Posted tagged ‘50’s’

“Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused – in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened – by the recurrence of Christmas.”

December 12, 2017

Today will be rainy and warm with a temperature in the 50’s, but tonight will be  different. Old Man Winter, who’s tired of waiting in the wings, is coming back to lay claim to December. It will be in the 30’s all week during the day and even colder at night. One night is predicted to be in the teens. On that night, I’ll be cozy and warm in the house with all the Christmas lights glowing and spreading their warmth. I’m thinking I’ll have egg nog in hand, in keeping with the season of course.

It has been really difficult of late to maintain a bit of optimism. I hold on to mine with every muscle in my body especially now, at Christmas time, when all of my memories  surface and help me believe in goodness, generosity and faith. Even though we live distances apart, my sisters and I celebrate together when we honor family traditions. We keep our mother and father close. How could I be anything but an optimist at this time of year?

My first Christmas in Ghana was my first Christmas away from my family, but my mother made sure I had a bit of home. She sent ornaments from our family tree. She also sent a small plastic tree to hang them on. I used the brick-like paper from the box to make a fireplace on the wall. From it I hung the small stocking she had sent. A few Christmas cookie cutters were also in that wonderful box. Though I had never made sugar cookies, I did that Christmas. They were delicious and shaped like a star, a tree and Santa. I found out much later that my mother and my aunt Mary had split the huge cost of sending that box airmail so I’d have it in time for Christmas.

I have many memories of that first Christmas in Ghana, but I think my favorite happened while I lying in bed waiting to fall asleep. It was cold, and I was bundled in a wool blanket I had bought and even still have. At that time of the year the harmattan is in full force. The days are hot, usually over 100˚ hot, but the nights and really early mornings are delights when the temperature drops sometimes even 30˚. On that night, I heard a boy’s voice singing. I think it came from a family compound just outside the school walls. The boy sang all the verses of We Three Kings in a sweet, clear voice. It was the only sound in the cold night air. It brought delight and joy to me, and I knew I’d be fine that first Christmas away. I always think of that boy as my Christmas miracle.

“There are two kinds of fears: rational and irrational- or in simpler terms, fears that make sense and fears that don’t.”

September 28, 2017

Sometime during the night it rained. I slept through it. The street and the yard were still damp when I woke up late, close to ten. The air is wet, humid. The sky is gray. There is a breeze but it does little to clear the air. Today is the last day of the heat, according to the weatherman. Tonight the temperature will go down to the low 50’s.

I filled all the bird feeders this morning. The bottoms of a couple of them had mold and the seeds were in a clump. I cleaned every one. Last I checked, the bird weren’t back yet.

Huzzah! Huzzah! The first load of laundry is in the washer. A second load sits on the floor waiting its turn. I can’t remember the last time I had so much laundry. These two full loads are testaments to my sloth.

In Ghana, I had my laundry done when I lived there and when I visited. During training we found women in the nearest village to do the laundry. Everything was washed by hand in buckets. The irons were heated with charcoal. It was the same forty years later.   On my last trip, shirts were 2 cedis, about fifty cents. Pants were four, a whole dollar. I came home with clean clothes.

I do everything I can to do nothing. My house gets cleaned and my yard is kept neat, except for the back which no one sees, and my groceries get delivered right to the kitchen. If I could afford more, I’d have my laundry done while I sat and ate bonbons.

I need bread, and I could go to the dump though I’m thinking tomorrow is the better day Just because I don’t want to go today.

I don’t mind clowns or bugs. I have a black cat. Heights don’t make me dizzy, but rides which go around and around make me throw up. Stopping at the top of a Ferris wheel isn’t a problem for me. I like the view. I don’t get the fear of spiders, but scorpions are a different story. Once I had a scorpion roaming on my living room floor, and my student killed it with my sandal. She asked permission first. I said yes because scorpions bite. Sometimes I hear noises I can’t explain. They give me pause. I lower the TV and listen. Usually I don’t hear it again. If I did, I’d pass it off as an animal or a bird. That’s the easiest answer and the one which doesn’t make me afraid.

“The worst thing about being a tourist is having other tourists recognize you as a tourist.”

March 2, 2017

The last few days Mother Nature has played with our heads. It has been spring warm. Even with yesterday’s rain, it was warm. Today is another warmish day with bright sun and a daytime temperature in the mid-50’s, but I’m not deceived. Mother Nature is still playing us and our weariness with winter. Tonight she’s dropping winter right back at us. It will be in the mid-20’s.

Yesterday I went to Hyannis for a doctor’s appointment. Ordinarily I would shop after my appointment but I decided, instead, to meander home on Route 28, the garish road filled on both sides by motels, restaurants, miniature golf courses and souvenir shops. Most of them are seasonal so they’re closed. Traffic was light. In the summer, that road is sometimes bumper to bumper as cars go slowly so people can gawk. The only places open yesterday were regular businesses and some of the restaurants. I saw some construction and was able to remember what used to be. One old house is gone, replaced by a park. My friend’s grandmother’s cottages are long gone, replaced by a hotel. They were the old time cottages, individual with a small porch and one outside metal chair. I helped paint them a couple of times. Each one had a view of the ocean. A couple of restaurants used to be hangouts when I was in high school. Jerry’s was prime. It is still there and still serves fried seafood, hot dogs, and hamburgers. The parking lot was always filled. Further up was the A&W with car service. I still miss that one. The building is there but it is a roast beef sandwich spot. The biggest loss was the drive-in. It was sold because it was prime land right next to the water. I don’t know who bought it but nothing has ever been done with that land. They could have left the drive-in.

I know things change. I expect it. It is nostalgic as I grow older. What used to be is important to remember. It is part of my story.