|JoAnn is a writer and artist. Visit her art website at: joannswearingenfineart.com
and her blog athttp://www.joannswearingenauthor.com/
art website: joannswearingenfineart.com.
Monday, July 30, 2012
Friday, July 27, 2012
I should warn you, if you wanna' read our adventures, they can make you laugh, gag, hold your nose, cry a little, call us crazy, or maybe liars. Did you know people do those things to geezers ... all six of 'em?
Our stories got told so many times they sorta' grew into a book, Colby and Me: Growing Up in the '50s and '60s. Its premise is that we grew up in the best place, best country, and best time ever to be kids. I'll bet you want some evidence though.
As Perry Mason says, "exhibit number one" – in 1956 a kid could walk into a drug store, hand the druggist fifty cents, walk out with a can of saltpetre, mix it with a little sugar and blow up … uh … moving on to exhibit two.
You can't beat the good ol' USA. Everybody wants in. Nobody wants out. By the time Colby and I were born, we had antibiotics. Without them, I wouldn't have survived to have any friendships. About the time we became aware of polio, we had the Salk vaccine. From the time we were aware of wars, we had only the Cold War to worry about, but we knew our beloved Ike would protect us.
Colby and I lived in Southern Oregon, a virtual paradise for young boys. Besides the Pacific Ocean, the many rivers and hundreds of lakes for swimming and fishing, we had a bazillion acres of uninhabited forest land to wander as far as our legs could carry us in a day. To top it all off, we had a great spring and fall with a long, hot summer sandwiched in between to give us plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors.
We were raised before those doggone, no-fault divorce laws that brought the marriage meltdown. Only one kid in my whole school came from a divorced family. And none of us worried about bein' snatched by some evil maniac while outside, in town, or anywhere for that matter. There were no illegal drugs. That came later when hippies from San Francisco invaded us.
We had no real worries as kids except report cards or, as we grew older, zits. It was a time to just enjoy bein' a kid without anyone trying to speed up our growing-up process. To top it all off, I had a best friend, Colby, who when combined with all those other bests, gave me the best childhood of any kid that ever lived. At least I think so.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Today, at Charity Resale, a local Toms River thrift shop where profits go to fight hunger, I was volunteering as I do every Wednesday morning, and visited with two friends as we priced donations in the workroom.
One of us just went through a very difficult time with her husband who has COPD. The other friend told of how her husband had survived throat cancer, and we all agreed that people in their thirties and forties cannot understand why our age group often doesn't commit to upcoming events. They are busy with paying mortgages, raising their children, and are not, for the most part, faced with the upcoming death of a mate or a longtime friend. Death is always a part of our world.
Well, we are faced with unpleasantries, okay, but as time passes, our sense of humor and patience grows. For an example, our neighbor was having a fit because a dog urinated on someone's lawn. Hey, send that dog over to my yard anytime. Saves watering the crab grass!
Monday, July 23, 2012
|Get involved: stay young|
As a young mother, I leaped over coffee tables to keep my toddler from hurting herself--or worse. I taught school during the day, sponsored Girl Scouts by night. I ingested coffee to keep me regular--that is: to get me to the dentist, the School Improvement Committee meeting and my dinner date on time.
Now, all I do is hang out with old folks. And the consequences?
I park in the handicapped spots because my mother has an artificial knee (and hip and several other body parts. Why she's disabled is beyond me. She is the bionic woman.) My husband blasts the TV, deafening me, because he can't hear, and so my hearing has devolved. And my social calendar consists of sipping coffee on the porch and waving to neighbors.
Where have all my physical, intellectual and social incentives gone? And what's an old lady to do?
Old age and old peers are no excuse. We can still:
1. Exercise. I no longer run marathons...but I stay active by: walking the dog, kayaking and short jogs. If that's too much for arthritic limbs, invest in a Wii. You can dance from a wheelchair, bowl from the sofa or box to your heart's desire (and improvement)--all without injuring yourself.
2. Learn. As we age, we retire. Our blissful peace comes with a price as we lose intellectual stimulation. Check out your local college, see what courses they offer for seniors. One college nearby offers a group called New Horizons. It teaches seniors new musical instruments.
3. Volunteer. While it's nice to wave to people, as humans we need more. Even with our own limitations we can volunteer. Check out your local Habitat for Humanity, head to the nursing home, or help at a preschool, those little ones kept you young when you were young--they still can.
So old people surround us. We meet one in the mirror every morning. But that's no reason to become old, dessicated and cranky.
You can visit her blog at http://carol-mcclain.blogspot.com
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
by Linda Rondeau
Editor, Geezer Guys and Gals
|Available wherever books are sold|
Monday, July 16, 2012
Not long ago, David was always D-A-V-I-D. Little Davey didn’t need to spell his name to the librarian, his Sunday school teacher, or the softball coach. Now he totes flashcards and wears a name tag day and night. It might be Dayvid, Davidde, or Daivihd. Same with a perfectly decent name like Mary. Her flashcards could read anything from Mahree to Mayrie to Mairey.
I know, I know. Embrace progress, move forward, don’t dwell on the past, change is good, etc. I agree. But please don’t tell me I’m going to turn on the T.V. one day and hear “M-I-K-K-E-E M-O-W-H-S!”
Friday, July 13, 2012
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Monday, July 9, 2012
We know that any "seasoned" woman or man from an older generation is accused of telling anecdotes of how as a child she/he used to have to walk to school uphill in the snow. For at least ten miles. Without a warm coat. I didn't have to walk in the snow to school, but I did have to ride the train. That was forty-seven minutes to school and forty-seven minutes back. "So," I tell my kids, "Your mother had it rough." But looking back, I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything.
We were six years old when we started riding the Hankyu line to school in the sixties from Awaji to Karasuma. During the winter mornings, the windows steamed up and we wrote our names on them. In the late afternoons, we crocheted long red scarves, tried to make sense out of math homework, and avoided conversing in English with Japanese men with brief cases.
You had to know a thing or two in order to be a proficient train rider, and the younger children learned the ropes from the older kids.
Rule number one was to walk briskly out our gates from our missionary homes. Once the five of us blond-haired American kids gathered, we marched past the incinerator behind the Yodogawa Christian Hospital, out the hospital gates, to the left, toward the station. Sometimes at 7 AM there was a dusting of frost on the grass. Sometimes one of us lagged behind due to racing back for forgotten homework or a lunch box. We had to pick up the pace; we had a train to catch and it would, sure as tofu is made from bean curd, not be late---even if we were.
Once the train pulled into the station, doors slid opened and passengers boarded the already packed car. Gloved station attendants pushed commuters onto the cars as the whistle blew. Inside the car, we lifted book bags onto the luggage racks or held them between our feet. Then we grabbed the hand rails—loops of plastic suspended overhead—as the train picked up the pace toward Kyoto.
The next rule was to be extremely quiet as the train doors opened at Takatsuki-shi. I think we heard David O talking to himself even before he boarded the car. We held our breath and closed our eyes, as though those actions would keep him from spotting us. As silent as we were, he always managed to find us.
"Hey," he said one morning so that passengers five cars down could hear. "I got this new chemistry set. Wanna see it?" He hoisted a brown square bag.
No one responded.
David O nudged me, his elbow poking both me and a woman trying to read a paperback. "It's really cool."
I was shy, especially around a boy who was two years older than I. While the other kids engaged in conversation leaving me alone to talk to David O, I shook my head and clung to the handrail.
At last, sensing he was being ignored, and the train was too congested to show us vials and test tubes anyway, he offered to show it to us later.
The third rule came into play at our destination. Immediately, when the doors opened, we were to head up the platform stairs as fast as we could. We raced past ladies in gray kimono and weaved between businessmen so that we could be first in line at the taxi stand.
Our final part of our journey was to ride a cab (five of us missionary kids packed into one Nissan) for six miles to our tiny international school where spelling tests and math equations greeted us. At recess, we enjoyed games of Kick the Can and Red Rover, Red Rover.
I have fond memories of those long treks to school. I smile to think how unusual we must have seemed in a land where the natives all had black hair and dark eyes, were dignified and soft-spoken. We were blond, tall, loud and rowdy.
And as for David O and his chemistry set, I did get to see it. One afternoon on a rather empty train car, he spread his set of chemicals and glass beakers onto the seat. As the train rounded a field of rice paddies, the whole car jerked, and my friend Josephine and I watched the green seat turn red and yellow. The conductor raced out of his compartment in a fury, yelling at the Canadian boy for damaging the train seat. David O hung his head while the conductor covered the stained seat with mounds of newspaper.
Which brings me to the next rule for riding the trains---this one became extremely important for survival. When the train conductor fumed over a spilled chemistry set, it was best to run---not walk---away as fast as possible.
And as Josephine and I crouched inside another car, we closed our eyes and were silent, hoping that perhaps no one would notice that we had anything to do with the boy who had caused a scene.
~ Alice J. Wisler grew up in Japan where she rode the train to and from school and dreamed of being an author. Now she lives and writes in Durham, NC and looks forward to the release of her fifth novel, Still Life in Shadows from River North. Her other novels are: Rain Song, How Sweet It Is, Hatteras Girl and A Wedding Invitation (all published with Bethany House). She also teaches writing workshops, both online and at conferences. Visit her website.
Friday, July 6, 2012
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Monday, July 2, 2012