Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ditching School

I don't remember a lot of the fine details--it's been forty-something years ago. But I do know it was in the morning, on a warm, fall day.  I  wore a "sissy" dress to school that day.  It was light yellow chiffon over a dark yellow taffeta that was emblazoned with daisies. Why I remember that, I don't know unless it was because I preferred jeans and a tee shirt, but since it was my first year of kindergarten at Crooked Oak Elementary my mom wanted me to look nice.  My best friend, Evelyn Post, and I were playing on the "teeter-totter" when the bell rang. 

I wasn't looking forward to going inside the green dismal room that was formerly a WW II Barrack. I wasn't looking forward to having to sit quietly and pay attention, either.  But, I knew when the bell rang, you had to go inside. That was the rule.

"C'mon, Evelyn."  I told her, "We have to go."

"No!" She protested.  "Let's stay out and play!" 

"But we'll get in trouble," I whined.

"No we won't." She protested, her dark eyes flashing mischievously.  Evelyn had pigtails down to her shoulders.  She was a free spirit and even though I was a month older (which I never let her forget all the way through school.)

I don't even remember how we got acquainted.  I just know for as far back as I can remember, Evelyn was my cohort--my partner in crime and I respected her opinion.

"We'll just play for a little while longer, then we'll go in."  She countered.

I pursed my lips tightly into a thin, straight line--it was something I tended to do when I was in deep thought.  It was a beautiful day.  We were having a lot of fun. What harm could there be? Why go inside to some stuffy classroom when we could stay outside and play in the fresh, fall sunshine? Made sense to me.

No more than fifteen minutes went by when Mrs. Belcher came looking for us.  As I recall, Mrs. Belcher was a giant of a woman.  (Of course, when you're five everybody seems large.) And the moment I saw her face, I knew we were in trouble. I didn't say a word. My heart pounded., my pulse raced.  My little five-year old legs wobbled beneath me.  I was dead meat.  If the teacher didn't kill me, my mother would.

Evelyn was rattling off some explanation ninety miles an hour. "We were just…blah…blah…blah."  The incident didn't even seem to faze her.

I admired her ability to stay cool and think so fast on her feet.

Mrs. Belcher marched us into the classroom without saying a word and that scared me more.  I would have felt better if she were yelling at us--or something.  The silence was deafening.
I was already trying to dream up some lame excuse--some story to tell my mother--because I just knew Mrs. Belcher would call her. Ditching kindergarten! I might even be expelled!  My life flashed before my eyes--my school years nipped in the bud before they even started! 

Then there was my dad. I could see it now. He'd bend down and look me sternly in the face, eyeball to eyeball.  Nose to nose.

"You know what I want you to do, Sharon Gail," he'd say, "but you do what you think is best."

I always hated that.  Although it gave me permissions of sort to do what I wanted, I always ended up doing what my Dad wanted because there would be heck to pay if I didn't. Besides that, I didn't want to hear, "I-told-you-so" for the rest of my life. 

He'd probably deport me to go live on the street with all those starving kids in India.  Or worse yet, to go live with my grandmother.

But Mrs. Belcher didn't even get upset.  She calmly explained that when the bell ring, we had to come inside and that we must never skip class again. 

It's funny how subtlety peer-pressure sneaks into your life.  Here I was only five and I had already succumbed to it.

I didn't like that feeling that I had let my teacher down.  Or that I might disappointed my parents.  Worse yet, I didn't like the feeling that I had not acted responsibly when people trusted me to do so. It was at that moment I decided I would never cut class again--peer pressure or no peer pressure.

And for the next thirteen years at Crooked Oak I never did.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Tribute to Faith, a Favored Pet

There’s something about a warm dog on a cold night.
The way she snuggles up to you in the recliner,
As you watch the six o’clock news.
And you know the highlight of her whole day
Is hearing the car pull in the garage
And seeing you walk through the door.
She doesn’t care if you’re fat or what you look like without makeup on.
She’s quite content to bask in your shadow
And to bring you her squeaky toy when she’s bored and it’s time to play.
It’s then you know you’re looking at the closest thing you’ll ever see on this earth
To a true and unconditional love.
And all she asks for in return is a gentle pat on the head
And some dog food in her bowl—you know the kind she likes.
I think maybe the amount of pain you feel when you lose a pet
Is somehow commensurate to the amount of love they brought into your life.
That’s what makes our pets so special.

And why it’s so hard to let them go.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


My thoughts about 2 months shy of my 60th birthday.

Keep in mind: reality bites.  Sometimes, it is very hard to face reality, let alone accept it.

Have no expectations other than anticipating the worse and being pleasantly surprised if it’s better.

What goes around, comes around—and what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

Never let anything take such priority it overshadows common sense, reason and most important, God or His timing.

Learn when to hold and when to fold.  Look for the tell-tale signs and learn the art of gracefully bowing out of a “no-win” situation.

Seek first to understand...then to be understood. It’s not about you.

Remember, someone does not have to be wrong for you to be right.

No ones forces you to do anything. You choose. Be responsible for the decisions you make--no matter how much it hurts.

Learn to love others unconditionally. Allow them to be human and make mistakes.  Forgive them--then forget.

We are the sum total of our life’s experiences. Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone. 

I choose to laugh.

My Life


Diet Coke cans...
      scattered about......Like random thoughts on paper

My life.
Joys and strife.

Summed up in empty cans?

            Whose pop top contents burns like liquid fire
                           Yet cool, like ice

Constantly diminished...
        yet perpetually replenished

God is good.

More to say...another day.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Penny loafers?  But you put a dime in them because that was enough to make a call home from a pay phone.

Sunbathing, slathered in baby oil (this was before you knew about the dangerous effects of sun?)

“Tiger Beat “ and “Teen Magazine?”

Weekly list of  25 vocabulary words?  You not only had to SPELL them, you had to know what they meant!

Beatle wigs?

The yukky pizza “squares” in the school cafeteria?
Learning the 10-Key by touch and how to operate a Posting Machine in Business Machine’s class?

Plymouth Valliants?

Nehru jackets?
Pink Princess telephones with the lighted rotary dials?

How cute Davey Jones was?

That recurring nightmare you were late catching the school bus.  But you ran and made it only to look down and realized you weren’t dressed?  (Well, maybe I was the only one who had that dream.)

Plaid Madras shirts?

Double features at the movies? 

Coca Cola in bottles? Glass bottles only?

Sifer’s Marshmallow Cups?

Mohair sweaters?

Rubber Flip-Flops?

Life before microwave ovens? Cellphones and PCs?

That's the way I remember "Life After Sixty."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Hi Cyberfriends:

Today's blog is short and simple.  WHY?  Why is arthritis such a "pain in the butt?"   You can treat it, and if you are fortunate, you may be able to ease the pain a bit...but you can never get rid of it.

People don't understand.  You hurt if you move. You hurt if you don't move. The pain is always there.  Some days are better and some days are worse.

There are drugs.  Pop a few pills.  You still hurt...but you just don't care any more...until you hit the "donut hole" on your prescription plan.

That's the way I see "Life After Sixty."