ne of the things that many of us have learned in quarantine is the way every day is a similar cycle — a hamster wheel, if you need a visual. You get up, you have breakfast, you might pray (some even pray before breakfast), then you do some housecleaning or office work or a Zoom class. Then there is lunch. Depending on who is in your house, lunch could be a very complicated time if no one eats the same thing. After lunch there is another activity, another Zoom something-or-other, and there is an afternoon prayer possibly thrown in there. And then there is dinner, which could run the same way as lunch, another possibly evening prayer said, a night activity, and then, hopefully, a good night’s sleep. Every day the same cycle. There is something both comforting and frustrating to these cyclical days, but it is what it is.
Then you have the bigger cycles. The life cycles. A baby boy being born, having a brit, having a bar mitzvah, having a wedding, having children, having grandchildren, possibly being blessed with generations beyond grandchildren, and then, inevitably, death. Perhaps I summed that up a little too simply, but the point is that is a true life cycle.
And then we have these “microcycles,” I will call them. The little events or places in our lives, or our children’s lives, that chronicle times in their development. Take a place like Chuck E. Cheese, which I think I just heard is going bankrupt. You could be the type of parent who would take your kids and their friends to Chuck E. Cheese all the time. They loved it. It was hours and hours of mindless fun, and then, before you know it, they grow out of it, and when you ask if they want to go there, they look at you like you are out of your mind. This is probably another indication that puberty has started, but that is another column entirely.
Chuck E. Cheese will always be a reminder of a simpler time in your child’s life, and even when that child is older, you, as the parent — and maybe even your child — will look back on that time and smile.
Every family has these microcycles, whether it’s ski trips or baseball stadium tours or trips to the shore every summer. For me, growing up, it was going to Grossingers or the Concord Hotel. Those were simpler times for my family, and we all have great memories of learning how to ice skate, going on a toboggan run, the food (because it is always about the food), playing tennis twice a day, seeing the shows…. It became part of our story as a family. When the Concord closed, it was right after I had son #1, and it was the end of that era of my family and the beginning of a new one for me and my family of three. We were destined to make a new story. (No, I will not go into our baseball road trips again, at least not in this column.)
What I learned this week is that it is the end of another era, another microcycle, probably for many families. It’s the closing of the Modell’s Sporting Goods stores. Can you imagine? From ages 3 to 20, that store was a part of our lives. Teeny tiny baseball gloves, teeny tiny protective “cups,” little hockey sticks, bigger hockey sticks. (Of course, at a certain point we had to go to the Ice House in Hackensack for hockey sticks because those were just “better.” Were they really better? I have no idea, I am still just a girl, but it made the boys happy, so maybe they were better…) Tennis racquets, all kinds of balls, sneakers, cleats, nets, hoops, goalie equipment. And then, if you spent enough money on your Modell’s card, you would earn “free money.” That was always fun for the boys (and their father).
Son #3 and I were wandering around the store (wearing our masks, of course), and we saw that everything was for sale, even the shelves and the mannequins. I was really sad when I realized that this would be the last time I would be buying one of my boys something from Modell’s. It was the end of another microcycle in the big cycle of life.
Here’s hoping that the next microcycle will bring only healthy and wonderful things for all of us…
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck also came to the realization that her other boys would no longer know what to do in a store like Modell’s.