I’m back…

2019.10.27 Gloria

Where did the last five years go?  So much has happened in my life and in the world. Been spending my time massaging my creative muscles; both in writing and in photography, while also exercising my real muscles to keep this body machine in optimal shape.

Been establishing a writing discipline; finding a voice and developing the confidence to go public. As one of my best friends, when I told her I was taking a risk to do an open mic night, said,  “If not now….then when?” She was right!

While engaging in several writing classes, networking with other writers and always…reading and observing life around me has been stimulating, the most surprising and rewarding experience has been the willingness of friends, across generations, to be readers and encouragers.

The gift of “friends becoming readers” is a unexpected joy. Our conversations are about  life experiences; complete with ups and down,  twists and turns, surprises, challenges, coping, and rebounding, family and professional experiences.   We help each other remember the past, offer different perspectives and question what’s next? There are those truly special moments of synchronicity and serendipity that both surprise and delight.

I’m grateful for these conversations and the relationships that inspire me to write.  I write – they read- and they ask for more!

But, right now I’m worrying about running low on material.  So, I decided to fend them off for a few weeks by diverting them to this inactive blog, which is now re-activated. I’m trying to get ahead of the power curve.

Surprise editors seem to appear. My 10-year old grandson Ivan,  listening as I read the story about his dog, Ling-Ling, while scanning the text on my laptop, catching typos and errors.  Who knew a fourth grader could be an editor!

Thanks to my writing friends and encouragers!  This is for you.

 

 

Sandals, Then and Now!

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Casual Encounter on January 24, 2015

Meeting up with an old friend at a professional event. Exchanging pleasantries. Updating one another on what we’ve been doing for the past few years.

Her: “ Yeah, a bought a home on Kent Island. I love it there.  Are you still living in the same place?  I only live 9 minutes away from you.” Pause, “ I go to church near you.”

My spiritual journey has taken me to a variety of houses of worship.

Me: “Where do you go?”

Her:  “St. Andrew’s by The Bay. But I don’t go very often.”

Me:  Flashing back to growing up in the Catholic Church. “ I used to be Catholic. So much has changed over the years.  But tell me, do Catholics still head out the door after receiving communion?  It always reminded me of Baltimore concert/theatre goers who bolt to the exits to beat the traffic as soon as the conductor’s baton came down or when the curtain closed, thus, denying the artists their just reward.”

Her:  “Some do that. I stay because I love the music. I would pay just to hear that music, it’s like a concert. I don’t mind people leaving early. But really, I do mind the casual clothes. The  parishioners look like….”Hey, make it fast I’ve got to get somewhere else and I’m dressed for the game.”

Me:  “How do you feel about sandals?”

I genuinely wanted to know her opinion because several years earlier when I was serving as a Chalicist in the Episcopal church I was faced with a sandals dilemma. It was a hot  and humid  Sunday as only Maryland can get in August,  and I instinctively reached for my sandals.

“Oh no, that’s not right”, I thought.  Pause…… “Wait a minute.  Christ wore sandals.”  So, I wore sandals.

Her: “Yeah, the sandals. That’s a little too casual for me.”

Me: “But Christ wore sandals.”

Long pause……….

Her: “You know, when I was in the Middle East, I wore sandals and I couldn’t believe how dirty my feet got. I practically had to scrub them with Clorox. It was disgusting.”

I flashed back to another Episcopalian memory. It was Holy Thursday at St. Anne’s and the service included foot washing. It was voluntary. Members of the vestry washed the feet of the parishioners who came forward.

I thought there was a chance that I might step forward for the foot washing, so I cleaned and scrubbed my feet to make them presentable.

When the time came, I slipped off my socks and clogs and walked forward. The vestry member at the station was a young woman who I knew by sight and by name. I did not know her….you know what I mean… didn’t know her!

She smiled, stared into my eyes and gently took my foot, one at a time and washed them, maintaining her warm gaze into my eyes. First one foot and then the other. The experience was more than I expected. It was deep and meaningful.

Afterward my thoughts drifted back in time to the dusty and uneven ground that Jesus and his disciples traveled. These had to be feet that were coarse and hardened, imprinted with marks from the road, and caked with dirt!

Mary took Jesus’ feet and washed them with great tenderness and love, an act of humility and devotion. He gazed at her as she gazed at him and to this day we celebrate that exchange.

Teaser ……..

I’m so optimistic about life. That is, after I’ve considered and dealt with the worst case scenario. I’m always looking for the humor or irony in a situation and I enjoy a good laugh on myself! Mary Englebreit’s cartoon is perfect. It is also a great lead-in to theory of the “Goddess Folds”. This theory has been in play for almost 10 years and I will finally commit it to print. But first……..I have to watch “Into the Woods” to see the worst case scenario.

"Borrowed" from Mary Englebreit!
“Borrowed” from Mary Englebreit!

2014 Ladies of the Blue Bottles

Late Teens to Suddenly Almost 70
50 years
November 6, 2014

Two days until the Ladies of the Blue Bottle reunion for the 5th time. See, I can turn a noun into a verb just like the young ones.

There we were in 1964, starting our second year at MSC and ending the teen years. What could we possibly have known about the years ahead? Didn’t know, didn’t care! Our path ahead was in semester/ course increments. Each course we took was another step in the process of having that degree, getting a job, making a life! Graduation in 1967 was a long way away. We were so innocent. In reality those 4 years were fleeting. Fleeting, but yielding strong bonds that were renewed 4 years ago.

One of the challenges of that semester was going backstage and learning the all important skills of backstage work. Changing reality to fantasy. Whether it was stage craft, set design, costuming or make-up……we learned the art of transformation and maybe learned a little about ourselves.

A 19 year old boy became an aged Job carrying his pain and challenging God. An 18 year old girl became the seductive Blanche duBois, on the streetcar named Desire. Technicians crouched out of sight at the bottom of the curtain blowing air over dry ice to make fog. Oh, that painful wail of, “STELLA!”

One episode that semester has been with me for a lifetime. We were introduced to theatrical make-up. Make-up would complete the final transformation into character. With each application, we moved closer to our future.

We were seated at tables in the small dressing rooms and instructed in the art of aging. What fun!! It was like playing the childhood game of dress-up. Dr. McElroy, gave us instructions in how to age our faces. He has a soft southern accent and a look of a professor, middle-aged, with round glasses, tweed sports coat,an uneven speech cadence and rocking on the balls of his feet. We listened intently.

After the instruction, we faced the mirror and started our work. Proceeding hesitantly and then gaining confidence as explored our faces for shapes and contours. Finding lines and crevices was challenging at 19. The repetitive muscle movements weren’t etched into our faces. It was a challenge. I remember high spirits in the room, laughter and joking…….until we got the hang of it!

After exaggerating grimaces and smiles, shallow crevices emerged that we were able o highlight and shade. The room became quiet and we watched the metamorphosis from late teens to of all things…….our parents and grandparents. I started to see my father’s furrowed brow lines, my mother’s smile, my aunt’s eyes. The transition was complete after blending the colors. This was an eye into the future…… a sobering thought and perhaps, a cautionary tale. Total silence!

The mood lightened as the session drew to a close. We grabbed for the jars of Abolene make-up remover and returned to the present. We headed to the understage lounge for a few minutes before the next class.

This image of teens transforming into seniors stayed me with over the years. Each morning I would apply my make-up for the day, which consisted up smoothing out facial pigment, accentuating the positives and hiding the negatives. I always saw myself, “me”, in the mirror as I applied make-up in the morning and removed the traces at night.

And then one day, I looked at my bare face in the morning and saw………my mother! My mother as I remembered her as a young “mommy” and then over the years as a middle-aged “grandma”. I knew that the “older woman” I remember before her death will emerge, bringing with her the signs of both great joy and great sorrow. Both were etched on her face. It was a beautiful face.

So now, 50 years later, I look in the mirror each morning, I see both my mom and my dad. I apply my make-up to enhance both my genetic inheritance and my own life experiences.

My make-up toolbox has changed over the years with the wonderful additions/ improvements in this alchemy. Sometimes, I even fool myself and I say, “lookin’ good lady” and I face the day with confidence, anticipation and hope.

One of the joys of aging is looking at photos of my daughters and my grandson. I gaze in their faces and I see parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, nieces and nephews.

Lest you think that I completely accept the age related facial changes, there’s a part of me that keeps digging into that toolbox to find the magic eraser.

But, do I really want that? No, I guess I don’t. As one of my mentors wisely said, “ Facelift? No way! I earned each and every line and wrinkle. Each one brings back a special memory.”

Notes of advice to our daughters, “Don’t rub your eyelids!” “Cleansing cream!” “Oil of Olay!”

It has been a joy this week to read the email thread about this gathering. The genuine caring and love was evident in every message. I didn’t chime in right away…but trust me, I was touched by each message. We do have a bond that was formed over those college years. We do provide support and encouragement. We do reflect back to each other our better natures. We bring out the best in each other.

I was reminded of our last gathering in Philadelphia. A hurricane was brewing as we shared our time together. I know I didn’t worry about traveling home, until I actually got on the road. The weather was threatening and eerie. Anxiety mounted. Once we were safely in our homes or catching the last westbound flight to Santa Monica, the text messages started. Throughout the next 24-28 hours, through power outages and howling winds, we connected with love and support. I huddled under multiple covers with my phone in my hand knowing there was comfort and connection.

We have been blessed to have our entire group together for 2 out of 5 reunions, which is pretty amazing. We have never had fewer than 4 at a gathering. May we all be together again in 2015….whenever and wherever. Miss you Pat/ our Pattie!

Gloria

PS: Sunday, Nov 9th at 6:30pm

Thank you for a weekend when I did not feel a desire to, or need for, the make-up/ dress-up routine. It was a true comfort zone. Love you!! Photos to follow in the next few days.

Me: ” I like to write and take pictures” Jen: “Really?”

2015.02.22 Naval Academy Bridge.1WRITING LIFE

February 16, 2015

So what is the writing life?

Is it just remembering, recalling, projecting?

What is it?

When I say I write, what does that mean? Is there a method to this? Do I love it? Do I want to do it? Do I feel compelled to do it?

Where do I start? Where do the ideas come from?

So good to read the article in The Capital, about writing. Good hints. Start with one story, it will grow.

Schedule every day to avoid procrastination.

Create a timeline. Good way to organize research.

Keep your focus tight. On day in the life of an ancestor. One event

Remember your audience. What will be interesting?

I have the raw data. I have the oral histories. of the Petit-Clair and Peet families. I have primary source documents from the Claybaugh and Young families.  I have the photos.  A ton and a half of photos.

I love the characters. I romanticize the places. I want to honor the people.

Tools in the search:

Ancestry.com

Familysearch.org

Genealogy publishing company

Fold3.com – military records

Generation of an Idea / Fuel for the Fire

I read, I watch, I listen…….that’s my hobby.

Something will attract my attention. I picture it, I think about it, I connect to my own recollections, experiences, values. I expand the idea.

The idea rolls around in my head and I have an internal dialogue, forming and shaping it. I’m not to the point of “talking out of my head” (crazy lady) ….it’s internal dialogue). Then an idea /image takes form.

The raw material of the day continues to percolate through my head. Overnite, the information consolidates and when I awake the idea takes shape.

It all sounds very efficient, doesn’t it?   Don’t believe it!  Yes, the ideas are formed and stored in memory………..until…….I put my butt in a chair at the keyboard and bring it to life.   Doesn’t happen often enough. The gap of time is sometimes wide, sometimes never closed. The bridge doesn’t get to the other side.

Yes, I write stories…lots of them…..in my head. Titles are given, document templates are “saved as”, but most are blank!!

That is my dilemma and my challenge.

Bob says, “No writer ever says, I like to write!” They usually say, “I hate to write”. “It made me an alcoholic.” That made me feel better.

I have plenty of source material. Petit-Clair and Peet documents, family trees and taped oral history. Evadna Claybaugh left me Claybaugh/Young documents, photos and correspondence.

I have stories of my own and plenty of documents and photos.

Who am I writing for? Ivan
Why am I writing for him? To tell the story of his ancestors, to bring them to life, to find his place in the family continuum, to know his people. To be inspired to know all the families of our planet earth.

Time to start at this.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I haven’t written anything new just yet, but I do have two followers. Thank you Dan and Jerry!  So, in an effort to keep you both  interested in my little literary venture, I will cheat……. just a little, by directing you to my old blog (equally hidden and unread).

I’ve got to get over this hesitancy about going public. After all, I put a lot of stuff on Facebook already. So this is the old blog’s address. (I can’t think of giving that one up because I really like the graphics).

Go to: boomer-speak.blogspot.com. I hope you’ll think it’ worth the read. Bye for now.

Starting out

Welcome to my blog! The name “Boomerspeak” was created several years ago but remained a concept without either a focus or a home for a long time. My first blog was “Boomer-speak”.  It seems that over time, others had the same idea, so now that I’m on Word Press I’m “Boomerspeak2015”.

My young friends showed me the way to blogging. I’m a speech-language pathologist who  maintained a “womb to tomb” practice (also known affectionately as “from diapers to depends”). I  worked in both health care and educational settings. I’ve pretty much seen it all professionally. The forensics, or the “pathology” part of speech-language pathology, is the challenge and the joy. I remain passionate about my work and continue to practice.

My hobby seems to be observing people and their relationships, seeing patterns, solving the puzzle, making connections and communicating. There are only so many personality types and lifestyle themes, but the variables of age, sex, family, health, education and spirit make endless combinations. Boomerspeak is a broad enough concept to encompass, health, education, relationships, family, public policy, social justice, recollections and futuristics. Join me for the ride!