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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Was It Easier To Be A Kid, In The 50's?

Saturday mornings, were great in the 50's.   No school, you could wear your pj's all morning. I had to wear slippers, because the floor was always cold. I do not remember cold floors- oh yeah, I was wearing slippers. Saturday morning I watched cartoons. Mighty Mouse had a great song, " Mr. trouble never hung around when he heard this mighty sound". I can sing the whole song, ask me who the secretary of state is??? I watched The Adventures of Superman, who disguised as a mild mannered reporter for a great Metropolitan Newspaper... He was very cool, Lois not so much. There was Bozo the clown, I have met a lot of clowns since then, most of them did not even know they were clowns, but he was my original.

Like all children we ate at small tables called snack tables, or T.V. tables. They would sit in the living room waiting to be used.That is how you ate and watched T.V.  I was an only child,  I had to go outside for company. I took my pink spaulding ball to bounce, catch or play punch ball with. I wore play clothes, and a woolen coat, nylon was not invented yet. I remember always forming secret clubs with my friends . They were well kept secrets since I have no idea what their purpose was. We planned for the day, and did not worry about tomorrow.

Some families lived in what I now call Pleasantville. They believed nothing ever went wrong. Their parents never argued, and they never had problems. If you saw the movie, you know fantasy does not last, or exist.

I know now that my cousin lived with an alcoholic step father who she later accused of molesting her. Did I know this as a child? Would I have understood? I had an uncle who has M.S. and was confined to a wheel chair. Another relative had electric shock treatment, after a nervous breakdown. Did I understand this then?

I believe life was made simpler for us.  Children were kept children longer. Parents drank, and smoked, children didn't. Parents wore provocative clothes, kids did not. We were excluded from adult conversations, and there was no sex or cursing on T.V. Was it better? Abuse illness and disabilities existed, we were told not to think about them. We were only children, and we had time to grow up.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Monkey, A Partridge, and a Hermit

We attended a concert at the new /old Westbury Music Fair.  If you were listening to music in the 60's and 70's and had a soft spot for the hearthrobs of that day, we saw three of them last night,  Micky Dolenz,  David Cassidy,  and Peter Noone.  If you are under 40 this is not the blog for you.

This is the third time I am seeing Peter Noone, of Herman's Hermits.  He is adorable, extremely talented, a gifted musician and comic, and sixty five years old.  As he says on stage " this is the only time I can act like I am 19, and look like I am 65."  I noticed a slight limping, on stage, which made me love him more since my back has been acting up as well.

What I did not know is each performer came with his own fans.  My cousin and sitting neighbors were die hard David Cassidy fans. I do remember the long hair, cute smile and The Patridge family.  Even if the performers no longer look the same they sound exactly as they did , in their glory days. Happily they looked age appropriate, too.

I got home and googled the boys.  I read about their marriages, children and careers.  I knew every word to every song Peter sang.  Some audience members could not restrain themselves, danced in the isles, tried to hug the performers.  We all sang, clapped and wiggled and were kids again.  The ticket being a small price to journey back in time, even for just a few hours.

I spoke to Peter, my heart be still, and bought a CD and took these pictures.  I told him we come to his shows. he said he was gratful and would be returning in October.  He was wearing a lot of stage make-up and his wrinkles were prominent, up close.  Can you get cuter then that?  It made me wish I was Mrs. Brown's lovely daughter.... and I CAN be again in October.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Car I Loved And Lost...

I remained home, and commuted to college.  I received a fine education,  made great friends, saved my parents a lot of money.  I also met my special husband while I was a student.  The commute to school was harsh.  It required two buses, and two boros.  The commute was time consuming, and exhausting.  I would leave early and return late, and then face homework, reading and papers.  Sometimes I rode with friends, but that assumed your schedules were the same

My parents bought me a new car.  It was small, and could only seat four.  This was intentional.  You could not fill the car with loud and distracting friends. Only three at a time.  It was a 1970 Firebird.  It was the most beautiful car I could imagine.  It had a small engine to prevent racing.  When I pulled into my favorite gas station to fill up ( gas was 24 cents a gallon)  all the young mechanics would race to open the hood, and be shocked, and disappointed by the tiny engine.  Another example of when size counts.

I didn't care, I loved that car.  If this makes me a shallow, materialistic person so be it.  I loved owning, driving, cleaning that car.  I drove it through college, and it was with me when we married and I moved to suburbia.  I was now expecting my second child, I was eight months pregnant.

The car was parked on our driveway.  My son was asleep in his room above the garage.  We were in our bedroom.  A couple, fighting in their own huge car, came around the block, drove between our two trees, and crashed into my car.  The car was pushed into my cement steps.  It was destroyed.  The driver ran.  Their car was left running on my lawn.  The police and fire department came that night.  The driver was found and arrested for drunk driving.

Each person who came into my house that night looked at my stomach and said, what you need is a drink..I am not a social drinker, but I drank that night. I never saw my Firebird again.  The next morning my son who was almost five said, I had the best dream, there were policemen, fire engines, and lots of cars. It was so exciting! There were lights, sirens and uniforms.  It was the night the car died.

Friday, March 15, 2013

More Florida--- Life is a challenge

My family and friends face personal and private challenges, in the sunny state.  I admire my mother and my pals.  Life is an uphill climb even in flat Florida.  My mother continues her life without my father.  His spirit is very strong in the Florida apartment.  I found a blender only he could have bought, and used.  He liked gadgets.  He liked Florida.

My friends battle age related illnesses, and sometimes disppointments from people they thought they could rely on.  Nothing is easy, but they are all cheerful, and continue on.  Aging is not for the meek, weak, or frail, here or there.

Florida stories are sad, and funny.  We went to a large bazaar, flea market to meet my long time friend and her husband.  You can buy antiques, fruit, eyeglasses, clothing- anything there.  I had the shopping cart, and since I was not  buying fruit I was told to SIT in the waiting area.  There was a line of chairs where mostly the men waited.  A popular item, people use is a stroller, which carries your dog, so fido can shop and not be tired or cause a commotion.

I approached an empty chair and said to the man who pulled the chair close to him, " may I sit down"?  He said" NO".  I asked " why not?' I should have stopped there but you can take the girl out of New York...  He said, " my wife is returning soon." I informed him I would pop up and give the seat to her when she showed up.  He said " no, you can't sit here".  I looked him in the eye and said, " don't you feel silly, saying this to me?

If he did , he did not relinguish the chair.  I sat in another chair and waited till his wife appeared.  She and her stroller eventually showed, I peaked into the stroller, to see the dog.  It was a cat, hello kitty in South Florida.  I asked my friend how she endures this insanity and she said, you get used to it.  I hope I don't.

VP,  this one is for you, with love and hope.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Everything Moves Slower in South Florida

Here I am, back in Florida.  I endured a delayed, bumpy flight, into rain.  My driver said, " What are you wearing, so I can find you"?  The answer a headache.  I wait under the Jet Blue sign.  Cars pull up to pick up the newest arrivals.  They inch to the curb.  They slowly roll to a stop.  They tentatively look around, delaying all traffic in back of them.  More people crawl forward in their cars.  They do not honk or yell or get very excited. It is just not normal!

A woman drives up looking for her guests, that have just landed with me.  She spots them waiting down the road,  waiting under a different sign.  Instead of moving the car forward, she leaves the car running, waves her hands and screams, I am here.  Nobody sees or hears her but me.  The traffic is backing up behind her, the car still running. She tries to move forward but is making no progress.  Toto I don't think we are in New York anymore.

Then there is the pool.  It is a large outdoor pool surrounded by many buildings.  On a warm day the Floridians are in the water.  They are doing the " whale walk".  This is my creative name for people who slowly march in groups from one side of the pool to the other.  They move as a unit.  They only look forward, and do not talk.  This is a labored process there is resistance from the water.  It is calming to watch, sort of like a school of old fish.

My friends have bought apartments here.  They are smart, energetic women who lived professional lives in New York.  I wait to see if they have become true South Floridians.  I am scared, sharks to whales?

Tomorrow is another day in South Florida.  The people will continue their antics after I go home.  It's a slow moving pace. It's a slow moving place.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Am I The Only One Who Worked, At Work?

Last winter it was Long Island Power Authority ( LIPA), yesterday it was Verizon, the internet, communication company.  Am I the only one who worked during work?  I read about the waste of time and productivity caused by workers spending too much time on the social networks, instead of doing their work.

What about those who work outdoors?  Yesterday Verizon came for a visit.  I am not a Verizon customer.  I noticed the Verizon truck because it parked in front of my drive way, servicing my neighbor.  The truck was still parked , after one half hour, had past.  There was no movement in the truck, I assumed the driver had gone indoors.  Wrong.  The driver had removed his coat, bundled it as a pillow, and was fast asleep.  I discovered this when I walked the dog.  Upon my return, the technician was on the telephone.  Life and work is difficult when you take naps and make calls compliments of your boss.

After 2 hours of this, I was perturbed.  I decided to call Verizon.  I tried to get a number from the internet but since I was not a customer I had no way to get on the sight.  What was the category of my complaint- lazy worker?  I did find a phone number for handicapped customers.  I finally reached an operator, apologizing for not being handicapped, and try to explain in great detail why I was calling.  It was a long tirade.  There was silence on the other end.   Finally the operator said, " what state do you wish to speak to"?  She said she could connect me- after another endless pause, I noticed the Verizon truck had left and I hung up.  Do you think he heard me?

Then there was  The Long Island Power Authority, LIPA.  Last winter we lost power, heat,  light, phone, computer... dead in the water.  Three Lipa trucks came into the development.  The men sat in their heated trucks.  They sat, sat, sat, sat, like in a Dr. Seuss book.  I am very glad their trucks were warm and they were relaxed, I was not.  I persuaded my calm husband to go talk to the workers.  They were waiting for direction from their office.  They waited all day.

I have never been a violent person, and I used to be able to control my temper.  I try to be calm and not judgemental. I no longer succeed.  Please do not waste my time and steal productivity by not providing the services I have paid for because you think nobody is watching.  I am watching, get back to work NOW!

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Co-Worker The Murderer

Writers tell stories.  It is thrilling to tell stories that captivate your audience.  I know very few, that can keep a listener spellbound.  This is one of them.

I was teaching back in the day.  We were assigned a paraprofessional.  These were classroom assistants, with some college credits, who provided tutoring, and support for the children and teacher.  My friend next door, and I  shared a para.  Val would go to the other room in the morning, have a lunch break, and assist me in the afternoon.

She was a young pretty girl, in her 20's.  She had an adorable son, who would sometimes come with her to school.  She was married to a successful and arrogant young man, a stockbroker.  I met him at a school dinner.  They were building a dream house, and she drove a black jeep.  I did not know any more or less about her.  She did not eat lunch with the kindergarten staff,  preferring to spend her time with the special education teachers.

As the year progressed I saw less and less of Val.  She found many excuses to leave work early, or skip the afternoon.  I had very little recourse.  I was a co-worker, not a supervisor.  I just had to accept the situation.  Her special ed friends were hearing a much more interesting story.  She was in a very  unhappy  marriage.  She was forced into this marriage by her religious parents, who hoped to insure her future, and separate her from a previous, bad boy relationship.  She showed them pictures of her past love and dreamed of starting a new life with him.

It was now Christmas vacation, and I received a call informing me that there had been a school death.  Val's  husband had been shot and killed.  Would I  attend the wake?  I could not, but much of the school did.  Val and her husband were delivering presents to family in the projects.  They were robbed by a masked gunman.  Her husband resisted and was killed.  The gunman escaped, but  did      not steal the wallet, gifts, or leather coats.

Val returned to school.  The support and kindness were ample, as only a school can provide.  She looked great.  She had a new hairdo and had lost some weight.  She quickly returned to her pattern of leaving work early, and now openly dreaming  of  her boyfriend.  Teachers do love to gossip.  They saw a young man pick her up each afternoon, in an expensive white jeep.

I finally had a conversation with my friendly Principal about my absentee para. He said " are you talking about Jack The Ripper"? " I am not crossing her".  My friend the Principal was  not joking.  Police detectives began visiting the school.  They  interviewed the lunch crew, and staff.  The husband's parents had grown suspicious, when she tried to cash a large insurance  policy that was written under the son's name.  The family called the detectives each week asking what progress they had made, solving the crime.  Stories and pictures surfaced.

Eventually an eye witness came forward.  The shooter, Val's boyfriend.  She had masterminded the murder.  She eventually turned states evidence against the boyfriend.  He had started beating her- she had grown fat and angry.  She received a sentence of 9-15 yeas in jail, he got life.  The grandparents would share custody of the child.

Each time I  tell this story, I am asked the same questions.  Didn't I  know she was guilty?  Couldn't  I   tell  she was a murderer?  The answer is NO.  She was a good mother, a sweet girl, and a terrible paraprofessional.  Without the good white hat, and bad black, it is really hard to tell what demons lies inside any of us.