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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
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.
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.
Hmmmm, seems I’ve been in this place before… looking around I do see some familiar things. It’s been awhile though… one of those walking around in a thick dark cloud kind of periods. What the heck ?? It’s not like I’d never had to go through bad stuff before…not like I’d never been in pain. Years of acceptance of things unchangeable and a strong desire to hold on to the positive things that have always kept me afloat in the past, I had truly come to believe that there was nothing I couldn’t deal with but I have to admit that these last few months really rattled me.
I want to thank all of you who kept refusing to let me just fade away . My youngest son would read me your messages and notes during the time when I wasn’t able to do for myself. I have always been fortunate to have connected with so many wonderous spirits in the cyber realm. I hope I can return the kindness and smiles to you as well.
So many interesting tales involve coming to a crossroad.A so-called “fork in the road of life”… The powers that be know I have seen more than my share of them… I feel blessed by the opportunity to venture down another path. I feel blessed to be able to have people to share with and learn from.
For now it’s late and I really need to close my eyes for a bit but I had to do this much… I needed to begin again. So much to think about. It really is cool when there’s a break in the clouds and you can see color starting to wash over the grey. Stay safe,my friends
On the sad 44th anniversary this month of a great loss for our Nation…I wanted to share with you one memory that still burns brightly in my mind and heart….
I can still remember that day I walked into a small polling place to vote for the first time. I had taken my grandmother to do “her civic duty” as she kept referring to it as. The whole ride there was filled with her lecturing me on the different aspects of this certain election and how important it was for our community, our country, our family and even myself that I take my responsibility seriously.
I smiled at her a lot that morning because she had no way of knowing that everything she was saying was already a very deep seeded part of my being, that her son…my father had in his own way given me a civic consciousness scattered out over the years with his lessons, his gifts of caring and sharing.
It was a hot, humid night in Chicago the spring of ’68…I was awakened by my mother’s voice calling for us all to get up. The window was on my side of the room and I could see that it was still dark outside. I arose quickly as I knew that tone in her voice and had learned not to question it. I struggled to wake up my little brother who shared a room with me. (My father divided us by age, not gender until we entered our pre-teen years)
For a small four-bedroom house, it was always filled beyond capacity and this night in particular it was busting at the seams with people…Family, friends, neighbors and quite a few people I did not recognize. Everyone was moving quickly about the rooms, talking over each other and filling my home with a very real sense of panic. I was becoming confused and upset as I searched the crowded rooms for the one person who I knew I could count on to help me understand what was happening.
I looked and there in front of our big picture glass living room window was my father. Standing there quietly with a cigarette in one hand and a highball glass in the other, staring intensely out not reacting at all to the chaos of the others running every which way behind him. I tugged at his shirt. He turned towards me with one of his famous half grins and for a moment I was no longer afraid.
Then things got crazy and blurred as some one came running in shouting about fires and a mob. My mother was non-stop crying by now as she gathered up the smaller children and herded the rest of us towards the streets outside lined with double parked cars. As the adults scrambled to place us in the cars, I turned towards the night sky.
Off to my left the dark blended into a strange yellow glow. Living in a big city there was always a night light glow to the sky but that night it was like none I had seen before. It flickered and flashed like one of my father’s lanterns that we took camping. My father was watching the sky as well and as he reached down to put my little sister in one of the cars there was a loud thundering sound that had him quicken his pace and for the first time yell out to my mother to hurry.
I ended up in the far back of a station wagon as we drove through the darkened neighborhoods, eventually away from the city, heading towards my grandparent’s farm in Indiana…my mother still upset but the sounds of my father’s whispering voice comforting her filled the car.
Our stay on the farm that next day, made me feel like the world was coming to an end. There were more than a dozen people camping outside the small farmhouse. My father had dropped us off and returned to the city, so my source of reassurance was gone.There was no tv and the adults had all the radios. As children we had to piece together what was going on from listening to the grown-ups talk to each other.
Martin Luther King had been killed and there had been wide spread chaos in Chicago. We had listened to Dr. King’s speeches as a family because my father had wanted us to grow with open hearts and open minds. We had just buried a friend who had died in Vietnam so I understood what killing was but this was beyond my understanding.
We went back a few days later, our neighborhood still for the most part intact but places around it still showed the signs of anger. My father, usually a quiet man, had made a special point to make sure we felt safe.Surprising us by becoming very excited in the weeks that followed. Senator Kennedy was coming to Chicago.
My brothers and sisters had gone along with my Uncle Bob on some of the visits to houses in our area, handing out election stuff supporting Sen. Kennedy for President. Uncle Bob talked to us about how he had helped campaign for President Kennedy and how important it was to help put good people in Washington. My father hardly ever talked politics to us, decided that he was going to take us to the rally that was being put together for the Senator the following month of June.
We went to spend the week before the rally on the farm…the trauma of that April was still lingering with the adults but we kids managed to have a good time…It was early on a Thursday morning, my father was suppose to be working in the city so we were very surprised to hear his car pull up outside. His face that morning as he walked into the farmhouse kitchen with all of his children sitting around a big table eating breakfast has stayed with me my whole life.
His eyes were red and big tears flowed done his cheeks. I had never seen my father cry before. I mean I was sure he had cried but never in front of us. My mother quickly wrapped her arms around him asking him what was wrong. “Senator Kennedy is dead…they killed him too.” was all he said as he buried his face on her shoulder and continued to sob.
Later that night I went and sat with him on the porch, as I took hold of his hand, he looked at me. I could see the sadness in his eyes as he tried to fake his half grin for me and if I had been older I might not have pressed him but I needed to know what he meant by “they killed him too”.
I can’t remember his exact words but the gist of it was that for all the good he believed there was in the world there also was an underlying evil. That there were people who thought that hatred and violence were the only ways they knew to get what they wanted.
He pulled me close to him wrapping his arms so very tightly around me. He was crying again and whispering to me that things would be alright and that we couldn’t let the bastards win.
A few months later in August, my mother had to go get he and my older brother out of jail because of a rather large heated debate outside the International Amphitheatre where the Democratic National Convention was being held.
My mother was so mad as she worried about the money that had gone for the bail but my father in true fashion smiled that half grin of his and said “we got to do what we got to do”.
Within my father’s tears I saw a passion for this country. We lost him at a young age but his actions and his words have always been with me. Part of me knows that he would be disappointed that I got wrapped up in my own personal world for a long time.
Someone pulled the blanket from over my head and made me look at what I helped let happen to our nation (but that’s a sharing for another time ).I am trying to right that wrong and set as good an example for my father’s grandsons that he had set for me. I have learned that alot of us lost that sense of National Pride but I truly feel that we can get it back.
We have come a long way since 1968 but there seems to be those who want us to backtrack instead of move ahead.We need to stick together and not let the bastards win… “We got to do what we got to do”.