Robert Chipkin

A winter storm hit Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in a file photo.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Among the casualties of modern era — which at present include the rotary dial telephone, black and white television and good grammar — another cherished part of my childhood stands poised on the edge of extinction: the snow day.

Robert Chipkin / NEPR

When I get the urge to watch the PBS home renovation series, “This Old House,” I don't bother to turn on the TV. I just look out my window.

The Necco factory, which manufactured Sweethearts, closed its doors in 2018.
Brent Moore / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/brent_nashville

 


This Valentine's Day, I am heartless, a condition that also describes New England Confectionery Company, or Necco — the maker of Sweetheart candy, those small, chalky, heart-shaped confections that flood candy counters this time of year.

Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts. Commentator Robert Chipkin recently noticed that students, staff and faculty there often hold doors open for each other.
Bpayne4001 / Creative Commons


Early in the morning or late at night, even in the most crowded times between classes, it is nearly impossible to approach an entranceway without someone holding the door open to let a nearby someone in.

A mobile phone on a sandy beach.
TheHilaryClark / Creative Commons

At the risk of violating technology's prime directive -- "Thou shalt not look backwards" -- I found a way, if only briefly, to get my mobile phone to just stay put.

An app transforms the unsmiling face of Robert Chipkin into several other images, including a forced smile.
Upper left: Josh Sowalsky / Courtesy Robert Chipkin / FaceApp

"Why does he look so constipated? Everyone else looks so happy except for Mr. Constipated," my family invariably asked when looking at pictures of me in family albums.

A golden retriever.
Jonathan Meyer / Creative Commons

Lately, I’ve noticed a growing cottage industry. Human scientists are making a pretty good living spending years doing experiments the results of which any dog could have predicted if only someone had asked.

Back of a Fairfield Beach Postcard from 1932
CardCow / CREATIVE COMMONS

According to commentator Rober Chipkin, every once in a while the wheels of progress turn so swiftly you don’t realize you’ve come full circle. This happened to him recently, while watching a TV commercial that came on during the news.

Training wheels.
Emma Craig / Creative Commons

A three-year old doesn't realize it, of course, but at that age every day is a rite of passage, says commentator Robert Chipkin. And surely few can compare with the day that child leaves the tricycle behind and heads down the driveway on his very first bicycle.

TV character Circus Boy as played by Micky Dolenz.
NBC / Creative Commons

Ringling Brothers' Greatest Show on Earth is slated to go dark at the end of May. Commentator Robert Chipkin says that in his childhood full of highways, malls and subdivisions, the annual appearance of elephants parading down Main Street, clowns piled into Volkswagens, acrobats and sword swallowers should have stirred his suburban heart, but there was serious competition.