210502-Never Mind!

Today I experienced an example of how when I rely on the Internet for information it can lead me into a dead end. A few weeks ago, I married for the third time. The lady I chose for Mrs. Grumpajoe the third(GJ-3)is six years younger than Grumpajoe himself. The first Mrs. Grumpajoe-1 and I were the same age while Mrs. Grumpajoe-2 was five years older than he so the experiment here is to see if the younger Mrs. GJ-3 can out live him. Surely, I don’t want to see her fail and die a miserable death as 1 and 2 did, but I digress. 

Mrs. GJ-3 loves old stuff. With the great COVID close down of 2020 lasting into 2021 she has been shut out of one of her favorite past-times i.e. flea-marketing. Last Thursday she sprung a surprise on me by announcing that we were going to visit her grandson who lives in a town seventy miles from here. She had the days mapped out and this morning we were to go flea marketing. Generally, there are some very large markets that are open on the first weekend of the month. Today was the first weekend. Guess where we were going?

I had to search the internet to locate Gurney, IL which I remember having a huge market. They are also known for their large Outlet market place. My search didn’t find the Gurnee flea-market. Evidently, it was a victim of COVID. The nearest market was shown to be in the town of Grayslake. There was something odd about the way they listed the hours, and dates. Today’s activities were shown in a light blue text, while at the bottom of the listing were two more dates shown in bold-black in November, and December. Hymmm.

Mrs. GJ-3 and I got up early and hurriedly drove to the Lake County Fairgrounds home of said flea market. The parking lot was crowded and people were streaming forward in controlled lines, one-way in and others coming out in another lane. What was really strange was when we entered the building a nice young masked lady asked if we had an appointment. “Appointment for a flea market?” She laughed and said we should proceed and to tell them that we were walk-ins. We passed through the next door into this huge open space, and all I saw were people in orderly lines heading toward tables where other people were asking them to roll up their sleeves.  There were lines of unoccupied wheelchairs parked all around the lines. Then it dawned on me, we were in a COVID Vaccination site.    

We quietly backed out, but not before being given a hard sell to get a free vaccination while we were there. My argument was the CDC doesn’t recommend getting a third shot so soon after the first two. 

The ride home was much longer than the ride out. Our disappointment was showing on our faces and attitudes. Mrs. GJ-3 continued to search the net for information about Gurney only to learn first-hand that there was nothing, she found the same for Grayslake. That seemed to calm her down a little.

Burning gas is one of my least favorite things to do unless it is for a purpose. On the return, we passed through Mundelein and I turned into Grand Dominion a Del Webb development which has haunted me for twenty years. When I wintered in Arizona I stayed in Del Webb communities. Sun City, Sun City West, and Sun City Grand are all magnificently planned to support active life styles for old geezers like me. When I heard they have a community in Illinois north of Chicago I’ve always wanted to see what it was like. This morning I got to realize that idea. I can’t call it a dream, because it is nowhere close to a dream. The impression I got was it reminded me of Gateway an over fifty-five manufactured home community in Frankfort. Except the homes don’t arrive on wheels. They are nice size homes with what looks like PVC siding, and are spaced close to each other. The back yard is a postage stamp. The side facing the street is mostly a concrete drive way. In Arizona the homes are a few feet further apart, but the back yards are much larger to space people away from each other. At this location, the premium lots are on a small lake affording a lake view. In Sun City, the nice lots face an emerald green golf course. 

There is a large clubhouse near the entrance which I didn’t visit. It most likely houses the sales staff, swimming pool, some club rooms and a restaurant. The Old Dominion website lists all the amenities they provide. In the Arizona locations they have several community centers located throughout. These sites have sport and craft-activity rooms to house the more than three hundred hobby clubs that residents can amuse themselves in.  Overall, I was not impressed with the Illinois community. The homes didn’t impress me nor did the community layout. At least I saved a dead-end adventure and satisfied a long-time desire. Mrs. GJ-3 was not impressed at all, and dozed during my tour. Her dream is to live on a five acre lot with a large garden and a small forest separating neighbors.  

 

Defining Who We Are

WASN’T THIS US? 

A little house with three bedrooms,

one bathroom and one car on the street.

A mower that you had to push

to make the grass look neat.

In the kitchen on the wall

we only had one phone,

And no need for recording things,

someone was always home.

We only had a living room

where we would congregate,

unless it was at mealtime

in the kitchen where we ate.

We had no need for family rooms

or extra rooms to dine.

When meeting as a family

those two rooms would work out fine.

We only had one TV set

and channels maybe two,

But always there was one of them

with something worth the view.

For snacks we had potato chips

that tasted like a chip.

And if you wanted flavor

there was Lipton’s onion dip.

Store-bought snacks were rare because

my mother liked to cook

and nothing can compare to snacks

in Betty Crocker’s book.

Weekends were for family trips

or staying home to play.

We all did things together —

even go to church to pray.

When we did our weekend trips

depending on the weather,

no one stayed at home because

we liked to be together.

Sometimes we would separate

to do things on our own,

but we knew where the others were

without our own cell phone.

Then there were the movies

with your favorite movie star,

and nothing can compare

to watching movies in your car.

Then there were the picnics

at the peak of summer season,

pack a lunch and find some trees

and never need a reason.

Get a baseball game together

with all the friends you know,

have real action playing ball —

and no game video.

Remember when the doctor

used to be the family friend,

and didn’t need insurance

or a lawyer to defend?

The way that he took care of you

or what he had to do,

because he took an oath and strived

to do the best for you.

Remember going to the store

and shopping casually,

and when you went to pay for it

you used your own money?

Nothing that you had to swipe

or punch in some amount,

and remember when the cashier person

had to really count?

The milkman used to go

from door to door,

And it was just a few cents more

than going to the store.

There was a time when mailed letters

came right to your door,

without a lot of junk mail ads

sent out by every store.

The mailman knew each house by name

and knew where it was sent;

there were not loads of mail addressed

to “present occupant.”

There was a time when just one glance

was all that it would take,

and you would know the kind of car,

the model and the make.

They didn’t look like turtles

trying to squeeze out every mile;

they were streamlined, white walls, fins

and really had some style.

One time the music that you played

whenever you would jive,

was from a vinyl, big-holed record

called a forty-five.

The record player had a post

to keep them all in line

and then the records would drop down

and play one at a time.

Oh sure, we had our problems then,

just like we do today

and always we were striving,

trying for a better way.

Oh, the simple life we lived

still seems like so much fun,

how can you explain a game,

just kick the can and run?

And why would boys put baseball cards

between bicycle spokes

and for a nickel, red machines

had little bottled Cokes?

This life seemed so much easier

and slower in some ways.

I love the new technology

but I sure do miss those days.

So time moves on and so do we

and nothing stays the same,

but I sure love to reminisce

and walk down memory lane.

With all today’s technology

we grant that it’s a plus!

But it’s fun to look way back and say,

Hey look guys, THAT WAS US!

White Picket Fence

Ever since I was a kid I have dreamed of living on a street in a small town in a white clapboard house surrounded by a white picket fence. It was probably an image I got from watching a wholesome movie like Its A Great Life, or some Mickey Rooney film. The idyllic setting appealed to me and still does. The house I grew up in was not in a small town, but in a small neighborhood in a very big city. We did not have a large enough yard for a picket fence to wrap around the front yard. We did have a picket fence separating us from the neighbors on either side. What ever it was that image has returned regularly throughout my lifetime.

Over the years I have lived in many places. Going away to college counts for many of them. After college and marriage I settled into a small village near the big city, but again the yard was not large enough to sport a white picket fence. House number two was in a tiny town out in the country and away from the big city, but that yard was too large for a picket fence and besides the homeowners association had rules stipulating no fences at all. It didn’t fit my ideal but I loved living there nonetheless. My final house is again in a neighborhood, but it is now part of the little town that house number two was in except the town is no longer small and idyllic.

One summer, I took my kids to see Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. I love that place. I could see myself living there in Colonial times. It conveys an image of a life during peacetime when people had only to concentrate on feeding and clothing their families. Most who lived in Williamsburg raised their own food, or bartered their talents for food. Each resident had a small cottage with a yard large enough to sustain themselves and to keep animals too. Some of those families were rich enough to afford a horse to pull a small wagon. They had everything, but none of it came from China, and most of it was homemade by them or their neighbors. The fences they had were necessary to separate the animals from the vegetables. Animals love fresh vegetables and keeping them side by side is risky for the city farmer.

Why is all this coming to haunt me? As I age, I long for a simple life in a very small community where everyone knows everyone, and the homes have white picket fences. Reading the book Tom Sawyer might have cemented that picture in my mind. Reading about how Tom duped his buddies into painting the white picket fence for him was one of my favorite chapters. Last week I searched the internet for towns in Illinois with small populations. There are many, but most are long distances away from my family. I seem to like towns with about two thousand people. They seem to fit my dream. The houses are mostly small, and old. The yards are large, meaning a lot of maintenance is required. None of them have picket fences probably because of the added cost and because picket fences require regular maintenance. Will I ever realize my dream? Probably not, but it is fun thinking about living in a situation where it would be a lot of fun if I were forty years old and not eighty. Why, I could raise chickens and keep a large organic vegetable garden. Think of all the energy I would expend pulling weeds and killing vegetable eating bugs and butterflies.

A few years ago, I wrote my autobiography and one of the chapters was titled “City Farm.” I described the way my Mom kept a garden that covered every square inch of the available yard. She had chickens, raised vegetables, fruit, and also a myriad of flowers at the same time. The lady never sat still. While she was doing all that garden stuff I was able to get lost on the block and play with my buddies. Ahh for the good old days.

Now it is wine time!

I Am One of These

Special Group / Born Between 1930 – 1946. Today, they range in ages from 75 to 90.  Are you or do you know someone “still here”? 

Classy Chassis

  Some interesting Facts for you. 

  You are the smallest group ofchildren, born since the early 1900s. 

    You are the last generation, climbing out of the depression, who can remember the winds of war and the impact of a world at war which rattled the structure of our daily lives for years. 

    You are the last to remember ration books for everything from gasto sugar to shoes to stoves.

     You saved tin foil and poured fat into tin cans. 

  You saw cars up on blocks because tires weren’t available.

   You can remember milk being delivered to your house early in themorning and placed in the “milk box” on the porch.

   You are the last to see the gold stars in the front windows ofgrieving neighbors whose sons died in the War.

    You saw the ‘boys’ home from the war, build their little houses.

   You are the last generation who spent childhood without television;instead, you imagined what you heard on the radio. 

  With no TV until the 50’s, you spent your childhood “playing outside”. 

  There was no little league.

  There was no city playground for kids.

       The lack of television in your early years meant, that you had little real understanding of what the world was like.

     On Saturday afternoons, the movies gave you newsreels sandwiched in between westerns and cartoons.

     Telephones were one to a house, often shared (party lines) andhung on the wall in the kitchen (no cares about privacy). 

    Computers were called calculators; they were hand cranked.

     Typewriters were driven by pounding fingers, throwing the carriageand changing the ribbon.

     INTERNET’ and ‘GOOGLE’ were words that did not exist. 

      Newspapers and magazines were written for adults and the news was broadcast on your radio in the evening.

  As you grew up, the country was exploding with growth. 

    The Government gave returning Veterans the means to get an education and spurred colleges to grow.

  Loans fanned a housing boom.

Pent up demand coupled with new instalment payment plans opened manyfactories for work.

     New highways would bring jobs and mobility.

SUV’s Chevrolet Suburban Generations

  The Veterans joined civic clubs and became active in politics.

     The radio network expanded from 3 stations to thousands. 

    Your parents were suddenly free from the confines of the depression and the war, and they threw themselves into exploring opportunities they had never imagined.

    You weren’t neglected, but you weren’t today’s all-consumingfamily focus.

  They were glad you played by yourselves until the street lights came on.

They were busy discovering the post war world.

     You entered a world of overflowing plenty and opportunity; a worldwhere you were welcomed, enjoyed yourselves and felt secure in your future though depression poverty was deeply remembered.

   Polio was still a crippler.

   You came of age in the 50s and 60s.

  You are the last generation to experience an interlude when there were no threats to our homeland.

The second world war was over and the cold war, terrorism, global warming, and perpetual economic insecurity had yet to haunt life with unease.

     Only your generation can remember both a time of great war, and a time when our world was secure and full of bright promise and plenty.

You grew up at the best possible time, a time when the world wasgetting better…

   You are “The Last Ones.”  More than 99 % of you are either retired or deceased, and you feel privileged to have “lived in the best of times!”

A Time To Remember; My Time

A Special Group – Born Between 1930 to 1945

   Interesting Facts: If you were born in the 1930s to 1945, you exist as a very special age group.

You are the smallest group of children born since the early 1900s.

You are the last generation, climbing out of the depression, who can remember the winds of war and the impact of a world at war which rattled the structure of our daily lives for years.

You are the last to remember ration books for everything from gas to sugar to shoes to stoves.

You saved tin foil and poured fat into tin cans.

You saw cars up on blocks because tires weren’t available.

You can remember milk being delivered to your house early in the morning and placed in the “milk box” on the porch.

You are the last to see the gold stars in the front windows of grieving neighbors whose sons died in the War.

You saw the ‘boys’ home from the war, build their little houses.

4.2.7

You are the last generation who spent childhood without television; instead, you imagined what you heard on the radio.

With no TV, you spent your childhood “playing outside”

There was no little league.

There was no city playground for kids.

The lack of television in your early years meant, that you had

little real understanding of what the world was like.

On Saturday afternoons, the movies gave you newsreels sandwiched in between westerns and cartoons.

Telephones were one to a house, often shared (party lines) and hung on the wall in the kitchen (no cares about privacy).

Computers were called calculators; they were hand cranked; typewriters were driven by pounding fingers, throwing the carriage, and changing the ribbon.

The ‘INTERNET’ and ‘GOOGLE’ were words that did not exist.

Newspapers and magazines were written for adults and the news was broadcast on your radio in the evening by Gabriel Heatter and later Paul Harvey.

As you grew up, the country was exploding with growth.

The G.I. Bill gave returning Veterans the means to get an education and spurred colleges to grow.

VA loans fanned a housing boom.

Pent up demand coupled with new installment payment plans opened many factories for work.

New highways would bring jobs and mobility.

The Veterans joined civic clubs and became active in politics.

The radio network expanded from 3 stations to thousands.

Your parents were suddenly free from the confines of the depression and the war, and they threw themselves into exploring opportunities they had never imagined.

You weren’t neglected, but you weren’t today’s all-consuming family focus.

They were glad you played by yourselves until the street lights came on.

They were busy discovering the post war world.

You entered a world of overflowing plenty and opportunity; a world where you were welcomed, enjoyed yourselves and felt secure in your future though depression poverty was deeply remembered.

Polio was still a crippler.

You came of age in the 50s and 60s.

The Korean War was a dark passage in the early 50s and by mid-decade school children were ducking under desks for Air-Raid training.

Castro in Cuba and Khrushchev came to power.

You are the last generation to experience an interlude when there were no threats to our homeland. The war was over and the cold war, terrorism, “global warming,” and perpetual economic insecurity had yet to haunt life with unease.

Only your generation can remember both a time of great war, and a time when our world was secure and full of bright promise and plenty.

You grew up at the best possible time, a time when the world was getting better…

     You are “The Last Ones.” More than 99 % of you are either retired or deceased, and you feel privileged to have “lived in the best of times!!!”

Tracey J Boothe Publishing Blog

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