Sunday, November 27, 2011

“Grow old along with me …

…the best is yet to be”. So says Robert Browning and maybe he’s right; but here are some other thoughts on the subject!

“Middle age is when your age starts to show around your middle.” … Bob Hope

“In a man's middle years there is scarcely a part of the body he would hesitate to turn over to the proper authorities.” … E.B. White

“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.” … Oliver Wendell Holmes

“We've put more effort into helping folks reach old age than into helping them enjoy it.” … Frank A. Clark

“The best thing about getting old is that all those things you couldn't have when you were young you no longer want.” … L.S. McCandless

“I never dared be radical when young for fear it would make me conservative when old.’ … Robert Frost

“If I knew I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself.” … Mickey Mantle

"Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." … Jack Benny

“What I look forward to is continued immaturity followed by death.” … Dave Berry

“True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high-school class is running the country.” … Kurt Vonnegut

“Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man.” … Leon Trotsky

Thursday, November 24, 2011

48 years ago …November 24, 1963

It was a Sunday and my husband, myself and a close friend were in our NY City apartment. grieving over the assassination of President Kennedy. We were also glued to the TV set because the accused killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, was about to be transferred from the Dallas police station to a nearby county jail.

Nowadays we are used to 24 hour news broadcasting and instant replays. In 1963, however, it was a big deal to be watching this event “live” and we didn’t want to miss a bit of it. The TV screen showed the halls of the Dallas Police station, jammed with reporters and we had no inkling of the dramatic events that were about to unfold before our very eyes.

Suddenly the door opened and Oswald was escorted into the room. He was barely before our eyes when a man leaped forward and shot him at close range. None of us could believe what we’d seen.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning photo above was shot by Robert H. Jackson of the Dallas Times-Herald. It is amazing that he could react so quickly. That same picture had flashed before our eyes but was soon obscured as a roomful of men wrestled the shooter to the ground. It wasn't long before he was identified as Jack Ruby...a well known man about town

Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner, had gained admittance to the Police station by impersonating a newspaper reporter. No one thought to check for weapons and it was easy for him to draw his gun and fatally wound the 24 year old Oswald. Ruby was tried and convicted of murder but he petitioned for a second trial and died in 1967 of cancer before he could be tried again. (He went to his death convinced that he’d been poisoned with “cancer cells”.)

Ruby never explained why he shot Oswald and speculations have been going on for years as to their connection with the crime syndicate and the assassination of President Kennedy. When I hear those arguments it never fails to take me back to that November day in 1963 and to the shock of watching an execution take place before our eyes and the eyes of a stunned nation

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gift giving …

When my close friend, her significant-other and their two dogs returned recently from a 6 week road trip in their camper they came bearing gifts. This was not unusual since they are both “givers” and have generous spirits.

What really got me thinking, however, was the fact that the gifts were polar opposites in feeling but they were both bought with me in mind. Did this mean that they saw me in dissimilar ways? Did I perhaps treat them differently or was I just reading way too much into this simple act of giving.

The first gift came from my friend Bonnie who is like a sister to me. She brought me this gorgeous pottery vase from Taos, New Mexico, with a raised pueblo village etched on the front.

She told me she’d chosen this because it would remind me of my sister Mary who lived there years ago. I also felt that she’d bought this for me because she knew it was my taste…an elegant work of art suited to my love of beauty. Very nice, I thought, she’s pegged me perfectly.

But wait … here comes her significant-other, Bill, with a pixyish grin on his face… and look what he brought.

It’s a Whirligig Chicken and I love it too !! Nothing elegant about this little guy but obviously chosen because it depicts the silly, immature side of me and I have to admit that he pegged me correctly there too.

So what does this prove in the great scheme of things ? Nothing really, except that maybe it’s nice to have friends who can see all sides of you and still love you enough to bring gifts !!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

1941 … my first encounter with death

I was 8 years old when my beloved canary Bitsy keeled over dead and, of course, I was devastated.

Barely a year had passed since I’d held her little cage on my lap during our train ride from Plainfield, New Jersey to Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. Our family was making a big change and she was my link to the past so I guarded her zealously.

I was actually amazed at how well she fared during the journey and she was a happy and chipper little bird for the first year in our new home.

Her sudden demise was a great shock to me and I will always be thankful for the understanding and comfort that my mother gave to me then. She took it very seriously and, after explaining that death was an integral part of life, she encouraged me to gather my friends for a special funeral the next day.

After a bit of searching we came up with the perfect coffin. I don’t know if any of you remember but back in the 40’s they sold a boxed brush and comb set that was somewhat similar to this:

It was lined in satin and had a transparent cover … the perfect resting place for my little Bitsy. She looked at peace and lovely as she lay there.

The next day six of us gathered round the hole that we’d dug in our garden. My mother held the box first and she spoke of the joy that Bitsy had brought to all the family. She then passed it on to the next person who continued the dialogue. It ended up with me and, amid tears but also smiles, I recalled all the special times that I’d shared with Bitsy.

I remember the feeling of peace that I felt when we laid her to rest and covered her with packed dirt and a sprinkling of rose petals.

During this whole time my mother never told me that Bitsy was going to heaven or that “time would heal all” … or any of the other time worn clichés. She simply allowed me the dignity to grieve and it’s a lesson that has served me well for the past 70 years. I will be forever grateful to her for that.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


“If a relaxing moment turns into the right moment...will you be ready?” So goes the TV commercial for the ED drug Cialis ... but what’s up with the twin bathtubs ?

I’m sure you’ve all seen those commercials. The ones that start with the female performing some mundane task, such as painting a wall or doing dishes. Suddenly the male appears and the magic begins. As the couples gaze lovingly in each others eyes the walls recede, water cascades from nowhere and we’re suddenly trans-ported to the great outdoors.

But here’s the fun part. The couple continues their leisurely walk through Camelot, the music swells and they somehow end up, nude, in separate bathtubs! And, as if that weren’t enough, their walk is accompanied by a low and authoritative voice intoning:

“Always consult your doctor before taking this drug and contact him at once if you have any of these serious side effects: sudden vision loss; ringing in your ears, or sudden hearing loss; chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling; irregular heartbeat; swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet; shortness of breath; seizure (convulsions); vision changes; feeling light-headed, fainting; or penis erection that is painful or lasts 4hours or longer. This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur”

Gets you all tingling inside, doesn’t it?

I guess the commercials are effective but, being a skeptic and a female I see it more like this:

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

My Recovery CONUNDRUM …

Well, it’s been 5 weeks since I fractured my femur and my recovery is going splendidly. My surgeon says it will take 6 to 12 weeks for the bone to heal completely but I am walking with the aid of a cane and seem to be regaining strength every day and I have little or almost no pain in the leg. This is encouraging.

HOWEVER … here’s the conundrum. I have a chronic condition called Scoliosis … or curvature of the spine. I have had it forever but only in the last 10 years have I found it bothersome. My answer to keeping the pain at bay has been my daily regimen of 18 warm-up Tai Chi exercises that encompass the neck area clear down to my toes. If I do that faithfully I get through the day with little or no pain.

But, here’s the rub … according to my PT folks and my Dr. I need to do specific exercises from the waist down while I’m healing and they all rule out any type of rotation motion, even including crossing my legs. This is counter to the Tai Chi exercises … the ones that keep my back pain at bay!

So I’m kind of between a rock and a hard spot although I do have two things that ease the pain a bit … one is using a back support belt and the other is applying heat to the area.

Sooooo … if any of you have gone through similar circumstances I‘d love your input.

(and that’s the end of my whining for today !!)

Saturday, November 05, 2011

1937 … the Lee girls with Grandpa and Grandma

That’s me, the littlest of all the Lee girls, squeezed onto the running board of my Grandfather’s new car. My Grandmother, and sister of my great Aunt Emma, peers out of the back window.

This picture was taken in Brattleboro, Vt., where they lived and, although I certainly can’t remember that day, I can remember the sights and smells quite well.

Grandpa’s hobby was woodworking and I loved to watch him at work in his shop located just off the kitchen. Wondrous toys, furniture and bric-a-brac seemed to miraculously spring from his agile fingers as he turned the wood lathe. And the smell of new sawn shavings was delectable.

His main job, however, was as a salesperson for the Estey Organ Company and he traveled far and wide throughout New England in his beloved car promoting and selling their product. Here is a picture of the type of organ that he sold, an Estey Reed Organ, Circa 1927:

Although my Grandfather was fairly reserved in his home the stories abound about his travels on the road … his cap perched jauntily on his head and his windows open to catch the air. I would love to have been a silent partner on those trips!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

I CAIN ’t believe it !!!

Is it just me or is our entire country going whacko?? I have to tell you up front that I am not a student of politics, nor do I speak for anyone but myself.

However, that being said, I have to also tell you that I am completely flabbergasted by the Republican party’s roster of candidates for the 2012 Presidential election. Where do they find these people?

Having a black President was a shock and a disgrace to so many right wingers and now, all of a sudden, their own black choice is their darling !! I heard him interviewed a few days ago and he said he will bring a sense of humor back to the White House. Wow ... I’m sure that will be a comfort to the one in six Americans who get by on less than $11,139 a year !

I can’t help but wonder what the rest of the world thinks of us. I find it an embarrassment but I also respect and appreciate the fact that we, in our country, have the right to our own opinions and the freedom to express them.

So, with that in mind, I’m expressing my opinion.

I intend to cast my vote in 2012, just as I did in 2008, for the very fine statesman that we have now in office ... President Barack Obama.