Hashtag Throwback Thursday. This is not a photograph of me, it is the photograph of two of my classmates from the Catholic grade school I attended on the east side of Buffalo, New York. As I have described before the east side of my youth was predominately Catholic. The old Polish and Italian women in their thin dresses praying the rosary in the vastness of the basilica like church named for the Saint, Gerard, patron of children and mothers. It is not for nostalgia that I try to remember or at least try not to forget all of those moments spent on those few city blocks. It is, instead, the looking and seeing of what it was that helped shape me. It is all of those grey Ash Wednesdays that differentiated an ordinary winter day into something more, a stopping to recognize that we are here for a brief moment and then we are gone. This comes back to me sometimes, most acutely in the south where the sight of a person with ashes on their head is all the more striking on Ash Wednesday because they seem to be the exception rather than the rule, but it happens other times too. At the scraping away of an old building. At a saddle shoe on a Sunday. At the dim reminders that surround us of a past that continually recedes. There was a piece of orange yarn laying in the street nearer the curb. It brought me back to the time of tube socks, Topps hockey cards, and pay telephones. Sometimes that is all it takes, a piece of string to bring me back to a grammar school parking lot at recess. To the moments that shaped me and made me who I am. In that piece of yarn in the gutter were two pig-tailed girls on a red rail holding a bit of string. Their fingers move and their foreheads narrow in lines of concentration. The old women are in the church while the children run and swear outside. In the midst of all the yelling from the jumping of the ropes and the hockey game I am watching them and everything turns silent when they run through a series of string figures passed down to them from their grandmothers. The fish in a dish to candles to the cat's eye. They were holding in the palms of their hands the secret. That bit of string that they held became the thin threads that connect one generation to the next.