Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The one that got away

Have you ever been somewhere & wished you had a camera for that perfect picture? I think we all have.  Small regrets. The important thing to remember is that just ‘being’ there is the greatest treasure. Just the same, isn’t it nice to ‘document’ a moment in time?

In saying this, the first mental image is ‘the one that got away’ with hands held wide suggesting the size of the fish that jumped off the hook! The audience of friends & family are all nodding their heads in unison with a ‘Yeah, right! Sure you did!’

‘No really, you should have been there!’

Well, this is what I did to myself just this week. I had the good fortune to see one of the most spectacular sunsets ever. Did I have my cell phone/camera on me to take a pic? NO! Silly me. I did have the good sense to stand there & watch for about fifteen minutes and be a part of it. During the following day I was still mentally kicking myself in the butt for the one time I didn’t have the cell phone/camera on me….but the memories are clear….at least for the time being. Some day the memory may get cloudy. Maybe that’s why we want the pictures today…for the future. In the meantime, tell the story. We will share them and piece them back together if need be…. as a group, as a family.

So…I dedicate this blog to the ones that got away….to honor the moment instead of the picture. Here’s to being there.

Cathy


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Could you repeat that, please?

It seems that as we get older, we have a need to check our hearing. How often have you heard yourself say: ‘I’m sorry, I don’t think I heard you correctly.’ ‘Please repeat that.’ ’Pardon?’ ‘Excuse me?’ ‘What?’ ‘What the blankety blank are you talking about?’ ‘You said what?’ And the overused…’Huh?’

Well, I’m reminding you today that this began long, long ago, in childhood. That’s right. We have been conditioned to do so. Older kids taught us a game in fun & innocence. I like to think now that this was programming to prepare us for adulthood! If there’s anyone to blame, blame them!

Do you remember the whispering game? We would line up or sit in a circle & have one person start by whispering a single word in the next person’s ear. The next person would then repeat what they heard (or think they heard) to the next and so on and so forth. The last person would say the word aloud. We would all laugh to hear the changed word. Good fun, huh?

It used to be good fun until we realized as adults that this is now a way of life! So to alleviate your hearing concerns, laugh along with this reenactment of what could be one of the reasons we are the way we are!

Cathy



Monday, June 27, 2011

The Emerald Necklace

 I had the good fortune of going into Boston the other day. It was a perfect day: blue sky surrounded by the greenest trees ever. The best part was the fact that I wasn’t driving. It allowed me to appreciate the view. It’s been a while since I was in there as a tourist without the rat race of traffic jams.

I past all the ole stompin’ grounds: where my parents lived, where I was born, where I went to college…and so much more. The funny thing is that it almost felt like I was seeing it for the first time. The trees were taller, the buildings renewed, smiles on the faces of the passersby. There was a ‘glow’ to the city. As we drove through the different neighborhoods we couldn’t help but notice all the flowers & shrubs in full bloom. Such attention to the details of the window boxes, gingerbread on the homes, and the beautiful mowed lawns gave me a fresh view of the city. The parks were also well manicured for the next game to be played. Everything was at its finest.

I felt a sense of renewal. Along the Jamaica Park, Arborway, The Back Bay Fens, past the museums, it was like a homecoming. I remember my outdoor landscape painting classes along the Riverway. Perhaps it was a perfect moment in time, the perfect weather…not too hot, not too cold…it was just right! Maybe my opinion would beg to differ on a winter day, but not that day. It was perfect in all ways.

The ‘Emerald Necklace’ of Boston is truly our jewel: the string of parks & gardens through the city.  The concerts, tours, flower gardens, museums, bike & foot paths, all gifts from our forefathers who had the forethought to provide places of beauty & cultural interest to its people. Their legacy continues.

You really ought to get out to see it. If time is tight, as it is for most of us, you should take a gander at the following websites. Enjoy.






Cathy


PS…If you do go in to the city, let someone else drive!


http://www.mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/


Saturday, June 25, 2011

The May Procession




There is something so special about May. In the movie Camelot, they sung of the ‘merry month of May’. Each spring we shed the heaviness of the winter months. In May, the spring comes to full bloom and with the warmth of the sun we come to fruition also.
Many cultures over the ages have celebrated with flowers & song for any number of reasons. In parochial schools, we celebrate Mary. This is Mary’s month world round.

As students of St. Mary’s School, we didn’t just get ready for the annual May procession, we prepared for it. THIS was a celebration! The time honored tradition dictated hymns, flowers, our best clothes and mostly…our best behavior. We memorized hymns, practiced our singing, and perfected our posture while standing still! I can’t be sure, but I think we said extra prayers for the boys’ best possible behavior. If we didn’t, I’m sure the nuns did! After all, this wasn’t just a St Mary’s Fairy thing. The entire congregation was invited! This was a celebration of Mary in front of the entire town! We were the principal celebrants, all eight grades participating in flawless harmony.

As this was all-inclusive within the parish, that meant full family participation too! Get out the Easter clothes; polish the shoes; matching purses, shoes, gloves & hats for the ladies; men dusted off their best Sunday suits, ties with a tie tack, cuffs with cufflinks; girls had their locks curled with ‘Dippity-do’, boys got their hair combed withBrylcreem’. Where are the camera, film & flashbulbs?

Baths for everybody!!!

In the best fashion known to us, we donned our finery, placed wreaths on our heads and carried bouquets. We took family & parish photos, smiled a lot, sang our best, fidgeted a little. This day carried our tradition for another year. The celebration instilled in us memories for a lifetime. 





We can now smile politely at the ‘flourish & formality’ of the times. As we pull out the family photos, some wrinkled in the backs of bureaus & boxes, the black & white memories come alive again. (Smile.) I like to think we made our families proud. I hope the Sisters of St. Joseph felt the same way. Mary too!

As we the SMFs gathered this past May, we set aside time to celebrate in the same fashion. (Less pomp, less circumstance.) Hot off the press (downloaded from the Internet) were our hymns, headpieces prepared in advance, fresh flowers cut from the garden, matching capes, and our hand painted Madonna all ready for a procession of honor. The voices were slightly off-key (practice lasting only minutes) for a much smaller audience. The procession only went around the yard instead of the streets surrounding the church. We sang. We laughed. We cried. We cheered. We celebrated. We were one in memories. We were one in honoring the past as we carried our tradition fifty years into the future to our present day. We knew Mary was there smiling & celebrating with us. We could feel it in the air.

Cathy

Our May Procession 2011


Bring flow'rs of the fairest,
Bring flow'rs of the rarest,
From garden and woodland
And hillside and vale;
Our full hearts are swelling,
Our glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest
Rose of the vale.


 O Mary! We crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May,
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.





Friday, June 24, 2011

Wired!


Everywhere we go people are wired! We have computers, laptops, tablets, ipads, ipods, cell phones, etc. When we were young, we said our prayers before going to bed. Now we memo, tweet, blog, email, Google, cut, paste, save, back-up & plug-in to prepare for the next day. HOW DID WE SURVIVE BACK THEN? By our charms, wit & good looks of course!

Those were the days when you had to use a rotary dial on a phone & get off your butt to change the channel by turning a knob on a black & white TV. Certain death for a fingernail! Today we have remote controls, wires, plugs, earbuds, batteries & memory cards hanging out of our backpacks & pocketbooks instead of pencils & notepaper.

Rather than go on & on about being in fast-forward today, I’ll just let you reminisce on the things we did to occupy our free time during our elementary years. Life was slower then, for sure. Enjoy!

Cathy


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It happens to the best of us!

Brain cramps, brain farts, menopause, senior moments, whatchamacallits, what was I talking about?

Oh, yeah, I forgot, I was saying we all do it. Um, do what, oh yeah, forget!

That reminds me…what was I going to have for lunch? What time is it? Where did I put my cars keys? Car keys…where was I going?  Did I eat breakfast?

Did I change my underwear? If I can’t tell, it doesn’t matter! Mind over matter. If you don’t mind it doesn’t matter! HA! Who was I picking up? Soccer? T-ball? What day is this? Where’s my calendar?

Did I have my coffee? Maybe I need a second cup. Who emptied the coffee can? Do I have time to go to the store? Nah…I’ll go through the drive-thru. Where did I put those keys?

It’s always the last place you look, isn’t it? Who knew they were in the ignition after all?! Where’s the cell phone? Is it charged? I’m not, why should the cell phone be? Glasses. Do I have my glasses? (pat the head, pat the chest, feel the nose) Oh, they’re under the sunglasses! HA! Am I the only one that does that? Now I can look for the cell phone.

(fishing thru the pocketbook…feel, feel, feel, dead French fries, broken granola bar, application to the health club…yoga class?…HA…good one! sticky note with an unknown phone number, AHA!!! A cell phone…half charged…good enough)

Where am I heading today?

(ringing cell phone…..)

Hello. Hi, I’m great and you? What do you mean you’re at the baggage claim? Airport?

(@ r * //!s_ _ _ !# ~ * & _ _ _ # `!#)

(vague recollections)

I’m almost there. Why don’t you grab a coffee…one for me too!


caTHy

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Becoming a PSK

This blog finds us eight years ahead; a major jump from my first grade memories. After graduation from 8th grade, the majority of us went to public high school. Only a handful went to the parochial high school in the neighboring town.

This turn of events was a defining moment in our lives. ‘Not a big deal you say?’ Going to the public high school presented us face to face with the PSKs (Public School Kids) who named us Saint Mary’s Fairies in the first place! No more sticking your tongue out at a passing bus.
No sir-eee Bob! Face-to-face time presented itself at last.

First I shall name the joys of going to the public high school:
  • No uniforms
  • A different classroom for each subject
  • A different teacher for each subject
  • Private lockers
  • Hot lunch, 3 sessions (of course hot lunch could be debatable!)
  • Sports, cheerleading, pep clubs & rallies
  • Dances, lots of them
  • Activities & clubs
  • No religion class (OOOPS!) J
  • Many, many new friends
  • A lot more boys to choose from!

Now for the downside… St. Mary’s had an excellent reputation for its academics. How can this be bad? Well, we were automatically placed into the advanced classes in freshman year of HS, at least till we found our academic footing in a public school. Math & Algebra 1 was right up there. English was also well noted. We were masters of grammar. Then there was French. We had 5 years of French before entering high school, some of which was tutored by the lovely, local teacher from WGBH on PBS television…“Parlons Français’’ with Madame Slack. Advanced French…here we come! Our penmanship, the Palmer Method, was better than most teachers’ handwriting!

The downside was seeing the faces of the freshman that didn’t know you from Jr. High School. This was the first ‘fairy’ giveaway. (Oooooohhhh, you’re from THAT school!)
Being able to speak to the French teacher, in FRENCH, was also a giveaway. PSK eyes shot across the room faster than you can say “OOO-la-la!” We were also great at math, graphs, equations, fractions, integers & most of the good stuff I can’t even remember now. These were the subtle daily burdens to bear. It should wear off by sophomore year. (I hope!)

There were three biggies that could possibly mean scarring for life. For the Harry Potter fans of which I am one, there are “three unforgivable curses!” Our ‘three unforgivable fairy giveaways’ are right up there with them!
1.      Raising your hand to ask a question
2.      Standing to ask the question
3.      Standing in the presence of a teacher entering the room

I’ve done all three. I guess most all of the fairies have. We were laughed off the face of the earth, or so it felt! It was humiliating enough for the classmates to laugh but we could see the teachers trying NOT to smirk! Perhaps the teachers were identifying with similar transgressions from their past! (I hope!)

ARRRRGGGH!!! It’s a Charlie Brown blockhead moment! You would tell yourself over & over again to not do these three things…and you would forget. It should wear off by sophomore year.  (I hope!)

It probably took most of the year, but eventually we transformed from a fairy to a PSK….or so we thought.

In hindsight, the nuns prepared us well. Academically we were very good. As students we tried very hard. We tried to blend with the new kids while not forgetting how we got there. What’s so wrong with good penmanship, good math skills & being polite? Nothing of course!!! C’est si bon! As I look around at our gang of fairies, the gifts of the Sisters of Saint Joseph have traveled with us through our lives: random acts of kindness, doing unto others, paying it forward, prayers, sharing & caring with friends, family & children. These are the gifts that continue from generation to generation.

Our penmanship is still a dead giveaway! “Oh, you must be from a parochial school!”
Yes, how did you guess!

Once a Fairy, always a Fairy! 

Cathy

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Reflections

 I had the most ‘scathingly brilliant idea’ this past week. (Yes I stole the expression from the movie The Trouble With Angels with Haley Mills. I love that movie!) We hear about wearing rose colored glasses to make our world cheery, rosy & better than it is. We hide behind dark shades if we don’t want to be noticed or make eye contact. Then there are the mirrored sunglasses that reflect the person you are talking to. Well, what if we had glasses that reflected our thoughts…. ok, only the good thoughts. The daydreams!

We wear T-shirts that reflect our ideas, our likes, dislikes, fun times, favorite concerts, rock group, organization, schools, city, vacation spots, etc. Instead of a virtual reality headset attached to a game, we could wear glasses to reflect similar ideas. As we walk down the street, people would know what was on our mind…’I’d rather be sailing’! At work the boss might frown on ‘I’d rather be fishing’ but the boss might eventually figure he could liven things up on the job a bit!!! (Doubt! but worth a try!) Instead of “I’m with
stupid a” there’d be a picture of a happy couple & ‘Just Married’! The next pair of glasses would read ‘Baby i’!

How many times have you heard…”I’m NOT a mind reader!”  Well, maybe not, but now you will know!

So, what’ll it take to put a smile on your face?

Cathy


Id rather be canoeing!


Haiku 4: The Silver Moon



Saturday, June 18, 2011

Perspective

We begin as a wide-eyed 1st grader. Can you remember walking into grade one on the 1st day? The classroom seemed so large.

The desks were strange compared to coloring at the kitchen table at home. The tops had inkwells with some leftover ink. Yuk! Blackboards surrounded us on 2 sides. The ‘press’ (coat-closet) was to the back across the room with a supply closet. Above the blackboards was the alphabet in cursive…no printing for us. Embellishing the alphabet was seasonal artwork; eg: autumn leaves, snowflakes, etc. It was always colorful & usually handmade. Seasonal feast days were displayed to the side of the front blackboard. Centered over the front blackboard was a crucifix. A clock was over the door. Always in the front corner was a statue of our Blessed Mother Mary to watch over us all day long.

Included in the first day were a lot of new friends. Our first grade class had 52 students. You heard me right…52!!!  That is unheard of now. For all I know, there may never have been another class so large, ever! Overlooking the 52 angels-in-waiting was Sr. Mary Theona. That’s right too…only one teacher; no aids or assistants. Back then nuns seemed to operate with the grace of the Holy Spirit in perfect balance with the fear of the Lord. Add to that the mysterious quality of being a nun in the first place and you knew your place.

Speaking of place, everywhere we went, we went single file according to height. For eight years I alternated being 1st, 2nd or 3rd in line. I do feel the tallest girls at the end of the line had the best perspective there. They saw all that was going on. Being on the short end of the stick, we did have the luxury of bowing slightly lower to not be observed at all should the occasion arise.

Usually we sat in rows by height also; shortest to the front, tallest to the back. So, as usual I sat in the first row. I’ll never forget my perspective of the tall veiled nun looming over my desk as she passed by. I doubt I had my mouth open in awe, but it felt that way in my mind. What a view! She was SO TALL as I sat at my little desk, hands folded.

Eight years later at graduation we had the alumni of both students & teachers joining in our pomp & circumstance. We filled the school hall. As we were being introduced to all who came to celebrate, I was called over to be reunited with my first grade teacher. I doubt I had my mouth open in awe, but it felt that way in my mind. What a view! She was one of the tiniest people I had ever met! As I looked about through the crowd, I believe she was the shortest adult present. For the first time in my elementary school life I felt like one of the tallest in line! It’s all a matter of perspective.

Cathy

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mot Juste


In preparing to write for the next blog, it dawns on me that the process alone that brought me to this was worth writing about in itself.

The process of creating a blog was very interesting. With little computer training but a ‘go for it spirit’, I start. Keep in mind this is a communal blog; the requests of all SMFairies are considered.

Name, password, email contact, choice of blog host, design, color, format, set-up, pages, pictures, gadgets, (What’s a gadget?) (Oh, that’s what you call them!), and the list goes on & on. My blog inspiration has come from the only two blog sites I know; the one from Julie & Julia & a friends’ blog. That’s it. Nothing ventured nothing gained. Here goes it.

At this point the least of my concerns is what to write. The small amount of anxiety for this was placed on a back burner.

About three days later the blog design is in place. SMFs, vote now if you don’t like the design. I don’t know that it can be reversed…and still don’t know. Back burner again. Forward we go.

Now, without formal writing experience, I am faced with getting something on the page. If for no other reason, just to test the ‘posting’ on the blog. Start with our purpose, what brought us to the blog collectively: mission statement. YES!!!  What’s next?

How many of us have been thrown into a new situation? Actually, everyone I know: illness of family, layoffs, moving, new jobs, etc.  How we handle ourselves with the quality of our interactions is where our lessons in life are learned. Now this blog certainly doesn’t have the drama of life’s more serious notes, but it can throw you out of your comfort zone. Example: WHAT WILL I WRITE NEXT?!!!

(Silent panic!) (Writers block!)

After quietly asking yourself if you need to have your head examined for taking on another project, you pause, regroup, breathe and then a miracle…a new idea presents itself. This is exactly how this story came to be.

Buddha says: “When a student is ready, the master appears”. Sometimes the ‘master’ shows up as a challenge. In this case a new tool of cyberspace. (Don’t expect a guy in long robes with a baldhead. Think outside the box there too.)

My challenge was to learn creative writing. “ Mot juste” is French for the right word at the right (write J!) time. Just as the master appears, so did my words. I am delighted with this creative writing process on a personal note. I highly recommend it. If you asked me to define myself, the word would be ‘artist’. (artiste in French!) My life has been filled with colors, fabrics, brushes, pencils & paints. Today I paint with words.

Two weeks ago I couldn’t blog. Today I can’t stop!

Make a commitment to try something new today.

Cathy


PS: Kudos to Anne L. for teaching me the meaning of ‘mot juste’.

Drawing the Line


Second only to lunch, the mid-point of the school day, the most anticipated moment was probably recess; a break, a breather.   The only time you could expect a change from routine.

  1. 8 am morning prayers
  2. Penmanship*
  3. 9 am prayers
  4. Religion
  5. 10 am prayers
  6. Mathematics
  7. 11 am prayers
  8. Reading, Grammar, English
  9. Noon: grace before lunch
  10. Lunch
  11. Recess….YEAH!!!
  12. 1 pm prayers (in case you did something at recess only the Holy Spirit could see!)
  13. Geography
  14. 2 pm prayers
  15. History
  16. 3 pm end of the day prayers
     *Penmanship, art, music & gym class would alternate

We were big on prayers…or, rather the nuns were very big on prayers.

Recess brought some freedom, but there were restrictions. It seemed as if there was a plot to keep us from having too much fun. There was this invisible dividing line, centered on the school chimney that separated the girls from the boys in play. There was no further discussion on it.
It was as simple as this: GIRLS SIDE E FBOYS SIDE.

Girls had hopscotch, jump rope and jacks.  Boys had dodge ball, running…but not too much running so as to not be able to ‘settle down’ once inside, and billy buck buck was NOT allowed! On both sides there was the staring back & forth to see what the other side was doing. Sticking your tongue out was always popular. The nonchalant passing of notes was popular with the older classes. The younger classes knew you’d get cooties!

Of course there were always the class characters that stood toe to toe on the invisible line with the daring look, knowing they hadn’t crossed the line…YET! The nuns knew that just by doing that you had already crossed a line! OOPS!

So, in hindsight, do you think we had separation anxiety in the playground? Boys side vs. girls side? Or, after hours of being together in the same classroom with pigtails and ribbons being dunked in inkwells, (you’ll have to ‘Google’ inkwells if you don’t get it!), boogers & gum placed under desks, rabbit ears behind our heads from the classmate behind us and spitballs shooting across the room, the nuns knew what they were doing! Do you think they were actually doing us a favor by drawing the line?! You know, the ‘Men are from Mars & Women from Venus’…the student version, before there was a book? Perhaps they thought “You’ll thanks us later”. “Enjoy the break”. The odds were that the law of attraction would catch up with us eventually….most of us married with children!

Or is it that the nuns remembered that they were once kids too!!! J  Go figure!

Thanks,
Cathy

PS: We actually needed all those prayers! Thanks again!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Floating Nuns

 Now I tell you this hoping you’ll keep in mind the concept was from me as a first grader.

There was something different & special about going to St. Mary School. As a newbie to a parochial school, there were no words to express it from a child’s mind. Parental instructions to a child were simple & direct back then: be a good girl/boy, sit still, don’t wiggle and don’t talk back, EVER! That would pretty much get you through the day.

Concepts about church & religion were brief & vague. Words used were ‘holy, blessed & special’ and there were all sorts of visual aids to support this belief system. Pictures of angels, Mary & baby Jesus with long flowing robes with flowers and bright light. Church also had the beautiful stained glass with light streaming in around the very same holy figures with statues galore! WOW!

To me, the nuns fit the same description as the holy figures that surrounded us. Nuns moved with a silent swiftness. From the convent to the school to the church, all the veils & layers of fabric swishing over the ground with only the occasional ‘click’ of beads. Heads were always bowed with humbled eyes. Hands were in prayer or folded within their billowing sleeves. They were wondrous!

This was something a kid didn’t see at home everyday. This was truly special.

I thought they were a kind of angel, but a teaching angel. They floated everywhere they went except they didn’t have clouds. Then one day my beliefs were shattered. I saw a shoe! It was black with laces & a heel! Two shoes! Nuns had feet! They were real people! I was shocked. How could this be? I was sure they floated everywhere. They were that special.

Well, it’s been more years than I care to name, but I will always think of them as floating.
It is with great affection that I choose to keep this image in my mind, my floating nuns. J

Cathy


Buttercups & Dandelions


April showers bring May flowers….and thus comes the season of the lawn mower.  As I stand at the edge, the lawn before me, it is the edge of reason vs. intent.

Just a lawn you say? Never! The recent rains, a gift from above, have left me knee deep in a new world. Lilliput? Whoville?

The bees are very busy. Ladybugs too. An inchworm dangles in mid-air. Spiders sit center stage, framed in the glistening morning dew. Dragon & damselflies dart about as if creating an aeronautical ballet. The monarch commands a pause. Who does not hold a breath when it passes? In the distance, the woodpecker drills on a dying tree. There is a symphony of birds in the treetops. A swish from above gives a glimpse of a squirrel. Eyes through the hedges belong to a feral cat. If the cat is grinning ear to ear this could be Alice’s wonderland!

All this makes me hesitate longer. How much will be disturbed in this perfect balance. How much am I not seeing?

I smile as I look to the ground. There in my path are two of my favorite flowers: the buttercup & dandelion. Their smiling heads sway in the breeze. In childhood we held the buttercup under our chin to see if someone loved us by its glowing yellow. Yes! Always!
The dandelion needed to grow old in order to spread its winged seeds. Make a wish & blow on the fluff. Carry my wish up to the heavens.

I stand at the edge still.

In England, I saw gardens with rows of dandelions as border flowers. They have respect & understanding for this noble flower. This is St. Brigid’s flower; a symbol of simplicity and healing which so honors her life. I was impressed.

I’m still at the edge.

The mission ahead of mowing is not a tall task. It just makes me daydream of a simple cabin in the woods with wildflowers surrounding simple footpaths. Tree boughs for cover against the sky.

I press on, pushing the mower, task at hand, remembering that the great gift of nature is adapting to change. With luck, I’ll get to repeat all this in a week!

Cathy


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Haiku 2: Four Seasons

Having grown up in New England, I am in love with the four seasons; the actual seasons, not the hotel, although that’s nice too! Each season is unique with it’s own special charm & beauty. As we grumble from ‘too hot, too cold, too wet, too snowy’, we arrive to find the place in our hearts that meets our mind with ‘wicked, cool, sweet, and awesome’. We are blessed here.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Test of Time


New beginnings, laughter, ring around the rosie, songs, hymns, May processions, hopscotch, skipping, jumping rope, skinned knees, chicken pox, measles & mumps, giggling, lots of giggling, Elvis, drawing, passing notes, The Beachboys, staring at the boys, watching the boys stare back, more giggling, prayers, NASA moon landing, First Communion, white gloves & pocketbooks, disagreements, making up, Ed Sullivan Show, advent wreaths, colds & sniffles, placemats, milk money, fluffernutters, the assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, selling Christmas cards, CYO, waiting for the “calling”, most of us still waiting, Baltimore Catechism, purgatory vs. limbo?, The Beatles, Scholastic Art Awards, confirmation, meatless Fridays, confession, uniforms, Madam Slack, Comment allez vous mon ami?, Bon., graduation, 

New beginnings, separations, different high schools, a different teacher for each class!!!, cosmetics, dating, pantyhose, flower power, rotary phone, color TV, VCRs, civil rights movement, dating, French, French kissing, Spanish, Spanish fly, Latin, romantic language, German, Berlin wall, sports, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, cheerleaders, Vietnam, study halls, going steady, Ralph Nader, drivers license, burning bras, gay rights, passing notes, lunch rotations, bussing, dances, All In The Family, bomb scares, pep rallies, Watergate, impeachment, Peace Corps, college applications, part-time jobs, peace rallies, Twiggy, class rings, Kent State, Three Mile Island, proms, more dating, gowns & tuxedos, yearbooks, Red Sox, Boston Bruins, Celtics, Patriots, graduation, 

New Beginnings, Rubik’s cube, college, careers, job hunting, degrees, dating, SNL, dorms, W-2 forms, voting, America’s Bicentennial, Aids, job hunting, engagements, new apartment, commuter rail, student loans, marriage, medical insurance, dental insurance too???,  pregnancy, morning sickness, stretch marks, Lamaze classes, second job hunting, house hunting, mortgage, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, due dates?, OMG!, vaccinations, car pooling, mini-van, Weight Watchers, Sandra Day O’Connor appointed to Supreme Court, ET, daycare, soccer, Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, t-ball, PTA, parent-teacher conferences, varicose veins, Berlin wall removed, Forest Gump, PC’s, internet,

Second chances & survival; deaths of family & friends, divorce, annulments, layoffs, diabetes, endometriosis, cancer, chemo, radiation, tumors, blindness, stroke, heart attack, hysterectomy, menopause, hot flashes, tooth decay, food allergies, blind dates, online dating, second marriage, extended families,

Second time around; repeat all of the above for & with our children; hopefully only the good things in life are repeated!

New beginnings; empty nesters (maybe), grandchildren, AARP!, old friends, memories, nostalgia, family photos, girls night out…better yet… make it a weekend, grandma brag books, world travel, vacation photos, downsizing, mid-life beginnings, second career, night classes, creative juices flowing, Zumba, tai chi, yoga, websites, Facebook, alumni, blogging, SMFairytales,

The test of time withstood.

Cathy

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Haiku


Have you ever wanted to try something new…a little thought in the back of the mind haunting you? We’re not talking a ‘bucket list’, just something of interest & wonder, put on hold till the time is right. Well, I am venturing forward to my interest: Haiku.
I love the name. I love the concept & intent.

Since this blog has eeked its way in front of Haiku in priorities. I will now dedicate my first Haiku to the SMF as it is our group mind that has created the blog, thus the means of our self-expression.
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A good place to start should this interest you.




Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Razor’s Edge

I had this flashback of 8th grade the other day. It came after writing about the shoes, ‘Your Best Foot Forward’. Funny how these things sneak up on you. It’s nice to know some of the ole grey matter is still kicking in from time to time.

My visual image of the shoes is accompanied by the bulky knee sox we were required to wear as part of our uniform; navy blue w/ a cable knitted into the sides of the sock. Oh sure, the white snowflake knitted into the navy knee sock was quite fashionable for the fashionistas of the public school world, but not part of our uniform code. The snowflake socks were frowned upon by the nuns. (Not to code.)(After all, nuns had to follow codes too. They knew codes well.) We would even be reprimanded. We could say that ‘that was all that was available’, make excuses that laundry hadn’t been done. Could it be overlooked just this one time? A polite nod would be given by the nun. God was on my side today! YES! (As I smiled quietly to myself…) Oh, God, please don’t let her catch me smiling or smirking. Did we really get away with anything? Yet, there was always tomorrow & its socks, plain navy socks. Nuns have excellent memories. A mere glance at a snowflake sock on a future date let us know “I remember”.

As I was staring down at my boring, navy, socks one day, I became aware of the fuzz. That fuzz was the hair on my legs sticking through the knee socks. ARGH!!! When did that happen? Well, as young ladies blossoming into womanhood, we as classmates were well aware of such changes, reading Seventeen, Teen, Good Housekeeping and Woman’s Day! I must have daydreamed a day away or missed a page in a magazine. Either way, action had to be taken!

Now the common train of thought was that if you shaved too soon, it would grow back thicker. THICKER THAN WHAT? IT WAS GROWING THROUGH MY SOCKS!

The questions at hand were how do I get a razor? Will my father’s double-edge razor be noticeably duller? Should I tell someone to get one of my own? Nair? NEVER! These questions felt like life & death at the time. This was the razor’s edge. Decisions, decisions.

To be honest I don’t recall all the details all that well. I did choose to shave my legs; a rite of passage for a teenage girl. The world did not come to an end in doing so.

WHEW!

Perhaps the whole point of such events is to prepare us for the greater decisions of life. Today I can pass it off with a smile, a fond memory. Greater tragedies have befallen me as well as greater joy. Time mellows memories or is it the great equalizer? Perhaps it’s just menopause. After the hot flashes pass, the hormones diminish and the hair on the legs is not so much anymore! This is also something to smile about. Or, is it just about priorities?

Today, being a woman of greater wisdom, I choose not to shave my legs! J Well, just for today. Maybe.
….but there is that chin whisker!!!!

Cathy

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Start of it All

This year certainly wasn’t the start of it all; 1959 was. First grade.

This year was the start of the blog & other new beginnings yet to be determined.  It’s the years in between where all the points in time merged into a blooming, friendship of schoolmates. Some points in time are long, some short, some a continual flow.

This past winter was one of the longest, coldest, snowiest, bone- chillin’ winters we would ever want to remember. (I think I sound like Yosemite Sam!) You know the winters that legends are made of?  Our ancestors would slightly exaggerate by saying “We walked uphill, both ways to & from school, in the dark, no shoes, to a one-room school house with a single piece of coal to warm us & on a good day we had a slice of bread for lunch!” as we sat there as children rolling our eyes. (Gee, I wonder where our kids get it?!) This winter fell short of the Blizzard of ‘78’, but not by much.

We gathered in March 2011 for an overdue get-together. A breath of spring it was after this winter. It was anticipated that we needed this time together…our rebirth in spring, our celebration of one more year together. This was our communal birthday party to be celebrated with a good old-fashioned Yankee Swap for the gift giving with a side of sugar-laden cake & ice cream. Yea, life is sweet!

The Yankee Swap consisted of a delightful mix of gifts from truffles to t-shirts to a giant magnifying glass. We know not to take ourselves too seriously! We all had the common courtesy not to bring ‘Depends’, whether we needed them or not! It was a perfect balance for food, fun & laughter.

As the nibbling continued, we called the friends that couldn’t be there & made plans for the next get-together. There were other group projects planned and topics of caring & sharing that needed reviewing for both individuals & as friends. As we all donned our magnifying glasses that sit on the nose, purchased from the local dollar store, we marked our calendars. Immediately menus were made for the next gathering of the clan; pot-luck entrees, appetizers, drinks, desserts, lists of allergies & nutritional needs allowed for! We’re good to go! The cycle continues.

On that day we caught up on lots of news not knowing that we would be making headlines, our own…on the blog that is….SMFairytales! What a difference that first day of school made back in Sept. 1959 at St. Mary School.
Who knew?

Cathy