Posted in Miscellany, Novellas

Trammin’ Along with Hans

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When a tram was first introduced in town of Avonlea, Karl Hans, a retired school teacher, was thrilled to apply for a position of conductor/operator because he had always wanted to become one since his childhood in Frankfurt, Germany, where riding a tram was part of his family life: His father used to take trams to commute  to  and from work; his mother would take a tram to go grocery shopping, and so did Karl for going to and from school. A tram was their paid means of livelihood that spun many a memory with laughters and adventures in the Old Country. So the image of a tram in Avonlea was enough to induce Karl to think of his childhood in Germany and his eyes to be welled up in tears soaked up with a nostalgia of those lovely moments of the past that are now bygone and bygone.

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Naturally, the  news that the city council had finally approved the city’s real estate tycoon John Elephant’s proposal of establishing a tram line in order to accomodate to the increasing number of the residents imbued Karl with a certain feeling of hope that had been buried under layers of time and forgetfulness as Reality Check had called upon through the years. Karl decided that he wanted to become a conductor of a tram in a heartbeat against his wife Hannah’s disagreement. “Why don’t you enjoy the rest of life in the comfort of armchair with books you admire and music you love? We can manage to live quite comfortably with our Social Security Benefits and your 401 K Plan.” Hannah’s remonstration with Karl was, however, weaker than his determination rekindled by his deep nostalgic infatuation with another ew hope in life. “Hannah, surely our income will be sufficient to maintain comforts of life, but it’s what I really want to do, and I want to make it happen. Besides, we will have extra income to double our monthly budget. So it’s a win-win situation! We are not losing anything at this stage of life.” Karl’s reasoning with his dear wife Hannah won her support of the cause, and the rest of it was history.

photo (2)Intelligent, civil, and good-heated Karl is now Avonlea’s beloved conductor of a lovely tram that almost everyone uses  on a daily basis, even if some of them owns a car. Karl operates a tram 5 days a week except Fridays and Sundays from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM. But he does not feel exhausted or overworked. He loves the way his passengers smile back to him and greet him when boarding and getting off his tram. Sometimes, he has not-so-good days for being only a human, especially when Hannah nags for no apparent reason or fault-finds with just about anything with him in the morning or the night before. Nevertheless, the facts that he is living his dreams in memory of his childhood memories that are dear to him and that his age does not mean anything to him to achieve his dream are the mainstay of fulfilling demands placed on his daily tasks at work, at home, and with himself. Hooray for our magnificent Karl and his continuous endeavors in life!




Posted in book review, Film Review

From PBS Masterpiece Theater – Mr. Selfridge


This Masterpiece Theater Mini-Series of “Mr. Selfridge” produced by ITV is a tour de force of excellent performances of the actors, the finesse of drama scripts, gorgeous costumes, and classically elegant settings coordinated as truthfully as possible. It chronicles Harry Gordon Selfridge’s business adventures from the onset of establishing Selfridges & Co in 1908 until his farewell to his labor of love twenty years afterwards.

 From Episode I of Series 1 to Episode 10 of Series 4 (Final Season), we get to see a man named Harry Gordon Selfridge (1958-1947) who was something of a Napoleon Bonaparte knowing no word in his dictionary for “Impossible.” We see the man build a one-of-a-kind department store in London’s Oxford Street as an adventurous American tradesman against the British aristocratic chauvinism. Selfridge was a man who set a standard of modern department store; by placing the cosmetic/perfume counters on the lobby, Selfridge intended to sweeten the atmosphere of the floor in attempt to use it as a magnet for passers-by, especially women. In effect, Selfridge broke down the class-stratified fashion wall guarded by the rich/privileged by democratizing the luxurious items and making them accessible to common people as well.

Moreover, the ace portrayal of Selfridge would/could not be possible were it not for the fine acting of Jeremy Piven whose quintessential American accent doubled with inescapable American can-do attitudes triumphs over the transatlantic cultural differences in working with the British peers. The viewer will be left with a feeling of heartfulness of the characters upon finishing all of the episodes in this series and cannot help but applaud to Mr. Selfridge for his entrepreneurial effervescence and Mr. Piven for portraying the man in a stellar performance that evokes both pathos and respect.