An Unforgettable Experience In My Life

I have had many unforgettable experiences in my life.  Some of them being  my wedding day, the birth of each of my three children and of course, the births of my three grandchildren.  Those are things most of us have experienced in our life.  I tried to think of others that may not be as momentous as the ones previous and I remembered a day in the 1980’s when I went to Disney World with my husband, my daughter and her then boyfriend who were visiting from Connecticut.  Both my daughter and her boyfriend were in some form of theater at that time and wanted to see what Disney offered in that type of entertainment.

Epcot-orlando

When we arrived there, we decided to go to Epcot first so we could make reservations for dinner that evening.  Reservations were scarce if you didn’t get there early and you could find yourself eating dinner at nine at night.  Way too late for me.  My daughter and her boyfriend went on ahead and my husband and I went into the big ball near the entrance of Epcot.  At that time, you had to make your reservations there.  There were kiosks where you went up and punched in a few buttons and talked to someone to make the reservation.

When we arrived inside the ball, all of the kiosks were full and many people were lined up to make their reservations except for one empty kiosk where there was not even one soul in line.  I went up to that kiosk and was going to make my reservation when about four people ran up to me and said “no Miss you can’t use this kiosk, it is reserved for filming for the opening of the Disney World in Japan in February.”  We apologized and backed away when one of the women in the group stopped me and asked if I wanted to be filmed for Japanese TV by making a reservation.  Of course, being the ham that I am, I said yes.  My husband paled and inched back away from me.  I grabbed him and said I would do the whole thing and all he would have to do is stand next to me and not say a word.  He was ok with that.  At that, a Japanese camera man came up behind us and a couple of Japanese ladies told me to just act naturally and they would do the rest.  I did it and actually made the reservation for the French Restaurant at 7:00 P.M. that evening.  When we were done, they gave us $20.00 to have lunch at the English Pub called the Rose and Crown, and bowed and backed away with lovely smiles.

Rose and Crown Epcot

The woman who worked at Disney told me it would be shown on Japanese TV on February 17th.  When my daughter and her boyfriend met up with us, I told them that they missed their big break in show business by going on ahead.  We had a great lunch at the English Pub and on February 17th, I waited for the many phone calls I was sure were coming from Japan offering me my own show after seeing me on TV.  Alas, none came and my dreams of being a star were shattered.

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THINGS I LIKE TO DO THAT I DO WELL

I am so egotistical that I can think of more than one thing that I like to do that I do well like talking and relating to people, cooking and sewing.

Of course, I may be fooling myself in thinking that I do these things well.

One of my all time favorite things that I do well is reading.  Read, read, read!  I read about four or five books a week and I read quickly.  I do not realize that I am reading that fast and when the book is finished, and I have grown close to the characters, I am sad but I am ready for another one.  I do not read intellectual type books but I read what I call “fun” books.  These consist of everything from Debbie Macomber, Michael Connelly, (I love his Harry Bosch character), Nora Roberts and even Stephen King, although I have kind of out grown him.  I also love to read biographies and autobiographies.   I just finished Stephen King’s book called “On Writing” and it was very informative but it also was his life story and I couldn’t put the book down.black echo

Reading to me is a wonderful form of escape that neither movies nor TV can satisfy.  Because you can’t see the characters , in your mind you become the  heroine or even hero some times and your imagination carries you along. Pride Prejudice-cover

Radio used to be like that for me when I was a kid.  I can recall listening to Captain Midnight and I felt I could be Captain Midnight and do all the daring deeds that he did.  I even sent for the decoder ring and that is why I love the movie A Christmas Story so much.  I truly identified with the boy.   I also loved a show called Gangbusters and Inner Sanctum which used to scare the bejeebers out of me with the sound of the creaking door and the deep voiced man saying “Who Knows What Evil Lives in the Heart of Man, the Shadow knows”.  Oh wait, that was another show but I loved it too.

In any case reading brings my imagination to life and if I am somewhere and I have to wait, I always have my kindle with me so I can read and make the time pass.  Reading is like magic to me and I have tried to pass my love of reading on to my children and my grandchildren, most of whom love to read.

Yes, I am a fast reader and a prolific reader and I love it! Call-Me-Mrs.-Miracle-Book-Debbie-Macomber-Book-Cover-e1354991612780

 

Remembering Bruce

Today would have been the 82nd birthday of my husband Bruce and even after four years, I miss him still.

Following is a piece I wrote this week for my Creative Writing class and I want to share it with all of you:

 

A TIME WHEN I WAS LOST

on the cruiseUsually I am completely in control and feel I can handle anything.   However, I recall being lost when I found myself completely in charge of everything in my life after the death of my beloved husband.  I have always been so used to having Bruce worry about things like money, bills, decisions on what to buy (after discussing it with me), repairs and other matters.  He was my rock.  I didn’t even realize that he was my rock until he was gone.

I found myself looking at the bills that were due and trying to make sense out of them.  I also found myself looking at a broken disposal and wondering if I should pay someone to fix it or get a new one.  That kind of thing I usually left up to my husband.  After sitting around in stunned silence for a while, I finally realized that I was not stupid and I had worked in an office for many years, handling a multitude of tasks year after year.  I sat my butt down and really looked at the bills, set up a spread sheet on Exel, set myself a budget and felt a sense of relief when I was done.  Good job Connie.

My next challenge was my disposal.  Instead of spending money to have someone repair it, I took advantage of my son and sons in law.  They were all handy and my son in law Adam came over, looked at it and pulled a piece of corn silk out of the blades.  Lo and behold, it worked beautifully.  I realized that I had a goldmine in these men.  I also had never filled my car with gas on my own (yes, I know but I was only nineteen when I married and didn’t even learn how to drive until I was twenty-five).  My daughter dutifully took me to a gas station, bullied me i n a nice way, into holding on to the gas nozzle and with absolutely no sympathy regarding my wining about the smell of gasoline,  the heaviness of the nozzle, etc., made  me fill the tank.  She had no mercy but I knew she was doing it for my own good.  My scariest job was to take the car in for an oil change.  I didn’t know where to go (Toyota, stupid) and finally called, made an appointment and brought a book.  Now I am an old pro at doing that.

Since then, I have bought a new air conditioner and even fixed some things on my own.  I finally realized that I had been spoiled by Bruce and I let him do it.  I liked having him to depend on as it saved me a heck of a lot of worrying.  I hadn’t even driven for many years as he did all the driving.   He was of the old school where the men drove and not the little lady.  Luckily my kids told me to get back on the road driving when my husband became ill.   So I pulled out my rosary beads and got in the car and with sweaty hands on the wheel, I drove and drove around the neighborhood.   Now I am an old pro at driving and going where I want to go without having to depend on other people.

I am no longer spoiled but self sufficient and occasionally rely on the advice of my children and sons in law as to how to take care of things.  My kids think I am a little addled some times but I just ignore it and pick and choose what advice I will take from them.  I am doing ok!

The Games We Played

Me and my girlfriends at Cummings Park

Me and my girlfriends at Cummings Park

Playing a game with the girls in from of my house

Playing a game with the girls in from of my house

I guess most of us of a certain age have played hop scotch, ringaleavio (sp?)_ and what we used to call “Girls are”.  Hop Scotch is known world wide but I don’t know if Ringaleavio is even familiar to anyone although they may have played it as Hide and Seek.  In fact my sister said we DID call it Hide and Seek and my memory is rusty.  No kidding Mickey Rooney!

I will start with “Girls Are” which was my most enjoyable game.  You wrote with chalk on the sidewalk and if you didn’t have chalk, you took a piece of coal from the coal bin in the basement and made a huge oblong square.  Then you made lines across the square until you had about 16 even squares – eight side by side.  The next necessity was a tennis ball which had to have lots of bounce.  You filled in each square with a category like girl’s names, boy’s names, cities, states, colors etc.  You had to start at one end of the oblong and bounce your tennis ball squarely in the center of each square and sing out “girls are Mary, Susan, Sally, etc.  If you missed a square or ran out of names, you were “out”.

There was another more challenging game which I don’t remember the name of but you started with the letter A and sang out as you bounced a ball, “ A my name is Alice, my boyfriend’s name is Al.  We come from Alabama and we sell Apples.”  You went as far as you could in the progression of the alphabet until you made a mistake or ran out of ideas.. Thus you were also out.

Ringaleavio was what I called the “athletic’ game.  One person was it and had to close their eyes while everyone else ran and hid.  The It person had to find and tag you but if you could sneak back in and run for the designated pole, touch it and shout “Ringaleavio” you were the victor and didn’t have to be “it” next time.

Ringaleavio involved running and that was very athletic as far as I was concerned.  I remember once running for the pole with my arm outstretched so I could touch the pole and completely missing it, landing on the ground after my face hit the pole.  I was almost knocked out!  Everyone else laughed.  I didn’t!.  I carried around a shiner for a couple of weeks!

We also played softball but I was so bad at it that no one wanted me on their team.  I was usually the last one picked to go to a team that was very disgruntled about it.  When I got up to hit, the third baseman would just hold out his glove as I invariably hit straight to third base no matter what I did.

Of course there was sleigh riding (some call it sled riding) and you came down our big hill in the street.  The plows usually left a great pack of snow on the street and people would put chains on their cars to drive without sliding on the ice.  This made for a perfect surface for the sled runners.

If a car was coming a person would shout “car, car, C.A.R.” and the next person down would shout it out and so on until everyone got out of the way.

We had a lot of fun and I am sure we were in great shape.  Whenever I see the  movie “a Christmas Story” about the little boy who wants a b b gun for Christmas, it brings me right back to my childhood and the type of neighborhood we lived in.

Today, of course, kids don’t do any of that.  They may have organized sports but I never see any kids outside playing these games.  They usually are on their Xbox, game boy or whatever, sitting in the house.  What fun they have missed!

I Remember When…….

Life was a lot less complicated than it is now.  I remember when the only phones we had were dial phones and everyone had only one phone per household.  I remember when the only food choices to purchase were at the corner meat market, the grocer and a drug store where you could buy a wonderful ice cream cone for a nickel and an ice cream soda for 15 cents.  Most of our vegetables came out of my grandmother’s garden and she had chickens too and we had all the fresh eggs we wanted.  I guess everything we ate was organic without our knowing about it.

Old Phone

Our Party Line Phone

There were no ipads, ipods, cell phones, computers, or televisions.  The only individual means of communication was a two way wrist radio that was owned by Dick Tracy and the only pods we knew were pea pods that grew in my grandmother’s garden.

Victory Garden

My Grandmother’s Victory Garden

Books were on pages made out of paper and usually we got them out of the library.  The only books we bought were paper backs because they were affordable and I remember my mother and father reading them almost every night.  There were no kindles or nooks and you actually had to turn the pages yourself with your fingers and not by just touching something lightly with one finger.

The only movies we saw were at the local theaters and our town of Stamford, Connecticut had six of them.  People used to walk to town and pay sixty cents for adults and 30 cents for kids to get in.  One of the theaters, the Rialto, used to show only second or third run movies and would also give a dish away to every patron.  I still have some of my mother’s Blue Willow plates that she got there.  When TV came out and started showing old movies, the Rialto closed down. The other theaters used to show an A picture, like a Betty Grable musical, a B picture like Boston Blackie,  a cartoon, a short subject like Lash Laroo, my favorite, or the man who was behind the 8 ball, I can’t remember his name, and finally a newsreel.  By the time we left the theater, we were bleary eyed but happy.  We had eaten our jujubes or Black Crows and enjoyed every mouthful.

Movie theater

Where I spent my Saturday Afternoons

At home we had a wonderful big, brown, radio that sat in the living room where the family could listen to Jack Benny, Amos and Andy and my favorite – Lux Radio Theater which enacted movies with big stars playing the parts.  There was another small white radio in our kitchen where my mother and grandmother used to listen to Stella Dallas and One Man’s Family while they went about the housework and cooking.

Radio

Our Radio

Life was much simpler then and children were outside playing and didn’t come in until lunch time, ran out again and came in for dinner and then went out again until dark.  None of us kids were overweight or got out of breath when we ran or jumped rope.  I also had a favorite hiding spot inside my grandmother’s grape vine where I used to sit and read and watch the Japanese beetles fly around the lovely smelling purple grapes.

That was my childhood with macaroni and gravy on Thursdays and a visit to my uncle and aunt’s house on Sunday after mass.  My Aunt would prepare  a huge meal beginning with soup, macaroni with meatballs and sausage and then either chicken or some type of roast beef, a salad ending the sumptuous meal with fruit and nuts.  There was lots of conversation, music and laughter. This was accompanied by my uncle’s homemade wine and milk for the kids although we were urged to try the wine as it was good for you.  I hated it.  Today, however, I would love to have some of that rich homemade red wine that he made in the cellar.

Spaghetti and meatballs

Sunday Dinner

As I said, life was much simpler then.  It was a wonderful time and I remember it well.