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!!!”

Devolution

I need help! My computer has again disassociated itself from my apple mail. I haven’t received a single message since November 17 and today is the twenty-ninth. I have tried untold times to reconnect it but get frustrated with the language of the help screens and the lack of remembering all the pass words and user names for every blooming step along the way. Luckily, I can access my mail thru a program called c-panel. Even that requires remembering a user name and multiple passwords. When will the computer world ever get simple? I was hoping that all the talk about a new internet would help alleviate the problems with all the theft and rampant hacking, but it remains just talk.

After watching the series Home Fires I long for a more simple time in life like it was in the nineteen forties and fifties: pay phones, small towns, lots of individual shops selling specific items like meat, bread, etc. bicycles instead of cars, trains instead of planes, small farms just outside town, country lanes, and not super highways, raising chickens in back yards.

Houses were small, but adequate. People only needed a place to shelter from the elements. Contacting your friend meant walking or cycling to his house and calling his name until he came out. Playing games was mostly done on the street in front of your house or on a table with cards or a board. Times have changed radically in my life-time, and not always for the better. The transition from no news to needing to have news in your hand all the time has begun to make us paranoid about the world. Auto accident death rates were on the decline because of the magnificent safety features included in new cars only to lose ground to people paying more attention to their personal contact equipment instead of paying attention to the road.

vital sign monitor in tablet PC, medical technology concept

Even health care has changed dramatically. We now have emergent care clinics we can run to every time we have the sniffles. Before we had chicken soup, or Vicks Vapo-Rub to take care of us. Although I love all the modern inventions and developments to make our lives better I am not sure we are any better for it. Before we learned to cope with a situation, now we expect someone to solve our problems immediately. If something doesn’t happen fast enough we begin to obsess or become anxious to the point of becoming incapable of existence. The solution for anxiety is usually some drug. Drugs make us dependent and less able to cope and sometimes create new forms of anxiety.

Before email and computers, we wrote memorandums to each other, or met face to face. Then the telephone arrived on our desks and we could talk to people. Phones did cut the number of memos but eventually there were too many calls to answer, and we sometimes had multiple lines coming to the same instrument. Email was a great solution to many business communication problems, and soon our in baskets were piled high with electronic messages, just like when we had paper memos. Today, we’ve migrated to messaging on phones. Texting will allow better faster communication for awhile at least until something else will be invented to take it’s place.

The entire world has the need for speed. Why? Beats the heck out of me, I kind of like the idea of devolving instead of evolving. The idea of moving toward a slower happier life seems much more sensible, and already such a phenomenon exists, it is called old age. Our bodies will tell us when to slow down and how to handle a day’s activities. If there are too many things to handle we will just defer them to another day or forget about them. Nature at its finest, without the need for a new invention to help us slow down.

Perhaps the youngsters will invent a few apps for coping with old age. Most likely they will all involve speeding up our routines and destroying our contentment. The nice thing about old age is that if we do decide to use a new fangled app to cope, and we find it only frustrates us we will merely stop using it, and, or find a senior way to work around it, or do without.

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Back in the nineteen fifties there was a wildly popular program segment hosted by Art Linkletter called “Kids Say The Darndest Things.” Show host Linkletter interviewed grammar school kids with simple questions and waited for the replies. Usually, there was so much laughter it took a while before he could challenge the answer. I’ve included a short video of one of his interviews to demonstrate his style.

This morning when I opened my email Art Linkletter’s program came to mind immediately. Why? Just read these short vignettes of teachers quizzing their young students.




A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales.
The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small. 
The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale.  
Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible. 
The little girl said, ‘When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah’. 
The teacher asked, ‘What if Jonah went to hell?’ 
The little girl replied, ‘Then you ask him’.
 

 
 
A Kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each child’s work. 
As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was. 
The girl replied, ‘I’m drawing God.’
The teacher paused and said, ‘But no one knows what God looks like.’ 
Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, ‘They will in a minute.’
 

 

     A  Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six-year-olds. 
After explaining the commandment to ‘honor’ thy Father and thy Mother, she asked, ‘Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?’ 
From the back, one little boy (the oldest of a family) answered, ‘Thou shall not kill.’
 
ne day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head.  
She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, ‘Why are some of your hairs white, Mum?’
Her mother replied, ‘Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.’ 
The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, ‘Mummy, how come ALL of grandma’s hairs are white?’
 

 
 T
  he children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture.  ‘Just think how nice it will be to  look at it when you are all grown up and say, ‘There’s  Jennifer, she’s a lawyer,’ or ‘That’s Michael, He’s a  doctor.’ 
A small voice at the back of the room rang out, ‘And there’s the teacher, she’s dead.’
 

 
  A teacher was giving a lesson on the circulation of the blood Trying to make the matter clearer, she said, ‘Now, class, if I stood on my head, the blood, as you know, would run into it, and I would turn red in the face.’  
‘Yes,’ the class said
    ‘Then why is it that while I am standing upright in the ordinary positions the blood doesn’t run into my feet?’  
A little fellow shouted,
    Cause your feet ain’t empty.’
 


T
  he children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note and posted on the apple tray: ‘Take only ONE.  God is watching.’
Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies. 
A child had written a note, ‘Take all you want.  God is watching the apples….’
 

  ~~
  I  t doesn’t matter how many people you send this to; just remember if it made you laugh, your friends will laugh too

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