“In Your Easter Bonnet”

Whitman Chocolates Easter Hat

Easter is always such a joyous time. Of course there is the deep religious significance, and this year there seems to be a abundance of biblical portrayals on television. My best memories of Easter, of course, were as a child. Not only was there a feast of food, and the traditional St. Joseph’s bread that our mother would lovingly make, but it was the anticipation of it all. It was the traditional search for the perfect Easter bonnet. Yes, we did that back then. Before the Second Vatican Council in the late 60s, it was mandatory for women to veil their heads in the Catholic church. At Easter, all women and girls would mark the occasion by wearing their finest Easter bonnet.

After the Second Vatican Council so many things in church changed. Of course as kids we didn’t really realize what was happening – all we knew is that we could finally understand what was being said at mass because it changed from Latin to English. We also got to see who our priest was – he no longer had his back to the congregation – he could actually face the people. Before the Second Vatican Council, we couldn’t touch the host, the priest had to place it on our tongues.  After the council, Catholics could hold the host in their hands, and it could even be administered by lay people.

With our newly elected Pope Francis, change seems to be in the air again. Habemus Papam! The first Jesuit. The first pope from the Americas. There seems to be an absolute  joy spreading out from Rome to the rest of the world. The feeling, an irresistible one, is a feeling of comfort that we have a new man. “You know the work of the conclave is to give a bishop to Rome,” said Francis I, the freshly elected pontiff with a little laugh, as he stood on the balcony in front of the faithful. “It seems as if my brother cardinals went to find him from the end of the earth. But here we are … ” I am hoping that our newly elected Pope Francis will tread in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi and preach peace and fellowship to all.

A Happy and blessed Easter to all.

American Nostalgia

Bombs Away - '48 Hudson

Bombs Away - '48 Hudson Original Art by Gwendolyn

It is no secret to my family that I have a deep affection for American cars. The contemporary aluminum, fiberglass, or plastic American-made cars are not the vehicles that catch my eye, but I gape open-mouthed at those beautiful classics of steel and chrome of yesteryear. Nothing can turn my frown upside down as quick as seeing a muscle car or a vintage pickup truck driving down the road. The memory card in my cell phone is filled with pictures of gleaming classic trucks and the curvaceous or angled vehicles that have been known to stop my heart mid-beat from time to time.

My appreciation for classic American-made vehicles runs so deep within me as to affect my reading choices. I have read a great memoir by Michael Perry titled “Truck: A Love Story,” about an International Pickup, simply because of the word “Truck.” I read John Grisham’s short story collection, Ford County, just because the word “Ford” was in the title. Even though I’m not an avid reader of genre fiction, I really enjoyed Grisham’s book, and I think that the title itself had a lot to do with it. I’ve also felt that the author who goes by the ingenious name of G.M. Ford would definitely be worth my time and I have added reading at least one of his mystery novels to my “must do” list. Continue reading

I’m Just Sayin’

I'm Just Sayin'They say that men are from Mars. If I hadn’t spent a total of 19 hours in labor delivering two baby boys who are quickly becoming men, I would believe it. So now I live with three extraterrestrials who are confused and perplexed by my earthly expectations and feminine feelings. What’s a woman to do? Well, I take solace in being the different one in the house- hold. They have their rules, and I have mine. My checkbook and my closet are off limits to any complainers. But most importantly, I keep my girlfriends close, very close. If I need a sympathetic ear, I ain’t gonna get it under my roof. I have accepted that fact and, believe me, it’s a fact.

My men are unusual. They weigh before dinner and after. I weigh once a year—usually at my doctor’s office and only by force. They howl at South Park. Sometimes, they are completely deaf to my voice. Trying to get through to them is like playing tennis – the ball just keeps coming back, again and again, just like before, in exactly the same fashion. Tennis frustrates me. Men frustrate me. As I age I accept it more freely. There’s no changing the male know-it- all psyche, the “I’m in charge” attitude. Just ignore it, girlfriend. I do. Life is easier that way.

I have come to accept there are things my husband is never going to understand about me. I got eyeliner tattooed on my eyelids and beneath my eyes. Sounds crazy, but I have small eyes. He thought I had absolutely lost my mind. I looked like Rocky Balboa for a day or so, but after that it was quite lovely. I am glad that I did not spend hours trying to justify why and what I was doing. It was an unexplainable beauty technique that only a woman could comprehend.

In case you are surrounded by male counterparts, relax, don’t stress, don’t spend hours explaining this and that, just know that there are many female things that will always be foreign to them. I have been contemplating many of the things that males just do not get. It might help you out a little. Here’s the list so far.

Men will never get – the one day sale, expensive shampoo, buttered bread, pajamas on hangers, the $200 purse, the emergency shoes in your car, facials, The Notebook, a chocolate brownie and Diet Coke, Botox, high school photos, soap operas, Thelma & Louise, granny panties, Pampered Chef, heated seats, Midol, cappuccino, eyebrow waxing, fat jeans, Celine Dion, seasonal purses, pedicures, designer dresses, and low-fat cookies.

But the biggest thing that they will never understand is – “not tonight, honey!” I’m just sayin’.

 Shelly Gail Morris

Back to the Future

Back to the FutureA better life in the future is, in effect, the promise made by all advertising.

Beginning in the dark days of the Depression and accelerated during the War years, many American businesses adopted the future as an explicit leitmotif in advertising.

Especially during the deprivations and sacrifices of WWII, the glittering promises of a post-war world filled with unheard of conveniences and an abundance of tantalizing technological advances as presented by Madison Avenue, gave hope to a war-weary public.

Tomorrow’s Living Today

In the post-war push button dream world, a man would travel in 300 mph trains, translucent automobiles, four-decker planes, helicopters, buses equipped with cocktail lounges and amphibious jeeps. Television would bring the world to his living room, and he could transact his business by walkie-talkie while bagging a brace of ducks.

It was to be a world in which stockings never ran, fabrics never had to be washed, and intercommunication systems eliminated the need for a babysitter. Pants would never shine or lose their crease even in the rain since a man would ordinarily own several dozen synthetic suits, which after a wearing or two, he would roll up in a ball and fire into the automatic garbage disposer.

To read the entire article pick up the latest issue at Barnes & Noble or Book World Stores.

Envisioning the American Dream

Ti Amo

Ti AmoItaly’s influence on the U.S. is enduring and prevalent. As we learn in school, our country is named after the Florentine explorer who discovered this great land. From the time of Amerigo Vespucci  and Christopher Columbus, America has been inspired in some way or another by Italian know-how. Indeed, Italy has had a major impact on art, science and every sector in between — and it continues to do so. Continue reading

American Made

American Made by Dave BarnhouseWarm memories of those old country stores that are still sprinkled across our land. “The country store was a social gathering place in rural America and offered a wide array of merchandise – groceries, hardware, clothes, medications. In this delightful image a young couple on their motorcycles have stopped by for a cold soda. As a boy admires their powerful machines, two old-timers sit on the porch, intent on a leisurely game of checkers. Mom and Pop load up the pick-up and get ready to head home.” Continue reading


Friends ForeverFinally updating everything, not only the blog, but the pic too. Have been incredibly frustrated trying to get all of this techno stuff in sync. Don’t know how many times the poor techies at Yahoo have received my calls of desperation, and thankfully, not hung up on me. The Our USA WordPress site is not perfect, but the techies have patiently walked me through it, and will probably have to do it all again. Trying to figure out how to get different images and links on the pages so I can celebrate individual contributors. Trying to figure out the differences between posts and pages, and basic theme customization and how to do sharing. Has anyone read the WordPress Codex lately? Frankly I have wanted to give up many times, but I guess it’s my Italian stubbornness that pushes me on. Well, I have said basta already! Rather than go for perfect, I am going for the best of what I am able to do right now and figure I will learn as I struggle on. And I guess that’s all we can ever ask of ourselves and each other.