Category Archives: transportation

Plant A Seed in a Child’s Mind

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I have a simple philosophy on children of 5 and 6 year old age.  I

believe these sweet little ones go into kindergarten as ‘babies’ and

come out of this period of time as, ‘school kids.’ I have seen both

Marley who attends one elementary school in kindergarten and

my grandson, Micah, who attends another elementary school in

the same level of education grow ‘in leaps and bounds.’

 

Every book their parents or I read to them, suddenly have become

‘brand new’ and they see such interesting new things in them. It is

almost like being ‘re-born.’  When it comes to understanding the

way children are ‘different’ or ‘unique,’ it really helps to watch the

changes first hand. I admit with my ‘pack of three’ being raised

with others I babysat, they were not given as much individual

attention. This becomes apparent when I am typing away the

‘bright’ quotes I can honestly listen to and apply to the six of the

grandchildren.  But, to tell you the truth, the kindergartners have

my full attention.

 

Take a week ago, when my grandson, Micah, was asking me about

my apartment. When did I move there? Why do I have my kitchen

table in the living room? Do I like having to do my laundry in the

laundry room?

 

About a month ago, my granddaughter, Marley was not totally

satisfied with looking at her own photo albums. She had a big

stack of them, since I put the 36 photo albums together each

season, for each individual grandchild. Marley has over 7 albums

to study and check out. She asked me first to look at her Daddy’s

baby photo album and then, moved on to her Aunt Felicia and

her Aunt Carrie’s. I was not asked too many questions, but I saw

her study each photo and it took her over an hour to move on to

ask me her next ‘request.’

 

Finally, she wanted to see my three “wedding dresses’ albums.”

This is how she named them. I told her I have only one photo of

the first wedding dress, so I showed her it. I told her “Aunt Carrie”

has the rest of the first wedding party photos. She is the ‘oldest’

and the only girl from this first marriage, I explained to Marley.

I really felt most of the photographs of her relatives would ‘mean

more to her’ than her brother, Marley’s Daddy.

 

She studied the three wedding dresses intently. She finally asked me

why I married each of my three husbands. I tried to make a ‘joke,’

telling her my patent answer to adults who ask me this question,

“This was my way of being a ‘serial monogamist.'”

For some reason, Marley looked like she really understood this

to be a cynical or sarcastic comment and used her scolding voice

to say,

“Nana, I am asking you a serious question: Why did you get married

more than once?”

 

My answer was a combination of “love” and “hope.” I gave her a

big hug for asking and told her,

“Your Daddy and Mommy will  be like my own parents, they found

the right match and will put effort into keeping their family together

and happy.”

 

When it comes to teaching young children about the variations of

life,  sometimes their lessons may come from viewing children and

families at the beach, grocery store or church. Up until they go to

school, they may think their family unit is just fine. My youngest

daughter asked her Dad years ago to come to special events, but

she found that I was her ‘constant’ and her ‘home.’

 

A valuable book with lessons, which could be a ‘tool’ to open a

discussion about class levels and economic differences has been

recently published.  It is called, “Last Stop on Market Street.”

The author of this delightful book is Matt de la Pena. The

illustrations are created by Christian Robinson.

 

You may already know the lessons held within this book, but it

has a rich diversity of subjects with a little boy who questions

what is around him. There is an element of ‘Life doesn’t seem to

be fair’ to him, in his questions.

 

The subject of why children don’t have as many choices of clothing,

backpacks, coats, shoes and those things are often brought up after

some time spent in kindergarten has passed. This book would help

to give a picture to children of a whole different lifestyle, while it

also is done lovingly and beautifully.

 

There are places which address the subject of what children may

like to have new clothes and other things for their first day of school.

Some ‘Big Box Stores’ have bins where you may purchase glue sticks

for your own child or grandchild, along with tossing some into the

bin. There are places where you can go to get new coats, as well as

other nice new things, ‘vouchers’ for new shoes and backpacks. They

may be held at your county fairgrounds or they could be passed out

at a local charity location. It is nice to hope that each child can start

the school year, with a ‘level playing field,’ so those students who

have less in their household income can still feel ‘pride’ in their

back to school clothes and other accessories.

 

The new book, “Last Stop on Market Street” started a great

discussion with my grandies. They were interested in knowing if

I knew such and such, did this child have the same situation as

the little boy in the book? I think this book would be almost better

to present before they go off to school. It would help for those who

have more than others, to be careful not to judge nor ask too many

questions.

 

I would label this book a ‘break through’ book, one which is rare to

find with a powerful, but gently expressed, understated message.

 

As a boy is leaving church with his grandmother, he sighs in relief,

he feels like going outside is ‘freedom.’ He has probably wriggled

and twitched, feeling confined in the church.  The boy named C.J.

holds his grandmother’s hand while she holds an umbrella over

the top of their heads.

 

The two head off to a bus stop. There is mention of this being

their weekly procedure or routine. Not everyone has a car, a

house or food every day. There is a subtle way of letting the

reader and listener of the story find this out.

 

As he looks out a window of the bus, C.J. sees a friend in a car

with his father.  After the car zips on by the bus, C.J. wonders

aloud,

“Nana, how come we don’t get a car?”

 

Later, he notes a young man listening to a digital music player

and he displays the classical example of  kid’s  ‘I want. . .’ or

wishing for something obviously out of the grandmother’s

budget.

 

Each time his Nana responds with positive words. She makes the

bus ‘come alive’ for C.J. as if it were a ‘dragon.’ She reminds him

of the bus driver’s ‘magic’ trick he plays when they get on the bus.

She mentions that the young man playing a guitar on the bus,

is entertainment enough. A blind man teaches C.J. a lesson on

senses. There are wonderful elements in this book which you

will become enchanted with, too.

 

The colorful illustrations display a myriad of views of the

community on the outside of the bus, as they pass different

sights.

 

The lesson of life being full of excitement without any technical

devices or modern conveniences is not told directly but indirectly

shown through the unfolding tale.

 

As they get off the bus, C.J. wonders why they always have to go

on Sundays to the soup kitchen for their meal. This will help

open a discussion with children or grandchildren.  In this lovely

book, it reminds us that in the “Land of Plenty”  or America, we

may not always have neighbors, friends or people living one

short block over, with as much as we have. There is a sense of

global understanding, in the diversity of characters and culture

in this book.

 

A children’s book reviewer, Julie Danielson, expressed this:

“It’s not often that you see class addressed in picture books in

ways that are subtle and seamless, but in “Last Stop on Market

Street,” the affectionate story of a young boy and his grandmother

does just that.”

 

There is a new Valentine’s Day book to recommend. It is one of the

bunny books by author Jutta Langreuter and illustrated by Stephanie

Dahle.

“There’s No One I Love Like You.”

This German author has a series of “Little Bear” books and there

are a few in her native language, too.  One which looks interesting

and magical in its illustrations with German expressions  is called,

“Frida and die Kleine Waldhexe.”

 

If you have a favorite book for children and wish to include it,

please feel free to tell us about the book and its message, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waffle Mornings

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Throughout my childhood, there were moments in time which are

treasured. Seems a little ‘simple’ or holding little ‘value,’ but our

mornings where my Mom and Dad were not going to work nor

preoccupied with their lives, were extra special. The old waffle

iron being pulled out, placed on the counter, close by to the sink

and all the ingredients of flour, sugar, baking powder and soda,

milk, butter and eggs being lined up meant this had the glowing

potential of becoming a morning of serendipity. Those mornings

are permanently engraved in my mind with the cross-hatched

imprint of homemade waffles. Mmm! My Aunt Amy always sent

us a nice bottle of maple syrup from Chardon, Ohio.

This past Thursday morning, while many families were finishing

their preparations for their Thanksgiving meal and others were

on the road traveling on crowded byways and arriving at their

destinations Mom and I were getting our breakfast prepared.

We cooked up in the toaster, four store-bought frozen blueberry

waffles, put butter  on each one, allowing them to melt into those

little square pockets and poured some real maple syrup over them.

Mom and I settled in for a huge treat, it was the morning of the

annual event:

The 88th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Mom and I enjoyed so much of the floats, musical presentations

and the marching bands. She is often amazed and surprised with

the unique balloon floats, which she exclaims and pronounces so

many of them, “my favorite one of all!”

I have a few notes down, which Mom supervised, since she felt she

should have her hand in their choices. After all, she probably has

seen a few more than I have over all the years. Although, I did remind

her that her treats on Thanksgiving morning were baking up some of

those orange glazed and vanilla frosted cinnamon rolls by Pillsbury,

not usually did she have time for waffles on Thanksgiving. Although,

there was one year that I got rather annoyed at my brother, Randy,

my Mom and Dad for being side-tracked by the Waffle House on a

Thanksgiving Day… but that is all in the history of our family, no

real need to dwell on that!

It has been 40 years of having Hello Kitty in the Macy’s parade. It

has been 45 years since Royal Caribbean has been part of the parade.

We took a moment to discuss and remember my Mom’s father and

her step-mother, who we were told to call “Aunt Vergene,” having

their honeymoon on a Royal Caribbean cruise. They has quite some

adventures with trips to places all around the world, their favorites

possibly being the Alaska trip and the Scandinavian one where my

Grandfather was able to see the fjords. (My Grandmother had passed

away long before their marriage and trips, since this is important to

my family history and the fine example of love shown by both of them.)

Mom liked the Peter Pan musical presentation, with children from the

Broadway production. There also was a commercial about the current

upcoming television production to be seen on December 4, 2014. The

cast includes Minnie Driver and Christopher Walken. I thought the

previews looked quite good and think J. M. Barrie’s tale of Peter Pan

is always a timeless treat to watch.

Mom worried about the underdressed New York City Rockettes and

yet, thought their little ‘bathing suits with gift bows’ were ‘cute.’

I am not sure what Meghan Trainor sang, need to go check: “Lips

Are Moving.” Mom said she liked that Meghan looks like a ‘nice,

healthy girl,’ and she also did not ‘mind the style of her singing.’

It was a rocking and rapping song, which was pleasant sounding.

In the little bits of her comments, she told me,

“I always love pink flamingos, they make me smile!”

“I remember the Sea World in Florida, this float captures all the

colors and beauty of the sea.”

“I love the movement and impressive activity of this band, along

with its music.”

“I remember this group, what are they called?” I answered her,

“This is the KISS band with Gene Simmons as the lead singer.”

“Oh, this is nice to hear their songs.” (The medley was a nice one,

which I may add, I was impressed that there was only one tongue

presentation. I read in the papers, the next day, there were ‘no rules

or restrictions formally given to the members of KISS.’)

 

We were both surprised that Paddington the Bear had his first time

appearance in 2014. This British icon so sweetly floated as a balloon

with his familiar blue coat, big, red hat and suitcase in hand. He looked

like he was ready to rush off and enjoy a wonderful day in England.

Paddington is one of the most recognizable children’s book characters.

It was fantastic to see him join the Parade. Next year, in 2015, will be

released the bear’s first full-length animated movie, produced by the

Weinstein Group. Not only fun and sweet memories attached, but it

never hurts to have some advertising for the upcoming movie.

During the commercials, Mom was enthusiastic about the upcoming

holiday release of Stephen Sondheim and others’ “Into the Woods,”

movie musical. With Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendricks,

and Johnny Depp playing the character of the Wolf, she was wishing

to go to see this at the theater. She waited about five minutes, with

a serious look on her face, which usually accompanies an abstract or

somber thought. I could relate to her fears expressed in this comment,

“Although, I am not sure I could sit for two or more hours without

having to use the bathroom.”

We decided we could wait until the library has this, possibly in time

for my July, 2015 vacation. We have been making a rather long list of

current movie releases, hoping to be able to watch them next summer.

The most outstanding and magnificent dancers, we felt were the Beijing

Traditional Dancers. Their float was financed and backed by the “Sino-

American Friendship Association (or Organization). It included lots of

color and the Great Wall of China in the design of the float.

I would say the ‘close second’ place Float of the morning was the one

which held the Cirque D’ Soleil crew of jugglers, athletes, dancers and

performers called appropriately: “Dream Seekers.” This float was

touted as the ‘biggest float of the parade.’

Sabrina Carpenter sang on the Pirate Ship with playful words, “I’m

Ready to Fly,” which is a beautiful song with her voice exhibiting

dulcimer tones. I will need to check her out sometime soon, to see

or better yet, hear her other songs she sings. She is young and was

born on May 11, 1999. I am giving you a prediction:  Sabrina will

go far in the musical world!

A funny but serious group of “48 Mammas” were dancing to the

song, “We’re Not Going to Take It.” They were promoting the great

message of being Against Ageism. They were all representing the

controversial subject of age discrimination. There were some dancers

who had walkers, others who had canes but they were a lively group.

Mom leaned over towards me saying,

“They may be representing those who are disabled but they would

not be able to endure the pain of walking the whole course of the

parade, if they were truly ‘handicapped.'”

There is a group I hope you have not heard of, but you may already

know of this extremely ‘cute’ and ‘popular’ British singers: The Vamps.

We thoroughly enjoyed this pleasant singing young band. The young

people along the parade route were screaming, as if they were the

famous Beatles of the 60’s. Since they are out of England, they have

not appeared, as far as I know, on any of our 2014 award shows. Not

yet! Their float was futuristic, with a Hess brand truck launching a

rocket.

The newest balloon float, the Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger,

along with the Spiderman entry would be so fun to go and see the

early morning balloon ‘blowing’ pre-Parade moments. I think if I

lived closer to New York, (oh, and had extra money to ‘blow’) I sure

would take my grandchildren to this special ceremony and watch

the preparations. This was mentioned by the announcers of the Macy’s

Thanksgiving Parade as a valuable and memorable family time.

 

Of course, many children get excited each year to see the final float

with reindeer and Santa Claus. It means it can’t be long till Christmas!

 

It may seem rather strange to celebrate holidays with television events,

but those mornings where my own three children and I would get all

wrapped up in blankets, eating waffles or sweet rolls, while watching

the annual parades are priceless memories.  After all, television was

something that kept my generation, the first to be able to really watch

all the parts of the world right out of our own living room, happily

entertained. It is hard to explain this phenomena, where many of my

grandchildren take for granted their ability to view the world from

their computers and cell phones.

 

It was very enjoyable to see the 88th Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade with

my Mom this year through her ‘fresh’ older eyes. Along with pleasant

promises of the next event to celebrate:  the Annual Parade of Roses.

 

 

 

Connections: the past with the future

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When I heard that there were two days in a row, celebrating subjects of interest

to me, I was determined to make a ‘big stretch’ and connect the dots. The first day

is based on an animated cartoon t.v. series about the future. It was shown awhile

back, where some of the inventions and special effects have come true. The second

day is one celebrating how we separate our words, making our sentences flow by

using special symbols to separate the words. I think this form of language is swiftly

diminishing, since so many people text, rather than email. While computer emails

have replaced fashioned letters. I am hard pressed to figure out how the celebration

of the first Jetson’s animated cartoon series and the subject of punctuation go together.

 

Traveling into the future with the Jetsons. . .

 

Happy September 23rd: Celebrating the Jetsons!

 

Today, September 23, 2014 is the 52nd Anniversary of the original premiere of the

futuristic, science fictionalized cartoon with child Elroy,  dog Astro, the maid Rosie,

the teen-aged girl named Judy being raised by their parents, Jane and George Jetson.

Here are some interesting facts I found out about this cartoon television series. Did

you know the first two years of “The Jetsons” were shown during “prime time t.v.?”

During 1962 and 1963, this was shown after dinner, after the news during that coveted

time slot of “prime time.” The number of shows totaled 75 episodes and three full-length

feature films. While my children were babies, during the years of 1985-1987, additional

Jetsons cartoons were produced. They are syndicated and repeated over many years after

their original showings.

 

The cartoon series was based loosely on the family in the comic strip, “Blondie.” The father

is drawn tall, lanky and has a tyrant of a boss, named “Mr. Spacely.” Of course Dagwood

Bumstead had a cranky, short-tempered boss, too. I had not put these two together, so

there is another ‘connection,’ that will form a new impulse from one brain wave to another.

(Or one synapse to another!) The setting for the creative cartoon is an imaginary time in

the future, when there would be space vehicles from home to work, transportation, when

there woud be pollution, so there would be little outdoor activities, along with moving

sidewalks (glad we know we have those, at least) and robotic maids. (We have some

versions of automation that could resemble the work provided by Rosie.)

 

The Jetsons family lives in a place called, Skypad Apartments. Their city is called, “Orbit

City.” George’s workplace is called “Spacely’s Space Sprockets.” The apartment building

was designed to remind you of the Seattle Space Needle. There are vague references to

how one gets in and out of the atmosphere, which is supposed to have air pollution.

The people wear space helmets while transporting around the city and various other

buildings. You probably may remember George’s space vehicle turning into a brief-

case.

 

In promotional information provided for the setting and relationships in the scripts,

the ages and some of the individual interests and details are given. This is something I

was not aware of, since I don’t think we knew their ages. The plots of the shows may

have revealed many of this, but my mind was intrigued with the idea of an actual

script and characteristics given for each character.

 

By the way, “T.V. Guide’s list of the 25 Greatest Science-Fiction Legends” considers

“The Jetsons” to be one of those famous influences and includes them in the top 25.

 

George is 40 years old, while going to work he wears a suit and tie, similar to some of

our fathers representing the period that the series was shown on television. Occasionally

at home, the family wears leisure suits that resemble jogging suits with some interesting

shoulder pads.

Jane’s outfits always seem very ‘hip’ with some points on her cuffs and shoulder pads.

Jane is given the age of 33 years old. She portrays an active homemaker participating in

clubs such as the Galaxy Women’s Historical Society.  Jane’s details include liking and

enjoying artwork. Her favorite artists are “Leonardo de Venus” and “Picasso Pia.”  Judy

is a ‘typical’ depiction of a teenager of 15 years old. She attends Orbit High School,  likes

to shop, likes talking about clothes and is often on her telephone. There is a cool futuristic

‘digital’ diary she has; which reminds me of today’s cell phones and computers. Elroy

attends Little Dipper School. He is 6 1/2 years old and is studying some serious subjects.

He studies Space History, Astrophysics and Star Geometry. He enjoys playing with his dog,

Astro, who talks without his “r” sound.

Later during the 80’s additional series, there was an interesting creation of an alien, who

is named, “Orbitty.” Elroy’s playmate has spring-like legs since there were some robotics

involved in this guy who changes colors with his moods.

 

 

 

Moving on, possibly the way the world revolves. . .

to September 24, 2014.

 

Traveling into the distant past. . .

when punctuation was important to use. . .

 

This is the Tenth Anniversary of one of my personal favorite subjects:

Happy National Punctuation Day!

 

There is a man who was concerned about our nation’s ability to spell,

use proper grammar and punctuation. His name is Jeff Rubin. He has

had for some time, wanted people to let him know when they hear of

punctuation errors in their every day lives. He also wishes that the various

spokemen and women, along with newscasters, would be more aware of

their correct usage of these.

On 9/24/04, the first annual National Punctuation Day came about!

There is still an ongoing debate whether or not, Punctuation and even,

Spelling are current and relevant. Currently, with texting, few uses of

full sentences and other forms of communication, using ‘short-cuts,’

slang and abbreviations it may seem to be a ‘lost art.’ One that parents

and teachers alike, may just give up on!

 

But definitely not on September 24th!

 

Teachers usually like to be ‘sticklers’ for these since they were made to,

while young and in school. In college, there was a debate about the

Spelling book, whether lists to be memorized were worth the time and

sometimes crying children, who were just not born spellers. There are

a few natural spellers, a few natural history or social studies ‘geniuses,’

along with those who can understand all levels of mathematics, including

algebra and trigonometry. In each classroom, the strengths and weaknesses

are easily determined by testing, but sometimes figuring this out, may create

biases. We need to make all subjects of learning interesting and bring the

‘fascination’ back into each subject. Games can be played, along with other

means of making learning ‘hands on’ and more ‘experiential.’

 

One suggestion in Rubin’s request in how you may celebrate punctuation

is to get an old-fashioned newspaper and circle the punctuation forms, by

children. They may like taking a red crayon and circling all the commas, periods,

exclamation marks, colons and semi-colons. Adults may be excited to circle the

misspellings and the mistakes made in usage of punctuation.

 

I have seen misspellings in the schools listed on snow days and the political polls’

results shown below the television shows. I have heard poor grammar on t.v.

shows. It upsets me most when the newscasters use either poor grammar or

show a lack of understanding what they are reading on their teleprompter.

Mispronunciations occur across all levels of education, due to possibly lack

of using the dictionary and reading the way the words are supposed to be

pronounced.

 

The Huffington Post had a great article to celebrate this holiday last year,

9/24/13. It was called, “6 Common Punctuation Mistakes that Drive Us

Crazy.”

Here they are with no details given here, I see that I am over my 1000

words again… This article had me laughing out loud, they composed a

funny article and you must try to look it up:

“1. The misused apostrophe.

2. The ubiquitous exclamation marks.

3. The crazy comma.

4. The misplaced semi-colon.

5. The quotation marks.

6. The blurring of ‘text talk’ with real writing.”

 

 

Okay, not going into how, but  I am guilty of #s 2, 3 and 5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Double Dip Treat

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Now that I have your attention, this post today will not be about ice cream!

Instead, two invaluable subjects of being ‘taxied around’ by parents and the

gift of trust will be my focus. I think these subjects can be approached from

so many different angles. Memories from long ago times (distant past) when

either your mother, big sister, older brother, father or grandparent would come

and pick you up from one location. Sometimes transporting you home or to

another completely different destination. In this case, you were the one being

the grateful ‘recipient’ of transportation. Trust is a ‘two way street’ between

children and parents.  As in all relationships, communication and honesty

are needed to make this trust build and endure.

You may wish to reminisce about more recent experiences; when you were the

parent, uncle, aunt, older sibling or grandparent giving rides. You were the one

who imparted a special quality of trust to your younger family members or loved

ones. You could be ‘counted on.’  In this case you were the one ‘doling’ out the

good actions, being the ‘giver’ of rides and trust.

This story today is brought to you from the depths of nostalgia. Going back to the

seventies, some may consider them too new to be ‘the good old days.’ Others may

wonder how they can relate to a time, they weren’t even born! There may be some

kind of recognition to the whole scenario, though.

When I was a pre-teen or teenager, there were many times we were allowed to be

on ‘our own’ in some location or other. There ‘had to be’  friends of our own age,

whether goofing off or doing a school related activity. In all cases, we could

‘guarantee’ that one of our parents would show up with the station wagon. This

meant our friends were also ‘guaranteed’ rides to their own home bases.

 

You see,  “double dip treat” is to combine two elements:  Taxi Service and Trust.

 

Of course, you may choose to fill us in on your ‘ice cream requests,’ since

I did kind of ‘trick’ you into thinking this would be all about ice cream!

 

“TAXI SERVICE”

When we were in junior high and high school, my brothers and I kept a

big supply of dimes in our pockets or in our backpacks. We simply would

insert one slim, silver dime into the ‘pay phone’ located at our school,

at the mall, at the movies or other public locations. Then, having been

told this by a bright fellow wayfarer one time, we would say these quick

and pertinent words into the phone, hang up and wait for one of our

parents to show up:

“Hi-Pick Up- Bye!”

Usually we would get our precious dime back! It was a matter of fooling

the timer on the public pay phone. It essentially was the same amount

of time as the expression, “Sorry, wrong number.” You could also do this

in the days of phone booths and public pay phones and get your money

back.

While sitting on a curb, standing leaning against the wall of the building

and talking to others who may have asked us if they could ‘hitch’ a ride

home, we would patiently wait. We never felt rushed or impatient. Nor

did we doubt that the message was received and initiated our ride home

process, successfully.

 

Sometimes, if it were band practice, we may see the school lights turn off,

but no fears arose that someone would come and stalk us, maim us, rape

or kill us. Isn’t it such a wonderful memory, having no fears that first of

all, someone would show up and second of all, there were no imminent

dangers in this darkness?

 

Other times, we may see older teens arriving to view the later movie or to

hang out at the mall, after our ‘curfew’ was approaching. In those cases, once

again, I don’t remember being teased, hassled or bullied. We would wave at

our friends’ older sister or brother. We may even try to act ‘cool,’ by standing

by them. Hoping after all, that hanging for a few brief moments, the older

sibling wouldn’t say, “Beat it!” or “Get lost!”

We would keep our eyes peeled for the arrival of our ride. When our parent

would appear, sometimes in a long line of cars, we would head towards a

designated spot. If it were the end of the movie or band practice, we would

‘know’ instantly to head towards this one end of the parking lot, where it

was our family’s reunion location. This also worked after football games and

basketball games, where it was dark. There were only a few lights by this one

end of the lot, where we would get out the ‘Exit’ area quickly. We would stand

under the light, which worked out well for the ride giver and us, too.

Signals are part of families and it is sometimes these moments that make

or break the communication. Bonds are built on our believing in each other,

keeping the rhythm of the routine going in an ‘even keel’ symbiosis. Members

of a team, fraternity or club all have their familiar codes, habits and signals.

 

If there were any kind of mix-up, if it were our Dad coming to get us, we were in

for a lecture. There was something less concerned about the exact and precise

following the rules, in my Mom’s approach. I am always thankful that she was

a high school teacher, knowing the vagrancies and ‘bad habits’ of teens really

helped us out. I have a good guy friend, Barney, whose Mom was a middle

school teacher and his Dad was a high school coach, physical education and

health teacher. This story that I mention how much better my Mom was, did

not at all tie-in with his parents’ approach to parenting. They were even more

strict than other parents of Barney’s friends. He said that his brothers and his

sisters were like who he felt were also ‘unlucky’ children of preachers, pastors

and ministers. He can not believe the difference in how I was raised compared

to his strict upbringing.

 

An example of a fun way to adhere to being part of a ‘tribe,’ is when we

would go to Cedar Point or other places where we would ‘split up.’ Our

designated gathering location at Cedar Point was the Ice Cream Shoppe.

At a park or museum, the time was chosen and set for departure. The

entrance in those public places was the obvious choice of meeting each

other.

If we still had money left, we would go in the ice cream place and purchase

some form of ice cream. It could be a regular cone, waffle cone, shake, malt,

or float.

See! You get to hear those ‘double dip’ treat words after all!

I would get a two scoop cone with butter chip and butter pecan. If out of one of

those, switching flavors, I would choose chocolate marshmallow and chocolate

nut ice cream flavors.

Usually, if you were out of money, either of our parents would ‘fork over’ or

‘fork out,’ depending on your slang interpretation, for that last treat. We

would then leave by the entrance that took us out away from the main exit,

where most people rushed to the ’causeway.’ We were taking the side and

parallel route, using Red Bank Road I think. This road had neighborhood

houses, still leading you off the “Point.”

My Mom would order a pineapple sauce over vanilla ice cream with a

big swirl of whipped cream while my Dad would get a ‘Black Cow’ or a

Root Beer Float, depending on whether he wanted to have coke with

chocolate ice cream or root beer with vanilla ice cream.

If you were more than half an hour late, there would be no ice cream,

whether you had money left or not. It was after ten o’clock and we had

to get out to the car and leave!

 

“TRUST”

In our family, we never had to wait more than half an hour for arrival

of parents for any given activity. They may miss the first part of the

movie, if we were all attending together. But we would save them seats.

This worked, into our adulthood years. By then, commercials were part

of the beginning time allotment, which meant if we were meeting them

they were usually late.

All the years of growing up, I never had to worry about how they would

greet us after activities or occasions. If there were extra people to take

home, neither my Dad nor my Mom ever questioned whose ‘turn’ it was,

nor did they inquire, “What are YOUR parents doing tonight?” There was

no ‘snarky’ comments or guilt placed upon some of our friends whose

‘turns’ never were reciprocated.

When we asked to stay out later, we needed to be able to ‘present our case,’

as if it were a court of law. We also started this, as toddlers and elementary

students, with my parents telling us, we needed to learn this skill

Having an opinion is not being able to express it with the points you need

to negotiate and navigate among teachers, principals, coaches and bosses.

We were taught to ‘bargain’ by trading a chore or responsibility or give up

something else, to be able to insure we were getting the other’s needs met.

Along with sometimes extending our curfew times or given extra ‘credit’

for those times we washed the car, mowed the lawn, raked the leaves or

weeded the garden, we were able to receive a better bike, tennis racket or

instrument.  My parents taught me this skill, which I instilled in my own

children. In the case of being ready to purchase a bicycle for $45, for an

example, but with the ‘guarantee’ of future chores or saved ‘credits,’ my

brother was able to get one for $70. I was the main provider of household

cleaning services. I was rather an ‘odd’ child, loving to use Lemon Pledge on

an old towel and dust.  Spraying the blue Windex, on mirrors and windows,

then wiping until there was a sparkle with no residue, were two of my

favorite ‘specialties.’ (Don’t hold your breath when you come of visit, since

I won’t be promising this habit as a grown and independent (read: Busy!)

woman.

You may wonder at this, but I enjoyed taking each crystal off the chandelier

and washing them in a dish of vinegar and water. Then drying them, laying

them out in a pattern on the dining room table. My Mom really counted

this to be a lot of ‘credits’ towards choices of my having privileges or on

combining this with my own hard-earned money from ‘real’ jobs like

babysitting or waiting tables.

My parents believed us, when we said we had not been out “parking” late

read: “necking” or “making out.) If we told them we had not drunk or

smoked pot at the parties we attended, they believed us. They preferred

we rode our bikes or walked home, if we were in college and told them we

had had 3.2 beer or a wine cooler, while out. Or they would still, even as

we got older, would volunteer to drive together, leaving one to drive our

car home, one to drive our besotted self home.

I must add here, truthfully, I did not have a car to my name until after I

was 22. I saw that the insurance, gas and responsibility was beyond my

own savings. We were allowed to share one car, once we reached driving

age. I chose, again, to let my 18 months younger brother be the driver,

while continuing to get rides from him or others my age.

My parents were ‘night owls’ so there was never a chance to be later than

15 minutes past curfew, which we did not press the issue often. There may

have been times, when they asked us to lean over and give them each a kiss

and they may have smelled something more than our mint. I was never in

trouble for this, but there was one of my brothers who may have taken this

chance.  More than once!

A good example of trust is when I had my first kiss, it was rather later than

most… at a co-ed camping experience with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts

taking canvas tents down off wooden platforms, keeping the ties and metal

poles along with rolling up the canvas, all in a certain process. There were two

camps, two different weekends each fall. Camp Juliette Low and Camp Hilaka.

I came back from our work efforts and had to tell my Mom this, “I don’t have to

worry about reaching, “Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed!”

It was later in my high school years, that I came home and told my Mom that

I was ‘uncomfortable’ with the way my boyfriend was ‘pressuring me.’ My Mom

was one who asked for specifics, to listen and analyze whether it was of serious

concern or not. She not only listened to what we were doing, but how we felt.

I am so grateful for this genuine quality trait. I kept this trust with my two girls,

who each were able to tell me when they reached an age they felt was ‘good’ or

mature enough to lose their virginity. We talked about people who made promises

to their church or parents. I mentioned how I admired that my Mom and Dad

waited to do this together, after they got married. Marriage would be an ideal

situation to consummate a relationship but it is not always the way it goes.

My son and I had a wonderful 16th year together, I was 32 and we had some

bonding times, once a week. We did different things, bowling, billiards, hiking

and putt. It was easier for us to talk about serious subjects, while sitting in

a car heading in the same direction.

Either my son was driving or I, looking off into the horizon, and sometimes

literally, into the sunset together. We covered a lot of the same topics, in a

more son-directed way. I found this to be more meaningful and also, easier to

do. He had a father and a step-dad who he could confide in, but I was able to

plug in some of the same ‘sound bytes,’ like Respect, Trust, and “Always have

condoms available!”

Each agreed with me, they should try to wait longer than some they knew. To

benefit from maturity and ability to handle the emotional part of this process.

Trust may have not been shared with your parents, you may have relied on your

friends, relatives or another adult. I hope it was still part of your childhood and

teen years, too.

Are you ready to share an example of ‘taxi service’ or ‘trust?’

If not, how about telling us about your favorite kind of ice cream or a family practice

that helped you feel like you worked as a team?

 

 

 

 

 

Fire Stories

Standard

I  chose to pick up my two grandsons to celebrate taking them to the movies.

My first ‘move’ was to get their bellies filled with vegetables and healthy

choices, so we headed to Subway. Micah and I split a whole wheat 12″ sub,

with turkey and provolone cheese, his sides included tomatoes, black olives,

banana peppers, pickles and lettuce, mine having some of those plus, spinach,

cucumbers and onions. We each asked for a squirt of the low fat mayo, plus

I have them add the spicy sauce, too. Skyler asked for the Black Forest ham

with provolone cheese, toasted and added many vegetables and two squirts of

the low fat mayonnaise. We sat and talked together about their week and I

found out that Skyler was very good at archery at his daycamp for Cub Scouts

at Camp Lazarus. He told me that the ‘rifle range’ wasn’t as good this year,

since the rifles (I am pretty sure these are B.B. guns, since this is after all,

Boy Scouts of America!) ‘were not calibrated well.’ I listened to this new boy,

who has been growing like a ‘weed,’ having done an excellent job in science

and math this year, heading into fourth grade.

Micah likes his ‘fantasy’ world, where he has been building a hotel, where

there is a glass elevator (like the one at Red Roof Inn, the weekend of my

niece’s wedding, where he and his brother stayed with their Mommy, my

oldest daughter.) He is sure that he is going to also build a mansion, the

newest development being that I will ‘occupy a completely private wing!’

He is five and heading off to Kindergarten in about a month.

We told the man who resembles someone who may have originated in India,

that we were heading to the Strand Theater to see “Fire and Rescue Planes.”

He asked the boys what this movie might have in the animation and they

were excited to tell him about the parts that they had seen in commercials.

This kind man who manages the closest Subway looks my age.  So, of course,

I had to show him my Strand Movie Bargain Card, for those over 55. It

entitles the holder with a movie ticket, medium drink and medium popcorn

$7. It has gone up 50 cents since I may have listed this great price!

I also, enthusiastically, told him that the movies are now digitally modernized

and the owners purchased more precise lenses, than they had about a year and

a half ago. Anyone who hasn’t tried one of the three screened theaters, needs to

come and check them out! He smiled and told me that he and his family live in

Dublin, Ohio. Where they go to a theater it costs him $8 for he and also, his wife,

for evening movies and $7 for daytime ones. He mentioned his children cost him

about $6 for tickets and he estimates for the 5 of them, $40 for snacks. I told

him about our kids’ (of any age) snack packs with a small popcorn, small drink

and a choice of a regular sized M & M’s, peanut ones, fruit snacks or Sweet Tarts

all for $3.50. The boys emphasized that the tray is filled with popcorn and it

tastes really good, too! (They use Promise ‘butter’ or margarine product.)

We explained that is why we did not order drinks nor Sun Chips, today. The

man, who does not wear a name tag, but has been across the street from my

apartment for the whole 8 years I have lived there, told us he had a surprise

for the boys. He went in the back of the shop, and came back with nice,

insulated bags. Micah got a Green Hornet one, Skyler got a Michael Phelps’

Olympic Medalist Swimmer one. It would hold a lunch in it and keep it cold!

We profusely thanked him before we sat down and later, as we left.

The movie we were going to had been chalked on the sidewalk in a professional

way, with the logo! A nice and colorful, “Fire and Rescue Planes” was there, so

I captured first Skyler who put on the plastic fireman’s hat, to pose and Micah,

who did not want to wear it. I sent these photos off to their Mom and Dad.

The theater had visiting, for the opening weekend, the Delaware Fire Department’s

Fire Truck. We had missed the once on Friday and twice on Saturday. We would

not be able to visit again, at the appointed Sunday time. Both boys, reassured

me, that they had seen the fire trucks in parades and more than once, through

school and scouting activities.

The plastic fire hats were sitting in a pile on the  iron table with chairs,

outside the theater.

We bought our tickets and sat in the fifth row, from the front of the theater,

where the boys like to be ‘up close and personal’ with their snacks sitting on their

laps,their drinks in the cup holders. I like to remind them of the heritage of the

theater, pointing out the gold filigreed ceiling and the ornate two clocks, one on

each side of the theater. I started nibbling my popcorn, they were saying they were

still ‘full’ from lunch meal that was really for me, my dinner. Their weekend meals

run ‘later’ than their weekday schedule.

We were all studying the organ from this front row area, one of them asking

“When would we go to a movie where the organ would be played?”

I know I should not stereotype their ages, but I told them they would appreciate

the silent, black and white movies more when they were over 12 years old.

(This gives Micah time to grow up, because he would be 7 when Skyler is 12.)

I reminded them these are shown in the winter months.

I told them it is quite exciting to see these, listening the organ adding

more drama to the experience. I will look forward to introducing them

to this, while it is something to save for when they are ‘grown up.’

The movie plot centers on an ‘older’ crop dusting plane, named “Dusty.”

Today, there was the mother from “Modern Family,” named Julie Bowen,

who plays a flirtatious plane in the movie, visiting Queen Latifah. I did not

get a chance to hear what she said nor see the clip they showed, since our

break time was ending, as she was announced.

has some controls and different technical problems, due to aging.

If he doesn’t stop going so fast, in his racing competitions,  he may wear out

his equipment and crash. This is devastating news for”Dusty” since he is also

set to be a part of the Corn Festival, where he has set some racing records.

A suggestion comes about due to the older plane terminal and the older fire

truck, that are not able to take care of fires in the area well. This is, that making

Dusty go to fire and rescue school might save the local terminal from being

shut down. By adding water pontoons, Dusty learns in time to appreciate his

new position. He makes mistakes, but as in all children’s movies, he learns

from them along the way.

Of course, there are rampant fires, which will make the movie become quite

exciting!

I liked the following fun aspects of the movie:

When they ‘call it a day’ the planes go to a barn like structure, where country

music plays. When a plane wants to treat the other plane to a ‘drink’ it is to

offer ‘to buy you a can of oil.’

Another clever way to anticipate the older grandparents who would recognize

this old television show, is to have them gather for a ‘secret screening,’ where

everyone needs to know the ‘password.’

Once inside, the raucous song bursts out, from the “C.H.I.P.’s” television show,

specifically showing the episode #37, and at the end of the motorcycles who are

named, aptly, “Nick Loopin’ Lopez” and “Blazing Blade” make the female planes

‘swoon’ and say, “Ooh, they’re so hot!”

When the awards for heroism are given, they are called “Piston Peak Hero Awards.”

When a man who is running the Corn Festival, that usually Dusty performs at, by

racing across the sky arrives, he is named Colonel (like Kernel) and his deputy is

called, “Niblet.”

When those planes are saving lives, somehow they manage to work into the film,

“V.I.P” = Very Important Plane!

A couple of older R.V.’s are on the road to one of the national parks, the female and

male voices, oh so familiar to this writer, who liked their comedy sketches on variety

shows in the 70’s and 80’s: Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller. (Known back then as, Stiller

and Meara.) They are having a campfire and talking about all the years they had been

traveling together. It was sweet and nice to have these special touches, warming my

heart…

I took the kids to Blue Limestone Park, where they enjoyed their very first time on the

new play equipment. I ‘fell’ for the sound of the ice cream truck, where I gave them

$2 apiece to have a basic treat. Skyler picked a rainbow sno cone and Micah picked

a Rocket popsicle. They were pleased when I took them home, to see their little six

year old bunny, (who had appeared to have a stroke, his head fixed to the side and his

legs kind of moving sideways) was much better after his 3 day stay at the Vet’s office.

They had diagnosed a bacterial infection that attacked his brain, their bunny is named

“Pinky” despite his masculine sex.

On Sunday, continuing the fire and emergency theme, I rashly agreeed to go to the

Columbus Jazz and Rib Festival, with an ex-boyfriend. Out of the blue, he called, and

I had no plans, so I said, “Yes!” We ate lunch at Wendy’s, with one of those inexpensive

half salads, (“mid-size”) for my meal and he had a double cheeseburger combination

meal. We talked about family, recent fishing places and catches he had made, and what

movies and music we had listened to lately. His long distant daughter, Abby, is going to

have a baby, his closer distance grandson would like the tools he is going to put together,

in a tool box, for him, now that he is a responsible teenager.

Once we arrived at the festival, we were able to resist food and headed towards the first

stage. After we had set up our chairs under a nice, shady tree, he went off to get some

beverages; a beer for him and a sweetened tea for me.

Of course, there would be ribs to be had, later for our dinner! We enjoyed the

Carolina Ribs booth, where he had a $16 half slab meal and I had an $8

“Teaser’s” meal.

The best music to be found on Sunday, we felt was on the Fox Channel 8 Stage,

in the late afternoon.

We had circled the festival, collected some samples of foods, including Dove ice

cream, slices of subs at a stand, brownies and cakes, mustard pretzel bites and

cornbread crackers. The vendors were all cheerful and generous in handfuls of

free gifts.

I had resisted the cinnamon-sugared elephant ears and the powdered sugar

funnel cakes. He had had another beer, as the hot afternoon passed by.

We had tapped our feet, nodded our head in unison, enjoying and listening to

four bands. One was childrenoriented, calling out to listeners to join in when

they played, “Camptown Ladies Sing This Song, Doo Dah…” People cheering

for the saxophones, the bass players, the guitars and drums, too.

We loved the way the riffs and improvisation was taking the group called,

“480 East.”

They told us they were from Canada, had picked up a player in Toronto.

Their CD’s could be purchased at a table set up along the stage. They had

contacted ahead, the Jazz Festival organizers, requesting for 3 ‘back up’

players to join in with them. They got a drummer, a bass and flute player

and a supporting guitarist. They had only met each other an hour prior!

We wondered aloud, how often other bands joined in these improvisational

musical events.  We raved at how they seemed to fit together, playing as one!

We liked their slower, rhythm and blues Sade-style song. They played three

lively ones that were called, “Roll On,” “Been Too Long,” and “Table for Two.”

The singer/announcer for each song, got audience to participate in a simple

song with some great jazzy music, when he would point to one side of the stage,

half of the people would shout or sing out:

“To the East!”

And then, he would point to the other side of the stage, where people playfully,

sang out:

“To the West!”

They were there for over an hour, when the next group was waiting in the

‘wings.’ They apologized for not being able to play an encore, too. Great

group: “480 East!”

As we left the Jazz and Rib Fest, I gave my old guy friend a hug, we got into

his big truck, where he asked, “Do you mind listening to Jonny Lang?”

We were silent, reminiscing on my part, as we drove back home. I had met

him at the Polaris Wendy’s and got out, smiling and waving goodbye. He

rolled down his window and asked a rather ‘tricky’ question,

“Are you okay?”

I nodded my head, thinking, “Out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

Adele passed through my mind, in her ranting song,

“Set Fire to the Rain.”

But I didn’t shed a tear. . .