the dryer. "Daddy, Daddy. I'm coming to the end of my cycle."

"Beep beep," intones the microwave. "Daddy, Daddy. Don't forget your leftover lasagna is ready."

"Beep beep," says the toaster oven. "Daddy, Daddy. I burned the toast on accident."

"Beep beep," cries the coffee maker. "Daddy, daddy. Your coffee is ready."

And so on and so on, my new houseful of electronic children tells me there are messages on my phone and the Comcast guy has cut off our electricity again. Unfortunately, just like my real children before them, none can tell me where the dang TV remote has gotten to.

It's when I might occasionally blurt out, "I know you're coming to the end of your cycle. I heard you the first time," or, "Would you stop bugging me about the warmer going off?" or, "I told you I'll get my messages later. Now get back to bed," that my fellow householders head for the computer to Google 'signs of dementia."

But for me, it's nice to have the house full of chirping voices again, inanimate as they may be. That little boy who spent his hours listening to the Playmates sing "Beep Beep" over and over spent more time alone than the fullness of his life turned out to provide. Even though they are appliances, I still get up in the middle of the night to check on them and make sure they're all right, that they're not having bad dreams about energy shortages, burnt out heating elements or dead rechargeable batteries. I'll flip on a light to reassure them.

They grow up and go out of warranty so fast, don't they?

Reid Champagne waxes nostalgic from his cozy home in 1958.

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February 2018

A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

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Cost: $10-$15

Where:
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10 West Lea Blvd.
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Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
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Cost: free

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The Station Gallery
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Where:
Gore Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
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Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
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820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
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Cost: free

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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Cost: Call for cost.

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Telephone: 302-629-6611 x2288
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Cost: Varies

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Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
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820 N. French St.
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View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
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View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Varies

Where:
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Cost: $20 members; $30 non-members

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1810 N. Dupont Street
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Where:
Gore Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
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Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
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"What the water said…Flowers, Places, & Faces," an exhibition of watercolor paintings by Hugh Phibbs, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from February 2-23, 2018. A free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
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View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: free

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This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free to Members, $5 per child and one adult free for Non-Members

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
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More information

By Simon Stephens (playwright of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time") Directed by Matt Pfeiffer REGIONAL PREMIERE! Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train...

Cost: Varies

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Cost: 0.00

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640 S. State Street
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The area’s largest sale of gently used books has been scheduled by the Wilmington branch of the American Association of University Women. The 49th annual Dollars for Scholars Used Book Sale, to...

Cost: free

Where:
Concord Mall
4737 Concord Pike
North Wilmington, DE  19803
View map »


Sponsor: American Association of University Women
Telephone: 302-428-0939

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Gore Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
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View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
Website »

More information

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Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

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View map »


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