Thursday, December 30, 2010

It’s Only A Movie

Life is like a movie.

You don’t have to pay for your ticket, but as soon inside, and the lights go down and the adventure begins.

The flickering future presents characters and conversations creating a story to follow in the dark.

At every turn a surprise in the plot presents new adventures.

And when the adrenaline rises, consume more with eyes wide open.

Sometimes there are speaking parts and sometimes there is only room to observe.

As extras in another larger movie, only move as directed.

Time and light and energy seem important, but there is no control that can change the inevitable.

The script is written.

Don’t wait for the review.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Taking Inventory

It’s time to add all the sounds, smells, sights and experiences of 2 thousand ten and take an inventory.
1. Home – Patching holes in the ceiling and walls, replacing pipes and drains, new bathroom fixtures, hot water, gas connection, new roof, paint, ceiling fan, locks, skylights, electricity back to Mansland, and HEAT.
I’m doing what I can for the economy.
Trying to make a budget of cost, but they vary so much this year with all the “Big Ticket” items.
A pretty good idea, but need another year to get a round figure on all the expenses. So before the New Year hits, I want to produce a complete inventory of all materials of value in my possession that are my responsibility to deal with.
Once wealth is set, then the distance can be evaluated to reach the end. A few more items for next year, then phase back to reality.
Retirement has certain limits; so learn to live within them.
Still doesn’t feel like home, but it is getting there.
2. Health – This is still the most important factor of life. Without health, life just sucks.
After finding a minimal health insurance plan out of state, they were taken to court for bad selling practices.
Like all insurance, you don’t want to us it, so stay healthy.
In the meantime, 10 miles a day is a norm for the morning, while next year I will follow my food intake to check if I’m getting enough stuff that keeps the motor running. Still considering a health club, since the pool is complete.
It is like war, keep running until you get shot.
3. Food – A necessary, yet not a pleasure.
Every food group was tried. Some had to be tried several times, but the palate is settling on certain taste to keep the substances and work within a budget.
A year of testing treats liked from years ago but today, not so much. Salads, fruit, pasta, chicken, grilled hamburgers, peanut butter cookies, coffee ice cream, chocolate cake, apple pie, pizzas, Chinese, Latino, and good old fast food.
Eating out has become a nonessential event, due to high prices, bad service, and inferior preparation of meals. The pretense of attending a restaurant is still used as a safe meeting place during construction.
Aisles containing cookies, cakes, colas, TV dinners and baby products are passed without any problems to diet or survival. The easier preparation and clean up is an essential element in choosing meal.
The first of the year, a new grocery budget will be made, referencing this year, double-checking the present cost of items to match with mid-year (do I have too much time on my hands?).
What cooking or preparation of food was due to trying different techniques with steaming rice, boiling noodles in a fry pan, baking and slow cooking. Perhaps a new kitchen will help. Put that on the list for next year.
Plus I have to find another clock instead of counting the day with 12 cans.
4. Style – Clothing is even less important now than ever.
A few sweats and shorts and I are done.
Once the t-shirts or socks become stiff, I decide to change them and throw them in the once-a-month wash. Then reverse the cycle. Only when the item of clothing has large holes or stains on it, then it for home use only. These may last another couple of years.
Dress-up clothes line the hangers gathering dust. Instead of wearing sports or school identification wardrobe, I wear what is comfortable, fits, and is clean.
Wearing the same clothes day-after-day, or not shaving or either bathing for a couple of days is a style that must be developed to be appreciated.
Did go shopping for new jeans, shoes and socks, gloves, and underwear, but nothing else is needed, so it is easy to pass.
5. Music – Went out and bought a turntable to listen and digitize the old vinyl recordings that have been following me for years. They need to be resorted and catalogued, but that is an update to an existing database.
That is the first of the year inventory on everything that is in the house. Found a couple of treasures in the pile so far, but some will be going to the sales bin.
Only shopped for music once at a large box store and once at the local up-to-date music leader. One only had the latest pop favorite while the other was full of vinyl. What’s up with that?
Without hearing anything of interest from the NPR or television background, I repeat the same songs that I still enjoy.
Digitized a couple of projects and am presently recording vocals for all 200 “C&/orJ” catalogue and sorting plus recording 11-CDs of playlist from “The Last Set” garage band dynamic book.
The two presents to myself this summer sit in their cases, awaiting some finger action. I strum the same songs, sometimes with different results.
Music is still wonderful to get lost in, whether listening or performing.
When music bores me, I turn it off and listen to the silence.
6. Travel – Did a little travel this year, but mostly within the 5-mile radius of familiar. Figured it was about 5,000 miles, even with a few days off for snow.
Took a bus ride downtown and back. Enjoyed the longer ride to north side through the potholes. Another crammed swaying sweaty box to Bill’sville for a cold stroll, drink at an empty bar, someone else’s bed, bad television, cold beer, and lots of mirrors and ready for home.
A train trip up north was exciting in it’s lack of excitement. Well worth the brief vacation. Did see the beach, which is a yearly goal.
Make a note: Next year take a vacation.
7. Politics – I have more time to listen to political high lights then look on the web or government sites and view the process as it happens.
It seems the elderly are the only ones with the time and knowledge to follow this stuff on a daily basis. (as us Boomers grow older). If you think you GOT Nixon, now the time to get that excitement back.
Listen to speeches, read political rhetoric, follow trends, document and Blog a message. Join groups who can overwhelm any political carpetbagger and lobbyist. Get connected and control the voting process in the size and numbers of your lobby.
Baby, the boomers are back.
And though, I know how my district and precinct will vote; yet I attend the procedure as a proud responsibility.
8. Writing – This is a surprise that I would enjoy writing.
Finding fantasy discovering fact and giving to the world without remorse or regret.
Nothing dramatic, but written as a journal; secret thoughts kept under lock and key, yet this time tossed into the wind, without any predispositions or agenda, only to fill the air with more useless nonsense.
Don’t want to cause a rabble, but perhaps create a thought.
Finished the “Ike and Ginger” series one, wrote the breakdown of “The Last Set” a garage band dynamic script and while other ideas flood into my mind as just simple words or thoughts or phases, I will continue.
It keeps the mind busy.
9. Art – Three art rooms are set up.
Tons of materials are available.
Time is plentiful.
But I have not been inspired.
I did some silly caricatures, scanned in some artwork, toned a photo for a friend, messed with some type, but I have not been inspired.
I’ve enjoyed the few brief sketches I’ve done, but to sit for days drawing and making a visual representation of whatever will inspire me… but not yet.
Note: Go to the museum more often. It is free.
10. Relationships – This has been a surprising find.
Either I’m wiser or more aware or not as interested, but the grouping of individuals for functions of conversation and contact is now viewed through an entirely different window.
The introduction of oneself to another alone is a topic.
Short conversations with one’s that are trustworthy, is more than enough. Without presenting a persona for acceptance by the other, makes the awkwardness comfortable.
I do realize I only talk to furniture, trees, wild animals or cute grocery check out girls (and the occasional contractor, plumber, electrician, or roofing supervisor who speaks English) I am more aware of the words I speak in fear of becoming the crazy old guy in all my early black and white television youth dramas. I also tend to gabber, possibly only to hear my own voice
Also, the rearranging of my footprint and an introspective evaluation has given an insight of what is important, at least to me.
And much like the department store, the variety is endless, but it all comes with luggage.
Now this is an interesting topic, you don’t have to know right now.

So how does this year wrap up?

Spent a bunch of money, checked off a “to-do” list, created an agenda, a daily schedule, but with no deadlines, and am calm and comfortable. I look around at what is supposed to be the “American Dream” and it looks fine to me, for now.

Sure a little pile of dust there, a few spider webs, hammers and screwdrivers about, tile coming up in the kitchen, ruffled sheets, scattered papers and piles of clothes, the process continue.

So let’s see what next year holds. What new adventure will present itself?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

20 Things That Became Obsolete in the Past Decade.

1. VCR and VHS tapes
2. Travel Agents
3. Separation between work and personal life
4. Forgetting
5. Book Stores
6. Watches
7. Phone Sex
8. Maps
9. Calling
10. Classifieds in newspapers
11. Dial-up Internet
12. Encyclopedias
13. CDs
14. Land Line Phones
15. Catalogs
16. Fax
17. ME
18. Handwritten letters
19. Film
20. Address Books

obsolete: no longer in use, outmoded in design.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

What Did You Get?

Is this what you say to all your friends on Christmas? I mean, it’s all about the joy of giving and making others happy, but really, it’s about what you got.

Otherwise, we could have mailed it all in and been done with it.

But to rush down and look under that dried pine dangling delicate memories of times past to discover YOUR NAME on a card connected to a large, brightly wrapped box, that is what Christmas is about.


Here are a couple of Christmas day photos I remember.
This was around the mid-50s.
The big gift of that year must have been the bicycle. I think that was my brother’s bike. I remember riding it later and that big headlight, and it had fenders.

There is also this space jacket. That may have been a Boy Scout thing or a space commander’s club. I see a fast draw gun set and a fort building kit, so I think they were mine.

There was always a BIG-ticket item that overwhelmed the other piles of socks, shirts, ties, candy, appliances, shaving utensils, and a few useless toys.

One year it was a car for my brother, one year it was a fur coat for my mother, one year it was cardboard tank for me??? Hummmm?
By 1959, I was thinking we needed a dog.
Don’t know what came over me, but I asked Santa for a dog. Not a puppy, a dog. Our family had a dog, a boxer, named Ike, after the president, but he had left under unknown to me happenings. So I asked for a dog. Maybe it was an offer to pull the family together with a common gift? It didn’t happen. Instead I got a stuffed animal the size from a carnival.

At 11, I also got a white shirt, a basketball, and some other “stuff”. I see in the background my brother’s school ring picture had been framed (Dad used to like to frame things.) and a box of cigars for my father, a bottle of Old Spice in it original wooden box. There are socks and gloves and a puzzle of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Further back there is a Hamilton Beach blender and golf balls and cart since this is probably about the time Mom started playing the game.

Perhaps this was when mom decided to do something else without my father’s guiding light. Perhaps this was when she drew close to the country club set. Perhaps this was when she was forming me to join all the clubs and follow all their rules.

“But Mom, we have color photos!”
In 1964, from what the Christmas photo shows, was my first year at attempting to play the guitar. That is a baritone ukulele that I started learning folk music on. We also got the World Book encyclopedias (even though I never used them) and I think the big hanging suit bag against the wall was mom’s fur coat. The BIG-ticket item.

The next Christmas, I received from Santa a doll wrapped in plastic. Cute Dad! I get the hint.

I don’t know why we went through all that struggle of shopping, wrapping, carding, and falsely giving the impression that once a year we would all come into a room hardly used, into a fake setting of once a year decorations and show off our prestige.

Was this what Christmas was all about?

The church told a different story of donkeys, shepherds, open sky and a new beginning, but the television, which became the more powerful pulpit, told us of the wonders of credit and the amazing technology that would change our lives forever.

And the TV won out.

Each year a new message from manufactures that the new, improved, brightly colored, with sound and light and motion gadget will become so necessary to our live styles, we must procure one or more for our family and friends.

The same speech that told us to buy washers and refrigerators, telephones, and aluminum siding sells us to purchase larger televisions and faster computers and slicker automobiles and sweeter fragrance and more sparkles and bling.

These are created into family traditions. So at the beginning of winter, we shut down our work, decorate and create a festive environment, gather our family and friends, laugh, sing, talk, eat and drink to the abundance we share.

So as we sit back and enjoy the spectacle that has become the 25th day of December, let us gather up our loot and call all our friends and tell them what I got.

“What did you get?

I got to partake the beggars banquet.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Do I Know You?

Being the season for gatherings and close conversation with perfect strangers, the awkward moment when someone comes up to you and says, “ I haven’t seen you in years.

You look at the face and there is no physical recognition, charmingly say with a light jiggle, “Oh hi there YOU, how have you been (you better tell me something to recharge my memory of who you are)?”

Or you could look completely befuddled at the other’s recognition of a time or place where we connected and ask the question hopefully getting a name or description of how we know each other, “Pardon?

The other person tells a name and describes a situation, and you still recall anything. 

In polite circles, the phase of, “Excuse me but I don’t remember (then pause), but it has been a pleasure meeting you.” 

Even the ones who we feel we know come to a face-to-face conversation and looking into the other and ask, Do I Know You?”
After a moment, I put down the mirror and walked into the other room.

Monday, December 20, 2010

You Are What You Eat

So last night I had an $8.00 steak, which is very unusual for me, but I had to. Earlier in the year, I had a steak that almost killed me, so I wanted to know was it the meat or did someone try to poison me? Cutting small bites and being careful to chew, I seemed to survive. If not I wouldn't be writing this.

Later that evening immense in dreams, I realized that the food I ate channeedl my unconscious thoughts.

That night was the usual journey searching for something, but this time, I think due to the red meat, it was a high class adventure.

Wandering through an upscale restaurant, this time fully clothed or at least not worrying about that, I was still befuddled by the mass of people cluttering my path. There is always a search going on and I never reach the goal, but I think it is the seeking that is important.

I remember talking to a former work colleague about the brown walls (I guess I do dream in color) while walking down some weird steps that were half steps and half ramps covered in plush carpet.

Now if I just have a sandwich or some popcorn for dinner, I may dream of dark gray warehouses with Latino tunes and open fires in the streets, but if I have a thick diet of junk food I wander off into a stupor of oblivion with no conscious thought of dreams.

It's funny how that works.

But That's Another Story

There was a room

There was a girl

There was a man

The man was me

But that's another story

you don't have to know right now

Another story

I don’t quite know how to tell

I was alone

We were together

My thoughts were free

As rolling Heather

but that's another story

you don't have to know right now

Another story

I'm don’t quite know how to tell.

And then the light

It changed direction

And I became

my own reflection

This is not a place where things are always what they seem to be.

What they seem to be to me is never quite reality.

But that's another story

you don't have to know right now

another story

I'm don’t quite know how to tell.

Happy 27th Anniversary
with soundtrack by Lothar and the Hand People.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Are We Having Fun Yet?

During the most stressful or painful times, I ask this question.

“Are We Having Fun Yet?”


That time during your life when all was fine and there were no problems or troubles to disturb the act of living.
As we were when we were children, to run and play with wild abandon, no worries to interrupt the excitement of life.

Is this the way our time is suppose to be?

The thought came up the other day while feasting on herbs and spices washed down by the celebration of heat.

Quiet conversation and silliness excused by the season and dead presidents. Even though she left some of her clothing, I think it was a break in her family dynamic. Hopefully the occasion was FUN.

So why do we call living WORK?

Would we suffer to wake up in the morning and say we were going to have “FUN”?

Sure there are processes to follow to accomplish the anticipated results, but why can’t it be fun?

We know how to do the processes. We understand the requirements and expectations from the company that pays us to perform this task. We have a good team assisting in this activity, so why don’t we call it “FUN”?

Do we worry about how others perceive us or do we just lose the joy of life?

Perhaps I’m tainted by working in a creative community viewed as unusual and accepted for odd behavior. We were allowed to have fun.

So while the season and the following winter darkness cloaks the spirit, find something that make you smile.

And have some FUN. 8^)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Order of the Garter

It is amazing what a person can save in an old trunk.

A garter, articles of clothing: narrow bands of fabric fastened about the leg, used to keep stockings up, is often worn by newlywed brides.

It is the groom's privilege to remove the garter and toss it to the male guests. The symbolism to deflowering is unambiguous.

Historically, this tradition also relates to the belief that taking an article of the bride's clothing would bring good luck.

As this often resulted in the destruction of the bride's dress, the tradition arose for the bride to toss articles of clothing to the guests, including the garter.

Another superstition that has circulated is the male equivalent of the bride throwing her bouquet to the unmarried ladies, i.e., the unmarried male wedding guest who successfully caught the garter was believed to be the next man to be headed to the altar from the group of single men at that wedding.

Traditionally, the man who caught the garter and the lady who caught the bouquet will share the next dance.

There was a time, long, long ago, when guys in their early 20's decided to get hitched up to the girl they were presently dating. It was a time to settle down and become responsible.

But this ritual of the garter caught my fancy. I caught many garters and in one wedding the groom came over and handed me the garter. I think he was trying to tell me something.

The fascination with garters and what the represented overcame me and I recommended every young woman that I knew to wear them.

On one occasion, I was given permission to remove the garter by the new bride. I was the last man to touch her thigh before her betrothed looked on.

I saved these garters, like a solider wears metals or a sportsman displays trophies. Red, white, black, silk, lace, some embellished with hearts while others had pearls; they all were put away to remember at some later date.

All but one are gone now, but for some reason, I kept this black velvet garter. I want to believe I know why, but it is only a dream.

I will put it on my sleeve, the way I used to display them, and wear it proudly, without fully understanding the significance of saving this piece of cloth for so long.

It was important then and is still important now.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Asking the questions, no one will answer

As part of my conversation study, I continue to explore how and why this species communicates to each other.

I’ll preface this with the understanding I consider these thoughts during my conversations with myself. Verbal statements made to those who do not understand my words or hear me at all.

Since it is the season when acceptable groups are invited to gather and converse, the proper etiquette of conversation arises.

“What will be the topic?”

As each year presents it’s own events, personalities, and fodder; each person will bring a different point view to any topic.

Will they bring an opinion, a statement, a similar experience, or adjust the focus to another topic?

And how well do you know these people? They may be co-workers, club members, team players, committee members, or family. The topics can be as slight as the weather or as deep as politics. Depending on the depth of understanding and commonality of a group, the conversation can venture into a space unaware on a daily basis.

But seldom will any of this trite talk go to the point that hits the core. The secret whispers behind closed doors, those life-changing thoughts expressed in eye to eye contact with only a few words mumbled yet understood.

E-mails cannot relay such thoughts, yet once face-to-face, there is no excuse why we only babble. If every breath is important, why isn’t every thought sent through the air to another?

Now, to get off the heavy for a moment and as an aside, my introduction to conversation was as a joker. Say something silly and get a response. Harmless antics without a threat were my signature to strangers. No in-depth subjects, no fact-finding missions, and no intimate thoughts were in my vocabulary. I didn’t bring a vast array of information to the table, only limited observations from daily experiences.

And most conventional conversation holds no threats. If topics of politics or religion arise, people tend to regroup to reinforce their own beliefs. This alienation in polite society is unacceptable, but the pattern for confrontation expands the vision process to new boundaries.

While some of these topics may appear offensive, they can uncover some of the deepest structure of the individual. What we believe and live, every day; not just what our grouping of words say, is what makes us unique.

We all have something to say, as painfully shown by the Internet and in blogs like this mess, but many of our statements are based on personal interpretations of ideas presented by others. Frequently we blurt out a message hoping to get a comment without analyzing our thoughts. We regurgitate the words, rearranging them into a different pattern, but rarely putting any thought into the string spewed out to the world.

A song or an overheard phrase may catch our ear and connect in some deep meaning that moves us. These were not random sentences, but overworked lines intended to impassioned others.

Perhaps age will relieve us from the politically correct structure of conversation and allow us to talk only when it is necessary. Listening, understanding, and comprehending may be our last reward.

Even between our closest confidants, the talk will gloss over what drew us together.

We spoke of truth, vision, love, faith; the topics that form the core of our being without stipulation, and listened to the reactions of those we trusted. Was this trust and acceptance deteriorated by time and distance?

When did we lose those connections?

So now standing face-to-face with another resident of this third planet from the sun, will we ask the questions no one will answer?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Stocking Stuffers

Went to a store the other day, only to look around when a salesperson came up to me and asked if I needed assistance (which is a wonderful strategy), but I said, “I was just looking”, then he said, ”We have stocking stuffers”.

My answer surprised even me. With an automatic reply I replied, “No thanks, I don’t need to stuff any stockings this year.”

I smiled and walked on, but the statement was a realization of what Christmas was going to be.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Naughty or Nice

OK, Santa. I know you are busy and all of that, but what is this about the “naughty” and “nice” thing?

Sure you’ve got a long list and you are checking it twice. Frankly I think your elves are working on a spreadsheet or a massive database with all our information on it that would make FaceBook look like scribbles on paper. With all your resources you probably have Santacam in every home following our every moment.

Now “naughty” according to my dictionary is unruly, disobedient, lacking propriety or indelicate (thou shall not be delicate?) while “nice” is enjoyable, pleasant, appealing or attractive, courteous and polite, but it is also excessively fussy and fastidious, showing discernment and subtlety.

So my question is, how much “nice” do you have to have to over come the “naughty”?

Sometimes when I’m naughty, I’m nice. Some say when I try to be nice, I’m naughty.

Santa, I plead with you, what is the measure? How do I grade my naughty as oppose to nice to predict if I will get a lump of coal or a wonderful, colorful present full of wonders and joy.

I’ve gotten enough coal, but I thought it was a gift for being green. I know you have given me plenty of gas for my minimal carbon footprint so I just want to know, have I been nice enough?

Sorry to bother you on such a matter when I know you are busy, so you can delegate my request to some elf or helper or such. You have my phone and email address, so just shoot me a line.
I only have a few weeks to make it up.

Love Letters

Just to show I’m not that much of a curmudgeon, here is an insight into teenage anguish.
About forty-five years ago, I met Sindey.

A friend of mine and I had gone to his grandmothers’ house for a weekend during high school and I quickly realized we were the “cool guys from the Big City” to these young country girls. I think there were several of us, but there were plenty of admiration to go around.

Being a teenage boy, I accepted any attention, but there was this one face that caught my eye. She was quiet and rather shy. She had big bright eyes and a smile that could melt your heart.

As I recall, there was some sort of party one night in the basement of the farmhouse and while the music played, Sindey and I got to know each other.

No! Not in that way. I don’t even think we kissed, but we talked and laughed that quiet laugh that only two understand.

I was smitten.

I called and wrote her letters, which she returned with the usual high school charm of friends dating, football scores, and innuendoes. We wrote back and forth for several weeks, reading between the lines of secret meanings. She spoke on the phone of the Monkees and grades and quiet whispers until her mother made her leave.

I went to visit her one weekend on the bus, getting lost in Charlottesville while her mother waited. A brief lunch and few stolen moments trading sunglasses for dog tags and I was away.

A few of the letters I kept through the years, knowing there was no real romance in them, but it captured a time of innocence that meant so much at the time.

Princess Anne Inn
In the Heart of the City
Fredericksburg, Virginia
July 4, 1966
“Hi Cliff!
Finally! A letter! I’m glad the letter you wrote in class came because the letter you mailed Tuesday didn’t come – come – and anyway, now I can’t understand the letter you wrote in class because I didn’t get the letter you wrote Tuesday. Hello? Ralph? Please explain. How about a duplicate of he letter you wrote before (too many Tuesdays).
I’m at Drum Bay. Where you at? How are you? I’m fine. How are your parents? Mine are fine. Do you have a dog? We do and she’s fine also. (I was bored till I started this letter).
Now let me see if I can get serious and invite you to Drum Bay next weekend. I don’t know when we’ll be leaving. I’ve got a dental appointment in Charlottesville at 11:45 on the same day, so it would be nice if you could go with me, since that’s where the sunglasses are! Thursday night would probably be a good time to call and straighten this out.
Really nothing to report about Laura. It all quieted down in a hurry and, as far as I know, she and Ricky are as before.
It was a great surprise to see you! In fact, it was such a shock, I’m not sure I’ve recovered.
Nothing about the dog tags make me unhappy – Its Ann Grey having your hat that worries me. Just how did that happen?
I hope you had fun at Virginia Beach. I’ve never been there but everyone says it’s a nice place. We’ve been shooting fire works all weekend and so far no one’s gotten hurt.
Time out to find a lost parakeet! I’m so glad you found my glasses. I guess they were right at home in all that dirt and grease. It doesn’t matter too much so long as they aren’t broken. Since that’s a promise, I have nothing to worry about unless there’s some accident.
The stationary I’m using came from the hotel where the convention was held. I thought of you when I saw it.
I’m looking forward to hearing my song again so never forget your guitar.
O O <- figure="" out="" p="" this="" yet="">
P.S. Are you hinting for your dog tags back?”

“Dear Cliff,
My mother decided to give me all this old paper since she says I’m writing so many letters. As you’ve probably noticed we now have a Gulf station not Atlantic.
In your last letter you commented on my letters and said, “They make me have…” – Please tell me what you meant. Nightmares – maybe?
Boo hoo – we lost last night, something like 32 – 0. I didn’t listen to the game on the radio and I didn’t go, either, so I just found out this morning. Now we won’t be able to get the district championship. Gail and Jadd told me that Tee Jay had never been very interested in football. They go to some school in Richmond but I’ve forgotten which one. I met them at the beach when we first starting going there.
There’s no comparison between Drum Bay and Wilmington. There’s nothing at Drum Bay but peace and quiet and a change in scenery and new friends for us. If you could follow my Dad on a weekend at home, you’d know there’s no change from everyday business around here unless he leaves. You got a small sample Sunday when Mom had a cold dinner.
What do yo mean you can’t stand beauty and brains? How dare you say such things? Oh, well, the statement doesn’t apply to ME. With 4 in the family, I have to get the B average or I won’t make I to college. I’m so releaved that your grades were good. My birdie is old and gets missed up.
You aren’t thinking of joining the service are you? Please, no. Make um come and get you. Weegee boards can’t be relied on.
The way things are shaping up I may play for chorus next year. At least there’s a possibility. If I play as bad as I did that Sunday afternoon, they’d soon kick me out. I hope you become a permanent member of that band you’re practicing with, that is, if you want to.
I don’t think I can stand it any longer. Are you writing Ann Grey? I’ve never let on that I was with you Sunday when you called her so you are safe. It seems that she has a habit of collecting things. She has now got a boy in Culpeper’s senior ring. He has her address but doesn’t know where she lies or how to call her. Poor guy.
The yellow submarine patiently waits your return.
Sindey Jane
P.S. I They say it’s impossible for a girl to write a letter without a P.S. so I’m going to live up to it.
P.S. II Tell Joe I hope his remarks about the Johnsons are affectionate. You see, I’ve been looking up to hom for some time.
P.S. III I can’t figure out how you want me to take you. You keep saying not to take you seriously so – I try not to. How’s that? I’m just teasing.
P.S. IV One thing you could do is bore me with your letters. The barbershop cartoon was one of the best. I take it they cut too much hair.
P.S. V Yes, yes, yes send, send, send me, me, me a, a, a pic, pic, pic ture, ture, ture. See how my pen skips with excitement?
Sindey Jane Johnson”

Dear Cliff,
This is Wednesday morning and there’s no school. I knew it was you on the phone last night before I picked it up – somehow. I wasn’t expecting to be invited to Richmond, though, and this has brought things to a head, here.
The opinion is that fifteen is a long ways from eighteen, and that it is unfair all around – since I’m to act like fifteen and you must act like eighteen.
You see, at first, you were just a boy, but now, Mom and Dad have begun to appreciate you and it has become not just a matter of protecting me, but they’re thinking of you, too. I’ve known all along that we were on shaky ground. I think you have too.
You’ve been so wonderful to me; this is the hardest thing I’ve ever been through.
Please don’t think it’s because of another boy. I think the line has been drawn because the can tell I like you, too much.
Cliff, you must not call me Thursday night. I will cry, and I do so want to keep my dignity.
One thing for sure, I’ll never forget becoming fifteen as long as I live. So what else is there to say, except, Thank you for letting me know you, for all the happiness, for the records (they were exactly what I wanted).
I close with the hope that if God is willing, perhaps our paths will cross again, when three year mean nothing, when I am free to make my own decisions. By the way this is not all Daddy’s doings. He and Mom are a team and it does not come from any deficiency on your part.
All my best wishes, Sindey Jane”
PS. “Memories are good.”

“Jan. 24, 1968
Big G
Dear Cliff,
Yes, I do remember a person named Cliff and who could forget a name like Leftwich? I was very happy to receive your letter and even recognized the handwriting, though a year had passed. I must say I didn’t actually think it would be possible for me not to see your even one time during a whole year!
Many things have happened since I last communicated with you and I couldn’t possibly tell all. I do want to say I’m planning to graduate by taking government in summer school this year. You have probably heard this and other things from Joe.
I hope you are doing well at R.P.I. and I enjoy telling people I know someone who goes there when they ask about it.
I met your girlfriend and like her very much. D.A.D. brought her up once when she came to see Grandee.
There’s little else to say except that I liked your poem, though, as usual, I didn’t completely understand it. Also there was one thing absent from your letter – cartoon.
Then, people change and I know I’ve changed so one can’t expect all things to remain the same. (I still like candy bars!)”
The still surviving
Sindey Jane
P.S. The stationary is a gift from Dad. Things have been tight this winter. “

So what happened to Sindey?

I have no idea.

It was probably better in the end to have faded into memory, but the memory is still sweet.

Just know this Sindey Jane, wherever you are, I’ve kept your picture and letters because for a brief moment in time, it was very special to know you.