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I Remember

Ed Ruscha, That Was Then This Is Now , 1989, Oil on canvas, 42" x 96"

Ed Ruscha, "That Was Then This Is Now," 1989. Oil on canvas, 42" x 96".

I remember the first time I got a letter that said “After Five Days Return To” on the envelope, and I thought that after I had kept the letter for five days I was supposed to return it to the sender.

I remember the kick I used to get going through my parents’ drawers looking for rubbers.  (Peacock.)

I remember when polio was the worst thing in the world.

I remember pink dress shirts.  And bola ties.

I remember when a kid told me that those sour clover-like leaves we used to eat (with little yellow flowers) tasted so sour because dogs peed on them.  I remember that didn’t stop me from eating them.

I remember the first drawing I remember doing.  It was of a bride with a very long train.

I remember my first cigarette.  It was a Kent.  Up on a hill.  In Tulsa, Oklahoma.  With Ron Padgett.

—excerpted from I Remember by Joe Brainard, 1975.

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