I’m Just Sayin’

I'm Just Sayin'

You may not realize it, but busy sucks. Relaxation rules. If you are running in a thousand different directions week after week, please rethink your priorities. It’s wearing you down. It’s wearing your kids down. Being worn down sucks. And a grouchy, over tired family is a bickering, complaining, unhappy family.

If your kids eat dinner three nights a week on their way to activities —rethink those activities. If you are on the PTA, teacher appreciation committee, soccer snacks, and concession stand duty you have overextended yourself. Sure, parents do need to pitch in, but pick the jobs that allow you to be with your family. The world will continue to spin if you decline a few volunteer jobs. Volunteer at home. Volunteer to help your kids with their homework. Volunteer to rebound for your son, or hit tennis balls with your daughter. Volunteer to make popcorn for a card playing evening or a family movie night. If you haven’t watched a movie or television show with your kids in a month, you are missing valuable talking time. And believe me, kids will not tell you about their lives when they are late for karate, or being fitted for a cheerleading outfit. They need time to open up—time to connect.

photo ~ teendriving.statefarm.com

And yes, I do believe that teenagers are a good audience when they are trapped in your car, use that time smartly. Pretend like you are casually interested and then listen hard. But remember that very shortly they will be driving and your talk moments will have to find un-rushed time at some other point.

Don’t pass by your husband or boyfriend either. It makes him feel unimportant. Don’t spend hours telling him all you do. Sure, he needs to know, but if you are that busy don’t spend your only moments together bitching and moaning. Take time to hug. Male egos do not like to be last on your busy schedule. Slow down. Spend the evening relaxing. Talk. Give a back rub. Get a foot rub. Make love. Don’t be too busy for your relationship. Consequences are dire.

people-walking-on-path

Find time to really connect with your kids—with your mother—with your sister—with your girlfriends. That’s why there’s Starbucks. Be there for them. Life is all about relationships. Those people at the bake sale will not hold your hand when you have a biopsy. Spend time on real life. Never blow off a girlfriend when she calls with a real problem. Don’t rush past your family and never get to know them. I’ll bet you still have much to discover about your kids. But you will never truly know them if you do not spend time with them. If you are hauling them here and there to hang out with others, just remember they are not hanging out with you. As they grow they might never even see the need for hanging out with you. That’s not good.

Don’t be too busy for those who truly matter. Someday when you need someone, you don’t want your family to be too busy for you. I’m just sayin’.

 

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

I'll be  home for Christmas

"I'll be home for Christmas...if only in my dreams ~ IIlustration  by Haddon Sundblom for Vintage Christmas Coca Cola Ad 1945

For most American servicemen and women serving in the military overseas their holiday wish is simple: to be home for Christmas.

Soldiers sacrifice much for the sake of others, not the least of which is being able to spend the holidays with their loved ones.

No Christmas song captures the soldier’s heartfelt longing more than “I’ll be Home for Christmas.”

The melancholy words of the soldier overseas writing a letter home, echos generations of soldiers who long to be home but are unable to e because of the war.

The wistful holiday classic written during WWII was the perfect sentimental war-time song holding deep meaning to US troops overseas and it rings as meaningful today as it did 70 years ago when it was first recorded.  To read the full post follow Sally.

Photo thanks to ~ Lets Find 1 Million People Who Really Support Our Severely Injured Veterans

An Uncomplicated Christmas

Seatrs Christmas CatalogIt was the year 1961 and we were planning our Christmas shopping.

There weren’t many choices for us living in a small town in the Pocono Mountains of

Pennsylvania. In those early years much of our shopping was done through catalogs. We would get the big catalogs and also the Christmas issues from Sears Roebuck & Co. and Montgomery Ward.

We would spend hours looking through those catalogs and try to decide what to get other family members. I had received many presents in my younger years from one of those catalogs. The presents were always delivered by mail. No UPS back in those days.

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When Flying Was Fun for Thanksgiving

As millions crowd our airports for the traditional Thanksgiving trek home over the river and through the woods, the tension mounts at the thought of long lines, insufferable crowds, and the dreaded delays that inevitably await the weary and wary traveler.

Gloom is cast before the holiday even begins.

But for the Post-War population, the new air travel was a breeze.

For the modern mid-century family, the notion of flying home for the holidays was a novelty and a grand experience at that.

“Over the River and Over the woods. To grandmothers house we go,” this 1951 TWA ad announces gaily.

The gleeful modern family fairly bursting with pep and anticipation couldn’t wait to board their flight to visit Grandma. Why let old-fashioned distance keep a family apart?

“There’s a new road now to an old tradition. It’s the TWA high way home for Thanksgiving. And what a blessing it is to families separated by too many rivers and too many woods….and so many years!”“If you’ve let distance and lack of time keep you away too long, try traveling this high way. Find out how TWA can make it very near to someone dear- for even an ocean apart is only hours apart…by skyliner!”

TWA went out of their way to make flying a family affair! Flying was no longer just for Dad and his business trips. Once the airline, started their Family Budget Plan, “…parents have had cause to cheer'” boasts TWA in this 1949 ad. “for now they can take the whole family by air at down to earth prices.”

By traveling on a Monday Tuesday or Wednesday, they could save substantially. “As head of the family,” they explain “Dad pays full fare. Mother and the children under 22 go for only half fare each”…and best of all crying infants and toddlers under 2 could fly free of charge!

Tempting you further, TWA promises, “The flight is a delight, the service supreme, with delicious hot meals served free. Best of all…and oh how mother loves this!…you’re there long before the kids start to fuss or fidget!”

“Snowtime’s no time to give up flying! Vintage American Airlines Ad 1950

Compare the cheery disposition of Mr. and Mrs. Modern who have chosen the up -to-date way to travel to visit Grandmother with their neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Outdated who chose the more antiquated mode of travel- their automobile.

Hampered by a snow storm they are unable to dig out in time for the turkey. Mrs. Outdated, with visions of stuffing and cranberries dancing in her head, looks longingly at the speeding plane in the sky, carrying the wise Moderns to the destination.

Vintage ad American Airlines 1949

 

“Don’t Give Up- Go Up,” declared American Airlines in this 1949 advertisement , touting the benefits and wonders of the new air travel that most post-war families had yet to experience.

“Air Travel- and only air travel can often make the difference between the accessible and the impossible. This is especially true during the holidays when the earthbound are frequently snowbound. Hence, wise travelers plan to go by air.”

“Also, air travel is little affected by the challenge of distance and time. The miles on the map lose their menace- the hands of the clock become friend instead of foe when you use this modern means of transportation.”

“So when holiday travel plans seem likely to get ‘bogged down’ don’t give up- go up.”

JFK’s White Picket Fence

JFK's White Picket Fence

My brother has given me hundreds of slides that I find myself going through one at a time. Each one holds a memory – some of places long ago visited, some of people long gone from my life – but each slide tells a story.

I came across a few from the grave of President Kennedy taken a week after he was buried. The slides show that white picket fence which surrounded his grave, the flowers, the hats from all the armed services, the evergreen boughs that covered the grave, and the eternal flame that was burning so brightly. I closed my eyes and remembered those days that have been etched in the memory of all who lived through it.

I remember exactly where I was when the word came that President Kennedy had been shot. I was in my 6th grade English class – Mr. Faust’s English class to be exact. I remember that he cried when he heard the news, and for some reason I didn’t find that disconcerting; it sort of made him human to me.

The school sent us home early, and I remember sitting in front of a small black and white television screen for the next three days with my mother, just watching the black and white images on the screen and seeing my mother cry–one of the few times in my life I would witness this show of emotion.

We watched everything that the television stations of 1963 had to offer. We didn’t miss a moment. When they went off the air, we went to bed, when they came on in the morning, mother woke me so I could see this part of American history.

Mother got it in her head that she wanted my father to drive us to Washington DC so we could walk past the casket as it lay in the rotunda of the Capital. My father didn’t seem to share her enthusiasm for such an outing, and kept finding reasons not to go. Finally, after an entire day of mother insisting we go and my father insisting we not, he caved and we started to dress for the drive and the standing in line.

As mother was packing sandwiches, they announced on the television that they were not allowing anyone else to get in line to view the casket. As you can imagine – mother was not pleased and my father acted like he was also not pleased, but we all knew he was happy he didn’t have to make that drive in the middle of the night!

The deal he made with mother was that he would drive us down to Arlington National Cemetery the following weekend so we could walk past the grave. He kept his word, and I remember it like it was yesterday. I was only 11, but some things, some places, some emotions never leave you.

If I’m still enough and quiet enough while looking at these slides, I can still hear the soft sounds of women weeping, and I can see grown men wiping their eyes, and servicemen standing at attention saluting the grave of their fallen comrade and President. I can hear the sounds of people softly walking on the wooden walkway that had been built so the public could walk by, and I can hear the snow crunch as they walk over it. More than anything, I remember how quiet it was. Hundreds of people, dressed in their Sunday best, paying their respects to their fallen President.

It was history, and I’m so thrilled to have been a part of it. As sad as it was, I’m so honored to have seen that white picket fence and flowers and evergreen boughs and armed services hats, and that ever burning flame. My mother, God love her, insisted.

 

 

A Day of Gratitude and Remembrance

Photo Dennis L. Page

My dad was a man who exhibited humility in all he did.He was truly a man to admire.

Many people who grew up during the Great Depression were poor and my father was no different. He resided in a mostly agricultural area. His home was basically a family compound with grandma and grandpa living in one house, my dad, his two brothers and parents in another and my aunt and uncle who owned a farm in yet another home.

Photo Dennis L.Page

I was given few details of this era and the role my father played in it. I do know his particular weapon was one of the deadliest…a .30 caliber water-cooled machine gun M1917A1. He talked about the headhunters and how he would watch their silhouettes with spears and shields as he pulled guard duty at night. The oddity in it all was that the headhunters knew who their allies were and they hated the Japanese soldiers. Dad mentioned how he would dig a foxhole and then set up for battle. During one particular fire fight, bullets flying and under a curtain of ungodly noise a little monkey climbed in the foxhole and wrapped its terrified body around my father. That little monkey….a ray of hope and sunshine during the time of tests for survival and bravery….that monkey stayed with dad until the war ended. He sneaked the monkey under his shirt as the ship sailed from Japan to Hawaii . There was a damn near mutiny on board as the naval officers wanted to throw the monkey overboard. The men in my father’s unit informed those officers, “This here monkey has seen more combat then you could ever imagine.” The monkey stayed until Hawaii and was left with a G.I. who was staying behind.

Photo Dennis L. Page

So that was it. My dad had pretty much left the rest of his past behind, until a time years later when my father picked up my friend Paul and me at the theater after we had seen a war movie. Of course, my friend and I couldn’t wait to go home and re-enact what we had seen. Paul and I were in the backseat when Paul asked, “So, Mr. Page, how many people did you kill in the war?” The eerie silence was deafening as my father, my role model and my hero, took a moment, cleared his throat and adjusted the rear view mirror in the car. I watched one lonely, sad and sorrowful tear roll down his cheek as he looked Paulie in the eye and his exact words, in a trembling voice uttered, ” I would like to think I never hurt anyone.”

I was born in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey during the time my father had reenlisted during the Korean War. Years later my mom asked my dad if he wanted to be buried in Arlington. His response came as no surprise when he said, “Rose, Arlington is a place for people much more deserving than I am.” Instead, my dad is now laid to rest in a Veterans Cemetery on the same road where he grew up.

Even though our country is divided by political bickering and a lot of hate filled nonsense, there is one cornerstone we can always rely on and that is the sacrifice and service our military gives us. Please thank a veteran and appreciate them for keeping us free.

 

Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day: Nov. 24

Camille Farrell, Hoop Artist

For many adults, the sight of a hula-hoop brings back childhood memories of carefree days of rotating a round plastic tube around their hips. Gyrating a hula-hoop can be how many have learned the physics of force, propulsion, speed, and that irreducible buzz-kill known as gravity. Since its introduction by WHAM-O as a children’s toy in the late 1950’s, the hula-hoop has been instrumental in teaching persistence, patience, and the exhilaration of accomplishing a goal.

One of the goals of Hoop Tribe of Salem is to inspire a sense of unity within the community, one hoop at a time. Like many flow artists, their aim is to bring people together, making a positive difference by promoting a healthy, fun, and positive lifestyle. Camille Farrell, founder of Hoop Tribe, has been actively involved in producing hoops and performing at local venues since 2008. With their hoops as dance partners, the hoopers perform at various music festivals, public events, art shows, and also hold workshops at BushPark, Minto Brown Island Park, and at the Waterfront in Salem. The positive feedback from the community has been encouraging and rewarding for the group, spurring their desire to pay it forward.

Hoop Yoga

Flow arts are something that Farrell has been interested in since she first saw a young woman dancing with a hula-hoop. “Shortly after my father passed away, I discovered hooping as a way to channel my negative energy into something positive and creative,” Farrell said. “I’ll never forget the first time I saw someone dancing with a hula hoop – it was in 2008 at the NW String Summit festival at Horning’s Hideout, a wild peacock farm right outside of Hillsboro. I went home and made a hoop of my own (and one for my best friend). Here I am five years later still passionate about hooping. It’s a creative outlet to raise money for charities, encourage a healthy positive lifestyle, create a sense of community among local artists, spread love, and inspire others the way I was inspired that day at NW String Summit.”

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Siri – The Voice with a Smile?

Welcome home Mac! The first Mac Pro to be Made in America will be unleashed in December. This news got us to thinking about all things Mac and we zoomed in on Siri because the real voice of Siri was recently uncovered.

Siri Speaks!

Exactly two years after Siri made her auspicious debut on October 4, 2011, the mystery woman’s identity can now be revealed. Apple’s voice activated virtual assistant never quite took off in popularity the way Apple envisioned her, but the closely guarded identity of the oft time snarky Siri has been widely speculated.

According to CNN, she is an Atlanta based voice over actress named Susan Bennett.

Though Apple is being cagey and won’t confirm it, the sleuths at CNN found audio forensic experts to back up the actresses claim.

Would You Repeat That Again?

Staying connected with the assistance of a disconnected female voice is nothing new.

Once upon a time, the alert, courteous voice of the telephone operator was known to everyone who used the telephone. Siris’ snippy voice and quirky personality stands in contrast to the golden age of telephone operators who possessed the “voice with a smile.”

The Voice With a Smile

Bell Telephone Ad 1940

Vintage Bell Telephone Ad 1940s The familiar "Voice With a Smile' operator

Telephone operators were known for their courtesy. “It’s nice to pick up the telephone,” ads would point out, “and hear an alert friendly voice come over the wire.”

“The voice with a smile” was the familiar AT&T slogan used from the 1930’s through the 1950’s . The ads visualized the cheerful sound of the company’s female operators painting a pretty face on the happy voice of the phone worker.

The speech of operators was firmly regulated through strict codes of appropriate responses enforced by supervisors listening unannounced on operators line.

“Operator ~ May I Help You?

"The Bell system appreciates your patronage, and tries to deserve it"

From the beginning, the occupation of switchboard operators was almost exclusively female. Women were valued not only because of their gentle voice, and nimble fingers , but as an added bonus, they worked for lower wages.

According to Lana Rakow in “Women and the Telephone.” an article in The American Telephone Journal of 1902 explained why female operators were desirable: “The dulcet tones of the feminine voice seem to exercise a soothing and calming effect upon the masculine mind, subduing irritation and suggesting gentleness of speech and demeanor, thereby avoiding unnecessary friction”

What Number Did You Want?

Vintage Bell Telephone Ads

From the 1930’s through the 1950’s AT&T recruited female employees through popular women’s magazines such as American Girl, Senior Prom and True Story, appearing next to ads for weight loss, feminine itch relief and bust creams.

Ads emphasized how important women were to the telephone industry. “170,000 women are employed by the Bell system,” one ad stated. “More than half of the 315,000 employees of the Bell System are women. They are your friends and neighbors- living in the same section of the country. They average length of service is about ten years.”

Perhaps courtesy and manners have gone the way of the telephone, which itself is beginning to feel rather antiquated.

 

Do Family Farms Still Matter?

Gaining Ground This article first came to our attention from our friends at I Support Farmers Markets, but originally published in Parade. We wanted to share this remarkable journey taken by author/farmer Forrest Pritchard.

As my friends headed off to graduate school, I pointed my dusty pickup toward the farm. My college advisors shook their heads with well-meaning disapproval. “Go ahead,” they admonished. “Get your hands dirty for a few months. But when you’re ready to decide on a career, the real world will be waiting for you.

But this is the real world, I insisted. It’s a world of sunshine and rain. It’s a world of physical work and sweat, and the sweet satisfaction of nurturing life from the earth. A few weeks back on the farm, I was sunburned and filthy and utterly blissful. Most importantly, I was certain that I had made the right decision.

I projected our bills for the coming winter, and knew that we needed ten thousand dollars to carry us into spring. That summer, we planted the farm with corn and soybeans, abandoning our traditional cow pastures for the quicker financial return of grain. The meadows were killed off with herbicide, and the rolling hills cultivated.

In October, trucks whisked away our glittering corn and soy. I was so proud of what we had accomplished: We had saved our family farm. Later that week, I received our paycheck and tore open the envelope.

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Unite Against Bullying

October hosts a number of national observances including Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Our friend Chris Gagliardi, who is featured in the Fall issue, has experienced bullying throughout his life. Born with autism, Chris has faced life with courage and is believed to be the only person with autism to have run for public office in the United States. Check out our Fall issue to read Chris’s story and be sure to sign his petition “Give Youth Rights for Justice Against Bullies.”

The NEA (National Education Association) encourages family and friends to pay attention.   “There are many warning signs that may point to a bullying problem, such as unexplained injuries, lost or destroyed personal items, changes in eating habits, and avoidance of school or other social situations. However, every children may not exhibit warning signs, or may go to great lengths to hide it. This is where paying attention is most valuable.”

“if you see something – do something. Intervene as soon as you even think there may be a problem. Don’t brush it off as “kids are just being kids. They’ll get over it.” Some never do, and it affects them for a lifetime.”