Thinking about Memorial Day

Do you remember the paper mache’ poppies? You know the ones we used to see everywhere when we growing up. I was one of the kids passing them out at the local grocery store in exchange for whatever donation was given. I am sure I was not happy to spend my Saturday there!

I was young and really did not appreciate–if I even knew–what that poppy symbolized. Because my dad was a veteran of WWII, he was an active member of the local VFW. My mom, my sisters, and I were part of the American Legion. One of the things we did for Memorial Day was make sure everyone had a commemorative poppy.

Late Saturday, an older man came up to me and asked if I knew what the poppy represented. This type of interaction happened to me all the time. There could have been ten other kids standing around but I was the one who was asked the questions. I debated saying I did know, but thought he may quiz me about it. I was honest and said I really did not know the whole story.

He told me it was important to know and shared this with me:

First of all, he said, you are not wearing the poppy correctly. It is to be worn over your heart. As he looked me straight in the eyes, he stressed that I would understand why this was important after he finished his story.

My memory is not complete so I am borrowing from an American Legion post:

The red petals stand for the vast outpouring of blood; the yellow and black center, the mud and desolation of all battlefields.

The green of the stem is symbolic of the forests, meadows and fields where generations of Americans have perished to make this land free.

The stem represents the courage and determination of our fallen warriors.

The assembled product, a flower, is a symbol of resurrection, which is sure to follow.

His words were much more simple, filled with the type of emphasis that only comes from being there, really experiencing the battles of war personally. He watched my face as he spoke, pausing now and then to make sure I was getting his point. When his story was complete, he stepped back in silence and somber reflection. He leaned toward me, asking me if I thought I understood why it is important to wear that poppy correctly? Now I was able to honestly answer that question. Which I did, with a soft and respectful, yes.

That was decades ago–probably over fifty years have passed since that grocery store lesson. I can picture myself standing beside this little round man, dressed in his bib overhauls, giving me the gift of a very powerful lesson about the real cost of the freedom.

Oh the challenges our nation has faced since that long past day in May. One thing has not changed. As Memorial Day approaches, it is vitally important for us all to remember those who have fought to defend our freedoms and those who protect us today.

We are in such turmoil and unease. As I asked last night, I ask for your prayers, remembering our great country and for those who defend and protect us. God bless them, God bless us all, and please, God, bless America.

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace. I love you.

 

 

 

A Time For Reflection

Mother’s Day.

A hard day for those of us who have lost our moms. It doesn’t matter how old we were when the loss happened–this is a life event we all carry with us from that day forward.

I send my love out to those of you who are facing your first “motherless” Mother’s Day. May your memories give you comfort. May you come to understand, as I have, that your mom will always be with you. Not just in the memories, but in little things you do, little things you say, little habits you may not have recognized until now. I was blessed with a mom who loved me. Unfortunately, my mom, my sisters, and I were not blessed with much time.

Time. It is such an illusive concept. We keep thinking we have more. Don’t be fooled. As we’ve all been told, life can change in just a matter of seconds. This Mother’s Day, put the electronics away. Open your mind and heart by spending some attentive quality time with your mom. As anyone who has lost their mom will tell you, we would give anything to spend one more day with them. We’d ask questions, really listen to what she told us, and share stories of our own. We would make sure she knew how important and special she was and is to us; how her life lessons are infused into our very being.

Use your time wisely, my dear friends, and cherish those you love. If your mom is here, please make sure she knows how important she is to you. Only you can do that.

Make your mom, and yourself, proud.

I am

B…simply being…

Peace and love to y’all.

 

Another Trip to the Library

I have a great library. Now that I am retired, not only do I have more time to read but I can choose HOW I read. I can read a new book or I can re-read a book that has become a traveling companion. These select few are special and I feel as though they are “old friends.” Some have traveled with me for many years. Not only do they share their printed words, but they magically pull up memories of what was happening in my life the first time I read them. I can see where I was, who I was with, see my notes and highlighting, and physically feel what was going on in my world at the time. Oh the power of books! I am blessed to have some very big hitters.

Simple Abundance, by Sarah Breathnach, is one of my favorites. My first copy was a gift, making it very special. This book has been around for a long time, very popular in the early 90’s. It was one of the books read by a group of women I met with once a week for years. I’ll always remember the night one of the leaders of the group talked about the book, explaining what she liked about it and shared different readings with us. She had passed her copy around and we all wanted to know where we could find our own copy. She said she had a surprise for us–and handed out a copy for each of us.

The book is set up to read an entry a day. I’ll share the beginning of what Sarah wrote for January 5:

Many women today feel a sadness we cannot name. Though we accomplish much of what we set out to do, we sense that something is missing in outlives and–fruitlessly–search “out there” for answers. What’s often wrong is that we are disconnected from an authentic sense of self.   Emily Hancock

I think many of us are searching for our authentic selves. As I give my thanks for my blessings today, one of the things I am grateful for is being able to share my search with you.

God bless you with love and peace.

I am…

B…simply being…

 

 

 

A Slow Day

Everybody needs a slow day–I took one today. I am learning to listen to my body and some days you just don’t push it.

In light of that I’m sharing simple things today.

First thing to share is that our friends brought home their new puppy today. She is adorable. I’ve attached a picture of her so you can fall in love with her, too. She is described as very affectionate and ALL puppy. Cannot wait to meet her and hold her squiggly little body and smell that puppy breath.

Secondly,  I’m sharing something I discovered about a month ago. I’ve wanted to go back to school but honestly, could not commit to the time. Not sure how I stumbled upon on-line courses called MOOCs. I had to Google the acronym to see what it was and found it stood for: Massive Open Online Course. The courses are offered through several different sources for pretty low prices or free. The source I am most pleased with at this time is Coursera–you can check them out at: Coursera.org. They offer a wide variety of courses for free or a fee if you want a certificate of completion.

Lastly, but most importantly, I am thankful my husband was home today to take care of me. Thanks, Mickey. Your attention alone made a world of difference. I had three other care givers–all three dogs were beside me while I rested. Of course, part of that fact is they are allowed on the bed during the day–that might have been a huge incentive. Regardless, it was a joyously lazy day.

I took advice from Anne Lamott today:

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you. 

I am rested, renewed, mostly recharged. I am…

B…simply being…

Peace and love to all.

 

My Guidance

I was clearing some space on my desk when I saw my Guide for the Advanced Soul sitting beside my computer. I am always curious about what that little book will tell me. This is the guidance the Universe sent my way:

The people we are in relationship with are always a mirror, reflecting our own beliefs, and simultaneously we are mirrors reflecting their beliefs. So relationship is one of the most powerful tools for growth…if we look honestly at our relationships we can see so much about how we have created them.    Shakti Gawain

I wish you all love and peace.

I am

B…simply being…

 

Musings

I’ve had some extra time this week to think about things. What that usually means is I take long walks into my past. This week was no exception. There are some things back there that have always puzzled me. I found some unusual help this time though, from “The Royals.”

I have been running from myself for most of my life. When Prince Harry and his brother, Prince William, began talking about their mother, Diana, a switch turned on for me. I found, and continue to find, great comfort in their words when they talk about the struggles they have had in their lives after her death. Whenever Prince Harry speaks,  his words give me chills. It appears we had and have some of the same challenges. By speaking out he gave me a very valuable gift–he opened the door for me to speak of my own challenges. I am grateful for that.

I grew up in a little town in northeast Iowa. My family was not from there originally, a fact that I think was hard for my mom. Looking back on life’s events as an older adult gives me such a different perspective of things. My mom had been a single working woman, living at home with her parents, until she was 27 years old. She thought she was an old maid. She often told me how she met my dad at a dance. She said she knew when she met him he was special but did not think he was ever going to ask her to marry him. Looking back, that is the only story she ever shared with me about her days as a single woman. Of course, I was so young I would not have understood much more than that. She never had a chance to share more–she was dead by the time I was ten, my younger sister eight, and my youngest sister, six. That, my friends, is the tip of the iceberg.

I only have a kid’s memory of so many things. Our small community had its share of tragedies during this time. The most significant one I remember is that a classmate of mine’s mother died after being in a car accident. I think we were in second grade so we were probably seven years old. I had to be at school early that morning–I was in trouble for having a messy desk and was supposed to come in and clean it out. When I got to my room, my teacher was not there so I went looking for her. I found everyone in the room next door all standing in the front of the class room. They were talking softly about a car accident. One teacher said that the doctors did not think that my friend’s mom was hurt very badly. They were wrong, she said.  My classmates mom had died earlier that morning from a head injury that had not been detected. Lots more whispers.

I stood there thinking, how can that be? Moms don’t die.

In my mind, I see exactly where I was standing that day–how the soft morning sunlight came through the windows, illuminating the desktops, reflecting off chalk dust that was always flying through the air. The huddle of teachers remained close together in the front of the room. I remained invisible. Yes, they said, she had been hit from behind. You know, they said, it’s that bad spot out on the highway where so many other accidents had happened. Well, it’s been icy, they said, so she had a cement block in the back of her car for traction. When she was hit, they said, it flew and hit her head…

No one noticed as I turned and quietly walked out of the room. Oh, so many questions I carried out with me that day.

I wonder if my friend, my classmate from so many years ago, has any of the same questions I do? Does Prince Harry comfort her as he speaks of his demons? Do my other friends who also lost their moms when they were young feel the way I do–like you’ve always been a little lost? Always searching for something…

The month of May has always has been a time when I question so many things. I’ve sidestepped them for many, many years. Now it is time calm my demons by writing about them. If Prince Harry helped me, maybe I can help someone else?

This part of my life made me, me.

I am

B…simply being…

Wishing you all love and peace.

 

 

 

Resources

I had forgotten how comforting it was to have a resource to turn to when I needed some type of encouragement. We all have to do our own soul-searching. What is good to know is we have other resources out there to help us along the way. Advisors we can keep close to us–just an arm’s length–like my little book, A Guide for the Advanced Soul.

I have several “advisors” sitting close by me. I’ll call them in for consultation often and share their words of wisdom. It’s all part of why I believe we are here–to help each other in our journey. Heaven knows, we need that type of help right now. We are all questioning so many basic things.

Venice Bloodworth was introduced to me by my husband, Michael. She was someone totally new to me until he shared her book. Now her book is another one in the front row of my go to authors/advisors whenever I need someone to make sense of things. Someone to renew my hope in–well–something.

Venice wrote her book, The Key to Yourself, in the 50’s. The copyright of the book we have on our shelf is 1952–a year before I was born. I’m not sure why I even noticed that but it made a really big impression on me. She wrote then what many of us read a few years ago thinking it was the first time someone had written it. Her wording is a little cumbersome today, but that makes it even more special to me. An example from a quote she credits to “Selected” which begins Chapter 3:

The Conscious Mind

If you think you are beaten, you are; If you think you dar not, you don’t; If you’d like to wind, but you think you can’t, It’s almost a cinch you won’t’ If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost, For out in the world you’ll find success begins with a fellow’s will; It’s all in the state of the mind. 

Later in that chapter she says: It is strange that we so long failed to understand the wonderful power of thought, for it is taught by every religion and philosophy in the history of the world. Paul, when in captivity and chained to a Roman solder, gave to the world this message:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are  just, whatsoever things ar pure, whatsoever things are lovely, and of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.. 

I, like many, am troubled by what is unfolding around us. I am unsure what to do other than try to find a way to help each other through it all until we can figure out what to do next. Our minds are powerful. As Venice says, if we think we’ll lose, we have lost. We–all of us–have to rediscover our own power. Look for our advisors–whether it is by talking with each other or rediscovering words like these shared by those who have passed this way before us.

I am.

B…simply being…

God bless you all with love and peace.

 

 

 

 

Insight

Years ago a friend of mine showed me a book she said she consulted daily. The name of the book was, A guide for the Advanced Soul, by Susan Hayward. She handed it to me and told me to open it to any page. What was written on that page, she said, was  my guidance for the day.

The book impressed me so much I bought it the next day.  I have not found the words I remember reading that night so long ago. The feeling I had while reading them has never left me. I knew that night, down to my very soul, that my life was about to change in a very big way.

What happened, you ask, that made me think something was happening in my life? Something very simple–I went out for lunch–a lunch that had been in the works for months. I finally met that friend of a friend–yes–a blind date. Love at first sight, you say? I have to say, yes. There really is a thing! I was the biggest skeptic in the world until that day. In less than an hour I had become a believer. Twenty five years later, I still believe.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the “stuff” that bombards us all day long we forget to look for the magic. You know, all those unexpected blessing that simply shower down on us at times when we least expect them and often when we need them the most. It’s some powerful stuff, love. Remember that. Do not take it for granted.

Tonight, I have consulted my guide for the advanced soul. Let me share the wisdom found:

Every moment of your life is infinitely creative and universe is endlessly bountiful. Just put forth a clear enough request, and everything your heart desires must come to you. 

                                                                                         Shakti Gawain

I wish you all peace, love, and a restful night.

I am.

B…simply being…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Human

Taking a step away from my own story tonight and sharing my thoughts about something that has been in the news for the last 24 hours or so.

The talk today revolved around Jimmy Kimmel’s son, Billy. For those who may not know, he was born with a congenital heart defect, resulting in a successful open heart surgery when he was only a few days of age.  He did well with this surgery but will have more in his future.

I can hear the first comments out of many people’s mouths today, “Well, didn’t they have an ultrasound? How could they have missed a hole in the heart?” The blaming begins…

I am a retired pediatric echocardiographer. Translated, that means I performed  ultrasound on baby’s hearts. My patient population ranged from the fetus to the adult with congenital heart disease.  I was very fortunate. Before I retired I was able to do fetal echoes on women I imaged when they were neonates. What a joy that was for me. Heavens–I miss my patients and their families.

One of the things I wished my patients understood, and I feel most sonographers would agree, is the fact that we carry their stories and images home with us every single day. As a sonographer, we sit right next to our patients–definitely in their personal spaces–often putting all our body weight into their bodies in an attempt to confine that fetus. We are  not there to get “pretty pictures.” We are there to get diagnostic ones. We are accessing that little fetus to make sure all parts are normal in position, size, shape and function. All of this goes on while we hear all about your life–people who are nervous share a lot of personal information. As we work and listen, we attempt to keep our body language normal, our faces neutral, often fighting back tears. We understand just how drastic this woman and her family’s lives are going to change in just a matter of moments.

There is an obstitrician along with his/her ultrasound staff in the LA area who are very unhappy with the results of their studies done for Jimmy’s wife and unborn son. Unfortunately, ultrasound is not an exact science. Many things contribute to a successful diagnostic study: the age of the fetus, how cooperative that little person is at the time of the study, the experience of the sonographer, the experience of the physician reading that study, the level of suspicion regarding possible defects, and the amount of time that practice allows for each exam. If it is a first pregnancy, a young mom, no family history, all other images and prenatal studies normal with an active fetus, imaging compromises may be accepted. Factor into that entire equation the fact that this was a study done on a celebrity’s wife–sigh…

We are all only human–but that is not comforting to those involved with this case. Not for any of us.

My prayers go out for Billy’s continued successful recovery along with prayers for those professionals who are beating themselves up over missing this prenatal diagnosis. God bless you all.

Wishing you all a restful night filled with love and peace.

I am

B…simply being…

 

August

I love August.

As a kid, once the Fourth of July fireworks ended, I knew summer was only a breath away from being history. This was also the time when my internal clock would chime away, telling me it was time to prepare for the new school year while prodding me to give some serious thought to my own future.

Even though it has been many years since this month signaled my return to school, I still hear that message.

It has become one of the more comfortable constants in my life.

In honor of that tradition, I’ll be stepping away from my computer so I can recharge my batteries and search for old and new stories to share.

Why not join me?

I am…

B…simply being…

I love Y’all.

Peace

 

 

God Winks

One of the great benefits of writing is I have a reason to go through old stuff. My husband and I have downsized our lives at least three times over the past two years. In light of these moves, I’ve been shocked with some of the little things that have survived.

Today, the clipping and the pictures fell together in what I would call a God wink. What’s a God wink, you ask? I think most people would call it a coincidence. SQuire Rushnell describes it as an experience where you’d ask yourself, what are the odds of that? It’s like when you were a kid and sitting across the table from someone you love when they’d wink at you. You knew what that wink meant–they were thinking about you. God does the same–a God wink is His way of letting you know He is thinking of you and all will be okay.

For me, one of the greatest gifts of aging has been the ability to look back on my life. To see how certain people came into my life–or re-entered my life–at the moment when I needed them the most.

My family moved from Traer, Iowa, to Waterloo, Iowa the summer before my freshman year. That move was tough and made for a very hard summer. I worried every day about how I was going to handle being the new kid in a new school. I wouldn’t know anyone.

My Dad remembered another family who had moved from Traer to Waterloo. He found a way to contact them and gave them our home phone number. Within a few days, JoLyn contacted me, asking me where I was going to go to school. I told her West Junior. She quickly told me that she would also be going to West Junior.

Oh my God–the answer to my prayers. I would not be all alone.

What made her special was what she did next. It was a few days before school started and she knew the building was open. We set up a time to meet and she took me to the main office so I could turn in paperwork, showed me around the building, and gave me the tour of the other buildings on campus. That year we did not have any classes together but she checked on me often and made sure I was doing okay. In a big school, I always knew she was there if I needed her.

Debby Small was my neighbor and a year ahead of me in school. It was Debby’s house where I would go whenever I needed to get away. I loved going to the Smalls because their family was busy, loud, and loving. At least that is how I saw them. Debby had two brothers and two sisters and there was always something happening. I loved being in the mix because it felt real to me. They were the first family I saw being normal–if I came over and there was a fight in progress, the fight continued. There was no stopping because the neighbor kid was there.

At my house–things like that happened behind closed doors.

What my family didn’t seem to realize was, even though the doors were closed, the windows were still wide open. It was Tom and Karen Sink who clued me in about that.

Tom and Karen moved next door shortly after we moved in. They were a young couple with a toddler who needed a babysitter. After a few months of babysitting, they shared with me that they could hear some of the things happening at our house.

Our house was a house in constant turmoil. My Dad had remarried. There were problems. Tom and Karen knew. Tom and Karen took my sisters and me under their wings. I am not sure where any of us would be today without them.

These four people came into my life when I needed them the most.

I am still amazed and forever grateful.

I am…

B…simply being… 

Have a great weekend.

I love you.

Peace

Happy Birthday, Bethie

Today my sister, Beth, would have been 62 years old.

She absolutely loved her birthday. Looking back, I think she liked it because my other sister and I have birthdays in September. Her August birthday gave her something that was all her own. I think a middle kid needs something that is uniquely theirs–and she definitely made the most of her day.

For weeks, she’d tell anyone who’d listen what was on her list for gifts along with the type of cake and flavor of ice cream she wanted for her party.

 

I miss her today–as I do every day.

Even after ten years I still catch myself thinking that I need to call her…

She was one of the bravest people I’ve ever known, forging her own way, fighting her own fight, showing me her way of dying with dignity.

I love you, Beth Ann Burton.

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace

Scary Stuff

It was an early morning in Hibdonville.

Michael was getting ready to go help his friend, Dayne, out at the lease and I was off to water aerobics. The best thing was–this is a very big deal–we woke up to rain. It has not rained here for weeks with temperatures in the 100s. We were celebrating every falling rain drop. Please Lord, I prayed, send us more.

To get the forecast, I turned on the news. Wait a minute…

What?

My world went a tad bit off kilter as I listened to the reporter saying the US had fired a long-range missile from a launch site in California as a warning to North Korea.

 

For a few minutes, I found myself transported back in time to Mrs. Kvidera’s sixth-grade classroom, listening as she taught us about Communism, propaganda,  and what it would mean if Russia attacked us using a nuclear bomb.  She called it The Cold War.

I was also reminded of that dangerous game of chicken where two cars raced rapidly toward each other until one driver ‘chickens” out, turning sharply to get out-of-the-way.

My adult, logical self, searches for something positive to focus on about our world today.

My sixth-grader self is pretty uncomfortable with the whole situation.

Scary stuff.

This has weighed on my mind today, crowding out all my other more creative thoughts.

Take a minute with me to say a prayer for those people who hold our world in their hands. May God give them the wisdom to call the game of chicken off before a knee-jerk, reflexive reaction creates a world sized disaster.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you.

Join me in prayers for peace.

 

 

 

Pieces of the Puzzle

A few years ago, one of the doctors I worked for told me his wife had video taped her Dad while he told family stories. What a great idea!

So many times, I wish I had made notes while I had such great family historians around me. I had heard the stories so many times, I never thought I would forget them.

I did.

The picture today is probably one of the first ones of my Mom. Unfortunately, this picture is a copy of copy–so the detail is poor, at best. My Mom is the infant in my Grandpa Jim’s arms. My Aunt Charlotte is squatting at Great Grandma Dora’s feet. I think this is taken at the McDonald homestead in Duncombe, Iowa.

The scattering of photos I have are like puzzle pieces I shuffle around in hopes of re-creating that one big family picture that pulls it all together. What I would give to have just a few scribbled note cards.

My lesson for today is an easy one–listen to those family stories carefully. Make notes so you have them as a reference. Or, make a video recording of the stories being told by the original storyteller. A good storyteller is a rare, precious gift–treasure them.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you and wish you peace.

 

 

 

 

Gram’s Favorite Story

My Grandma was a great story-teller and I was her best audience. She told me many things, but her favorite story was a murder mystery. Oh…for a kid it just doesn’t get any better than that. And, to make it even better, she told me she was on the jury for this murder–just like Perry Mason! How cool was that?

This trial went on forever, she said. I was not very old so she did not tell me a lot but what she told me was bad enough. So much so, I remember wondering if it was all true or if she was trying to keep me still and occupied. This murder happened when she was very young–before she married my Grandpa. A whole family and two kids that were staying the night with them were killed with an axe. The Mom, Dad, four kids, and the two neighbor kids died.

I had forgotten all about her story until this morning when I saw a little blurb on Facebook. Because I follow other Iowa Facebook pages, the page, Unsolved Iowa Murders: Historic Cases, was suggested to me as a page I might be of interest. The highlighted case of discussion, Vallisca Axe Murders.

Oh my gosh.

If unsolved murders are of interest to you, this is one you should check out. As I read I soon discovered there was a LOT of the story that my Gram did not tell me.

Here is what I found today. Most of what I’m sharing comes from an article written by Nancy Bowers featured on Unsolved Iowa Murders” Historic Cases.

Early in the morning, June 10, 1912, Josiah (Joe) B. Moore, his wife Sara, their 4 children and 2 neighbor children, Lena and Ina Stillinges, were bludgeoned to death. This horrible crime changed the little town of Villisca forever. One author states: “…a fascinating study of ordinary people dealing with an extraordinary event.”

That Monday morning the town Marshal, Hank Horton, was told by someone to get the Joe and Sara’s house because something was wrong. He went to the home and discovered, as he supposedly told the coroners, there’s someone dead in every bed.

The crime scene was not secured and was soon contaminated with curious onlookers. Nancy Bowers sited the following observations in her article:

The victims faces were covered by bed-clothes and other clothing.

Kerosene lamps were found a the foot of the beds with the chimneys removed and the wicks turned back.

Mirrors and other reflective surfaces were covered with clothing. 

A plate of partially eaten food was found at the kitchen table next to a bowl of bloody water. 

The axe used for the murders was propped up against the sewing room wall. 

Two pounds of bacon was placed next to the axe. 

 

The eight caskets were held in the town firehouse as the funeral was held in the town square. The funeral procession was huge, with 50 rigs and horse-drawn hearses. The National Guard was called in to keep the 5-7 thousand people in attendance in order.

For weeks, bloodhounds roamed the streets tracking for any trace of a scent. Rumors and suspicions ran high with the entire town on edge. Families stayed with each other so someone could be on watch at  night.

There were many suspects. The list is impressive:

Many suspected  state senator, F.F. Jones, of hiring someone to murder Joe Moore because Joe was supposedly having an affair with his daughter-in-law.

Some claimed a moccasin print was found by the front porch, indicating the murderer was Native American.

One very interesting rumor was detectives obtained a photograph of the murderer from the retina of Lena Stillinges’ eye because she had woken up and saw him.

They searched for and found the mentally ill minister, Lyn George Jacklin Kelly. He was obsessed with the phrase “slay utterly” from Ezekiel 9:6. Five years after the murder, Preacher Kelly confessed. After two trials, he was found not guilty–just as my Gram had told me.

Now, I know the rest of the story.

I am…

B…simply being…

Stay safe and know I love you.

Peace

 

Marilyn and Other Things

Before the weekend, I have to share more about what happened in 1953.

Did you know that the first issue of Playboy magazine was published in 1953? And, did you know that Marilyn Monroe was on the cover? This first issue cover was interesting for one other reason–it was not dated. Hugh Hefner was not sure the magazine would be popular enough to warrant a second issue. I have to say, I didn’t think Hugh Hefner was unsure of anything!

Queen Elizabeth II was crowed Queen of England.

Also in the United Kingdom, Ian Fleming published his first James Bond novel, Casino Royal.

Some of the films you would have seen in theatres were: Shane, The War of the Worlds, From Here to Eternity, and another tip of the hat to Ms. Monroe, her now classic film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. This was, indeed, a very busy year for Marilyn!

The Corvette made its first appearance on Chevrolet showroom floor.

Texas Instruments was credited with the invention of the transistor radio.

Smoking cigarettes was reported for the first time as causing cancer.

Albert Schweitzer was awarded the Noble Peace Prize. Winston Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The top three songs on the Billboard top 100 for 1953 were: The Song from Moulin Rouge by Percy Faith, Vaya con Dios by Les Paul and Mary Ford, and How Much is That Doggie in the Window by Patti Page.

The three top TV shows for that year were: I Love Lucy, Dragnet, and a tie between Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts and You Bet Your Life.

The New York Yankees won the World Series for the fifth year in a row.

The Detroit Lions were the NFL champions.

The Minneapolis Lakers were the NBA champions.

The Stanley Cup was won by the Montreal Canadians.

Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine. In 1952, the number of polio cases in the United States was 57,628, over 21,000 of those cases were paralytic. Those statistics shocked me.

James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Creck announced the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA.

The Korean War ended after President Eisenhower warned China he would not be afraid to use nuclear weapons. This war was costly one. 33,629 US troops, 3,000 UN troops, 50,000 South Korean troops, and 1.5 million Communist troops from China and North Korea died. I had no idea the casualties were so high.

On a much lighter note, I found this interesting little tidbit. I’ve always been intrigued by teen fads–most likely goes back to the days when I was tagging behind my cousin, Donna. This year girls wore dog collars over their white ankle socks as ankles. If the collar was worn on the left ankle, the girl was single. On the right ankle, she was going steady–another word you do not hear anymore–going steady. In the Chicago area, according to this online source and the Chicago Tribune, girls added nail heads and bells to their collars. The girls from the Windy City also stepped up the messaging system by adding colored collars. A red collar on the left meant the wearer was in love and going steady. A green collar on the left meant the girl was “willing”. (Hmmmm…) A tan collar on the left meant the wearer did not care if  she had a date or not. A black collar on the left meant their relationship was over–they were in mourning.

As I wrote that last paragraph, I had to smile. Our world has changed in so many ways but our basic human needs and desires are the same. I am saddened by one thought that came to me. In 1953, in order to communicate with their peers, the young ladies had to get out and socialize. They had to take a risk and be visiable–personally announce their social status.

I smile again, wondering what the conversation would be like talking with the young lady wearing that green collar anklet?

I’m thinking I’d really like her spunk and spirit!

Have a great weekend, my friends.

Stay well, cool, and hydrated.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you and wish you peace.

 

 

Besides Me, What Happened in 1953?

I did not realize until I started writing this blog, how little I really knew about what was happening in the world as I grew up.

I don’t think any of us who grew up when I did knew much about the world around us. Our world centered around what happened in our neighborhood. That’s all we needed to know.

I’m not sure that isn’t still correct.

When I began writing about my grade school years, I had to sit down and write out the years I was in school. Who knew what year certain things happened?

Today, I did some very simple online research. I read what thepeoplehistory.com, tvhistory.tv, and pop-culture.us, had to say about what was happening in the world in 1953. I did not fact check any of what I am going to share with you because, regardless of the accuracy, I found it all so interesting.

In 1953, my life began at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Kokomo, Indiana; Vivian and Merle’s lives changed forever.

Here are some other interesting things about 1953:

A woman could buy a cotton print dress for $10.75. A Velveteen jumper–when was the last time you heard the word, jumper? $11.59. Metal colored platform shoes = $3.49. Nylon stocking, with a French heel, $5.00.

A man in 1953 would spend $13.76 for a pair of trousers. Again, when was the last time you used the word, trouser? A corduroy jacket would set him back $15.75. A 10K gold ring with a genuine black onyx or a simulated ruby would take $8.98-$29.98 out of his wallet.

The average cost of a car was $1,850. Gas, depending on the what source you use, 20-29 cents a gallon, a loaf of bread, 16 cents, a first class stamp would add 3 cents to the cost of that birthday card.

The average wage per hour was 75 cents, average salary approximately $4,700.

Depending on where you lived, this is what you would get for your mortgage dollar:

Oshkosh, WI, Lakeside 4 bedroom home with 90 feet of lakefront on Lake Winnebago, $10,000.

Elyria, OH, 8 room house with basement on 3.5 acres. Furnace and outbuildings. $8,000

Joplin, MO, 6 rooms with modern built-in bath, 2 car garage with other outbuildings. 8 acres. $8,500.

Some of the more odd things noted about 1953:

Duncan Hamilton won the 1953 Le Mans car race. I read this and thought, way to go Duncan until I saw the note that, according to this source, he did so while being completely inebriated.

All radios made in the US between 1953 and 1963 had a white triangle marking the dial at 640 AM. This triangle designated the spot where you would go to get the Civil Defense information broadcast.

One of the early TV evangelists was Fulton Sheen–my mom’s favorite. On one broadcast he substituted the names of Russian leaders when reading from the burial scene of Julius Caesar: “Stalin must one day meet his judgement.”  Later that week Stalin suffered a stroke and died.

An interesting note for all country western fans, the first radio operator to hear about Stalin’s death was Johnny Cash. He was serving with the US Air Force in Germany at that time.

Swanson had a lot of turkey left over from Thanksgiving in 1953. 260 tons, according to one source. When Swanson asked their workers what to do with the leftover turkey, they suggested they pack it into individual trays along with some side dishes and freeze it. Just like that–the Swanson TV dinner!

Is it any wonder why I like potatoes? This was the year that Ore-Ida began selling Tater Tots to grocery stores. What are Tater Tots? They are the pressed leftovers from making french fries. Who knew?

I have some other tidbits to share with you tomorrow. Unfortunately, I don’t have a new book to share with you. There has not been much time for reading this week unless you count reading a refrigerator operators manual.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you guys.

Peace