xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Silver Threads Winter 1998 oxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox Silver Threads is a production of The Senior Group, an informal group of older netizens who produce three e-mail newsletters: Silver Threads - general senior interest- Silver Feathers - birding and nature related items Elderhostel Notebook - elderhosteling To subscribe to any of these, e-mail to Jim Olson, at Jimo@discover-net.net All three newsletters are archived at http://bcn.boulder.co.us/community/senior-citizens Silver Threads also has a World Wide Web edition located at http://www.winnipeg.freenet.mb.ca/sthreads ********************************************** Contents Editorial Bits and Bytes Features Caught in the Web (WWW that is) The Cup of Memory Senior Smiles xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox Editorial Bits and Bytes xoooxoxoxxxxxxxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo With this issue we are initiating a quarterly format and continuing the feature story that incorporates input from readers. Thanks to those who submitted comments on the topic of "home". They were all thoughtful and helpful and all have been used in putting the essay together even though I wasn't able to quote all directly due to our space limitations. This seems to be a successful format, and if you have ideas for future essay of this type where we share ideas and I try to put them together into one essay, let me know about them. Since Senior group e-mail publications is picking up more subscribers that use webtv as their net connection we have included some net sources for information about it. I am always looking for an original short poem to end the newsletter with and appreciate all submissions. oxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Features xoooxoxoxxxxxxxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Where Oh Where Oh Where is Home? - Jim Olson In the musical "Oliver Twist", the search for Love might easily have been the search for "home" as characters sought and found their "homes" in various places and with various degrees of success. The farmer in Robert Frost's "Death of the Hired Man," describes "home" as the place that "When you go there they have to take you in." The farmer's wife saw it as an appropriate final destination, a reconciliation of a life. How do most of us view "home?" Is it a location, a structure, an emotional state? I asked our readers to express their concepts of home and their feelings about it. The responses varied but almost everyone saw home as a type of symbolic extension of self, existing in places, relationships, emotions, community, present surroundings, hopes, and memories. Several respondents saw home as a sense of presence and well-being that accompanied them wherever they were, a feeling well expressed by Rosaleen Dickson (firstname.lastname@example.org): ______ "I am completely at home in my skin wherever I am, and that's a condition I've always had ever since I was a child, expected to deal with whatever arose. No matter if I'm out in the woods making camp with children, playing music in an orchestra, meeting dignitaries at a formal reception, speaking to a public gathering, hoisting the main in a sailboat, changing someone's diapers, driving to Nova Scotia, picking berries, making jam, flying across the ocean, playing the slots at Reno, or wandering down a dusty road in Quebec, miles from the nearest farmhouse - I am comfortable and I feel at home. "Babies, teenagers, yuppies, puppies, horses, window washers, bus drivers, old people like me, old people not like me, old people who don't even like me, politicians, and even bureaucrats - I love them all and feel totally at home with each and every one of them. "There is a song I often find myself humming. The words are, "This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through." That also sums up my feelings pretty well because I always have a feeling that somewhere else is where I'm supposed to be. So tell me I'm a contradiction - and yes, you are right. I am." This concept was echoed by Laurie Stone (email@example.com): __________ "I can feel "at home" in just about any place which is not besieged by intrusive or dangerous influences. Tucked up in a cozy hotel room after a long day's journey, surrounded by warmth and comfort and quiet, I can feel "at home". Walking on an ocean beach on almost any kind of day, with someone congenial or alone, I can feel "at home". A quiet night in the mountains, in a quiet cabin, with night noises around me, I can feel "at home". It's more of a concept than a place." Others made reference to a loss of this interior "home" through changed personal relationships that temporarily at least, disrupt this "comfort zone" of feeling at home as expressed by HRM1294@aol.com: __________ " Four years ago, after 48 years of marriage, my husband died. The house we lived in held memories and the spirit of our lives together. Time has passed. I have now adjusted and am trying to build a new life. My husband is gone. My children are good to me, but they now have lives of their own. Friends here are becoming older, some moving away, some changing in abilities, and two close friends have died. I had felt that I would always want to remain in my present house. I no longer feel contentment here. I feel little attachment to city or home, and given the right circumstances, would move away without hesitation, taking with me the treasures that mean memories of the life that is over an incorporating them into what I hope will be a new life. Wherever that leads me, I hope I can find within myself the strength to make myself once again feel at home." Facing similar changes Morley Globerman (firstname.lastname@example.org) decribes a home he found: _________ " Home is a place of tranquility, of peace.Its location changes when the kids leave; when a spouse dies. The death of my wife five years ago, and the internet have changed my perception of home. "Now I feel at home almost anywhere - this post is coming from Jamaica where I am currently on a CESO assignment. I feel that way primarily due to being on the internet. Wherever I am I hook into a server and to all intents and purposes I am at home. My children in Winnipeg, Toronto and Florida are all on the net, as are most of my friends." The need for a search to replace lost values of home and find a new interior home was echoed by another respondent: _________ " I just turned "60" yesterday and went with my brother to see my relatives in Florida that I hadn't seen for 40 years. Home to me is familiarization. I am thinking of leaving my husband as we don't have a good marriage but in order to be able to do that, I had to learn to be totally comfortable with myself and my God so when I go somewhere else, I will have a person who I like to be with (me). "I feel at this point, I need to expand my horizons and live more "dangerously". I have always done all the right things......church, family, etc. and want to change "home" as I feel myself deteriorating in this situation. I love my children, however, they have their own life and give me time when they have time." Another of the home seekers expressed this feeling of loss in poetic form: ________ " Reverie Your breath is sweet to me Caressing the hollow of my throat Your mouth moves close My heart skips a beat I raise my face to yours. Somewhere, A mourning dove has sighed With open eye I see The room is empty And so am I....... - Annafair@aol.com" While readers saw home in this symbolic sense, many also made reference to the existence of Home in fragments of memory: " the orange crate closet which was great for storing all my junk and how when we moved I did not want to leave it, the red tricycle I received at Christmas - thinking it was my cousins not mine, my cousin and I being chased by a bull at our grandparents farm. sitting on the big front porch on Sunday afternoons." _______ "... the picture that comes first to my mind is of a table - of course the main function of our home for so many years was eating and all that goes with that. "The kitchen is there in the background, usually cluttered with all the paraphernalia of having cooked a huge meal. But the center of activities is the table - with my husband seated at one end probably carving a roast, and me at the other dishing out vegetables, and our children on either side, three sons and three daughters - all eating and talking and sliding their chairs in and out, popping into the kitchen to get the gravy or whatever, hopping out to the hall to answer the phone, or the door - never still - always active and all talking at once. David and I would glance at each other and smile - sometimes with wonder at how it had all happened - always with love." ________ As a Marie Nelson (email@example.com) noted it might be all summed up in one short couplet: "A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams." - Unknown And the memories of these both sweet and bitter will remain with us. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox Caught in the Web xoooxoxoxxxxxxxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo For Those Using WEB TV..... -Pat Schade (firstname.lastname@example.org) There is a web site on the net called WebTV that has monthly webtv tips. Iwill list all the URLS I located. You can view them at your leasure. Dont forget to bookmark them. About WebTV (Home page) http://www.webtv.net/corp/HTML/home.about.html WebTV Setup Information http://home.neocomm.net/webtvhelp/Index.html WebTV The WDVL: Sidebar http://www.stars.com/Authoring/HTML/WebTV/Sidebar.html WebTV Tips and Tricks . . . http://www.jumpcity.com/webtv/webtvtipsintro.html WebTV SIG FAQ http://home.sprynet.com/sprynet/eandrese/pcsfaq.htm WebTV Tips... (3 of 3) http://www.jumpcity.com/webtv/tips3.html WebTV SJK http://www.whdesign.com/webtv/tip/7.html Club WebTV: WebTV Tips http://webtv.net/corp/clubwebtv/newsletter/wtv-tips.html Club WebTV: WebTV Tips http://www.webtv.net/corp/clubwebtv/cwtv0997/wtv-tips.html WEBTV USER TIPS http://members.tripod.com/~kabba/awebtv.html ______________ Sandwich Mailing on Majordomo@MyList.net Sandwich@MyList.net is an e-mail list created by and for those special individuals who are responsible for the long term care of elderly parents, (i.e. The "Sandwich Generation"), spouses, children, or loved ones. Membership in this list is screened by the listowner with the intention of creating a close and supportive group of people who will nurture and offer care to the "caretaker". Because of this, a short bio will be requested of the applicant prior to subscription approval. To subscribe, send the following command in the BODY of mail to: Majordomo@MyList.net editor's note- I have not tested this site. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox The Cup Of Memory xoooxoxoxxxxxxxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo WHEN LOVE WAS A LACY VALENTINE By Joyce Larson The grade school I attended was a one-room country school about a mile down the road from our farm home in Wisconsin. One teacher taught all eight grades. Seldom did more than 10 students attend at any one time. And I was related to almost everyone since my sister, three brothers and cousins also went there. St. Valentine's Day was an exciting special event in an otherwise dreary time of the year. Around the first week of February we prepared a big Valentine box to put in the front of the school room. We covered the box with fancy paper and decorated it with cupids, hearts and arrows. In the days that followed, as we made our masterpieces, we dropped them in the slot cut in the top. Hallmark never gained our patronage. Our declarations of love had their beginnings from construction paper, lacy paper table mats and scraps of wallpaper. If we were lucky, the man who owned the paint store in town gave us one of his old sample books. We clipped flowers, birds and other decorations from the fancy paper, or we fashioned the entire valentine by folding over the plain pages and cutting out heart designs. It took at least two weeks to design our works of art and compose a special creation for our teacher. We cut some for our parents, grandparents, and for people who lived along the road. On occasion, there were certain neighbors we avoided. We suspected them of being a sort of rural FBI. How else had information been leaked to our parents about the horseplay that took place on our way to or from school? For these people, we printed an anonymous note or made up a snippy poem which we put in their mailbox. This was a daring thing to do as we would surely be punished for such a deed. Or else we felt terribly guilty when later it turned out they had nothing to do with our betrayal. How excited we were when the big day of February 14 finally came! In the morning, at school, we could hardly keep our minds on our work as we hurried through lessons. The younger kids in the family were invited to come to school with our mothers. My mother usually brought freshly baked cookies decorated with red sugar and cinnamon candies and some Kool-Aid for us to drink. When everything was ready, the big box was opened and the valentines were passed out by one of our little brothers or sisters. It was an unwritten rule that each person would receive more or less an equal number. If it looked like this might not happen, our teacher kept extras in her desk to make certain there were no favorites. No one was made to feel slighted, especially a boy with buck teeth or the chunky girl with poor complexion. Yes, the second month of the year was a dismal time for farm folk. The weather was bleak and cold and there was no television to help wile away the time. But on Valentine's Day, we could count on loving thoughts to warm our February hearts. Love was warm, love was kind - Love was a winter valentine. ____________ The Wonderful New Gym Shoes - Elsie Ayer I was in the fourth grade at Irving Elementary School in south Minneapolis. It was wintertime which I loved with the snow and ice and cold that led to sledding and building snowmen for the kids. It was still depression times when parents worried a lot vocally as to how to pay rent and pay the mounting coal bills. The kids as kids will do had a good time. Sometime in December or January our grade school teacher, Mrs. Burns, who also taught gym class twice a week told the girls that we needed white high top gym shoes so our shoes would not scuff up the newly varnished gym floors. Any plea at home for money for school needs produced near hysteria on the part of my Mother. Anything that cost even fifty cents received the reply in horror "Fifty cents! What do they think we are, millionaires?" Of course, we kids didn't know until we were adults that every other household was in the same boat. My ingenious father who was one of the few men of our relations who had a real paid job always had an angle when it came for needs for "the kid" (me). He worked as a janitor at the Roanoke Building for a princely sum of $100.00 a month which for that time was big bucks. I have no idea where my father got my black leather high top men's boxer shoes. I only know that for a short time when he was young he had tried to train as a boxer in some gym in St. Paul. To go on with my story the shoes fit just fine and my father was very pleased with himself. However, carrying these precious shoes to class twice a week and then rolling up my long underwear at school to get these shoes on became a project. That was all right, but the painful part was the taunting and screams of delight of my classmates. I so wanted to chuck those shoes in the nearest snowbank on the way home and tell my parents that I had lost them somewhere. In today's world shoes that look like men's black leather gym shoes are worn proudly by young women and cost over one hundred dollars. But that is now and my shoes were then. No kid of any era wants to stand out, especially when I already had long curls down to my waist which had to be rolled up in rags nightly. My memory is dim as to just how many girls got the suggested gym shoes. Back then we all tried to do what the teacher told us to do and never questioned authority. It seems to me that one or two girls got the shoes and they were minister's daughters. These kids were considered rich kids as their father got a free parsonage and did not have to pay rent. I can't recall what happened to those hateful shoes. I must have cried enough and absolutely refused to wear them. I can't recall. I only know that when I see models in the Sunday New York Times magazine section sporting these high top black leather gym shoes, I think I had a pair of shoes like that when I was just a kid in grade school. I guess I was always ahead of the times but never knew it. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox Senior Smiles xoooxoxoxxxxxxxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Puns from Pat - Pat Schade What do you get when you toss a hand grenade into a kitchen in France? Linoleum blownapart. A city in Alaska passed a law outlawing all dogs. It became known as Dogless Fairbanks. What's the difference between an angry circus owner and a Roman barber? One is a raving showman, and the other is a shaving Roman. Did you hear about the red ship and the blue ship that collided? Both crews were marooned. . Why did the maharishi refuse Novocain when he had his tooth pulled? He wanted to transcend dental medication. Did you hear about the two men from the monastery who opened a fast-food seafood restaurant? One was the fish friar, the other was the chip monk. A scientist cloned himself but the experiment created a duplicate who used very foul language. As the clon cursed and swore, the scientist finally pushed it out the window, and it fell to its death. Later the scientist was arrested for making an obscene clone fall. .__________ A woman was waiting for a diagnosis of her husband's illness. The doctor came to her with a dour expression and said, " I don't like the way he looks." The man's wife said, " I don't either, but he's good to the children." _____________ A woman went to the beach with her children. Her 4-yr-old son ran up to her, grabbed her hand, and led her to the shore where a dead seagull lay in the sand. "Mommy, what happened to him?" the little boy asked. "He died and went to heaven," she replied. The child thought for a moment and said, "And God threw him back down?" __________ God: "Whew! I just created a 24-hour period of alternating light and darkness on Earth." Angel: "What are you going to do now?" God: "Call it a day." ________________ A woman from Brooklyn decided to prepare her last will and testament. She went to her rabbi to make two final requests. First, she insisted on cremation. "What is your second request?" the rabbi asked. "I want my ashes scattered over Blomingdales." "Why Bloomingdales?" "Then I'll be sure my daughters visit me twice a week." __________ When her late husband's will was read, a widow learned that he had left the bulk of his fortune to another woman. Enraged, she rushed to change the inscription on her spouse's tombstone. "Sorry lady, " said the stonecutter. "I inscribed "Rest in Peace" on your orders. I can't change it now." "Very well," she said grimly. "Just add "Until We Meet Again." _______________ After a preacher died and went to heaven, he noticed that a New York cabdriver had been given a higher place than he had. "I don't understand, " he complained to St Peter. "I devoted my entire life to my congregation." "Our policy is to reward results," explained St. Peter. "Now what happened, Reverend, whenever you gave a sermon?" The minister admitted that some in the congregation fell asleep. "Exactly," said St Peter. "And when people rode in this man's cab, they not only stayed awake, they prayed." ______________________________ Rough Stough - JTB8817@aol.com Sometimes when things seem really rough, The trail so long, the tasks so tough, I tell myself I've had enough Of never feeling up to snough. And so I vow to call life's blough; I poke and peer, I hough and pough, Then finally get off my dough To battle back from each rebough. I set aside all foolish stough, Forget the frills, forego the flough, I seize my troubles by the scrough --- And life becomes a bit less grough!