Silver Threads  November  1996

Silver Threads (formerly Senior Group Newsletter) is the
monthly publication of an informal group of netizens
interested in how the net serves the three score plus internet
user and vice-versa.

The newsletter is mailed to subscribers via e-mail and posted at

The current issue WWW edition is at http://www.freenet.mb.ca/sthreads

There is no charge. Just contact  editor, olsonjam@uwec.edu,
to subscribe to Silver Threads pur other monthly, Elderhostel Newsletter



   Editorial Bits and Bytes

   Features and Gleanings from the Net  
       Roots and Branches
       A Visit to a Nursing Home with Whit
       Age-Related Macular Degeneration
   Notices and Reviews 
   The Cup of Memory
   Senior Smiles 
           EDITORIAL BITS AND BYTES          

Here in the northern hemisphere winter is coming so we've
scattered  some  poetic seasonal images around the postings in
the form of seasonal haiku written by our readers.

It's a feature of the net that it  erases time and seasonal
divisions, and hopefully many of the  barriers that separate
people. We haven't heard from Walter up in the Arctic circle for
awhile but suspect he's going into that long Arctic night in good

In this issue we return to a separate section for "Senior Smiles"
as we are developing a format that makes it easier to change the
web edition  and  update various sections there independent of
the e-mail version (more or less.)

In addition we are starting to use a few more graphics within
some features of the newsletter for the web edition and still
keep the newsletter accessible to our e-mail readers.

Our graphic oriented Prairie Walk (kind of an experiment), for
example, will be replaced later by a tour of some Silver Thread
artists studios and their work.


Roots and Branches

   by TRUDI_DAVIS@ncpssm.org

      With permission from  Secure Retirement, the newsmagazine for
      Americans. The magazine is a publication of the National
      Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. Exploring  
      the Tree of Life

Roots and Branches, an innovative theater troupe, reaches across
generations and stands the test of time.

He who is not busy being born, is busy dying.  Bob Dylan

Ida Harnden is trying to remember if she put in her eye drops.

She cant remember if she put in her eye drops, but she always
remembers her lines, remarks Al Wolf, a 69-year-old
psychoanalyst, as he searches his bag for a missing belt.

Im always amazed when I remember my lines.

>From your mouth to Gods ears, answers Ida, (age), who then
pauses to give Al some stage advice. If you forget your lines,
just drop your pantsno one will notice about the lines.

Ida is no stranger to the stage. In the 1930s, she was a
vaudeville dancer, and more recently had a small part in the
movie Crossing Delancey. She smiles and goes over to Etta Denbin,
90, her friend of more than 50 years, who sits quietly waiting
for Ida to help her with her make-up.

Together, Etta, Ida, Al and nine other ageless actors make up
this years Roots and Branches theater troupe. As the actors
prepare for this evenings benefit performance, the bonds forged
between them are evident. Jen Johnson, 24, one of the younger
members of the troupe, lovingly helps Molly Seif, (age), one of
the oldest, with her hair and make-up.

In another corner, Muriel Mervis, 72, kibitzes with Millie
Gold, an actor in her 60s, and Michelle Minnick, 22, a New York
University theater student. The best part about Roots and
Branches is working with these young people, and constantly
discovering that age has nothing to do with it, says Ida. Each
year when the young people first arrive, they have this attitude
like, Oh no, another bunch of old people, and we older ones
also are wary. But then, all of sudden, were like family. They
realize all old people dont dodder, and we realize all young
people dont do drugs, and its beautiful.

As curtain time approaches, the actors join hands for a moment of
silence, and then its showtime. Im very nervous nowIm
already schwitzing, says Michaela Lobel, (age), using the
Yiddish term for perspiring. But I know once I get out there,
Ill be exhilarated.

A Creative Process

Roots and Branches, a New York City-based intergenerational
theater company, grew from a simple ideathat reminiscing, or
storytelling, is a vital part of aging.

Storytelling allows seniors to impart the wisdom of their years
to younger generations, to come to terms with the events of their
lives and to keep their stories alive after theyre gone, says
Arthur Strimling, director, creator and writer for Roots and

Its About Time

Preparation for this years spring performance began in October,
when Roots and Branches participants began a series of weekly
improvisational workshops. As we went through the workshops, a
theme began to emerge, explains Mr. Strimling. Both the seniors
and the younger actors were concerned about the dire political
situation in Washingtoncuts to Medicare, to senior programs, to
student loan programs. And we noticed that the concept of time
kept coming up in our discussions.

And so this years production was born: Its About Time.
Through the workshops, the actors explored the nuances of time.
They discussed their thoughts about the future and the past,
about times effect on language, customs and memories.
Sometimes, we found that names which symbolize historical, even
life-changing moments for the seniors literally meant nothing to
the students, says Mr. Strimling. The different generations use
the same words, but a lot of the time we are barely speaking the
same language.

Coming Together

All is not perfect. The company experiences many of the same
difficulties as other theater troupes. The younger actors
sometimes get impatient; the older actors sometimes get annoyed.
But in the case of Roots and Branches, the problems encountered
by the different abilities and perspectives of the actors are
what make the final product so special.

The final script was developed from the dialogue of the
workshops, all of which has been tape recorded and transcribed.
Mr. Strimling, together with writer and creative consultant David
Schechter, condensed the transcripts into play form. Then the
real work began. Everyone has to learn their lines, and the
common perception is that older people cant remember things, so
its a very powerful process.

Learning lines helps seniors in just the way all the medical
journals suggestby keeping their minds working, he adds. For
seniors, every moment of forgetting is a moment of terror, but
they support each other in the belief they can do it. And when
they do it, its a real triumph for them.

Breaking a Leg

In a time of Generation X, of young and old pitted against each
other in this society, the cast members of Roots and Branches
have come together to create a work of art that reflects a common
view of the world, said Jewish Association for Services for the
Aging Executive Vice President David Stern as he introduced the
actors. I cant think of a time when this bonding has been more

The younger members of the cast visited the seniors back in the
time when they were young, and questioned them about their hopes
and dreams for the future. Im so glad to see youre using cloth
diapersits very ecological, said 24-year-old Jen to Muriel,
who was posing as herself as a young mother in the 1940s. Are
there any other kind? Muriel wondered aloud. And what is

I have a system for making more time, Ida intoned. I quit

I know something about time, recalled Millie. Time and I have
a special relationshipnever casual, never light. It used to be
that time was on my side, but then, at age 44, I was diagnosed
with breast cancer. Millie went on, through song and
storytelling, to recount her fight with cancer. The audience,
many moved to tears, listened as she named both her least
favorite time words: future, later, and in a while; and her
most favorite time words: now and today and instant.

At the conclusion of the performance, the troupe received a
standing ovation, and the audience was jubilant. Many, thinking
they would see an amateur performance, were amazed at how
well-written, relevant and vitalizing the production was.

Roots and Branches has a few more performances left this
yearthey will take the show to senior centers in the regionand
then, in the fall, a new production will begin to take shape.
Plans are in the works for a production of Encounters at the
Bordera compilation of stories and anecdotes from first
generation Americans.

In the meantime, both the audience and actors have received a
great giftthe gift of wisdom and understanding. The stories
that evolve out of the workshop process nurture across the
generations, says Talia Schenkel, a former participant in Roots
and Branches. I see these stories as the modern, desperate
version of sitting around the fire and communicating across the
generations. Today, we are starved for this type of
communication. The need to connect doesnt go awaywe just dont
do enough of it.


   Blush Lady Maple
Disrobing your ancient form
  Before lusty wind



A Visit to a Nursing Home with Whit
     Whit Garberson 

In my work (when I find time to do it) I provide psych services
to elderly people.  It can be a very strange thing--wonderful and
intimidating--to be in the role of hearing one life story after
another from someone twice my age.  Many of them have one or
another degree of dementia--Alzheimer's or stroke-related or
whatever--and sometimes the stories don't flow too well, but
usually the longer-term memory is pretty intact even if what
happened an hour ago is lost.

Among them, some have told me stories of absolutely
heartwrenching tragedy.  There are so many iterations ... I have
friends and colleagues who work at the younger end of the
spectrum, treating children who are victims of physical and
sexual abuse--I always get a chill up my spine when I realize I
see such folks at the nether end of their lives.  Sometimes I am
literally the first person to whom they have told the story.

Other times it is about the loss of a child.  Years ago.  In the
elastic timeframe of her dementia, one depressed woman would
wander the halls of the nursing home looking for her 10-year-old
son.  Eventually it emerged that he had died at that age from a
heart defect after she moved heaven and earth to give him a
normal life.  She would watch him out the living room window
playing ball with the other kids, totally conflicted about
whether or not she should keep him inside; some doctors said
exercise could kill him and others said excercise could save his
life and still others said if he can't play with the other kids,
then what kind of life will he have?  She made her own choices,
raising two other children and tolerating a distant, openly
unfaithful husband, and the boy died, and nobody ever knew why.

Nobody ever does.  That is more or less where we left it.  And
the last time I saw her she was putting on her Sunday-best
overcoat, setting out down the hall in search of the pier, where
she was meeting her mother to set sail for London in an hour.  I
worked very hard on the nurses, teaching them to stop correcting
her, stop telling her her mother was long gone, stop telling her
there was no pier down there.  Just walk with her and chat about
how much she misses her mom and offer her a sandwich...


    Wintertime grumbles,
moaning to the edge of night.
    Snow lies everywhere.

           - grace@humboldt1.com 

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

"Kathrynne Holden,MS,RD" 

     ed note- Kathrynne forwards  this excerpt written by Dr. Tammra
              Johnson  from Kathrynne's  "Spotlight on Food." 

Have you ever put a worm on a fishing hook, or tied a fly for
fly-casting? Threaded a needle, clipped your fingernails, or read
the print on a medicine bottle?

If so, you were using a special part of the eye, called the
macula. The macula is a film on the inside wall at the back of
the eye. It allows us to see fine details, like the features of a
face, or the numbers on a dollar bill. A healthy macula allows us
to do dozens of small tasks every day, like reading the
newspaper, chopping vegetables, or pounding nails. To keep our
vision, the macula must remain healthy.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), however, is a disease of
the macula that can rob us of our vision. In fact, for persons
over age 60, AMD is the number one cause of legal blindness in
the United States. Millions of older Americans have some degree
of AMD. Yet, if it's discovered early, and treated properly, most
people can have almost-normal vision all their lives.

There are two kinds of AMD. The most common form is called "dry
AMD." Most people don't develop dry AMD until age 65 or older. By
age 80, about fifteen percent of eyes have dry AMD. People with
dry AMD may notice some blurring or loss of central vision in one
or both eyes, and may also notice loss of color vision. However,
dry AMD usually doesn't cause legal blindness. 	Your
optometrist can help you manage dry AMD with special lenses. You
will also need to check your vision at home regularly, using a
special vision chart. Your optometrist will ask you to come in
for regular checkups, to find out whether the disease is changing
in any way. This is important, because dry AMD can grow into a
second form, called "wet AMD."

Wet AMD is a more serious form. In this case, unwanted blood
vessels start to grow underneath the macula, causing loss of
vision. Sometimes people have distorted vision, in which straight
lines look wavy. There may be blank spots in the field of vision.

In the early stages, wet AMD can be treated by a special kind of
surgery, called laser surgery. This can be very successful in
preventing further damage to the eye. Most people who suffer wet
AMD can prevent further vision loss if they immediately report
this vision change to their optometrist. If surgery is performed
right away, it is much more likely to be successful. However,
those who wait more than eight weeks have a much smaller chance
for successful surgery.

For these reasons, regular eye exams are the first and most
important step in keeping your vision healthy. Preventing eye
disease before it starts is much better than treating problems
after they have progressed too far.

    Hidden in the trees
a rare white flower bursts out
   in the forest shade.
       - grace@humboldt1.com      


Gillis Kehlmeier 

My name is Gillis Kehlmeier. At the end of December I will be 70
years. I was born here in the south of Sweden. I have been
married to my wife for 48 years. We have a son and a doughter. We
have lived here in Engelholm for about 35 years. We live in a
small villa. I speak English and German. As I was pensioner I
wanted to have somthing to do so I tried to lern Spanisch too,
but I have a very small vocabulary. I am a economist so I like to
look what happens on the market. I very much like to travell but
I can't get my wife into an aeroplane. On my TV I can see what
happens in the world: Galavision, Sky News, CNN, NBC,BBC, and it
was there I found Seniornet. If you like to know more about me
you are wellcome.


Gunter Vogel, Langlois, Oregon.

I was born in Berlin in 1928, shortly after my parents' return to
Europe from my mother's native Argentina. My political activity
at age 5 was limited to watching my father bringing home red
pieces of cloth, usually attached to broom sticks. Under mamita's
protest, bed sheets were then cut into circles and black mourning
ribbons were attached in cross-like fashion. Then the pieces were
made into what I later recognized as flags for those numerous
meetings where people raised their right arms and hollered words
that meant "hail victory".

The bravado of slugging it out with communists and ripping off
their crimson flags in the unruly streets of Berlin, beset by the
Great Depression, gave way to my father's concern that he
expressed to me as he accompanied me to my first day at a
military college in Potsdam: That despite the apparent order of
our daily lives, which seemed to make a good education for me
possible, we were headed for uncertain times. Little did I know
that he was involved in the government and worked for a man named
admiral Canaris. That was six years before an international
meeting was held in that old Prussian city which shattered the
aspirations of many Germans for whom national socialism had
become a way of life - for better or worse.

In February of 1944 my class of 25 boys was mobilized and six
weeks later we emerged as antiaircraft gunners, ready to do the
Fuhrer's bidding. Once a year we had stood at attention for
graduation ceremonies to honor the eighteen-year old grads as
they, dressed in lieutenants' uniforms, marched off to war. But
this time the Commander in Chief, having declared total war,
called up fifteen and sixteen-year olds. Had we not been
summarily packed off to be soldiers, we would have volunteered.
There wasn't one among us who didn't look forward to marching
down the Unter den Linden Avenue to be honored by cheering crowds
after we had been honored with the Iron Cross.

Since 1958 I have lived in this country and became a citizen in
1964 just when another war was rearing its ugly head. This time I
was a spectator who remembered what it meant "to be there".

ed note- We will publish more of Gunter's story in an upcoming
edition in our Cup of Memory section


       softly, tenderly
    dawns white wakening beckons    
       angels to the snow       

Jiajia Huang  jiajia@erols.com

My name is Jiajia Huang. I came from China in 1988. I got a
chance to study in the college of Notre Dame in Maryland. I was
very lucky to get my green card after the trouble in

Most of Chinese Scholars stayed in this country. I continued to
study my master degree at the university of Baltimore in
information system management. After I finished my education, I
got a job in a company as computer trainer. It was very
unfortunate, after three months I was fired, because I speak
English with a strong accent. I am 48 years old . My husband does
not want to come to this country.

I was scared to look for jobs again, so I set up a small business
to sell jewelry in a mall. I have to work 80 hours a week in my
business. I believe hard working will have good rewards one day.
I have a daughter living with me. She is going to finish her
college education next summer. I met a lot of wonderful people in
this country. I do have time to make friends now. But I have
computer on my desk. I can make friends thought the internet.

          Notices and Reviews     

Web Site Book Discussion Group Formed

If you are interested in an online book discussion group, try the
Book Club Online at the seniornet Roundtables web site

Take the link to the Roundtables, login as a guest, and browse
around for the Online Bookclub. For more information contact the
moderator Ginny Anderson at gvine@spartanburg.net.

The club is currently discussing Snow Falling on Cedars and will
soon take up The Liars Club.

As with all web site discussion areas expect some delays and
difficulties in posting- there is help at the site, however. A
graphical browser is best but some non-graphical browsers work to
access the site.


Seniors Frolic Online

If you tire of all those senior sites that deal with supplemtary
Medicare insurance; living and dying wills; ads for retirement
homes, endless health tips;  and in case they fail, ads for
cemetery plots  and want to get away from it all for awhile go to
http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/4474, a site that has just
about all the links you would want selected to give you a broader
view of the internet world. It is billed as a Senior Frolic but
has much more to offer in terms of links to a wide variety of
interesting web sites. (and if they add a link to Silver Threads,
it will, of course, be ideal)


Volunteers Assist in Visits to Nursing Homes

Nursing home residents have a lot to offer and receive from the
outside world if only they could have more contact with it. To
learn how you might help facilitate visits to nursing homes check
in at http://members.tripod.com/~tbohacek/index.html


Grandparents-Raising-Children Mailing List Available

The electronic mailing list associated with the GrandsRuS


is now up and running!  This list and website are devoted to
supporting those grandparents and other relatives who are raising
grandchildren, etc.

To subscribe to this mailing list, send an e-mail message to:


With this message in the body (not the subject line):

subscribe grandparents-raising-children

Shortly thereafter you should receive a welcome message from the


New Commercial Site Aimed at Retirement Issues

http://www.retirementlife.com  is an "under construction" site
aimed at assisting with various aspects of retirement. Go to the
site, look it over, and perhaps give the webmasters your advice
and suggestions for building a site to meet your needs and

           The Cup Of Memory

ed note: In this first memory we are adding an appropriate 
graphic  our web page viewers using graphic browsers. We hope to
be able to do this type of thing from time to time.

I remember my Indian summer

It was 1937 when I was twelve. My aunt Vie lost her  her nanny 
and cook job in Chicago  when the family she worked for could no
longer afford to hire her.  Fortunately she had some savings in
one of the banks that had remained solvent during the depression
 and set up a summer restaurant in Walker, Minnesota, near Leech
lake . She had a brisk summer trade from the summer tourists and
I moved up for the summer to do odd chores for her.

There were 4-5 kids near my age and we formed a kind of "Our
Gang" for the summer. I think I was Alfalfa- at least I won the
yodeling contest we held with a high falsetto soprano voice. Two
of the kids, a brother and a sister, were Ojibwes from the
nearby reservation.  They came in with their father every
morning, the girl selling newspapers to tourists and the boy
working on the local dock where he sometimes dove to retrieve
coins thrown in by the tourists.

They  sometimes participated in our contests, mainly swimming
and wrestling. I was good at wrestling but I could never beat
the Ojibwe boy.   He parried all of my feints and took  me down
quickly and rather gently, avoiding the  nearby patch of White
Ladyslippers and then desisted.  Tribal custom on competition
abhorred any attempt to rub it in if you bested an opponent.

Wrestling with the girl was another matter. One or the other of
us would quickly score a takedown and we would gently roll about
on the  soft ground for some time with little concern for
winning or losing or for the ladyslippers . We were both
winners, lots of electricity flowing between bodies, my very
blonde hair contrasting sharply with her dark hair,  both  of us
dark-skinned,  my  summer tan matching her more permanent shade.

I was a clumsy swimmer and came in last in all of the swimming
events. The Ojibwe boy was the best swimmer. To  make the
contest interesting  he swam underwater while we swam  across
the surface in  splashy imitation of Tarzan and Jane, but he
still won most of the races.  After  swimming we   picked  off
the leeches that gave the lake its name. One rather dangerous
contest was a "chicken" game we played using a railroad trestle
over a bay on the lake.  The object was to cross the trestle to
the other side, avoiding any trains. It was a fairly long
trestle of 200-300 yards and if you heard a train whistle in the
distance while on the trestle you had to gauge the direction and
distance and run quickly to the nearest side.

Running on the open trestle was quite tricky. You had to either
balance on one of the iron rails  with arms outstretched like a
tight wire walker or run carefully from tie to tie to avoid the 
open spaces between ties. The trick was to not look down at the
water below where the wild rice crop was beginning to emerge in
the shallow bay.  Although I was good at rail walking on the
regular track,  I always choose the tie to tie route  on the
trestle and always looked down. The train engineers were
evidently aware of the game and would blow their whistles at
some distance from the trestle,  and shake their fists at us
when they passed  as we stood by the tracks looking up at them.

Other "chicken" games were not so dangerous, such as taking a
dare to swipe some fruit from one of the street stands set up
for the tourist trade, or scavenging discarded cigarette
packages to provide the gang with a surreptitious smoke in the
alley.  My aunt quickly caught on to this one when I came home
green in the face one day and stinking of smoke. She simply
asked me how I liked smoking. That ended that game for me.  We
both understood her question to be a statement that one try was
tolerated, but another would not be.

At the end of the summer when I left on the bus, the girl came
on board and sold morning papers to the passengers, holding the
papers under one arm as she collected money and made small talk
looking for tips. As she passed me she gave me a playful poke
and continued down the aisle. I blushed and said goodbye to her.
My aunt returned to Chicago and I didn't return until more than
50 years years later.

We  drove through Walker on  the way to an elderhostel to study
Ojibwe culture.  The wild rice still grows in the bays and  the
White Ladyslippers can be found in the waysides.  we stopped for
coffee  and read the local paper. It had an admonition for kids
to stay off the railroad trestle, but it didn't say anything
about Indian wrestling.

  - Jim Olson  


Dear Silver haired and not so silverhaired, and some not haired:

I remember Iceboxes, and Refrigerators with the compressor on top
are within my memory of the 30's. My Dad had a printing shop in
Madison Wisconsin long long before electronic composition. I
loved the smell of melting lead put into the the old Merganthaler
Lineotype circa 1912.

I also remember Terry and the Pirates and Captain MIdnight. I
believe that I acquired every whistle, secret decoder ring,
flashlight, and camera that was worth 29 cents in plastic. Lo and
behold when we moved to Chicago in 1988, who did I bump into in
the hospital where I serve, but none other than one of the radio
voices of Captain Midnight now residing in the body of an 86 year
old physician. When I heard his voice and closed my eyes, I 
conjured up the images of the past. That's what's good about
memory. Sometimes it's not always so so easy to remember. Someone
I know had a huge picture of Albert Einstein standing at the side
of his desk. It was inscribed with a personal message.

When I inquired about the picture he said it was special to him
because Einstein had told him, "when I sometimes get up from my
desk I cannot remember where I was going." "I often get up from
my desk and don't remember where I'm headed, but since I have
that picture I don't get too upset about it."

Gerry Schuster  gerry@SUBA.COM


             sails of  summer clouds 
           steal my golden August days,
              pirates in the sky.

I remember a story my wife tells about the days before
refrigerators, when ice was the means of preserving food in the
hot and hazy days of summer. In her family, it was her younger
brother's job to empty the big pan that stood in the bottom of
the icebox with the melted water in it. It also seems that one
particular night, the family had a visitor, a naive young lady
who was not familiar with the process of emptying. It happened
that the younger brother had decided to empty the water container
from the icebox, very slowly and very carefully into the toilet,
after the visitor had gone to bed, but before she fell asleep.
This took a long time and as you all know, house sounds carry at
night in ways that we sometimes wish they did not.

My wife laughed the next morning when the visitor recounted with
genuine awe and reverence, her respect for the truly amazing
capacity of the younger brother's bladder. It seemed that she had
understandably attributed the noise of the emptying to the wrong

Frank Harper .

            Senior Smiles

     Norwegian Grandmother's Cake 

Heat oven, get utensils and ingredients. Remove toy animals and
soldiers from table. Grease pan, crack nuts. Measure two c. flour,
remove Ignvold and Petter's hands from flour. Wash flour off
their hands. Re-measure flour. Pour flour, salt, and baking
powder into sifter.

Get dust pan and brush up pieces of bowl Ingvold and Petter
knocked off the table. Get another bowl, answer the door bell.

Return to the kitchen and remove Ingvold and Petter's hands from
bowl. Wash Ingvold and Petter again.  Grease another pan. Answer
the telephone.  Return to the kitchen, remove hammer from bowl.
Remove layer of nut shells from greased pan.

Head for Ingvold and Petter and watch helplessly as the bowl is
knocked from the table again in their hasty retreat.

Wash the kitchen floor, table, walls, and utensils. Call the baker.
Lie down.

ed note- UFFDA


It is said women have greater powers of intuition than men, and I
believe it. How else do you explain Miss Kate's uncanny ability
to interrupt a ballgame at exactly the point that can never be
recovered?  She doesn't care about sports in the slightest. 

It's fourth down, the Huskies (Wet on 'em, dawgs!") are inches
from the goal line, trailing by three. Suddenly, Miss Kate is
between me and the television. "Guess what!" she says, "they've
changed our recycle day!" 

Now, I want it clearly understood that that unfortunate story
about my sports fanaticism is myth, nothing more. It got started
when I inadvertently strangled the cat during the sixth game of
the 1975 World Series, when Carlton Fisk hit an extra-inning home
run to win it. One cat doesn't make a fanatic. He was old,

Derek Jeter of the Yankees hits one high into the stands.
Baltimore's outfielder thinks he can catch it - but wait! The
ball disappears! The Baltimores scream "Fan Interference!" Umpire
Rich Garcia doesn't see it and rules it a home run. TV replay
clearly shows 12-year-old Jeff Maier reaching out of the stands
and diverting the ball. Just as the announcers are going to tell
me what the rule-book provides - VROOOOOOM!! The vacuum cleaner
destroys any possibility of hearing what's going on. 

And, let's be fair; there is another side to all this. If the
Seahawks are down by only 35 points in the fourth quarter and
about to try to make their first first-down of the afternoon, I
sometimes go out to the kitchen and ask her to throw some ice in
the blender and turn it on. I just can't bear to watch John
Friesz throw a pass to Brian Blades, only to see it fall to the
turf because Blades hasn't yet turned around. The blender not
only drowns out the sound, but also scrambles the picture. 

I'd yell at her about all this, but then who would bring me my
meals during the games? 

-  by Dick Monaghan (richardm@worldaccess.com) 

>From Tale Spinner edited by  Canadian Jean Sansum in BC 

To subscribe to her weekly e-mail Tale Spinner drop her an e-mail 
at Jean_Sansum@mindlink.bc.ca

 Who Broke it?

When our first four boys were ages 1,2,3,and 4  they were
notorious for breaking things. I mean really breaking, chopping,
shattering, cracking, you name it, they did it. They broke their
toys, the t.v., the telephone, the front door. Even the neighbors
complained that they broke in to their homes and broke things.
(My husband used to tell people he came from a broken home.)

So of course, those rascals got blamed for everything that got
broken, anywhere. (We had a power outage in seven states one year
and I came home to find the baby sitter had one kid in each
corner, shouting: "Okay, you guys, who did it!" I never did
convince her they weren't responsible; my mother still thinks
they were.)

So I guess it was not surprising that the boys developed a guilt
compolex. This I discovered one day, shortly after our first
daughter was born. I decided her bath time would be a good time
to explain to the boys the difference between little boys and
little girls.

I gathered them around the bath table and said: "Boys, there is
something I want to discuss with you."

And as I took off my baby daughter's diaper, her three-year-old
brother looked down at her bare bottom and cried: I didn't break
it off, Mama, honest!"

Teresa Bloomingdale   humor@ix.netcom.com


                 TRICK OR TREAT

It was all too simple
The sun blushing, picking the teeth
Of a skyline erecting monolithic points
Gaping at two above the quarter-faced clock
Of the moon where a star hovers bright
No flag bearing a leaning, but wisely
A beckoning to the party.
There were those with masks
Hiding naked with the foreign clothed.
They cannot face the footlights
Where the audience exists, where applause
Lifts masks to the swing of the spots
Between true actors all
To portray reality.
She was quiet, mask on lap
High in slit black covering light
On white tights, tight.
Ruffle cuffs a theme, a wave between
Firm of body and unincorporate oval
Face frame haunt of eyes unmasked
Crown of wig, peppered with foreign sheen.
"I have no wand!" she said
And the chorus spun around her
Promising magic for another year.

 - William T. Frost  wtfrost@ix.netcom.com