Tuesday, March 23, 2010

That really burns me up!

Since we don't have anyone to give us direction on WeWrite4Ten on Tuesdays, Lyn suggested we each write about something that is on our minds. Since I suggested Pet Peeves last week and didn't get to write about them, here I go:

I do have a few things that really bother me, but I think my greatest complaint right now is people who walk their dogs in public places and don't pick up their leavings.

Here in Henderson, Jim and I walk almost every day in a lovely park near the condo we rent. It has a great little playground for the kiddies, tennis courts, a basketball court, picnic tables, grills, benches and nice walking paths. Jim and I try to walk almost every day.

Along the walking paths are strategically placed dispensers with plastic poop bags as Jim and I call them. There is no reason why anyone would have to leave their dogs dodo on the ground. Yet, every few feet there will be piles of doggie do.

It would be one thing if these people would even move the dogs over to the grass or gravel to relieve themselves, but right there on the concrete? What are they thinking?

When Jim and I had our dog, Frazier, we walked him in a public place every day. When I walked him, I took him to the local cemetery. I never allowed him to relieve himself on a grave or headstone. In fact, we always kept to the dirt road around the cemetery. And, I always carried my own bags with me. I often took several knowing that Frazier just love to do his business in the bushes opposite the cemetery.

I distinctly remember a day when he was a little overzealous and I didn't have an extra bag. I marked the spot, went home, retrieved another bag and returned to the cemetery to pick up what he left behind.

I know there are lots of folks who do just what I did and take care of their dogs and the environment. Why can't everyone be that caring and courteous? Just sayin'.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Frazier Wolfanger

Today's assignment asks us if we have a pet. If not, why.

I cannot possibly write in ten minutes all that was our wonderful dog, Frazier. He was the best dog anyone ever had. I know, I know, we all think that about our pets, but honestly, he was such a dog. Everyone who knew him, and that was a lot of folks, said he enjoyed being a dog.

He's been gone for several years now, and it's still very hard for me to write about him. Pets were never very high on the priority list of Jim and myself. We had our girls, our home, yard, friends, relatives, a very full life. Who needed a pet. We always sidestepped the girls' requests for a pet by saying that our (the girls' and mine) allergies just wouldn't permit it.

When Paige was in seminary, she and her housemates decided to adopt a dog. I had a fit. I told them flat out that it was crazy, they certainly, as students couldn't afford a dog. Not that they cared a hoot what I thought. Anyway, almost immediately upon adoption, Frazier became Paige's dog.

One of the first things she did, was uncrate him at night and teach him to sleep in her bed. She loved that dog. When she first brought him to meet the family, at Grandma's house in PA, I was in love too. I remember telling my brother in law that if I could be sure I would get a dog like Frazier, I'd get a dog right away.

Well, as oft happens in life, the happy household in Grand Rapids, MI, fell into dispute. Paige and one other roommate were asked to move out, and take the dog with them. Alas, there was no campus housing that would allow a dog, soooo Mr. Frazier came to our home to live.

That was probably the only really happy thing to come out of the debacle caused by the housing breakup. We got the perfect dog.

I'm afraid my time is up, but stay tuned. I just can't stop writing about this precious member of our family. I know dogs don't have souls, but I am really counting on finding Frazier waiting for me in heavenly mansion..

Saturday, March 20, 2010

WeWrite4Ten - Favorite Aunts and Uncles

The assignment (from my brain) for today is to write about a favorite Aunt or Uncle.

We've all heard the adage that it takes a village to raise a child. Well in my case, it took a family. I was born in 1945, just before the end of the WWII. My father and mother never married, and it was my mother's wish that we have as little to do with my biological father as possible.

At this point, only one member of my mother's rather large family was married. My grandfather had just passed away, my mom and her sister's had moved to town and my uncles were all in the army. When everyone came home from the war, everyone settled within a few miles of each o there.

Hence began the raising of Pam. I love them all and they all loved me. Of course, each one of them thought they knew best about raising me, bless their hearts. The aunts loved and spoiled me, the uncles loved me too, but they thought they should make sure I had some discipline in my life. Oh yes, soon the uncles married and their wives became part of the equation. These aunts were also beloved by me.

When I was nine years old, my mom married my stepfather. Who, by the way, never treated me as a step-child, nor did any of his rather large family.

So, although this writing assignment was my idea, I cannot choose a favorite. I would say that I have always been closer to my Aunt Jessie and Aunt Letty, my mom's sisters. My Uncle Willie probably spoiled me the most. Being the black sheep, I really thought he was cool in my teen years.

But then, there are my dad's sisters and brothers. My Aunt Bets and I are still close today. I adored my Aunt Elsie and Uncle Edward too.

Most of these wonderful family members are gone now. Only my Aunt Letty, Uncle Bill and Aunt Myrle are left from my mother's side of the family. On my dad's side I have my Aunt Bets, Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Mary. At this point in my life, I realize how precious these folks are to me. I try to see them as much as possible and to let them know how important they are in my life. I feel blessed to have had these people in my life all these years.

My ten minutes is up. I need to write something about each one in the near future.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cats Vs. Dogs

The assignment for WeWrite4Ten today, is "cats or dogs, which do you prefer and why?"

Until I was about eight years old, we didn't have a pet in our home. I was absolutely terrified of dogs and I have no recollection of the reason why. But I can sure remember that feeling of terror which lasted well into my adulthood.

At age eight someone must have decided I need a cat and Shine came into my life. He was an all black cat with a white spot under his chin. I loved that cat. He slept with me, greeted me when I came in from school and generally, made me happy. I don't know exactly how long I had him, but he was killed by a car. I was heartbroken and within a day or two, my Aunt Jessie came calling with Timmy.

Timmy was a great cat who just disappeared one day while I was away visiting my Aunt. I have always had a theory that his disappearance was really death, but my mom always insisted not. Whatever the case, I was done with cats. I have never had any affection for a cat since that time. I really don't care much for cats.

But, my feeling about dogs did a very gradual turn around. I think the dogs that friends and family members owned helped me overcome my fears and slowly opened my heart to those crazy critters.

To make a long story short, one day I woke up and wanted to own a dog of my own. My hubby said an emphatic, "No." Along comes daughter Paige with the neatest dog we had ever known. We loved Frazier on first sight. Then, much to my delight, Paige moved to Chicago and couldn't take the dog. So we inherited him.

He was the best dog I have ever known. He just loved being a dog. We lost him to a brain tumor several years ago. I still miss him every day.
So, to answer the question. I am a confirmed dog lover and I can thank my boy Frazier for that.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pet Names

The assignment from WeWrite4Ten today is: What is your favorite pet name for someone, or that someone has for you. How did it start?

My dad had a name for each of us children. Being the oldest, I'll start with mine. It was Phenelofee. The name started with my Uncle Norman, who for a short time in our family life, lived with us. I'm not sure why he named me that. I think it was given lovingly, but also think he thought I might just be a little snooty.

My brother, Bob, was named George and my dad called him that most of his life. Again, I don't know how where it started, but somehow it suited him. I know my dad and his brothers all called Bob by this name, but I don't think I ever heard anyone else call him that.

Both Bob and I were called Hukey by neighborhood kids and school friends. Once again, I'm not sure how it started. I do remember a really nice guy in our town, probably ten years or more older than me, whenever he saw me anywhere, calling out as loudly as possible, "Hey Hukey."

My sister's name from all the men in my dad's family was, Nuisance. I don't think there is any need for explanation in that regard. She was, until the day she died, rather a nuisance. Again, I say that lovingly.

Over the years, Jim and I have had various pet names for each other. I guess it depends on which decade of our marriage we were in as to which name we called each other.

But if we want to talk about favorite names we have been called, it would be when our girls are feeling especially tender towards us and call us Popsala and Mamasita. Then we really feel loved.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Most Unforgettable Person

The topic of WeWrite4Ten today is, "Who is the most unforgettable person you have ever met? What made them so?"

This was a tough one for me. Having lived to this age, you can imagine I have met many very interesting and memorable people. As I sat here at the computer, trying to think who might fit this description, one name kept coming up. That person is Jessie Ruvo.

Miss Ruvo came to Austin to teach Jr./Sr. High School English and Music when I was in seventh grade. Austin Joint School is the smallest school district in Pennsylvania. My class was the largest to graduate from Austin at the time, with a total of 25 students.

From the first moment she stepped into the classroom, I had a huge girl crush on her. She was young,by no means beautiful. She had the worst hair of anyone I knew to that time other than me. I think the fact that she wasn't physically glamorous, which I certainly was not either, played a big part in my fascination with her.

She was, however, brilliant. She was a multi-talented musician. She played several instruments, wrote music and poetry. She was my idol. I certainly wanted to be her when I grew up.

With that kind of idolatry oozing from my pores, she soon picked up on my vibes and, I guess, I became the teacher's pet. She was a single woman living in our little town with no one her age to befriend. She became close to my parents and another family in town.

Over the next few years, I came to know her better and my eyes were opened to the frailties. She wasn't perfect. My interests changed. Boys became a big part of my life. My girlfriends became more and more important to me and, like Little Jackie Paper, I moved on. Jessie Ruvo was no longer my idol.

Jessie was married and moved to Arizona or New Mexico during my Senior year in high school. By then, I hardly noticed her going. Jim and talk about her often and have tried to locate her, but haven't been successful. I wish I could find her to tell her what a great influence she was in my young life.

She wrote a song that I will never forget:

I think of you so often,
when twilight days do end
and of the many times I wished
that you had been my friend.

To love and not be loved is painful
it's hard to know that you don't care
But you gave neither love or friendship
and that is more than I can bear

The love I have for you will pass
all broken hearts must mend
but mine would heal much faster
if you had been my friend.

I've remembered this song all these years and often find myself singing it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

WeWrite4Ten - College or Not

The subject of today's WeWrite4Ten is: College education? Do you have one? Was it worth the cost? If you don't, do you miss it?

When I was eighteen, as I have written previously, I thought I was in love and wanted to get married. So, I opted out of college. I spent a year in business school and the next eight years working in business. When my children came, I was a stay at home mom for the next ten years.

I decided to go back to work for ten hours a week in the local public library which eventually led me to go back to school. My boss, the library director was planning to retire in two years and had asked me to consider getting the necessary degree to take over her job.

I chose Empire State College, a part of the NYS University system which allows life credit and non-traditional credit. Empire State was perfect for me. By this time, my children were in college, I was working about twenty hours a week and I could easily fit this type of study into my schedule. I loved it. In order to be considered for the job of Library Manager in our small town library, I needed an Associates Degree. With a lot of credit for life skills and taking courses year round, I had more than enough credits for the degree.

I think I am only a few hours short of a BA, and have considered going back. I love studying and learning. I enjoyed every minute of my course work at Empire State. Now that I'm retired, I know I don't need a Bachelor's degree, but some days I find myself seriously considering going back and finishing what I started.

Although I think my life has taken the right path, if I have any regrets, it's not getting a college degree.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

WeWrite4Ten - Career Options

I don't know when I decided I wanted to be an English teacher, probably somewhere around the tenth grade. That was my desire. I applied at a State College, was accepted and ready to go when a romance intervened. He was older and wanted to get married as soon as he was discharged from the army. The career path made a sudden left turn, much to the chagrin of my parents. I was off to business school, where I learned to be a secretary.

Fast forward ten months; the engagement was off, I was in Philadelphia doing secretarial work, which I never liked or felt I was very good at.

Fast forward thirty years. Married to my precious Jim, children almost grown, working as a library clerk. I decided to go back to school and get the necessary degree to be the manager of our local public library.

Fast forward ten more years. Being the director of our public library was the best, most fulfilling job I have ever held. I retired from that job totally fulfilled and happy with my professional life.

HOWEVER, if I had it all to do over again, I would choose broadcasting as a career. I have always loved being onstage, the center of attention. Speaking in public is in my blood. I remember my next door neighbor, Bob P., telling me in our senior year of high school that I was a limelighter. He says today that he's sorry he said that, but I didn't take it as an insult. It was just the plain truth.

I loved Jessica Savitch, followed her career and was sad at her untimely death. I didn't realize it at the time, but she was my idol. Oh yes, if I had it all to do over again, I might be Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric or, okay, Barbara Walters.

Friday, March 5, 2010

WeWrite4Ten - My Wedding

The assignment for today is to relate something funny or odd that happened on your wedding day.

Jim and I chose August 24th for our wedding day, not out of some sentimental or significant choice, but because it was the latest date in summer where we could work all summer, have a short honeymoon and be in our new home for Jim to start his teaching job on September 4th.

The morning started out warm and rainy. I don't remember being concerned about the weather. I had too much else on my mind. We had chosen twelve noon for the time of our wedding and by that time the sun was shining brightly, and it was downright hot. Those two conditions added to the morning rain, brought on 110% humidity.

Our wedding was beautiful. The church was filled to the walls with friends and family, people who knew and loved us. My dad was so serious and strong as he walked me down the aisle. I remember seeing Jim and thinking how handsome he was. My dad kissed my cheek, said his four short words, "Her mother and I", and sat down.

The ceremony, as was the practice in those days, was short, sweet and to the point. It was over in a moment and Reverend Plant was saying to Jim, "You may kiss the bride." I whispered, "I love you", Jim kissed me and his glasses completely fogged over. We turned around and the poor guy couldn't see where he was going.

I can't remember if people laughed or not. I do know that I told him that for sure he had a "hot date" for the evening.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

We Write4Ten - Smells

The subject of our writing for ten today is: What is your favorite smell and why?

My first reaction to this subject was that I don't really have a favorite smell. I love the smell of rain on a summer day; the smell of bread baking; vanilla extract. The list goes on and on.

Then I saw a picture in my mind's eye and knew what I would write about. I really love the smell of freshly washed sheets dried in the out of doors.

Can you see them? The sun is shining brightly. There are some big puffy clouds in the otherwise perfectly blue sky? The sheets and pillowcases are hanging on the line, being blown in the wind. I can see the clothes poles that my dad made to string the lines. The grass is green all around the back yard. There are geraniums growing in the flower beds in the back of the house and the perennial bed towards the neighbor's fence is bright with beautiful flowers.

My mom and I always take the laundry down and fold it right there at the line and pile it in the clothes basket. After we carry it into the house, we go upstairs together and make the beds. The light blue sheet sets go on my brother's bed. My sister gets the yellow, while I get the lavender ones to match my bedroom walls.

At the end of the day, as the sun is setting, I'm off to my room to read. And then, I turn out the light, slide in between those sheets and smell the beauty of the summer day. Oh what memories. Who needs electric clothes driers?