Sunday, April 21, 2019

Get your daily paper

On each corner. Yep, on each corner of the city, a newspaper boy was hawking papers or there was a newspaper stand. I know, I'm showing my age. There were also shoeshine boys, buses on electric cables, policemen walking a beat and people wearing their Sunday best. Dayton was a different place back then. Most of all, I remember the newspaper boys and their cry, "Get your paper! Get your daily paper!"

The newspaper has always been an important part of our society. Besides the radio, it was the only source of news. Local news was only carried in the paper (and on a party line). I remember a newspaper was always lying around at our house and in those of my grandparents as well.  Dad always headed to the mailbox first thing in the morning. He and Mom read the paper from page to page, column to column not missing a thing.

We took the Greenville Advocate, the Arcanum Times and the Dayton Journal Herald. Our household was up to date on all the news. We grew up hearing Mom and Dad talk about the news. And, it is where I learned to read the paper and to take an interest in local, regional and national news. I read the comics: Orphan Annie, Blondie, Dick Tracy, Lone Ranger, Nancy, Pogo, Li'l Abner. My favorite was Brenda Star.  I followed it to find out who sent the black orchid. Could it be Basil St. John? Every week I waited to see if the identity would be revealed. Well, yes, that was the drama in my life when I was little. Alley Oop came in for the comedy. What fun! Yes, I grew up on the comics. Every Saturday it was a battle to see who would get the color comics first. 

When my kids were small, I was clipping newspapers for major events for their scrapbooks. In looking back through family papers, I find obits tucked into the Bibles. News items important at the time were saved, recipes filed away and newspaper birth announcements tucked into birth announcements sent to our home. Each part of the paper was important.

Things are changing with online news not to mention all the other sources of news, i.e., TV, computer and phone. (Oops, I guess I just mentioned them.) My oldest granddaughter Sydney and I loved to watch the Today Show together. Even apart, we both still watch it. Our favorite part is the news. I learned about our political world through the news and more about which party I wanted to belong to. I watched our government in action through the newspaper then progressively through other media. But nothing has replaced the rustle of the newspaper and the familiar warmth of reading the paper as I have all my life.

Newspapers give us a broadened view of the world. We can hold it in our hands and reread it. We hold our newspapers to a high standard expecting unbiased views and truthfulness. We learn about our neighbors and find out what events are happening in our areas. We are drawn closer through those paper pages. 

In preparing to go home, I will go through the old picture trunk and look for old news clippings. I will bring home pieces of the past. I can't do that on the TV, my phone or computer. Sometimes progress isn't nearly as good as the past. 

Get your paper! Get your daily paper!

More precious than diamonds

Take me home, Country Road. To the place I was born. The place that holds my heart, my roots, my past. Well, really I just lied, because Oregon holds my heart and the roots of my grandchildren. I have been here since 1978.

I remember when I was newly married and living in Wisconsin raising two small children, we found that every holiday was spent on the road going back to the farm. I resented not having the holidays in my own home. Then when we moved to Wisconsin, we found that our big trips were those back to Ohio. In Oregon, we found our trips were few. My roots called me home by way of guilt. I felt I had to go home. Yep, guilt is a mighty power that grabs you by the suitcase and points east.

Over the last couple of decades, I have lost many people. Most of them have been family. Aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors and friends who were as close as family. I know I don't have to explain this as you have found this to be true. We cannot go back and add to those times we missed. And, I mourn those times when I could have sat with all of these people, knowing the questions I would ask now. Absorbing their essence and tucking it away for when I would no longer have them with me.

I love hearing from you who also live away from home. It feels rather like making a quilt with all the threads that tie us together. The patches of lives woven by joy, sadness, faith, love. So many of us passed by one another and never knew it. Now we can be in touch and feel as though we have always known one another. We can reminisce about church, county fair, Bible school, driving the circle in Greenville on a Saturday night and, sometimes, tobacco fields.

Growing up, I was the youngest in my family. Hanging out with older people was normal to me. Now as one of those older people, I realize what my visits meant. I realize how loved ones watched over me and followed my life. Perhaps I am a better person now for understanding the gifts of love and recognition. Maybe I can pass on an understanding of the fragility of life and write about the past for those 'young'uns' who will someday, many years down the road, understand how I feel now.

Yes, I am going home. A suitcase is packed. Summer clothing for Key West and St. Augustine then layers and sweaters as we meander our way north. When I asked the twins what they wanted me to bring back, the combined answers were shells, crystals, diamonds and that order. Hm. I intend to come back with stories more precious than diamonds. I will absorb every bit of the earth, the sky, the towns and the feelings I left behind. Watch out, Neff Road! We are on our way. See you all May 4 from 1-5pm at Turtle Creek Country Club.

Monday, April 8, 2019

As they grow

As they grow, so, too, do I. The distance in their ages grows more and more each year with Sydney a soon to be junior in college, Gabby a soon to be senior in high school and the twins soon to be seven. The distance between them grows, and this grandma wants so much to slow it down. What bridges have I made that will last the test of time. When will the gap lessen and understanding awaken?

I was born ten years behind my eldest sister and seven behind the next. I remember only glimpses of them when I was small. A sister who teased. A sister in college and her life. Vague memories that peek in once in awhile. I long to have had more of them in my childhood so try to make up for that gap as an adult. We build bridges over time that lessen that gap in age. We set age aside and became closer.

Sydney held Nolan in her arms. Her sister held the other twin, Emma. "I wish we were closer in age," said Sydney. My heart lurched. The past came pouring over me. I got it. I get it.

These adult granddaughters love their twin cousins. They do not see them often, and, when they do, it is a struggle between begging little ones and adult conversation that interests them. The gap widens. When Gabby goes off to college, that gap will widen even more. When Sydney begins life out in the world, the leap will be enormous. I see it. I feel it. How I want my family to always remain close. How I want to live to see it. Yes, it is not always easy being a grandparent.

I have talked to Sydney and Gabby about how important their presence will be in the lives of Emma and Nolan. We cannot leave behind who we are and what we feel unless we do something about it now. The girls know that I hope they will always strive to be in touch with the littler ones. To tell them the stories about their growing up and their family. They are the keepers of the future and the family. A heavy burden? No, a gift.

The beauty of any family relationship is that is shapes itself constantly. What we teach the children of their past is not only the passing of information, but it is showing the example of caring to relate history with all of its foibles and tears. The people I hold dear who have left this sphere are so embedded in my heart that I cannot keep their history quiet. It fills me with love and laughter that I can do nothing with but share it. Pictures. Old trunks and boxes of memories. All of the parts of me  and my family.

So many older people are reducing their households. I have gone to auctions and seen a suitcase full of snapshots, old postcards and letters tossed into a box. So many things that are of a past tossed aside, because who will want them. Well, let the next generation make that decision. Don't lose your past.

When my parents passed, we three girls were the only ones allowed to go through the house room by room, going through absolutely everything. Our children told us what they would like to have. We drew numbers, so in each room, we followed the draw. Truly it was an emotional experience. We found things we never knew Mom and Dad saved. We read cards, sorted through pictures and looked through scrapbooks. We learned about our parents in a new way. In returning to our homes, we packed away memories, finding that most of the things went home with us. We found a new friendship in one another. We said good-bye together, feeling the same sense of loss and thankfulness for what we had.

So, you see, as they grow up it is important to realize the importance of ourselves. For in watching and listening to us, they will build their own history. They will know us better. And for us? Well, we leave more of ourselves behind, knowing that we leave it all in good hands.