Saturday, November 21, 2015

Dewey and Jackie

I couldn’t tell you when I got reacquainted with Dewey, or acquainted for the first time. Dewey was in choir and he sang bass, which is behind the altos. I knew him, but I didn’t really KNOW him. He’s always just been there.

He stayed in our home town and married young. Over the years, I would run into him here and there, and I knew his wife Jackie also. I like Jackie.

When I worked at a bank, Dewey was a weekly customer. This was before we did everything online, something that I would bet Dewey still doesn’t do much of. I have to be friends with his wife on Facebook, in order to get information to him. Technological he is not. Anyway, we tellers all loved to wait on Dewey. He sort of took over the place. He just has that kind of personality.

He started coming to our classmate dinners, and he has to be home at a decent hour. He’s up at 4:00 AM but we all know there aren’t too many more years of working left. As I write this, he is framing his retirement home. Literally, putting it together.

When he comes to the Christmas party, I ask him to bless the meal. Dewey doesn’t wear his faith on his sleeve, but it’s there, quietly a part of his being.

He has served on the reunion committee several times. I don’t know what will happen when he moves north for good.

One evening that sets itself apart in my mind is a night Dewey and Jackie and a couple of other classmates came to dinner at my home. I wanted Jackie’s input also as someone who isn’t really vested. I was changing our web site and wanted to set priorities. We all worked together to come up with a way that would seem user-friendly to our classmates and guests.

I like Jackie as much as Dewey. I’m comfortable with her. It’s a good feeling. Although not rare, I don’t feel the same about all spouses of classmates. I’m glad they are BOTH my friends.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


 I didn’t know Connie at all during high school. I remember the name, as likely as not she was in a class with me. I know now that she was on the same college-prep track that I was (we both started college the week after we graduated), so we may have been in something together.

I really didn’t get to know her until our 40th Reunion preparation. She joined the committee and brought some great energy to the group.

At the Summer Arts Festival
Connie has never been married, so when we realized that we both like to attend concerts that my husband had no interest in, there was nothing stopping us from going!

We enjoyed the concerts at the local Summer Arts Festival. When Carole King and James Taylor came to our state capital, we decided we wanted to go. Not an inexpensive concert at all, we ended up in the nosebleed seats in a basketball arena, but it was a GOOD SHOW. I felt that someone my age was the best person to enjoy this evening with.

Since Connie has never married, she is far more used to driving to places and figuring out where to park. I depend on my husband too much! Back in this day, neither of us had smart phones, but she was able to find good places. Both of us were not in any hurry. Getting there early and leaving late to avoid the worst traffic was OK with both of us.

Our biggest evening was going to see Sir Paul McCartney. The nosebleed seats were also pretty high-priced, but we had the opportunity to see someone we had been a fan of since we were 10. Since it was a baseball stadium, I had to wonder what people down on the infield were paying! I knew the traffic would be insane.

We went several hours early and parked under the stadium (my treat!) and then went to find a restaurant. We did find a very nice one that wasn’t too far away from the stadium. We enjoyed the concert with some exceptions of intoxicated “neighbors” sitting around, it was great music! I am just in awe that a 69-year-old man presents a three-hour concert—ok, there were some guitar and drum solos in there to preserve his voice—without a break. Again we took our pretty little time to get home from this concert. The entire downtown was full, and of course, the “home baseball team” was on the road!

Connie does a lot more with season tickets to our local university’s theater department’s productions. She has nothing but rave reviews for it. I would love to join her on some of them, but I really can’t commit to a series of anything.

It is good to have someone to call.

And I never knew her in high school at all!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What Did We Do Before Pinterest?

Why does everything need to be “perfect?”

I’ll admit, I like Pinterest and I get some very good ideas from it, and I am able to organize articles that I would like to revisit at some future time. For instance, I have a board for “Reunion.” That would be ideas for our 45th (and perhaps beyond) reunion. I have recipes, inspirational quotes, decorating ideas, and many of the things that other people do. I have a board for this blog, too, and I am able to extend my reach in that way.

When I was young, we cut out things in magazines and filed them in some fashion. I have always said, “Why didn’t I invent Pinterest and become a bazillionaire?” Not being the creative sort, I really love it!

However, I feel a downside to society in general, and it is reflected in Pinterest. Nothing can be just normal anymore. Every food item must have “presentation” and be “cute.” Every social event must be decorated creatively and the food match the “theme.”

I miss just getting together and not having it have to be “put-together.” Although I am more cognizant of what goes INTO casseroles, where is the lunch or dinner where everyone just brought a dish to share? I still like tablecloths of some sort on the tables, I do have my standards after all, but for me, it doesn’t all have to match.

I am reminded of the first bridal shower that I gave—for my cousin, who I served as maid of honor for in 1974. This was for our relatives and a few choice friends, but mostly family. I went to the bakery to pick up the cake and it said “Happy Birthday Mark and Robin,” instead of “Best Wishes” or whatever I told them to put. Now, Mark and Robin’s birthdays happen to be three days apart, but this was two months away! I just apologized and said I would not be buying that cake, turned on my heels and walked out. (Here I must interject that the bakery was a fine establishment. When I got married three years later, I had a friend lined up to bake my cake, and she came down with pneumonia on Tuesday of my wedding week. This bakery stepped up and baked my cake and didn’t overcharge me at all. They helped me out at a difficult time).

So, I came home and was all frustrated, and my Mom and I talked, and guess what, it was strawberry season, so I baked strawberry shortcake for the party! (I’m sure it was cheaper!) We didn’t have a meal, just dessert and punch and maybe nuts, I don’t remember, but we made do just fine! No one knew any different, UNTIL WE TOLD THEM, and we all had a good laugh about it!

Today, we would have an entire meal, some kind of dessert included, and we would have a theme! It would revolve around her “colors,” which uh, we wore prints with a deep yellow-beige background so I guess yellow was the color. Nice dresses, ugh for shower decorations.

My point is that we can’t have just “normal” anymore. It all has to be contrived and matchy-matchy. I miss not having people drop in and make do with what is in the pantry. My children will tell you there is no food in the house, but I will tell you that there is ALWAYS a reserve meal in the pantry or freezer.

Well, here is normal in my house. I had the kids over for birthdays this past weekend. I bought a pork roast (so I thought) and was going to make pulled pork sandwiches. Well, it was the wrong cut of meat, and while it tasted fine, it was not sandwich meat! I’ll make another meal with it. So I went out and got KFC. At least that’s something I knew that the little kids could handle. I didn’t want to imagine them with pork sandwiches. Whose dumb idea was that anyway? All this is to say, I am not perfect and sometimes I have to make do. And I don’t care, I don’t get upset about it.  I didn’t buy a cake, I made one and we had brownies and ice cream too. We used plain white paper plates, although we used silverware and glassware. I come from a generation that is “Pre-Pinterest.” It doesn’t have to be perfect.

This is not to say Pinterest is bad; just as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are not in themselves. Really, it’s about our culture, wanting everything to be just so for every occasion, and by implication, anything else is “less.” While I am talking about food, the same could be said for d├ęcor, holiday or otherwise, but this blog entry has come to an end.

I’d love to hear from readers on this. Is it more important to have everything be “just right” or are you comfortable with occasions that are imperfect?

Until we connect again…..

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


This entry is about a person that I did know in high school, but only as a friend of a friend. Sandy was the friend of one of my close friends—who shall NOT be written about—so I knew her in that way. To be honest, they were an “odd couple” and I never knew what drew them together as friends. Sandy was very shy and Jean was well—not!

Actually many years went by and I became Sandy’s Facebook friend. I don’t really know why that happened as I really didn’t know her well. We wrote back and forth under the radar on Facebook and plain email. We found that we had much in common.

Sandy and her husband at
a fifties theme party.
Mostly we wrote about our faith and how it was a part of our life. We discussed how if affected certain decisions we made. She is so creative and I would drool over the creations she would take pictures of and put on Facebook. She lives in Mississippi now and lives a quiet rural life with her husband. Her children and grown and out of the house (have been so since we reconnected). She is a Grandma too.

I have had some struggles that I shared with her and she listened. There have been some phone calls. She has been a great support to me in some of my difficult times. These have been intimate conversations.

She decided that she needed to quit Facebook, and I do miss seeing her pictures of what she is doing. We email only now, and there is always a possibility of a phone call, but we mostly email. I would love to go south and visit her. With Jean in Florida now, we should arrange something.

And of course, I will encourage her attendance at the next reunion. I have room.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Libby went to the Catholic school for her elementary years and the “other” junior high for 9th grade. We weren’t even together until we went to high school in our 10th grade. I knew who she was, but we had friends of friends and we weren’t really friends ourselves. I remember distinctly when her mother died when she was 16. Things like that stick with you.

Here we are at the Fairborn Chamber Chat
held at Wright State University
Our lives took different turns after school. She traveled quite a bit with her husband. Eventually they would return to the United States, and they settled in the school system that I lived in. She had a daughter three years younger than mine, two years older than my son, and another daughter a year younger than my son. So, from 1983 to 1989 we were having babies.

Eventually, we would run into each other in school events and in the community. I don’t think we got together on a reunion committee until the 30th. That was in 2001. We started having our group lunches in 2006 and really ramped those up in 2010. She became a regular at the lunches. She and I had lunches and suppers at other times. It seemed those were the only times we were really alone and could talk about things.

Libby got me onto the idea of owning an iPod touch. Oh, wow, the things we could do with that. (We now both have smart phones) I got her started with Facebook. Her daughters were appalled at the time, but I think they’re OK with it now. They are sharing pictures all the time. I am friends with her older daughter, and we find that WE have some similar interests!

She lives three miles from me. Honestly, we could drop over all the time, but we have other things to do. Both of us have retired husbands, and her children and grandchild are close by, so she spends a lot of time with them. In recent years, she has had more than her share of tragedy in extended family, so she has had to attend to that.

The class activities keep us connected. I enjoy her company. I look forward to a day when things slow down a little.

My Fitness Journey: Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Treatment

It's "fall back" weekend!
It has been about two months since I have written about my Diet and Fitness Journey. When last I wrote, I had lost about 11 lbs. on The Virgin Diet. I have been able to keep this off, but am really stalled at about 13 lbs. I don’t understand this fully, as I am eating 80% right and I have completely cut out pop. I hear people say all the time “I lost five lbs. a month just by cutting out pop!” and this is NOT happening! It is very depressing since I have given up something that I really loved.

Now I know, that it’s not good for me anyway, so no matter what the scales say, pop is just an enemy of the human body. So I am behaving.

During these last two months, I have been doing physical therapy to strengthen my left knee and admittedly, my right knee also. After all, we cannot have a lopsided body here. I have been released from physical therapy. I have been able to lift 110 lbs. as I sit on a seat and push out with my legs. For me, I think that is pretty strong. I don’t have that machine, either at the fitness center or the workout room at our condo clubhouse, so I am going to have to figure out a way to maintain that strength.

At the same time, I have been working with a local chiropractor. I won’t name him. If you are reading this and you know what town I live in, you know who it is. He is a hometown boy who got his education and came home to practice. His mother was my son’s third grade teacher. This IS a small town!

Dr. has been doing decompression therapy on me for about six weeks now. It HAS helped my back. Right now we are only doing once a week and we’ll see how long that is needed. I don’t kid myself. He’ll be with me the rest of my life, to some extent. It’s OK. I’m getting older and my back is deteriorating, and we are doing the best we can to preserve what we can.

Walking is still difficult. My husband walks almost three miles at a time and I am jealous. But my husband does not have the issues that I do, and vice versa, indeed. No comparing, I just wish we could walk together. Maybe we will someday.

So…..I will continue to do my leg weights at home, every other day. (Oh, and naturally I bought new ones, only to find my old ones that I had “lost” through the move a couple of days later!) I will go to the fitness center for upper body weight work and riding the bikes. I can also ride the bike in the clubhouse if I just want to do that. I will not be attempting classes. They are too much at once. (within a 45-60 minute time frame)

Halloween is a few days away and the good news is that the condos don’t do Halloween (no one comes back here). But the other holidays are on the horizon and I really have to work at this! I’m in my older clothes and I am not letting them get tight again! I have work to do yet, but I am not going to backslide!

This has been a frustrating time. The knee had been bothering me for two years, since before my cancer diagnosis, and I don’t know which was worse, the pain or the “cure.” Well, the cure is going to work, eventually. It just hasn't come as easy as I thought it would.

I hope my story helps someone who is going through something similar. It may not be the same part of the body, but the feelings are the same. As I write this, the World Health Organization just announced that sausage and bacon are really bad for you. That is not a problem for this girl. Neither is red meat, although I like hamburger in my tacos. That is about all.

However, pumpkin pie; well, that’s another story……

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


I sort of knew Bob in high school, but not enough to have any real memories of anything we experienced together.

I've always liked this picture of Bob
and my son. This was taken in our
garage when we had a party.
Actually I can’t tell you anything about his life, except that he started coming to our luncheons. He’s retired, but he’s a musician, and honestly, he’s in four places at once and we can’t keep up with him! One of these days, I am going to see and hear (one of) his bands sing.

He comes to our Christmas party, and along with another fellow with a banjo, adds to the festivities. Nothing is EVER rehearsed! The first time Bob came, he didn’t bring his guitar and I got out my brother’s (who passed away in 2007) guitar and it had been tuned down (back), but when Bob tried to tune it UP, he broke strings. The next time he brought strings and set me up!

To know Bob is to know his music. Now that he’s retired, he can do whatever and how much of whatever he wants to do.

I always enjoy his company at our events. Sometimes he’s late, but it’s OK. We just love having him around!

Sunday, October 11, 2015


I knew of Vicki in high school. She was on the drill team, so she was a friend of a friend. Neither of us can remember being in a class together, but I find it hard to believe that we were not. With a class of almost 700, there just were times people did not run in the same circles, and this was one of those times. We were both in the Music Department, her with the drill team and one choir and me in the other choir.

Life went on and the old gang broke up and we went our own ways. Vicki was at the Tenth Reunion, but I honestly remember very little about that reunion. She came into our lives at the end of preparation for the Twentieth Reunion, jumping right in and helping. We considered her a “committee member.” (I just wanted to note that, so that individuals who decide at the last minute that they want to help, it is possible!) Vicki has been involved in every reunion since.

She works for the state working with developmentally disabled individuals. In 2016, she will retire with 30 years. She was married many years ago to a classmate for a short time (they remain friends) and had a long-term relationship with another man.

She also has health problems; real health problems! The short story is that she needs a donor heart.

Vicki at our 40th Reunion
But I start at the end: this did not happen overnight. Her heart problems began 25 years ago and life has been a roller coaster ever since. Vicki did not have a computer or email for the longest time, so I tried to remember to call her periodically, and I didn't do that very well.

Last year about this time, she had a major setback. She was hospitalized in our town, flown to the state capital to a specialty hospital, and eventually to Tennessee to live and hopefully recuperate with her brother and sister-in-law. I never expected to see her living in our hometown again. Many of our classmates sent cards, a few visited, and I was on speed dial of a friend of hers; who started out as a work companion, but moved on and they maintained their relationship. He, the other guy of the long-term relationship, and her brother and SIL were her main support system. She was very blessed by these people.

I thought she would sell her condo up here and settle in Tennessee and get on a waiting list for a donor heart. (They were working with a hospital in Alabama) She did not sell the condo, recuperated and returned to her home and job. We are all totally amazed!

Last month she came to a committee meeting and everyone wanted to hug her. However, this is not really possible. She wears several “machines” that are literally keeping her alive. I am not a medical person and this is a specialty I have no experience with, but imagine my thoughts when she told me that if I wanted to take her pulse, I would not find one.

Let that one sink in. Her life is being kept by machines and she has no pulse!

Obviously, we take into account her limitations, and that is good as it reminds us that we all have limitations. Her picture is just painted in much brighter colors!

Next year she plans to retire and get on a donor list. There is no guarantee that there will not be complications before that, but we hope and pray it all goes according to the best plan. 

Vicki is one big fighter! I am honored to consider her my friend!