Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

When I was a kid....

Life sure goes fast. You take a breath in when you are a kid and breathe out as an
adult, in my case, a fifty year old.
No not really. But it does seem like it sometimes
You remember when you promised yourself you'd never talk
about "when I was a kid". The thing is, by the time you are my age life has changed so much that you miss the things you had then that either don't exist or
don't matter in today's society. Talking about them is like welcoming back an old friend long gone from your life. Do I want to have everything the way it was then? No, because like an old friend, visits from the past shouldn't wear out the welcome. Still, right now I want to pull the memories close and revisit a time when life was easier.
For me that time was in the 1960's. The gap between what life is like for a child now and what it was like in the 1960's is like the distance between the Earth and the Moon. So bear with me as I look back and talk about "when I was a kid"

News and TV in General

It is hard to know where to start but basically kids were really able to be kids then. Unless it was summer kids usually had a bedtime. The news wasn't on all through the day like now and we only had 3 channels.  All three of which closed down the programming by 2 am and played the United States National Anthem. Afterwards was a colored stripe with an ongoing screeching tone. But kids usually didn't see that except for maybe on a weekend in the summer because they had bedtimes. Anyway on the off chance you got to see the "nightly news" nobody cared what celebrity was seeing who, or which one was in rehab. Most news was centered on your local area too.  Things like traffic accidents, farm reports, festivals and government.  In fact government like what the president was doing, civil rights and at that time coverage of the Vietnam War were the main non local topics. These days everyday there are several murders at least, robberies and most devastatingly these days, child abuse stories and killings. Back then you didn't get that.  I only remember hearing about two murders then.  I know there were more but my point is I was in bed and missed the uglier side of life. Kids got to be kids.  They didn't have death and destruction pushed in their face every waking moment by a TV.

Most of the TV shows were game shows, soap operas, westerns and sitcoms.
"Star Trek" started in the 60's. Most sitcoms were light hearted stuff like "Bewitched" and "I dream of Jeannie" Kids thought it was a treat if they got to occasionally stay up later and watch the adult shows like "Laugh in" and The Jackie Gleason Show"
Daytime TV was soap operas which of course had the usual "cheating"
themes but back then nobody was nearly naked and were not shown in a bed. They started to kiss and then it would fade to black. Seriously.
Oh and reality TV? No such thing. The closest we had was the live reports
from the state fair.


But we kids probably would not have noticed. We were outside playing! We had never heard of a video game or a computer. We played ball, raced, rode our bikes and so on. Most of the time we would (if it was not a school day) go out in the morning, come back for lunch and go out again. We'd only stop running, skating, kick ball or whatever it was we were doing that day when we heard our
mothers yelling across the block to come in. Nobody had to schedule "play dates" We just went out and played. Kids still do this some but it used to be every kid on the block.  Now it’s just a few because most are in scheduled activities, or the parents work so they stay inside and play their video games.

Other things have changed too. Here are just a few off the top of my head.

Milk was delivered to your house in glass bottles. Hardly anyone bought it at a store.

A field trip usually meant a visit to a factory to see how things were made.

We were allowed to have Christmas plays in the school that included the actual Christmas story

Nobody had a cell phone. Most kids didn't use the phone at all except for a quick call to ask if your friend could come out and play. We dialed the number by sticking our finger in a circle with numbers until the "newfangled" push button phones came out. Most people had party lines at first. That meant several neighbors shared the same phone line even though they each had their own number. If someone called you or them everyone's phone would ring but each person has their own ring.  For instance at our house it was 3 short rings-stop-3 short rings. Someone else might have one long ring, a pause, another long ring. So we only answered our own rings but once we did any of the others on the same line could sneak on and hear everything. If you picked up your phone to make a call there might already be one of the other families using it so you'd have to wait your turn no matter how long they took.

This is getting long so I will stop here for now. My original point before I went off on a tangent was that life was so simple and safe then. We didn't have to worry about bombers in our planes and our schools. Kids didn't take guns to school. We could be kids and we could be kids without fears.

Of course it was not perfect and some kids didn't feel safe I am sure. There was some abuse plus some kids had fathers in Vietnam, and bussing during civil rights was happening.

But in their own families, and in their own block with neighborhood friends most kids were worried about missing the ice cream truck, the kind with the soft serve cone machine made with real milk for 15 cents, not the frozen high priced  chemical stuff on a stick now. But that's another post.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Madness--First Page

This is the start of a novel I was planning on writing..... but I never finished. Should I?

I don't know when exactly the birds came to devour me. It may have been when I was heaping plates full of homemade mashed potatoes. It may have been when I was
organizing the school fair, or maybe it was when my husband, shuddered into me. then fell heavy across me.

 I remember I wondered if I had started the washer and turned off the coffee pot. Just ordinary things in my day. My boring lost little life..The birds could have came a little at a time I guess, just a few here and there invisible at first. Looking back I know I felt them on my head long before they started to eat. The wisp of hair that was suddenly forever falling across my eye. It was probably one of them pecking, looking for my skull. I never heard a sound when they started but inside I screamed and I looked for other better ways than being eaten alive.

The water I bathed the boy in looked inviting. I wanted to float away in the water with my pills but Mick had taken them from me. I thought often of the boy. There was a time when he had a name but I didn't remember it anymore.  Mick said that I had given the boy a name when he was a small child, almost as small as the tiny birds. Even before he came out of my world and was birthed into this one I had given him a name. I wish I could remember. maybe someday I would. But for now I have to tell about the birds.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Friday, July 17, 2009



I'm sitting in a hotel room tonight wondering where life will take me. I got the room to get away from everyday distractions to sit and think and plan..but all I have done is remember .I remember...

dancing as a child..using the leaves and branches and flowers of a tree as giant fans and dancing with eyes closed to music only my soul could hear.usic that caused everything else in my eight year old world to fade away..I could feel my feet moving in made up steps and nothing else mattered but "being in that moment" I was so happy.

The the last time I remember being me.

The rest of my life has been filled with roles and masks I wear to be who people need...some mother..some masks you put them on and they melt into who you are and bring some happiness and you are that person ,just not *only* that person.

Some masks or roles are created from taking on the judgements of others...the classmates that taunt and call names, the critical parent that labels you worthless.These too become part of who you are after so long..even if nobody else sees it but you ,you still at some point start labeling yourself with these negative things.

As life goes on, you are so busy changing masks and roles depending on who you are interacting with that they become layer upon layer until that original person,that original "happiness" is forgotten on the surface level

But the heart remembers

Now I am at a time in my life that with each changing longer a needed longer kids at home(my younger daughter is moving out) ...I am now finding out that my soul is returning to that little girls need to dance to her own music.

So I am starting a journey to rediscover my music again..who I am and why I am here and what I want....what is my happiness?

well it is late..just some thoughts..probably sound like a crazy lady. Can anyone relate to what I am saying?

Think back....what was your happiness?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Why Are Some Plants Called Weeds?

Why Are Some Plants Called Weeds?

That plant is a weed.
This may sound like two minutes with Andy Rooney but I just don't agree with this term. If a plant looks pretty and it has some quality that makes it useful, then why is it a weed.

What is a weed?

The chicory plant has a pretty little flower and some people use it to make tea. Isn't the bright yellow flower of the dandelion similar to a marigold or some little yellow daisy? You can make wine from dandelions. That's good isn't it. what is grass. It just lays all over the place and looks plain old green. I guess cows can eat it. I don't think it's a weed but I think it acts like a weed. Grass tries to overpower everything else. If Creeping Charlie tries to do that, we call him a weed.

Do weeds have some exclusive property that we can use to define them from other plants? Are those other plants just "plants" or should we call them "non weeds"?

When my wife "weeds" the flower garden, she will constantly ask "is this a weed?" Does it really matter? My response is always the same. "If you like it - leave it there. If you don't like it, pull it out."

Milkweed - wow, poor plant got it right in the name. This plant with the fun little seedpod is home to the much admired Monarch Butterfly. The monarch needs this plant to survive. Children love to open the mature seed pod and blow the little parachutes all over the place. We are intent on eradicating it because it is a "weed". I don't know what makes it a weed.

There are some plants that I guess we would all can safely be called a weed. Poison Ivy comes to mind first. I can't see anything good about this plant. This one can go away forever as far as I am concerned. A couple of god doses of this plant have it on "My weed list".

There are some very interesting names for weeds. The mouse eared chickweed. Does this really sound like a weed" It sounds like something we should see on the farm. Another similar name is "lamb's quarters". It belongs to the "goosefoot family" It just does not sound like a weed. More farm type plants - try "field horsetail" and "wild oats". Sounds like they should do well together.

Don't forget the "european frogbit" Now you really must wonder about that name.

I like the masses of purple loosestrife I see growing in ditch banks but I guess it is a monster in disguise. It gets out of control and chokes out everything. Maybe that makes it a weed.

I guess St John's Wort and Cypress Spurge don't sound that good to me. Maybe I will add them to my weed list.
Now this one really makes me wonder. I looked up Common weeds of northern United states and Canada. Where is the thistle.

That mean bristly plant wasn't to be found in the list of weeds. It must be a good plant I guess but I can't imagine why.

I want to talk to the guy that made that list of weeds. I just don't think he has it right!

I think I'm going to call Andy Rooney and see what he thinks of this whole weed deal. I bet he could provide a very interesting response.

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About the Author

Tom is retired and finding increased interest in home gardening (sparked by planting one hibiscus plant).He has started a plant resources website at