Category Archives: middle school

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?

 

 

 

 

Happy Moments

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Here are some funny jokes that have children and all ages involved

in them. They will hopefully bring you a chuckle and some cheerful

thoughts to get you through the rest of the week. These came from

Pookie, my Mom’s good friend in California. Mom circled a few of

the  jokes on the pages and added her own wording.  I trust her

editing and typed them pretty closely to how she had these.

These are story ‘jokes’ where it may actually sound like they are

written by me, but they are not. I think it is fun to insert myself or

people I know into them.

1.  The Facts of Life:

“On the way home from a Cub Scout meeting, my grandson

innocently said to my daughter,

“Mommy, I know babies come from tummies, but how do they get

there in the first place?”

My daughter tried to change the subject, not quite ready to ‘break

the birds and the bees’ speech’ out at such a late hour with her 10

year old and 5 year old listening in rapt silence.

When she had ‘hemmed and hawed’ awhile, my grandson said in an

exasperated tone,

“Mom, it’s okay if you don’t know the answer, just tell me so!”

2.  A Military Story:

“Just before my friend’s son was deployed to Iraq, he sat his 8 year

old son (her grandson) down and broke the news to him, as gently

as possible, under the circumstances,

“Jimmy, I am going to be away for a long time but will keep in touch

with you, as much as possible.”

His son asked him, looking worried,

“Where are you going?”

Suddenly the friend’s son thought, ‘Oh no, I must not make him

worry,

Maybe he thinks I am dying… After all, just a few months’ ago, his

uncle had passed away…

“Jimmy, I am going to a far off country called, Iraq.”

Jimmy looked at his father like he was crazy and said,

“Don’t you know there’s a war going on over there, Dad?”

3.  Famous People Story, Kid’s Perspective:

“One afternoon a few years ago, Paul Newman was visiting the “Hole

in the Wall Gang Camp” for children stricken with cancer, AIDs and

blood diseases.

When a camp counselor spotted the actor with his wife, Joanne

Woodward, he pointed the couple out to his table of children,

‘That is the man who made movies and is a famous movie star

with his beautiful wife. Have you ever noticed or seen his picture

on salad dressing bottles?’

The kids all gave the camp counselor ‘blank stares.’

He tried once again to let them know about the importance to this

camp Paul Newman and his wife’s philanthropic project meant to

the kids,

“This couple came up with the idea for this camp so you could come

and enjoy the outdoors. Have you ever seen his face on any lemonade

cartons?”

Finally, a little eight year old girl perked up,

“How long was he missing?”

4.  God’s Problem Now:

“A man was at his wife’s graveside service, talking and thanking

people for coming to the funeral, despite it being such a stormy day.

He was speaking to the minister who had been so supportive to him

and his family.

All of a sudden, a massive clap of thunder rang through the gray clouds,

followed by a tremendous bolt of lightning.

This was followed by even more rumbling thunder in the distance.

The elderly man looked at his pastor, calmly saying,

“Well, we know she made it!”

5.  An “Aw-w-w!” Moment:

“I was waiting in the reception area of my doctor’s office, when a

woman rolled an elderly man in a wheelchair into the outer room.

As she went to check the elderly man in, over at the receptionist’s

desk, the man sat there alone and silent. His head was down, either

sleepy from his drive there or not feeling well.

Just as I was thinking about making small talk, hoping to brighten

his day, a little boy across the room slipped off his Mommy’s lap.

He walked timidly over to the older gentleman and placed his hand

over the top of the man’s.

He looked directly at the man and said,

“I know how you feel. My Mommy makes me ride in a stroller, too.”

6. Last one, hope this makes you smile. . .

“A group of us were chatting, while my oldest daughter was nursing

her son, (my grandson), Micah.

A 3 1/2 year old cousin, my son’s youngest daughter, went over to

my daughter…

She was quite curious and started asking questions,

‘What ‘cha doing?’

Carrie said, ‘I am feeding your baby cousin, Micah.’

‘What’s it taste like?’

Carrie responded, ‘Like milk. Like the stuff your Mommy puts in

your bedtime bottle.’

(She was still getting a bedtime bottle, soon to be a sippy cup instead.)

She was intrigued by the whole process, waiting to watch Carrie burp

Micah. When Carrie tucked herself back into her nursing bra, the last

comment ‘brought the house down,’ of the family gathering of adults

and children bursting into huge laughs,

‘My Mommy has two of those, but I don’t think she knows

how to use them.'”

My real family news, all joking aside:

Today, Lara is singing at Willis Middle School with the Chorus

singers. I am excited to be going to my first grandchild’s Middle

School program. I hope they will sing holiday songs. I will let you

know tomorrow. (12/17/14)

Tomorrow, in the later evening, Skyler, Micah and my oldest girl,

will do our annual tradition of seeing the lights at Alum Creek State

Park, which used to have just the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” now

has many wonderful displays. This display has gradually expanded

each year since my own three children, my parents and I would take

them. My parents had a Trans Van, which was a great way for the

kids to have a snack, their pajamas on, and get to see both sides of

the presentations. While you drive, you can tune into a local radio

channel that has the songs that go with the displays.

Dad was a ‘big kid at heart’ and loved listening to my children exclaim

in excited voices, “oooh!” and “aahh!” We would also enjoy going to

see Santa Claus across the street at Cross Creek Camp Ground. My

parents liked to sometimes stay there in the summer in the guest lots.

This probably excites me even more than the grandkids and my oldest

daughter. I pay for the ‘treat’ which goes to a worthy cause. They

are happy and do pipe up with their own little exclamations, like their

Mom did, when she was a girl.

What is your favorite family tradition?

Do you like to go out in your vehicle and look at Christmas lights

and decorations? Is there a special neighborhood that you like to

so see annually?

Truth or Dare?

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Who would think a pack of gum would get me thinking of my pre-

teen years?  When overnights would include such fun and exciting

games as, “Truth or Dare?” The gum is made by the Wm. Wrigley Jr.

Company, Chicago, Illinois  60642. Its label says, “RPM 5 Gum.”

It has “Truth or Dare” (some space and on another line), “Play and

You Could Win.” This gum product tastes like a citrusy-fruit flavor.

I would say it has a sour ‘front’ flavor changing into a sweeter ‘after’

flavor. It contains some not great’ sounding ingredients given as:

Soy Lecithin, Phenylketonurics and Phenylalanine. I am unsure of

what these would do to you, if you ate pack after pack, let alone

chewing to get the flavor then discarding it, as I do.

 

The clever side of the gum pack says:  “Post your truths. Share your

dares.”

 

The inside of the pack has a number which can be logged in to

“5TRUTHORDARE.COM” If you do so, you are entered to win

possibly a “$10,000 Adventure” or “One of 100,000 Instant Prizes.”

I seem to be going on a lot about the package facts, but here is the

fun part of the pack of gum,

Each stick of gum has a golden wrapper with 3 different choices.

I decided to write down just two gum sticks’ worth of choices:

1. The first stick of gum that I chewed from this pack had these

three choices on its golden wrapper:

a. “Dare:  Record five different sounds made with this gum

wrapper.”

My reaction, you may be able to talk muffled through it,

you may be able to attempt whistling (like a blade of grass)

with it between your lips or you could just crinkle it and make

scratchy sounds from the wrapper.

b. “Truth:  If you were granted one wish what would you

ask for?”

*** This is up for grabs if you wish to answer this in the

comments section…***

c. “Dare:  Visit five places today that you’ve never been to.

Post pictures at #5TruthOrDare.

***If you have some extra time to spare after reading this,

please fill us in on five places you have never been to, that

you would wish to go.***

 

2. The second piece of gum that I chewed, after lunch had

these three choices given:

a. “Dare:  Do as many push ups as you can in one minute.”

***Sorry, I did not ‘take this dare!’

b. “Truth:  What foods have sent tears streaming down your

face?”

***I will ask you, do you wish to answer this one?***

c. “Dare:  Drop what you are doing and play air guitar.”

Okay, I did this intentionally by Melvin, since he is one

of the crazy people who would not make fun of me. So,

I stopped him up in the Mezzanine, filling orders and

pushing our carts, he was coming from one direction in

a row of products, I was coming from the opposite way,

facing him. I got in front of my car so he could see me,

I leaned forward with my air guitar and then, to be more

dramatic, I got on one knee, closed my eyes and held it

above my head.

Then, I calmly went back to behind my cart and continued

forward. When we got together in the middle of the aisle,

Melvin being the ‘cool dude’ that he is, looked at me and

smiled then he said,

“So Robin . . . Was that Santana or Jagger?”

(I sure did want to hug him for this great comment, which

completed my Dare so well! I mean, I could not have asked

for a better reaction!)

 

At slumber parties, as my friends and I got older, we liked to

try and slip out of the house. Sometimes, it was quite innocent

and we would sit out in the cool, damp grass, whispering.

Other times, we had asked a group of guys to come by, which

would involve a little bit of logistics and stamina. There were

times the guys would be later or not even show up. We never

necked or made out with the guys. We may have held hands or

gotten a hug. We would tingle with anticipation for what kind

of moves the guys would make on us?

These were much anticipated and filled with excitement, just

to get this attention and level of participation and interaction.

 

When I reached high school age, my parents liked us to come

home, so it was rare to get to have sleepovers or go somewhere

else. My favorite parties, (have probably shared this more than

once), were marching band, science club and theater after parties.

The drama group was more likely to be wilder and have some of

those “Truth or Dare” situations. I always smile when I think of

the times when the marijuana joints were passed over my head

or the chivalrous guys would say I didn’t have to carry out some

of the more sexually oriented ‘dares.’ It was a fun way to pass the

time and I did do two dares after I reached 16 years old. The first

entailed going in a closet with a boy for, “__ Seconds of  Heaven.”

I have heard people say how many seconds their friends would

count out loud, but I swear my friends counted to “Seven.” Does

not sound like very long. . . Was it due to rhyming with “Heaven?”

 

I do remember playing ‘tricks’ on girls in their sleeping bags at Girl

Scout camp. One was we would get hot water dipping one of their

hands into a container. Supposedly, sometimes people would then

‘pee’ in some age groups. We did not have this happen. Ever. We

also took a person out of our tent, using three girls to help us and

put her in another bunk bed in another platform tent. Switching

beds was hilarious, we thought, at the time! Our ‘dares’ seem rather

tame now. The common things we liked to do at slumber parties

were to fix each other’s hair, practice make-up skills, call up boys

and usually hang up, prank call other people and play with the

mystical Ouija Board, calling for Spirits to come forward. This

would raise the hair on my arms. We liked listening to music,

practicing our ‘dance moves’ and watching late night movies.

 

In answer to one wish I would make: Good health for my whole

family. (Hoping longevity would accompany this unspoken wish.)

 

In answer to the five places I would like to go:

1.  England, Ireland and Scotland.

2.  California; Driving across the country.

3.  Hawaii or an Island cruise.

4.  Canada; More around the whole country, not just

where I have been to. (Niagara Falls, Toronto and Quebec)

5.  Australia and New Zealand.

 

What do you remember being your bravest “Dare” that you took?

Were there any memorable ‘antics’ or ‘challenges’ you did not take

but someone else did?

White Lace and Promises

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There once was a girl who was from a different elementary school from my children’s

school. There are five elementary schools, hers was Conger, my kids went to Smith.

She lived across the street from us, she became ‘fast friends’ one summer, when she

found out my youngest daughter was going to Willis Middle School in the fall with

her. We had just moved in, when they met on the sidewalk. Soon, the two girls were

inseparable. They would go down to the pool, they would go to Blue Limestone Park

and travel around the neighborhood, upon their bikes.

This girl is named Holly, my daughter is Felicia. They would call each other up, on

land line telephones. I look at my same land line phone, set up in my current apt. and

remember that there was a chair in our foyer, this white telephone with its gold edges

and push button numbers was one I have a photograph with Felicia talking to the girl

who lived across the street. Why weren’t they visiting, instead of on the phone? I am

not sure but this was an age when ‘grounding’ occurred, sometimes as the meted out

punishment.

Soon Holly would call up and ask what we were having for dinner, she liked the way

I ‘grilled’ the hot dogs in butter in a skillet, the way I used a can of spaghetti sauce,

(Hunts brand, mushroom sauce) adding oregano, basil and onion salt. She thought

it was fun to come over and eat dinner, sometimes lingering around in the back yard

with Felicia, pretending they were acrobats and other imaginary circus players on

our wooden ‘gym set.’ Often, one or the other home would be the place they had a

‘sleepover.’

These two friends went through high school, joining soccer and basketball together,

along with their separate interests. Felicia quit soccer, to become a Cross Country

runner, Holly became a cheerleader. They shared a lot of common thoughts and

goals. They both were runners-up, or ‘contestants’ for Homecoming Queen, their

senior year. They shared a great graduation party held at the Delaware County

Fair, where the cost of $200 was divided up amongst five good and solid friends.

All five girls went off to college, staying in touch, going and visiting each other’s

campuses.

The first of the original five friends is getting married today. I have to choose

between three dresses to wear, my youngest daughter wishes me to wear the

longest, new dress. It is a sleeveless dress, with cream, pastel peach, tan and

black details geometric dress. She helped me choose it a young people’s

clothing store, called “Forever Twenty-One.” I have a beautiful autumn mid-

length dress I wore at my son’s wedding six years ago. It has a brighter fall

colors palette with a lovely sweater I could wear over it. I have only worn it

twice. Once on a date and possibly today. The third choice of dresses is a

right below the knee dress, with more ‘pizzazz’ which I have never worn;

like the first choice. It has a jeweled burnt orange diamond that makes my

bodice area look more fuller, with the way it creates folds on both sides of

the diamond. It has the deepest autumn colors which includes swirls and

paisley designs. I went from the pastels in the first, the medium tones in

the second and the deeper ‘jewel’ tones in the last one, with a brighter

orange, olive green and cream background. Each one I will probably wear

gray or tan hose, black velvet pumps and they are about 3 inches high. I

don’t like the brown purse, brown set of shoes I tried all three on, although

you would think they would ‘match’ the fall colors, the black outlines in

each dress seems to need black shoes and purse.

My best girlfriend, Jenny, and I were discussing the 3:30 wedding and

the evening reception. It is not going to start much past 5:00 since even

the longest wedding would not go on that long. She left the length question

unanswered, as a good friend she just said, “Wear whichever you feel you

look best in. Don’t worry about the length.”

After looking at George Clooney and recent bride, Amal’s wedding photos,

studying the guests, I saw no one except the bridal party wearing long

dresses. It put doubts into my youngest daughter’s reassurances about the

sleeveless dress, the first choice I described. Since today’s high may be too

cool to take off the sweater chosen for this dress. (Black with black with gold

edged buttons.) I have a burnt orange colored stone necklace for the two

other dresses, which was made by an artist, looks very stunning with v-neck

dresses, as the two mid-length and knee-length dresses.

My youngest daughter is not a bridesmaid in this wedding, not sure of who

was chosen, since I will find out when I go to the wedding. Felicia was chosen

to read the quotation taken from the end of the 2001 “Love Actually” British

movie. It is meaningful, powerful and brings tears to my eyes. About airports,

greetings and partings, how the world changed for some from 9/11/01 World

Trade Center bombings, but how people still embrace and have hope for Love.

 

White lace and promises, most may remember is taken from that all-time

favorite wedding song of the 70’s through today by the Carpenters:

“We’ve Only Just Begun.”

Memories of a friendship that traveled over the years, through thick and

thin, to transformation of closeness and dear friendship to where they are

right now, Felicia will have a special and meaningful place in the story.

 

It will be forever changed when Holly marries Nate today on October 4, 2014.

They dated for four years, they have been engaged for a year now and own a

home together.

Best wishes for happiness to the Bride (who is like a daughter) and Groom!

Makes me hum the song, “Through the Years,” which Kenny Rogers sang.

Grandma’s Wedding Dress

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My Dad’s mother was a tiny woman of short stature, with her large brown eyes

peering expectantly in her face from under her wedding veil. There is a portrait of a

group of women, gathered in a photograph, where they are all wearing wedding

gowns. It is unique to see this 85 year old picture, where there are 28 women in

varied lengths and shades of their wedding dresses.

This sepia and cream photograph, which I chose to frame recently, in a gold-

filigreed metal frame with burgundy velvet backing, has been in my ‘custody’ for

almost 40 years.

I took this so-called “Pagaent of Wedding Gowns,” picture where I had to scan and

search carefully to find my grandmother here, out of my mother’s old red leather

photo album. This album was the kind where black pages had white ink lettering

that filled in “only a few gaps in all the years” collected. The words under the

pageant’s heading say, “Women’s Auxiliary.” I wonder why the word ‘pagaent’

is misspelled this way?

 

My old blogging friend, Lorna, seriously you have been around since about 2 years

ago, (Not ‘old’ in age, heaven’s no!) is getting married tomorrow! I am rejoicing and

dancing in my head at this good fortune and news! Please check out one of her most

endearing and comical posts about hers and Phil’s wedding ‘planning!’

http://lornasvoice.com/2014/09/11/the-idiots-guide-to-non-wedding-planning/

 

My warmest regards to the Happy Couple! Upcoming wedding of my youngest

daughter’s best friend from middle school, Holly and Nate, will be on October 4, ’14.

Showering these two couples with love, laughter and the best married lives ever!

So, if I lived closer, Lorna, I would be there for you: singing the funny song,

“I’m Getting Married in the Morning, ding dong the bells are going to ring…”

(from “My Fair Lady,” only inserting “You’re” for “I’m.)

 

My Mom, at the time, did not pay too close attention to this album, since we often

‘ransacked’ memorabilia, in those days.  Usually, I was borrowing scarves, clothes,

jewelry or those dainty handkerchiefs with embroidery or colorful woven floral

patterns. I liked to tuck these into my purses or pockets in jackets. My brothers used

to borrow men’s ties and wove them in and out of the belt loops in their bell-bottom

pant’s belt loops. Randy and I were involved in theater, he with set designs and the

stage crew. He inserted a lot of his original artwork into the plays during those

years.

Randy and I both knew how to “patch” (jeans, skirts, jackets, and other things)

and would get into my Mom’s large sewing ‘basket.’ We were more careful putting

things back in good order in there, since she was more likely to be using it sooner

than later.

The album had those black triangles, normally placed at four corners of a photo,

which had given out in two places. When I told my Mom that I needed to write

a paper or story of a historical event she just said, “Go ahead and use whatever

you like.” At the time,  I decided to do what pleased me best, to write a fairy tale

about my grandmother for this literature class I was taking my Senior year of high

school. My Grandma Oldrieve had died during my Freshman year of high school.

She had lived with us, since I was only 3 years old.

 

My Grandma O. was an enigma to me.

Although I would talk to her, she rarely spoke. She nodded her head and quietly

patted my hand. She took my arm, when I would go to get her daily for dinner.

She held herself up, while leaning on my arm. She had been ‘feeble.’ My Dad had

had to go to work while he was only 11, due to her inability to  pay rent on her

own. This story I have shared elsewhere.

 

My Dad loved his mother, but he was also quiet around her. This is a mystery,

which my Mom explains in her own about way. I do know my Mom felt

gratitude for the 12 years she lived in their homes. My Grandma helped out

with laundry and dishes. She would always send us in our pajamas to kiss her

goodnight, while she sat in her own ‘suite’ of rooms, smoking. My brothers were

hurried, but I would sit for a few minutes to check out what she was watching on

her little black and white t.v. I would perch on the arm of her comfortable chair.

Sometimes, she would give me a dry kiss on my cheek or a frail, gentle hug.

 

To describe the photograph more in detail: There are 20 women wearing white

wedding dresses, 6 wearing black dress and most are wearing long dresses. The

two women who are wearing ‘gray’ dresses, could have on pastel colors which

are only what I can detect as ‘gray.’ There are three women wearing short dresses,

which are below the knees, but would not be considered ‘short’ by most people

these days.

My Grandma O. has one of the mid-length dresses on in a wispy, gauzy kind

of material. It looks like it is layered over a taffeta or satin fabric. It makes me

think of a ballerina’s dress, not the tutu form, but the one that you see in a

formal style performance. Her dress is cream or white.

The photograph mentions that this is taken at the:

“New Thought Temple

December 8, 1939.”

 

When I wrote the details up in my ‘report’ or paper, (in high school lit. class), I

included the questions that I asked my mother and father. Was this in Cincinnati?

Did Dad ever go to this church? Do you know why they were gathered at this time?

Were the women who wore black:  widows?

The answers went like this: Yes, No, No, I think so.

 

I don’t have my original ‘Fairy Tale” about my Grandma and Grandpa,

my father’s parents. I do have the lovely stories of my mother’s parents

and grandparents’ love stories in my blogs. I did not keep any of my

high school writings, but did keep most of my doodles and scribbles,

resembling ‘art.’

 

Here is the ‘essence’ of what I had hoped my Grandmother’s wedding

day encompassed. . .

 

I wrote that my Grandmother loved her beau and wished to please him

always.  She was sweet to him, waited on him, hand and foot. She met him

at the church called, New Thought Temple. When he went off to the WWII

war, he was never the same again when he returned. There are no letters

sent from him, saved in a bundle with a ribbon around them. My Grandpa

was in a Veteran’s Hospital, when I was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He had

only one visit with my parents, my grandmother and me together. My

Mom says he smiled at me, while I was a baby. He did not hold me, my

Mom said it was due to his having sudden seizures, she was afraid he

would drop me. They held me out to have him look at me, they sat with

him and told him that my Mom was planning on having another baby,

(my brother and I are 18 months apart.) He seemed to nod and smile,

she says that he was happy to have visitors. She thinks back, sometimes

to how it may have been, if my Dad hadn’t been given a job in Tennessee

and then, later up in Sandusky. If they had stayed closer, in Cincinnati,

maybe they would have visited more often?

 

My Grandmother was a ‘dreamer’ and she tried her best while coloring in

with watercolors and colored pencils, drawings for Gibson Card company,

while she was a young woman. By the time she had my Dad, she worked

as a ‘Candy Striper’ at the big hospital in Cincinnati. She knew my Dad was

going to Kentucky to work and make wages for their bills, but she did not

express much emotion or gratitude. My father wondered if she had been

depressed or despondent and unable to express herself to her obedient

son?

My fairy tale would be that she wore that dress down the aisle and found

a strong, sturdy man at the end of that walk. My grandmother, Eveline,

had her vows shared with my grandfather, Edwin, with a fine group of

people gathered. His strength pulled them through hard times, his arms

held her up so she needn’t feel like she was alone. My fairy tale would

show her tremendous joy, spinning around while preparing to walk down

the aisle, with her cream gauzy dress. She would be  whispering love secrets

to her maid of honor,  which would give her much satisfaction later in her

life.

While she lived in her son and daughter-in-law’s house, she would reflect

back  upon that splendid day. It would be forever etched into her mind,

with all the beauty in the bouquet, the scent of roses and carnations giving

her such smiles, lingering in her mind.

The comforting three little ones who would come in all clean, powder-scented

and hair slicked back on the boys, would bring her much inner peace and joy.

Memories of her wedding pirouette with her good friends surrounding her,

then the fine wedding waltz with her handsome tall Edwin, would be her last

thought, when she succumbed to her heart attack in 1970. Heavenly visions

of her husband’s hands reaching out to guide her along.

That’s the “happily ever after,” I wished for my Grandmother.

At Last.

 

 

Lara’s Blue Rose

Standard

When Lara ‘graduated’ from her Schulz Elementary School, to

head off into what is now Willis “Middle School,” I talked to her

about finishing well in fourth grade and how proud of her I was.

The family all were very excited about her test scores and the way

she had handled school thus far.

If you grew up in the period where sixth grade was the year you

advanced to Junior High School, that is the way it when my

children, ages 28, 32 and 34, were young. They went from

fifth grade ‘graduation’ to Willis Middle School, where it was

sixth through eighth grades. Then, the last child, only stayed in

middle school for sixth and seventh, advancing to Dempsey

Junior High were she went to eighth grade. Have I confused you

yet?

What grade does your small town or big city school system

“change up” or move on, passing from elementary to a different

school?  What label do they give to the next level of education?

 

Lara’s birthday celebration was held in June, reaching the ‘big’

milestone of a ‘two digit’ number: 10! I gave her clothes for her

birthday and a craft kit to make a variety of jeweled and braided

bracelets.

 

Recently, Lara found my latest name pictures that I had drawn,

used pen and ink then ‘coloring’ in the letters, decorative items

and the little children in the pictures, with watercolor. She asked

me about the one I had done for a past friend, a mother of three

children now.

She wondered if the baby was going to like it, when she grew up?

This comment came due to the fact the baby was in a basket. She

noticed this was different; instead of my usual design that includes

an active child or a resting child. I like to make the child around 4

or 5 years old, since that is about when they will notice the framed

picture on the wall, with the letters of their name included in the

design.

I had not wanted to make Lara sad, but I told her the baby was in

“Heaven,” that she had died last year. I went on to tell her how I

came to make this picture for someone I really knew much better,

in the past.

I ran into this woman, who once a long time ago, in her high school

years, had decided to volunteer at a nursing home that I worked at

as an Activities Director. This young woman, Michelle, became quite

involved with the program. I became involved in her life. She was

living with her grandfather, but she liked when we had lunch in the

summer months and for us to run by the hospital to see her mother,

Fay, who worked at the little coffee shop there.

Along with my picking her up and dropping her off, for after hours

events and trips, we went by my house one day. I ran in and asked

my oldest daughter if she had any dresses Michelle could wear. Our

nursing home was ‘strict’ and as long as we were in the building,

we weren’t allowed to wear pants. The Director of the nursing home

also liked the female volunteers to wear skirts or dresses, too. I only

had my son, Jamie and one other young man, volunteer in the four

years I was in activities. They were asked to wear khaki pants or

dress pants, plus a collared shirt. No t-shirts allowed!

I also rummaged through my closet and allowed Michelle, to check

out a variety of clothes, then we bundled these and Carrie’s up into a

garbage bag, for her to go home and try on.

 

When I ran into Michelle at Mingo Park, I hugged her, as I always do.

This is a habit to greet all the many young people that have come and

gone from my life.

I had been pleasantly happy and amused when my coworker, Felda,

had often mentioned that she had a ‘best friend’ she met at Goodwill,

who was named “Michelle.” (Never using her maiden name, just her

married last name.)

Soon, I “met” her at the parties held by my friends and coworkers

from the Philippines. They insist we call them Filipino and they love

us to try their foods. Michelle and I have sat together at the baby

shower for Zach, his Christening Party and also Felda and Jason’s

house-warming party. I take my grandsons, who share a babysitter

with Felda’s kids, if they wish to go. Recently, my M & M girls have

chosen to attend Kridia Dawn’s birthday party and other functions.

 

We were in ‘touch’ but Michelle had never shared with me about the

loss of a baby, until we were at the park in early July. She and her

husband were with their 3 children. They were running around with

my two grandsons, Micah and Skyler who were also having fun on

the playground equipment.

 

Michelle showed me pictures of a healthy baby girl, full term, who

weighed 8 lbs. 2 oz. She was named, “Katie Mae.” She had fair skin,

like her sisters Lily and Anna. Also like her blonde brother, William.

The children had held their new baby sister, last summer. Michelle,

who started to cry throughout this visit, told me that Anna had

kissed her sister many, many times. Lily was happy to help get

diapers and bring her blankets. William had held the baby for a

minute then had asked to have her given back to her mother.

The baby cried a lot after she came home from the hospital with

her mother.

Lara was absorbed by all of this, she and her brother Landen, had

been a ‘family’ once with a Dad name Kevin and their mother,

Trista. The parents got divorced, my son met Trista when Lara

and Landen were preschoolers and married her.

Lara has been a wonderful ‘big sister’ to Jamie and Trista’s girls,

the M & M’s. This, along with two more brothers, from her Daddy

Kevin’s second marriage.

Lara wanted to know why the baby died?

It is hard to explain, but Michelle says the baby got a red rash on her

second day home from the hospital, she worried and called the doctor’s

office. The doctor’s nurse called back to suggest a different formula.

She suspected an allergic reaction. The parents went out and got new

formula, this time the 2nd night at home, was filled sadly, with the

baby’s shrieks.

They bundled their children into their clothes, wrapping little Katie

carefully up.

She just seemed ‘tender to the touch,’ Michelle explained.

At the hospital, they were in the waiting room for quite some time,

but once inside one of the E.R. rooms, the intern was very kind

and blood was drawn. He thought it may be an allergic reaction

but was concerned about the way the baby was shrieking, not

wanting to take the bottle, the redness and rash was bright and

splotchy. He prescribed a baby’s antibiotic, sent them home.

There would be a call the next day, the diagnosis possibly of a

blood disease, a different prescription to pick up.

The baby went to sleep quietly, eerily, after first being held by

each parent. Katie looked solemnly into her father’s eyes. Next,

Michelle held her carrying her to bed. She says Katie “searched

her face.” She remembers Katie studying her eyes.

There are many photographs, but the one that stands out most

to me, is heart-wrenching. They managed to capture Katie looking

straight into her Daddy’s eyes. It was a profile image, which is so

precious.

This was her third night at home.

Michelle nodded her head when I exclaimed,

“Katie is looking at him like, ‘Why can’t you make me feel better?!'”

This was the last picture they took of Katie. She died on her

fifth night of life.

(The coroner found cause of death to be, “Undetermined.”)

 

Lara wants me to make her a new name picture, it has her

name in ‘cursive’ with a blue rose above it, with cheerleading

pom pom’s on the sides, a football with Cleveland Browns

written below it, with an ice cream cone, one scoop of mint

ice cream and one of vanilla. She was adamant about the blue

rose.

I will share what I found out about blue roses. I want you to

know, all of you literary people, that I right away visualized the

scene in “The Glass Menagerie,” where Laura is called, “Blue

Roses,” by the brother and by the visiting ‘gentleman caller.’

This is due to her having pleurosis, which I thought was ‘pleurisy.’

Wikipedia says Tennessee Williams’ real life sister was named

“Rose” but did have ‘pleurosis.” I remembered the blue roses’

reference from that 1944 play.

Then, I looked up the way that genetic engineering has created

blue roses. In the past, blue roses were ‘made’ by putting white

roses into blue food coloring or sprayed by a blue vegetable dye.

 

I had made pictures in the past years of Lily, William and Anna’s

names years before. I delivered Katie’s to Michelle’s family, on

Sunday night. The three children, Katie’s sisters and brother,

wanted me to see their bedrooms and their toys.

In the picture I made, I had added a pink rose above Katie’s head

on her little blanket and one on where the blanket crossed her

chest, there are blue forget-me-not’s in the grass and a white

bunny lying by the basket. There are tall sunflowers and tulips

in other places on the picture. I had included a sun bonnet, with

purple violets hanging on one of the tall letters.

I mentioned to Michelle and Kevin, quietly, that I lost two babies

before they were born, one at 4 1/2 months and one at 4 months.

My children and I had a tradition that I started the year the last one

died, which includes reading a special book to and putting an angel

ornament on the Christmas tree for each of their 2 ‘lost siblings.’

I told them once I had been to hear a country gospel group, The

Greens, sing at Ohio Wesleyan University, in Gray Chapel.

One of the sweetest songs I heard that night was called, “There’s

A Rocking Chair In Heaven.”

We nodded, words left unspoken.

We hugged.

Famous T. V. Dads

Standard

Famous television fathers were quite conventional, sometimes filling

current stereotypes, but they usually seemed above normal in their

tolerance and patience. We were talking at Friday’s midpoint mark, in

the breakroom about how we may have formed misconceptions about

the way dads should act from watching these early family shows. After

all, most of us did not have traditional fathers, who would go to work in

suits and ties, come in cheerful, pull out a newspaper and quietly unwind.

I am sure my father wished he could have been ‘so lucky!’

My family consisted of two bread-winners and the three of us children,

were often in the winter months the last ones picked up at our baby-

sitter’s house. I remember looking out of Mrs. Boos’ picture window

into the darkness, wondering which day it was that Mom was doing her

oracle debates, drama or Spanish club meetings? I would sigh with an

almost exasperated ‘whoosh!’ when I finally saw her station wagon’s

headlights in the driveway. Mrs. Boos had two sons who played with my

brothers, occasionally I would join in or get a chance to sit on Diana’s

bed, her teenaged daughter and look at pictures of the Beatles or the

Dave Clark Five, or sometimes there would be magazines full of fashion

and hairstyles. My Mom was pleased when Diana went to Kent State

University and invited me to spend “Siblings Weekend,” as Diana’s baby

‘sister,’ Robin.

When we got home, my Dad, usually, would be home shortly, pulling off

his tie, after he took off his jacket, asking what he needed to do to ‘pitch

in.’ Spoiled me, made me think all fathers were like this. Today, Saturday,

June 14th, 2014, they had on the CBS Morning Show, a segment on the

percentage of fathers in the fifties, sixties and seventies that helped out

in child-rearing responsibilities. Sadly, they still said in the more recent

years the percentage of household responsibilities, even with working

moms being in the majority, it is still not a 50/50 deal.

Anyway, Melvin’s Mom and Dad were more like my parents, sharing the

chores and also, enjoying family times together. He admitted most of

his African American friends had either a limited amount of fatherly

involvement or none.

Tammy said that her mother had stayed home, whenever she would ask

for help inside the house, her father was quick to remind her, “You don’t

work.” She was dismayed at this behavior, remembering, even as a young

girl in her imagination, “I won’t stand for this in my adult life!” (Tammy

and Mike have been friends since childhood, “fence post buddies,” but have

never tied the knot.) She certainly is open that she doesn’t even have a

joint account with Mike, they just split the bills and love each other. She

is an independent woman, almost the ‘polar opposite’ from the parents

she dearly loves.

Trevinal said his parents are more together now, but in his childhood his

father sounded like my first husband, wished for dinner on the table,

kids cleaned up and early to bed, and lots of time watching his favorite

sports shows on television. There is a whole different love that he and his

wife share, more understanding and encouragement. He is so ‘blessed,’

he says to have someone who believed in his ability to think. The family

cannot believe that he is in Nursing School, working fulltime to pay his

bills and rising far above the expectations of Special Education. He feels

that by meeting the ‘right’ woman to share his life is a ‘daily blessing.’

His being in his thirties, reminds me of my own son, and I also remind

him of my belief in his ability to be a good father, when the time comes.

Here are the above persons’ and other coworkers, along with family

members who have cited some excellent, funny and different television

situational comedies for “Best Examples of Television Fathers:”

1.  My favorite father of all time, is from the show, “My Three Sons.” This

show allowed a non-traditional father, in amongst the ‘drones’ that I

found on other television shows. The combined household of widower,

played by Fred McMurray, his brother, who was the boys’ Uncle Charlie,

and the three rowdy boys always made me admire the patience, fortitude

and compassion showing what I considered “true family values.”

 

That is not to say, I didn’t laugh at the antics of Dick Van Dyke, Danny Thomas,

John Forsythe  (“Bachelor Father”) or Brian Keith (“Family Affair.”) I also liked

“The Ozzie and Harriet Show,” an almost first time reality show, since the family

was played by actual family members. I liked the sense of humor and the handsome

boys in this one! (Diana, my babysitter’s daughter, also had a few articles in her

teen magazines which featured the Nelson boys, especially the “cute” Ricky!

 

2.  Hugh Beaumont, who played the Dad on “Leave It to Beaver,” was the one

that my coworker, Mark, listed as his favorite. The different ways that influenced

his choice was first he liked that Beaver’s mother wore an apron, like his mother

did, daily. Also, that the father character hardly ever yelled, even under stressful

times.

3.  Tammy said the whole family in her household liked, “The Danny Thomas

Show.” I still like that Marlo Thomas was an independent woman, not hurrying

into marriage until she fell in love, in real life, with the talk show host, Phil

Donahue. I also personally enjoyed the fact she is a columnist in my “AARP

Magazine.” Tammy said she liked Danny Thomas, since he presented a few

shows, mentioning different cultures. I would have to check this out, but do

support and believe in St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Marlo has said that she

got her Dad’s slightly sarcastic sense of humor, which carries her through

tough times.

4.  Trevinal still remembers almost every show that “Family Matters” had

on television. He has found this to calm him, looking at Urkel’s silly dress

code, high water pants and his often expressed question, “Did I do that?”

The sense of humor and the family were something he admired and felt

that Urkel’s character was one that gave him confidence when he made

mistakes, throughout many of his years,  in life.

Trevinal’s words are very powerful, expressing this to me:

“Whenever Urkel goofed up, people would roll their eyes, sometimes

bellow at him, but always forgive him. That is how I wish to be when I

am a father.”

Reginald VelJohnson, who played the father in “Family Matters,” is

in one of my youngest daughter’s favorite shows, “Hart of Dixie.”

(Rachel Bilson and Tim Matheson play doctors on that country

setting show.)

Trevinal also noted that Urkel was a neighbor,  the family next door’s kid,

but he became part of the family and included, whether wanted there or not,

anyway.

5.  Keith told me, laughing, while lifting a box in the aerosol room, in what we

call the “Bomb Shelter,” that his favorite father character was Archie Bunker.

That show was called, “All in the Family,” where all sorts of issues popped up,

Archie sticking his neck out, saying all kinds of bigoted or prejudiced comments,

but usually backing down on them. Meeting people of all ethnicities, while they

were in an urban setting, with his wife being accepting, his daughter also very

open minded and often, Rob Reiner, playing “Meathead,” took the brunt of

Archie’s anger. I asked why he thought of this character? He told me, a little

bit sheepishly, that his own father was ‘backwards’ and ‘ignorant’ like Archie

had been. This made him become aware that there were other perspectives

on people. I appreciated Keith’s candor. He also added his parents were from

Kentucky! He added this with a laugh, like that explained everything!

He also said he respected the actor, Carroll O’Connor,  who had gone on to

play a cop, with a black partner, in the show, “The Heat of the Night.”

6.  My son, James, joked that he liked Homer Simpson, for the same reason

that Keith liked Archie Bunker. He said they were the ‘opposite of everything

he hoped for in a father.’ He also said that making mistakes for Homer, making

poor judgments, did make him feel more comfortable in his own parenting

skills.

7.  My oldest daughter said she liked Patrick Duffy, in the show, “Step by Step.”

She had a crush on him, from early days of watching, “Dallas,” and also had

a young ‘crush’ on Cody, the cousin who lives in a van in the driveway on this

sit-com. I liked it because Suzanne Somers was a hairdresser, average single

mother, who found a man with children to marry. I think the idea of stepkids,

appealed to me, also in ‘The Brady Bunch.”

When I mentioned my oldest daughter’s opinion, the men still were ‘hooting’

and ‘hollering,’ in a playful manner. They said she ‘made’ the show, “Three’s

Company,” and still looks great to this day.

8.  No one named, “Father Knows Best,” but all cited this as their 2nd and 3rd

choice of Best Television Father.

9. Charlene, whose young son, Ian, was in on my ‘Opinion Poll’ on Thursday,

had said she loved, “Wonder Years.” Since the mother character is on our

favorite soap opera, (Allie Mills), she remembered to point out she is good in

“The Bold and the Beautiful.” She also mentioned that the Dad on “Wonder

Years,” had to tackle difficult teen subject matter, since the boys grow up on

that show, from junior high through high school. I have to check out the dates,

be back to tell you the years: 1988 until 1993. The father’s character was

played by Dan Lauria. The couple who ended up taking the show into the

more mature theme included Danica McKellar and Fred Savage as “Winnie

Cooper,” and the kid next door, “Kevin Arnold.” In the Arnold family, the

mother stays home while the father worked. An interesting fact that I found

out was, Danica’s sister could have won the part of “Winnie,” the directors

say it was a ‘toss up’ between Danica and Crystal McKellar.

10. My mother loved the shows with Bill Bixby, including his role in “My

Favorite Martian” and “The Hulk.” But when I would come home from

junior high and high school, I would have the lights off, my Mom sitting

on one end of the sofa with her feet up on an ottoman, watching, “The

Courtship of Eddie’s Father.” When I overheard that song on the radio

and recently, on a commercial, I would almost “tear up.” Mom was much

more tired when I was that age, she would not volunteer to be coaches,

helpers or club counselors at Westlake High School. She would be the

chaperone, with my Dad by her side, for dances. That was as much energy

as she could ‘wrangle up,’ in her forties. I love Harry Nilsson’s song, the

memory of her sometimes lightly snoring, until the song would play

and she would sit up, watch and share those moments. My one brother

would be in track, (Spring), water boy in basketball, (Winter) or in

Cross Country, (Fall). This was ‘our time.’ The song began with these

words: “Let me tell you about my best friend,…” (The song includes

the father saying, “My pride and joy.”)

By the way, the jingles or songs for television would make an excellent

memorable post. When we were noticing the songs, we all agreed that

the piano playing and the off-key singing by Edith Bunker, played by

Jean Stapleton, was iconic: “Those Were the Days.”

That “Wonder Years” song, “I Get By With a Little Help From MyFriends,”

is legendary. We were nostalgic, reminiscent of family shows when there

weren’t as many choices on television and everyone’s family gathered together

to watch the shows. Even the commercials were memorable.

10.  The last contributor to this post on television fathers was my youngest

daughter’s suggestion of “Little House on the Prairie.” She enjoyed the setting

out West, through tough times, settling and learning how to live as a family

in a different time period had intrigued her.

She grew up watching this in reruns on Nickelodeon. This television

dramatic series ran from 1974 until 1983. (She was born in 1985.)

She reminded me that she read most of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books,

after I introduced them to her. She felt Michael Landon portrayed a

very charismatic and dynamic father. I am happy that she remembered

him in this role. (His personal life, somewhat like the much admired

Bing Crosby; left much to be desired. I feel the same about Eric Clapton,

Robin Williams and Bill Cosby. Troubled, but still admired for their

personal talents and  the ‘body of their works.’)

What was your favorite television father?