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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Being a kid in the 50s and 60s

When I was a kid, we had to entertain ourselves with limited sources. We didn’t have electronics or the internet. Heck, we didn’t even have computers. Well, I guess there were a couple of them in Phoenix, but they took up a whole floor and were mainly for figuring electric bills or payroll. I remember seeing one on a field trip when I was eight or so. It was as interesting as the huge vats of milk at the dairy. Big, metallic, and of no use to me (ever, or so I thought).

Back then, if I wanted to know something, I asked Mom. I guess I was overly curious or maybe she was just tired of my perpetual ‘but why?’ replies to her answers. When a door-to-door salesman came to our house offering encyclopedias (Encyclopedia Americana, I think), she and my dad signed up for a set. I remember the red binding with gold lettering...and that it was outrageously expensive.
When it was too hot to go outside or I was tired of picking on my little brothers, I’d pick out one of the 20 or so volumes. I'd go through it page by page, ‘surfing’ the mostly black and white pictures, stopping to read whatever struck my fancy. Countries were boring, but animals and some of the plants were pretty cool. Not enough color, though.

We had never heard of karaoke, but we did have a record player. We made up our own dances to the sounds of Oklahoma, West Side Story, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake or (oh, so cool) we sang Harry Belafonte songs. Day-O at the top of our lungs was always a blast.

We did have a television, one of the few on the block. It was a little black and white ‘portable’ which meant it was on a rolling cart so it could be moved from room to room. I didn’t know anyone who had…gasp…two TVs! And color television was little more than a rumor. According to the encyclopedia (I looked) color was available, but the only stations that broadcast in color were on the east coast. Good old Scottsdale, Arizona had four TV stations at the time. They only broadcast from early morning to midnight or so, sometimes later on Fridays and Saturdays. And always in black and white.

Yes, we had ‘the classics’: Legos, TinkerToys, Lincoln Logs, yoyos, toy trucks, baby dolls, and even the latest: Barbie! Everything was static, though. If it moved, it was because of me. I had to pull the doll’s string or turn the key on the wind-up car to make it move. Battery-operated toys: I can’t remember any.

Fifty years plus later, so much has changed. What will it be like in 2065 for my granddaughters? Maybe SegWays and hoverboards will replace bicycles and skateboards. I’m (pretty) sure that electronic games will still be around. Maybe new homes will come with holo-decks like on Star Trek? What do you think?

TGBF first draftWant to see the future through another’s eyes? Check out The Great Big Fairy. See the 21st century through an 18th century female slave’s eyes. Is she overwhelmed? Wouldn’t you be?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

I love being an old lady!

I love being an old lady.
Really. I do.
I’m no longer a chick (cute, dumb or otherwise), a ditzy broad (although I have my senior moments) and I don’t have to worry about make-up, perming my hair or wearing the latest fashion.
Doors are opened for me. Young men offer me their seat on the bus so I don’t have to stand. Clerks offer to carry out my groceries. Do they think I’m feeble or do they respect me because of my graying locks? Either way, I really don’t care. At least no one has been rude to me in ages and I don’t have to stand while commuting in a public conveyance.
Young women aren’t jealous or derisive of my body or attire. I haven’t felt the sting of another female scoffing at what I’m wearing or sneer at my lack of taste. Maybe they chalk it up to being an old lady, but the reality is that I never had and still don’t have a sense of style.
What is old lady attire?
Aqua scrubs worn in my greenhouse
 In case you didn’t know, it’s clean. Comfortable. And convenient. No glittery low-rider pants with hard to find belt loops that always seem to come undone, tight hammertoe-creating shoes, flaking eyeliner and mascara, pokey, push-up underwire brassieres or hand-wash only silk shirts. My usual attire consists of a colorful, somewhat supporting sports bra, yoga or sweatpants, and a colorful ‘scrubs’ top with pockets for my pen and notebook, a tissue or two, and my smartphone. After I slide into my Crocs or Go-Walk shoes (no chance of blisters or bunions), I’m ready to tackle the world.

There are a few negative aspects of being old. I need reading glasses, but I don’t need them for gardening, driving, or scouting rainbows or wild turkeys. I'd rather not have the achy joints, but other than that, physically, I’m in great shape. My heart works well enough that I’m not breathless just walking across the parking lot to the grocery store. My brain still functions fine. I may not remember what I came into a room for, but I know my name and all the important stuff: phone, social security, and credit card numbers.
I'm glad I paid attention to my grandmother. I brushed my teeth, ate well (maybe too well), and still take my vitamins. I have all my teeth, pertinent parts, and can cook and clean better than any woman half (or one-fourth) my age. My advice and/or opinion is still sought (sometimes) and I can crack a joke with the best of them. True, I only get wolf whistles from my husband, but he’s the only one I want them from anyhow. And thanks to that now long gone miserable time of life referred to as ‘the change,’ I no longer have to worry about getting pregnant. Phew!
Do I have any regrets? Duh? Don’t we all? However, I’ve learned that no matter what, I can’t change the past. I can do my best not to make the same mistakes again, can gently urge my daughters, granddaughters - and anyone else who might listen and benefit - to not make rash choices and ALWAYS treat others as they want to be treated.
Yup. Be kind, patient, and enjoy the life you have right now. Tomorrow you may be laid up because of an accident due to road rage. Or without a job or best friend because of hasty or cruel words. Or maybe have a horrible toothache because you didn’t brush your teeth.
I’m hoping I'll avoid all of the above discomforts because along with getting older, I think I'm getting wiser.
Viva gray hair and wrinkles! I must have done something right to survive the last sixty-something years!

Note: Here’s a great story about an older woman who was able to do it all over again, but in a younger body. In a different time era. And with a severe case of amnesia. Perky old lady in a young, hot body. Will her innate sense and savvy get her out of predicaments with cougars (the mountain lion-type), creeps and kidnappers? Find out in NAKED IN THE WINTER WIND, specially priced at only 99 cents. Available on Kindle and Nook.

Dani Haviland, author of The Fairies Saga time travel series, loves writing, gardening, and photography. Find out more about her and her books (and see some pretty pictures) at