And climb the stairs to the beach...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Morning Folks December 30, 2009

Morning Folks. Two more days until 2009 is history. And it was quite a year for most of us. I have had numerous requests to post my blog more frequently in the new year, and I will make a serious effort to do so.

Today's blog, probably the last one in the decade, features the annual Eaton Santa Count, a tradition these last 3  years, during which the grandkids, and the odd adult, count the Santas that I put around the house at Christmas. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, I make up forms listing every room in the house and the kids have to count the Santas in each room and then come up with a total at the end. There are also extra credit points available.

We didn't have a chance to see the kids on Christmas Day, so we had our celebration the Monday after Christmas.

This year, Indigo, the 4 year old, participated for the first time, and although her Dad helped her write down her numbers and add them up at the end, she counted every Santa herself.

Older sister Arabella, 8, has won for the past two years in a row.
Oldest Bro, Zeppelin, 10,
has come close to winning, but was edged out by a hair each time.
Here is a collage of some of the Santas they had to count this year.

And here is a link to a slideshow I posted on Picasa which will let you see a closer look at the Santas and find out who the winner was this year.

Have a great day and Happy New Year! And don't forget your New Year Rabbits!


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Morning Folks November 1, 2009


I never know how much to buy for Halloween each year.

Running out of candy has been my biggest fear.

Who knows how many goblins will be coming to the door

There could be ten or seventeen, or a hundred sixty four.

So I choose it carefully, the kind I always love-

M & Ms and Hershey’s Bars or anything by Dove-

Hoping that there’d be some left for us to munch upon,

But we are both on diets now and so those days are gone.

This year I just bought Gummy Bears, Bubble Gum and Nerds.

Candy that I’ve always thought was strictly for the birds.

My logic was if some was left I wouldn’t spoil my diet.

But here I sit with basketsful asking “Why’d I buy it”?

Had I known there’d be so few, a count of twenty-nine,

Forget the nerds and Gummy Bears, I should have passed out wine!

How did you do last night? Any good little goblin costumes come to your door? We had very few but they were cute. Not as cute as these guys were in the 80s. Cindy made great costumes for Angie. I am waiting to see this year's pix of her grandkids. She was making Natalie a Princess Costume, but I don't remember what Will's was. My kids usually created their own look and recycled a lot. I made them pirates costumes one year, and actually sewed them. Parts of those costumes were used over and over. In this photo, Bill is some kind of ghoul, using a fake beard from a previous year as a wig. Torn up sheets and makeup finish off the look for both. I think they were about 9 and 10 in this shot.

 Enjoy your day and don't go pillaging in the kids' bags!


PS. By the way, did you remember to say:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Not just a 40th Reunion

Most of you know that I attended my 40th high school class reunion a couple of weeks ago. It took a full year of planning, as usual, and was a lot of work but well worth it. Although I live 1,000 miles away, now, I still was able to help out via Internet and telephone. And I was able to attend one meeting up in MA last June. Having worked on every one of them in the past, this one, for me, was the most fun and the most successful.

I have lots of pictures of the event I can post here on the blog, and I will soon. There are so many people who I have had fun getting to know again, and even for the first time via Facebook and email and I will write about them as well. But today, I have one little part of the reunion I want to write about.

We had about 113 people attend, 88 of who were classmates. Some were classmates for only one year; others from first grade all the way through graduation- a wonderful gift of growing up in a small town in a time when people stayed put for a while and everyone knew all their neighbors.

Some of those kids from my neighborhood with whom I shared 12 years of school were at the 40th reunion of Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School's class of 1969. But back in the late 50s, we were lucky to have had the South School, a neighborhood school house with just two classrooms: one for first grade to the left and one for second grade to the right. It was on Massasoit Avenue and is today a private home that I would love to go inside to explore someday.

There, in what we all saw as a looming white building on a hill, we experienced together our first day of first grade. We all walked there, leaving home early so we had time to play before the bell rang, some of us running down the steep hill of Pokonoket, across Indian Ridge Road, cutting through neighbors’ yards. There were lilacs, heavy with purple blossoms hanging over the fence between Mrs. Wynn's and the Downing's house, smelling sweet as we ran by, trying not to alert their barking shepherds. Through woods and across fields and carefully avoiding the Winship’s clay tennis courts, where we had heard older siblings, taking the same short cut in earlier spring times had left behind damaging footprints in the soft and muddy clay. Apple trees, from an old orchard left fragrant memories of blossoms in the spring and apples in the fall as we passed them before entering and crossing the needle-carpeted stand of pine, at last emerging across the street from the school.

Beneath the giant horse chestnut tree at the edge of the schoolyard and near Miss Simonds' house, were hundreds of chestnuts and sharp, prickly pods, always a curiosity worthy of taking the time to stop and examine in the morning if we weren’t late; and again when we left in the afternoon, usually collecting a few to take with us.

The School was perched on the side of a grassy hill, set perpendicular to the street. A circular gravel driveway went halfway up and swooped past the boys' basement entrance and back down around to the road near Mrs. Poe's house. Over on the far side was a spot for the teachers' cars, never more than two.

The swings, near the top of the hill swung higher than any I had ever been on and the jungle gym was a challenge for me. I remember its cold metal bars and wishing I, too, could hang upside down by my knees. The jungle gym was near the girls' basement door. That's where we hung our jackets, on metal hooks lining one wall, our boots and lunch boxes right beneath.

Right past the jungle gym and next to the swings, was a path through a small opening in the fence. It was the short cut to Robin's and Laura's and our church, the library and my Dad's office.

On the downhill side of the school yard, near the back fence of the Harpin's house, was a huge tree, probably an elm. I have a very clear memory of 4 or 5 of us walking around and around that tree, one hand brushing the trunk as we circled it, singing "Whistle while you work. Stevenson's a jerk. Eisenhower’s got the power. Whistle while you work."

Mrs. Stanley was our teacher in first grade. She was young and pretty and blonde and wore her hair in a French twist. I remember high heels and a smart black dress. She left us part way through the year to have a baby so Mrs. Bennet was the substitute for the rest of the year. She was a grandmotherly type who had taught some of our parents at the little red school house near the Wayside Inn, before she retired. Some first grade memories are putting our heads down on our desks for a nap each afternoon; mid-morning milk, not always cold; and sandwiches in wax paper for lunch; sun streaming through the huge windows that went all the way to the high ceiling, just like church.

My brother Chuck and I, 1958

But then, for second grade we had the most loved of all teachers: the legendary Mrs. Mary O'Connor. She was all my brother had ever talked about the year before and finally I was in her class. What a thrill! Who could forget Good Work Slips on Fridays? They were simple strips of construction paper she had cut and then she placed a gold star or sticker on the top. I remember sometimes we would get seasonal stickers like a cornucopia or a Christmas tree. They were handed out the last thing of Friday afternoon with much ceremony, individually calling the name of each child who had earned one that week. We didn’t get one every week, but boy, when we did, it was something to be proud of. She expected us to do our best, and so we tried to do that. She made us believe that we were smart and nothing was too hard for us. She always called us 'dear' and we knew she meant it.

Mrs. O'Connor had a hand puppet called Hazel the Witch and she wrote vocabulary lists on the tall thin blackboard in the back of the room. Phonics was her passion and my favorite thing. We memorized Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening in her class and that was my introduction to poetry, something I love still. She showed us pictures of famous paintings and we listened to music and sometimes we put on plays right there in the classroom, memorizing our lines of course. I played Mrs. Claus in the Christmas play. Santa, played by Bruce Larson, had lost his spirit that year. I still remember the line I had. "Why Santa, why do you sit there idle?" I had no idea what the word Idle meant and needed quite a bit of direction to get the inflection just right. To paraphrase Frank Sinatra, ‘When I was seven, it was a very good year’.

And so two weeks ago, while we reunited with high school classmates from 40 years ago, we managed to have a reunion within a reunion and a handful of those kids who 50 years earlier had that unique connection of spending two years in that small but special schoolhouse, gathered in a room and had our picture taken. These are the people I look for at every reunion. I have some wonderful friends from later years in elementary and high school and even from reunion committees over the years. I love them all and I have stayed in touch with some and I am always excited to see them and reminisce and catch up. But these people-who I have known since before we ever read our first Dick and Jane-these are the folks I really hope to see every 10 years because when I do, I really feel like I am home.

Seated: Betsy Medowski Gately, (retired after 30 years as a 2nd grade teacher.) Robyn Long Reel, Cathy Marsh Finan
Standing: Laura Jewett Corcoran, Larry Morisson, Brian Maurer, Peter Mercury, Suzanne Hall Eaton

Patty Ide and Robin Long, Bluebirds c. 1958
I do wish there had been a few more of them there that night and maybe next time there will be. I know of only one, Patty Ide, who sadly is no longer with us.

Peter Mercury and Betsy Medowski Gately at the class reunion, stand next to the Memory board made in honor of our 22 classmates, gone too soon.

And my oldest and dearest friend, Sue, couldn’t make it this year, but I will personally get her there somehow for the next one.

For now, I have the photo of the eight of us from that night a couple of weeks ago, a few snapshots and a couple of home movies from those years when we were all growing up in the neighborhood and all those memories that only we South School alumni from Mrs. O'Connor's class of 1959 can share.

Have a great day!



Note-The quality of some of the photos is not the best because they are taken from old home movies from 1957-1958.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Morning Folks October 8 2009

Here I am on my way to my 40th high school reunion and just when I thought I had seen it all, lo and behold, Wifi on the plane! So, I thought it would be funny to do a blog from up here. I have my webcam, too, so I could conceivablye Skype someone from right here, but I don't have any head phones and it would be hard to hear.

Anyway, here I am at seat 25A. It's an aisle seat and an exit row so I have more room than usual. We are  cruising at 31,000 feet and due into Harford at about 11:00. So I better get going on this.

Here is a man heading down the aisle to the bathroom.

Here is the man in the seat next to me. He is from Washington state and his screen saver is a picture of his pumpkin patch. Coincidentally, he is wearing an orange shirt.

Here is a shot of the people behind me and maybe a little of the flight attendant. That man in the green is looking at me suspiciously, as he can see himself on camera.

And here is another view of what's in front of me. The flight attendent is giving out snacks. I didnt have any.
Here is another shot of the front of the plane.

Just for this flight Delta gave us free wfi, a value of $9.95. I feel like I won the lottery.

I  might get used to this. It's certainly passing the time. I am involved in a little competition with an online game called Bejeweled Blast with some friends on Facebook. It is kind of fun to be playing at 30,000 feet! But, even mnore fun to be blogging!

Next post, will undoubtedly have to do with my reunion, this weekend, and my visit with family and friends. I have plans to stay over night one night at Bill and Kim's new home. I am really looking forward to seeing how they have things set up.

I may not get to see Doug because he's busy when I'm free, and vice versa. But, we'll chat. In fact, I may IM him when I am done with the blog.

I am going to lunch with the work ladies tomorrow and then on to the reunion all weekend. But first, a stop in CT to spend the night with Cindy and Steve. I am sure their grandbabies will be there, too!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.


PS My battery ran out before I could post this. But, it was really, honestly written at 31,000 feet!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Morning Folks October 1, 2009

Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit

Did y'all say your rabbits this morning? I know most of you have gotten so good at remembering, you probably don't even need me to remind you anymore. I have to say, I am always tickled when people tell me, without even being asked, that they remembered their rabbits. And you know it makes me happy to think y'all will have good luck for the whole new month. Lucky us!

Today, I just want to talk a bit about how reality has hit the Bible Belt. Some of the headlines here lately have been "Jesus in the Bleachers", "Spiritual Spirit Squad Squelched" "No More Running Through Scripture on Friday Night".
The controversy here in the neighboring town of Fort Oglethorpe, GA has hit this area like a shockwave. It's not surprising that there is controversy, but it is surprising that it is such a new idea down here.

The cheerleaders at the Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe Highs School make paper banners through which the football team breaks as they run onto the field under Friday night lights. Nothing unusual about that, but this particular cheerleading squad, for years, has painted scripture on these signs, hoping to motivate and inspire their players and fans. Officials have ordered them to stop this practice after one very unpopular woman filed a complaint with Superintendent Denia Reese.

“I regret that we had to ask the LFO cheerleaders to change the signs used in the stadium prior to football games,” Mrs. Reese states. “Personally, I appreciate this expression of their Christian values; however, as superintendent I have the responsibility of protecting the school district from legal action by groups who do not support their beliefs.”

“I rely on reading the Bible daily, and I would never deny our students the opportunity to express their religious beliefs,” she said. “I appreciate that our community has rallied in support of this LFO tradition.”

That statement makes me think madam Superintendent just doesn't get it. On the other hand, the Anti-Defamation League has written a letter commending the Superintendent for upholding the law. In that letter they write:

“ADL believes deeply in the importance of safeguarding freedom of religion in our increasingly pluralistic nation. This position is not one of hostility toward religion; rather, it reflects a profound respect for religious freedom and recognition of the extraordinary diversity of religions represented by the students and staff in our public schools. It is essential that high school sports programs keep in mind that the children entrusted to your care likely have widely divergent religious points of view. Your decision shows respect for this diversity.

Of course students have the right to individually express their religious beliefs and it is commendable that you have sought out alternatives that can meet the needs of your students and stay within the principles of the First Amendment. "

The letters to the editors and the bubbas they quote on the news are responding with gems like: "“If it’s offensive to anyone, let them go watch another football game,” he said. “Nobody’s forced to come there and nobody’s forced to read the signs.”

They scheduled a big rally outside the Chick-Fil-A and were expecting a crowd of 500 or more. (By the way, when I first moved down here I saw that sign and thought how stupid. That says Chick-Fi lah not Chick Filet. But, that's how they prounounce it here.)

There was a time when I thought it was silly and didn't really understand why it was so necessary to keep God out of school and government, in general. I remember when they stopped the clergy person delivering the invocation at the beginning of Sudbury's annual town meeting from using the word God. I thought how silly when praying was something you could certainly opt out of just by sitting quietly for a few minutes. Some of the clergy do sneak God in there. And I still think that's kind of silly since it comes right before we all say "one nation under God." 
Back in Sudbury when my office shared a wing with our school department's central office, our annual "Christmas" party was changed to a "Winter Solstice" party, although I suppose that could have been construed as Wiccan. We used snowflakes as decorations. One secretary thought it was kind of funny when it was explained to her that she could wear a Christmas sweater, and that would be okay. but if she hung it on the door knob of her office, it would become a holiday decoration and that wouldn't be allowed.

That probably was an exaggeration, but that was just an example of how very careful everyone in government has been up north for decades, yet here in the south, they are just tackling it now.

I shouldn't make light of it, since it is getting very nasty. I can't believe some of the comments that are flying back and forth from both sides. If you want to read about it, just Google the subject and you'll find lots of sites out there talking about it.

I know that the people here wear their religion on their sleeves and the name of Jesus is everywhere and spoken by everyone all the time. Since us northerners have removed any Christian or religious references from our public venues, I think we went a little further and have also removed such references from private settings like workplaces and from newspapers and the local news.

Down here, church activities are on the news and the newspapers have many articles about what's going on in the local churches. Even billboards express religious messages. When you meet somebody for the first time, they usually ask what church you attend. Church and faith is central to many people's lives down here and I admit it makes me a little uncomfortable sometimes.

So, the conversation begins, thanks to some "Banned Bible Banners". I think they just haven't been exposed to "differences" here as much as other parts of the country and it's going to take them a little longer to get to a place where they don't dare hang a Santa sweater on a doorknob.

Have a great day and a great October!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Morning Folks 09 29 09

I know this probably occurred to everyone before, and probably to me as well, but given my memory lately, I can't remember if it did. Where was I? Oh yeah. I was thinking today that I am, for the first time, older than the President of the United States. Thanks to Reagan, that didn't happen to my Dad until he was over 65 when Clinton took office. In fact, if John McCain had won, it wouldn't have happend to us for a while. So, that phenomenon is a little harder on us baby boomers than on my Dad's generation.

And, currently, most of us of my age, are probably older than our bosses. For a time on my last job I was older than my boss's mother. That was really demoralizing. She called me into her office one time to ask me advice on what she could tell her mother to set her at ease when she was heading for her first colonoscopy, knowing I had recently had that experience myself.

But, my point is, as we in my age group race toward completing our 6th decade, we have seen so many changes in our lifetime that it boggles the mind. When my grandchildren told me a year ago that they didn't know what a book of matches was, I was astounded. These kids won't know what life was like when TV was a novelty and color TV was a miracle; or that we had to look things up in the encyclopedia, (which we all knew how to spell, thanks to Jimminy Cricket)instead of Googling. And they can't relate to the fact that if you were going to be late coming home, not that most of us would have dared to be late, but if we were, we couldn't call home on the cell.

The Beatles remastered CDs is a fabulous thing. I can't wait to hear some of those old songs. Which just reminds me that my grandkids won't ever know what it was to go down to the record store and buy a 45 for a buck or get those 3 LP albums in the mail from BMG, before getting into trouble when they start coming twice a month because you never send back the card to stop them from coming. Oh those were the days.I almost missed the 8 track period, having only purchased two, Chuck Mangione and J Geils. And now, all they do is download the songs into an Ipod. What the heck? Some of this stuff has gone just a little fast for me.

My granddaughter and I baked a cake a few weeks ago and took some photos of it. She asked me to send her the photos and I thought,when I was her age I had to wait until the last picture on the film was taken, bring it to the drugstore and wait a week before I could get the picture and then mail it to her, for 23 cents. That must be why so many of my photos were a year old before I got them developed!

Yup, time does fly. And most changes I have seen have been for the better. Although I still think that the president should be older than me. Yes, I am older than the president, but not yet older than dirt. And there is certainly comfort in the fact that more of us on the planet remember life before pantyhose than not.

Have a wonderful day, all you oldies but goodies. And today when you are updating your Facebook page or charging your cell phone, remember that someday, our grandkids will think it's kind of funny that we were ever younger than anyone!

PS If I don't post anything tomorrow, remember to say your rabbits on Thursday.

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