Lifting a Glass…Once Again

We, all, have those days that we mark on our calendars to reflect on something or someone. Whether we do so to honor or simply remember is usually up to each individual to decide upon. As a Nation, even Congress, for their lacking in getting most of what really needs to get done accomplished… they do manage to get a lot of endless resolutions passed like “National Take Your French Poodle To Lunch Day” (Ok, probably not a real resolution but I’ve seen the lists and this one is close.)

Today is a day that has always been a special one in my life and I wanted to share it with you. First by telling you a few interesting things that happened in 1930…

# The first literary character licensing agreement is signed by A.A. Milne, granting Stephen Slesinger U.S. and Canadian merchandising rights to the Winnie-the-Pooh works. ( over 80 years later he’s still a “Tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff.” )

# The first frozen foods of Clarence Birdseye go on sale in Springfield, Massachusetts. ( A good raw steak was replaced by a frozen bag of peas for a black eye)

# Mahatma Gandi set off on his 200 mile protest “Salt March” to the sea.(Truth be known he did a lot more than march in 1930)

# Hostess Twinkies are invented. ( But it will take many years before the pot smoking craze in the 60’s will place them on the lists of harmful addictions)

#The first Soccer World Cup starts. ( Willing to bet that the spectators weren’t as over-zealous back than as they are now)

#Warner Bros. release their first cartoon series called ‘Looney Tunes’ ( They would survive into this century and than fall under the Right’s censorship eye.)

#The first night game in organized baseball history takes place in Independence, Kansas. (Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues, carried portable lights around on their team bus.)

#The dedication of George Washington’s head is held at Mount Rushmore. ( The dedication of former President G.W. Bush’s head done in butter will have to wait due to global warming.)

#The radio drama ‘The Shadow’ airs for the first time. “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!” ( The nation could of used him in 2000)

#Judge Joseph Force Crater steps into a taxi in New York and disappears.( the taxi part turned out to be a myth probably brought on by disgruntled bus drivers or subway conductors trying to stifle the taxi industry)

#Betty Boop premiers in the animated film “Dizzy Dishes”. ( Today, I fear she would be banned by the social right as sexist)

#Cecil George Paine, a pathologist in England, achieves the first recorded cure using penicillin. ( Who would of thought how important moldy bread would become.)

#U.S. President Herbert Hoover goes before Congress and asks for a US $150 million public works program to help generate jobs and stimulate the economy. ( There are those who think only President Obama has asked Congress for job money)

#W9XAP in Chicago, Illinois, broadcasts the U.S. senatorial election returns, which is the first time a senatorial race, with non-stop vote tallies, is ever televised. ( And look at what it started)

#The chocolate chip cookie is invented by Ruth Wakefield. (Waistlines were never the same.)

Another less documented but in my eyes equally important event on a day in 1930, a child was born…a male child to a house painter and a church school teacher in Chicago,Illinios.

Right from the start he stood out with a head full of curly almost white hair which would bring him a fifteen minutes of fame moment early in his life. In the first week  of  April, 1932…this 18 month old boy and his mother were taken from a park and detained by the Chicago police for hours until the boy’s father could be found and produce proof of the child’s identity.

The month before in New Jersey, 20-month old Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., was abducted by an intruder from his crib and this child in Chicago very closely resembled the picture on the poster the officers kept waving in the poor woman’s face.

The woman….my grandmother.The young boy…my father. The story of that day would always eventually be told at every family reunion I attended but it was only at the top of a very long list as my father’s life was a fascinating mixture of this country’s history as well as the ups and downs of everyday life.

In a lot of ways he was a rebel…in as much transition as the nation surrounding him. Restless and wanting, he left school and home at 14. Hitch hiking and rail riding all over the states. He would later describe it to us as his “endless class trip”.

He enlisted in the Army (took him three tries as he was underage at the time). He began to grow there…getting his much needed schooling and rising in the ranks to drill sargent.

While on leave from Fort Benning,Georgia, He travelled to Atlantic City,NJ where he and a friend were almost run over by a 1951 chevy fleetline. He fell to the ground … pretended to be hurt when they noticed that the car was being driven by a young girl and her friend.

The courtship was whirlwind to say the least and juicy material for another sharing. For now I will tease you with the fact that they only knew each other for three weeks before they were married.

The Korean war was in full throttle as he tried to do his best with his duties as a drill sargent but the responsibility of preparing young men for war is not an easy one and news of how many of his trainees were being wounded or killed overseas weighed heavy on him.

He tried to get deployed with one unit that he had become very attached to but a back injury could not be as  easily disguised as his early age was. Many years later I got to meet some of the men that my father had trained and they overwhelming said that it was the skills that he had taught them that pulled them through.

He was stationed in Panama for awhile but my mother wanted more than the Army was giving them and with many regrets he left the service.

Stock car racing…cross-country trucking…he came to settle on being an ace car mechanic, who could listen to an engine for less than a minute and tell you what was wrong with it. He would work many jobs at one time to keep his growing family taken care of.

Our home was an open door to any one who needed a place to go. My early memories start in Chicago. My father was a Scout leader. A member of more than one community help group.On occasion a police officer might drop by our house with a homeless or runaway teen who they didn’t want to take to jail but needed some guidence that they thought my father could provide and he usually did.

His life stories would be the foundation of his skills as a mentor and father. He was by many standards a quiet man. I was the most fortunate of all his children to be the closest to him.

Starting in grade school when I would be called to the office because my father was there to take me to a doctor’s appointment. There was no appointment. He would take me to the ball park for a Cubs game or other special places that would later shape me into the person I became. He had a great love of history and passing down family stories. I grew up watching him keep rooms full of people enthralled with his wisdom and charm.

He never called me his favorite instead telling me that he wanted some company and I was the only one that wouldn’t tell on him to mother.

My sons never got to meet their grandfather as my father died at the young age of 53. He had led an adventure filled life and I receive so much joy in making sure his grandsons know who he was. Sharing him here with you also give me pause to smile and reflect on how truly special this man was.

Today is his birthday and as it has been for the last 30 years since his passing…I keep a bottle of Crown Royal ( his favorite brand) on my desk. It is only opened once a year on this day…in honor and remembrance of a man who did so much for so many…

A man who taught me that life was seldom easy but always interesting…A man who taught me that giving a hand to help another was the greatest feeling on earth…I fear that it is also the most lost lesson in our nation right now.

But that too is for another time…for now, won’t you lift a glass ( with whatever beverage pleases you) and give a small wink skyward in celebration of a very special man…named Owen.   Happy Birthday, Dad.

The Road Got A Bit Bumpy

Seems like I spend a lot of time telling you how sorry I am that I haven’t been able to write for you. My illness made it very hard to even type and recent events have made it more important to give all my energy to things happening around me. Please don’t give up on me though as I have been keeping my journal up to date…if I could only type as fast as I can write this would be easier but choosing drama class instead of typing class is coming back to haunt me (not really, I loved that class.) My son has offered to type for me but I really want to do it so I will try to get so things on here soon. Thanks for all the emails….they really have made me smile.

Image

Sending Out the Best of Warm Thoughts

1476192_593350394081006_546077742_nxmas-Bestxmas-2011244px-It's_A_Wonderful_Life

A Very Thankful Moment

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone….near and far…I have so much to be thankful for this year and I want to thank all those who have had to put up with me and my illness. Especially my sons…I let myself become sicker than I needed to because I was too proud (or stubborn) to accept that I couldn’t take care of things alone. For that I am sorry that I caused a lot of worry amongst so many very wonderful people.

 

I’m also sorry to those who love me that I didn’t let know how sick I had become. I have always been an independent sort of person who doesn’t like not being a bother or burden. Silly I know but after all these years, it’s who I am. But I promise that I will try and do better in the sharing department even if it’s not all rainbows and sunshine.

I am thankful that the spirits that be have let me come this far and given me such wonderful gifts and blessings. I sometimes wonder if I am truly worthy of such blessings.

I am thankful for family…hopeful that the ties that bind us will be strong enough to endure the separations and hardships that many times come between us. My heart is now and forever shall be filled with only the best of thoughts and prayers for each and everyone.

I am thankful that my path brought me to a place where I have been given such wonderful endearing people to work with. I know some of you are here and I am forever grateful that you have allowed me to be a part of your lives. Forever grateful that you,all, have helped me show my sons how much more life is when you are surrounded by caring…nurturing people.

I am thankful for the wisdom to know that we, all, need to cherish each moment and each other…that we can learn so much and pass on so much if we keep an open heart and an open mind. Smiles are contagious…laughter healing…and reaching out will always be better than pushing away.

On this day of Thanksgiving…my hopes and prayers are that the world gets less violent…less greedy…less crazy and that all those I love close their eyes for a moment and think of me because I am sending you all warm hugs and soft kisses. Be well & stay safe

Image

Best Thoughts And Blessings for Our Soldiers

verteransday

“Lifting A Glass Today”

We, all, have those days that we mark on our calendars to reflect on something or someone. Whether we do so to honor or simply remember is usually up to each individual to decide upon. As a Nation, even Congress, for their lacking in getting most of what really needs to get done accomplished… they do manage to get a lot of endless resolutions passed like “National Take Your French Poodle To Lunch Day” (Ok, probably not a real resolution but I’ve seen the lists and this one is close.)

Today is a day that has always been a special one in my life and I wanted to share it with you. First by telling you a few interesting things that happened in 1930…

# The first literary character licensing agreement is signed by A.A. Milne, granting Stephen Slesinger U.S. and Canadian merchandising rights to the Winnie-the-Pooh works. ( over 80 years later he’s still a “Tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff.” )

# The first frozen foods of Clarence Birdseye go on sale in Springfield, Massachusetts. ( A good raw steak was replaced by a frozen bag of peas for a black eye)

# Mahatma Gandi set off on his 200 mile protest “Salt March” to the sea.(Truth be known he did a lot more than march in 1930)

# Hostess Twinkies are invented. ( But it will take many years before the pot smoking craze in the 60’s will place them on the lists of harmful addictions)

#The first Soccer World Cup starts. ( Willing to bet that the spectators weren’t as over-zealous back than as they are now)

#Warner Bros. release their first cartoon series called ‘Looney Tunes’ ( They would survive into this century and than fall under the Right’s censorship eye.)

#The first night game in organized baseball history takes place in Independence, Kansas. (Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues, carried portable lights around on their team bus.)

#The dedication of George Washington’s head is held at Mount Rushmore. ( The dedication of former President G.W. Bush’s head done in butter will have to wait due to global warming.)

#The radio drama ‘The Shadow’ airs for the first time. “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!” ( The nation could of used him in 2000)

#Judge Joseph Force Crater steps into a taxi in New York and disappears.( the taxi part turned out to be a myth probably brought on by disgruntled bus drivers or subway conductors trying to stifle the taxi industry)

#Betty Boop premiers in the animated film “Dizzy Dishes”. ( Today, I fear she would be banned by the social right as sexist)

#Cecil George Paine, a pathologist in England, achieves the first recorded cure using penicillin. ( Who would of thought how important moldy bread would become.)

#U.S. President Herbert Hoover goes before Congress and asks for a US $150 million public works program to help generate jobs and stimulate the economy. ( There are those who think only President Obama has asked Congress for job money)

#W9XAP in Chicago, Illinois, broadcasts the U.S. senatorial election returns, which is the first time a senatorial race, with non-stop vote tallies, is ever televised. ( And look at what it started)

#The chocolate chip cookie is invented by Ruth Wakefield. (Waistlines were never the same.)

Another less documented but in my eyes equally important event on a day in 1930, a child was born…a male child to a house painter and a church school teacher in Chicago,Illinios.

Right from the start he stood out with a head full of curly almost white hair which would bring him a fifteen minutes of fame moment early in his life. In the first week  of  April, 1932…this 18 month old boy and his mother were taken from a park and detained by the Chicago police for hours until the boy’s father could be found and produce proof of the child’s identity.

The month before in New Jersey, 20-month old Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., was abducted by an intruder from his crib and this child in Chicago very closely resembled the picture on the poster the officers kept waving in the poor woman’s face.

The woman….my grandmother.The young boy…my father. The story of that day would always eventually be told at every family reunion I attended but it was only at the top of a very long list as my father’s life was a fascinating mixture of this country’s history as well as the ups and downs of everyday life.

In a lot of ways he was a rebel…in as much transition as the nation surrounding him. Restless and wanting, he left school and home at 14. Hitch hiking and rail riding all over the states. He would later describe it to us as his “endless class trip”.

He enlisted in the Army (took him three tries as he was underage at the time). He began to grow there…getting his much needed schooling and rising in the ranks to drill sargent.

While on leave from Fort Benning,Georgia, He travelled to Atlantic City,NJ where he and a friend were almost run over by a 1951 chevy fleetline. He fell to the ground … pretended to be hurt when they noticed that the car was being driven by a young girl and her friend.

The courtship was whirlwind to say the least and juicy material for another sharing. For now I will tease you with the fact that they only knew each other for three weeks before they were married.

The Korean war was in full throttle as he tried to do his best with his duties as a drill sargent but the responsibility of preparing young men for war is not an easy one and news of how many of his trainees were being wounded or killed overseas weighed heavy on him.

He tried to get deployed with one unit that he had become very attached to but a back injury could not be as  easily disguised as his early age was. Many years later I got to meet some of the men that my father had trained and they overwhelming said that it was the skills that he had taught them that pulled them through.

He was stationed in Panama for awhile but my mother wanted more than the Army was giving them and with many regrets he left the service.

Stock car racing…cross-country trucking…he came to settle on being an ace car mechanic, who could listen to an engine for less than a minute and tell you what was wrong with it. He would work many jobs at one time to keep his growing family taken care of.

Our home was an open door to any one who needed a place to go. My early memories start in Chicago. My father was a Scout leader. A member of more than one community help group.On occasion a police officer might drop by our house with a homeless or runaway teen who they didn’t want to take to jail but needed some guidence that they thought my father could provide and he usually did.

His life stories would be the foundation of his skills as a mentor and father. He was by many standards a quiet man. I was the most fortunate of all his children to be the closest to him.

Starting in grade school when I would be called to the office because my father was there to take me to a doctor’s appointment. There was no appointment. He would take me to the ball park for a Cubs game or other special places that would later shape me into the person I became. He had a great love of history and passing down family stories. I grew up watching him keep rooms full of people enthralled with his wisdom and charm.

He never called me his favorite instead telling me that he wanted some company and I was the only one that wouldn’t tell on him to mother.

My sons never got to meet their grandfather as my father died at the young age of 53. He had led an adventure filled life and I receive so much joy in making sure his grandsons know who he was. Sharing him here with you also give me pause to smile and reflect on how truly special this man was.

Today is his birthday and as it has been for the last 30 years since his passing…I keep a bottle of Crown Royal ( his favorite brand) on my desk. It is only opened once a year on this day…in honor and remembrance of a man who did so much for so many…

A man who taught me that life was seldom easy but always interesting…A man who taught me that giving a hand to help another was the greatest feeling on earth…I fear that it is also the most lost lesson in our nation right now.

But that too is for another time…for now, won’t you lift a glass ( with whatever beverage pleases you) and give a small wink skyward in celebration of a very special man…named Owen.   Happy Birthday, Dad.

“Older and Wiser…Not Always A Welcome Title”

I am finding that there are a few glitches  to growing old that I hadn’t been aware of…one of them being that even if one has had a long haul of not being honest with others about who or what they are, you get to a point where it’s not so easy to fool yourself anymore.

My first revelation came one night when I , who use to be the one who pumped up the volume…last one to call it quits…the one most likely to be still be jammin’ at sunrise…Me-the center that brought the group together….sighing as  my friends seemed to be just starting to party and I was already plotting an excuse for a quick exit. My next flash of self-awareness came in a humbling truth that while for years, I blamed not doing this or not getting that done on the stresses and strains of being a single working mom. I would write out lists and map out plans only to make my friends have to comfort me in my sorrow when a deadline slipped by or an opportunity was missed. How pitiful I was in my moments of  my-life-is-such-a-struggle. Damn, I was good at it too ! Was I really spread so thin between working and being a mom ? Hell, No ! I realize now that I was simply a member of the highest order of the Royal Procrastination Club !

Don’t get me wrong, I do work very hard and am a very hands on mom but all the things I had said I wanted to learn,to experience, to achieve… it wasn’t my job, life’s curve balls  or even my children that kept me from a lot of them…it was me ! Grand plans were just that “grand plans”. I did a little of this and a little of that but  there was still so much left  undone. I would make the effort to start several things. I would seem to have the best of intentions in mind. Research…explore different aspects…talk it out with friends…than as if on cue, the outlines…notes…concepts would find their way to a corner of my seemingly cluttered world and stay there… gathering dust until such time as I needed a reason for a pity party then they would be trotted out just long enough to have a few extra sympathy hugs from friends.

I have made it through what most would have dubbed a difficult life  as it was and yet I had always refused to see my struggles as nothing more than learning & survival phases of my journey but year after year there was that book I was going to write…that trip I was going to take…that skill I was going to master… or that dream job I was going to find. These are the sorts of things on the list I would convincingly told myself I could always do “someday”.

So many some-days have come and gone now and after the illness of this last year, I find myself wondering “What the hell am I waiting for ?” or because of that damn older & wiser glitch…”What the hell am I afraid of ?” Failure ? Nope ! Never believed in the word. I was raised to believe that good faith efforts and that sometimes you learn just as much from the bad things that happen as you do the good…meant that everything in life brought you pieces of the puzzle that helped make you who you are. Whether you choose to believe that to be negative or positive is entirely up to you.

So what am I to do with this disappointment in my own standstill on my timeline ? Put it on top of yet another pile on the corner of my desk ? Being honest with myself…really,really honest…damn, it really does suck ! No more table top dancing for me but that doesn’t mean I can’t still keep tempo with the melody that has been playing in my head and heart now for over 50 years. The Royal Procrastination Club will be losing this member…(which I don’t think anyone will notice as I kept putting off going to the never scheduled meetings)

So keep checking back and feel free to be one of those who remind me that if I don’t do it now I might not get another chance to do it… Thanks for listening.