Tag Archive | a different time

A Milestone — My 301st Post

Here we going a blogging among the world of words!

Here we going a blogging among the world of words!

Today I celebrating my 301st post. I’ve been blogging for almost a year, and I am so happy I’ve explored this world of writing. The best part for me is the people I’ve “met.” The novelist, writers,  photographers, and poets. I feel close enough to some of you to call you cyber-friends. I truly hope we can meet in the flesh someday.

You’ve traveled with me through the highs of getting new novels published and the lows of my husband’s MS journey. You’ve tolerated my rants, and even thought I had a couple pearls of wisdom from time to time. You’ve cried with me with the passing of my father and mother this year. I’ve been happy to share my thoughts about myself and amazingly, you’ve been interested. I’ve been lucky enough to received awards from other bloggers and was honored to be “Freshly Pressed” once. So, this blogging journey has been most satisfying.

Since my childhood, our world has changed so much. When I was born, plastic wasn’t on the consumer market yet. Yeah, you youngsters out there in Internet-land, the years I’ve walked the earth say I’m old, but my heart remains young. When I was a kid, it was time to go home when the lightning bugs came out. When the fire siren blew at noon, it was time to go home for lunch. When mom wanted one of us, she yelled our names out the front door. We played outdoors all day, otherwise Mom threaten us with some household chore. We only played indoors when it rained. We had games where we moved little pieces around a cardboard platform and learned to play poker before we were twelve.We used unprotected,  two-wheel transportation well into our teens, riding miles during a day. Families only had one car, and Dad always needed it to go to work.  So  much of this world doesn’t exist any more.

Games no longer involve competitors who sit next to each other. Now games are played on Ipads, Smartphones or Laptops. Your competitors might be across the room or across the world. Heck, some competitors be smarty-pants computers! You’d never know the difference. Now Mom’s text their kids to come home instead of yelling their brains out. You wear helmets when you ride your bike–if you ride a bike.

A lot has changed. Some for the good — like the Internet where the world can be connected. Where like-minded bloggers can gather. Where research is at the touch of a keyboard. Where we can entertain ourselves alone.

Our connection technology also has a dark side, though. Our electronic devices  isolate  us so much, conversation is becoming a lost art. Meeting in parks for a pick-up game of baseball is unheard of any more, and playing outside without protective equipment is prohibited. We explore nature by reading about it instead of walking through the woods. We travel vicariously through websites instead of getting on a bus, plane, or train to actually experience the place. So many of us live our lives in our heads.

I never want to go backward because I am a progressive thinker; however, I do think we need to pick and choose when we use technology. I do miss the social interactions of the pass where neighbors knew each other and looked after one another. Where spontaneous cups of coffee were shared at the kitchen table instead of a coffee houses. Where raking leaves into a huge pile in the fall would become a playground for all the kids in the neighborhood. But there I go again, being nostalgic.

My mood must be due to looking at so many old photos lately or maybe it’s because I’ve begun researching my next novel. I just finished STEPHANIA IN AMERICA, and the manuscript is with my editor and proofreader, so it’s time to get to work on something new. As a historical romance novelist, I’m always looking back to the time when my parents were young adults. Perhaps after this book, I’ll take a look at my own childhood years in the 50’s and 60’s, after all, that time period is far enough to be history too, isn’t it?

Scouting in Another Day

It rained last night. It was a driving downpour, but as it subsided and I lay awake, I remembered  when I was a kid and  loved sleeping in a tent, especially when a gentle rain fell at night. To this day, I can’t think of a more soothing sound.  I’ve tried buying CDs of water sounds, but the recordings never came to my memory. The saddest part is I’ll probably never hear the true sound of water falling on a canvas tent again because now I do  my best camping at the Holiday Inn.

Growing up in a small town in the 1950’s was so different from today. We never locked our doors. Neighbors knew each other and offered a helping hand when it was needed. Everybody, with the exception of a few, were on the same social economic status. Moms stayed home with their kids and most Dads went off to work in factories. Living like this was not idyllic, but it was stable. It was also safe.

girl scout calendar nineteen fifty five

During the school year, I had homework and Girl Scouts to keep me busy. The same girls I went to school with were the same girls in Troop #73. Together we learned about the outdoors and all its wonders and dangers. We learned how to build fires and how to cook on them. We learned to respect nature and never pick wild flowers. We learned how to have fun without spending money. We told ghost stories around a campfire and sang songs all of the time. In fact, by the time I was in seventh grade, we knew so many songs, we sang from our school to Madison, Wisconsin –about 70 miles — without repeating a tune!

Besides the fun activities, we always had service projects to do. At Christmastime we caroled at the homes of older people we called, “Shut-Ins,” and let a box of homemade cookies as our gift. We made party favors to brighten up the food trays for people who found themselves in a nursing home. We made lap blankets that looked like miniature quilts for the same seniors when we were in high school.

Growing up as a scout was the best part of my young life. What we gave was only a portion of what we received. One wonderful outcome of these years was learning how to solve problems creatively. If we didn’t have what we needed, we improvised a solution. We experienced sales and fund raising. We learned how to live within our budget. No one was allowed to fall back on their dues because it affected all of us. We learned how to  plan in order to get things done on time. We also learned the world didn’t revolve around us. We realized we were just a small specks in something much larger. Best of all, we all walked away as adults with friendships that have lasted a lifetime.

Of course, while we were sweating over a hot fire in the summer or hiking in the rain and cold because we were told to do so by our leaders, we had no idea of how the skills and experiences would benefit us when we became adults. We grumbled. We complained our assigned  tasks were stupid and wished we were swimming instead of cleaning the latrine. We were kids. We had the right to snark, but the responsibility to obey orders.

Now, when I watch kids isolated from each other with their electronic devices standing in as a best friend, I worry about them. They will argue that they are more connected than I ever hoped to be. But a generation who would rather text each other from across the room instead of walking over and talking to them — well, I just don’t get it. Perhaps I’m old, but it seems a lonely existence to me. No computer or Ipad or Smart Phone can replace giggling in the dark with friends while a gentle rain drops on a canvas tent. The real thing just can be duplicated. Best of all, the real thing will be remembered for a lifetime.

An End of An Era

mmc1I wish I had a  picture of my brother and I sitting in front of our black and white television set with our Mouseketeer ears on our head. Every afternoon we’d  sing along with Annette and the other kids – “Hey there, Hi there, Ho there, we’re as happy as can be. M I C, K E Y   M O U S E!”

I loved The Mickey Mouse Club, and I never missed an episode. I’d proudly wear my mouse ears, singing and dancing with the kids who came into my living room through the television, pretending I was one all of them. Besides the performances of the Mouseketeers, I’ d watch the adventures of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. And of course, there were sweet cartoons with Mickey Mouse, and his girlfriend, Minnie, Donald Duck, Pluto and the rest of the characters.  It was a great kid’s television show in the 50’s.

Yesterday’s passing of Annette Funicello  after a long fight with Multiple Sclerosis brought back many childhood memories. Annette was my favorite of the famous group. She was so talented, and thank God, Walt Disney protected her and insisted she be kept innocent.(Unlike Britney Spears who was turned into a sex symbol as soon as she could be exploited.)  But then, we all were allowed to be innocent. It was time when the bad news was saved for grown-ups, and children were protected from the ugliness of the world.
Annette1

 

I know that you never can go back, but this program was dear to all of us who were children in the 1950s. Now, children grow up too fast; things are more immediate, video games have taken the place of a simple television show, and kids are far more sophisticated than I was when growing up. In a way, I feel sorry for them.

So goodbye, Annette. Maybe I’ll be able to sing and dance with you in heaven. Save me a place in the club.

The Statistics Are In

Write2As a relatively new blogger, I’m interested in seeing what people enjoy reading.  Hmm…..must be the businessperson in me–“Give ’em what they want and they will come.” So, I’ve done a little statistical research and learned that my present audience enjoys the feel good story, Santa Came to Town”  and Angels to the Rescue” got the most views. “When a Funk Sets In,” got the fewest looks.

This little bit of research made me feel good. I guess we’re all looking for things to read that not only entertain us but give us a good feeling when we’ve read the last line. I wanted to jump for joy when I learned this because that’s the stuff I truly enjoy writing!

I admit my world view is somewhat limited, even though I’ve had a chance to travel and see how poor most of the world really is. But, I grew up in a totally different place, a small town where people didn’t lock their doors and citizens cared about each other. My dad was a volunteer fireman for 30 years and my mother was a Girl Scout leader and Den Mother for many years. I even wrote a short story “A Special Neighborhood Watch,which is about how our special neighborhood took care of an elderly neighbor so she could stay in her home.

I also write about times when violence on television was rare. The divorce rate was low, and children played safely in parks without adult supervision. We rode our bikes without helmets and even suffered through the most common childhood diseases, but we were protected in ways that children aren’t today. Oh, there were still wars going on in the world and politicians misbehaving, but I didn’t know about it. I’m just learning a lot about that stuff now on the history channel!

So, I’ve got my answer as to what to write about for the rest of my life. I won’t bring you fantasy tales of wizards, dragons and werewolves. I won’t bring you horror stories. I won’t bring you tales about forensic medicine or murders. I’ll stick to what I know. A happy life with challenges that can have the ability to crush a person, but through love and carrying there will be a happy ending. After all, that’s what all of you have told me you want to read. And I want you all to come back again and again.