The Code of the West

My family in 1925 in the mountain community of Indian Hills, outside of Denver. They shared a cabin there when they weren't in their Denver homes.

Last week I finally got my desk sorted–again, although it isn’t cleaned yet.  Eraser shreds, dust from the open windows, crumbs, cat hair, cottonwood fluff, bits of yarn, all still linger here.  What really bothered me was the stacks of paper everywhere–print outs, receipts, folders that I kept moving from place to place.  After the garage sale bust of last weekend–never again!–there was even more stuff to be sorted, stored or given away.   All this organization took time, but it was purging!  Now I know where everything is again as well as what needs to be accomplished.
One benefit was finding a folder where I stuffed newspaper clippings that I wanted to think about.  One of them was a profile about the granddaughter of a Colorado pioneer family who had just turned 100.  She was a truly amazing woman…I say was, because just the day before I had read her obituary in the newspaper.  She died at 101.  Synchronicity!  Another article I found inspired the title of this blog posting.

The Code of the West has inspired a curriculum unit developed by the Ann Moore of Cherry Creek High School and is available from the Cherry Creek School District, a suburban district in the Denver Metro area where my children and one son-in-law attended school, my grandchildren attend now and my other son-in-law teaches.  The curriculum is titled, “Making a Difference: Cowboy Ethics in the Classroom.”  It is intended for middle school and high school students.

The key principles are good for life on the range, in business and on Wall Street.  After watching several documentaries about the recent financial collapse around the world, including the Bernie Madoff debacle, maybe the code has worldwide applications!   See what you think.  It’s very simple:

  • Live each day with courage
  • Take pride in your work
  • Always finish what you start
  • Do what has to be done
  • Be tough but fair
  • When you make a promise, keep it
  • Ride for the brand
  • Talk less and say more
  • Remember that some things aren’t for sale
  • Know where to draw the line

Happy trails to you!

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Remembering Tumultuous Times…

3. Martin Luther King, Jr., a civil rights act...

Image via Wikipedia

In July my husband will be drawing Medicare, in addition to the Social Security he now receives. He was born in 1946, one of the first year tide of “baby boomers.”  I was born in 1947, during the second year of “baby booming” in post-war America.  While drinking coffee and reading the paper–a rather old-fashioned notion in my children’s household (not the coffee, just the newspaper!)–I read that the sixties are going to trend in television next season.   The sixties are cool again, thanks to Mad Menit’s the style, not the substance, however.  Don’t get me wrong.  We love Mad Men too, but we watch it with more irony than the generations that follow us.

Don’t get me wrong!  I remember the sixties and the late fifties as well.  My sister and I used to play “apartments” in the new fifties ranch house suburban neighborhood we moved to in 1954.   Lots of slamming of doors and a drinks cart always played prominently in our games, as did smoking.  My parents both quit smoking early in the fifties, so we copied the elegance of TV starlets.  Apartments, drinks carts and cigarettes were all the height of sophistication we didn’t actually see anywhere except on television. My parents didn’t have a drinks cart or a bar, so we used my mother’s glass tea cart with water glasses.  My parents hid a lot of their true selves when we were growing up.   They secreted their liquor in the master bedroom so my tee-totaling grandmothers never knew they imbibed.  Just for the record, they also kept it a secret that they were Democrats, since The Grandmothers were rabid Republicans and would have disapproved.

My sister and I were in junior high and high school during the first half of the sixties.  Fear was in the air then, with the Cuban missile crisis, the Cold War, the construction of the Berlin Wall, the glow of President Kennedy and then his assassination.  Civil rights conflicts raged in the southern states,  filling the TV news and the headlines–Freedom Riders, lunch counter sit-ins, peaceful marches ending with police batons and fire hoses.  The angry faces and hate-filled quotes from angry white southerners amazed me, although one of my grandmother’s said the same kind of thing when she visited us.   I graduated from high school in 1965, just on the cusp of more turbulent times.  The Vietnam conflict ramped up and both Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated.   I attended a quiet teaching college, but MLK’s assassination prompted class closures and protests.  No one could have escaped the clear message: The times they are a-changing…

This is how I remember my childhood and adolescence–sophistication, strictly defined gender roles, frightening upheavals, fear, threats of war and war.  Television messages: cowboys and Indians, pointy bras and ruffly aprons, housewives concerned with their dish and clothes detergents, wise dads and well-intentioned kids.   My own life included a working mom torn between her home, family and huge ambition;  a father whose dreams were never the same after World War II–all he wanted was his home, family and a steady, 9-5 dullish job.  My grandmothers who remembered a past without cars, telephones, washing machines, played a prominent part in my life.

The fifties AND the sixties were iconic times for me, as are the times for anyone remembering the 18-21 years of  growing up.  Both my sister and I married early, within six months of each other.  Our weddings were almost identical since we each wore our mother’s circa 1942 satin wedding dress.   Boy friends, engagement rings and weddings were expectations when we were very young women.  We had church weddings and receptions in the church basement.  Do people do that anymore?  Church basements?  No chocolate fountains or champagne at our weddings!

The new retro television shows coming this fall resurrect the overt sexualization of women that many women, as well as men, bought into.  They are titled The Playboy Club  and Pan Am.  The Playboy Club  needs little explaining, butPan Am does.  Fifty years ago, flight attendants were good looking women only.  No men were allowed, no married or older women were allowed, no overweight or unattractive women were allowed.  Stewardesses were sexualized by innuendo, but that was seen as a plus.  So, these programs will romanticize the style over the substance, once again.  We will tune in for Mad Men on AMCenjoying our blast from the past, but give the network shows a miss.  I don’t really want to be reminded of Playboy or stewardesses.

My sister, my father and I near the beach in Southern California, 08/1960

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13, Rue Therese: A Puzzle Novel for the 21st Century

This new novel features a real box of historic artifacts that fascinate the author of this book, Elena Mauli Shapiro, a girl growing up in Paris.  The apartment upstairs, once occupied by Louise Brunet and her husband, is the source of the box that no one claimed after Louise’s death.   Fortunately for us, Elena’s family cared enough about history to absorb this box into their household.  It even accompanied them on their move to America.

Before I write anything else, I have to say that Elena Mauli Shapiro is  my kind of writer! Not only does the history of remnants from the past capture her, but she is as curious (nosy, perhaps?) as I am.  I also  commend her for the grace and beauty of her language.  I believed I was in France between the  two devastating world wars while I read this book. The use of these wonderful artifacts, as well as her magnificent command of the language, transported me completely.   Her writing was spare, yet on target throughout.  Having read far too many overwritten, unnecessarily wordy books recently, her economy charmed me.

Elena Mauli Shapiro’s debut novel, 13 Rue Therese, uses this box of real artifacts as a frame for the novel.  The photographs, letters, coins, gloves, postcards and small trinkets frame the imaginative story of Louise Brunet and her family.   Extensive research of the years between the devastating world wars of the 20th century provide a strong historical foundation.   The central characters of the novel are real, pictured in the abandoned photographs and ephemera.  History and imagination combine in a reminiscent mixture that ends in 1928.  We readers wish for more.

Shapiro uses an unreliable narrator as the modern transcriber of the artifacts.  He is definitely the weakest link.  As an older reader, I found his fever and distress irritating.   I would have preferred someone with more backbone, but maybe then he would have dominated the story and diminished the portrait of Louise.  Written as it is, he is merely a fly or a mosquito buzzing annoyingly in the background.

Images of the artifacts appear throughout the book.  You can find links to larger photographs with more detail on the book’s website <http://www.13ruetherese.com/about&gt; .  Even more conveniently, if you have a smart phone with the QR app, you can use it to fly right to the website as you read.  Each artifact has its own link,  many of them to You Tube or audio links, further enhancing your reading.  Three cheers for technologically savvy writers!  Although I don’t have a smart phone, when I finished reading the book, I went write to my computer and found the website.  I loved seeing more pictures of Paris and the real 13, Rue Therese, as well as finding out everything I wanted to know about the author. I even subscribed to her blog!

I love history, research and visiting the past through books, music, television and the cinema, so this book met every criteria I look for in a great read!   This book is a wonderful model for historic writing, a genre that appeals to my writing plans.

By the way, the cover of this book is wonderful.  I would like that portrait on my wall!

Here is the Amazon link to the book.  There are links to other book sites as well.  It is available in a Kindle edition too.

http://www.amazon.com/rue-Th%C3%A9r%C3%A8se-Elena-Mauli-Shapiro/dp/0316083283/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273805667&sr=1-1

Three Hedgehogs and Other Oddities

I’m promoting my new blog.  It is featuring genealogy and family history.  My tag line is “a creative response to my family roots and genealogy.”   This is true!  I can’t imagine reading lists of family members and dates–how boring for those not interested in genealogy!  But most people love stories.  I think the beginnings of my interest in family stories came from my maternal grandmother.  She loved to tell stories about different people, several of them long gone while others with gray, bent over and faded.  To hear about them licking flag poles in the dead of winter or being chased by bulls in a field was highly entertaining.  So, give my second blog a try!  Here is the link:  http://threehedgehogsandotheroddities.com/.  Best of all, subscribe and you won’t miss a single entry!  Thanks!

Goldfinches return–it must be spring!

Goldfinch enjoying nyger seed at our backyard feeder.

Goldfinch enjoying nyger seed at our backyard feeder.

Dave filled our bird feeders to the top last weekend.  What perfect timing!   We have two–one for the sparrows and chickadees and one for the finches–and chickadees as well.   The squirrels are foiled by the sparrow bird feeder–they really cannot get onto or into that model! It is smooth all over and the lid screws down tight, so they are flummoxed.  It isn’t easy to flummox a squirrel.  They may be rodents, but they would take over the world if they could figure out how to cross a street.  Some of the seed invariably drops to the ground, for the enjoyment of pigeons, mourning doves and other ground feeders.

Our long wire mesh feeder is filled with nyger (a kind of thistle) seed.  The individual seed is tiny, but doesn’t fall out of the feeder easily.  The top of this feeder also screws down tightly, so the squirrels hang on it and can pull out seeds, but cannot dig into it.  Wednesday we saw a pair of goldfinches on the feeder. The iridescent golden yellow of the male, the subtler yellow brown of the female–hooray!  That is the whole reason I bought that feeder.  After reading in the local paper a few years ago that if I put out a thistle feeder, goldfinches would come, I had to have one.  Just like the baseball field of movie legend, the promise came true.  By the middle of summer we will have three or four goldfinch couples feeding in our yard.  Somehow they work a deal with the squirrels, because we see our furry neighbors as well.

The robin’s nest in our flowering crab out front still has the robin’s nest from last year.  We don’t know if they return to the same nest.  I’ve heard the robins outside, but don’t know when to expect them to start raising a family.  We were surprised they nested right by the front door last spring, other than the fact there are just the two of us, Dave and I, coming and going most of the time.

Spring is everywhere, in the midst of strong winds and the threat of snow on Monday.  What would April be if we didn’t get snow?  The crocuses are pushing through the bricks, the morning glories are sprouting.  Tulips have shoots and the crab tree has buds. Our honeysuckle is greening up as well.  With so many windows in our house, I can track hourly the growing of shoots and buds!  There are some advantages to growing older–having time to pay attention to details.

Yesterday we went to the park with our grandsons. We grilled some brats and hot dogs, much appreciated by all.  We ate too many potato chips–the reason we never buy them except for special occasions.  Boys are amazing–climbing, running, jumping, digging.  They had a great time, as did we.  If felt good to feel the sun on our backs.

Later on all of us gathered at Jen and Rich’s house for a hamburger cookout.  This get-together opened the season of fun times together for celebrating lots of birthdays and special occasions.  The Cousins–Julia, Andrew and Beck–ran from back to front, playing, digging, kicking balls, performing a “show.”  It is always gratifying to see everyone together again.

Three cheers for the grass, the trees, the flowers and the growing of children and family bonds.  Renewal abounds!

Hope is the Thing with Feathers

“Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all.”
~ Emily Dickinson ~

Goldfinch enjoying nyger seed at our backyard feeder.

Goldfinch enjoying nyger seed at our backyard feeder.

When I was a child and teenager, most people outside my family thought I was a happy person.  Friends to slight acquaintances praised my wide smile as I negotiated the hallways at school.   I learned that people responded positively to a happy face and they wanted to believe I was the optimistic person behind the smile.

Despite my learned behavior, something was amiss.  Young children  should not have insomnia, but I did–a condition that grew worse in pre-adolescence and blossomed by adolescence.  It has plagued me all my life.  On top of the insomnia, I was also very depressed by the time I was eleven.  Part of this melancholia was hormonal, but it never went away.

Anxiety and melancholia were not unknown in my family.  My father displayed these symptoms after his years in the Mediterranean Theater of World War II.  I now know he suffered from PTSD.  His mother, my Grandma Harris, lived with us while I was growing up. She had her melancholic spells as well, apparent with her silence and sad face.  Aunt Louise, Mother’s older sister, was often described as “moody.”

Mother had no tolerance for mood swings.  She believed I chose to be melancholy, just as her sister had.  Her sister received a great deal of pampering for her moods, which irritated my mother.  I believe my aunt suffered from depression too, as did her mother, my Grandmother Rockfield.

Mother believed that a dose of heavy lifting chased away any and all “indigo blues.”  She was relentlessly busy, all the time, from childhood to her last day of life.  She firmly believed if I just got up and scrubbed the floors, or tackled a challenging task, I would feel better.  Exercise probably would have helped, but she had no idea what darkness lurked inside me.

I believe I was lucky to have escaped doing myself harm.  If I had ended up in a mental hospital, I might have endured heavy pharmaceuticals that played havoc with my system.

Maybe I am wrong about this, but struggling through years of mood swings, darkness, bad life choices and the consequences of all of these, has at times been a gift.  I have journals filled with my scattered thoughts and scraps of poems that describe what I envisioned happiness to be.

Attitudes about depression have changed over the years.  I don’t think my mother ever accepted that my mental and physical symptoms were anything but my choice.  However, during her last years, Mother wondered about her own frenetic pace.  She asked me, rhetorically, why she couldn’t stop being in charge, why her friends never inquired about her health or state of being.  I now realize that everyone thought she was indomitable. Why would Betty  Harris need help?

In many ways I have been indomitable, too, because I have never given up.  After a diagnosis of Bipolar II in 2006, I understood that mood swings were part of my genetic code.  When the psychiatrist described the symptoms of Bipolar II, I knew immediately that this profile fit me to a “T.”

Bipolar is the clinical description of what we used to call manic depression.  Bipolar II is a new diagnosis for behaviors that fell between the cracks.  If you draw a line on a piece of paper and call it normal happiness or contentment, a mood swing to that line would be a “manic” high for me–which isn’t really manic at all.  My “normal” line on that paper hangs .5” below, and the doldrums would be an inch below conventional normal.

I’ve taken Prozac, or Prozac-related medication since it was first introduced.  It has been a godsend.  It keeps me from dropping too low, but it never brings me quite up to the conventional normal line.   For a while I tried lithium, then another drug, to bring me up to normal–but then I wasn’t recognizable as me.  I stopped taking any drugs except my Prozac.

My beloved psychiatrist told me years ago that I would always be slightly melancholic and that I would need to spend my lifetime on Prozac or its “cousins.”  To keep the sad demons away from my door, I am fine with that.  My husband knows when I don’t take that RX, so I realize it makes a difference.

Many depressives, who are often creative people, write about depression as a traveler in their souls.  They wouldn’t want to be without it, and I understand that perfectly.  With my depression, I wouldn’t perceive the world as I do, I wouldn’t be me.  It is always there, leaving a bittersweet taste in my mouth.

Despite my melancholia, I am an optimist.  Since life has been more than just difficult most of the time, I believe that  someday I can grab the golden ring.  The glass is half full.  There is always hope.

The vision of a bird in flight best describes my optimism, as my soul continues to move on and up.  Wings are a symbol of that uplift for me–a moment of soaring that I have held briefly for a few golden moments in my life.  I believe I can soar again, life is hope, a a thing with feathers, and wings.

Hope is the Thing with Feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson

An old wedding dress…

Julia with her fancy "up do"

I have been involved in “e-tailing” for almost four years now.   I own and operate three virtual stores.  One of these stores markets antique and vintage items.   While checking out the competition recently, I focused on the category of used wedding gowns.  The ones that sold fetched good prices.

Vintage clothing is not a category in my shop.  I have an “accessories section” for leather gloves from my mother and aunt and some vintage scarves I’ve collected over the years.  I wore scarves wrapped around my head as headbands or ponytail adornments in the 1970s and tied in fancy bows or knots around my neck in the 1980s.   Otherwise, I never keep clothing, except for the lovely satin wedding gown up in our attic.  It has been in the family since 1942.

My mother chose this dress it for her wartime wedding that year, and my sister and I chose it for our weddings in 1968.   However, my niece and daughters did not want to wear it for their 1990, 1999 and 2000 weddings.

My 8-yr old granddaughter, Julia, spent the day at our house this past Monday because her school had a “non-pupil contact day.”  I told her about the dress while I looked through old pictures to use in listing the item.   She looked at wedding pictures of my mother, my sister and me in the dress, and then pictures of her mother and her aunt in their wedding gowns.

She wondered aloud why her mother and her aunt did not want to wear the shiny satin gown with a sweetheart neckline, rucked  (fabric sewn into folds) bodice, long tight sleeves and a cathedral train.   I explained that they wanted different kinds of weddings than the older generations did.   “Oh, I can see that,” as she explained the differences she had noticed between our formal church weddings and  the smaller gatherings in an old historic home for her mother and a city park for her aunt.

After a pause, she wistfully commented that it was nice when things were passed down.  I asked her if she wanted the dress and she softly answered, “Yes.”  I quickly replied, “I will save the dress for you. It is yours.  Do you want to see it?”  Oh yes, she did!   I took her up to the bedroom and flipped opened the window of the “acid free chamber” in the box where the gown has been stored since I had it cleaned and  preserved.  I explained the fabric was called a “blush” satin because it was originally white, but turned a cream color over time.

When I said, “Grandpa will put this right back in storage,” she smiled a big smile, then added,  “I won’t be getting married for a long, long time.”

So, I’m not selling the dress, for all the right reasons!

I’m Remembering A Sunny Christmas

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On this sunny day with no snow on the ground, we still enjoy Christmas.  Everyone thinks Colorado is perpetually covered in snow, but that isn’t true in Denver.  Some years, maybe–but I don’t have nostalgic memories of snowy Christmas days from my childhood.  Yes, I am a Denver native and I grew up here!

The persistent rumor that Denver is like the mountains isn’t true.  We are high, dry and sunny most of the time.  The Christmas days I remember when I was a child include running around outside without a coat, wondering what to do with the sled stored in the garage.

When I was a child, we spent Christmas time driving to different people’s houses to visit, admiring the gifts spread under the tree and eating tasty snacks.  When we were young we enjoyed a big dinner with all the old relatives coming over.  Eventually they didn’t travel, so we went to them on Christmas Eve day.

When I had young children at home, my parents came to our house.  My daughters and stepsons would watch out the window until they arrived, then jump up and fly out the door, crying, “Grandma, Grandpa!”

We unwrapped gifts for hours it seemed, since there were eight people sitting around the family room.  No ripping into gifts for us!  Everyone watched the person opening the gift, waiting for that pleased look of happiness and surprise.  The wrappings were neatly disposed of, the presents set in each family member’s personal pile.  Then the next person would unwrap.  The youngest person in the family always handed out the gifts.

Some years my mother brought the turkey, all cooked and cut up, while I prepared everything else.  I usually concocted a fancy dessert.  My specialty was Baked Alaska, created several days ahead of time, with the finishing touches done just before eating,

After we finished dinner, my parents and I would sit around the table and talk. The kids would drift away to play, but mother, dad and I would reminisce about the old days.  The candles would burn down to stubs, leaving wax on the tablecloth.   The short winter day dimmed to dusk.  This ritual is what I miss most at Christmas, especially since both my parents died around Christmas time, many years ago.

Christmas is nostalgic for many folks.  Maybe that hint of nostalgia makes the holidays that much richer.   A few tears for those who are gone–mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, children…

They exist in other places and times, maybe in another city or state or country.  They may be only a memory, their bones in a grave under a headstone,  or their ashes blown away by the wind.  However, for as long as we live,  they are the beloved wisps of memory around our Christmas tree.

I have worked for years on a poem about the losses time brings.  I end  my 2010 Christmas thoughts  with this work, dedicated to my parents.

Mary Elizabeth Rockfield Harris        16 Sep 1915-4 Jan 1990

Roy David Harris                                  25 Aug 1911-14 Dec 1997

THERE WILL NEVER BE AGAIN

“sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt”

“these are the tears of things, and our mortality cuts to the heart”

Virgil, The Aeneid

Little did I know of time,

when wishing for tomorrows,

these moments I was living in

would never be again.

 

There would never be again an

hour when growing shadows

dimmed every dear face

gathered near, the candles

weeping their demise

upon  the white linen.

There would never be again a

time when sunlight streaked the

faded carpet, while you sat beside

me, dust motes between us

swirling to the rhythm of our words.

The  hope of our tomorrows lost,

too soon today becoming yesterday;

Sunt lacrimae rerum–

these are tears for all those things

that will never be again.

©2010 M. J. Oliver

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The Joy of Grandchildren

Julia, Beck and Andrew

Not too long ago I saw a teaching colleague whom I hadn’t seen for years.  We discussed retirement and caught up with the doings of our children.  When she mentioned that her daughters were married and lived in other states quite far away, I expressed my regrets.  She said, “Oh, that’s fine.  I don’t have to babysit my grandchildren.”  I was amazed!  How diminished my life would be without my children and grandchildren close by!  They are my family, and family is right at the top of my list of priorities.

I’m writing this after we hosted our grandsons for an overnight this past Saturday. We always try to plan ahead for their visits so that we have the right treats and activities available.  Andrew is six and Beck is three.  Actually, they are “halves”–three 1/2 and 6 1/2, which does make a difference, especially for Beck.  A year ago he fussed for his mother, but now that he goes to preschool, he pushes her out the door.  I guess he is asserting his independence, which part of the whole growing-up experience.

The evening moved smoothly with Moon Sand (appropriate for indoor play, but very messy).  It is made in Sweden, but marketed by a Chinese company.  Just so readers know, it isn’t something fancy.  I bought it at Target.   The package  says the sand stays moist and no water need be added.  Well, it was moist, but neither Sweden or China had anticipated a dry mountain climate.  Frustratingly, the molded sand didn’t hold together very well, but that didn’t matter to the boys.  They built roads, walls and ramps and ran their play dump trucks over and into  them.  When we were ready to clean up, Dave found more of Beck’s sand on his chair and the floor than on the table.  For those who might wonder, it cleaned up beautifully!

Andrew is the best big brother I have ever encountered.  His mom and dad have taught him to look out for Beck and he takes that role seriously.  He is as vigilant as a parent.  Not only that, he thinks his brother is very funny, which he is.  When Beck demonstrated the Happy Feet penguin dance, Andrew ran up and hugged him.  He remarked that he was lucky to have Beck as his little brother.  What a sweetheart!  During dinner, Beck took a big bite of pizza and then grabbed my water bottle, taking a big swig.  He then remarked, “That was spicy!”  Andrew commented, “That’s Beck!”  When Beck decided he wanted to eat breakfast in the kitchen rather than in the dining room with us, Andrew advised, “Just ignore him.  He does stuff like that, but he’ll eventually come in here.”  He was right!

The previous two sleepovers we hosted included the boys’ cousin, Julia.  She is 7 1/2 going on thirty–also a very responsible young lady and full of creative play ideas.   Our townhouse is her stage, with the boys trailing along behind her while she serves as the director.  Andrew used to just let her tell him what to do, but occasionally he will say, “I feel bad when you leave me in the other room and go off with Beck.  I don’t like what I’m doing!”    Usually, however, they mesh very well, all three of them.  Both boys adore Julia.  One day she said to me, with a big sigh, “I don’t know why my cousins want to be me.”  I remarked that they looked up to her because she is the oldest.  Her reply: “Just wait until Andrew gets into second grade.  It is really hard.”

Whenever the grandchildren leave, the house seems very quiet.  We both suffer a let down, with all their young energy gone.  Young children are infinitely fascinating–their perspective and immediacy.  Of course, I was an elementary school teacher, so I’ve always enjoyed the freshness of young eyes.  However, Dave doesn’t have children of his own, so he has never had close enounters with youngsters growing up right under his nose.  He loves how the ordinary is extraordinary to kids–all his household tools, kitchen utensils, flash lights, hats–it goes on and on.  One of Dave’s great assets is his ability to remember how it felt to be a boy and the fact that he had a wonderful Dad who taught him how to do things and honored his curiousity.

“Our granchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us,as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends–and hardly ever our own grown children.”~