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.
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 own 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.