xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Silver Threads Special Edition, January 1999 oxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox
This is indeed, a very special edition of Silver Threads, for as Jim explains below, it is the last. I have been posting and archiving his newsletters at BCN ever since I first encountered Jim on email. I have been pleased to know him and exchange notes with him. We've never actually met, but I believe we're friends. I'm very sorry to see Silver Threads pass away.
Contents Editorial Bits and Bytes Features Changing Attitudes about Aging The Northern Lights The Cup of Memory At My Lake A MEMORY OF UNION SQUARE Senior Smiles Freud Revisited Nashville Gal Duet DIETING UNDER STRESS xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox Editorial Bits and Bytes xoooxoxoxxxxxxxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo The e-mail edition of "Silver Threads: aka "Senior Group Newsletter" is five years old now and in internet age equivalent that is very old indeed. It started just as the world wide web was forming and there were about 2,000 web sites online (most of them with .edu or .org domain names and very few of those sites devoted to senior interests. The standard e-mail (listserv, etc.) mailing lists were still on a net called bitnet with academic credentials. The now almost defunct FreeNet movement providing free personal communication and connecting communities of internet users was in full swing and their Senior bulletin boards provided the base for the formation of "the Senior Group." Most of us on the net used a text browser called "Lynx" and the most advanced of us had access to one called Mosaic, the progenitor of the Netscapes and Explorers. We accessed these with modems of 1200, 2400, and 5600 baud and often waited 20 minutes for a graphic to form. A couple of college kids from Stanford were indexing WWW sites in a location called "Yahoo" and most of the sites and the stuff they did was in the public domain. Now, of course, they have become a major commercial internet corporation and almost everything on the net has become commercial and protected in one way or another. Now two new kids from Stanford are combining the features of a number of net technologies into a new concept of multimedia net communication called People Post (http://www.peoplepost.com) that may or may not signal a new direction for interpersonal net communication. All of this history is just to justify the proposition that the e-mail edition of Threads is old enough now for me to retire from the editor's post. I have put together this special edition from past issues. Thanks to all of the many contributors over the past years who have made the project fun to do. Tom Kyle (email@example.com) will continue to maintain a "Silver Threads" web site and I am sure would appreciate contributions to that site. I will continue my Elderhostel Notebook newsletter and web site and will probably set up a personal web site to post some of my essays and poetry and will continue to write now and then for Jean Sansum's (Jean_Sansum@mindlink.bc.ca) e-mail "Talespinners." Jean, I am working on a hummingbird piece for you about a bird called "Lars" but I need to travel to Arizona to get in the mood for it. oxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Features xoooxoxoxxxxxxxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo note- one of our first articles on the subject of aging continues to be one of the best- filled with common sense and written in plain English free from medical and social science jargon that plagues so much of the writing in this area. Changing Attitudes about Aging Donna P. Couper, Ph.D. - SeniorNet posting The longer we live, the more expert we think we are. In no other time in history have attitudes about aging changed as much as in our lifetime, from extreme negative stereotypes to now positive stereotypes. When I was 15, like other teen-age baby-boomers, I was convinced that being old was a desperate, miserable time of life. My world view was shaped by those weekly Scholastic Readers they gave us in school and by the black & white television news programs. We mourned the assassination of the youngest United States president. We read about the new war on poverty which targeted "the elderly" among other impoverished groups. Older adults were seen as a homogeneous group that were sick, helpless, poor, frail, lonely and dependent. It was our responsibility to make "those people" as comfortable as possible in the few remaining years they had. Around the late 1970s, there occurred a swelling backlash against negative stereotypes of aging. An influential number of middle-aged and older adults mimicked the civil rights and feminists movements which battled prejudices of racism and sexism. Persons like Maggie Kuhn, founder of the Gray Panthers, vigorously fought agism. The American Association of Retired Persons led an unrelenting campaign over the next two decades which emphasized the vitality of older adults. Considering from where we came, these are revolutionary changes in attitudes. While the negative images of the not-so-distant past haunt us, the positive images have taken hold and are finding their way into mainstream thinking. The new agism allows families and society to say that older people are capable financially, physically and emotionally to support younger generations. We can be grateful that so many older people have more resources to give to others than they did during the first half of this century. However, many older adults cannot manage the added responsibilities. Unrealistic demands are a detriment for both younger and older generations. The shift to the positive extreme can hurt older people, by placing undue pressure on them. There is a "New Yorker" cartoon, probably from the 1980s, that illustrates the conflict between extreme positive and negative stereotypes. The cartoon pictures two "older" women standing at a bus stop. One woman is dressed glamorously in a mini-skirt and bouffant hairdo. The other is dressed conservatively with a long straight skirt and hair in a bun. The mini-skirted women condescendingly says, "I used to be old, too, but it wasn't my cup of tea." The new agism is reinforcing a competitive drive which has been characteristic of aging baby boomers all their lives. The peer pressure characteristic of adolescence is perpetuated in this hard driving, competitive, granola-eating, exercise-conscious generation. What can we do to make the most of these attitude changes? First, avoid using chronological age as an explanation for why persons behave the way they do. Try to be balanced in your attitude of aging. All ages - 6, 36, and 76 - 95 offer wonderful opportunities for personal growth and development, and all ages have difficulties. Finally, encourage educators to present a balanced view of aging - a lifelong process of growing up and growing old. Understanding the range of needs and abilities of persons of all ages emphasizes individual differences and commonalties, thus avoiding prejudicial stereotypes. Our grandparents and parents adjusted to changing attitudes and new roles. Our task as we approach the 21st century is to be optimistic, yet balanced. Our attitudes affect our own aging paths. They affect our children and grandchildren who are forming their opinions about what it means to be old. Old age is neither better nor worse than other ages. It is life. _____________________ note- seniors love kids and love to be around them and to hear from them. "The Northern Lights" by Eunice Mae Kunnan Qayaak Chandler (5th grade) I will tell about the things I've heard and read about the Northern Lights. I heard some from Isaac, an elder in Kaktovik, Alaska. He said we need to keep our hoods on while we are out doors. He said, "If you whistle you can see the Northern Lights get brighter colors and dance around lots." People in the village do whistle when they see Northern Lights so they will move faster. I love to see the Northern Lights. We also read in science that the sun sends off electrons and they get stuck in the earth's atmosphere. They go to the northern and southern most places and create the Northern Lights. It was fun reading that kind of stuff. I have heard about the Northern Lights from the elders and other kids since I was a little girl. My friends used to say, " they can chop your heads off and play catch, football or basketball with your head." If I was outside or any other kid was outside they would run to their house and stay home or ask somebody if they could take them home. We were scared because the adults said that stuff back in those days and it made me scared when I was little. At school when we studied about the Northern Lights I learned that they can't chop your heads off and play basketball or catch. They only can bounce around and go very low, but they can't chop our heads off. They can also change different colors and are so beautiful. Some little kids in this village are still scared of the Northern Lights. I'm proud I learned more about the Northern Lights. To tell you the truth, I really think the Northern Lights are very, very, very pretty. I love to whistle at them and see them change colors. They can dance too! People love to gaze at the Northern Lights and say, "WOW the colors are lovely on those Northern Lights!" I love to see them get huge and start getting low! I really like the Northern Lights. I'm glad I live near Northern Lights!! Eunice Mae Kunnan Qayaak Chandler xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox The Cup Of Memory xoooxoxoxxxxxxxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo At My Lake my lake has its own music; songs of friends, family, locked in flow of gentle waves. notes of that watery choir carry the sounds of night, chords of misty mornings. in this place, the familiar sends its siren refrain singing over the waters. on the shore, the empty cottage and old boat house still stand, memories glowing in twilight. tonight, I will remember and every star will shine a face that I have loved. Mary _________ A MEMORY OF UNION SQUARE MIC35WILD@aol.com During the 1930's and 40's, I was a frequent visitor to 14th Street and Union Square. My father's family lived in the Bronx, while my mother's family lived in Brooklyn. We lived in Brooklyn, then the Bronx and then in Brooklyn and finally, when I attended the Bronx High School of Science and City College, again, the Bronx. We moved for various reasons. Between 1935 and 1951, we lived at eight addresses. Union Square was the subway station at which we changed trains to or from the IRT trains from or to the Bronx and the BMT trains to and from Brooklyn when we visited one or the other's family. For most of the era of those journeys of visitation, the subway fare was five cents, and the change from IRT to BMT incurred a second fare. So, at 14th Street, we would emerge from the subway in order to have lunch at the Automat opposite Luchow's famous old German Restaurant, which I thought was a Chinese restaurant. I was not disabused of this until I was well into my twenties. The images of 14th Street remain with me. There were the models endlessly parading in fur coats in the second story display windows of a fur shop, immortalized in a painting by Reginald Marsh. There was the impressive tower of the Consolidated Edison building, atop which the 75th anniversary of the introduction of the incandescent light bulb was observed with a giant light bulb and the cast iron IRT subway entrances covered with layers of dark green paint. On occasion, my mother would drag me on a shopping trip to the two major stores on Union Square, Ohrbach's and S. Klein. In more recent years, I have had little occasion to be in Union Square. Just a few days ago, I went there to meet a friend whose office is in one of those ancient landmark buildings that border the square. As we passed a modern office building in the block south of where we met, my friend asked, "Do you remember Klein's? This is where it was." I remember Klein's vividly, with its blue neon signs on both sides of the building, "S. Klein on the Square" topped with a carpenter's square set in an inverted 'V' over the lettering. But I remember Klein's for another, more personal reason. I firmly believe that my mother was instrumental in driving Klein's out of business >From the time I was in kindergarten until the final demise of the firm in the 1960's , my mother would retell the following tale at the drop of the name or for any reason that seemed appropriate. As she would tell it, she knew someone who knew someone that had suffered a terrible tragedy directly attributal to S. Klein's merchandising policies. There was a lovely girl of 18 who bought a gown at Klein's for her high school senior prom. Resplendent in her very first formal gown and the obligatory orchid presented to her by her escort, she danced away the evening. The ballroom was rather warm, and as the celebrants danced the Lindy hop, they all perspired profusely.(0*0*0*Suddenly, the subject of the tale collapsed. She was rushed to a hospital, but, as my mother would tell over and over again, she expired in the ambulance. Her distraught family demanded to know what had taken their daughter from them. At this point, my mother inserted a dramatic pause, taking a sip of coffee or water to prolong the suspense. "And do you know what it was?" Another masterful pause to build the tension. "She had bought the dress at Klein's. And, the doctors said it was full of...(another pause for effect)...embalming fluid! That's what killed her?" Then came the inevitable question from a horrified listener, "How did it get into the gown?" With the confidence of an authoritative source, my mother replied, "Someone had bought the gown to dress a body for burial. And when the funeral was over, removed it from the embalmed body and returned it to Klein's for a refund. After all, why bury a body in an expensive gown? It was the embalming fluid from the body that got into the gown and that was what killed the poor girl at the prom." And then the reward came in the knowing nods and the tongue clucking, and yon may be sure every other woman around that coffee table told that story to five more and they to five more each, until the story was told thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of times around New York coffee tables.. It took her more than thirty years to accomplish it, but, in the end she prevailed when S. Klein closed its doors for good in the 1960's! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox Senior Smiles xoooxoxoxxxxxxxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Freud Revisited - Jim Olson A current controversy deals with Sigmund Freud's theories about sexuality in women and his lack of appreciation for the more liberated aspects of women's lives. I mentioned this to Maggie and reminded her that Freud's book on interpreation of dreams was one of the pieces we read as college students in a class we took together in 1947 (circa). She explained that she had been pondering these ideas for these past years and now had an entirely different interpretation of it than the one presented in class at that time. She invited me to lie on the couch (alone) and she would explain. She explained that we have a subconscious mind that contains not our sexual fantasies and repressed feelings but our civilized feelings and desires (Freud had it wrong). Behind each dream is this hidden inner desire to do the proper thing, but it is repressed by our overt Hedonism (that was an earlier class). all we had to do was to understand the hidden meaning, act on it and our mental health would improve. She asked about some current dreams of mine. I told her I dreamed of the two peaks in the Grand Tetons we had camped near earlier in our married life and had awakened with a desire to climb the peaks. She explained that those peaks were not female breasts as the early French explorers saw them but the two stacks of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink and the dream signified my subconscious desires to wash and dry them. So I got up and did that, returned to the couch. I explained my dream of entering a dark cave with a spear I carried . She explained the spear was really a broom I subconsciously wanted to use to sweep the kitchen floor and the cave was the toilet bowl exposed and not covered by my putting the toilet lid down. I swept the kitchen floor, closed the lid and went back to the couch. I told her that after watching "Grumpy Old Men" I had sometimes had this dream of being in a darkend ice-fishing shack with Ann Margaret, and just as a big fish hit the lure I wakened and had these urges for physical activity. She explained that the ice was probably covered with debris and my desire was to clean it up by a vigorous vacuuming of the apartment. I did that and returned to the couch. I told her of a dream where I walked out to teach my freshman class only to discover that I was stark naked and the class was pointing at me and laughing. I was picking up the unabridged Websters in the clssroom and covering myself with pages torn from it. She explained that was my subconscious desire to take off the snuggies I had been wearing around the house for a week, throw them in the laundry basket, put on some clean ones, and go down the hall and do the laundry. I did that and returned. Maggie was lying on the couch fast asleep with a smile on her face. She never told me her dreams. Probably just as well. ________ Several years ago at a family reunion in Nashville we were around the supper table talking about what a country western hit had to have: a pick-up truck, a broken heart, cheating, and parting. I tried my hand at lyrics that contained them using as a model a Nashville lady newscaster who shook her hair provocatively when giving the news. I posted it on the internet and Rosaleen Dickson, a frequent Threads contributer, picked it up and made it into a duet supplying the lyrics for the female singer. Nashville Gal Duet Nashville gal, beside my bed, This bed is mine; did you forget? Don't you toss your schemin' head. Schemes? You ain't seen nothin' yet. Jist settle down that hair of gold. At least I'm no blonde or brunette. I've reckoned up all the lies you told. Your lies been worse, so just don't fret. Nashville gal, that peeky gown, What? This ol' last year's hunk o' net? Ain't gonna keep me in this town. Been sayin' that since we first met. Now hand me o'er that travellin' vest Here, don't forget your shavin' set. My pickup's gassed and headed west. But all four tires are flat, I'll bet. Nashville gal, a temptin' me, Good, I've got you all upset. Your charms won't chain a man that's free. Such a phony epithet. I cain't love with a heart that's broke. Be Romeo; I'm Juliet. You kin watch my tail pipe smoke. I've watched your tail before, my pet But I ain't seen your pipe smoke yet! ________________ Finally a health item that proved to be one of the most popular bits of health advice the Threads had to offer: DIETING UNDER STRESS This diet is designed to help you cope with the stress that builds up during the day. Breakfast: 1/2 grapefruit 1 slice whole wheat toast, dry 3 oz. skim milk Lunch: 4 oz. lean broiled chicken breast 1 cup steamed spinach 1 cup herb tea 1 Oreo cookie Midafternoon Snack: Rest of Oreos in the package 2 pints Rocky Road ice cream 1 jar hot fudge sauce Nuts, cherries, whipped cream Dinner: 2 loaves garlic bread with cheese Large sausage, mushroom, and cheese pizza 4 cans or 1 large pitcher of beer 3 Milky Way or Snickers candy bars Rules for this Diet 1. If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has no calories. 2. If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, the calories in the candy bar are canceled out by the diet soda. 3. Food used for medicinal purposes never counts, such as hot chocolate, brandy, toast, or Sara Lee Cheesecake. 4. If you fatten up everyone else around you, then you look thinner. 5. Movie-related foods do not have additional calories because they are part of the entire entertainment package, and not part of one's personal fuel, such as Milk Duds, buttered popcorn, Junior Mints, Red Hots and Tootsie Rolls. 6. Cookie pieces contain no calories. The process of breaking causes calorie leakage. 7. Things licked off knives and spoons have no calories if you are in the process of preparing something. Examples, peanut butter on a knife making a sandwich and ice cream on a spoon making a sundae. 8. Foods that have the same color have the same number of calories. Examples are spinach and pistachio ice cream, mushrooms and white chocolate. NOTE: Chocolate is a universal color and may be substituted for any other food color. ____________ Aging The vines Must suffer some From mistrals, drought, and flood. Only then will ancient soils grow Fine wine.
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