Silver Threads  Winter 1998

Silver Threads is a production of The Senior Group, an
informal group of older netizens who produce three e-mail

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

All three newsletters are archived at

Silver Threads also has a World Wide Web edition located at



   Editorial Bits and Bytes


   Caught in the Web (WWW that is)

   The Cup of Memory

   Senior Smiles

         Editorial Bits and Bytes

With this issue we are initiating a quarterly format and
continuing the feature story that incorporates input from

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.


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 (rosaleen@igs.net):


"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

"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

"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

" 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
(momo@kinderfeld.icenter.net) 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

"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

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.
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 (marie@doglover.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.

        Caught in the Web

For Those Using WEB TV.....

   -Pat Schade (pasha1@mail.gte.net)

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)
   WebTV Setup Information
    WebTV The WDVL: Sidebar
 WebTV Tips and Tricks . . .
   WebTV Tips... (3 of 3)
     WebTV SJK
    Club WebTV: WebTV Tips
   Club WebTV: WebTV Tips


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:

editor's note- I have not tested this site.

           The Cup Of Memory


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.

            Senior Smiles

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

    Did you hear about the red ship and the blue ship that

            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


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

       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
      "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!