The Florence Flask

florence

In the eighth grade in junior high school my science teacher, Mrs. Graves (nee Ms. Hare) talked about the florence flask, a common item in labs. One of the students in the class, David Freund mentioned that his mother’s name was Florence.

I think Mrs. Graves was friendly with my seventh grade English teacher, Joanne Altus.  I vaguely recall that after an evening school program, Ms. Altus and Mrs. Graves drove home together.  Ms. Altus’s father was a pharmacist, John Altus.  She had graduated from Girls High School.   In June 1967 Ms. Altus wrote on my report card: “Gary is a hard working English student.”  Do you hear that, David Callet?  A hard working English student.

I have to laugh at my crazy primary care doctor who thought my interest in personal details about him was suspicious.  I’m curious about everybody–every minor detail.    People  think that my behaviors are specific to them.  If I know things about a person or remember things about a person, it doesn’t reflect a general personality trait in me, it means I have some special interest in the person.  If I work hard, it is not a personality trait, it’s intended to impress a particular employer.  Psychiatrists have a word for that.  It’s called paranoia.  I think people are in love with me, that’s what I think.

Advertisements

Sunday, December 31, 1978

I have never kept a diary, and even if I had, it would have been lost with all the rest of my belongings in the two world wars. But, it is my good fortune to be endowed with an uncanny memory which allows me to trace my whole long life almost day by day.

–Arthur Rubinstein, My Young Years.

lost

Saturday, December 31, 1978.  I had turned 25 the previous week.  I had reserved a hotel room in New York City for the weekend.   I arrived in New York at about noon on Saturday December 30 to attend a matinée performance of Strauss’s opera Elektra at The Metropolitan Opera.   On Sunday afternoon, I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art where I purchased two Renoir prints.  That evening I attended a concert performance of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at Carnegie Hall conducted by Eve Queller.  I remember Eve Queller at the opening of the concert offered a few words of thanks to the audience for choosing to spend New Year’s Eve at Carnegie Hall to listen to Wagner.  I liked that.  After the concert I headed to Times Square to be among the crowd watching the ball ring in 1979.  I took the train back to Philadelphia on Monday morning.

FINAL VERSION: THERAPY SESSION SUMMARY FOR January 8 and January 15, 2019

ajan18-l-therapy-session-january-8-2019 (1)

I actually worked in material about Richard Wyatt, Esq. — somebody I never mentioned before as being involved in this matter.

I have a reason for doing do.  At one point I told Dr. Palombo that I thought he was talking to Malcolm Lassman.  Dr. Palombo said, “You like me and you like Malcolm Lassman so you think we talk to each other.”   No, no.  My thought processes are reality based — based on clues I pick up in the environment.    I don’t simply adopt notions that might pop into my head because they are need satisfying.  Remember, I have high executive functioning.  I look for patterns and I have an ability to withhold conclusions.  That’s what you have to do on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test.

Saturday, April 25, 1970

I have never kept a diary, and even if I had, it would have been lost with all the rest of my belongings in the two world wars. But, it is my good fortune to be endowed with an uncanny memory which allows me to trace my whole long life almost day by day.

–Arthur Rubinstein, My Young Years.

lost

Saturday, April 25, 1970.  At that time I was a 16-year-old junior in high school.  That evening my mother’s supervisor at the Franklin Institute, Bernie Epstein and his wife Aida had a party at their house in Huntingdon Valley, PA.  My parents attended.  My mother told me about the party later.  It was Passover and my mother said Bernie apologized for not having any bread at the party.  The Department Director Alec Peters was there and he read a poem he had written (probably in Romanian).  Dawn Spickler, who would later be my supervisor at the Institute, was there.  Bernie’s wife, Aida, a professional pianist — and piano teacher of Leonardo Dugan — played some pieces, including Schumann’s  Träumerei.  Aida Epstein said she wasn’t a fan of Chopin.

 

Friday, June 2, 1967

I have never kept a diary, and even if I had, it would have been lost with all the rest of my belongings in the two world wars. But, it is my good fortune to be endowed with an uncanny memory which allows me to trace my whole long life almost day by day.

–Arthur Rubinstein, My Young Years.

lost

Friday, June 2, 1967.  I was a 13-year-old eighth grade student.  I was out of school the previous day.  My mother let me stay home because I was out late on Wednesday May 31 to see a performance of Wagner’s Lohengrin at Philadelphia’s Convention Hall.  In the morning I gave my absence note to my homeroom teacher.  My mother wrote that I stayed home because I had attended the opera.  Coincidentally, the homeroom teacher was an opera fan.  He told me that he himself had been to the Met’s performance of Puccini’s Turandot earlier in the week.  He said it was amazing to see Franco Corelli and Birgit Nilsson in the title role “going at each other.”  I remember his phrase, “going at each other.”

His name was Mr. Corn(something).   He was a math teacher.  He was a sub.  My regular homeroom teacher, Mrs. MacKay was out.  Maybe David Freund remembers him.  I wonder if David Freund’s mother, Florence took him to the opera?

Saturday, January 20, 1973

I have never kept a diary, and even if I had, it would have been lost with all the rest of my belongings in the two world wars. But, it is my good fortune to be endowed with an uncanny memory which allows me to trace my whole long life almost day by day.

–Arthur Rubinstein, My Young Years.

lost

Saturday, January 20, 1973.  I was 19 years old and a second year college student.  That afternoon Richard Nixon was inaugurated to his second term as President.  I remember Orthodox Jews — many of whom loved Nixon — were angry because the inauguration was on a Saturday and so they couldn’t watch it on TV.   That evening my piano teacher, Miss Griffith took me to the Annual Anniversary Concert of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Academy of Music.  It’s a benefit concert; the proceeds go to the upkeep of the Academy of Music.  My father got angry with my mother.  He said I should be going out with people my own age and not going on a date with my 60 year plus piano teacher.  I remember the last piece on the orchestra program was Respighi’s The Pines of Rome.

Wednesday, May 31, 1967

I have never kept a diary, and even if I had, it would have been lost with all the rest of my belongings in the two world wars. But, it is my good fortune to be endowed with an uncanny memory which allows me to trace my whole long life almost day by day.

–Arthur Rubinstein, My Young Years.

lost

Wednesday, May 31, 1967. I was a 13-year-old eighth grade student. My mother took me to see a performance of Wagner’s Lohengrin presented at Philadelphia’s Convention Hall by the Metropolitan Opera. Sandor Konya, the Hungarian tenor, sang Lohengrin. I wore a plaid blazer.  It was the first opera performance I had ever seen.  At the end of the evening, as my mother and I were walking out of Convention Hall, I overheard a woman say, “This opera was awful.  It didn’t have any memorable tunes.  It had no memorable arias.”  I remember feeling insulted by her comments.

Friday, July 17, 1970

I have never kept a diary, and even if I had, it would have been lost with all the rest of my belongings in the two world wars. But, it is my good fortune to be endowed with an uncanny memory which allows me to trace my whole long life almost day by day.

–Arthur Rubinstein, My Young Years.

lost

Friday, July 17, 1970.  I was 16 years old.  I had started work at my summer job at the Franklin Institute the preceding Monday.  I asked my supervisor, Dawn Spickler, “If I don’t take a lunch break, can I leave work early?”  She said I could.  At lunch time I got some snacks at the snack machine at the Institute, and filled up on junk food, then immediately got back to work, intending to leave work at 4:30 PM, instead of the usual quitting time of 5:15 PM.  At 4:30 I left work and headed to Sam Goody’s record store on Chestnut Street.   I purchased Mahler’s Symphony no. 7, in a recording by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Bernstein.  I had never heard that symphony before.  When I got home, my mother had made steak for dinner.  But I was so full of junk food from my brief lunch time break that I wasn’t hungry.  I didn’t eat dinner that night.  My mother was not pleased.

Monday, July 13, 1970

I have never kept a diary, and even if I had, it would have been lost with all the rest of my belongings in the two world wars. But, it is my good fortune to be endowed with an uncanny memory which allows me to trace my whole long life almost day by day.

–Arthur Rubinstein, My Young Years.

lost

Monday, July 13, 1970. I was 16 years old.  This was my first day in my summer job at The Franklin Institute.  At lunch time I walked to the Philadelphia Library, just a few blocks north of the Institute.  I borrowed the complete waltzes by Chopin.  I went back to the office and spent the rest of my lunch break perusing the waltzes.    I lost track of time and my supervisor, Dawn Spickler, noticing that I was engrossed in my book, said it was time to get back to work.

Dawn Spickler, today, at the left.

spickler

The Internal Working Models Concept: What Do We Really Know About the Self in Relation to Others? By Lisa Feldman Barrett

barrett

Excellent paper summarizing research on internal working models.  I was taken with experimental findings — consistent with common sense — that we have a general working model about people based on our interactions with our mothers, but we have relationship-specific models based on our specific interactions with people we deal with.

Therapists (and psychoanalysts) promote the idea that if we have difficulty with a therapist (or analyst) it’s because we had the same difficulty with our mothers.  NO!!  Sometimes we have a difficulty with a therapist because the therapist herself is a goof ball — and we have come to see the therapist is a goof ball because of the therapist’s own idiotic statements and behaviors.    That’s common sense — and that’s borne out by the experimental findings.  Like we needed research to confirm that!

“In summary, assessing attachment at the general level will provide only a limited view of the working models that underlie attachment behaviors.  Attachment measured at a more general level is likely to reflect a more dispositional characteristic that will predict responses across different kinds of relationships, and it may be closely connected to characteristics such as temperament or frequency of threat activation. Relationship-specific variation may also exist, but to assess it properly, attachment phenomena must be measured at the level of the specific relationship in a way that takes into account the characteristics of that particular relationship. We also need to consider that, when attachment is measured at one point in time, the findings may not generalize across time or context for a given individual.”

Paula R. Pietromonaco
University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Lisa Feldman Barrett
Boston College

yyyyy — internal working models barrett pietromonaco