As we are packing up to make hopefully the last major move of our lives, I look back and forward at the dilemmas we face in life, sometimes that we have to decide very quickly, And sometimes we have to ponder over whether we are making the right decision or not. Strangely, as many symbolic things have happened in this last month or so, I had an e-mail from the only other man I was ever married to in this lifetime. We were young, and it was during turbulent times in the U.S. People were disgusted with the government, and a branch of people decided to start buying up all the gold silver, something like what is happening now. My husband, who was a practicing architect at the time, got hooked up with some people who were buying and selling gold and silver, along with the Hunt brothers and many others. Worse still, he decided with some other good friends that if he did not pay taxes, it would help to make a difference in the government and perhaps get them to stop their foolishness. How naive people were in those days (unlike people today - really???). I was working at a full-time job and attending my last year in a university. I was not in agreement with this decision. I was going to to continue to pay my taxes. When you play the game of monopoly, you cannot play by the rules of checkers. It became more and more stressful. Our home, which backed up on an alley, and was surrounded by bushes all around, was highly susceptible for someone to come in and rob and perhaps even kill my husband. Plus there was the worry from the government itself. They were locking up protestors everywhere, and the ones they were going after first were those doing it and teaching others how to do it. Finally, under the stress and concern that I would come home and find him gone, and perhaps be taken to jail as an accessory myself, I told him that if he would not quilt doing this, I would have to leave. I simply could not take it any longer. It was a sad day after I had graduated that I packed up what I could of just my own things and drove away to start a new life and perhaps adventure, one what was free of rebellion. I would travel back and forth for the next some years to an anthropological/ archaeological adventure with a well-known anthropologist who had discovered some very talented potters down in the interior who had literally re-invented the craft of creating clay pots from just finding pot-shards. My own degree was in archaeology, so it was right up my alley. I took turns helping with running my friend's economic and free market publishing business and editing a book he was in process of publishing of his grandfather's work and filling book orders, getting the book published majorly old school in hot type, and other aspects of the business while he made trips down and back to Mexico. It was a good adventure, but I never forgot my friendship and love of my former architect friend and husband. Suddenly, just a few days ago, I received a notice from him that he was on his own once again (after what I thought was two additional marriages), but he had called to let me know his last wife, whom he had loved, had died back in January of Huntington's Disease, a horrible inherited disease that affects all the motor parts of the brain, unlike Dementia or Alzheimer's, and may or may not be inherited. It is so strange to look back on all the dilemmas I have dealt with in this life, and the choices I have made related to them. I have a significant other now, some years my junior (yes, I guess I am a cougar, but what is age but numbers?). I took him into my home and heart when he got injured on the job in this senior mobile home park, and have been his caregiver/advocate (unpaid as a volunteer) since perhaps 2016 or 17, and we live a very simple lifestyle. He became my caregiver for a short time when I had breast cancer surgery, so it was a good trade. Today we are in process of moving to another state with less issues or so we think, and hopefully where I can finally get the care he needs so much since he has two failed neck surgeries, and is now partly disabled. Perhaps life is always intended to be full of dilemmas and perhaps that was the symbol of the lives of Adam and Eve. I thought about the man, Jesus, bearing that cross, and how it too represents the life and death dilemmas we will face in our times. What dilemmas do you face today?
I am not a fashion maven. I do not care for new clothes. New clothes are tabula raza; they have no life story, and for me, that is the most important thing I look for in life. Everything has a story, and if it doesn’t I will make one, but how can you make a story from something that is brand new and has not lived anywhere except on a clothes rack.
I have always loved thrift stores, garage sales, and swap meets of all kinds. There is such a sense of adventure, and what I like especially is that when you go to these types of places, all racial, all political, religious or spiritual or cultural differences seem to disappear. Everyone seems to blend into a wonderful mixture that looks like the clothes in this photo; there is a little of everything. And people sit down at the tables to eat their preferred foods – sometimes things from their own cultures, and sometimes people are just plain adventuresome with what they eat. But the key thing is that they all sit together at the tables, talking often in their native languages, and people doing their best to communicate with others who don’t speak the languages, everyone laughing at the antics of children, or pointing excitedly to a booth that might have extra good items.
And there we all are. One could not paint a more beautiful and sacred photo I believe. there is such a great feeling at the end of our time at these magical events. People are quick to show you their “treasures,” be they the find of heirloom tomatoes, or perhaps a new variety of plant, or a huge watermelon that is going to bring a treat to a big family and friends.
I often use my background in archaeology/anthropology to do a study of a thrift store if I go into a new area, and I can tell so much about the people who live in the area by their “living” artifacts with the stories I mentioned. I can tell if they are primarily seniors who live in the area, business people, or if they are a poor area or an ultra-wealthy one, and I can tell about the children too by the clothes, as well as the cultures represented. And the books and other living artifacts are great clues too. This is such a fun way to spend time discovering history’s mysteries!
I will never be “old” as long as I can find things to have fun with such as these things. I will always be a hippy sort of person in the way I love to think of other people and our society as a whole. The way I choose to dress is sort of a statement about all of that, and I am glad to be who I am because, as the photo says, I have never been this age before, and in one second, I will never be this age again.
The Learning Tree Classroom Door Decoration by Anne Copeland
In my lifetime, I have come across two teachers who have been the best teachers I have ever known. The first one I knew as a young teenager, struggling through being a shy person, and one with very little to inspire me at school.
She was a young teacher, very pretty and she drove a red convertible Corvette. We all loved her. She would bring photos and newspaper clippings and jazz music to the classroom, and we would all write about it. She taught us so many things just by all the things she was introducing to us.
After one of our writing assignments was being handed back to us with our grades, when she got to me, she whispered in my ear, “You are going to be a great writer.” My heart soared and my paper had an A on it. I went home smiling in my heart, and the first chance I got to have money to pay for it, I got some business cards that said my name and address with “Writer” on it. How clearly and easily I had made that decision.
Years later, I ran into an old classmate from that class and I told her about how great that teacher was. And then she told me that the teacher had told all of the young people in the class including my friend the same thing. What a lasting legacy she left with all of us. I wish I could ever find her again to thank her.
I have another more recent friend I met in an online correspondence course, The Silent Eye Mystery School, a fantastic class that involves Archaeology (one of my degrees), History, Philosophy, Psychology, Science and Spirituality. Three wonderful people founded and run the course: Steve Tanham, Sue Vincent, and Stuart France. We have been traveling via posts all over England studying all the great ruins, the churches, the castles and the amazing forts. All three of them have written lots of fantastic books.
In one of the posts online, I met a lovely lady named Jennie, and she is one of the most dedicated preschool teachers I have ever known. https://jenniefitzkee.com/author/jlfatgcs/ is her writing, and her blog is called “A Teacher’s Reflections.”
Jennie writes: “I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That’s what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, The Read-Aloud Handbook because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.”
I would like to give each of these women some sort of certificate of honor if I could. I have worked in the school districts myself, and I appreciate a truly incredible teacher as these two women have been. Thank you both for helping to make a positive difference in young lives.