S____ once asked, in a now forgotten context, "Is that archaic enough for you?" The answer likewise has been forgotten, but the feeling of deja vu still remains, for I have a fondness for certain old or antiquated modes. Though I have never been an official member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (but do try to stay on good terms with the local group) there are certain appealing aspects to their philosophy - taking the best of the old ways, without suffering from their limitations. For example, I often wear Amish style broadfall work pants, a design little changed by the past century - very comfortable and they satisfy the Erica Jong criterion.

I have lived for a while in a tipi, an aboriginal tent with central heating, split wood to heat the morning coffee or evening tea, cooked cakes in a wood stove and baked brownies over an open fire.

My taste in music also tends to the old - I sing 18th century hymns with Norumbega Harmony; play recorder, pipe-and-tabor, and fiddle for Morris Dancing as well as Playford (1650) and Revolutionary era country dances. Gregorian Chant is music to my ears. Josquin, Shutz, de Lassus, Palestrina, Sweelink, Billings and Bach I would sing, play, or listen to without hesitation.

In this age of ballpoint pens, e-mail, word processors and page layout programs which I use during the workday, my personal correspondents may receive letters done by hand with a nib or quill dipped in ink.

Back to the Present

I like to drive a red car, particularly one with four wheel drive for pushing through fresh New England snow.

Red Rover

My first car, a red Toyota Land Cruiser, served well for nine years of driving through mountains, snow, mud, blizzards, and other fun conditions while carrying canoes, tipi poles, skis and other paraphernalia. JB and Karen christened it the "Ishmobile", but I never felt quite comfortable with that name, preferring to think of it as the Red Rover. Many were the miles we drove together.

Red Rover II

This is a 1985 Jeep Cherokee, great for getting out of those parking lots which are really cow pastures by day, and also for dealing with snow - no need to shovel before driving out in the morning.

I do not commute by car - it certainly does not get used on a daily basis. For some years I used to travel by bicycle but now I get around Boston mostly by public transportation, saving the automobile principally for long distance trips or ferrying heavy loads of groceries.

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Original July 1994
Last modified: Jan 10 07:58 2000 / ijs@mit.edu