The World According to Me– Part 3 of “Who am I?”(originally posted 3-21-15)

{Having outlined important features of my life at Age 6, and again at Age 11… through early childhood,  into World War II and out by age 11, what follows here is a rather well-edited version  of the highlights of my life during the decade of 1945-1955.}

[THE END OF WWII ]

On the last day of World War II, when the armistice was signed with the Japanese, the official word report for that the war was indeed over, came from 11-year-old-Me…at least for my elderly neighbor, Mr. Myers.  I proudly delivered the news report, standing in the front yard.  He was the only person that I actually discussed the war’s end with, as my parents were not into talking of important world issues with kids.

Next followed several years of childhood and Junior High.  This half dozen years or so was a very difficult time in my life, in which my school life was marked by depression and questionable educational progress.  The less said about that era the better.

[THE LIBRARY BOOKMOBILE]

One of my favorite good memories was of the library Bookmobile.   There was not a branch of the regional public library in our town, but the Bookmobile did come around once a week.   It parked in an area at the center of town, behind or adjacent to a new car dealership.  During the war car sales had slowed to a stop, and it was a couple of years before new vehicles began to appear–once the resources and manpower needed to produce new cars became available as the soldiers returned from the war front and went to work in the factories again.

Anyway, the Bookmobile was a highlight of my young life.  The vehicle was an old bus that had been made over into a make-shift library, with shelves built into the sides and some portable shelves that were moved out into the  parking lot when the weather permitted.   Even today I can recall choosing books from the shelves, with guidance from the librarian, who was kind and liked to read.   She knew about books and the types of books children liked to read, and supervised the avoidance of inappropriate materials.

I seem to recall sitting on the steps at the entrance to the Bookmobile, but that memory may be an embellishment of my active imagination.  At any rate I sat there and read for hours, and always went home carrying an armload of books that the library lady had approved and recommended.  My library card was one of my favorite possessions, and my goal was to read every book in the Bookmobile.  I modified that goal shortly to include reading all of the books on certain shelves stocked with age-appropriate materials.

When the Bookmobile was not there, I had another hang-out where I could go and spend afternoons–high in a cherry tree in the field at the back of our half-acre lot.  That tree was a refuge and a joy for me, as I was the only person in the world who knew about that particular tree.

But I want to get on with it, and so I’ll skip to junior and early high school.

[THE COLD WAR]

Although The War was over, the Cold War had begun.  This time the enemy was the Russians, or more specifically the dreaded Communists of the Soviet Union, and Red China.   We kids and teenagers were still very well aware that we were within the easy sights of instant annihilation, and soon there was another war demanding our allegiance–this one in Korea.    My primary remembrance was the Korean War (er…”conflict,” it was never a declared war) was that a lot of our schoolmate boys joined the service as soon as they could, and one of my best friends…a mild-mannered red-haired guy who went off and never came back–died when  the army tank he was riding in over in Korea  hit a land-mine and exploded.    The military draft was in effect, and many of the boys in our school joined up with one of the branches of the service.   It was permitted for them to quit school at age 16 as long as they went into the military.  My brother joined the U.S.Navy at age 17.   My boyfriend, who would later become my husband later, quit school and  joined the army, but was sent to Germany instead of Korea.

MARRIAGE OR CAREER?

The first half of the 1950s saw us growing up, and the girls all got jobs in offices or shops, although a few did manage to go off to college to   There really were not any other viable choices for girls: nurse, teacher, secretary.   Oh, there was also the opportunity to join one of the Womens’ Services: the WACs, WAVEs, SPARS…with the Army, Navy, Coast Guard.

I wonder now why I never thought of joining up myself.  It would have been a great job and something that I would jump at the chance––NOW–-to do.  Well, I could have gone to nursing school I guess, but my nonexistent math skills and absolute disinterest in school in general would have made that option unlikely.

A word about Girls of the era:  it was common to be planning one’s wedding at the same time as graduation.  A few girls got –OMG, pregnant– which completely destroyed any educational aspirations.  Even high school was out of the question.   Most of us who did NOT get into “trouble” and graduated high school were sent off to work in offices.  At least I did have secretarial skills which landed me a job and provided a respectable occupation.  Typing and Shorthand were the skills to have.  I did not qualify as a stenographer (who was proficient in secretarial skills–especially Gregg Shorthand, which was a mark of distinction.)  I was classified as a “clerk-typist,” which was higher rank than “file clerk,” but not as high as “secretary” or “stenographer.”

[OVERSEAS AS AN ARMY WIFE]

In 1954 I got engaged, got married in August, and on Christmas Day 1955 landed in Bremerhaven, Germany to meet a train which transported me to Frankfurt, and Giessen, and a U. S. Army base  in a small town called Butzbach.     I was 21 years old when I went to Germany on a troop ship which had been partially converted to transport officers and dependents.

That was an experience…at 21 I had no clue.  Spoke only a little bit of German, and had never been farther away from home than about ten miles.   The trip across the Atlantic Ocean was wonderful…I spent every waking moment on deck soaking in the atmosphere of the sea air and the turquoise water churning at the bow of the ship.  I absolutely loved that journey, and while my fellow dependent wives languished in their small cabins or crowded “theaters” aboard ship, I stayed on deck as much as possible.  My tiny cabin was shared with two other women, and two two-year-olds in cribs.  Yikes!

My German never did get beyond some rudimentary grammar and basic Berlitz self-study.  We lived in a German apartment for one week, maybe two, then moved into U.S.Army quarters into a brand new apartment building in Butzbach, near Giessen.   Most of the people I came in contact with were Americans, except in the commissary (grocery store) and shop-keepers, most of whom spoke English.   My two closest friends were American wives from US southern states, one of whom was still quite incensed at General Sherman’s March to the Sea after the U.S. Civil War… not the best company for a Yankee gal like me.

We played a lot of Scrabble, Canasta, and Pinochle…especially when the troops/husbands were out on maneuvers and we wives were left to entertain ourselves.

I often remember with some regret that my year and a half in Germany was pretty much squandered, in that my interaction with the Germans pretty much involved buying things… haben sie haferflocken? (Do you have oatmeal?)  And ordering and paying for things like bread, rolls (still warm, hung in plastic bags on our doorknobs,) and beer.  (Yummy beer, in green bottles with the bale stoppers…delivered by the case to our apartment door.)

That was also my introduction to hostility…as the locals were not crazy about Americans in general, and snotty young-girl-wife Americans who showed up to re-claim their soldier-husbands in general.  When we got to the area  there were still burned out buildings and huge piles of rubble everywhere in the cities, children that did not want anything to do with us, old lady widows dressed in black…riding bicycles…who hated our guts.     The town near us was especially bombed-out, as according to local lore, some American fliers were killed by farmers armed with pitch-forks as they parachuted from their shot-down planes.  The story was that the allied planes on return flights from Frankfurt back to London routinely “saved a bomb for [the town].”    Very logical, and the town was really in shambles.

In March of 1957 my husband and I returned to the States, via the MATS, Military Air Transportation Service, because I was pregnant.  I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to returning to the States by ship.  The plane ride (I think my second flight ever) was long and boring–and we didn’t even have a window to look at the Atlantic Ocean.     We retrieved our car from the port in New Jersey, then drove home to Ohio, enroute to new military orders shipping us to Fort Hood, Texas.

Thus began the next phase of My Life…

coming up soon…GRADMAMA2011

Me and The War, reblog, Part 2 of Who am I to have an About Page?

[This post was the second installment of the life history of… well, Me. The first time it appeared was in 2015. For my VCBs: Very Cool Bloggers, this post will be a re-run, please bear with me if you’ve read it before, and please enjoy it if its new.]


In the first installment of this feature, Who Am I to have an About Page? https://mumbletymuse.com/so-who-am-I-to-have-an-About-Page-?/   I started out as a newcomer to the world on a Friday the 13th, and by the end of Part One I had been to California and back, eaten part of a persimmon and part of a gourd, and had finished Kindergarten.  Which pretty much sets the stage for the second part of my life story.

Part Two:        ME AND THE WAR

That would be the Second World War, WWII, The Big One– the catalyst for the rise to world dominance of the United States.  I was eleven when the war ended in 1945, and I must say that I was one patriotic little girl.  I was so proud of the accomplishments of my country, in which we had emerged mostly safe and sound (those of us who had not been killed during the war years, of course) and had the distinction of being THE leader of the Free World.

But let me skip the rhetoric and get on with MY part of the War, which began in 1941…along with the arrival of my baby sister when I was eight and a half years old; my brother was six.  It was just us three until near the end of the war in 1945, when another sister joined our merry band.

One thing I recall about grade school is that there was a Congresswoman who regularly was permitted to leave fliers advertising her prowess in the U.S. Congress on our school desks.  She would come in and talk to us about how important it was for our parents to vote for her. Despite having been told, on my very first day of first grade,  by the teacher to “go home and never come back again,” as I explained to my parents when they picked me up walking home from school about an hour after classes began,  I did indeed continue with my education.  I remember well the adventures of Dick and Jane, Baby, and Spot, the stars of our first level readers.

The main thing going on everywhere was THE WAR.   We went to the movie theaters, and were treated to black and white newsreels showing bombs dropping from airplanes, Hitler’s marching troops in huge showy choreographed formations, and in-coming shipments of USA- flag-covered coffins.  We recited the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, and read The Weekly Reader, a newspaper produced especially for school children at various levels. My grandfather taught me about television.  He had a floor-model radio, which had a large window area for tuning various stations on the radio, and he said that some day, after the war, we would be able to look at windows like that and see actual movies and real people talking and singing and the like.   I was properly impressed…this was undoubtedly the source of my great love of electronic stuff.

Then the newspapers, The Cleveland Press, The News, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer told us every day how many soldiers had been killed in battle, and kept us well informed about the terrible evil enemies of the United States on all areas of the world.   Toward the end of the war there was news about Hitler’s atrocities, and the Japanese cities evaporated by TWO atomic bombs.  The pictures were everywhere in magazines and newspapers. The newsreels at the movies were relentless in presenting the horrors of war, and these were incomprehensible to American kids, who had thankfully never had bombs dropped on them.

Movies themselves, presented on monster screens in huge movie theaters that always reminded me of palaces (not that I had ever been in a palace) also presented the great block-buster films of the 40s…complete with horror stories about the war. So this brings Me to the end of the Great War, and the beginning of the phenomenon known as THE COLD WAR.

The newspapers treated us to daily headlines screaming of annihilation and pending doom.  A particularly horrible series presented by the newspapers contained in part a huge bulls-eye, with segments indicating the extent of the death shadow that marked Cleveland…with its four NIKE missile sites forming at once a horrible defense capability of retaliation.  The center of the bulls-eye, of course, meant instant end to everything…out in the suburbs the threat lessened sequentially until by a distance of thirty miles out some percentage of life might survive.

BUT that survival would depend on bomb shelters, which might delay death by radiation by a couple of weeks. As children we were conversationally proficient about hydrogen bombs, pros and cons of including guns among bomb shelter supplies, and just how bad radiation poisoning was. So that was pretty much what one little girl knew about THE WAR… The next era of MY ABOUT PAGE    will be coming up soon:  THE 1950s

please stay tuned…

Farewell the Muse

… and yet again with an oldie from “back in the day.”

SOMETIMES

I’ll never write another word
–ever– I think, maybe a bit longer.

The Muse has left me, alone and mute
singing quietly inside…but it isn’t writing
not bringing forth words of rhyme
or golden thoughts or phrases that soar
with the uplifting quality that speaks of fulfillment
of the annunciation of the soul
(if that is even the right word.)

What does that mean?   My Muse does not respond.
Silence echoes across the lines, across the fields,
rich and full, and absence of sensation…or character.
There is no solution, no evolution…no rhythmic flow
of syllables, or stanzas, flights of fancy…
clever ways to express a notion
…or just to form  a simple phrase–
no silver tinged sunsets,
no tales from the depths of despair…
no soaring ecstasy of the bliss of a kiss.
Words which once were at the edges of my
repertoire –within easy reach of the empty…

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will o’ the whisper

More about me and my Muse…

SOMETIMES

OH!     Where do the great ideas go…
those flashes of brilliance
that should have better resilience
and remain in the Brain Cabinet
long enough for establishment
to take hold in the Eureka! compartment.

How many times in the course of the day
does  the lightbulb flash in the idea flow
and tug at coat-tails for attention;
hoping and praying that no intervention
takes precedence over the outstanding thought
that begs to be recorded–NOT discarded!

That’s it!   Hurry–get to the tablet or pad
and hope there’s a pencil or pen nearby
Scribble or print in quick succession
the words piling together inside…
One after another the poignant confession
or ground-breaking thought to abide
ensconced forever in handwriting or symbol,
keywords or brilliant asides.

The Muse is waiting and prompting the prose
or rhymes that are aching to flow ever forth,
to leap from the pen to the pristine page–

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when the Muse keeps quiet

Here’s a re-run of a blogging commentary I published here on Sometimes a while back….

SOMETIMES

One of the things I love about blogging is the great bloggers…all kinds of people, all over the world, young and old (is that politically correct?) and all political and religious persuasions.   I like that.   How boring life would be if we never got out of our particular little niche.     I DO care about all my … uh…blogging acquaintances…and their opinions and points of view…even the ones that don’t think like I do.   That’s OK, feel free to say what ya want and I’ll deal with it.    My best friends usually don’t agree with me on everything…some don’t agree on anything…

Blogging is fun because there aren’t many rules, and when it isn’t fun there is always the unfollow button.

This post is supposed to be about My Muse.    She stays out of the way, mostly, and pops out with a brainstorm of an idea, or nags me to comment…

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The Tryin’ of Speaker Ryan…revisited (re-posted)

The Tryin’ of Speaker Ryan

I have to hand it to Paul Ryan
the man just doesn’t quit trying!
Caught in a den of experts at lying,
and vying for votes by begging or buying.
Speaking loudly above all the jeering and swearing,
off this way or that…slipping and veering.
Poor Speaker Ryan, his smile running thin
against all the prying and querying…
wearying, not crying, he’s plying his wiles
and biding his time…working at herding his cats…
while trying to stay INSIDE the frying pan!
© Sometimes, 2016

Direct Line…reblogging myself again

Here is another of my early poems from back in the day (Oct. 2015 in this case…
Redundancy intended.)

Direct Line

The Moon, far away as it is bright
dims the brighter light of the stars
My eye sight follows the path of that light
passing the light-years between

Knowing full well the facts of the Moonlight
reflecting the light of the Sun,
it nevertheless leads me to imagine
that the Moon makes its own light from within.

Even if Galileo himself, who charted the Sun,
were to explain with patience and tact
I still would ignore him and blissfully say:
“Please don’t confuse me with facts.”

©Sometimes, 2015

Stranger than Fiction: again

This is one of my personal favorite assignments from writing class last year…in response to rules that the work be a limerick and contain certain other attributes of writing poetry.    I had great fun writing it—

THE DONALD’S MARCH TO INFAMY

There once was a boy named Donald
Who wanted to be rich, and grow up to be President
ha ha! said the people as he started to
stump
but he knew what he was doing and had all the cards he needed to
trump,
and win the game
opponents screamed like angry cat matrons
and picked on his hair and his noisy patrons
but Donald just said they should “lump it!”

“You haven’t a chance, you’re not one of us,” they wailed
“is that so?” said Donald as he placed a standing order for tea and crumpets
to serve to his fans to keep them from starving on the campaign trail
His crowd of the faithful grew and grew
’til they filled the land
so they bought him a very big trumpet.

© Sometimes, 2015

Why are we here? Why do we Blog?

 

Why Blog?

All it takes to write in a Blog
Is a Writer who is a Blogger
and a Reader who reads Blogs.

If someone is reading that Blog
–even if the blog is about nothing–
then all the components are there:

the Blogger blogs,
and the Reader reads.
And IF he is reading,
and she is blogging,
then there is a connection…
a piece of her mind
–for good or for bad–
is read and ingested
and taken to heart

.So what if the Post is about Nothing?

If its being read… someone is interested,
this is obvious right from the start.
The Key to blogging may be
not so much clever phrases
or figures of speech
as simply a communication.

So, if a blog is about Something
then it can’t be about Nothing.

What does that all mean?

If one is blogging…
well, they are blogging.
and if Reading?
Thank you for reading along!

©Sometimes, 2015

Anne Finds Her Career (originally posted February 2016 )

— I first published this poem here on SOMETIMES in February of 2016.    The plan is to re-post some of my favorites among my 400+ posts since the blog began back in 2011.—

Anne finds her career …

When Anne was a girl, she always wanted to be
a dancer.  To wear flowing gowns and satiny slippers
and be guided as a sylph, lifting in twirls and leaping high,
up in the air with skirts twirling and shoes barely touching the floor,
and feeling the thrill of the collective sigh from the audience.
But as fate would have it, her two left feet, and her lack of graceful
moves — more like those of a duck than a lovely swan, or
even a goose–combined with her brother’s snickers
she stepped on her skirt instead of her shoes
and tripped over her partner’s feet.

So then, when she saw that a new goal was needed
Anne decided that she wanted to be, when she grew older,
a doctor.  To have a white coat, a stethoscope  and thermometer
and peer into ears and down throats of her patients…to quickly discover
what ailed them…and find a cure, and all of the people would just be
astounded when Little Anne became a Doctor!
A wonderful plan!
It would be  a good position, pay plenty of money, and mean
great prestige…and besides, the town needed a Doctor.
It might have been the perfect profession, except…
she fainted dead away at the first drop of blood.

Not to be derailed on her track to gainful employment
Anne thought long and hard to find just the right profession
that would serve both her ambitions and her need for recognition.
“One thing that I can do well,” said Anne, “without  tripping over any feet
while dancing…or to lose my wits and panic when anyone bleeds…

The perfect job for me (why didn’t I think of it sooner?) is to get
pen and paper, and a computer — and spend my life Writing!”
So she wrote and she wrote, books and poems, and tales
about dancers and doctors, and all kinds of things.

©Sometimes,2016

“Moving South” and NAFTA

When I was growing up and into the 70s and 80s, my home area of Northeast Ohio was booming…the steel mills in Cleveland and Lorain were blasting night and day, round-the-clock shifts, and there were plenty of good-paying jobs in the mills and in auto manufacturing plants.   THEN the plants started to close and move down South….no, not to Mexico then, but to Alabama and Georgia .   The cause (they told us) was the labor unions guaranteeing good-pay and benefits and decent working safety conditions.
 “Illegal” workers picked tomatoes, worked on ranches in the broiling southwest sun, and worked laborer construction jobs and washed dishes and mopped floors in restaurants and hospitals etc, etc.   Ranchers hired these workers because local prospective workers declined such employment.
NAFTA has provided a free-for-all atmosphere that harmed American workers.    The worst I personally know of is that NAFTA decimated the Mexican farmer corn business….flooding the Mexican markets with American corn.   An even greater atrocity is that under NAFTA came the genitically-modified corn itself, which was treated to prevent re-growth from seed.
The so-called “maquiladoras” throughout Mexico hired cheap and mistreated labor…big companies like Tommy Hilfiger and The Gap.   I have seen these with my own eyes, workers stand for long shifts, begging for bathroom breaks, standing at sewing machines (etc.) for 12-14 hour shifts on tiled concrete floors.   Yes, these people ARE glad to get the work at any price—a job is a job.
These points are just a few, and may be arbitrary…..but are facts—  TRUE FACTS, not Alternate Facts.
(Note: I originally posted this here on Sometimes two years ago.)