Monday, March 23, 2015

Where is 28 in 2012?


I remember watching a documentary with my mom in 1991.  It was called Age 7 in America.  At least I think that’s what it was called. 

I don’t know who’s responsible for making it.  It looks like it may have been created by Christopher Quinn patterned after an idea done in Britain?  I don’t even recall which network sponsored the program.  Quinn (who also narrated the film) told us that the plan was to follow a number of children from different backgrounds and upbringings and interview them every seven years.

I remember looking for “Age 14 in America” but not finding it.  I don’t know what prompted me to look it up on YouTube this year – but I did find it.  Age 7, age 14 and age 21 (thank you Orletta Crichlow) and watched Up 21and was really quite impressed.



Years ago, when my mom and I had been watching, there were three girls wearing school uniforms.  As they were being interviewed, the one in the middle (Kate) seemed a bit naïve and perhaps a little slower than the other two.  I remember the three talking about babies and that one did not have to be married in order to have a baby.  Kate’s comment implied that a man would still have to be involved.  When the other two said (in unison) “No, you don’t.”  Mom looked at me and said something along the lines of, “I thought the one in the middle didn’t seem as smart as the other two, but now she sounds smarter.” 

I thought the other two were too young to know about artificial insemination, but perhaps that was what was meant by their comment.  But a man is still involved – just not in the natural sense.

Kate was my favorite among all of the children that were interviewed.  After 24 years I had forgotten how many children had been interviewed as I could only remember five.  The three from upper class New York and the two from the poverty stricken housing project in what sounded like a seedy side of Chicago.

The focus was on 14 different children – some grouped and some individually.  There were five girls and nine boys interviewed. This post is my review.  You may wish to watch this without reading my review to form your own opinions.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCe8a-BwHwc
The background and situation from which you come (or are in) doesn’t define you, but rather your attitude toward how you deal with the given situation.  I find it interesting how some were faced with similar situations took their lives in different directions.

I thought it was interesting, how at 21, Kate said she had watched “7 in America” for the first time when she was eight.  She said she felt ashamed I think of being in her situation when it was obvious that there were others who did not have it so well. 

I hadn’t remembered Luis at all, but was touched by his story. His dad had recently skipped out on them.  Mom was into drugs.  Lewis – at age seven – took upon himself the responsibilities of caring for his younger siblings.  SEVEN!  I can’t even imagine.



I have been so impressed with the choices that Luis made for himself and for his family – always trying to do right by them and sacrificing education and friendships in order to tend to his siblings.  At age 21, Luis was serving in the army.  Grateful for the independence of being away from his family – but still assisting with taking care of them.  He seemed to have such a great attitude despite the challenges that life had dealt.

The other two I remember were Leroy and Kennisha.  They lived in what was known as the Robert Taylor housing project.  It sounded like an area with high crime and poverty.  Leroy had been riding his bike upstairs on the walkway – going back and forth.  The interviewer had asked why he didn’t take it downstairs and explore the outdoors.  His answer was that if he had taken it outside, that someone would just push him off the bike and take it from him. The two had witnessed many crimes with either eyes or ears.  I honestly wondered if they would both be living by age 14.  Happy to see that they are.

Kennisha seemed to have amazing faith as she would pray for things to get better.  At age 7 she was a strong believer in God and that continues.  And life did get better.  By age 7 she had moved to section eight housing.  By 21 an actual house with a lot of family members.  Her goal was to move her daughter to Texas where they will have their own place and Kennisha can actually enjoy some time experiencing solitude.

I highly recommend watching 21.   I’ll end with what I thought were memorable quotes:

“It’s going to get better.”  -  Luis

“Hard working people are overlooked.”  -  Doug

“We control our won destiny as best as we can”   -  Eric

“Predetermined background doesn’t define who I am or how I’ve gotten here.”  - Michael

“There is no emotional diploma.”  -  Alexis

“Everything coming in place.”  -  Kennisha

“Everybody needs love.”  -  Leroy

“Step up to the plate.”  -  Luis

"Things don't always work out like they're suppose to."  -  Kate

“As long as my family love me, I’m okay with that.”  -  Leroy

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fall into Spring



We did not have much of a winter this year.  I’m quite grateful, actually.  At least for now. 

It was good to take the bus in nice weather and not have to trudge through the snow during the time when we’re walking.

We had 5 – 8 hours of snow on the 3rd – though I suppose those who live closer to the mountains or even in the mountains may have experienced more.

The snow fell hard and didn’t let up until after five feet or so, and then it let up.  Meanwhile I lost my bus pass.  I figured whoever picked it up needed it more than I did.

I chose not to purchase another pass.  Though I had only gotten three fares out of the first – I figured we could save thirty dollars if I just paid the fare each day.  Still expensive.  But as of Monday I’ll have a car again.  Still not comfortable with driving – but the sun is starting to warm and I don’t wish to wait in the blazing sun after school. It will be nice to wait at the school in a car with the windows rolled down.  And not to have to cross the street anymore.

I will miss the train at times.  Perhaps I lost my pass so that I may look forward to driving?  Perhaps I’ll never know.  It’s been a good experience.  It has also gotten tiring.  I’ll still be limited with my driving.  But that’s okay.

Most of the trees are naked now.  Some are starting to dress in their blossoms.  Still have noticed one tree hanging onto autumn. I took this picture while I was waiting for the train:


Any Day Now - a review


I remember hearing a story about a child visiting grandparents – noticing that “grandma” is much taller than “grandpa”.  One day the child asks why grandma had married when there was such an obvious height difference.  The grandma responds with, “Your grandpa and I fell in love sitting down, and by the time we stood up, it was too late.”

Often there are people look for a partner in which to share a life.  Sometimes they base their interests on appearance or personality.  And then there are others who develop a love without even trying.  And sometimes the situation may seem challenging if acted upon – some may accept the challenges while others choose not to go there due to an orthodox view of race or religion.  Others may accept the challenges that they face and try to make a go at it.  Sometimes the constant battles will make a couple stronger.  Sometimes it ends up tearing them apart.

Recently I watched a movie called “Any Day Now” starring Alan Cumming as Rudy Donatello.  The movie is based upon a real situation that took place in the 70’s between a gay couple trying to win permanent custody of a teenager with down syndrome and a judicial system who seemed to focus more about principle than they cared about the youth – one of many who I’m certain has gotten lost in the system.




Rudy works as a drag queen performing at a bar and barely making ends meet.  He is comfortable in his skin, somewhat smart mouthed, but definitely NOT ashamed.  His love interest is Paul Figer, an attorney who struggles with his identity – not so much ashamed of his attraction to Rudy, but tries to remain “closeted” as he knows acting upon his attractions will jeopardize his career.

Rudy’s neighbor plays music extremely loud, against Rudy’s wishes.  He’s constantly asking her to turn it down.  One time he barges into the apartment to turn it down, he discovers Marco, who seems oblivious to his surroundings.  Rudy has compassion for this youth with down syndrome and takes it upon himself to take care of Marco – though it’s not really his place.  He does develop a love for the youth and really does try to due right by him.



Of course I bawled through so much of the movie.  I was actually surprised by the way the movie ended.  I can’t say more about it without spoiling the outcome.  Made me hate the judicial system.  Made me love and admire Rudy’s character – and the strength of the couple as they battled a system with prejudices. I felt so bad and sorry for Marco – who did not understand.  It was a bittersweet movie.

It’s rated R for language – and usually that word really does get through to me – but I was more accepting of it just because of the circumstances – and because of Marco – an innocent victim.  He didn’t deserve the abuse.  He deserved Rudy’s love. 

I need to stop writing.  Because now I’m crying again.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Grandma Really Didn’t Jump From an Airplane

I am currently taking a family history class through the Church because Roland wants to take the class but can't always be there and so has asked me to come with him in the event that he has to miss a class.
Yesterday we shared memories of our ancestors.  I had known from the beginning that I would need to come up with something.  And I have written down thoughts here and there - but nothing major about anyway.  I finally ended up sharing three stories that mom had shared about herself and a family member's name.  Of course once the class was over, I have been able to come up with some other memories.  Here is one:





     My mom has never had a great sense of direction – at least since I’ve known her.  Sometimes she would forget small things and exaggerate about things like, “having to drive around the world” when it had taken her longer to get to places than anticipated.

     When she first was diagnosed with dementia, her children often wondered if it was still her personality that caused her to do things (or not do things) or if the dementia had taken over.  We soon realized that it was her dementia.

     One time Corey and Mom had gone over to Patrick and Sunnys’s house and were having dinner with the family.  The topic at hand happened to be skydiving.  Ellen and Kimball had experienced jumping out of an airplane in real life – and Candy had been saving her money so that she might go sky diving sometime in the future.  I think they said Sunny had wanted to go, also.

     They said mom all the sudden joined in the conversation.  “You know I’ve been skydiving, too.” And then proceeded to go into detail about her experience.

     Now, you must understand, my mom was fearful of heights.  She didn’t even like to ride the sky ride (similar to a ski lift) at Lagoon (an amusement park in Farmington, Utah) because her legs were dangling.  There is no way in real life she would have ever jumped out of an airplane.

     But eventually the account she related came with such superior detail that even Corey had questioned it as he looked at the others and said, “Did she?” as each of the others shrugged.

     Throughout the rest of her life she continued to tell her account of how she had “jumped out of a plane”. 

     Four months after we put her into assisted living, she met another resident of the facility.  His name was Harold Martin and he had flown in small-uncovered airplane for real.  He was fascinated by mom’s story and wish that he too had had the opportunity of skydiving.

     He must have noticed that mom’s story varied a bit each time she told him.  For what started out as a private jet with an instructor ended up a commercial airline that was going down, and the crew had insisted that each of the passengers jump out in order to be spared.

     If mom had lived any longer, I think her story would have changed to being pushed rather than jumping of her own free will.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Give Me Moist Aire


It’s been an awesome winter
Yesterday we had a storm
Didn't last long, but now
the air is dry.  I
Haven’t had the sinus pain
Breathing’s been nice
Until the
Last few days
My throat is closing
The only way to clear it
Is to make an unattractive noise
I drawing the attention
To myself
But if I don’t make those sounds
I can’t breathe
Why when it snows
Is there less precipitation
in the air?
I am not a scientist. 
I don’t understand
Why the air is so dry.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Before My Mind Forgets




I was looking for some photo pages the last week.  As I was searching, I came across a scrapbook that Jenna and I created together – or started to anyway.



A neighbor who had three daughters of her own had actually given the album to us.  I don’t know if it was something she intended to fill up eventually and life just got in the way, or if she just really wasn’t interested in that kind of thing – or why it had been in her possession in the first place.

I don’t even know how old the album is.  There is a copyright from Lansdowne Publishing.  It was first published in 1997 than in 1998.  The book itself is written and compiled by Deborah Nixon.  Designed and Photographed by Robyn Latimer.  Beautifully illustrated and very thoughtful.  It’s called  Mother’s Memories For my Daughter.


  I let Jenna pick out all the pictures that she wanted to use.  As I'd written down my memories into the book, she would cut out pictures and paste them in.  We had fun doing it – and I think it will be a great treasure for her one day – providing that she can actually read it.
When my mind is working faster than my pen, I tend to get sloppy.  The fact that cursive isn’t really taught in our public schools anymore has made it even more challenging.  Jenna can’t read cursive.




There have been several papers and stories that she has written on – sloppy print and misspells.  I have scanned many and have a picture in her original hand and a translation.  I figured I could do the same for mine.  And so I’ve started.  Barely.  Started.  My mind has raced with almost every page I’ve scanned.  There’s much more detail in my head than what’s been written.  I have been writing down memories, typing them, searching for more photos – which I know exist – but I cannot find them.  More searches.  More memories.  My fingers cannot keep up with my mind.

  
Corey has tackled the project of transcribing mom’s journal.  I am so excited for it.  I’m sure that it will take me longer to read than for him to copy it all. 

He shares certain memoirs every now and then.  It is fun to see them on facebook and remember when.  I love my mom.  I have great respect for her.  She was such an awesome woman!  And just so giving and compassionate.  I wish I were more like her.

The memories I have been writing down are about my grandparents and great-grandparents and then I started to write down what I know about Roland’s mom and then I asked him to change the things that I misunderstood and to add his own memories.  He wrote things about his dad.  I’m glad that he did, because I did not know him.  I was in high school when he died – just over twenty years before I had even met Roland.

As I’m typing or writing, I can think of more things.  I add thoughts, insert paragraphs, forever cut and paste.  I will easily fill up several flash drives.  That is where I am.  My blog is on the back burner – for a while anyway.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dear Mr. President



Winslow Press started the creation of a series called “Dear Mr. President” – I think a wonderful introduction.  I love the five books that were made.  I wish there was more.  I don’t know why it was discontinued – or so it seems.  Winslow Press doesn’t seem to offer publication later than 2002 (that I could see) and it doesn’t appear the site has been updated since May 2009.    Perhaps Winslow Press is one of many businesses that has had to file bankruptcy in the last decade and a half.

 
The three books I will focus on most are:





Though the Letters are fictionalized, information provided in the correspondence is based upon meticulous research.  I like how Winslow press refers reader to “learn more” though I personally did not find the winslowpress.com useful, I like the concept of getting readers interest and encouraging research.

Presidents may have opened their mail at one time, but somewhere along the way the mail was handled by the secretary and now an entire team, I would imagine.  I don’t imagine the correspondence would have existed any other way but through our minds.

The poor coal miner wouldn’t have been able to send as many letters to Roosevelt as he did, as he would not have had the means for postage.  Nor would a slave have been able to correspond as they had even less means than did the coal miner.

All letters are start out with the twelve-year-old’s point of view.  Lettie has been taught by her mistress how to read and write.  Her mistress is the only child of a widower who most likely teaches Lettie out of boredom.  She encourages Lettie to write to Abraham Lincoln who responds. 

Knowing that the correspondence will put her in harms way should others learn that a slave has been taught to read and write. The letters are addressed to her mistress.  Correspondence allows the reader to understand the purpose of the Civil War and President Lincoln’s position and a thin view of what some slaves had to go through.

I think I found the miner story the most interesting.  To be certain that he received all of the young miner’s letters and weren’t open by his secretary, Pres. “Teddy” Roosevelt had the young miner address the letters to his son.  I do think I read a small error when Teddy expressed that Kermit was 13 in one letter and then 12 in the next. 

Besides reading about the conditions that the miners had to face, I enjoyed discovering trivial things that took place during Theodore Roosevelt’s reign.  He spoke with affection about all of the animals that belonged to his children – and baby-sitting the guinea pigs – which he really did do. 

And then there was Franklin D. Roosevelt who had some good ideas.  Some did not work out to his expectations.  His correspondence is with a girl of Italian decent.  She talks about different family members having to go on strike and about the hobos jumping freight lines.  That was interesting.

I also like how each of them use big words (which are capped and bolded) to describe things and use of contractions (which are underlined) to peak reader's interest not only in history, but grammar and vocabulary as well.

Winslow Press made it a point to caption each page with the words: “To learn more about specific mines, go to winslowpress.com”, “to learn more about unions, go to winslowpress.com”,  “to learn more abut Christmas during the civil war, go to winslowpress.com”, “to learn more about the Dredge Scott Act, go to winslowpress.com”

As previously mentioned, I actually didn’t find the winslowpress site at all useful, but I do like the idea of suggesting to readers to research mentioned subjects.  Wikipedia is always helpful for me, personally. 

Once the correspondence ends, there is a time line and brief history about said president.  A snapshot of a letter in his actual handwriting and then a letter the way it may have appeared by said 12 year- old.

Another interesting thing after the letters and time line is a synopsis of how the mail was delivered at that time and how much postage costs.  For more information on the post office it gives the Winslow site.  But there are so many sources that one can go to for more information.

The “Dear Mr. President” series is beautiful.  I think it needs to be continued. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Spoons Ran Out On Their Own

         You remember that nursery rhyme:

                                Hey, Diddle, Diddle
         The Cat and the Fiddle
         The Cow Jumped Over the Moon

The verse ended with:

The dish ran away with the Spoon

As a child, I wondered What the Heck that whole thing even meant.  But especially the dish part and the spoon.  It was cute, I guess.  But crazy.  Surely inanimate objects cannot run away – but since I have been married, I have learned that they can.



Most every spoon that has lived in our house(s) has been able to sprout legs and walk from room to room.  I had no clue that the majority of them would one day leave the house all together and venture out on their own.  They must have found a good home.  I have seen homeless socks before, but rarely do I ever see spoons – or any kind of flatware for that matter.

         I have replaced spoons at least three times – yesterday made four.  It’s around hot chocolate season that we start running low. I wonder if Santa helps himself to a few spoons to take back to his elves – and over the years the rest of the spoons gradually take off in search for their friends. 

When we were getting ready to sell mom’s house and expressing interest in different possessions, I told Ellen that I would like some forks and saucers.  I was actually specific about which saucers I wanted – the big plastic ones with a print that looked like the ones that used to belong to Grandma Helen.  We had only three saucers in our cupboard at the time, and really did have a need for them at that time. 

I don’t know why it is we were so stocked up on spoons already.  Our flatware drawer was overflowing with spoons – for a change.   I think Ellen gave me every bit of flatware that my mom had collected throughout the years – plus a generous amount of saucers.  I really didn’t need everything she gave to me, but hung onto it nevertheless.

Gradually I started replacing spoons – until there was nothing left in the bag Ellen had filled.  At one time there were three bins that held spoons.  As of Friday, there was barely one.

I told Roland not to get me candy for Valentine’s Day, but to purchase new spoons instead.  Currently they seem to be the only spoons we have.  I seriously don’t understand.  Why do spoons not like living in our drawers?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Slow Down, People – seriously – SLOW DOWN!!!


The weather the past few days have made for awesome biking weather, driving weather, walking weather . . . except for one thing.  There are some drivers who think they own the road and that the rules don’t apply to them.  They can drive as fast as they wish, as reckless as they wish and ain’t nobody in the path that is going to stop them.  Oh, whoops – there was.  Most of this could have been prevented.   

I was at the front of the school yesterday – and have to walk a ways to the bus stop and make at least three transfers.  I make my first transfer at the college.  I decided to take the 41 in whatever direction came first.  The first one to come was going eastbound and then I made my final transfer to the 217 – which is the bus I normally take.  But there was a blockage that prevented both northbound and southbound traffic.  The bus had to turn back and take a long detour around that area.  I was at a loss at what might have taken place.  The blockage was between intersections.  I couldn’t even visualize an accident.

Seven hours later I was on the bus going southbound.  Same detour.  What the heck?  I was reminded of this incident – when Roland and Jenna and I were returning to the house when we lived in Kearns.  

         It was after 8:00 p.m. when we made our turn off 4000 W onto a neighborhood street that would take us home.  We could see the lights up ahead from all the emergency vehicles that were there.  We watched the news and heard this story.  The number of children varied with each report.  Some local authorities said as low as five were hit.  Some said seven.

         I’m certain that it was not the intent of the driver to plow down those students – or was even aware that he was off course or where he was or what was happening.  It was later explained that he was driving with or without medication that caused a reaction. 

         The next morning that part of the street was still closed down – over 15 hours after it happened.  It had remained closed due to investigation on what was considered a crime.



         I actually hadn’t thought too much about it after we had left Kearns.  Not until yesterday when I learned that Redwood was still closed in that same location as it had been that same morning.  I know that being without power is quite painful, but I felt relieved to know it was not as serious as accidents causing injuries or death – or even worse, a crime that had led to murder.

         Roland was to meet me at Jenna’s school as we had an appointment with her teachers.  He wouldn’t have been able to go home his usual way anyway.  I told him about the blockage and he sent me a list of five different accidents taking place all throughout the valley – all at approximately the same time – all causing backed up traffic, detours and delays.

         The day before, police were out patrolling – looking for speeders and evidently meeting their goal.  I saw the same police officer pull over a second car after driving away from having written up someone else.

         There was a police truck behind a civilian car blocking the bus stop at the college.  It doesn’t happen often that a vehicle blocks the pathway of the bus.  But I have seen it three or four times where the bus driver becomes angry and will honk and shake his fist at the driver.  The bus driver was ticked but decided not to provoke the police officer (I guess)

         I suppose accidents at this time of year are common – but in the past it’s been due to ice and snow – not totally to stupidity.  Why drive so recklessly?  Why not enjoy the weather?

         Even some bus drivers have been known to have led feet.  Shame on them for flying from intersection to intersection, zooming past three or four other bus stops along the way – only so they can wait 3-5 minutes so they won’t be “ahead of schedule” – I don’t have the strength to run to the corner and across the street.  I’m an old woman!

         Just slow down.  Don’t go over the speed limit.  Don’t speed up for yellow lights!  Is your being in a hurry really worth the delays you create for others?  Is it worth risking others’ lives? Or even your own?  Leave early if you must.  But don’t speed.  Please slow down.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Three of the Four Seasons

After my post yesterday, the rain fell off and on.

When I left the house to go pick up Jenna, the sky was pouring down water from the sky.  POURING.  I had to return to the house for different shoes so my feet wouldn't get wet.

I had grabbed Jenna's umbrella and coat as that morning we had both left the house with just sweatshirts and I knew she wouldn't be prepared.  The spine came out of her umbrella as I was putting it into my bag.

Roland had forgotten his phone, but I can text him through an texting system that he set up through his computer at work.  I told him that it was pouring and asked if he could meet us at the school.  It would be an hour wait, but still.  Jenna and I are both okay with the rain, really.  But she is currently taking swim lessons, and I didn't know if the weather would interfere with the bus schedule running on time.

When I exited the bus less than 20 minutes later, the sky was barely drizzling.  No one in Salt Lake even knows how to dress anymore.  I notice people wearing shorts and coats, sandals and sweaters,  or packing extra stuff - I fall into that third category.  It's not nice to have to pack a parka, an umbrella, a light sweater, sunglasses and boots - just in case.  I'm not a pack mule!

The sun was shining as we waited for Roland.  The rain fell again as the sun was shining.  Jenna took my umbrella and danced around while I waited under the awning. Roland didn't arrive when we had expected.  I told him to meet us in front, but ventured around the school to see if I could see the car behind the school.  I do tend to misunderstand.

He wasn't behind the school.  He had stopped off at McDonald's to surprise us with dinner.  We ate on the way to the train station where he dropped us off so that we could continue to Jaime's class.  The weather and traffic conditions may interfere with the bus schedule.  It is rare when the train doesn't run on time. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Roller Skates and Scooters


       Shortly after school started, Jenna found some roller skates at a second hand store and Roland bought them for her.  She would never admit that they were tight on her, but I think they were. 

        She did try using them on occasion, but never really got the flair for using them comfortably.  After two months of leaving them outside in the cold, I told her to put them in the car and give them to Anna – not that they would currently fit her four-old cousin - but Anna can grow into them, whereas I believe Jenna has grown out.

         The wind has been howling something fierce.  Yet the last two days have been like a spring/summer transition.  Neighbor kids were riding up and down the street on bicycles and scooters.  How fun it would have been for Jenna if she did still have her skates – or maybe she'd feel embarrassed as she is the tallest of all the children by a long shot and wouldn’t have been able to keep up with Trume on his scooter.  She would have lagged behind with his sister – who hasn’t seemed to master gliding gracefully either.  



        Tank tops, shorts and bare feet in some cases.  Though I told Jenna I wanted socks on her feet when she jumped on the trampoline.  Last month I would make her wear three pair in addition to her jacket.  Yesterday she did not need a jacket.  I don’t recall ever having sent anyone to jump on the trampoline outside during the months of winter.  We’ve had strange weather. Could be the start of a drought.

         Would be nice if the weather would just remain.  Not get any hotter.  Not get any colder.  Perhaps the wind could ease up a bit.  I LOVE how awesome our current strange weather is right now.