Bits and Pieces of the Past

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #95: bits and pieces

SixWordSaturday

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ticket stubs

 

I saved these ticket stubs…scraps of paper…bits and pieces from my past. I found them tucked in a drawer, old jewelry boxes and a business card case. Ancient rubber bands barely held some together. I smiled as I arranged them for this photo.

Allow me to share a few ramblings…

I remember…seeing Whoopi – my comedy idol – and waiting in the theater’s back parking lot afterwards hoping to see her.

There was the night we saw Bruce Hornsby and his heartfelt tribute to Jerry Garcia who had died a few weeks earlier.

A concert I never thought I’d attend had been #1 on my bucket list for years: Barbra Streisand. Tied for #1: Carole King. And there was Bonnie – could never get enough of her. And Bruuuuce…you know who I mean. Amazing.

When we took the kids to see the one-of-a-kind Harlem Globetrotters – back in the days of the basketball and Chicago Bulls craziness that consumed our family.

When You’re A Jet….a local professional theater did this fabled Broadway musical justice beyond our expectations. Again, a favorite.

And…Writers! Anna. Elizabeth. Joyce. Sonia. Atul. Inspiring and captivating…they welcomed us all into their world for an hour that went by much too fast.

I shared most of these events with family and friends. In theaters and concert halls both large and small. In New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Washington, DC. Singing, laughing and can’t-help-but-get-out-of-my-seat dancing…ain’t too proud sweet darlin….

I attended a few of the writer’s talks alone and will admit there was no singing and dancing, but laughing…yes.

Unique memories of a time gone by.

As far as I know, all of these once packed venues are closed for the foreseeable future. I hope that someday we all have another chance to collect more bits and pieces like these.

 
This song has been going through my head ever since seeing V.J.’s prompt. So in the spirit of live concerts please enjoy…

 

Sprinkled

Double inspiration this week…

Lens-Artists Challenge #95: All Wet

I hope you’ve enjoyed my departure from the everyday challenges of our COVID-19 world, and that you too have some archived wet images to share.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #95: What a Child Knows

This week, let’s tune into the wisdom of children, or look inside to reconnect with our inner child and innate wisdom.

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If you own a home…with a yard…you often end up with a lawn that gets a bit finicky every now and then, especially in the summer.

In other words it gets crunchy in places.

Back in the days of such situations…when rain became elusive, we dragged out the green 25 foot garden hose and attached our sturdy “oscillating” lawn sprinkler. It needed to be positioned just right – in order to direct the much needed drink of water to the thirsty spots on our lawn. This took patience.

You also had to calculate exactly when to dash out of the way to re-position the sprinkler when necessary.

No sense in soaking yourself, the driveway or creating a river into the street.

Just the grass needed to get…All Wet…

With special attention paid to the Brown Spots.

sprinkler

 

Children meet up with a lawn sprinkler…and it’s a whole different story.

Never mind the grass. Or crunchiness. Who cares about brown spots? They sure don’t.

Water shooting high into the air out of a rotating metal bar with holes in it…is not about soaking the grass. Not at all.

It is really just a mechanism designed to get them all wet and cooled off in the hot summer sun.

Including a variety of delightful shenanigans…

Enjoying every sunlit moment.

They know.

backyard001

Summer times

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #93: remember

Remembering past times, especially joys, is a good way to ease tension. This week, I invite you to remember and share.

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I remember…

…when spring signaled it was time to start planning our family vacation. One week away for just my husband and me…then for 3 of us…then 4.

One thing I knew when I became a parent…we would make sure to set aside a family-only “getaway” every year. A time of just plain fun and connection. None of the usual distractions. Or “things to do.”

It did not have to be far or fancy. And it wasn’t…

For 20 years we packed up the car and drove 70 miles to Lake Winnipesaukee in NH. We stayed at a conference center that also catered to families. Where I had worked for two glorious summers as a teenager.

What do I remember about that one family week every summer?…

The days slowed down and opened up with time for everything and anything. I didn’t have to cook. Or clean. Or wash dishes. We all ate from a basic all-you-can-eat buffet at the dining hall.

We didn’t have to go anywhere.

There were no televisions. No phones except a payphone (remember those?).

What we had was a beautiful lake. Canoes. Kayaks. Sand. Baseball field. An “old-time” ice cream store selling locally made ice cream scooped into crunchy cones.

gpc 95 T

Acres of woods surrounded us…to hike and collect “natures” – as my kids would call the pine cones, acorns, leaves and assorted scraps of treasures they found. Filling a sand pail…

Then sorted and counted and carefully lined up…for display on the deck railing of our building.

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There was, of course, the small beach where we plunked down our sand chairs, towels, plastic pails and shovels. Dug holes to China and constructed sand castles with moats. Read a paperback book or two. Splashed, jumped and played catch in the water.

One of my favorite activities for evenings or rainy days…playing lots of cards…

gpc 95 all
Dad barely makes it down a flight of stairs before the self timer takes the shot (1995)

Was life simpler then? I don’t know.

All I do know for sure…

…it was joy...pure and simple.

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That’s what I remember.

Waiting

Lens-Artists Challenge #91: Simplicity

Show us what simplicity means to you. 

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #91: transported

In the midst of chaos, what transports you to simpler times?

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I was struck by the synchronicity of my two favorite blog challenges this week. Both numbering 91. It seemed quite natural to combine them together.

To be honest, the current – as V.J. so aptly describes it – chaos has made me want to crawl into a corner and wait for “this” to be over. However, that only momentarily happens in my imagination – and as tempting as it sounds, I realize it is not a tenable solution.

Being trapped. Isolated. Cut off from what I love to do and who I love to be with will never be a “new normal” no matter how long “this” lasts. I know the confusing uneasiness hovering everywhere isn’t unique to me. So there is solace in knowing…as is written with colored chalk on town sidewalks and on “Closed for Now” signs taped to store windows…We’re All In This Together.

Yes, we’re all in this together…at least six feet apart.

It’s far from simple or easy to understand. Too much change too fast. Too much horror for too many around the world.

So I try to remember nature’s simple pleasures.

My favorite spots…unchanged by the invisible invader lurking in all of our lives.

Where I am transported to “before.”

Whether it be the familiar soothing sound of the surf.

simple beach

Or a calm quiet place to rest.

simple bench

It’s worth holding on to the simple things.

rising bud

As we wait…each in our own way…

Together.

Who would have imagined…

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #89: Imaginary

The word this week is imaginary. Respond in which ever way the muse moves you. Looking forward to your responses.

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IMG_1694
March 27, 2020

My life is surreal enough as it is right now. Fear is everywhere. The enemy…invisible.

Not just in my own little universe. Throughout the world…women, men and children are dipping their collective toes into unfamiliar murky waters. Trying to figure out this new “normal” as Stay Safe replaces Have Fun or Have a Nice Day.

Breaking News assaults us nightly. No escaping it if you want to stay informed.

This morning I went out to get gas for my car. Not that I am going too far, but a full tank of gas is one thing I can actually do. Alone.

Imagine my surprise when I glanced at the prices. WTH? I haven’t seen gas selling below $2/gallon in…forever it seems.

Although these days a month ago feels like forever.

Never in my wildest dreams (which aren’t all that wild, but you get my drift) would I have ever imagined panic buying of toilet paper. This morning I asked a neighbor if she needed anything at the store (yes, I had to run in and out for salad and bananas).

She thought a moment and then…”macaroni…and toilet paper?”

As if the second request would be a total miracle.

It turns out miracles do happen. Limit of one package per customer. My neighbor is rejoicing. I do what I can.

Now I have a full tank of cheap gas. In case I want to drive around the block. The governor just closed all state beaches, so I can’t drive to one of my favorite spots. Well, I could drive there, but I’m not allowed to walk the beach.

Apparently people were recently congregating too close together on the sand. Ruining it for those of us who would find some momentary peace and comfort walking six feet apart in the fresh air.

Imagine what would happen if I just went down there anyway.

Would I get arrested? I’ve never been arrested.

Imagine the report: Senior Citizen arrested for walking on the beach. Even though she was minding her own business and was six feet away from the nearest human.

Maybe worth it?

Nah…I think I’ll pass.

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Hampton Beach, NH

These days my imagination continues to expand in epic proportions. Taking on a life of its own. Sometimes that’s not helpful…when it wakes me up at 3am.

This won’t last forever, I keep telling myself.

And then a sweet reminder…

How young children can cope in a world they don’t understand…

My daughter and my 3 ½ year old grandson took a walk yesterday. They live in Washington, DC. Their neighborhood…complete with sidewalks. Lined with trees.

She texted a photo and the story behind it…which she often does – and for which I am most grateful…

…On their walk my grandson carried a stick…

“a special sprayer he was using to spray the germs away….”

He also announced:

Mama, I will keep you safe from the germs. If you get covered in germs I will spray them all off of you. Then the germs will be all gone and we can go to parks, fields, schools, and go visit Grandma and Grampa.

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Imagine that. ❤️

 

Empty shelves

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #88: Domino Effect

The dominos are falling. Where is this all leading? What happens when the dust settles? Thoughts? Examples? Interpretations?

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First it was hand sanitizer and wipes. Then toilet paper. Next…paper towels. Then Kleenex. One after another. Disappearing from store shelves. Worried moms…dads…kids…everyone actually…buying what they can…just in case. The unknown is a scary place.

The fear is palpable. The carts full. We are all in uncharted territory. I must believe this will pass…in time. We will someday look back and learn.

Yesterday was likely my last visit to the grocery store for the foreseeable future.

This is what happened:

empty aisle


Do you remember when the Berlin Wall fell?

I was leaning back against the shelves on one side of the paper products aisle. Finishing up taking a few pictures with my phone.

A man – probably in his 50s – had stopped his shopping cart in front of me to talk. His voice was tinged with a faint accent. He wore a camouflage patterned sweatshirt and jeans. Short clipped dark hair. Slightly balding. Medium height. Stocky.

I was trying to document the (almost) entire aisle of empty shelves. Which are usually crammed with assorted packages of toilet paper, facial tissues and paper towels.

Shelves now empty as panicked customers buy out the inventory day after day – sometimes within an hour of being even partially restocked. The virus is coming.

Shoppers quite frequently start random conversations with me in the grocery store. More often than not.

But this seemed more off the beaten track than usual – immediately capturing my attention as I answered…

Um…yes, I do.

Well this reminds me of it.

It does?

It was like this in East Germany.

You mean people buying up supplies when it happened?

No, this is how it always was in East Germany then. Empty shelves. I saw it. That’s communism.

Did you live in East Germany?

No, but I was there when the wall came down.

Wow.

The two of us paused and looked over at the empty shelves. We were alone in the aisle.

Is it upsetting for you to see this? I asked.

No…but what’s with all the panic about buying toilet paper?

I think people are worried about being quarantined. A friend of a friend of mine bought 120 rolls. For just herself.

That’s BS. All you need is enough for 14 days. But…he glanced at the empty shelves again…what if you ran out…

Well, there’s always napkins. I pointed to the few remaining packages of dinner napkins.

He nods. True.

There’s also no chicken left, I added. Shifting to perhaps a more important priority when stocking up for survival while stuck at home. If, of course, you are fortunate enough to have a home. And enough money to buy food…never mind extra food.

He nodded…No hamburger either! Ridiculous.

Shaking his head, he announced…Well…ya know…I really like guns. And people don’t like that I keep so many extra boxes of ammo stocked in my house. But I don’t care what they think.

Ahh…well we all do what we gotta do I guess.

Yes we do.

He began pushing his cart away to finish shopping.

Have a good day!

You too!

Hand sanitizer. Toilet paper. Paper towels. Tissues. Guns. Ammunition. We all are trying to prepare for an unseen enemy in our own ways.

The Berlin Wall…East Germany…who knew.

no chicken
No Chicken

Stay safe everyone.

 

Morning Moments

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #87: Morning

What do mornings mean to you?

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My soul never thinks of beginning to wake up for other people till lunch-time, and never does so completely till it has been taken out of doors and aired in the sunshine. Who can begin conventional amiability the first thing in the morning? It is the hour of savage instincts and natural tendencies

Countess Van Arnim

Amen!

There’s a reason I have no photographs of sunrises. I am still asleep – or not yet fully conscious – that early in the day. My mornings need to evolve. I shift into fully awake mode after drinking an oversize mug of coffee. Plus finishing breakfast and the morning newspaper’s mix of news…both happy and not.

Empty nest retirement definitely has its pluses.

When I was growing up, however, my weekdays began at high speed. School day mornings…a blur…

Get Ready For School Hurry Up You’ll Miss The Bus! Finish your breakfast! Come Back You Forgot Your Lunch! Hurry! The Bus Is Coming! The Bus Is Coming!

Childhood weekends – thankfully – were a different story…

Early on a Saturday morning…the year I was 9: my 7 ½ year old sister, 6 year old brother and I would tiptoe down the hall of our small ranch style home. Careful not to disturb our sleeping parents.

If our 2+ year old baby sister was awake and willing to be quiet, she joined us.

SHHHHH!

A carpeted hallway covered the short distance from our bedrooms to the living/dining room. After just a few quick trips we had gathered all the toys we needed. Since the black & white television was in my parents’ room at the time, we were on our own to entertain ourselves.

And entertain we did.

The Barbies – (with friend Midge) – strutted around straight legged showing off their tiny don’t-step-on-them-with-your-bare-feet shoes and stretchy outfits. Ken made an appearance, but usually as an afterthought. My sister’s pink Barbie car transported B&K in a circular route under the dining room table…often without their clothes on. Sometimes Ken’s arm was removed and inserted in his torso backwards. Creativity on the loose. I’ll admit those adventures were mostly my idea. My sister loved Barbie like crazy, but I was quickly bored. Hence the unusual Saturday morning escapades. Which we all considered quite clever and hysterical.

My brother brought to the excitement an assortment of small green plastic army men, a GI Joe and an array of stuffed animals – many based on cartoon characters. Yogi Bear. Huckleberry Hound. Barney Rubble. Bugs Bunny – with a string…which when pulled…gave voice to What’s Up Doc?

Despite the differences in size and species, plush bunnies & bears interacted with dolls without a single problem. In whispers and hushed tones. Barbie to Yogi: Where’s the pic-a-nic basket?. Bugs to Ken: Got any carrots?. And so on.

Miraculously the 3 (or 4) of us played seamlessly together during those early childhood mornings. We didn’t argue. Or poke each other. We took turns. It was quite remarkable. And unusual.

Our common goal: Don’t wake up mommy and daddy! 

Those Saturday hours with my sisters and brother are precious in memory. They represent moments of our best times together.

Reality and its rivalries shifted back to normal when my parents woke up. And the day started for real.

Until the next weekend…when the crowd gathered once again.

saturday morning 1963
Saturday Morning – circa 1963