Wednesday, May 25, 2011


     After receiving an e-mail from a long-time friend of mine.  I sat down to fully absorb every word.  As I read it.  I returned to my childhood once again with all the fun that I had forgotten long ago.
     So, sit back, relax and let me take you on a walk down memory lane.  If we are close enough in age, I’ll probably be ringing a few bells for you too.
     When nearly everyone’s Mom was at home when the kids got home from school?  How about when she had cookies and milk waiting for you after school. Yum! 
     How about when Mom painted on her stockings, because all the nylon was being used for the war effort...World Was II that is.
     The world was a different place in those days.
     Remember when all the male teachers wore neckties and female teachers wore dresses and high heels?  I also remember when they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed...and they did.
     If you were sent to the principal’s office, it was nothing compared to the fate that awaited you at home?  I can remember when the principal would spank you with a paddle when you misbehaved.  Yes, I got paddled, but only once.
     Remember when a boy would give his letterman sweater to his girl to prove they was going steady.
     Those were the days when you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking.  All free, every time.  You didn’t pay for air either, and you got trading stamps to boot.  Need I mention that gas was only about 35-cents a gallon?
     I can remember when laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box.
     Do you remember the neighborhood ice cream parlor with a jukebox on every table?
You could choose your record and drop in a dime to listen to your favorite song.  Those were the days.
     In the ’40’s the convertible was a big thing, especially in California.  But, later on the ’57 Chevy was everyone’s dream cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarine races.
     No one every asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked? 
     How many of these do you remember?  Candy cigarettes, wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside, soda pop machines that dispense glass bottles, Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum?  They were so good.  I loved the clink of the bottles as the milkman delivered our milk, in glass bottles with cardboard stopper?  When it froze, the cream would push up out of the bottle, with the cardboard stopper looking like a hat.
     Do you remember telephone numbers with a word prefix, and party lines, where you could listen in on your neighbor’s conversations?
     If you remember most, or all of these, you must be as old as I am?
     Don’t you wish, just once, you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace of those wonderful days?  
     Did you enjoy our walk down memory lane?  If you did, share it with your children.  But be prepared, they will probably just roll their eyes and say, “Get real Mom!”

Monday, May 23, 2011


     While shopping, I came across an incident that angered me no end.  I overheard a Manager berating an employee in front of his customers.  the poor employee stood there taking the tongue lashing the manager was handing out, and then, when he was finished, the employee slipped away like a whipped dog.  I was so angry at this so called executive that I wanted to give him the same treatment  that he gave his employee, but of course, I didn’t.  I was as embarrassed as the employee was and I wondered why I was even shopping in a place that would treat their employees that way.
     What makes a person act in that manner?  He was old enough to know better.  He could just as easily taken the young man into his office and discussed the matter in private.  Perhaps it made him feel big, to make the employee look small.  All it accomplished was making him look ridiculous.  This man will no doubt lose customers and the respect of his employees.
     I thought to myself that he should have been like my favorite boss, who seldom lost his cool no matter how bad it got.  He was calm and tried to figure out the best way to handle any given situation.
     When it came to his staff, he trained you well and then gave you a job to do.  He told you what must be accomplished and then let you do it your own way, as long as it got the desired results.  If you had a better way of doing something, he was open to suggestions.  That’s what I call a good boss, and he definitely was a good boss.  He inspired his staff to work hard and treat everyone with respect.
     When I was transferred to the home office, I asked my boss, “What is my new job description?”
     He said, “You know all those things you used to bang on my desk to get; now you take care of them.”
     I then asked, “What are my boundaries?”
     He said, “I’ll let you know if you ever cross them.”
     I guess I never did, because he didn’t say a word.  I felt so good; it’s hard to put into words how proud I was at that moment.  In those few words, he showed me that he had so much confidence in my ability to handle my job that he felt he could give me free rein.  Not many bosses would do that.
     But then, I told you he was my favorite boss and for good reason.  He took a woman who had very little confidence in her abilities and filled her with enough self-confidence to tackle anything she wanted to try.  He pushed me beyond my comfort zone many times, to gain more experience in other areas of banking.  When I finally found my place in the business world, I was completely happy.
     It worked out well for both of us and I enjoyed my job for twenty-four and a half years before retirement.  I couldn’t have worked for a boss that wasn’t patient, understanding and knew how to handle people to bring out the best in them.
     He is semi-retired now, and the business world has lost a great manager and a fantastic role model.
     A quote by Theodore Roosevelt describes my favorite boss perfectly.
     “The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”

Friday, May 20, 2011


      Do you often wonder about things, where a name came from, the origin of a phrase in common use, or why certain things happen?  Well, I’m a why person.  I want to know “Why” about everything.  (My mother used to hate it when I asked why.)  I always thought if I knew why something happened, iI would understand how to fix it.  It’s the same way with nicknames, which made me curious about why they cll New York city “ The Big Apple?”
     I assumed it was because of the people selling apples on the street corners during the great depression, but that was just a romantic notion.  My curiosity led me to do some research at the Society for New York History, where I found a completely different explanation for the “Big Apple” title.
     In the early years of the nineteenth century, many refugees were coming to New York City to escape war-torn Europe.  Some of these peiple were part of the crumbling French aristocracy, forced to seek refuge from the Guillotine.  They arrived in New York without friends or money which forced them to survive by their wits.
     Mlle. Evelyn Claudine de Saint-Evremond, one of Marie Antoinette’s friends and the daughter of a noted courtier, arrived in New York in late 1803 or early 1804.  She was a remarkably beautiful woman and very well educated, and soon became a favorite in New York society.  She was about to marry the son of the late Alexander Hamilton, when the marriage was called off at the last minute, with no reason given.  Soon after, with the support of several of her wealthy admirers, she established an elegantly furnished bordello that still stands at 142 Bond Street, an exclusive residential district at the time.  Evelyn’s establishment soon earned a reputation for the most entertaining and discreet of the many houses of it’s kind in New York.  It was a place of elegant dinners, high-stakes gambling and witty conversation, not to mention lovemaking.  Many of the girls were new arrivals from Paris or London and were noted for their beauty.  Quite a few of the girls married wealthy husbands from the houses clientele.
     Evelyn’s name was soon shortened to Eve and she found the biblical reference amusing and started referring to her girls as “my irresistible apples.”  it didn’t take long for the men-about-town to pick up the name and begin referring to her girls as delicious apples.  Their amorous adventures soon became know as “having a taste of Eve’s Apples.”  As they referred to the girls in these terms in their conversations, it also established them as part of the “in-crowd.”  in October 1838 a reference was made to one of Eve’s girls in Philip Hones’ famous diary, as “Ida, sweet as apple cider.”  The rest, as they say, is history.
     By 1907 the terms “Big Apple” or The Apple had become a synonym for New York City.
     This didn’t please the Apple Marketing Board, a trade group based in upstate New York.  They began a campaign to return the apple to it’s proper place by using slogans such as: “A apple a day, keeps the doctor away” and
“As American as apple pie!”  It did the trick, but New York is still called “The Big Apple”  by man people throughout the world.
     I remember a movie based on Damon Runyon’s character, Apple Annie, an old woman who sold an apple everyday to a superstitious gambler.  That’s how I prefer to thing of how New York got its nickname.  Not as sexy, but definitely more romantic and I am an incurable romantic.


     One of my favorite pastimes, when eating alone, is reading a copy of Tidbits, a free paper that is filled with infinitesimal tidbits of information.  They cover every aspect of our world from the past to the present.  The information is not something you would need to know, however, unless you were planning to be a contestant on Jeopardy, but it is a good read.
     This weeks copy had a theme of middle names and initials which made me think about my middle name.  Do you have a middle name?  Do you use it?
     I always hated my middle name and when I applied for a Passport and had to have a birth certificate to prove I was born, I was surprised to see that it did not include my middle name at all.  Whew!  That was a nice surprise.  Actually, my name is Elizabeth, but everyone calls me Betty, except my father who always called me Peg.  I don’t know where he got that name, maybe an old girl friend or something.  I asked him on day why he didn’t just name me Peg, if he liked it so much, and he said he would have except he thought he should name me after his mother.  In school I had a nickname of Bunny, because I wrinkled up my nose so much.  And my first husband, well, he always called me BK.  What are you going to do?  People will call you what they wish.
     President Harry S. Truman didn’t have a middle name.  His parents couldn’t decide whether to honor his maternal or paternal grandparents, so they gave him the middle initial S to stand for either name.
     Michael J. Fox added the J when he joined the actor’s guild, because there was already a Michael Fox registered.  His middle name is actually Andrew and he didn’t want to be known as Michael A. Fox, the reporters would have a field day with that one.
     I guess we all have nicknames and pet names given to us by our parents and friends, but we are stuck with our given names.  Can you imagine the ribbing a child would get with a name like, Candy Barr, Justin Case, or Ima Hogg?
     You have probably never heard of a man called Henry Wilson, but Hollywood has.  He chose names for up and coming stars like Merle Johnson, who was renamed Troy Donahue, Arthur Gelien, who changed into Tab Hunter, and Roy Fitzgerald, who was known as Rock Hudson.  He had a knack for picking names that would look good on a Hollywood Marquee.  Catchy though they may be, give me a plain old name any day.  How would you like to pick a new name?
     There are many other little tidbits of information in this publication put out weekly by Cabin Fever Media.
     This one will make you hurt a little.  Did you know that one billion bird’s crash into buildings in the USA every year?  Those mirrored high-rise office building windows are murder on birds.  
     But, enough bad news. 
     We all remember Katherine Hepburn, one of Hollywood’s most famous stars.  Her father was a surgeon and her mother was a dedicated suffragette and an early crusader for birth control.  Now you can see where Ms. Hepburn got her independence...from her mother.
     Some trivia might come in handy at your next dinner party, or at least, the center of an interesting conversation over cocktails.
     If  you haven’t had occasion to read Tidbits, do.  It will give you a chuckle!  It’s interesting and informative, at least, if you like insignificant little tidbits of knowledge, as I do.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


      Do you have a future diary?  You probably wonder what in the world is that?  Well, it is where you put your thoughts, dreams, goals, and anything else you would like for yourself in the future.  Don’t confuse it with a daily isn’t.  It is for your future.
      I always wanted to put down my goals for the future, so I wouldn’t get sidetracked.  
      There were goals for one month, one year, five years, ten years, and twenty years.          Sometimes, they had to be put on hold, like when I had to care for my elderly in-laws in our house.  But, when that was finished, I got right back on track again.  Of course, a month later, my parents needed my care, so it was put on hold again.  
     My mind kept pushing me to do some of what I wanted to do when I retired, but there didn’t seem to be much time, other than caring for my loved ones.  
     When my husband went into renal failure and was put on dialysis, I thought my plans had gone out the window.  Actually, it was what I needed to begin my goal of writing a book.  Instead of my book being fiction, I wrote about what I knew best, caregiving and how to keep from going crazy in the process.  I took the experiences that happened the last 10 years of caregiving and put them in my book.  It turned out pretty good and I sold a lot of them. 
     A friend of mine was in the publishing business, at that time and he asked me to write the book while I sat in the hospital with my husband for eight long months.  
     So, you see, your goals can be reached even thought your plans change.  If it hadn’t been for all the caregiving I wouldn’t have written “What To Do When Mom Moves In.”   Life has a way of bringing us back to where we are suppose to be.  Life is funny that way.  Yes, it is!
     If you haven’t made some goals for yourself, perhaps this is the time to do it.  Isn’t there something that you always wanted to do or try?  Maybe write about your lost love, or your experiences in the Armed Forces.  Perhaps you wanted to climb a mountain, or learn to play the guitar, or maybe start your own business.  These things are your dreams, the ones that push you forward in your chosen field to save money for the future...if you can these days.  Whatever your passion is, pursue it was the last thing you do in life.  Make the time to be passionate about something.  It makes life worth living.
     If you are young create a Future Diary and place your goals and dreams inside.  Read it regularly and think about it every day, and you will find that it has begun to materialize.  Reach one goal and start on another.  You can do it...I did. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011


     Today is Mother’s Day.  A day we reserve to show Mom our appreciation for everything she does for us throughout the year.
     My Mother is gone now, but I remember Mom in many ways and how she put up with all our antics.
     When we would be playing some silly game with sticks, fighting duels, etc.  She would yell at us, “Stop that!  You might put someones eye out with those things.”  That was over!  So, we would start another game.
     At the dinner table she would try to teach us some manners.  “Get your elbows off the table,” she would say, “and don’t talk with your mouth full.”
     In those day, when Mother spoke, you listened.  She had the patience of Job.  Those were the times when I wondered how she put up with us.
     During the winter, I was always forgetting my mittens and the winters in Michigan are harsh.  We ice skated to school on the frozen roads.  You would see her running after me with mittens in hand, laughing as she said, “You would forget your head if it wasn’t attached.”  She was right, I would.  She finally put my mittens on a string and put them through the arms of my jacket, so they wouldn’t get lost.
     If we dared to argue, or heaven forbid, sass Mom, she would always come back with “Don’t you use that tone with me.”
     All these things I remember with love for Mom.  I sure do miss that feisty, little, 4‘ 10 1/2” bundle of fun.  The way she filled our dreams with stories at bedtime.  It made bedtime a joy.  And the way she found time to always have fresh baked cookies and hot coco waiting for us after school.  That was extra special.  But that was my Mom.
     Many a morning I woke up to the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven  and I knew we would have cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  My favorite.  
     Oh, how I miss those carefree days with Mom standing in front of the stove, with her apron on, telling us to sit down and eat before it got cold.
     We did so many things that tried her patience.  Like the time my older brother talked my younger brother into jumping off the garage with an umbrella, telling him it would be like a parachute.  Or the time we sat in a circle on the concrete, filling old 22 shell casings with match heads and hitting them with a hammer to watch them fly into the air and go “BANG”  It’s a wonder we didn’t put out someones eye with our tom foolery.
     Mom was always there when we hurt ourselves and she would soothe our hurt with a “Kiss to make it better,”  And it did.
     Don’t you wish life was a simple as it was back then?
     If your Mother is still with you, give her a big hug and tell her how much you love her.  She needs to hear those words from you.
     She will always love you, no matter what stupid thing you might do,  Mother’s are like that you know!  And I miss mine terribly.