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Posts Tagged ‘Family’

My sister Kay reminded me of a Robert Frost poem, “Fire and Ice,” written in 1920 soon after the end of WWI. Supposedly, the poet was in a conversation with an astronomer about apocalyptic events – would the world end by the extinction of the sun, or by its explosion? Take heart, it’s not all doom and gloom.

I was telling Kay and Dr Jim about our thwarted house hunting plans – houses no sooner hit the market than they’re sold for 20+% over list – when she started to recite the classic poem. We’ve survived a tornado and a pandemic (so far) in Nashville; an earthquake in Charlottesville; and that ‘once every hundred year’ flood in Rumson.

We should be able to survive this real estate market, right?

Or just maybe the universe is telling us to look for that spectacular beach house somewhere in the world. Of course Bob Googled “most deadly natural disasters,” and guess what? Living in a red state wasn’t one of them, but topping the list was “HEAT!” Heat-related illness was the number one killer, wildfires were way down on the list.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44263/fire-and-ice

In 1920, Climate Change wasn’t really a thing. And in 1987, we never thought twice about living on the Shrewsbury River in Rumson. But doomsday scenarios have been recorded since time immemorial. In fact, 11,500 years ago in southern Turkey, humans carved a comet, smashing into the earth, onto pillars in a temple. I prefer not to think about extinction events; though I do love a good disaster movie.

If FIRE is a metaphor for love and desire, then ICE is a metaphor for hate and indifference. This Covid virus will only keep mutating if the world isn’t vaccinated enough to confer herd immunity. Anti-vaxxers and those who are just “waiting” for a sign I guess are pushing our odds of extinction… even those among the vaccinated who refuse to wear a mask again, are showing our indifference to woman/mankind! Because the vaccinated can spread the virus to unvaccinated children. You see where I’m going.

“Major children’s hospitals in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida—states that have been battling a broader increase in hospitalizations—all said this week they have more children in their care than at any other point in the pandemic.

Coronavirus-linked hospitalizations are up 50% from their previous peak at the Arkansas Children’s hospitals in Little Rock and Springdale, the hospitals’ chief clinical officer told CNN, deeming the 24 total pediatric patients housed at their facilities as of Wednesday (which includes seven in intensive care and two on ventilators) the “worst we’ve ever seen it for kids.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jemimamcevoy/2021/07/29/hospitals-in-southern-us-reporting-record-numbers-of-children-hospitalized-amid-delta-surge-though-deaths-still-extremely-rare/?sh=2b035b4f5f1e

The Bride’s family is vacationing in FL with the Groom’s family, and she tells me there’s barely a sign of mask-wearing at the local Publix supermarket. If you won’t get vaccinated for yourself, do it for your children and grandchildren. We are all ice skating on this river together. Don’t allow misinformation, superstition and conspiracy theories to win over science and reason.

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Ever want to just get away from it all? Our friends Yoko and Rick – who happen to be retired public health officials- picked us up last weekend for a little trip back to nature. Only this campsite was somewhere between a cabin in the woods and a fancy shipping container

Getaway is a great business model. Some enterprising folks bought land outside of major cities all over the US, and put up tiny boxes for city folk to rent. They provide everything you might need – a bed with a forest view, air conditioning, a range, a shower and throne room.

They even leave you wood by the combo grill/campfire! Oh and there’s no WiFi so you’re really off the grid.

https://getaway.house/

Every time I leave home, for any reason, my anxiety level shoots up. Adding a pandemic transition to the mix only makes it worse. It was just about a two hour drive to our #getaway but we traveled together and Rick was our fearless driver.

We stopped for lunch overlooking a lake in Kentucky. We stopped at a fish hatchery where trout are raised to stock Tennessee rivers. We enjoyed each other’s company and our combined grilling skills, plus I tasted Japanese milk bread for the first time.

The off and on rain didn’t matter, I whipped up a ratatouille with Farmer Bob’s bounty! And then on the way home we met a woman hiking a waterfall trail who was collecting Turkey Tail Mushrooms! She complained about people calling her long-haired, young son “they.”

So we had a brilliant discussion in the car about pronouns. Did you know the Japanese language doesn’t use pronouns?

The good news is my anxiety eased and my hip survived all the glamping activities so my PT must be working! If only we didn’t live in a state that would fire a health official, a pediatrician, for telling health care providers that TN law allows children 15 years and older to be vaccinated without parental permission.

When our doctors are censored and fired for telling the truth, what’s next TN?

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Daddy Jim could play the spoons. We’d be standing in the kitchen, cleaning up after dinner, and he’d break out in a big smile while jockeying spoons like a pro! I’m not sure if anyone does that anymore, but most dads have some entertaining trick up their sleeve. Bob can pick up a guitar, start playing Puff the Magic Dragon, and even today the Bride will tear up.

But today’s dad has to compete with screens for a child’s attention. I always knew the Groom had a wicked sense of humor, I didn’t know it could be inherited. So far, he and the L’il Pumpkin like this one:

“What does the janitor say when he jumps out of the closet?”

“SUPPLIES!”

Along with helping to steer Vandy’s Covid ICU response this past year, the Groom also commandeered his whole family outside to ride bikes, he makes up silly songs with the kiddos and plays them on the piano or his guitar, and he is solely responsible for the newest member of their family of pets, a small lizard named Fred has joined forces with three canines!

In fact, the Groom is an expert fly catcher, almost Obama level, when it comes to delivering fresh food to Fred.

But what makes a dad star quality?

Time: Taking the time to listen to a child, to play, to just talk without criticism or distractions.

Creativity: Helping a child develop their artistic sense – gardening/cooking/building and painting together.

Humor: Buffering life’s ups and downs with a positively funny outlook – sometimes known as

THE DAD JOKE!

But if there’s one feature that can immediately categorize a joke as a “dad joke,” it’s wordplay, especially of the unsophisticated variety. Examples: “Hey, do you know what time my dentist appointment is? Tooth-hurty.” “You know why they always build fences around cemeteries? Because people are dying to get in.” The purposeful confusion of “smart feller” and “fart smeller.” This famous exchange: “I’m hungry.” “Hi, Hungry. I’m Dad.” 

“Most jokes rely on some semantic ambiguity or grammatical ambiguity,” Dubinsky says. “The things people call ‘dad jokes’ are the ones where the ambiguity is crushingly obvious.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/09/deconstructing-the-dad-joke/571174/

I mean, we all manage to embarrass our children, but who doesn’t love getting an eye-roll from a pre-teen. Dads like to remind their children that in fact they were once young too, and suffered from “… a combination of exhaustion and your kids laughing at anything when they’re very young, which creates a perverse incentive system and endows you with false confidence….Then you spend the rest of your life doubling down on dad jokes.”

So in effect, dads pass down their particular sense of humor in a funny, feedback-loop. Their children learn resilience, it’s hard to worry about things when your dad says, “Someday we’ll laugh at this…”

Like when the Love Bug told me her stuffed manatee’s name is “Hugh.” Get it?!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

 

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The important part about buying a souvenir when you’re traveling is, will it fit in your luggage? Summer is here and Americans are back on the road, in trains and planes, searching for just the right trinket for a special someone…

… but buying a gift for someone you love is an art.

I’m not talking about a teeshirt from Key West. In the past, I’ve returned from Provence with pillow covers and napkins. I’ve been known to stuff a beautiful woven bread basket in the overhead returning from Charleston. But mostly, I was always on the lookout for anything with a bluebird – tea towels, tiny blown glass tchotchkes, silk scarves in an aviary print.

Today, we rarely have the opportunity to express our individual gift-giving skills; to think about the recipient and their quirks and desires. Whimsy has been subverted by The Gift Registry, just check something off an online list and poof, you’re done! It’s the opposite of thoughtfulness, it’s commerce. And sure, a wedding registry may be as unavoidable as ants at a picnic, but at least with a first marriage I can understand the need for it.

We all need to outfit a kitchen, whether we plan to cook or not. Still, I loved strolling through a foreign farmer’s market to find just the right present for Great Grandma Ada. She always returned from her travels with a small treasure for me. Maybe it was handmade beads from Russia, or a piece of pottery from Japan.

On one of our last nights at the beach, we went in search of the perfect ice cream cone. Thank God the Blue Mountain Creamery was still open because all the tourist shops had closed at 5! I strolled along some still open, open-air artist shacks, looking at the stained glass, the paintings of surf and sand, the tiny clay sea turtles. And without warning, a frog jumped into my throat; I no longer needed to find a bluebird for Adala.

June is her birthday month. She would have been so happy to see the world coming back to life. To see Joe and Jill meet the Queen. She would have smiled when she learned I was feeding the birds like she did. She would tell me it’s OK to light a candle on her birthday, and not on her death day.

And she would laugh to learn I was featured in a music video, pink hair and all! Here is the Love Bug and her buddy post-ice cream, did I mention she made a Clip with the L’il Pumpkin about the trash they found on the beach? Ada would be so proud of their nascent climate activism.

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When Bob and I first contemplated building our ‘not so big’ house in Virginia, I remember our builder telling us we could build with reinforced concrete instead of the usual stick construction. After all, with our view of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west, we could expect lots of wind and weather. Then he mentioned that it would be so air tight, you wouldn’t hear the birds.

Well, that would never do!

I called my upstairs office my aviary. I loved listening to the racket made by woodpeckers, and two owls calling to each other at sunset. “Whoo.” But I would never feed the birds because I didn’t want to attract bears. I enjoyed Mother Nature in real time: watching fox kits rolling along the grass; families of deer daintily strolling through trees, and two huge Pileated woodpeckers jack hammering a branch that had fallen in the driveway. My favorite sighting was a hummingbird who returned to the same flower every year, at about the same time.

There was plenty of forest for everyone to feast. It was like living inside a Disney movie, with bluebirds everywhere.

But 2020 being what it was, with the addition of a long number of days, below freezing and snow covered, I started throwing out nuts and bread for our poor city slicker birds. Soon enough, I was bringing home big bags of the most delectable bird seed and ordering a fancy, new feeder online. No bears to fear here. Now granted, our small side yard garden cannot compare with 14 acres of woods, but I’ve still managed to attract a diverse group of feathered friends.

Small wrens and finches cling easily to the bird feeder, but the bigger birds, like doves and robins, blue jays and cardinals prefer grazing. So every day I fill a bowl with seed and put out fresh water on a tree stump – the one that held the fairy house. A mockingbird can flit between the stump and the feeder, depending on traffic. And that is the view through my office window today; mourning doves displaying dominance along with an ingenious squirrel. The squirrel trumps everyone on the stump.

Am I becoming that old lady? The one who sits and stares out her window, if she’s not feeding a dozen cats; the one who runs out screaming in her nightgown at the squirrel gobbling all the goodies?

This morning I feel better about my latest obsession. The National Geographic published an article about why backyard birding is great for kids and adults. I was not surprised to read that having a bird feeder can actually contribute to our feeling of happiness.

But why are birds so important to nature’s biodiversity—and therefore your family’s potential happiness? For one thing, birds are an indicator species, meaning they basically function as a “check engine light” for biodiversity. When something is out of whack in nature, birds let us know—often by disappearing—because they need a healthy environment to survive. Of course, birds aren’t the only indicator, but since they’re found almost everywhere in the world and are easy to study, their presence—or absence—is a good way to measure the variety of life that research shows can boost mood.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/family/article/why-a-backyard-thats-for-the-birds-is-great-for-kids-too?cmpid=org=ngp::mc=social::src=twitter::cmp=editorial::add=tw20210430family-livingnearbirdsplanetpossible&sf245481661=1

You’ve heard about the canary in the coal mine. What sparked my empathy for our city birds was coming home one of those frosty winter days to see about ten doves lined up like good little grey soldiers on our porch. They spanned the length of our kitchen wall to capture some house heat and stay out of the wind. Of course they deserved a mourning dove diner on a tree stump!

It’s a diner and fly-in reality show every day.

We’ve created a city bird sanctuary in our sideyard, where birdsong competes with construction noise. And when it all goes quiet, I know danger is near… sure enough, our squirrel is sitting there on his hind legs stuffing his cheeks. Squirrels have to eat too.

Maybe I’m replacing the background sounds of a family. The Flapper used to tell me that some day I would miss those little feet running across a floor and the constant hum of children. She was right. Or maybe it just makes me smile whenever I see our bright red cardinal!

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As soon as I ended the call with my son, I wanted to call Great Grandma Ada. The Rocker and Aunt KiKi are buying their first home in LA, a glorious mid-century with a view of the valley. No longer will the newlyweds have to work at opposite corners in their living room. The young child who always heard music in his head, has put down roots in the film industry. But in even better news, they had just received their second Moderna shot!

In two weeks they will be fully vaccinated…

I was filled with joy! My instinct was to immediately call Ada. I loved giving her good news about her grandchildren. She would “kvelle” (which means feeling happy and proud in Yiddish), she would say “poo poo poo” (which translates to not letting the evil spirits hear your good fortune). And best of all, her unbridled delight was contagious – she multiplied happiness for everyone within her circle.

And in a way, I did call her yesterday. I made small sandwiches to honor the Fifties Housewife she once was, I picked pink peonies for a gorgeous arrangement because she loved painting flowers, and I wrote about her devotion to knowledge and her career as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

With three of our Nashville friends, we memorialized our loved ones at the Cypress Tree Grove we’d planted in our local park. In 2020, Ellen lost her father, Yoko lost her mother and Rick lost his sister. With our neighbors and friends, AND with everyone vaccinated and mask-free on a sunny, balmy 78 degree Sunday, we listened to Finlandia, by composer Jean Sibelius, and spoke about our collective losses. Here is a snippet about Ada and me:

Years later, when she bumped into me again, she insisted I come back to her home to reconnect with her son, Bob. We married under a canopy of trees in that same office parking lot (outside of her home/office).  She swore she would always take my side, and she kept her promise. A woman of valor, one who was always giving and kind, we were lucky to have her for 96 years.

Yes, if Ada didn’t drag me into her son’s room at the hospital after our chance meeting in an elevator, would I even be here in Nashville? Serendipitous events always seemed to follow Ada; she may have been “Older than the Queen” but her insatiable spirit will never die. I see it in the Bride as she tends to her family and her career with finesse. I see it in the Rocker, who can make twelve notes of music into spine-tingling compositions with alacrity. And her Great Grands love learning, just as she did.

We chose the Bald Cypress because it’s native to TN: it’s adaptive to dry and wet conditions and can withstand flooding; it will develop “knees” with its roots jutting out of the soil; and it’s the only conifer that sheds its needles, ie “bald”. So it’s unique!

But not as unique as our Adala. Bob was a teenager when she went back to graduate school in the 1960s, and she always left dinner for the boys during the week, even though many of her nights were filled with school and clients. “Misery is optional” was one of her favorite quotes. My wedding present from Ada was a gravesite in their family plot – I wasn’t sure how to respond, but remembered a rabbi telling me that we never really grow up until we have our own gravesite.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s taught us to double down on the fragility of life. We are all molecules of star dust, and we were damn lucky to be in Ada’s orbit for so many years.

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Like migrating birds, Bob and I took off from BNA to visit my brother, Dr Jim.

He lives outside of Minneapolis-St Paul, the center of the legal universe this week as the trial of George Floyd goes to a jury. Fences and barricades are up, a large contingent of our National Guard stands ready. Right down the street in Brooklyn Center, Officer Kim Potter allegedly mistook her gun for a taser, killing Daunte Wright. Mr Wright will surely have his day in court too, but can we actually ever reform a culture of police violence?

The judge in the Floyd case is currently giving instructions to the jury – he is explaining what “intent” means. How can we know what Officer Chauvin intended to do about an alleged counterfeit 20 dollar bill; what did he think might happen while he continued to press his knee down on Floyd’s neck? Potter at least is heard on her police video threatening to tase Daunte Wright on a traffic stop that never should have happened.

Both Bob and Dr Jim said if they had been born Black in America, they’d surely be dead by now. Jim has a Vietnam Vet license plate on his car, so that when a cop once stopped him, he eventually waved him on and thanked him for his service.

We were watching the trial of George Floyd when Bob spied a wild turkey walking through the trees outside our window. He was waltzing along in the tony minneapolis suburb without a care in the world. I’d seen squirrels and chipmunks race across Jim’s deck, and later two big deer wandered into our line of sight from the living room couch. My husband almost thought they were elk, they were so huge and majestic!

I thought about the time, early on in 2020, when Bob was weeding around our city house and a glorious, fluffy-tailed red fox came within view – they both stopped and looked each other in the eyes. Then he bounded off across the street and behind an apartment building. Did you know there was a coyote taking up residence in a bathroom at the Nashville Convention Center?

As things return to some sort of stasis, I’m hoping that wildlife might continue to shock us out of our conspicuous consumption. As we begin to travel again, in cars and planes and trains, enlarging our collective carbon footprint, I dream that more and more people will turn to sustainable energy, like bikes, public transportation or electric cars. Of course, a Tesla would be nice, but there are more affordable options out there right now.

Thursday is Earth Day. If we intend to care for Mother Earth, we must be able to care for ourselves and end systemic racism in our country. I saw a sign in MN that said, “End State Sponsored Terrorism,” and I thought about not just reducing and reforming the police who are increasingly militarized, but also confronting our legislators and their addiction to guns and the money gun lobbyists throw around.

The US has seen at least 147 mass shootings in 2021, according to data from the GVA, a non-profit based in Washington.”

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/16/us/mass-shootings-45-one-month/index.html

As children return to school, as we set about going to church or a mall or even a grocery store, will we continue to fear for our lives? Should we Americans accept this as “normal?” Republican TN Gov Bill Lee recently passed a bill that would allow anyone to carry a concealed weapon as of July 1st! The law allows anyone over 21 to carry open and concealed handguns WITHOUT a permit!

We cannot return to this normal: a time when driving while Black is dangerous, a time when bullet-proof backpacks are prized, a time when clean air and water was a political issue. Our slow, migration back to semi-normal life must be done thoughtfully, and with the best of intentions.

Five siblings

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Bob and I are home, with the Bride’s family in Nashville. The Rocker and Aunt KiKi are back in LA. Between airports and airplanes we’ve spent about 15 hours traveling and not sleeping, so let the jet lag begin! I never thought I’d be so happily punch/drunk/sleep/deprived in my life. But hey, who thought 2020 was going to happen?

We wore our masks everywhere – and an N95 to boot in the airports. Delta is still keeping that middle seat empty, so if you’re ready to book a trip, this airline is taking social distancing seriously. But pack some food, because meal service can be spotty. We were on our own from LA to The Big Island, but we flew home through Atlanta and actually had our choice of chicken or ravioli. Of course it wasn’t Pop Bob’s ravioli, but it wasn’t bad.

If a lava landscape looked like a delicious pan of brownies, coming out of the clouds over Tennessee looked like an explosion of Spring. I wasn’t used to that much greenery, or driving, or car alarms going off in the airport parking lot. Great Grandma Ada always talked about transitions, and how we need to re-enter the real world slowly after a vacation. We need to be kind to ourselves; and after this past year we all need to be extra kind.

I called my brother Dr Jim just to check in, the way I’d always call Ada.

We’re going to Zoom in a few minutes with my big sister Kay and our brother. Being the youngest of six, and now only three, we need to keep each other up to date. I wonder if the Flapper knows we are keeping track of each other? MN, NY and TN. She would be happy to hear that the baby she lost has become the one who keeps us together, via email and social media now. But soon, very soon, in real life too! The Groom wants to develop an App about “In Real Life.” But I can’t spoil the surprise.

It’s funny, only the the tippy top of my feet were burned in Hawaii. Guess I thought the sun couldn’t shine through my sandals. But Spring is here and the sun is shining and my beautiful tulip magnolia is in full bloom. Can you feel the warmth?

The Grands have to quarantine for the next week… so no school. We have a date for some Nutella crepes at the newly reopened Red Bicycle! Tornado schormado – French crepes will survive! We have faced an active volcano, a tornado and this pandemic. Nothing can stop us now!

Hope you have all got your vaccines scheduled and you’re ready to rumble!

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You just can’t make this stuff up. Thanks Ana Navarro-Cardenas for reminding me of last week’s highlights cause you know, I didn’t watch the RNC rally at the White House this week.

  • “Bannon indicted for swindling Trump’s base
  • Trump ordered to pay Stormy’s legal fees
  • Trump’s niece recorded the sister saying he’s a cruel, phony, liar
  • Conway Family saga (see previous post)
  • Now, Jerry Falwell says his wife had an affair w/the pool boy (while he watched)”

And just to cap this wonderful week off, I managed to lift a very heavy box of paint – don’t ask – and now even my elbows are hurting. Lest I forget, yesterday was yet another Tornado Warning complete with sirens. If this pandemic/political/hurricane season isn’t depressing enough, I thought you’d like to hear the rest of the Flapper’s essay on the Great Depression!

To recap – It was 1935, my Mother put yellow food coloring in Crisco and called it butter. My Father was making $7 a week!

“Clothes were hard to come by, and each of my children had only two pairs of shoes, one for the wintertime and one for the summertime (and that was during a good year). I made a schedule of household chores for me to do all day. First, I would feed my children, and send Shirley and Brian off to school.

Then on Mondays, I would do the laundry (by hand on a washboard, since we had no washing machine). and hang it out to dry on the line. On Tuesdays I would iron the clothes. Wednesdays I’d clean the upstairs of the house, and Thursdays the downstairs. Fridays, I would bake for the weekend and do any shopping that needed to be done. Saturdays were my only free days, and Sundays we’d all go to church and our relatives would come over for dinner and a good game of cards.

On March 4, 1933 Franklin D Roosevelt became President! He was the answer to the prayers of the people, and the best president this country has ever had. Even to this day, there is a picture of him hanging in my kitchen, right next to the picture of Jesus Christ. I do not like to imagine what would have happened had it not been for President Roosevelt.

In 1935 Bob finally got a better paying job – $25 a week!! However it was in Jamestown, New York, so he had to move out there.It cost him $10 to rent a room and buy food etc. Back home in Scranton, we received $15 a week. A BIG improvement from the $7 we had been getting. In April, when I had my son Michael, Bob was not able to come home to see him. Soon after his birth however, my husband luckily found an even better paying job… and it was at home in Scranton! We were overjoyed to have him living with us, and to have $35 a week.

It sounds funny now, but we thought we were rich!

Life during the Great Depression was hard. I’m not quite sure how we were able to do it, but we did. We were lucky not to have lost everything, like some of my friends did. I think that our society to day has made it all too easy and normal to throw things away. Why throw away socks with holes when you can mend them? Why throw away food when you can save it for another time? People today are too wasteful. 

If anything good did come out of the Depression, it taught me not to waste things, because you never know when you could lose it all.”

We all know what we’ve got to lose in the next election.

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“More mama.”

It’s been a long time since I’ve heard Kellyanne Conway’s voice. It’s like chalk on a chalkboard. Ever since she coined the phrase, “alternative facts,” closely followed by saying Mr T isn’t lying because he truly believes what he says, I just figured it’s a wash. I’m actually ashamed she’s  Jersey girl. Thank goodness CNN stopped interviewing her.

She’ll be leaving the White House to focus on her teenagers who are now in the throes of distance learning. But it’s her 15 year old daughter who took to Twitter to cry for help; she wanted to become an emancipated minor, and suggested that AOC would be a much better mom.

I remember when the 13 year old Bride interviewed the Flapper for a history project in 1995, asking detailed questions about life during the Great Depression. Since it looks as if we may be entering another great global economic recession due to this pandemic, I thought you might like to see how my Mother coped with her life in Scranton, PA.

“My first husband died of peritonitis in 1931, because there was no penicillin at that time. He left me alone, at the age of 21, with two children, Shirley and Brian, ages four and two. In 1933 I was lucky enough to marry Robert. He was a pharmacist I’d seen every day on my way to catch the trolley. He raced after that trolley one day to propose to me, and we were promptly married. We lived together in Scranton, and had a baby girl the next year, Kathryn.  

Although it seems ridiculous now, in 1933 the $25 a week that my husband made was good money. By 1935 however our situation had gotten worse. I was pregnant with my fourth child, and my husband had been reduced to making only $7 a week. The owner of his pharmacy had taken it over, and had begun working six days a week by himself. My husband filled in only one day a week, and we had to support our family of five on $7.

We survived, although I’m not quite sure how we did it. Even though food was cheap (two pounds of butter cost 25 cents), we had no money to buy it with. We ate mostly bread, peanut butter, pea soup, and potato soup. I made the bread myself because it was much cheaper to buy the flour than the already-made bread. Instead of using butter, we used Crisco with yellow food coloring (it looked like real butter and seeing is believing).

Today, two pounds of Land O Lakes butter will cost you about six dollars! I’ll transcribe more of the Flapper’s life in the coming days. But I was thinking as I read the Conway Twitterstorm last night, that I was born an emancipated minor. After my Father’s death, my 15 year old sister took care of me while the Flapper went to work. Then after the car accident, just a few months later, I found myself with a new set of foster parents in NJ.

I was never adopted, they promised the Flapper they would care for me with, “no strings attached.” And so they did, showering me with unconditional love, until the day at age 12, I decided to move out. I emancipated myself from my tiny Sacred Heart School life, smothered with too much care and tending, to live with my Mother and my messy, blended biological family. Half Jewish, a quarter Catholic and the rest who knows!

I always had two mothers: one a first generation, religious immigrant from Czechoslovakia who didn’t drive and stayed at home because her husband wanted it that way; and another, a free-spirited, areligious, working, creative woman who looked just like me.

Today is Farmer Bob’s birthday! We first met at our public high school so many years ago, when he was Nathan Detroit and I was Adelaide in the musical Guys and Dolls. I guess what my young self was craving was more drama, more brothers and sisters, more excitement. Not every child can choose their parents! But we had no social media to amplify our teenage angst.

I truly wish the Conways all the best. This is a picture of Bob’s “come as you were in the 1960s” 40th birthday party! I wrote him a nuanced, sexy poem.

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