Filed under: family, God Stuff, Grandparents, Memories, Sometimes she thinks too much, spouse, things that make you go hmmmmm | Tags: Christian Values, Coping mechanisms, Dealing with a grandparent, Spouse
Yesterday was rough, y’all. I got a call from my father, who asked me to call Grandmother and talk to her, assess her over the phone. Grandmother’s 100th birthday is in August, and she lives in a (very nice…REALLY REALLY NICE) nursing home in Texas. Lest you get all indignant about her living so far from family, it was her choice. Anyway,a couple of weeks ago, she was moved (not physically, but in her care) from standard care to Hospice.
On one hand, this alarmed me. “HOSPICE!?” I thought. But…but…she’s not *that sick!* And really, she is in pretty good health for a 100 year old. But, according to the care nurses, and they know these things (seriously, I’ve met with them. They know their stuff),she is reaching The End Of Life. She spends a lot of time in the past, reminiscing about her parents and siblings (all whom have passed on), and is getting kind of…groggy, I guess.
I called her yesterday, and she was thrilled, but there was definitely something “off”. She wasn’t completely there, and I had to repeat myself a couple of times. This is very unusual behavior for her. She seemed preoccupied, and that is unusual for her.
So, I decided I was going to fly out to see her in July. I have several obligations to meet before then, but I made plans. And attempted to buy a plane ticket.
Do you believe that God messes with things, so that we will do what REALLY needs to be done? I have always said I believe that, but yesterday, trying to get that plane ticket, it became abundantly clear that He was messing with things to get me to change the plans.
I got online with Expedia, to get a ticket and car rental. Fine, no problem, great flight out of Atlanta, etc, decent price blah blah. Then, my American Express card didn’t work. What? I’d never had trouble with it before. So I tried Terry’s. Same thing. So I called Expedia and went through the process with a real person. Same thing, neither card worked. So Terry called American Express and they were all OhSoSorry! Some Issue! We’ll get on that right away!
So…then Terry comes downstairs with a funny look on his face and says “Let’s drive to Amarillo instead. We can leave Sunday and be back Friday, and it will cost the same as your plane ticket. I think God messed with the AMEX on purpose. and I think you need to see your grandmother sooner than July 10.”
and so it is.
13 years ago, just days after #4 was born, Terry got a funny feeling about his own grandmother, and drove to see her. She passed on 2 weeks later.
Yesterday…was tough for me. I thought a lot about Grandmother. Not just the 100 years old part…she remembers WW1. She grew up with a horses and a buggy for transportation. She has seen the world change in ways that boggle the mind. Antibiotics, air travel, all the way to computers and people on the moon. Her world has changed more drastically than I can imagine. Uncommon for women of her generation, she has a college degree, and never stopped learning something new.
I look around my house and there are bits and pieces of her everywhere. She loved to do needlework- any sort. I have her quilts on my wall, a needlepoint firescreen, several pictures on the wall of my sewing room. I have her old cookbooks, too. A 1950 Betty Crocker, a Gnomes Gnotebook she wrote her favorite recipes in. I inherited her love of sewing and cooking, and her sense of adventure in those things. I am also cautious like she is, and stubborn too. I have this beautiful painted china doll she made when I was 7. It was an experiment in creativity for her, and she said she enjoyed making the one she gave me, but couldn’t see making a whole bunch of them. I get that from her, too. I will make one or two of something, then wonder why do need 100 (of whatever, silk neckties, dyed scarves, homemade soaps), and move on to something else.
Grandmother went deaf at the age of 3, from an illness. She doesn’t remember what music sounds like, or birds singing, or another person’s voice. This served her well in her 71 year marriage to Grandad. He was an irascible old goat (from the age of 5, according to his brother Walter) and frequently went on rants and tirades. She would just turn off her hearing aid and look at him seriously. One of the things that kept me so emotional yesterday was the realization that when she passes on, SHE WILL HEAR MUSIC FOR THE FIRST TIME!
I am so incredibly excited for her! Of course I will miss her, but she has said for the last 5 years or so that she is ready to go, ready to see her siblings and parents again, and tired of being the only one she knows who’s still alive. I get that, and respect it.
I have many very happy memories with her, most of them formed as an adult. We didn’t see our grandparents very much growing up. We always lived far away and only saw them once every 3 or 4 years. My very first memory- Mom says I was 2-1/2 when this happened-was of playing in Grandmother’s rock garden. I had casts on my legs and was unable to walk, so they sat me down in the rock garden with an old Welch’s grape juice can and a couple of kitchen spoons. There was a bird bath filled with small blue ceramic tiles, and I played with them, filling up the juice can and dumping it out, stirring them around, making stacks and knocking them over. I remember it very clearly.
Once Terry and I married, we started traveling to Texas to see them. We took the boys, because I wanted them to know each other. Then as the boys got older, I started flying out there, to stay for a long weekend. She and I would work on a project, cook something, and generally enjoy each other’s company. I kept this up even after she moved out of the house and into assisted living. A couple of years ago she moved into the nursing home where she’s at now. Dad asked me to fly out there and check the place out, to make sure it was nice enough for her. It is. The people who work there are very committed to the care of the residents, and take real time with them.
Now that she’s in Hospice, I need to see her. It might (and maybe even probably) be the last time I see her. Maybe not. It could be that her grogginess and general behavior is a result of a medication change. That is something that needs to be looked into. I hope it won’t be the last time I see her, but I am prepared for it either way.
100 is a long time to live. She has outlived all of her siblings, friends, and 5 doctors. I don’t want her to go, she is a part of my heritage, something that I am attached to, in a way. I have never had a close family member pass on. Grandad died 6 years ago, but I wasn’t attached to him the way I am to Grandmother. When he died, it was more…Something To Do, I was able to be useful and plan the funeral, clean up his house, and that sort of thing. I was there. I don’t know if I will be able to do that for her. I know she would like it if I could.
The idea of letting go is hard. It’s not that I am howling NOOOOO DON”T GOOOOO! because I believe in Heaven and I know that’s where she’ll be, and that isn’t a platitude of someone patting my shoulder and saying “oh she’s in a better place now” in some attempt to comfort me. I KNOW she will be there, when she goes, and she will be with the people who love her, and she won’t be lonely anymore. It’s more…overwhelming…than anything. The idea that someone I know and love is actually on the cusp of this massive transition is incredibly exciting..and overwhelming.
And so I cry…some grief, even though she’s not gone yet, but mostly out of a sense of ..I am not sure what it is. I’ve never felt like this before.
My brain does things. Does yours? Irritating thing, that brain. Mostly it’s a pretty good part of the body. It allows me to do stuff like remember how to take an infant dress and turn it into a bubble suit (with some work…it’s a 30 minute job typically, that took me 3 hours because it’s been a solid 20 years since last time I did that…BUT…I managed).
However, it has gas. It farts, regularly. I could be sitting there (like right now), just watching CNN and talking to #4 about when he needs to be at school for his basketball game and up pops this weird little memory.
I was 20 years old, and working at Golden Corral as a waitress. This was before it became Buffet Central, and had actual waitresses that actually brought you food and stuff. Anyway, I suddenly remembered this one busy night and there was this young man who’d obviously brought a young woman with him on a date. And I completely forgot about them. They were sitting at one of my tables and the entire time, after I’d brought them their food, I neglected them. I never refilled their tea, asked them if their food was right, nothing. Every time I remember that I wonder if their date was ruined. Was I the inadvertent and neglectful cause of her getting pissed off and refusing to ever go out with him again? What if he was planning to ask her to marry him, but the mood was ruined by lack of iced tea?
Dear Fellow Who’s Date I Possibly Ruined, I am sorry. I could make excuses and say things like “we were really busy” but I could have found 30 seconds to ask if your steak was ok and did you need more iced tea.
That is the kind of random memory my brain throws out there now and then.
I remember working at Piece Goods, a local fabric store. I was measuring some elastic for a customer, and didn’t pay attention too well, and stretched her elastic as I was measuring it, so she didn’t get as much as she was paying for. I cheated a customer. What is she was making a special garment for someone? What if it didn’t work out right because she didn’t have enough elastic? What if she couldn’t afford to buy another piece of elastic? Dear Person I Cheated, I am sorry. I hope I wasn’t the cause of a ruined garment that resulted in you not having a pretty dress to give your niece or you having an appropriate outfit for a job interview.
Where does this stuff come from?
Now, I don’t beat myself up over giving inadequate service 27 years ago. But my brain, she is a random and silly twit sometimes.
Does your brain ever do that, and throw out something random and completely unconnected to anything going on around you?
Recap of the year, as seen at All&Sundry
1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Learned how to use an embroidery machine, and rekindled a love for sewing and clothing design
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Um. I didn’t make any, that I can recall.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not that I’m aware of. Most of the people within my element are my age and older.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit?
ummmm….Screven County, that’s pretty out in the country.
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
Peace of mind
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
There aren’t any, as I am not one to remember specific dates.I can remember events pretty well, just not when they happened. Things tend to be either now, a little while ago, and a long time ago.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Not firebombing my husband’s place of employment. If you knew the details, you’d agree with me.
9. What was your biggest failure?
That’s pretty personal. Let’s just say it was a doozy, and leave it at that.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Other than the normal Spring cold, not really, until Dec 2 when my pelvis went bonkers and now I’m in physical therapy for it.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Just about a week ago, I bought a new sewing machine. Back in the Summer I bought a 1 yard piece of Alencon lace for $80. It’s gorgeous and I have A Plan for it, but am a little nervous of executing that plan. However, the new sewing machine will help.
12. Where did most of your money go?
Assorted expenses,debt paying off, mortgage
13. What did you get really excited about?
Taking a trip to Kentucky for a week, which got cancelled (refer to #8)
14. What song will always remind you of 2011?
What? Oh,I know…”Whipping Post” by the Allman Brothers
15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? calmer, more at peace
– thinner or fatter? I am invoking my rights as according by the Fifth Amendment, and refusing to answer on the grounds that it might incriminate me.
– richer or poorer? Richer, because we’ve worked through some things and come out stronger for it.
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
worrying, fretting,stuff like that.
18. How did you spend Christmas
Peacefully, with my immediate family, and refusing to fret.
19. What was your favorite TV program?
That varied with my mood and what was available on Netflix Instant View.
20. What were your favorite books of the year? Um….well…I really enjoyed CS Lewis’s “Surprised by Joy”
21. What was your favorite music from this year?
Phillip Glass and Ravi Shankar
22. What were your favorite films of the year?
I got a kick out of Captain America
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I don’t remember, but I did turn 46. I think… (I was born in 1965…so yeah.46)
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Good heavens, what kind of question is that? Life isn’t MEANT to be satisfying! However, I think if Terry had worked normal hours, like maybe 50 a week instead of 75,and had a day off every week instead of 1 or 2 a month, I think that would have helped.
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Uh….what? I guess…um…to wear clothes in public?
26. What kept you sane?
Wednesday Prayer Group, with ladies who’ve been through situations similar and worse than mine, and lived to tell about it.
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Don’t stress about things you can’t control. Give it over to God, and trust Him to know what’s best for me, and remember that He has a master plan for all of it.
resolved fixed and replaced with another situation.
When you have as many adult children as I do, who are still young enough to do something stupid, you never really get to the point where everyone is chugging along happily, you just replace one crisis with another one. But that’s ok. no one died, no one is sick (other than Will’s nasty cold, for which I fixed him 6 pints of garlicky chicken soup and ordered him to eat 1 pint a day until he felt better), no one is homeless or starving. In the grand scheme of things, we’re all doing pretty good.
So I’ve been thinking. Yes, I do think once in a while. In the wee hours of this morning, while I was asleep, a friend wrote a very interesting blog post about classism and while yes, she curses like a Friday Night Stevedore, she makes a few excellent points. That is, poor whites (especially Southerners) are an acceptable target for ridicule and contempt. I’m white, Southern, and have been poor. I’ve lived in a 30 year old housetrailer at the edge of a peanut patch, and endured the polite yet pointed remarks from other women, when upon finding out where and how I lived, would say things like “oh. Well. Come see me sometime.” That’s Southern White Woman’s version of “oh I don’t think I want to see you, and I certainly don’t want to spend time in a (delicate shudder) 30year old housetrailer” I wanted to shout at them “IT’S NOT CONTAGIOUS!”
Oh, and Renegade Evolution, who wrote that post? She *is* a friend. Not just a “she writes an interesting blog I follow from time to time”. She’s a friend because she’s honest and not afraid to tell it like it is, and I respect that. And yes,we’ve met in (as she calls it) “meatspace” or (as I call it) Real Life.
The thing is, this whole idea of classism, it’s so easy to fall into, isn’t it. “I’m not one of THOSE”(…people who shop at Walmart or Goodwill.) or “well, I’m educated so I know better”(…than what?). Now, she’s talking about classism within feminism in her post. Uh Boy is it ever there. Makes me queasy, in fact. I’m talking about good old Southern White Woman Classism. I don’t know feminism much, other than what I read (and laugh at) in bloglandia. But I certainly do know SWWC. The Housetrailer Years, the Tiny Old Farmhouse years taught me much about “Who’s Your People” classism, the kind that you see in very small Southern towns, inbred and old.
When I was 9 we moved from Illinois to a small Georgia town, and I had the apparent misfortune of sharing a last name with a (shudder…you’re one of THEM) not very well respected family, the kind that had a Family Compound (you know,a cluster of housetrailers around an old farm house, fenced in with big dogs and trigger happy adults), and I learned really quickly how important your name was, and it went downhill from there. The other people whohad the same last name? They were nice, not very wealthy, old clothes and the boy who was in my class sometimes didn’t smell so good. The girl, a cousin of the boy, got the hell out of Dodge as soon as she graduated. I moved my senior year, to a town who didn’t have anyone with that last name, and escaped the stigma. However, the residue of being treated like “Poor White Trash” because of a nonexistent affiliation stuck with me.
When we married, we didn’t have
much any money. A good day was when there was $3 in the checking account the day before payday. A bad one was when we had to use a credit card to buy milk. Thank God for WIC, which provided infant formula and baby food. That experience taught me to understand how and why people need public assistance like WIC and food stamps. Sometimes you just don’t have the money. It’s not a character flaw.
Then we moved into the housetrailer at the edge of a peanut patch. It was down a dirt road (called Mud Road, isn’t that clever). I kept it clean and tidy. It was spacially adequate, and pleasantly situated with a couple of giant oak trees. But it was a housetrailer, and I never had a visitor. As soon as I’d say “turn off the paved road” they’d start looking panicked, and when I’d say “it’s the old white housetrailer” the panic turned into a look like they’d gotten a whiff of a dead animal, and they’d smoothly say “oh,well…next time you’re in town come by for a visit”. This taught me that living is a housetrailer isn’t a character flaw, sometimes it’s all you can afford. Not having nice furniture, not owning a new car or a house in a fine neighborhood or being able to eat out all the time or wearing new clothes from Dillards, these are not character flaws.
Yes, sometimes people spend their money differently from the way I do. Sometimes they’d rather have a $400 tattoo than spend it at Dillard’s on clothes. As ong as it’s not a swastika, I’m ok with that. There’s a spot I’d like to spend $400 for a tattoo, but have yet to locate $400 that isn’t claimed already. Sometimes I’ll see an old housetrailer with a $60,000 custom bass boat parked behind it. I reckon the people in the house love to fish, maybe someone won the boat in a tournament. Who am I to look down on them for that? I once lived in a 30 year old housetrailer and had a 2 year old minivan with payments that were bigger than the rent we paid on the trailer. I reckon my priorities were not so good?
The thing is, classism is there and it’s such an integral part of our culture that no one even sees it. Racism is evil. People who are blatant racists are vilified and rightfully so. Classism is funny, let’s mock the dumb uneducated redneck hicks who don’t know any better than to put blowers on their 1980 Monte Carlos and roar up and down the road. Never mind that uneducated redneck hick with the Monte Carlo had a heart big enough to give my rebellious child a home, when he was running away. Let’s make fun of the old guy with the house and yard full of broken down appliances,never mind he is a safe haven for teenaged boys, gives them a meal and a ride home, and is mentoring rebellious boys in the Gospel so when they get tired or the rebellion they have something meaningful to consider.
Thank God for people like these. who don’t really care what wealthier people, the ones with The Good Family Name and the house in The Right Neighborhood think about them.
And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
Filed under: Dewicate feewings, Memories, Sometimes she thinks too much, spouse
I don’t have much of a memory. Rather than a long timeline, everything neat and sequential, I tend to remember blips, impressions, and emotions. Sometimes something will set off a flurry of memories, and sometimes I’ll be doing nothing special and *plop* one drops right in, causing some sort of emotional response and I have to stop the nothing special I was doing, and allow the response to happen. Sometimes it’s like walking into a ray of sunshine through a window, and I simply must stop and rest in it.
I was mopping the floor…not really anything special except that it’s not something I do as often as the housekeeping books I inhereted from my grandmother say I should, and as I was mopping I began thinking about the past 25 years…Terry and I have been together that long plus a few months. Recently he told me he’d actually been kind of crazy in love with me for 6 months before we ever got involved, and then the other day he said if he’d known me in high school he’d probably been just as nuts about me. Given that we met when I was 20 and just as cynical and sarcastic as I’d been in high school, I have to believe him on that.
So I started thinking, and there’s blips and sparks and nuggets of memories I like to pull out and flip through like an old album. 25 years seems like such a long time when you’re a kid, but in retrospect it went by so fast. 46 and 47 used to seem so old, but when you’re the one living it, it doesn’t seem that way at all.
Walking down Magnolia Street, sharing this really long scarf with him, because it was cold.
In the kitchen, putting flour handprints on his backside and REALLY making his fiance angry (ok that was fun. I can’t deny it.)
Honeymooning in late July, in a house with no airconditioner, on a quiet lake
Wandering through the woods behind our rental house, looking for fatlighter to make into bundles as Christmas gifts for family
3 babies in 4 years. What were we thinking?
Working in the office of his cabinet shop. I really enjoyed being in the same place he was in, helping with his business, being useful.
camping at Grayton Beach, a huge canvas tent, flying kites, making pancakes
Fixing up a house, one thing after another, and making it OURS
That silly cheap swimming pool, to cool off in after a hot day in the mill, with small boys like wet otters
Moving on, moving up, football games, grilling outside, another fabulous kitchen, another baby
and all the time, he shows up with a rose bush, knowing how much I love roses of all sorts.
and sure, there were bad times. Some of them were circumstances we couldn’t control, some of them were…how to say this…self inflicted. I hate the bad times, and don’t like to think on them, but they are what they are, and are the test of a real relationship. What kind of marriage is it if one person says to the other one “you’re too much trouble and I’m tired of you” or the other one says “this is too much work”. That’s what it all boils down to, isn’t it. The WORK of a relationship. God knows it’s alot of work. but y’know, it’s worth it. I am incredibly thankful he hasn’t chucked it all because it got uncomfortable or stressful. I am thankful I haven’t either. 25 years worth of partnership in all the blood sweat and tears of LIFE has been…kinda….wonderful. I am sure the next 25 years will have it’s fair share of excitement, but having carried on together this long, I reckon we’ll make it.
Terry and I got married. The ceremony was in my parent’s front yard with the daylilies and hostas blooming, oak leaf hydrangeas and pots of white chrysanthemums. We had a casual wedding. No fancy music, just a couple of friends who were really good with guitars. “Play something classical and Bach-ish” I told them, and they did…it was lovely! No fancy satin and crystals dress, but rather a 1920′s garden party dress, ankle length and cotton batiste, just a touch of lace at the hem and neck. Terry wore a navy blazer and khaki pants and a tie. A bouquet of daisies…no roses, lilies or fancy imported South American thingies. The reception involved a cake, a bowl of punch and a tray of fruit. And cheese straws. I love cheese straws and so does Terry so it was kind of required. The entire wedding cost…hold on, it’s so self indulgent…$500. That includes the rehearsal dinner (BBQ chicken etc, that Terry and I cooked for everyone).
I think it’s interesting to watch these Platinum Wedding shows where someone spends $800K on a wedding, months traveling all over trying to find The Right Dress, stressing out, all that. It took my mom and me about…45 minutes. I knew the dress I wanted, and Mom made it. I knew the flowers, and walked into the shop, told them what I wanted and they agreed. Same with the cake and food and music. God provided the weather, with a rainstorm at 4pm that cooled everything off so that late July ceremony outside was delightful. Even the birds cooperated.
Sometimes Terry asks if I wish I’d had a big fancy affair. I think about it and no, not really. Oh sure there’s the whole Princess Thing and who doesn’t love a gorgeous dress? But practicality takes hold and the thought of spending $5K on a dress I’d wear once for a couple of hours…no. Just…no. I feel just as married with my front yard affair as I would with a big fancy church thing.
I remember Dad griping about how much it all cost. $500!!1! that’s a heckalotta money, people!! He complained and made sounds like “damn, I sure am glad I only have one daughter” etc etc. Then my brother got married. With 6 bridesmaids and groomsmen and all the accoutrements, and the rehearsal dinner ran over $2500. 5 times what he paid for my entire affair. Terry pointed that out to him and told Dad to shut it with the complaining about the cost of my wedding, and he hasn’t said a complaint about it since.
I’ve never had a single day when I wasn’t thankful I married the man. . I can’t imagine anyone else in the bed next to me, or anyone else fixing the dishwasher or holding my hand when I’m having a baby, or snoring on the couch during a Sunday afternoon race. The past 24 years have gone by fast. In a way it seems like I’ve been married to him my entire life..well, half of it for sure. Other times it feels like about a year ago that we met and decided to get married. There’s alot of experience crammed into that year, but it’s gone by in a hurry.
We were married on a Sunday evening. We left after the ceremony in my royal blue 1970 Beetle, with a 12 foot kelly green canoe strapped on top. The honeymoon was several days at Lake Martin, in the funky little house of my parent’s friends. It had no air conditioning (Alabama in July…) but it had a great big lake with a beach and islands and an outside shower and trees all around and no one else there…just 2 young 20′s newlyweds with a 12 foot canoe. (I had just turned 21 and Terry was 22). We planned to honeymoon for a week, but lack of air conditioning (Alabama in July!) and an intense desire to start playing house cut it short, and we came home to our small (air conditioned) apartment (which we did NOT live in together before we married. So retro!) and got ourselves established as a household.
Now it’s a quarter of a century (almost) later, 4 kids 3 houses and 5 jobs later and we’re stil going strong, looking forward to the next 25 years…or 30…or more.
I love it when I find out someone (who’s dropped off my radar) is still alive. I also wonder why I found that out.
Here’s what happened: someone I barely knew in High School (I moved from Georgia to Alabama the summer before my senior year, so started at a new school and didn’t really make many friends, as I just wanted to graduate and get out of there) contacted me through facebook. I mean, I sort of remember her, tho to be honest, hadn’t thought about her at ALL since graduating HS, and there she is making a friend request. Ok, I thought. Why not? Turns out she’s now dating the fellow I dated for about 4 months in HS…so I’m wondering if he put her up to it or something. Whatever.
Nope, no torch there for him at all. I really liked him, but it wasn’t what you’d call a hot n heavy romance thing…he was someone to do stuff with and I liked him, that was all. I wondered about him off and on through the years, what he’d done with himself and all, was he married or whatever, did he die in a horrible and tragic accident, did he sacrifice himself on a Satanic altar (no wait, Satanists sacrifice others, not themselves…or something). Anyway, there she is, with pictures of him and her having a ball in NYC, and I’m thinking Wow! Awesome! I am genuinely happy to see that he’s alive and well, looking pretty much the same as the rest of us (that’s to say, *exactly* like we did 27 years ago only with grey hair and life written on our faces)
It was good to catch up with her as well, she was nice to me in HS, but we weren’t y’know…bosom buddies. I don’t recall that we ever actually *did* anything together beyond having a couple of classes and both being in the band. She looks disgustingly like she did 27 yrs ago.
Anyway, I find the whole thing to be somewhat amusing, and look forward to seeing how it will all play out.
Open this video and listen to it while you read the post!
Some of you who read here probably don’t remember this, but there was a time once when one didn’t just throw a bag of popcorn in the microwave and have it for a snack. Waaaay back a long, long time ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and cars had carburators, popcorn was An Event, a special treat one had at the theater, or maybe on Sunday night when watching The Wonderful World of Disney and Wild Kingdom and Candid Camera (a show much like America’s Funniest Videos only without the crotch hits). Popcorn meant dragging out a big pot (maybe even a special one with a crank on top and a stir thing inside), oil, and a bag of popcorn seeds. Making it took technique, and finesse. You had to know when to shake it, what to listen for, and when to turn off the heat. There was none of this “throw it in, hit the ‘popcorn’ button and wait for the beep” nonsense that any 5 year old can master.
I remember popcorn on Sunday night, with Dad making a huge show of the popcorn, of getting it just right with the oil and salt, and this one big bowl it was served in. I remember eating it with Fresca (the one carbonated beverage that was somehow less evil than other carbonated beverages), and begging for melted butter. I remember Grandad loving popcorn, and he had one of those cool pots with the crank on top and the stir thing inside.
Several years ago, Terry was asked to do a presentation on modern technology to a local Girl Scout troop. He talked about growing up, and there was no such thing as a microwave oven, or a CD player, or a personal computer. One of the girls asked “well how did you make popcorn then?” That amused him.
An old Candid Camera UK episode
Filed under: Dewicate feewings, family, Hooray!, I feel so smart!, Memories, Not another Change!
Yesterday was Cop-Out-Post Day. When I can’t think of anything to write, I make a new header, and post a You-Tube.
Does it ever occur to anyone how phenomenal the whole internet thing is? Seriously, my blog here at WordPress is free. There’s other free sites as well. I can write and write and say whatever I want and not have to pay a penny. (How long before it’s taxed, I wonder) I can post You Tube videos, that people put on YT for free. People *make* YT vids for the heck of it, just for fun, of their dogs doing something cute, or clips from old shows, and I can access them all for free. I can argue with people, read about their very different (or very similar) lives, get to know them, have a relationship in my pajamas without the awkwardness of that visual thing we humans hold so dear. I can converse with people I knew 25 years ago, catch up on stuff, all for free (Facebook). I can email my kids, even when they’re in the other room (Terry and I have been known to have salacious IM conversations from 10 feet away, while #4 was right there watching SeaQuest-another internet wonder via Netflix Instant Play).
Seriously, what an amazing thing. I was in High School when personal computers started happening. Mom got her first personal computer in 1984, an Apple, that she was going to (but never did) set up with her loom to make fantastic and complicated weavings. I am amused to remember how offended she was when, in 2004, she learned that the programs for that 1984 Apple were no longer available, nor usable on a modern computer. She was doubly offended when I suggested she donate that 1984 Mac to the Smithsonian. “Gran, it’s an electronic abacus.” Will told her. “My iPod can do more than it can.” he said, pointing to his device smaller than a matchbook.
I remember convincing Mrs. Marshall, my Gifted Math teacher (how I qualified for gifted math is still a mystery to me) that I would Learn Math Better On The Computer than in her class, so I got to sit in the little room off to the side and “do math on the computer” instead of yawning through equations and proofs in her room. Reality was, I played Hammurabi’s Code and Worms all hour. Didn’t learn a thing. Still count on my fingers. Computers are wonderful. They’ve gone from these huge clunky things to a sleek device as small as a deck of cards…fantastic!
My children have never really known not having a computer. We got our first one way back in the day, we lived in Frisco City, so Will was 3rd grade or younger. David would have been 1st grade, and CJ pre-kindergarten. I remember getting our first gaming system, too. A Sega it was, with Sonic the Hedgehog. They’ve grown up with it, the way I grew up with a transistor radio and television. Both things my parents didn’t have. Even though we’ve had computers for a long time, my sense of wonder about them isn’t diminished. Everyone…EVERYONE has access to one. If you don’t own one, you can go to the library and use theirs. If you’re in school, the schools have them. If you don’t have one, or the use of one, you aren’t reading this anyway, so I feel free to make a gross generalization like that.
The whole internet thing continually boggles my mind. Sure, there’s bad stuff out there. Yes, the internet makes it easier for innocent chilluns to access the bad stuff. It’s also easier for me to look up a Bible verse with the word “food” in it to stencil in my kitchen. The header across one long wall of my kitchen was a big blank, and I wanted something clever and Biblical up there, so I went to Bible.com and typed “food” into the keyword search, and found the perfect verse: Psalms 59:15 “They wander about for food and growl if not satisfied” I would never have found that without reading the whole Bible and honestly, I didn’t want to do that. Thank you, Internet. I was able to, in a day, find information on this awful and ridiculous diet I am supposed to be on, and sources for clay cheaper than the local Hobby Lobby (free shipping!), a starter for CJ’s car, and exercises for Terry’s damaged wrist. Imagine what it would have taken 30 years ago, to get all that information. And I did it all in my pajamas! For free!
So there’s the argument that the internet phenomenon is removing us from the society of people. That there are people out there (and I may be one) who have managed to isolate themselves because they can do all this stuff in their PJ’s. May be true. It is also true, however, that I have “met” people I would never have otherwise met. There are people in my blog list over there that our paths would *never* have crossed, who’s ideas I would never have known, who’s perspectives would never have broadened my own. I like that. Even the library, wouldn’t have the computer where I can type in a subject and they give me the Dewey Decimal thing so I can look it up…I’d have to know the DDS to know where to find it, or rely on the stern, plump, scary woman with the dual sets of glasses to tell me where to find a book on BDSM…like that’s going to happen, she knows my people and where I live. Nope, I get the anonymity and nonjudgemental comfort of a computer to tell me where to get what I want. That wouldn’t have happened 35 years ago. Not that I’m looking for a BDSM book, mind you, I was just looking for an extreme example. that’s all.
Does anyone else get that sense of wonder about it? I don’t want to call it life-changing, tho perhaps it is…it’s more of an evolutional sort of thing. TV changed my parent’s lives when they were children. It exposed them to other parts of the world, expanded their minds with information, opened avenues of amusement. Computers and Internet have done that for me, but not really for my kids because it’s not *new* to them, it always has been. What sort of technology will happen to make them wonder? What will they be amazed about?
Filed under: Memories
Mind you, I don’t have an extensive work history. I haven’t been gainfully employed (y’know, tax-paying income) since #1 was born 21-1/2 years ago. I’ve always believed my job (and I’m not saying everyone else should do it, too, so don’t get your panties in a twist) was to care for the family. We made financial sacrifices so I could do this…well sort of. Honestly, with my sketchy education, the only thing I was really qualified for was your basic minimum wage type job, which wouldn’t even cover the cost of day care, so I didn’t see the point. Anyway, I *did* work before then, in a variety of jobs that looked boring on the outside but were actually pretty cool, and I wouldn’t have a qualm about going back to them if needs came to it.
(going for a refill of coffee)…….(ok back)
The first job I ever had was the requisite Middle Class Girl Babysitting. I started when I was 12, by taking the Red Cross Babysitter’s Course, that taught CPR, and other life-saving techniques like holding the kid upside down and whacking them on the back if they’re choking, how to change a diaper (Male and Female Versions) and so on. Initially, I was kind of a Mother’s Helper, not actually left alone with the baby for hours, but at the house, tending to the kid so Mom could take a shower in peace, or go shopping. I’d come along, manage the stroller, and offer opinions on if those pants made her butt look fat. By the time I was 13, I was left alone with the kids (ranging in age from infants of 6 weeks to 5-6 yr olds) and at 16 was keeping kids for weekends while the parents went to conventions and all. Adults loved me, they thought I was uber-responsible and had no qualms about leaving me. The best gig I had was the one in Miami, where there was a convention, and I was able to take a friend,and we took care of 6 kids, at $100 a head, and split the money. We also had Saturday afternoon off, from noon until 5, to hang at the beach and fitz around town. That was great!
Then between my junior and senior years of high school we moved, and I started a new job. Saturdays, I would walk 3 houses up the street and help the owner clean her house. She was well traveled, and owned myriad priceless antiques and baubles (including a genuine Faberge’ egg) that required dusting. Some of the furniture was so elaborate it needed dental floss to get in the crevices, but I did it, because I was being paid to. She also had a son my age, who was…shall we say…not hard on the eyes. He would drag his sorry ass out of bed about 11, when I was 1/2 done with her (4000 sq foot) house, look startled (every single Saturday, he’d look surprised that I was there) and mumble something. She paid well, because I never broke anything, and would occasionally turn the bacon she had cooking for her son.
After graduating, this same woman (who was the social director at an Assisted Living facility) got me the job at the nursing home. I started out waitressing in the dining room, but then the nursing director caught wind that I was in EMT school, and invited me to work in the nursing area, with a $1/hr raise. That’s how I got the job at the nursing home. The waitressing gig was fun. These were the people living in the apartments, there was nothing much wrong with them, they were just retired and didn’t feel like fooling around with cooking or cleaning anymore. I got occasional invites to come by their place when I got off work, would be fed a Manhattan and some pretzels, and hear of their myriad travels and exploits. At the time I was building a business making custom historical clothing, and one of the women I served was a former fashion designer. She gave me unbelievable useful information on pattern design, how to insert a gusset to make an outfit someone “outgrew” fit better, that sort of thing. For Christmas one year she gave me a beautiful snowflake necklace, that I still have. I’ll never forget Mr. Reuel, with the wicked gleam in his eye, like he knew what kind of underpants you had on, but was too much of a gentleman to say anything, and his wife Ms Bessie,with her crutches from polio as a child, and her tender and resigned tolerance of her husband’s puckish behavior.
After I grew tired of people dying, I left the nursing home and found work at a local Golden Corral. Now, this was long before Golden Corral became the Buffet Behemoth that it is today. You’d walk through a line, order your food, and it would be brought to you. Whoever brought your food was supposed to tend to you for the rest of your stay. Rather than having sections that one waitress worked, the food would be taken in order by the workers, so what you’d wind up with is a table here, another one at the other end of the dining room, and so on, because people would pick their own table instead of being seated by a hostess. It made for an awkward work environment, because inevitably I’d forget that one table way back in the corner and the poor people would never get their tea refilled. It was good paying, tho, because (with the exception of the poor people in the corner) I was good at it. It was a time in my life when I was midst a 3 year spell of hypomania, so the heavy activity and mental exercise of remembering who, what and where was invigorating. I would average $75-100 a night in tips (for a 4 hour shift, not too bad) and upwards of $250 on the nights of football games (if Auburn won….not so much if they lost). You’d learn the regulars, those folks who came in every Wednesday night after church, always order beef tips, always have 1/2 lemonade 1/2 tea, and never tip. There was one college student who came in every Monday (a slow night anyway), park in a booth,and order a glass of tea and a plate of french fries (ours were stellar fries). Because it was slow, I’d refill his fries, flirt a little, and he’d leave a $5 tip. There was the man who sold our manager a Mustang (for his, the manager’s, daughter) in exchange for being able to come in once a week, and get the 2 lb porterhouse (rare, large potato extra sour cream), no charge. He came in every Thursday, and didn’t tip. Whenever we had a new girl in the dining room, we’d have to explain the system, so she wouldn’t fly off the handle when he walked out without paying. It got to where you’d know who was who, where they liked to sit, and what they wanted to drink, so when you’d see them pull into the parking lot, you could have their drinks at the table before they sat down. That was always worth at least another $1, tip-wise. Working there got me fit. Carrying those heavy metal plates, 2 or 3 balanced on my arms at a time, I grew some serious arm muscles, and running around 4 hours a day, I was at my trim and shapeliest best.
Eventually, I decided EMT work wasn’t for me, I was working in the ER and on ambulances during the day while I was waiting tables in the evening, and saw 1 too many children mangled in a car accident because their parents wouldn’t put them in a car seat, and 1 too many men come into the ER with some nasty venereal disease (that’s what we called STDs back then),and the ER staff thought it was funny to let the cute 20 yr old single girl do the triage interview for the guy oozing pus from his penis…I got tired of it, and quit, That’s when I found the Anti-EMT job: clerking in a fabric store. The manager knew me, because with my clothing business I was in there all the time, and I had been making displays for them for a while, so she hired me on the spot. I enjoyed that job, helping people pick appropriate fabrics (no, I really don’t think black corduroy would work for lingerie, even tho it *is* really soft, here try this lightweight silk instead) and then there was HENERY. HENERY was this undisciplined wild little 5 yr old monster who came in with his mother every month or so. She would be looking at fabrics, punctuating her conversation with “now HENERY don’t do that” as he ran his arm through the thread display, knocking all the spools on the floor, but never ever snatching him up and wearing his little ass out like it needed. We’d see him coming, and fan out, each one of us guarding the most sensitive areas (threads, buttons, irish linen) from his sticky, chocolate covered fingers and wild ways. “Now Henery, you touch this and I will snatch you baldheaded and feed your scalp to the possum we have in the back just for little shits like you.” I’d whisper to him as he approached the $30/yard boiled wool. He never did tell his mother I was talking like that, but he would steer clear of my area. When I told the manager what I’d said, she looked appropriately shocked, said the appropriate admonishments about talking to customers that way, and offered to take me to see The Terminator later that week.
Eventually, Terry graduated from college, I got pregnant and we moved away. Thus endeth my paid work experience…other than the bit where I was Terry’s office manager at his and his father’s cabinet shop…I liked doing that, because Terry’s mother totally expected me to fail miserably, and I totally got that business organized and running smoothly. I was good at it, and enjoyed it, but then we moved…oh well.