Category Archives: children

True Halloween Story: circa 1935 or ’36

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This was in my past Halloween posts.

One from what I consider the “classic

collection” of stories. When I used just

words to describe and illustrate my

posts. The man you will hear sharing an

old memory is gone now. He has since

passed away. . .

Let’s go back to the year my Mom would

turn 85 and I was visiting her at her

Senior Living apartment. We had

ordered our meals to take up 

to her apartment. . .

“An elderly gentleman was waiting to

pick up his and his wife’s dinners

last night, usually we sit for about 

25-30 minutes chatting with other

people.  Mom sits and sips her wine,

looking and studying faces. Some

are familiar and some are not so. 

We talked to this nice man, named

Felton, a few nights in a row, 

so she was less wary and 

more comfortable with him.

My Mom asked him if he liked

computers and if he had ever 

read any blogs?

Great “kidder” my Mom! 

You know how when you are young, 

you may”use” your kids as excuses 

or possibly as the way to open a

conversation? 

My Mom is the best for being my

“story hunter,” lately.

She asked him the best question!

“Do you have any special, scary

childhood memories of Halloween?”

Here is Felton’s story, with mostly

memories from his fourth grade

“trick or treating” experience.

He thinks it would have been 1935

or maybe 1936 when they occurred!

Felt and his two good friends,

one a boy who had grown up with

him and also his “best friend” and

a girl he had been considering

being his “girl friend,” were heading

out on a long ago Halloween night.

The candles in the pumpkins on his

porch were lit, his parents, he

recalled, were sitting and waiting

to hand out homemade cookies

wrapped in waxed paper and tied

with orange ribbons.

Felt’s friend, Buddy, was wearing his

“bum” outfit and his “future girlfriend,”

Sally, was wearing what she was

calling a “Snow White costume.”

Felton says he thought her big sister

may have lent her a headband and

pasted some costume jewelry on it,

like a crown, and she had a blue skirt,

white shirt and red vest on.

Her sister had given her rosy cheeks

and bright red lipstick-stained lips.

In Felton’s opinion,

“Sally looked beautiful!”

and added,

“I was wearing a plaid flannel shirt

and worn out jeans, with a big

hobo pack on a stick.

We boys often went as hobos.”

A side funny comment was made

when Felt reflected some more,

“I suppose Sally didn’t want to 

get any apples,” 

(as Snow White.)

We all smiled and Mom

chuckled saying,

“That’s a good one!”

Felt informed us that his memories of

actual treats were apples, cookies,

carrots and even cold pancakes.

(We said, “Really?!”)

and if lucky, 

homemade popcorn balls

and rarely,

Cracker Jacks!

Felt set the “mood” then, by saying,

“Did you ever think a witch lived

down the street from you?”

Mom said,

“Yeah, but she was just Mrs. Donahue!”

(We all laughed a bit about her reply!)

There was a house at a dead end of his

long and winding street. He said

it was very dark and gloomy due to

no street lamps so he and his friends

had never gone to beg for treats there.

It was rumored to have “spirits” that

flew around and haunted it with a large,

old witch living there. As the story

went, every kid that attempted to stop

and sell anything or stop and ask

for treats, would be killed with 

their eyes would be pulled out 

of their dead

eye sockets!

Mom gasped, appropriately!

I was enthralled, secretly memorizing

the phrasings that he used, too.

Felt added, “The eyeballs were the

witch’s souvenirs!”

Felt bragged that he never believed

the stories but had never gone up

those rickety steps nor had asked for

donations to his pillow case, full

by the time he reached that

end of the road.

While getting towards that end of the

street along came his

big brother,

Freddy.

“How did I recognize him in his

costume?

Well, let me tell you this, he had

no business trick or treating!

He was far too old to be doing it!

But he had my cowboy bedsheet over

his head, with his eyes cut out,

being on both sides

of a horse!”

He continued farther saying that his

brother had “broken the brother

covenant”

by daring him to go and ring the

doorbell or knock on that

big gray door!

We both asked,

“Did you really have a

‘brother covenant’?”

And Felton said, “Well, these things

are understood between brothers!

He should not have made me have

to do that and I was embarrassed

if I didn’t, due to Sally being there!”

Felton then added,

“Nobody wants to look like a chicken

when your future reputation is riding

on the dare! I was trying my hardest

to make a good impression on Sally!”

This is the precious line I memorized

and closed my eyes to keep for you all:

“After all, death is instant, but being

called a ‘chicken’ lasts a lifetime!”

This part continued to be very good,

I am so glad we had the time to listen

to Felton. We encouraged him with nods

of our head and “go on’s” along

the way, too.

So, Felt says, he went up the broken

down stairs to the dark, looming house

and trying not to make any noises. He

stepped carefully so that the wooden

porch beams would not creak. He felt

the palms of his hands get sweaty.

He “crept” towards the door.

As he was reaching for the doorbell

next to the huge gray door with paint

peeling off it, the door flew open!

He heard from deep inside of the

“witch’s house,”

a continuous shrieking sound!

Felt said, “It sounded like a ‘screaming

banshee!’ It gave me goosebumps!”

Felt told us he turned sideways, he is

never sure WHY he went that way,

but he headed down the length of the

porch till he ran into

a large, wooden

big tub or vat.

He toppled over ~ INTO the vat!

He felt squishy, slimy shapes in his

fingers

(“Oh no! the children’s eyeballs!”

Felton told us.)

Then the light on the porch

suddenly came on!

He was in a wooden vat of grapes!

The sticky, purplish liquid wasn’t blood!

The round, mushy shapes

weren’t eyeballs!

The large, “witch” came towards him,

yanked on his arms and dragged

him into her house.

The woman said,

“Wait here!”

Felt said, “I did not dare move! The door

of her house had been slammed shut

and that woman seemed angry!”

She went into what he assumed was

the kitchen because she came out

into her sitting room, where she set

two tea cups down and the still

hissing tea kettle on a

crocheted hot pad.

She again used a demanding tone,

“Don’t you dare sit down!”

And she stomped up the stairs in

these big, untied leather boots.

When she came back she had a nice

warm set of wet wash cloths

and handed one at a time to Felton.

He wiped off reddish purple “goo.”

She inquired his name, he told her.

She finished wiping him up with a

dry towel. She laid the towel on

her couch for him to sit down.

She then told him

her name was “Miss Miller.”

She asked him to sit down.

She handed him a wax paper

wrapped caramel apple.

She poured him a hot cup of tea.

Felton paused to say,

“I noticed that my big brother and my

friends did not knock on the door

nor come to save me!

I sat back on her rose tapestry sofa

and enjoyed my caramel apple

and listened while she talked to me.”

“She told me that she didn’t have

any children nor did she have any

friends. She told me this while

I waited for my tea to cool off.”

Felton said in a soft voice,

“I sensed she was lonely and

I felt sorry for her, too.”

She told me she was making wine

and that vat was filled with the

beginnings of a good wine, needed

days more to ferment.

She looked at me and I looked at her.

Really studied her.

She looked about fifty but at my age,

who knows how old she was?”

With a bottle of her homemade wine

in his one hand and a second

caramel apple wrapped up and

thrown into his pillow case of less

exciting treats,

Felton was sent on home after

about thirty minutes

of conversation.

Felt turned as he was leaving and said

he would come back, 

if his mother let him, 

another day to visit.

Felton said,

“Miss Miller smiled one of the nicest,

warmest smiles I have ever been given.”

“I always thought of Miss Miller from

that time on, as a nice neighborly lady.

Oh, and I had the best of times riding

on that wave of popularity

when you “beat the bad guy”

or “are a super hero” because I

lived to tell the story of going into

the witch’s house and making

it back home in one piece.

Best of all, my older brother,

Freddy, got in big trouble

for leaving me there!”

Happy Halloween!

ūüćĀ  ūüćÉ ūüĎĽ ūüćā ūüĆö

Summertime Serenade

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This poem was written last summer

to celebrate the 2014 season.

It¬†will be my “encore”¬†serenade to you.

~~~~~~~~~~~*x*x*x*~~~~~~~~~~

Let’s hear it for Summer, 2015!

If you are in another season…

Hope it is a wonderful time for you.

~~~~~~~~~~~*x*x*x*~~~~~~~~~~~

Summertime Serenade

by Robin Oldrieve Cochran

Shimmering sun shines through haze,

“Shoo!” to flies, bugs and mosquitoes.

“Sh-h-h” – settling down – naptime now.

Silent respite, serene moments.

Sensation of peace surrounding home.

Skinny-dipping, slippery babies,

Slide smoothly into cool water.

Swing soars high into the sky,

Shoes kicked off, sandals flipped. . .

Splashing sounds, as hands release!

Sprinklers shifting, swishing rhythmically,

Sprays of warm water change.

Shivering, cold droplets¬†follow: “Br-r-r!”

Soaking grateful kids, dogs and grass.

(Cats hiss!)

Shrieks ring out:  joy and sheer delight.

Sensational salads whet appetites.

Sliced fresh vegetable from garden,

Savory spices of basil with sprigs of parsley,

Soaked with slippery vinaigrette dressing poured,

Sizzling barbecue aromas, family gathering,

Should I bring something?

. . . Satisfaction!

June 28, 2014

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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In a recent article, I read about someone who designed a “Pizza

Garden.” This inspired me to suggest you grow a vegetable garden

focusing on your children’s favorite foods.They will be more likely

interested in the garden’s outcome, if they enjoy the idea of what

it will end up in, in a prepared dish.

Since today we are celebrating Cinco de Mayo, I thought of some

vegetables that would be wonderful to include in a Mexican dish.

For next year’s Cinco de Mayo, grow a “Tacos Garden!”

In my son’s garden, he grew red, yellow, and green peppers, hot

red chili peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, potatoes, onions,

corn, watermelons and pumpkins.

Last year, my son and his wife ‘canned’ the red, green and yellow

peppers and onions by being given small batches a quick dunk in

boiling hot water. Waiting for them to cool and then, freeze them in

large freezer quart Zip Lock bags, pressing them to remove all the

air bubbles.

I call this process, ‘flash freezing,’ but not sure if they told me this

or if it is really the correct label.

There may be a more accurate way of describing and naming this

process. My son and daughter-in-law chose to chop onions and

put them in freezer bags. They also used the method of scraping

the kernels off their ears of corn, where they could then boil them,

cool them and pack in freezer bags.

I think you may find how many seconds you boil each food item on

the internet, since they said you don’t want to boil any of the items

too much or they will be ‘mushy,’ when you defrost them.

For a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta meal, you could defrost onions, corn,

and choose your favorite peppers. While waiting to get olive oil,

in a skillet, nice and hot, finely chop up onions and the peppers.

When you have lightly browned the vegetables, set them aside.

If you use a pre-packaged taco seasoning, I recommend the

lower salt ones available.

If you already have a natural pack, or spice jar, prepared with

your favorite taco seasonings, add some of this to the skillet

with the appropriate amount of hot water.

The oil from the onions and peppers will be fine, if you don’t

get it too brown, or black. (Yikes!)

I like to use 80% lean beef, but have used cooked chicken cubes

or ground turkey.

If you are a vegan, you may find some recipes for using other

thickening agents.

On one of my last year’s comments, Celeste had added a link

which will help you out.

Some suggestions were to use tofu, eggplant, kidney beans and

other kinds of beans. If you do this, you may wish to use a soft

shell taco or tortilla.

I like to also top the meat with sliced tomatoes, but if you have

canned diced tomatoes, you may wish to use these.

Drain, of course, and add to the meat, once it has been cooked.

I usually make guacamole, purchase sour cream and low salt salsa

to add for extra spices.

You may vary this informal recipe, but the main focus I wished to

impart was,

This is the time to start planning your vegetable garden!

Having children get involved, is so much more fun and easily

done, when you call the garden, a “Pizza” or “Tacos” garden!

This idea was used in a public area by the Delaware Community

Market. There was a nifty, helpful article called,

“Growing Pizza in Delaware,” by Deena Kloss, in the July, 2013

edition of the free magazine, “Natural Awakenings.”

Here is a list of spices, that the children in the Delaware

gardening “Kids’ Club” planted last year, in the early part

of June:

1. basil

2. parsley

3. tomatoes

4. peppers

5. onions

The “Kids’ Club” was led by garden volunteers, Bob Sullivan-Neer

and Master Gardeners, Regina Grywalski and Diane Gelinas.

They also produced radishes, snap peas and arugula in raised

garden beds.

An amusing sight in the community gardens is a pink painted

step ladder, that got too ‘rickety’ to be used as a ladder. Some

purple morning glory vines were flowering last summer. They are

such a lovely sight!

Another interesting and fun way to ‘recyle’ old and no longer

useful household items included a wooden head- and footboard,

painted bright yellow. Some old wooden pallets, buried partially in

the ground, then, filled with dirt became literally a “flower bed!”

Brightly colored zinnias were popping out, making the kids happy,

last year, to pick bouquets for their parents. I like portulaca, since

you can pinch the dying seed pods and save to plant again the

following summer. They are quite hardy and colorful.

*******************************************************************************

I have added updates throughout this post about children’s

input in gardening.

I babysat my four grandchildren last Saturday night while their

parents had a much needed dinner out and a movie. The kids

were put in ‘charge’ of drawing or listing, foods that would be

ones they would like to grow in their garden.

My son had used individual art pads, using a ruler to add some

lines under the area their drawings would go.

I thought of another way of doing a garden art project, could be

to give the kids old gardening catalogs, scissors, glue sticks and

allow them to practice their cutting and gluing skills.

The grandchildren were excited about the project, which did help

me to keep them occupied for almost an hour. The littlest one,

age 4, Makyah decided that her scribbling free form vegetable

garden was rather hard to explain. I asked her if she would like

me to write her special vegetables, fruits and flowers down on

the lines provided. I also praised (of course!) her lovely use of

colors and designs.

I asked Kyah what the yellow swirls were and she labeled them,

“Corn.”

I wondered what the big bushes of green were and she said,

“Lettuce.”

She had purple stuff, which I asked if they were purple cabbage

and I remembered, too late, a valuable lesson:

**Note:¬† Never, ever try to guess what children’s drawings are!!

Kyah looked quite impatient and annoyed at me, scolding me,

“No, Nana! Can’t you tell those are flowers?!”

I asked if she knew what kind they were and in a rather superior

tone she said,

“Daddy will know what kind!”

Both Lara, age 10 1/2, and Landen, age 9, drew beautiful and

elaborate gardens with details. They needed some help with

spelling, but the finished projects were awesome.

Marley, age 6 1/2, was very excited about her drawing, stayed

the longest at the table, with her hands covering some of her

drawings, too.

Children will get excited as the plants grow and change. My

older grandchildren say their very favorite ones that came out

of last year’s garden were:

Corn on the cob, watermelon, cucumbers and potatoes.

They mentioned having fried potatoes with onions and since

their mother doesn’t like onions, they told me,

“Daddy makes Mommy her own ‘batch’ of fried potatoes for her

breakfast!

Last but not least, you may remember that their garden produced

a ‘minor miracle’ last Fall!

Exactly 6 pumpkins, just in time for Halloween!

(One for each member of the family, parents included.)

*************************************************************************************

“Yo espero que tengan a muy bueno dia y hasta la luego!”

Sorry, I am not sure why the ’tilda’ on the 2 “n’s” did not appear!

I am not positive but I tried to say in my ‘rusty’ Spanish,

“I hope you had a very good day and see you when we meet again.”

Abrazos y besos.

Light Hearted Easter Egg Moments

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If you don’t celebrate Easter but enjoy learning about other families’

customs this post may still be a good one to read. If you follow a

different religion or you don’t practice any at all, you still could add

something new to this post. Help make it multicultural and allow

us to “cross borders” into friendship together.¬† Although Easter eggs

were once considered part of pagan Spring festivals, they have

become Christian symbols of new life in recent times.

A cracked open eggshell could represent

and symbolize Jesus’ empty

tomb on Easter morning.

Coloring eggs can be elaborate projects, I have always enjoyed looking

at Ukrainian eggs with their pen and ink display of designs.  Our family

usually just used crayons to make designs on our hard boiled eggs

for Easter. Then, with the pungent smell of vinegar and the Paas egg

coloring dyes, we would put our eggs on wire ‘hoops’ or loops, where

they were  able to hold them while we dipped them in.

Even when I attended a Christian church with my last husband,

where they frowned upon ‘rituals,’ I didn’t give up hiding Easter

eggs, bunnies and baskets.

This was always part of my childhood and my own family’s way

of celebrating Easter.

My argument was:

Shouldn’t we celebrate and rejoice in Christ’s resurrection?

When I got a Christmas card from a relative in December, 2014,

which mentioned the death and resurrection, it took me aback.

I felt this was losing the “True Meaning” of Christ’s birth.

I like to focus on the image of Christ in his manger, his bed

made of harsh wood, with straw and blankets protecting him

from the weather.

Why concentrate on the torture and anguish of the Son of God,

who was made from God and man combined, at Christmas?

When Easter comes, even if I weren’t a Christian,

I would want to celebrate the story of someone,

who came back from the dead,

who rose to sit by his father’s side

and who told this simple message:

“Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

When it comes right down to it,

all religions, faiths, cultures and

people of the world could agree.

If we treated everyone the way

we wished to be treated,

we would not have any wars.

Nor would we have poverty,

unclothed and hungry masses.

I may use plastic eggs to hide,

I may not always follow the rules,

I may not attend church regularly,

but Easter represents a lot to me.

Caroline Rhea says this funny quote:

“I lied on my Weight Watchers list.

I put down that I ate only three eggs. . .

but they were Cadbury chocolate eggs.”

Here is an Easter fact to enjoy:

“Each year, the PAAS Dye, Co. sells more than 10 million egg-coloring kits,

which consumers use to decorate more¬† than 180 million eggs!”

(Source, wikipedia.)

~**~”I would rather have one rose

and a kind word from a friend

while I’m here, than a

whole truck load when I’m gone.~**~

I truly believe in this.

How many flowers end up at funeral homes and

how many flowers did the person enjoy

while they were alive?

Happiness keeps you Sweet,

Trials keep you Strong,

Sorrows keep you Human,

Failures keep you Humble,

Success keeps you glowing,

But. . .

Friends. . .

Keep you going!”

**~ Author Unknown~**

May you have a blessed Easter.

If you should not happen to follow

this belief, may you have a special

celebration with or without any

faith involved.  Spending time with

loved ones is always  a blessing.

Please share something you enjoy

doing, cooking, decorating or

something you have been doing

in your garden, with Easter or

Spring as your guide.

Questioning My Heartbreak

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The post today would have been on something else.

It would have been articulate and worthy of reading.

It would have been on subjects esoteric or philosophical.

I set the previous subject on the ‘back burner of my mind.’

This is such an ancient topic,

old as the people who first

walked the Earth.

 

Heartbreak.

 

Why, oh why did you have to call?

 

I was so deep in slumber and in a good place.

I have tried to block you from my mind.

When I thought I was so ‘over’ you,

I ‘unblocked’ your cell phone number.

 

Why did I do this?

Because, I would want to know. . .

If something bad happened to you.

 

Do you remember the poem

I had written where I talked

about I would rather do this

or that; than be with you?

 

Could you laugh

as I mentioned

I would rather

be in a cage

with monkeys?

 

Did you get the least bit

teary eyed when you

realized I was serious?

 

Just when my Life is on course.

You know how to turn my heart

topsy-turvy, my world upside down.

 

No, I am not involved with anyone.

But, how dare you think it is okay

to call so early in the

morning!

 

Isn’t it at all possible,

for you to imagine,

I may have

someone

special by now,

sleeping beside me?

 

Isn’t it possible,

that I may have

danced the night away

and needed to sleep

some more?

 

Couldn’t it be,

am out of the country,

with my long lost

soul mate,

on a wonderful

cruise?

 

Traveling

far off countries

mentioned

in my hopes

for us?

 

Might I have not wanted

to stay in my dream land,

content to have warmth

and positive thoughts

to greet my day?

 

Every old love lost

and heartbreak song

was written by someone

who had hopes dashed.

 

I don’t want to have you

lingering on my mind.

 

When I am in a good place,

secure and confident

I will somehow have

a partner to share

our lives together.

 

Tried it a few times,

not desperate yet.

 

Even if she were dead,

you chose to go back

to an ex-girlfriend.

 

Didn’t your family,

my family,

and

I

try to tell you how we fit together?

Better than ‘two peas in a pod?”

 

You may regret,

Never listened.

Never again,

I won’t regret.

 

So, Go!

Please- – Go!

 

Stay out of my phone,

my mind

and

my dreams.

 

I am not channeling Adele or Taylor Swift’s rants.

This is my non-poetic prose. Just trying to let it go.

Trying to keep on my happy path. Shining light on

and soon to be sharing the “Cinderella” story with

my “M & M” granddaughters, ages 4 and 6. Hope

they will not be counting on a fairy tale, but better

yet:  A real and everlasting love. Like my parents

had and my grandparents had. This is my wish.

~Robin Elizabeth Oldrieve Cochran, 3/14/15.

 

P.S. I did not answer his phone call. I deleted his

message. He is not dead; nor in the hospital.

Enough to let me be content.

 

What is your favorite heartbreak song?

I love Neil Diamond’s, “Solitary Man.”

Punishment Must Meet the Crime

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It seems the news is following my blog. This refers to a recent post

explaining how I stuck my ‘foot’ in my mouth in February. I may have

rubbed someone at work the ‘wrong way.’ I think time will help heal

this situation and I am cheerfully talking to the persons involved

while ignoring their one or two syllable responses. (“Yes” and “No,”

are ones most being expressed.)

 

**My ‘punishment’ may or may not ‘fit’ my crime of being passionate

about equal rights.**

 

Now, I see on the news, that college students are really in deep trouble.

They ‘should have known better.’ The Columbus students at Ohio State

University piled many people into their apartment, plugging multiple

technological devices, television, stereo and probably phones charging.

Fifteen students were all standing outside a large and old house, where

the place had caught on fire early this morning. Fortunately, only the

one sleeping on the mattress pushed up to the plugs got minor burns.

 

The fire department member who spoke to Channel 10 news let all the

listeners know there was a mattress pushed up against this messy and

dangerous conglomeration of plugs into an outlet. They are now,

what the newscaster ominously stated, “homeless.”

 

**Their punishment should be to have spend time in a beginner’s

course called, “Electricity for Dummies.” They should have to show

a ‘graduation’ certificate before any other landlords allow them to

rent again. This was a mistake they will never make again. **

 

The second group of college students you may have seen their hateful

video, come from Oklahoma University. They are making national news

for spouting derogatory comments and racial slurs in their thoughtless,

drunken filmed tape. These men from the SAE fraternity, should be

‘ashamed of themselves.’

 

The fraternity boys ‘know better,’ too. If I were their parents, I would

never spend a dime on them again. They would have to find their own

way home from college, the car keys taken away. I could not believe

this insulting SAE group of men.

 

My Dad, brother and first ex-husband all belonged to a different type of

fraternity men. They may have ‘partied’ hardy, but there was definitely a

higher level of integrity. They participated in philanthropic projects and

during Christmas, collected toys, food and clothing for needy children.

My brother and my ex-husband also were participating in the seventies

movement of wanting diversity in their membership.

 

My friend, Melvin when the lunchtime noon break came around and

he saw the news story about the fraternity, stopped to ask me what I

thought of them.

 

Melvin and the guys were watching television in a different direction

from our table. Their t.v. was on the Sports Channel. I assume more

“March Madness” going on. He said he could not believe the college

boys had actually filmed their mean-spirited rant or rap.

 

My friend, Melvin exclaimed,

“What were they thinking, Robin? Are they stupid or what? Now,

you know you need to blog about this one. Preach it, Robin! Tell

them what kind of penalty or punishment they need to serve.

I don’t think picking up trash on the side of the road matches the

hate leveled in their words.”

 

Just in case you don’t wish to search for what is called, “Racist film

by college fraternity men,” I will tell you the content.¬† It said they

would not want to have any¬† “N-word”¬† joining their fraternity. It

goes on saying more nasty stuff. It is posted on many sources of

social media, just look it up.

 

With Melvin’s encouragement a few of us brainstormed, (women

who are mothers.) We came up with the following service to keep

the men ‘on parole’ rolls. This would have to be closely supervised,

parole officers checking in on the guys at ‘work sites.’

 

**We think the young men from the Oklahoma U. SAE fraternity

should participate in both an elderly and youth oriented program.

The programs should serve a diverse community of people and help

the boys to ‘see the light.’ (Melvin, I preached it!)**

 

The places we came up with were for them to volunteer for 100 hours

of community service at an inner city soup kitchen, homeless shelter

or an impoverished area’s nursing home facility. They need to meet

the elderly face to face, help them with more than just surface

projects.

 

We added an extra 100 hours of working at an inner city daycare

facility. We would like them to look at the faces of a wide range of

children representing ethnic groups at a center for children. We

would like them to think about the hateful words they said in their

‘chant.’ Another punishment would be to change dirty diapers.

Well supervised by the daycare center’s staff. Careful use of wipes

and special lotion, so the babies and the toddlers will not experience

any discomfort.

 

The discomfort should be for those young men who felt they could

express themselves in such a disrespectful way towards many

who may never have wanted to join them anyway.

 

The amazing and positive result of this film coming out in the media,

was college students and other people gathered on campus. Many

joining hands, some putting their hands upon each other’s shoulders.

There were a few past SAE fraternity men who came forward, were

vocal and expressed displeasure at the film. The group consisted of

more than one race in their unified peaceful demonstration.

 

The result of their protest was at least two young men were expelled.

I hope their punishment will be to do some of our suggested activities

mentioned above. This would help clear their conscience and hopefully

‘clean the slate’ they muddied.

 

Going from the sloppy electrical mess some college students

resulting in their now smoky and damage apartments in Ohio

to the Oklahoma University debacle, you can see a very huge

downward slope in behaviors.

 

The news moved on to this sick subject.

 

The last headline story, you may just wish to skip.

 

It is always a tragedy.

 

One that seems to happen at least once a week.

 

I wish I knew the statistics on boyfriends, family members

or caretakers who harm

young children.

 

The most recent story horrified me. I worked for a couple of years

at a battered women’s shelter, where usually the woman were the

ones who were hurt. There were also children’s stories which made

me sob at night. This ‘hardened’ woman will share the fact that

yet another person, in the U.S. raped and killed a little baby. The

most recent case was in Arkansas. The little baby girl was only

8 days old.

 

By the way, you don’t want to search this subject. There are

many stories, one after another on this subject. Steven Smith

in Ohio, on Death Row, asking for parole, a man who raped a

6 month old baby girl, Autumn. A woman who raped her

10 month old son.His name was Ashley, like the character

in the movie, “Gone with the Wind.”

 

I quickly closed the pages of articles on this subject.

 

**Everyone was thinking the death penalty for these persons.

Another table beside us, with some young men from Heavy

Bulk pitched in, agreeing with many in consensus.

I feel the person who does anything to a defenseless person,

child or elderly, should have their sexual organs taken away.

(Since women do this crime, sadly, I could not just use the

word, “castrated.”) The person should not get to just take

the drugs that ‘kill’ their deviant sexual appetites. This is

too dangerous, the consequences too extreme. I would not

want to trust them to take the drugs. Surgery is all I could

think of. . . I don’t advocate the Death Penalty. **

 

I am not sure how the justice system will handle any of

the above cases.

 

What I sometimes hear as a defense, but am in disbelief of, is the

thought of “freedom of speech.” (As in the SAE fraternity case,

Oklahoma University.)

 

Anyone venturing a ‘judgment’ or opinion?

 

 

 

“You do the crime, you pay the time.”

 

 

Predicaments

Standard

I have thought for many days about what would I have done

differently in an early February conversation during a break

at work.  So many times during my life I have stood up for a

situation or cause, only to find out later this alienated me from

a friend.

 

I was so excited and passionate about seeing the movie, “Selma.”

I have been taught that by being silent one is quietly accepting

another’s words or choices. This is not a good position to be in

when making friends. I feel that if my friends don’t think along

similar lines, it is not a strong friendship but one of convenience.

Over the past six years, I have built a close-knit group of people

who get along together, joke and lighten each other’s days at work.

 

 

My fellow coworkers, Tammy, Melvin, Felda and Mary Jane are

part of this group. We have enjoyed sharing weekend experiences

and expanding our minds in lively conversations. There are many

fringe friends who join in and stop by our table. I enjoy meeting

such a wide variety of people at my warehouse job. This is one of

the best positive aspects of my work.

 

It is not generally a good idea or tactful while in a work place,

to express controversial opinions. Yet, my table mates and I

have seen eye to eye on the subject of acceptance. Some of us

even voted in elections the same way. We started watching

some of the same t.v. shows to be able to share about these.

 

 

Little did I expect, someone I cared about would be making a

rather outrageous statement in response to a movie review.

Here are some quotations to lend support to my response.

 

 

“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

~Eldridge Cleaver

 

A longer version, expanded from the above thought includes

the following words which are also true:

“. . . but the perpetual human predicament is that the answer

soon poses its own problems.”

~Sydney J. Harris

 

The old Latin rule of the law of acquiescence would apply here,

“Qui tacet consentire videtur” means one who is silent is seen

to have given consent. To acquiesce is to accept or to comply.

 

I was mentioning how many things about the Civil Rights period

despite being raised in a conscientious and active participant

family, I had missed. I was describing one of the early details of

a particularly disturbing scene where children in a church were

killed in a bombing in the film, “Selma.”

 

Out of nowhere, my ‘close’ friend,¬† Felda said,

 

 

“We, in our country, believe in love and cannot ever understand

people who are raised in a “culture of hate.”

 

I emphatically agreed with this, thinking she was talking about

bigoted people who are ‘taught’ to hate people from another

group from their own. In other words, I was thinking she

meant to be talking about ‘whites’ being part of the ‘haters’

specifically, in the Civil Rights movement.

 

As I nodded and said, “I agree,” I noticed a quiet pause in the

conversation. Tammy (Ohio country girl) and Melvin, (son of

immigrants from an island off of Portugal) did not join in.

 

Felda helped me to realize who she was talking about by adding,

in a most definite direction I would NEVER agree with,

 

“Why do blacks get taught to hate whites in America?¬† In the

Philippines, everyone loves others. We were ‘slaves’ in our own

history, but we ‘don’t hold it against you.'”

 

Okay, now I knew where silence would not be appropriate. I

had to dig myself out of a hole, so to speak. I said that she did

not understand the trials, tribulations and how people who were

slaves, or had slave ancestors, were affected by their treatment.

They may have possibly been taught to ‘mistrust’ white people.

 

Inside my head for a moment, I thought possibly only coming

here to live in the U.S. (and marrying Jason, an American) in

the 1990’s may have given Felda less understanding of the

long history, prevailing ways and practices which continue

going on from when the Civil War ended in the 1860’s, into

the present. The other two of  her friends have always been

less outspoken and didn’t try to contribute or interpret what

she meant by her hurtful words.

 

I added,¬† “This is not how this conversation was meant to go.”

 

I had hoped that by talking about “Selma,” to help everyone

at this table understand why fear and distrust could become

part of a familial pattern of handling people. The small town

in Mississippi had many people showing their prejudice against

the blacks. I had especially thought the Filipinos (what they

insist on being called at work) would have empathetic feelings

coming from their own personal experiences of prejudice.

 

I looked at Melvin, who is sophisticated and warm.  He had

served in the Army, traveled Europe and was raised in an open

minded, accepting and loving family. He would give the shirt off

his back and has often been found this brittle cold winter, under

the hood of a fellow employee’s car trying to fix or replace a part.

Actually, the speaker of this unfortunate point of view, had been

‘only charged for car parts’ when she had needed four brakes

replaced by Melvin and other repair assistance.

 

I wondered why Felda had said this about blacks, without any

clarification? Did she intend to hurt Melvin?

The rest of the people at the table were either Filipino or

white.

 

Melvin shrugged. He knew it was pointless to mention that

this person who arrived in America, married an American,

may not completely understand the racial issues, tensions

and dynamics here in the United States.

 

Melvin felt my eyes on him, urging him to ‘speak up.’ Finally,

he responded by saying,

“My people are not nor have ever been descendants of slaves,

but I feel a lot of sympathy for the blacks here. I get the same

kind of attitude from whites as they do, I get followed around

in jewelry stores, I have been shoved while at a peaceful protest

rally by a ‘white supremacist’ cop and have been taken aside to

be shouted at. I would ‘never measure up to the white people’

in my Army experiences. This came from more than one officer

in the Army.”

 

Melvin quietly expressed his thoughts on a tough issue,

“I will share this additional thought: black people raised in the

South are different from black people raised in the North. To

be honest, unfortunately their perspectives are not the same.”

 

I went on a limb and put my thoughts out there for friends

who had included me in christenings, birthday parties and

delicious meals at parties where we sang karaoke together,

 

“I need to study your islands’ history better of what you call

‘slavery.’ I am not sure that slavery there was the same as

slavery here. I have the misunderstanding that your culture

may have a history of servitude.  Sometimes smiling when you

were crying inside, but this is probably inaccurate. Meanwhile,

I would never agree with your statement about the black culture

being raised to hate whites.”

 

As far as research, there are considered to be 130,000 to as

many as 160,000 people in the Philippines who are part of

sex trafficking, indentured servitude and this is from an article

on October 9, 2013 from the newspaper called, “The Manila

Times.”

 

I wished to re-emphasize my opening remarks to them.¬† I didn’t

realize the total impact on everyday activities of black people from

those who felt ‘superior’ to an entire race until recently. I heard

‘snippets of history’ in school. Like not being allowed to ride in

the middle or front of a bus, Rosa Parks ‘took a stand’ for freedom.

I saw firsthand the water fountains, restaurants and other public

buildings in the 1960’s. They were labeled, “For Colored People.”

I knew this must have been hard or rough on anyone living in

their skin color. We read together my kids and I about the

Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman.

 

I just finished a great book by Tara Conklin, considered historical

fiction called, “The House Girl.” It has the legal aspects of the

reparation act for families of slaves.  Every other chapter is about

a young woman called “Josephine” who worked in a slave owner’s

house. She learned how to paint from her ‘mistress.’ Later, the

‘house girl’s’ art work is given credit to her owner. Learning is

ongoing.

 

I was truly interested and asked,

“How long ago in Philippines’ history were there slaves?”

 

“Selma” brought back memories of partial lessons for me.

It depicted Ku Klux Klan members, cruelty and ‘hate crimes.’

Who could ever wish to bomb churches and not allow people

to gather in protest?

It is hard to imagine but not right to brush uncomfortable

subjects under the table. Seeing these violent acts on film,

brought back how recently this had happened. It made me

wish to promote this movie, as I did last year when I saw the

fine film, ’12 Years a Slave.’

 

Felda, Mary Jane and May have not looked me in the eyes

since this happened. I continue to say, “Good Morning” and

ask how their family members are, ask how their weekends

went, etc. They give me short answers and have been sitting

at their own table, talking in their own language. I don’t regret

my words, but was sincerely meaning to defend Melvin, along

with my own grandchild’s heritage.

 

My oldest daughter’s son, Micah is 1/4 black. His father’s Dad

plays an integral link to his life and comes to family gatherings.

 

Micah has overheard their complaints about prejudice. We

talk openly about how his own father has been pulled aside

roughly by teachers, coaches and strangers. When he shows

his ‘independence’ it is sometimes considered ‘an attitude.’

This happened with my coworker and friend, Cheryl (who

recently lost her grandson to illness). She has been told, she

says that she “has a chip on her shoulder.”

 

Micah was in preschool when a fellow  4 year old asked him,

“Is your Daddy a terrorist?”

 

This fills my eyes with tears, my heart with sadness and my

mind with fear for Micah, too. It is ‘still out there.’ Even in the

minds of immigrants who feel that black culture is ‘filled with

hatred.’

 

Here is an update on getting an ‘excuse’ written for my eyesight

and concerns for safety while driving heavy equipment. My phone

call with my ophthalmologist left me without anything promised

in writing and another appointment made in April.

 

I visited the optometrist who seemed more interested in helping

me. She wrote a well thought out letter, including the reasons I

would not be a safe candidate for ‘heavy bulk’ at the warehouse.

 

She wrote about my lack of depth perception, my monovision

while wearing a close distance contact to read fine print and a

far distant contact to see far away. She mentioned my not being

able to judge distances, especially in the narrow passages while

driving backwards with the double pallet riding equipment.

 

Her professionalism and need to be clear, may have included

details which won’t help my cause:

“Robin’s peripheral vision and depth perception would be

greatly improved by wearing single vision distance only

spectacles instead of contact lenses. Obviously, if the patient

is in a warehouse, she should be wearing safety spectacles.”

 

I have been wearing contact lenses throughout my six years

at Advance Auto Distribution Center. I am most confident

while reading the tiny UPC codes, picking the correct items

to place into bins, hampers or gaylords. (Containers which

are actually huge cardboard boxes for Open Stock and used

in heavy bulk on top of a wooden pallet and plastic pallet.)

 

I won’t change to regular glasses to carry out my job nor to

bifocals. I am not sure I would be as confident in performing

my job with single vision glasses. The reason I chose contacts

was because I used to have to take off my glasses to read the

fine print, use the RF’s (tablet computers) and now, new piece

of equipment,  a Bluetooth computer on my arm.

 

As my good friend, Jenny, honestly suggested work may try

to force me to use glasses and go to work in heavy bulk.

I am ‘screwed.’

 

My ophthalmologist who had told me he could not write a letter

until I came in for another appointment. I will hold out for Hope.

An April letter request will hopefully include all the parts that

Dr. Wagner wrote without the details suggesting I switch to

glasses or ‘safety spectacles.’

 

Thanks for your concern about my work situation with my

vision and cross training into heavy bulk work once again.

When I tried this for eight weeks of a summer, I managed

to run into metal racks, back into a pallet on the shipping

floor knocking the products over and wearing my nerves

into a frazzle.

 

I need to find a way out of this physically demanding area

without leaving my job. I have a much better salary than

other positions listed in the newspaper and have finally

earned three weeks’ vacation this year. If necessary, as many

have mentioned, my being fired for refusing to go to heavy

bulk may be my ‘release’ to a better solution. There were such

great and positive suggestions from all of you. Thank you.

 

 

If you have had a stressful or awkward situation at work

please feel free to comment and add to the conversation.