Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Unnaturally Natural

"Grams, what natural disaster scares you the most?" asked Sydney my granddaughter, age fourteen. "I'm afraid of earthquakes and tsunamis." About this time Gabby my granddaughter, age eleven piped up. "I'm afraid of fire and robbers." Hm. Obviously there is a need for dialogue here.

I stood upstairs in my bedroom back the lane on Neff Road. I know it was in the late '60s. No one was home except for me. I was stopped in my tracks as an almost human moan shook our house. I looked out the window as a rain, white as milk, was falling. Dad had just pulled into the lane when the tornado passed over our house. The storm created an uprooted path through my grandfather's woods to the little town of Painters Creek where it wiped out Bud Wyan's auto service garage. I know about the violent side of nature. Its eerie voice stays with me still.

It seems that every week when I have my granddaughters, another disaster has affected the lives of children. I always try to talk to the girls, so they can give voice to their feelings. Grandmas should be a safe place to unload, and I'm about as safe as safe can be. We have talked about safe exit from their home should disaster strike. Newtown opened dialogue that should never need to take place. We watched the tsunami hit Japan. And, now again, we talk of bravery, wisdom and survival. Sydney was quick to point out that Gabby's choices were not natural disasters. Fires were usually manmade, er, womanmade, er, made by the hands of people. As to tsunamis, we have a very high Coastal Range between the Willamette Valley and the blue Pacific. We have only had couple of earthquakes that were hardly felt. The largest fault lies off the coast. I've only heard of two twisters with only one on the ground since before my move here in 1978. We did have a mountain blow. Luckily Mt. St. Helens is a few hours away. Once in a while we have a mudslide or two. But contrary to belief, we are not even in the top 100 cities for yearly amounts of rainfall and rarely have lightning and thunder. If Mt. Hood goes, we will have air quality issues depending on which way it blows, and our Bull Run water supply will probably be affected. Considering that it has never erupted, we don't really know for sure what would happen. We are not big on natural disasters here.

Still we talk about nature and man living together. We continue to investigate ways that we can do it better. Because of my grandchildren, I try to be informed and let them come to their own conclusions, not mine. Because of what happens in the world, we learn to dialogue and search for not only the solutions, but sometimes we look for the questions.

Maybe next time we will talk about peoplemade disasters. I think we'll start with robbers.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

When I grow up

What do you want to be when you grow up? It didn't take much for me to answer that question when I was little. First of all, I wanted to be a mommy. Next I wanted to be a dancer. A close second was movie star followed by stewardess (that's what they were called back then).

So how close did I come to that target? Well, marriage was expected of young women in the 50's and 60's. Finding a man was important. A career wasn't even something we considered. I needed a husband. Men back then wanted a woman to cook, clean, wash his clothes, bear his children and to be available whenever he wanted a little lovin'. Women knew the job going to the altar. They really didn't think of much more. Of course, the sixties began a new way of thinking. Many women were working in the city. Some were tapping into the new world of computers. Some went off to college and didn't return to their hometowns. However, I was on that edge of what was expected and what was to come. I married and didn't do it well. I had been raised told what I could and couldn't do. I knew there was more. It took a roving husband to give me the boost I needed.

So back to the question. I came fairly close to some of my dreams. Mustering up my courage, I did pick up my love of acting. I found I had a skill at teaching others to act. I found that I had a knack with words and began writing. I wrote and produced plays on social issues for twelve years. And, I was a mommy. Instead of standing back wondering if I could do something, I decided that I'd never know if I didn't try. I needed to change with the times and find new dreams. Life was and is an adventure.

I remember when I took on my first job involving a computer. I was scared to death of the thing. Then I decided not be afraid. I ended up helping other when they had computer problems. I found a new adventure, one of discovery. Just recently I got and iphone. Another new adventure.

I went online to see what jobs children are wanting to pursue in their adulthood. My son pursued his career in theatre and music. My daughter wanted to be a veterinarian tech. Now kids want to be firemen, doctors, lawyers, pilots, actors, athletes, teachers, race car drivers. Hm. My granddaughter Sydney wants to be a teacher or maybe a nurse. Gabby wants to teach gymnastics. I continually try to open doors of new experiences for them. "Find your gifts," I tell them. "Do what you love." My grandbabies are nine months old now. I spend time showing them new things. With the warm summer weather we have been experiencing, I sit in the yard with them and show them flowers and plants. They hold a stick and watch a lady bug. They touch a leaf and learn that it is green. Opening doors. Sometimes I think that is the best job of all.

What do I want to be when I grow up? I'm still growing up, you know. I love new experiences. I love finding old friends on Facebook and learning to be friends all over again. I love that there are parts of my brain that have yet to be opened. For me, getting older means that I am aware of how important it is to make my life as full as possible. I want my children and grandchildren to know that old does not mean empty.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Well, when I am done growing up, I will be in Heaven.


Perhaps it is time to revisit my blog. Perhaps. Life is chaotic. Twin babies now nine months old. Babysitting and working. An every day trade off. Struggling with my living situation and wanting more in my life. Having my 66th birthday next month. Perhaps it is time for a revisit. Perhaps.