Category Archives: bullying

Tackling Life Through Film

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Life is gritty,  it is messy  and mistakes happen often.  There are no

‘easy’ paths to take nor do you expect things to always fall into place

in the real world. The film, “Boyhood,” which tackles reality of life in

relationships and many dimensions of everyday families has been

well received. You may have heard that Richard Linklater wrote and

directed this original screenplay.  Instead of using different actors to

portray time passing and people aging, he used the unique process of

gathering all the same people together to make this film, year after

year.  It took twelve years to make, “Boyhood.”

 

The beginning of each school year is carefully documented with

the different locations the family has moved to, along with the

ever changing wide variety of characters in each segment.

 

Two children who share the story’s childhood are played by his

daughter, Lorelei Linklater and newcomer, Ellar Coltrane. The

reoccurring character roles for a period of twelve years. You see

Lorelei acting like Britney Spears in her famous song, “I’m Not

That Innocent.” The adults who portray their parents are played

by Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette. This endearing movie just

may possibly win the 87th Academy Award’s “Best Picture of

the Year.”

 

Here are some of the themes displayed in this ground-breaking

film:

Love

Marriage

Children

Divorce

Family

Bullying

Finding your passion

Elementary School dynamics

Moving to other homes/schools

High School dynamics

College education

Photography

Empty Nest

Religion

Music

Art

 

Relationships

Connections

Forgiveness

 

When my good friend, Gary, who writes for a living on the staff

of the “Columbus Dispatch” asked me to let him know what I

thought about the movie, “Boyhood,” I may have responded a

little bit late at night. I wrote him a rather long text about my

feelings about the movie. Overall, I told him, along with my

youngest daughter and my brother, Rich, I would give this a

three * * * rating out of four * * * *.

 

There are very interesting aspects to this movie, one is how

the mother really tries to help her children lead a successful

life, while still making poor relationship/marriage choices.

Oh boy. This is actually my story being played on the Big

Screen.

The first husband ends up the ‘best of the lot.’ There are times

you feel he is really ‘on the ball,’ showing he cares by being very

articulate and expressing how much he wants to know his two

children, son and daughter’s thoughts. He engages in a serious

sexual conversation, which did not embarassess me at all. It

was so reminiscent of both my parents it startled me. This is

quite disconcerting, since we are open-minded and say just

about anything, my brothers and both my parents, when my

Dad was alive. My Mom is still a ‘hoot’ because she is about

the most modern woman I know, except possibly Betty White,

who also is above 80 years old. She just turned 90, right?

 

The sad element of the story is mentioned in my one word

use of “Bullying” in the list of different reoccurring themes in

the movie. Poor Mason, never seems ‘to catch a break.’ His Dad

cares about him, but gets preoccupied with his musical career.

Ethan Hawke does an excellent job singing, having also written

some of the songs they all sing in the movie.  He is used as a

scapegoat by his mother’s second husband and is bullied by her

third husband. He manages to get through several of the moves,

jobs and choices by just ‘sliding,’ playing a kind of  ‘slacker.’ But

underneath the surface, Mason is the central character you are

rooting for throughout the movie. He is a deep thinker, an artist,

with a camera, a daydreamer, and he makes it to college, winning

a silver medal and scholarship.

 

Does this encompass too much revealing information? No, I will

reassure you, it is the slow unwinding of the story, as if it were

a book you were reading chapter by chapter. The summary on

the book jacket (or in this film,  the DVD case) doesn’t tell you

the whole story.

 

Will you like it? I hope so.

You will need to set aside time, take breaks and I feel take time

to digest the story. I had to rewind the film since the changes in

his elementary years are NOT designated, “One year later.” You

have to ‘keep up with the film,’ pay attention to how quickly the

girl develops and seems to be a ‘brat’ until she becomes more

confident in her own ability to be independent.

 

Patricia Arquette is amazing. I felt her world. I felt her needs

and her interests. I felt her ‘weight of the world,’ trying the very

best she could to make wise choices, leaving bad, abusive man

behind. Her mother is well portrayed and the woman that her

first husband gets married to is interesting. Her parents also

come into the story line, making a unique impact on the kids’

lives, too.

 

When the movie opens, the boy Mason is lying in a yard with green

grass under him and a brilliant blue sky above him. The song which

starts this out is Coldplay’s song, “Yellow.” It is really perfect and

sets the tone for the movie viewer. The soundtrack includes many

famous musicians.  I would like to entice you by sharing some of

their names here. As mentioned, original music is introduced in the

movie, too. (Ethan Hawke wrote several songs, one the family all sing.)

Lady Gaga sings two songs, “LoveGame” and “Telephone.” Bob Dylan’s

song is. “Beyond the Horizon.” The Black Keys, Gotye, Foo Fighters,

Kings of Leon, the Beatles and Mason’s father’s (Ethan Hawke’s)

interpretation of their split up. I would like to see his own rendition

of the way the Beatles’ solo careers should be put into one album.

 

“Crazy” sung by Gnarls Barkley is a fantastic song. Had not heard

this version before. “Deep Blue,” sung by Arcade Fire band, with Ken

Butler and William Butler being part of the group of musicians and

lyricists who wrote the final song played during the credits was

outstanding.

 

I rewound the final song, with some tears going down my face. It is

a touching story, with all the traits of true storytelling genius. The

way Richard Linklater and his whole crew, team and actors worked

together on this made this an impressive movie. I took note even

the first song being called, “Yellow” and the last song, “Deep Blue,”

seemed like they handled the details perfectly.

 

The 87th Academy Awards Ceremony will be on tonight. Neil

Patrick Harris will be the host. If you watch television, you

have seen the ‘hype’ for many of the films. I have seen almost

all of the ones in the best picture, actor and actress categories.

If you wish to see my reviews or summaries, I have written of

“The Theory of Everything,” “The Imitation Game,” “Selma,”

“Big Hero 6,” “Gone Girl” and “Unbroken.”

 

I shall be watching it, along with the pre-show Red Carpet on,

“E!” channel.

 

Will you be watching?

If so, do you have your any favorites?

 

 

 

 

Bidding Adieux to the Old Year

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As we bid ‘adieux’ to the Old Year, 2014, we may reflect on this past

year and see some great things happened in the world, along with

our personal lives. This post won’t dwell on the many negative news

items that took place across the world. My recent conversation I had

with my good friend, Patrice, where we discussed the economy was

full of hope. She is a moderate Republican but found Pres. Obama

has “helped the economy,” citing some personal ways it improved.

Especially for the businesses of her family, who saw an upswing in

purchasing pizzas at her brother in law’s pizza chain, along with her

sister’s Castle Farms in Charlevoix, Michigan having much continued

success. Pat shared good news with her family’s investments in stocks

and bonds, showing profitable and significant increases. The U.S. stock

exchange and business world has not been this secure since Clinton’s

administration. (This can be confirmed in the business pages of the

New York Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer and Columbus Dispatch.)

 

I don’t really wish to quote statistics, just the positive slow, gradual

upswing in the economy as something good to report.

 

While talking with members of our warehouse, several mentioned

the Obamacare (health care and insurance) situation seems to have

‘finally straightened out.’

 

While talking with my artistic brother, Randy, we were on the ‘same

page’ thinking that the renewal of ties with Cuba is a positive way to

bring trade. Also, influencing the political climate of country south of

us, which we have had past problems with. Hoping this will lead to a

better future connection. While this may be ‘common knowledge’ I

found the fact the leader of Cuba is one who has chosen to lead a ‘gay

lifestyle’ hopeful,  since this may mean that there will be less civil unrest

and hateful reactions to people of different life choices.

 

It also seems to reflect a ‘gentler’ means of controlling his country, less

than we had from Fidel Castro. Back in 1963, Fidel Castro had made

quite a mean statement about Cuba’s gay community and their ‘tight

pants’ and wishing to display ‘girlie’ acts in public. Since 2012, there

have been annual Cuban “Kiss-In’s” which is the gay community’s way

of standing up to the controlling leadership in a non-violent way. Even

getting a positive ‘nod’ from the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro,

for the United States reaching out to Cuba with an olive branch.

This was all compiled by myself: having attempted to confirm various

sources of information.

 

I will hope Fidel’s brother, President Raul Castro, will help lead his

country from communism into socialism. They may label themselves

‘socialistic,’ but the cruel army regime exists there still. I can ‘dream’

of Cuba’s someday becoming a Democratic country, where people’s

votes will be counted.

 

It is totally fine with me, if this positive outlook is challenged with

big doses of reality. I am “open for debate” in my comments section!

 

Thomas Kinkade, 2001:

“I believe that adding light to the canvas of our daily existence is a

simpler process than we often make it out to be. I believe it really is

possible to think and act in ways that shine more radiant joy in our

lives and the lives of those around us.”

 

From my old Children’s Anthology, which featured ‘brownies’ who are

like little sprites in the night:

“In January, when the snow

Lies on the hills and valleys low

And from the north the chilly breeze

Comes whistling through the naked trees

Upon toboggans long they ride,

Until the broadening light of day

Compels them all to quiet their play.”

(Written and Illustrated by Palmer Cox.)

 

My post-Christmas special memories of this year, 2014:

*~ I loved having my Mom be happy and healthy in body

and spirit. She was entranced by the Elf doll which was

a bright and cute girl, with red ‘velvet’ skirt with white

trim, with green and white striped hose and red pointy

shoes, with bells on each toe. She exclaimed each time

she spied it up on the edge of a rocking chair back.

*~ I found the most giving souls were the two six year old

Kindergarteners, among my grandies.

Little Marley could not open her gift before I opened her

purchase of a white painted sleigh bell with its top hat and

cheery face, making it a cute little snowman ornament.

Marley slipped a bracelet into my coat pocket, which she

had made from a craft kit given to her by Santa. I did not

‘discover’ this string of red, black, pink and yellow stars until

I got home, putting my mittens back into my pockets.

 

Micah had used his Secret Santa school “pocket savings”

from his home piggy bank to purchase a wide variety of

little dollar gifts. Mine was a head band which had a pair

of reindeers on the ‘antennae.’ This was the first time I had

seen this head adornment; usually the two ‘antennae’ are

antlers! I wore it proudly around to both families’ Christmas

events. I also had two children request a photo taken with

them on. Quite a thoughtful and fun gift, Micah!

 

The ‘true spirit’ of giving was in both these little ones’ hearts.

 

Do you have any thoughts about the political climate or post-

holiday memories you wish to share?

 

Moving Ahead to Don Gay Apparel

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My coworker, Josephina, who goes by “Joe” among her friends

outside of work and “Fee” here at the warehouse, was sharing her

hopes for her wife and children to have an abundant Christmas.

Since the past two weeks, our hours have been cut, I have been

worried about those who have waited to purchase Santa’s gifts,

but cannot offer to help out anyone, unfortunately.

Fee was telling me about a publication on Monday, saying I

“should check it out.” It is called, “Outlook” magazine, which is

on the free newstand outside our library interior doors. This

would be like the ‘foyer’ of the building, where there are a few

public notices for clubs, organizations, and other public service

announcements.

I took home “Outlook” and was amazed at the multitude of very

interesting articles and information for the holidays presented

within a ‘magazine’ for Gays, Bisexuals and Lesbians. I was so

enthralled with the subject of music, since the ‘stereotype’ of

this magnificent group of human beings, is they love their

musicals and ‘show tunes.’ The articles about famous local

people and famous national people who have recently ‘come out’

had my attention, too.  The recipes for cocktails and yummy

appetizers had me interested and copying a few down. It is a very

informative and well-rounded publication. On the cover is a lovely

photograph of Bette Midler. Her article is titled,

“Divine Intervention.”

Do you remember when Bette Midler wore corsets and was on the

wild side, as “The Divine Miss M?” She made a lot of friends in the

gay and lesbian community, singing in the Continental Bath House.

I still consider her attractive, liked her G-rated family movie with the

theme of being an unprepared grandmother, “Parental Guidance.”

Her songs, “God Is Watching Us” and “The Wind Beneath My Wings,”

are on my all time favorite Top 50 songs.

 

Why did Fee send me to pick this up? The better question is,

“What took me so long?”

I have had a long history of having many gay friends, particularly

the guy who took me to my high school prom, along with both of

my brothers’ good and oldest friends. My youngest brother met

his friend in running clubs. My ‘older,’ one who is only 18 months

younger than I, had not noticed his high school friend who was a

wrestler and also, accompanied a group of us to my brother’s

high school prom, until college when he ‘came out’ to him.

 

Speaking of ‘coming out’ there is a well researched and presented

article on this subject in “Outlook.” It is addressing the idea of

trying this over the holidays. I would say letting relatives who are

younger know about your personal choices, but wait to inform

ones who are older. This is a ‘tricky minefield,’ and why make

the  holidays uncomfortable?

 

My friend, Fee, told me a few interesting facts about her life,

along with her girlfriend’s, too. Most people think that she and

her girlfriend are just living together to save money, to share

co-parenting with another woman and also, their long lasting

friendship. Fee also shared her growing up years with me, over a

sparsely populated break time. We had chosen to go to break later

than most of the order fillers. She is a grown version of Campbell’s

Soup kids. I would describe her as a past redhead, more blonde now.

She told me about how average looking she had been, how she did

not have much confidence and how being in a steady relationship

with her first boyfriend led to her marrying him. She says she had

lack of self esteem. Fee was friends with Jessie, her current partner,

through many years as Jessie was married to a friend of her husband’s.

I was glad to hear that there was no history of abuse on the part of

either of their husbands against them. This traumatic experience

can sometimes draw people away from being heterosexual.

My coworker Karen and her Suzie experienced this, individually

although not necessarily conclusive proof of most gays or lesbians.

 

In the case of the men I have known in my life, they ‘knew’ it, all

along but fought their desires to be with men, wanting so badly to fit

into the ‘normal’ society.

 

Fee told me their children are so happy they are a family. Some of

the kids remember the turmoil while they had fathers in their house.

Jessie was the ‘brave one,’ Fee told me. She ‘came out’ and told her

she loved Fee.  Fee still has a Granny and an “Auntie” who don’t

know that the two roommates are lovers. Fee also did give our work

insurance a ‘thumb’s up,’ since they do cover same sex partners for

medical, dental and vision insurance. Fee would like to get married

to Jessie. She says their wedding announcements would say a silly

and joyful declaration (like):

“Jessie is my girl,

Joe is my guy.

Together~

Jessica and Josephina

are one happy couple,

One happy family.”

Jessie embarrassed me a bit, but mainly since we work together, I

would not want to picture any of my coworkers’ romantic lives…

But Fee told me that the two of them take turns leading the family,

doing certain chores like cooking and cleaning, depending on their

busy schedules, She went a ‘step farther’ to share with me,

“Jessie likes me to be the ‘guy’ and I don’t mind wearing the pants

in the house, but sometimes I want to be the ‘girl’ who gets their

bath drawn, back and body parts rubbed and all those delicious

moments.”

Since I was sad to hear that a male college student got beat up

recently in the news, for holding hands and kissing in public,

I wished to ask her a personal question about prejudice. She told

me a shocking thought, that she “felt luckier to be a woman who

chooses to be gay, since men have it harder, it is not as easy for

society to accept men who are gay.”  She continued to surprise me,

by saying,

“It is easier to be a ‘gay woman’ than to be of a different race. You

know you can ‘hide’ your sexuality, if you choose, but I feel bad since

the world is still a harsh place to be if you are of color.”

Fee told me to go ahead and put the musical lists that I found in my

post, as long as I focused on a song that she and Jessie love and feel

says it all:

” Waiting on the World to Change,”

John Mayer,

“Continuum”

album,

2006.

 

How could I not include the fine and exquisite list of holiday songs,

recommended by the “Outlook” media magazine?

This is an excellent and eclectic list. Hope you will enjoy this and

it is much more encompassing than my short list of favorites on

another post.

1. “Blue Christmas,” by Elvis.

2. India.Arie with Trombone Shorty, playing “I’ve Got My Love

to Keep Me Warm.”

3.  Kenny G. and Dave Koz, “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.”

4. Idina Menzel (of “Frozen” children’s animated film fame and also,

original cast of “Rent” on Broadway) singing the songs

“Holiday Wishes”

“Do You Hear What I Hear?”

“All I Want for Christmas, is You.”

and ** Original song written by I. Menzel, with Walter Afanseif

and Charlie Midnight, “December Prayer.” (The critics say this is

wonderful.)

5. Harry Connick, Jr. singing an original song, “When My Heart

Finds Christmas.”

6. Barbara Streisand, (recommended her whole album),

“A Christmas Album.”

7. Human Nature, “The Christmas Album,” with the songs that

they highlighted as, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

and an original song, “Mary’s Boy Child.” (I need to listen to

these original songs recommended very soon!)

8. Dave Koz, “The 25th of December” album. One song that

caught my interest was “All You Need is Love,” from the Beatles,

of course:

Sung with Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Richard Marx,  Heather

Headley and Johnny Mathis.

9. Any Christmas songs sung by Johnny Mathis, they absolutely

loved and recommended. The nicknamed J. M.: “Mr. Christmas!”

The favorite on the list of mine is, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time

of the Year.”

10. The Singing Bee brought us “Pentatonix,” which is an all

a capella group of singers. The song that is their original holiday

song is, “That’s Christmas to Me.”

11. Take 6 (band) plays “He is Christmas.” An original song to be

listened and appreciated.

 

The fun and lively Christmas Concert for my granddaughter’s (Lara)

Fifth Grade Chorus had these songs on their program:

1. “Yankee Doodle Boy/ Kid From the U.S.A” written by John Jacobson

and Alan Billingsley.

2. “Colors of Winter,” written by Amy F. Bernon.

3. “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth,” by Don Gardner and

arrangement by Sally K. Albrecht.

4. “March Pat-a-Pan,” accompanied on the flute by Ana Moder and on the

hand drum by Stacy Lemke, Chorus director. The song was arranged by

Audrey Snyder.

 

I enjoyed the four songs sung by the Sixth Grade Chorus:

1. “Jubilate Deo,” an old traditional “round” song, no author or lyricist

given.

2. “Hava Nashira,” Israelis Folk Song, arranged by John Leavitt and

accompanied by Laura Lenhart on the clarinet.

3. “Gloria Tibi Domine” written by Greg Gilpin.

4. “Peace on Earth/ It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”

 

 

Are there any other songs you would like to include?

I am always happy to feature music and especially

recommend your looking

into the original songs

on this list.

Music connects our senses,

gets us up and moving,

it builds emotions

and brings

couples

closer.

If

we

could

only get

the world

to connect

so easily

it would

be a

better

place.

I am ‘off’ to see the “Fantasy of Lights, ” after I pick up my oldest

daughter, Carrie with her two boys, Skyler and Micah.

We plan to go see Santa Claus and eat a dessert out.

(Wouldn’t hot chocolate and cookies, pie or cake be scrumptious?)

 

July 24, 1987: An Insurmountable Achievement

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A young girl, who was overweight and sometimes ridiculed, went off

to college. Even there, she did not get concerned about her rising

weight, her expanding waist line. Her health was failing, due to long

hours of studying and limited extra time to walk, exercise or worry

about her diet.

It was not until she reached the age of 40, that this wonderful woman

decided to take action! She started hiking and going on natural trails.

She made plans to achieve more miles, and she started to make progress

in her renewal of energy and her health revived, too.

At age 66, she climbed the highest peak in Continental United States,

Mt. Whitney.

How motivating!

How exciting!

What an exhilarating ride this story is taking!

You will be so much more inspired, when you get to the true climax

of this story. I am very proud of this woman! I wrote this all by myself

hoping to build to where you will hear waves of roaring instruments

or trumpets blasting…

This is the anniversary of her biggest climb:

A woman named Hulda Crooks climbed Mt. Fiji, in Japan when she was

91 years of age on July 24, 1987!

Way to go, Hulda!

I would like the songs, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Climb

Every Mountain” to be included in your heads while reading the final

chapter of her life.

Hulda Crooks reached the age of 101, dying in 1997.

What would have happened to her life, had she not reached the place

she could hardly walk or breathe?

It makes all of my little complaints and ‘molehills’ seem quite small!

A Quirky Man

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Your roots can make you stronger, or they can ‘break you in two.’ This is the

story of Don Knotts, born “Jesse” Don Knotts. His birthday, July 21, 1924 and

the day he died was, February 23, 2006. This July, he would have reached the

landmark birthday of 90 years old.

Jesse was only four years ahead of my Mom, in age. But so far behind, from the

standpoint of his childhood background.

Jessie’s roots were in West Virginia where a lot of ‘hard scrabble folks’ were

born and raised. It wasn’t easy growing up in his family or that part of the

country. It was a rough time, for many people with the onset of the Depression,

not too long into Jesse’s life and all.

Jesse was raised by a father who was known to be a ‘brute’ of a man, with high

expectations of his son. (Some biographers have decided, from their research,

that his father may have been mentally ill.) He was rough on his son. So was

Jesse’s older brother. There have been stories of his father wielding a knife at

him and beating him.

The young boy, raised in the country on a farm, was often picked on at school

since he was so scrawny and his clothes didn’t fit too well either.

While in school, he was often sickly. Jesse got in the habit of becoming almost a

“hypochondriac.” Being ill deflected his Dad’s wrath and also, kept him out of

school. There were times his mother comforted and took care of him, helping

make him feel better about himself.  This and being a ‘day-dreamer’ managed

to help him survive school.

Jesse was someone who wanted to find a way to ‘fit in’ or get out of his life.

There were three brothers to be raised by his mother alone, once his father died.

One evidence of Jesse’s curiosity and use of imagination was shown in his choice

of reading and play materials. He developed a talent with utilizing sock dolls and

asking people for money for their entertainment factor. This meant they saw

him use the puppet, while throwing his voice, using varied tones to tell his

crazy stories and made up plays. He developed an early comedic timing, which

got some smiles and laughs. His hopes of being a ventriloquist was encouraged

by books on the subject he read.

One of the first jobs he got, sometimes he told people later in life, he felt he

‘deserved’ this pathetic job. He stood on a line at a chicken factory and his story

goes, plucked chicken feathers off dead chickens. This was helpful for saving his

money and purchasing a ventriloquist dummy.  Much nicer than the sock puppet!

This brought more money into his savings for his future.

Jesse graduated from high school and afterwards joined the military. He

persisted through sickness, getting recognition for his talents. Once he was

‘discovered’ to be quite lively and entertaining, he was put into the Entertainment

Corps. This helped him to become more confident. He was part of the United

States Army, from 1943 to 1946.

Turns out, this choice of joining the Army changed his life. Knowing he was

not a ‘loser’ nor ‘worthless’ meant he could produce popular and interesting

character sketches. The more people laughed, the more original his material

became. He could “make fun of himself” and make money, too.

Jesse attended and graduated from West Virginia University.

Jesse’s star would rise, up into the sky, as Don Knotts.

Using his ‘hypochondria’ and his ‘paranoia’ to his advantage, this and his

skinny, slightly unattractive and awkward looks made him even more funny

to his audiences.

Don Knotts became a ‘hit’ in the true sense of the word!

Don was on a soap opera, he was the “Man on the Streets” where Steve Allen

would conduct “fake interviews” with him, as a nervous man on the sidewalk.

He was in the Broadway production, from 1955-57, of “No Time for Sergeants.”

Don later reprised his role in the movie version. This was where he met Andy

Griffith.

The movie, “No Time for Sergeants,” was filmed in 1958 with Don Knotts

and Andy Griffith.

Their television show, followed in 1960, where the two of them were partners,

of sorts.

When he got the part of “Barney Fife,” in the television show, “The Andy

Griffith Show,” he played the deputy sheriff to Andy Griffith’s role of sheriff.

This show lasted from 1960 until 1968. Don Knotts won five Emmy awards.

There were many more movie offers for Don Knotts.

My favorite role of his lifetime was as the fish in the animated children’s movie,

“The Incredible Mr. Limpet.” I did not know him from “Search for Tomorrow,”

nor did I really like the movie, “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.” I did laugh at his

flamboyant role as landlord, in the comedy television show, “Three’s Company.”

Do you have a favorite role that Don Knotts played?

Did you like him best as the shaky, nervous Deputy Barney Fife?

He was sixth cousins to Ron Howard, who played the character, “Opie.”

Andy Griffith and Don were known to be close friends, throughout their

filming the t.v. show and later years.

Don Knotts was married three times, his first marriage lasting from 1947-1967.

He had two children, a daughter named Karen Knotts and a son, Thomas Knotts.

His last marriage to Frances Yarborough was from 2002 up until he died in 2006.

 

Making millions of dollars over his lifetime, being a ‘household name’ and his

having the record of the most Emmy Awards for television shows sure showed

his father and those bullies who picked on “Jesse” Don Knotts!

 

 

Patience

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Many songs, poems and essays have been written on the

subject of patience. I will not try to make this a

witty commentary nor a play on words. I have just

a few people that have been getting on my nerves

lately. I need a little patience!

I have to laugh, because this week we had a small

family gathering for my five year old grandson’s

birthday. I went there after dinner, around 7:30,

to be part of the festivities. My oldest daughter

is the one who has had theme parties for all 9

years of my oldest grandson. This year, she and

her partner, Mike, had taken the weekend to spend

time with both my oldest and youngest grandsons.

This was a ‘cake only’ and ‘gifts optional’ fun

time.

While waiting for the kids to run off some of

their steam before settling down to watch gifts

being opened and cake to savor, some of us were

sitting on the living room set. We were relaxing

and suddenly Micah ran into the living room,

turned around to find his recent ‘shadow,’ Kyah

behind him (age 3 on March 3). He looked very

exasperated at her and said, which stopped the

flow of our adult conversation, loudly:

“Stop following me! You are annoying me!”

It takes almost every ounce of my ‘being’ not to

laugh out loud at such things, while my serious

daughter scolded him,

“That’s not a nice way to talk to your cousin!”

I raised my eyebrows at my son, who also smiled

back at me. He knows what it is like to be one

of the only boys! (He has an older sister, had a

single mother (‘moi!’) while growing up and has a

younger sister!)

This is rolling into the ‘same old/same old’ stuff

that I am mainly wanting to write about. The way

some people are annoying. At work, in lines, in

public restrooms, to name a few places where I

have been showing a little irritability.

Yes, me!

There are numerous comments at work about our

limited hours, during the winter. I think the

ten to twelve hours we work during the summer,

in the hottest place I have ever worked, brings

home a lot of extra cash, which I save for when

we have our slower periods. We have had slow

months of January and February this year. It

may continue into March.

I get tired of the pleasant lines I deliver to

those who are ‘broke’ and complaining:

1. “Soon enough, we will be super busy and will

wish for some ‘down time!'”

2. “I try to save money from those big checks we

get in the warm months, from April or May up until

last November. It seems that we have less months

to rest up each year!”

3. “I am happy that we will soon have our income

tax refunds, do you declare 0 dependents?”

My cheery self, has been beat down and worn out on

the weather complaints. I mean, I was raised in the

cold northern part of Ohio! I did not mind 6- 12″

of snow as a child, try to see the fun, beauty and

enjoy the walks through the snow.

I especially love the way the stars seem so much

brighter at night and the daytime skies seem so

brilliantly aqua, turquoise and azure! The sunrises,

as I head to work, and the sunsets, as I leave the

library, are so awesome and thrilling.

But my good mood balloon ‘gets deflated’ and I am

dragging it behind me, on such subjects as money

and weather come up these days.

The other people who ‘get my goat’ are the ones

who have been going on and on, over Obamacare. I

have been studying and listening to this subject

without too much to say one way or another. It is

decided, now live with it!

The ones who are complaining are also telling me

that their grandchildren were born with no billing,

due to no marriage license or no insurance. I would

like to tell them, “No more free rides!” Wouldn’t

that shock them? Would everyone stop talking to me?

Sometimes, I want to be the grumpy one! But I am

NOT!

There is a woman, who at work, I have called the

“Queen Bee.” I have written about her awhile back.

Anyway, her new way of irritating me, is that she

volunteered to serve on the Safety Committee at

work. This means, she is allowed to carry around a

little pad of paper, stop you and ask you,

“Do you have any new safety concerns?”

I have given her the ones, like the Exit that was

closed, so in case of Fire, there was no Exit for

me to leave quickly and safely in the most flammable

area of the building. This got fixed, due to my

saying something, but tell her that she needs to

keep an eye on the heavy items and having them

moved from the top shelf. These are all that I

have been able to come up with. She came by, for

the second time this week, “Miss Chatty Cathy,”

and the “Queen Bee.” I do not directly let her

know my emotional uproar that shouts inside my

head when she bothers me, while I am trying to

make a good pace or ‘rate’ which is daily

measured.

When she interrupted my counting out 24 of these

items that usually are stocked in handy dandy

boxes of 12, so plunk, plunk, and two drops of

those boxes and I am done. Nope, I had to re-count

the 24. Already mad at the stockers who unpacked

and dumped these into bin boxes!

I take a deep breath and greet her by name. Oh

yes, I am using a pleasant voice.

“Tomorrow is the Safety Committee meeting at 6

a.m. and I won’t have time to ask you before I

head off to this, what are your concerns this

month?”

“Authority positions are a dangerous way to go

with certain personality types,” I think.

“If I don’t give her any ideas for the meeting,

maybe she won’t bother me next month,” I also

think. 23, 24!”

Out loud I tell her that I appreciate her waiting

for me to count the products that should have

been kept in their boxes of twelve. She nods

politely. This is, after all, ‘not her territory.’

She is one who works in the Mezzanine, where I

only have to deal with her once a week, except

on these occasions. I do want to say, she circles

round our table at lunch time but with the Force

of Four:

Tammy, Trevinal, Robin and Peggy, we all give her

a glare, pointedly staring at “The Price

is Right Show,” and she usually walks away from

our table.

This all takes willpower.

It is not a ‘pretty side of me,’ I admit.

The one who doesn’t want to cooperate with the

one who made me cry, seems like ages ago, due

to her rudeness.

She is also the one who drove my friend, Cheryl,

at work, to ram a cart into her. Fortunately,

Cheryl could honestly name a few people in that

area, who saw the “Queen Bee” ram her cart first

into hers.

“She did it first!”

So, I look at the woman who sometimes yanks my

chains and tell her…

“No safety concerns at this time.”

I didn’t fold nor flinch. I delivered my line in

such a ‘don’t mess with me’ tone, she walked

away.

Just as she walked away, I thought of the movie,

“Bambi,” a classic animated film, 1942.

Where Thumper got a lecture from his father, then

he used a re-phrasing of it to Bambi:

“If you can’t say something nice,

don’t say nothin’ at all.”

(Of course, the original parental speech would have

been, “If you don’t have something nice to say,

then don’t say anything at all.”)

A Special Memorial for Ben

Standard

Ten Years Ago Today

February 24, 2004

Once upon a time there was a boy named Ben. He liked

wild and domestic animals and studied dinosaurs. He

enjoyed information, found in books and on computers.

He was filled with the love of learning and curiosity

about space and limitless galaxies.

When Ben played encyclopedia games on the computer to

learn about wild animals, he would become immersed in

their worlds.

This was the eighties; when his babysitter’s Dad who

loved this scientific aspect of the boy, set up all

kinds of World Book and Discovery programs challenging

Ben’s interests and his need to know.

He didn’t just “play,” he became absorbed and spent

time thinking. Sometimes, his Mom and babysitter would

ponder and worry about Ben, after Lynn Anne’s busy day

of nursing and Robin’s hectic day of being around just

kids. Sharing a cup of coffee, talking about their

children were rare, short moments for the two friends.

Ben’s parents, Lynn Anne and David, were professionals

and admired his intellect. His older brother, Zach,

was not at all into the same things, but loved him

dearly. He included him, if Ben ever wanted to join

him with his friends. Ben’s babysitter and her son,

James, loved him like he were part of the family.

Never was he excluded in their home. At school,

there were times where teachers were intimidated

by his knowledge, children were not interested in

listening to his fascinating and imaginative stories.

This was noticeable, even while in elementary school,

but the problems became more evident, in middle and

high school.

The parents chose to take Ben to a family counselor,

participating in therapy with him sometimes, too.

Ben was the young ‘tag-a-long’ to Zach, Jamie and

Mick. When they were at the movies or pool, all 4

were a ‘team’ within itself. No one could ‘pick

on’ any of their members. They often would play

‘Marco Polo’ and stay in the shallow end of the

pool to include Ben.

Camping and hiking with Ben and Zach’s family was a

wondrous experience for Jamie. He felt comfortable

and included in the male-oriented atmosphere. At home

he had, after all, two sisters, with himself being

‘sandwiched’ in between.

Lynn Anne and David were very open minded, like

the babysitter. There was always the choice to

express oneself, but also the space to be alone.

Ben moved back and forth between these places of

solace and comfort, not ever letting the building

remorseful depression show. He had ‘safe havens’

but they were not always transportable.

The fondness of those three boys will always be

one of the best parts of my son’s memories. Zach

came to my son’s wedding with a female friend,

stayed until the very end. There were no real

expressions (spoken out loud, at least) between

the two older boys, of wishes that Ben were still

here to celebrate James marriage to Trista.

They had needed each other, that was the truth.

Jamie moved off to Dayton, having graduated from

Delaware Hayes High (1999), along with Zach who

graduated a year later (2000). There were not many

moments of looking back at younger Ben.

The older boys were no longer around to be his

‘safety net’ and fierce protectors.

The fateful day came, when Ben was tormented once

again in the cafeteria. Sensing Ben’s ‘weakness’

and gentle soul, a big, tough football player had

been teasing him often, especially with no one

willing to stand up to him.

It was Ben’s ‘last straw.’

Before much thought went though his head, Ben was

rushing out into the briskly cold day, running behind

the frozen high school football stadium.

Ben knew his only option. At least, that is the way

it seemed that day, when he waited to jump in front

of the rushing train that ended his life.

We all loved Ben, we all miss him and he is on my

mind, as I had been his daily caregiver for several

years.

Felicia, my youngest daughter, graduated with the

boy who damaged Ben’s very core, a few months later

in June, 2004. He lives in California now. Not sure

what his conscience is like, now that he may have

grown up enough to face the consequences of his

verbal actions.

The date is indelibly imprinted on my mind.

Wishing we could just rewind his life and make Ben

stay with us and be here today.

In his memory, I suggest you may enjoy listening

to “Across the Universe,” written by John Lennon,

credited as a collaboration of McCartney-Lennon.

This was given as a donation to the charity musical

compilation of “No One’s Gonna Change Our World,”

December, 1969. Later, the Beatles included this

song in their final album, “Let It Be.”

I imagine Ben knowing finally the secrets of the

Universe and smiling.