I Used to be a Music Maker

Once upon a time, I was a music maker.

I was first a poet.

At age 11, my main Christmas gift was a guitar. Not unlike millions of other kids mesmerized and inspired by the Beatles, I believed I could better express myself musically.

Cradling my guitar, I carefully crafted chords to fit my words.

Composing was a solo act. Yet, I enjoyed harmonizing with a few friends who shared my passion. Continue reading

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The Hierarchy of Problems Principle – Just How Miserable Are You?

More than a few decades ago, as a newlywed, I was complaining to my mother about a situation that felt important to me.

After only a brief period of the ear-bending, Mom abruptly shut me down by reminding me of a family member with a much greater problem. She ended with a comment along the lines of how (in contrast to our relative), I didn’t know what a problem was.


It’s true, my worries were merely emotional and mental, unlike the physical health crisis to which my mother referred. Nevertheless, it was my introduction to the hierarchy of problems principle. Very similar to the adage, “I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet,” there was an order of importance and degree of difficulty, so to speak, before one could qualify for sympathy in my family. Continue reading

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From “Duck and Cover” How I Learned to Live Life in The Fetal Position

Mid-20th century, when I was in elementary school (the 1960s, to be exact), we did not have school shootings, with students killing one another. Our main fear, in those days, was atomic war, when the Russians would drop the bomb, and within hours, maybe days, all that would remain of life on earth would be cockroaches.
With that in mind, some brilliant brain trust in the Office of Civil Defense devised a procedure for school children to follow in the event of what seemed to be that inevitable situation.
Part of the process involved the parents completing a card at the beginning of the school year. The form was basically a directive designating their desired disposal of their child should a natural (or unnatural) disaster require a sudden abortion to the regular school day.

As I recall, the available options on this sort of precursor to the living will were

* Child is to remain at school

* Child will be picked up from school

* Child is to get home the best way he/she can

I was already a latchkey kid, because Mom worked full time, and didn’t drive. So, every year, it was decided that when the air raids started, I should just head home, as usual. That was fine with me, as I definitely preferred to die with my family, rather than at school with a bunch of strangers, crayons, and No. 2 pencils. Continue reading

Posted in 1960s, Baby Boomers, cultural history, Depression, dogs, Growing up, history, Humor, mid-centurians, mid-centurions, Nostalgia, retro, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Barbara Bush – A First Lady of First Ladies 🌹

I always admired Barbara Bush. In another lifetime (June 1990), I wrote this newspaper column about her.

Sharing it now with apologies to the late Nancy Reagan, for whom I developed a fondness in her later years. 🌹

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Do The Wise Really Need Words?

My mom often used the phrase, “word to the wise” before explaining something to me.

When I was old enough to officially think like a smart aleck, I wondered about the wisdom in that idiom, questioning the need for words to the wise.

Don’t the wise already know everything?

Fortunately, as I grew a bit wiser, I realized only the wise would heed that word.

Aha! A breakthrough, a veritable epiphany! I got it – Any warnings and cautions would be lost on the foolish. Hence the proverb in it’s entirety, “A word to the wise is sufficient.”

And, as Sean Connery’s character Jim Malone in The Untouchables would say, “Here endeth the lesson.”


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Life – Just Another “Long and Winding Road”

Introspection is not for the faint of heart.

I am currently staying in a place that is not my home – at least, not yet, if ever.

Walking with my collie a few days ago, I was just following the sidewalk, pretty much at the same time I would have been walking home from school several decades ago. Thinking back to those days, we often lived as much as a mile or more from my school. I always enjoyed walking. Yet, many days, the trek seemed daunting.

Though I never walked in that proverbial 10 feet of snow, uphill, both ways, the journey had to be made – rain or shine. So, regardless of the distance or weather conditions, my objective was simply putting one foot in front of the other, and following the sidewalk until I made it home to that safe place where I knew my mother and brother would be. Continue reading

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Don’t Be Shocked – It’s Not Just About the Lights

In the old days (read “when I was a child”), most people called the electric bill their “light bill.” Because, lights were pretty much the primary leeches of that magic current flowing into the house.

Even the logo for the power company was “Reddy Kilowatt,”a sort of spokes-filament lightbulb character.

Continue reading

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