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Posts tagged ‘memories’

The Gift of a Lifetime…Literally

Written for wtad.com by Bobbe White 2/02/17

After his dad, Jim, died last year, Ted Johnson was cleaning out his father’s possessions, when he ran across an LP album. The record label was titled, “Irv Schecter: This is your life.” It was recorded in 1957, by H & H studios, 638 Maine St., Quincy IL. Irv (my dad) was 33 years old. Yours truly was almost two. Ted brought the LP to me at work, still in its original simple album cover, made of brown craft paper.

We have a turntable in our storage room; I had little confidence it still worked. Instead, I got the material transferred onto CD. When I popped the CD into the car player, my world stopped.

In the 1950’s, my parents, apparently, were in a social group, which occasionally, surprised someone with voices from his or her life. They picked Dad; the committee put Mom on task to contact each person, who could speak to Dad’s life from each stage. Friends and relatives were recorded when they called in, or their letter was read.

 

The LP sound quality was a bit scratchy, due to age. Still, it was easy to recognize familiar voices as the emcee played each piece to roast and toast him. Every person was introduced, in chronological order, from Dad’s past. Their names were withheld, so Dad had to identify them by voice.

1.    My paternal grandparents. Sadly, I couldn’t remember Grampy Sam Schecter’s voice.  He died when I was young. Grandma Schecter’s voice was a different story. Her Russian accent and voice tone rang loud and clear in my brain!

2.    Uncle Sid’s commanding voice sounded as if he was in the back seat of my car. He ended by saying, “By the way Irv, you still owe me $1.38…

3.    Next, was Aunt Pat, Dad’s sweet, sister, with a small shoe size (4.5!) and a big New York accent.

4.    Several childhood friends were followed by fraternity brothers, from The Ohio State University. More than one guy joked that dad owed him a bit of money.

5.    Dr. Ben Kimmelman, a dentist from California was the heart stopper. Ben was a fellow P.O.W. in World War II, during the Battle of the Bulge. The miracle that these two buddies survived was not lost on the audience.

Dad’s comments, interjections and craughter (crying from laughter) were something to experience again. I envisioned him being a good sport, as he threw his head back in full-out laughter, as if to say, “You got me GOOD!” And they had.

Here I was driving around town with a car full of memories. What a gift. Ted’s trash. My treasure. The mystery of why Jim would’ve even had the LP is puzzling. The fact that Ted could have easily tossed it out –but didn’t – is another puzzle. First, our fathers were definitely acquaintenances, as most Quincy businessmen were and are. But other than that commonality, the only other connection that I know of is the fact that both were residents at the Veteran’s Home on the same floor, until Jim passed away recently.

Remember this simple gesture when weeding out your own homes or those homes of others. You may give someone the gift of a lifetime…literally.

Thanks Ted. I’ll never forget this.

 

ICE, TRIPLE LUTZ and TUTUs

WTAD.COM- WHITE PAGES-1/19/17

Bobbe White

Friday 1/13/17, before multiple inches of ice rained on our world, thousands of residents created the grocery stores’ version of Black Friday. The entire Midwest vicinity would be eating mountains of French toast for days, with their apocalyptic purchases: bread, milk and eggs. Oh, and beer. The store lines replaced the ice threat in the headlines. I wasn’t worried. We’d be fine. We had enough dog food, Oreos and Jack (Daniels) to last a month. There was Halloween candy, somewhere in the freezer.

I pretended we were iced in for two days and never left the house. It was pretty slick as our dogs slid across the deck. Lily White, the black Lab, performed a triple Lutz, landing on all four paws.  Molly White, Lily’s niece, struggled, but only from inexperience.

Being iced in was a perfect scenario. Saturday was day 14 of the Minimalist Game. In follow up to last week’s post, this meant I vowed to pitch, sell, donate or re-gift 14 household clutter items on Saturday, 15 on Sunday and so forth. The details of what was trashed would bore you, but I’m proud to say that I finally pitched my daughter’s 1995 gingerbread house from St. Peter’s kindergarten class. It wasn’t until one of my friends texted me: “THROW IT AWAY! IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU DON’T LOVE HER!” It sounds ridiculous, but after getting permission, it was easy. Now, what about those tubs of toys and baby clothes living in the storage room? Why do we keep the tutus?  Stained bibs? Baby sized rubber boots? The rootin’ tootin’ cowboy chaps? Do we fear the memories will get tossed out with the tangibles? At least we’ve got plenty of pictures and videos to assist our memories. Just think of the money savings on film and developing costs, now that we take smart phone pictures.  If we don’t have to buy or develop film, we must be saving hundreds of dollars, aren’t we?  It’s doubtful. Smart phones can cost hundreds of dollars. It’s simple:  we’ll never win the spending game, until we stop wasting money. Here’s how the inner fight plays out in me:

$50 gift card…cool!

Let’s go shopping!

Oh, rose gold bracelet I’ve wanted FOREVER!

Hmmmm, it’s $284.00.

But I can apply the $50 card…

I shouldn’t get it.

I want it.

Shouldn’t.

But I want it.

Shouldn’t.

But I really, REALLY want it!

I’m getting it, so there.

It’s an investment in gold.

(Inner eye roll, saying, “Nice try.”)

Defiance of inner eye roll.

I got it!

Exhilaration!

Later…

Buyer’s remorse:

What was I thinking?

Ugh. I didn’t mean to spend more money than the card value.

That’s the devil in the gift card. I always go over.

Shouldn’t have bought it.

Inner voice: told you not too.

But I wanted it.

So, what else is new?

I’m mad at myself.

That was stupid.

I’m stupid.
Don’t even like rose gold.

Then do you know what happened?

I woke up.

Yes I did!

It was a dream?

It was a dream!

IT WAS A DREAM!

Ahhh, relief.

The end.

Happy restraining!

 

Why Do We Live Here?

scrape-windshield

Written by Bobbe White for “The White Pages”  WTAD.COM

Why Do We Live Here?

Frankly on weekends like the last one, I do not know.  It was simply too cold and icy to justify; too treacherous to visit family, stay upright while attempting to walk into work or do anything, really. All of this on the weekend before Christmas! What rotten luck for us procrastinators.

It all started Friday after work. Here we were: coats zipped, gloves on and remote start buttons activated. Unless you’re like me, without remote start. We had a windshield scraping fest instead. But, it was as if Santa’s elves – with and without remote start- had descended upon our parking lot!  Even though it meant the remote starter people would have had to stay late, they did! It was the coolest thing ever. No, actually, it was cold as H-E-Double Hockey Sticks! And hockey players are the only ones who would’ve found our parking lot remotely enjoyable. Anyway, everyone helped everyone else get the icy buildup cracked enough to drive away safely. It was heartwarming and almost great fun. Almost.

Saturday was colder and windier. Ice drizzled on our cars. I chose to use floor mats on the windshield, to minimize scraping after work. It worked well on the left side, but the wind swooped in and took the right side mat, which found me executing a double-twist, triple Salchow* jump on the iced parking lot, to retrieve it.

*Salchow (sal’– kau): a figure skating jump with a takeoff from the back inside edge of one skate followed by one or more full turns in the air and (ideally) landing on the back outside edge of the opposite skate.

I wanted to go home. Customers had been sparse during work and Broadway was ghostly quiet, but while I was out, I went to the cleaners, the liquor store and the mall. Fortunately, I’d dressed warmly in my down-filled parka. I became uber toasty inside the mall. Then the zipper broke. In order to take it off, I struggled to slide it over my hips. Forced is closer. WD-40 anybody?  And I thought the Salchow was difficult!  When it was time to go outside and wiggle back into my coat, it was exhausting. A woman watched me curiously. I made eye contact with her and said-as if I always put my coat on over my hips, “My zipper broke, okay?” She smiled and edged away from me.

Sunday, was more of the same: icy roads, frigid temps, and the addition of a few inches of snow. A winter trifecta! I stayed home. The end.

Wait! I need to answer the first question: why do we live here? We live here because when the temperature rises to 23 degrees, everyone loosens their woolen scarves a bit and remarks, “It’s nice out today?”  And they mean it.

Happy frantic shopping week! Stay warm and safe.

tHe FuNnY sIdE oF cHrIsTmAs

The White Pages – December 14, 2016                                                                                                    Bobbe White

Written for WTAD.COM 

As the days until Christmas count down, stress levels mount up and up and up, until you feel as if you’re going to blow a gasket. It’s tough to get your gasket repaired this time of year. I have no idea what a gasket is or does, but in human terms I imagine it’s the holiday flu, or the holiday blues, or the terrible two’s (like watching adults act as if they’re two again. You know: becoming sick, cranky and fussy, with a tendency to meltdown into a puddle of tears.) A powerful time of the year is upon us; Thanksgiving bustles right into Christmas. To survive emotionally, try finding some comic relief where ever you can.

Remembering memories that make us laugh is one way to feel better for a moment. A moment? Hey – one moment’s better than none. It’s about jiggling and releasing those funny memories in your brain.  Anytime you hear yourself say, “That reminds me of the Thanksgiving or Christmas when…”  you may want to write it down so you don’t forget it for another fifty years. Remember, it doesn’t matter if your memory is funny to anyone else. I do recommend sharing, because you might get somebody else laughing and sharing their funny memories. Here are some of mine.

At Thanksgiving, our daughter, Korey, suggested downsizing: “Start by throwing out everything in this house that’s broken!” I started with our 30-year old dead microwave, because heating up Thanksgiving leftovers was a drag. Okay, we’re spoiled, but we’re still in a hurry; family needed to hit the road. I purchased a microwave the next Monday; installation was three days later. It’s great having a nuker again, except its position to the adjacent cabinet prohibits no more than a 45 degree door opening of this model. I’ll have to fold a pizza, I guess.  I texted Larry, the installer, to (1) thank him for his service and (2) ask, “Do microwaves ever open from the other side?” Here’s the text I received:

josh

I began laughing, then crying from laughter. You know, “Craughter.” It was awesome. I thanked Josh for the advice and the laugh. He said, it wasn’t a problem and to have a good day. Did I EVER!

A co-worker is trying to pull off “Elf on the Shelf” for her four-year old daughter by posing Skittles in different household activities nightly. Skittles is the elf’s name. I had no idea that they must be named. Anyway, one morning last week, Madelyn ran to Mom to report Skittles had been in the flour bag and was just a white mess. “Skittles is soooooooooo sh*t!” she said.  “EXCUSE ME?!?!” said Mom. “Skittles is soooooooooooo sh*t!” Madelyn said again, bubbling with giggles.  Mom searched madly for a better word. The word. The right word.  “Do you mean “SILLY?”  And Madelyn replied, “Yeah, Skittles IS silly!”

elf

Another co-worker’s grandson had shopped at their church’s children’s bizarre. Anderson proudly announced he’d purchased a pencil eraser for his one-year old brother. And a ruler for his mom. That reminded me of the one Christmas, my kids picked out peach-colored golf socks and an O.D. green puffy headband for me. I wore the socks a lot.  The headband?  Not so much. I wish I’d kept both items, because the combination makes me smile every time. Finally, co-workers were sampling a Kris Kringle exchange gift of Goat Milk hand lotion. It smelled horrible. Then one of the guys tried a dab, and said, “It’s not baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!” An answer with which any goat would be impressed.

Have a great pre-holiday week and remember to jot down your funnies so you can enjoy and share them this an every holiday season. It will help, I promise.

 

DON’T TOUCH THAT SEEK OR SCAN!

Don’t Touch That Seek or Scan!

Written by Bobbe White for WTAD.COM

Christmas Holiday isn’t everyone’s favorite –or happiest- time of the year, but there’s something remarkably intriguing about the music, which accompanies the season.

In the olden days –eight years ago- before Sirius, we used to dial in our favorite radio stations in our cars and homes. I think there’s still a dial, but it needs some WD40, seeing as nobody knows where it is. During Christmas we get to tap into Christmas past and feel the familiar emotion of those tunes. Some songs ALWAYS anchor memories, for example: sitting on my daughter’s bed, unpacking stuff in her sorority house, circa 2008, listening to “Game, Game, Game”, from Mamma Mia. I don’t know why exactly, but it does and always will.

The same thing happens with certain holiday songs. We’re magically transported back to a time, when the song hits a chord in our heads –or hearts-even if you or your family didn’t celebrate Christmas. Maybe your family –like ours- celebrated a secular Christmas. We were Jewish, but when you’re retail merchants, like my parents were, you still doll up the displays and the Musk (Google it) drums the Little Drummer Boy for weeks. And we can’t help but hum or sing along, regardless of our beliefs. Songs of the season tether our heads to our hearts.

Irving Berlin’s, “White Christmas” premiered on radio at Christmastime, in 1941, just 18 days after Pearl Harbor.  It was only when Armed Forces Radio began to play the song overseas, for American troops that images of the kind of Christmases back home became more memorable. 1942 was the first winter that American troops spent overseas. “White Christmas”, among other carols, spoke to the nostalgia and homesickness of Christmases past, as they longed for a return to home in particular; hope in general. Back home, sweethearts, wives, parents and families were trying to have a semi-normal holiday with hope, too.  It is said that the camaraderie and hopefulness of our troop’s enthusiasm, even in this dark period of history, propelled White Christmas to be a hit, and today it is still the most played Christmas song ever. It’s the glue that connects the past to the present, and the old to the young. Amazing. Never mind it only has 54 words; it both takes us back to a place – and propels us ahead with positive expectation. Never mind Irving Berlin was a Jewish immigrant from Russia. How many cool Christmases do you think he celebrated there? Uh, not many. But it works and it plays and we leave our radios on the station for the first time all year, every year, without surfing for something else. Each Christmas song celebrates a meaningful theme:

-One Horse Open Sleigh: friends and family gather together.

-It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year: regardless of belief, tell me you don’t feel the endorphins swimming when you see beautiful displays of lights around the city. Add snow and WHOA!

-Santa Claus is Coming to Town: kids believe that magically, somehow their wishes will be delivered. (Oh boy, the pressure is on the parents, ugh….)

-Feliz Navidad: even if you’re not Hispanic, you know what this means, and you know every word.  That’s integration and acceptance of the world differences, before it was even a top issue. Jose Feliciano. Haven’t thought of that name forever.  How do I still know this?

-Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Christmas Song. You don’t remember it? I’ll give you two hints:  hula hoop.

Jubilee. The art of celebration. A hopeful look to the future. An appreciation for the past. Songs let us possess these things forever.

This month, drive around your city, town or the countryside some night close to Christmas, find a Christmas station and I dare you to tell me you don’t feel a little something resembling hope and good will towards men, women and children everywhere.  Double-dog dare ya. It works, like magic!