Sunday, October 31, 2010


They are all over the house. They are everywhere. They seem attached to everything.

Everywhere I go I see them. Piles of them on tables and sofas. They are almost as bad as cell phones.

They cause panic when they don't work.

But what are all these remotes for?

To make OUR lives easier. Turn it on, change it, fine tune it, turn it off. So easy, if it is the right one.

Did we always have these electronic creatures in our lives? NO!!

Before we used to get our duff off the couch and walk two step to turn a nob or flip a switch, then stand there until we decided to stay on one of the three channels before turning around and sitting our big fat butt back on the couch.

And, of course, we would have to get back up to adjust the rabbit ears.

B O O !

Ah, the seasons of the holidays is here.

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years.

Ahhh, time for family, food, fun and friends. Gatherings bring on winter, giving excuses to pack up the car and travel to eat, drink and be marry with family members we have forgotten about over the summer.

We dress up the children to present them to grand parents and aunts and uncles who they don't recognize. The kids hang around their cousins and play stupid games while the adults drink with reminiscence over previous holidays.

But the holidays have been slurred by the commercial economy forcing families to travel further, buy more, stress out and drink too much.

When did Halloween change from a cute holiday where children could dress up and go to neighbors houses for a candy bar at night. Treats didn't have to be tested and the decorations only conjured up wide eyes and happy screams of frighting fear.

So the next three months will have piles of items we must consume to update our holiday looks. Decorations will be brought down from the attics, dusted off and added to. There will be too much food and drink and in the end, another resolution to not do it next year, but that resolution will never be able to compete with the holiday insanity that overcomes us.

So now Halloween fright has become bloody gore. Thanksgiving blessing for the harvest bounty has become overwhelming sports on every channel. Christmas has been made into a competition of consumerism for another electronic device neither needed or wanted, but forced to be given. The celebration of the new year putting aside the past and looking forward to possibilities is nothing but glitter and light and sound.

Sure, I'm cynical about these days even though I made a living promoting them. But for those who are not traveling and cooking and eating and watching the celebration programming, it becomes overwhelming to watch. The stores are filled with scary rubber mask that look like my face the day after July 4th. And next to them are the pumpkins and brown leaves next to the pine trees and tinsel. So I don't decorate How many of those who sleep under bridges will celebrate?

And is it wrong for children to dress up like this the zombie walk?

Why not try something different this year? Instead of trick or treat.... how about "Treat or Trick"? (It's a habit started in high school and still going on). Enjoy the blood soaked children scrambling for more and more while taking a bag of candy and handing to the people at the door. The idea is instead of taking, you are giving.

It will make you happier and it is less filling.
B O O !

Thursday, October 28, 2010


It's a funny thing. You learn to write so you can have a signature.

A group of letters put together in a certain way to define who you are.

And through the years, your signature, like your life, changes.

More than anything else, including your social security number or driver's license, the written words stating your name is your statement to the world.

You sign contracts with it, pay bills with it, even become famous with it.

But what captures this individual aspect of your life.

I remember having an autograph book in elementary school and getting all the kids to sign it. Later I noticed photographs that were of famous people placed on a wall with brief statements and their signatures. Then there was memorabilia, like baseballs or programs, which we begged the stars of the time to scribble their names on.

I notice it today. People who the media say we should admire are swamped with fans wanting their autograph, as if having a quick stroke smear will somehow encompass their fame onto us.

I found this page of autographs from my elementary school photos. I recognize some of the names, then noticed I had my parents and relatives to sign the page. I guess I just wanted to fill the space.

A parent's signature indicated they had seen the report card which was returned to the teacher. I'm sure my parents were surprised on teacher conference night to see what my REAL grades were, since I had artfully learned to duplicate the way they wrote their names.

Then I remembered the high school yearbooks. We would pass them around and have everyone within reach to sign them. If you still have yours, take a look.

Most comments are as bland as Facebook comments. "See you in school next year" or "Hope you have a great summer" were the majority of the autographs from people you have long forgotten. A few were meaningful and some even surprising in what they revealed.

Of course, some kids wrote crazy stuff and will be remembered for it.

But the one thing no one else can have is your signature. It states you believe in the fact or agree to the manner of living.

It is a shame, with all the electronic devices, that the simple art of writing your name is fading away.

I'll take mine with me.

Just sign here:______________________________________

Monday, October 25, 2010

Big Bertha Is Gone

She's gone.

That might not mean much to you, but she was a landmark.

A great tree spreading across the street. She had been there since I had grown up. She was there when I carried a paper route. She was there during the deepest snows and the hottest summers. She braved the hurricanes and came back strong.

I never paid much attention to her when I was young, but in the past few years, I would ride under her outstretched fingers every day, amazed at her breadth and the strength she symbolized. Neither traffic or construction or even the sidewalk could hold her back. She dominated the corner with a massive limb reaching across my path that I could rest in her shade.

Then this summer, during a storm, two of her branches fell. They were as large as most trees on the block and were stacked next to the curb. It was not a good sign.

A few days later, Bertha was marked. An orange X was sprayed on her trunk with a sign stating she would be removed.

A month passed and every day I would ride under her like a tollgate measuring my distance. Other trees had fallen or been removed over the past year and each was like a familiar friend, but Bertha was different.

I had seen several branches, limbs and even whole trees crash to the ground during my travels and I figured if one of those branches had my name on it, it would be Bertha's giant arms that would be my final.

So as I pass by her remains, I think of the others that went before her, to become the floors or framework of the homes for the returning army.

Perhaps she will become fine furniture or a child's swing set or a window to peer out on the flattened land.

Some day we will all be marked with an orange X.

Until then, stand tall and proud. and appreciate the sunshine and the rain, the chatter of the creatures who will outlast us all, and those who surround you every day.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My First Apartment

The summer of 1971, there were a lot of changes in my life.

Graduating from college (a miracle in itself), getting a REAL employment (thanks to a strike) after working at a train station cleaning vending machines and the city library making posters , and getting married (another miracle) were all in the works, so I had to find a place to start this new life.
I don't remember how I found this place. The second floor of a row building on Floyd Avenue just east of the Boulevard.

The area was clean, safe for the Fan and it was convenient to bus stops. It was close enough to work to walk or ride my bike and still close enough to my parents' house that my new wife and I could visit regularly to be fed (very convenient since I had just left their house after moving back in in 1968).
No, that is not our car out front. We did buy an Opel (the only motor vehicle I ever bought) but it had a black top.

There were lots of steps to take to carry our "stuff" up, but we didn't have a lot of "stuff" and we were young, so it only took a short while to set up the new living arrangements.

Music was important staple of our lives back then. This was my third turntable on our "entertainment" center. I would use the headphones so I wouldn't bother my wife as she read. Above the black and white spray painting by Art (I think my wife took that one?) There is a Popeye wooden carved statue net to the turntable given to me by Bill Nelson. It was a sailor thing at the time. I think I passed it on to another sailor. On the mantle was one of many pipe racks. I had been a smoker since 1966. Also on the mantle next to the books were my baritone ukulele and a dulcimer.

The black jar on the mantle (which was probably filled with some sort of illegal substance) was a gift from my grandmother from one of her trips overseas. The photo was either a print my wife made or a photo from her college friend's boyfriend. The fireplace must have been used at some point, because that is a bayonet laying in front of it to stir the coals. The broken rocker was part of the furniture set left by the previous occupant. I kept trying to fix that thing, but as you can see, without very good results. The little blue 8" black and white television had been carried around for years. Grainy pictures of election nights, news coverage and whatever we watched in the early 70's. (PS. No DVDs, VHS, cassette, MP3s, CDs, Tivo or other electronic stimulants were present or even invented) The pile of cushions were a gift from my parents. It helped to seat others when the occasion arose. They were slick vinyl and uncomfortable, so people didn't stay long.

Sparse living.

The first air conditioner I had ever had, but it came with the apartment. Guitar cases are stacked in the corner underneath. The blue and white afghan crocheted by my grandmother and old army foot locker I still have. The lamp came from my father's work place. The sofa and chair were uncomfortable, but they were better than nothing.

The nice wallpaper had to stay due to a clause we could not paint over it. Don't know where the rug came from.

My office. And yes, that is an electric typewriter. I wrote a lot of letters and resumes and stories on that typewriter and read a lot of rejections letters there. The desk was the same desk I used in my room during school at home. I kept my pens in a brass cup (forgot what the seal was on it, but it was probably a school). A diploma hung on the wall, proud acknowledge that if you continue to fake it, they will give you paper with your name on it. Since the room was tiny, the only drawing board I had at the time, had to fold up. The black leather swivel chair that was too low for the desk, came from my father's work place. The brass lamp, I still have and don't know what to do with.

Books, records, papers, art supplies were all crammed into this space. This was the "first" Mansland. It was also the hottest room with the giant radiator. In the window was an Richmond Professional Institute ram (lost through the years) and an RPI beanie, recently given to Art.

The kitchen was basic yet plenty big for two people. A small refrigerator kept all the food my parents would give us. There was a small wabbly wooden porch off the back where I would grill on a habachi and we'd wash dishes looking next door to the wall of a bank.

The table and four chairs in the kitchen came from my father's work place. The ceramic salt and pepper shakers were of Williamsburg background and the rubber place mats with funny little animals were picked up from somewhere. And there was always a trivet as we moved hot pots and pans around. Little toaster ovens had just become popular, so we burnt toast there.
And the old Orange Crush clock that got lost along the way.

With a spice rack and a wine rack (although it was usually empty), the little kitchen was clean. A small electric stove made stews and hot water for tea. The bullet trash can came from home and was carried along until a few years ago. It was huge and worked well, but did take up some room. My passion for sharp knives started in this kitchen.

The bedroom was separated into "his" and "her" areas for dressing. I think I was a fireman, because I had the pants at the ready. The black dresser was shared. More pipes including a hookah filled any flat surface along with ceramic owls and frogs (symbols to us at the time). Another fireplace, but this one was never used.

More pipes, the other lamp and a rainbow kite we had flown at the beach (which would become a symbolic habit)

The one closet was jammed full of clothes and whatever stuff we couldn't stack on chair or hang from door nobs. The wire cart was used to walk to the grocery store, which was 8 blocks away, and drag back whatever we could afford. The sewing machine was a fixture in my life but I don't remember anything ever being created on it.

The bed was on the floor (we were young then) and another dresser crammed with underwear , shirts, and whatever we could jam in the drawers. Each dresser had our watches, keys, glasses and other personal items in little piles or boxes. There were more records and a board game and stuffed animals.
And yes, that is a real cat.
And yes, that is a real wife.

The bathroom I remember painting this yellow ocher color. I think that was the color of the time but a gold bathroom? A claw footed bathtub without fixtures for a shower, which I tried to jerrybuilt without much success. It was satisfactory for two.

Behind these fine living arrangements was the banks parking lot, which stood mostly empty.

Even though rent was about $100 a month, it was time to move on.

Parties downstairs started getting out of hand and the parking lot had become a drug selling location, the peace and quiet of fan living had disappeared and we had outgrown this location

Although this was not my real first apartment, it was to be my last.

Socialization Isolation

I: That was an interesting report on the “Today” show yesterday about how Facebook and other social networking sites are keeping people connected in this busy time and day when no one can have face-to-face conversations anymore.

ME: Yes, I know. I was there; remember?

I: But what is so fascinating about this is that people talk about such trivial stuff.

ME: I know, who wants to hear this stuff.

I: Well it seems everyone does.

ME: I understand the posting of photos for family and friends, but so much of this stuff is pure….

I: I know, I know, and now businesses are posting every little event out there, filling up lines of advertising posing as communication.

ME: That also put pressure on employees to post referrals to their companies.

I: What is it about people who cannot just talk to each other? Why does it have to be texting or tweetering or chatting every couple of sections to get an immediate response to what they are eating or doing or watching on television?

ME: You don’t remember high school do you?

I: Oh yeah, staying on the phone for hours asking, “What are you doing?”.

ME: And sometimes just staying connected with nether person responding. It was just knowing he other person was still out there.

I: Well, I guess these electronic communication devices do give access after friends and family have move beyond reach.

ME: But so many of the “friends” or “contacts” don’t post any information or respond with any comments.

I: Some of them don’t even upload profile photos.

ME: And what will happen, as we get older and not physically able to get out into social environments to interact with others?

I: You mean like the Folk Festival?

ME: I knew you would bring that up.

I: Well, you thought about going, but listened to it on NPR. Was it to avoid all the people?

ME: Yes, I know. The weather was perfect and several times contemplated the short ride, but….

I: You never were very good around large crowds of people.

ME: I don’t know if it was upbringing or shyness, but for some reason, I don’t like the clutter of large groups of people.

I: But they are fascinating to watch.

ME: Just like all those “friends” on Facebook that we don’t know who the heck they are?

I: It is part of the unknown interesting in others I suppose.

ME: You are a freak. To follow the exploits of some chickie out west or read the constant barrage of thoughts from crazy painter woman or see political connections from people you have no idea who they are, how is that interesting?

I: I guess that is life without being part of it.

ME: So is this it? Is this how we will communicate with anyone out there in the world?

I: Being transportation challenged, if we are to see anyone face-to-face, they will have to come to me.

ME: Don’t blame it on me, it was your choice.

I: Well, at least we do have Facebook.

ME: And if someone wants to express something that is more that stupid.

I: Well….. oh, there is email. That’s kinda private.

ME: You know and I know that anything…..anything you write is public knowledge out there.

I: I guess the old days of writing down your thoughts on paper, mailing it in a sealed envelope only to be opened and read by someone else is over.

ME: So we have to watch what we say and how we say it…. Or text, tweet, or chat it, as the case may be.

I: You know what? I don’t care.

ME: Huh?

I: Why I’ve never used bad language or hurtful remarks, so why can’t I just say what I want to say?
ME: I guess that is freedom of speech.

I: So let’s log on and see what our “friends” are doing. Or at least what they are wasting their time saying. It might be chuckle or two.

ME: You know, when you see how old people, not old like us, really, really old people sit around and wait for “the time” to come, this electronic communication might be a good thing.

I: Yes, even when they are in the room with family, they are placed in a chair and talked about like they are not even there.

ME: And sometimes they are not even there.

I: But will we, as we get older, be able to physically read these glowing screens? Will we have the ability to type? I hands will become too brittle to text on our cell devices, so how will be communicate with others?

ME: Hummmmm?

I: We will be isolated. Social Isolation will take place. We will be alone with our thoughts.

ME: Unless our families put us into an old folks home.

I: Three meals a day and television as I recall. What’s the difference between that and prison?

ME: Well, I…..

I: I think we need to adjust ourselves to the reality that being alone isn’t bad. We need to learn how to entertain ourselves with what we have, appreciate what nature has surrounded us with and be at peace in our own mind.

ME: Like listening to the rain outside?

I: Exactly. It is free entertainment. It is there for all of us, but we are always too busy to enjoy it.

ME: Too busy by texting and chatting and….

I: You got it.

ME: You know. I can remember in the spring when the first rains came and we sat out on the porch and just watched. It was very peaceful.

I: So peaceful we fell asleep until 3 in the morning.

ME: So you still want to log on and see what the rest of the world is doing?

I: No. I’m going to make a sandwich.

ME: Me too.

MY: Word!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Me and My Best Friend

On a rainy cloudy day, and there is nothing on TV, and the air is getting cold, and there is no one around to tell you to wash the dishes or fold and put away the laundry and, well that's enough.

So where do you turn.

You pick up your old friend and hold her close. She is always there. Like a real friend, ready at any time to play with you.

She sits patiently in the corner, waiting. She knows your moods and your tunes reverberate through the house as she responds to your fingers. She expresses your emotions with glee and without restrain.

You caress her body with smooth lines that beg for you to continue. She will continue to play as long as you hold her, but even then, she will be put aside.

This friend is always there, waiting. They will not judge you, they are only here for your pleasure.

Like the little tin solider waiting the child's hand to grab it off the shelf and play again, but alone, covered in dust.

They are scattered around the rooms waiting. Waiting for that moment when they will be held and warmth from the hands make them sing.

They are my best friends and bring me such joy.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Who Was Your Bully?

As you may have noticed, there was one boy in the 1956 class photo who was a little different that all the rest. He wasn't just camera shy or had a fever blister or a bad hair cut, he was different.

His name is Bobby and he was my bully.

Now Bobby and I grew up in the same neighborhood, had similar houses, and obviously went to the same elementary school. I don't know why we started to walk home together, but that is what I remember about him. I don't remember going to his house to play or him coming to my house, though I do have a photo of him in a birthday photo. He was pretty well behaved around my house because I had a large boxer who he was scared to death of.

But I do remember about him was he was my bully.

He would go out of his way to annoy me, knocking my books out of my hands, pushing me off the jungle bars. He seemed to find joy in these acts. I'm sure the others who walked with us were entertained by Bobby's antics and that reinforced his actions.

I don't remember other kids behaving with such rudeness and inappropriate behavior, since this was the time in our lives we were learning how to eat, talk, dress, and behavior properly.

While the other kids were soft spoken, being taught not to speak unless spoken to, Bobby was brash and loud. He would run around flailing his arms and screaming at the top of his voice.

None of the other kids knew how to react to him, but somehow I kept walking to school and home again with him and one other boy, to be tormented every day.

I couldn't tell my mother, because "kids were just being kids" in those days. My big brother was too distant and my father was always at work.

In the classroom, he would shoot spitballs at me breaking my already lacking interest in school. On one occasion, the teacher, after scolding Bobby several times for his disruptive behavior, stopped the class and told me if I wanted to respond to his constant barrage of heckling, I had her permission. I sat quietly, squinting at the blackboard and did nothing. The teacher told the class how much of a gentleman I was, then continued with the lesson while I was pummeled by spitballs.

In the cafeteria, he would spill my milk or steal my food. On the playground, he would perilously throw the ball as hard as he could and laugh at the crowd who would scatter. When riding bikes, he would crash into others just to watch them fall over and cry.

I don't know what the connection was between Bobby's parents and mine, but on one occasion was in the hospital and my mother and I went to see him. As the two mothers talked, Bobby called me over to his bedside. I stood there as he reached into his mouth and pulled out a wad of bubble gum. He leaned over and rubbed it into my hair. My mother didn't notice until we had left the room and I remember her wondering what would make a boy do that. For a week or two I had a bald spot where the gum had to be cut out.

Bobby and another friend and I went to summer camp together. He seemed to be better in crowds under constant supervision, but he was still pulling pranks like short sheeting other campers or pouring salt into their bunks or taking their underwear from their footlockers and throwing them into the woods.

Bobby could have been other kids bully, but he was the only one I remember treating me with such terror.

One day, walking home from school, I had finally had enough. He was doing something irritating to me when I suddenly dropped my books turned around and clocked him. He fell to the ground with the others pointing and laughing at him. I was ready for him to get up and start a donnybrook, but he seemed shocked. I picked up my books and walked home alone.

By the time I got home, I was no longer mad, but waited for my punishment, that I was sure to come. There was a phone call from Bobby's mother, yet after the conversation and my mother asking me if I had hit Bobby, nothing else was said. I had fessed up to punching him and was not punished?

Two years later, Bobby is not in the class photo. I don't know if he moved away or went to another school, but he didn't bother me anymore.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Going Back To Caroline

Going back to Caroline, going back to Caroline
Got a vision in my mind, just gotta take the time
Going back to Caroline

Two lanes cross the borderline two bored kids in the hot summertime
Relieve yourself on the side of the road, chain gangs and army convoys
Going back to Caroline

Eat a sandwich, take a nap,, watch for injuns, check the map
Bounce the rhythm of the road, no radio, dance to the music in your soul
Going back to Caroline

Car broke in a dusty town, parts in Raleigh, wait around
Board the train, head for home, get off, it's fixed, the families gone
Going back to Caroline

Unpack your bags, head to the beach, the ocean has a lot to teach
Hot dogs and heat, spit on the street sunburn, noxema sleep
Going back to Caroline

Silence is the night, the wave glow, keeping rhythm with your soul
Sit on the sand, await the sun, hit the water, watch the crabs run
a better wave is about to come

Nighttime falls, you do not care, whatever happens, no matter where
Sweep the floor for coins to pay, the liquor man not to say
too young for 3.2, run away

A girl sits smiling on the shore, the sky is dark, the ocean's roar
Cold and wet and fresh with dew, sleep til sunrise, awake as two
Gonna leaver her, Caroline

Lots of faces on the wall, he said he worked and knew them all
Back room of a country store, tall tales cover the dirt floor
almost famous before the fall

Harmony, but dad won't sing, seven sisters make it swing
The family drifter out to sea, never you and never me
You only get what you bring

Last trip back, the families gone, sat on the beach to write a song
The dance hall pier is coming down, battership guns fire without a sound
Still love that small town

Going back to Caroline, going back to Caroline
Got a vision in my mind, just gotta take the time
Going back to Caroline.

Music for a project "R.O.K.O.D.0.2." or perhaps the soundtrack for "The Last Set"?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Following the Ice Cream Truck

On my daily jaunt yesterday, I heard some light music ringing through the neighborhood. Since it was such a pretty day and everyone was out and about, I figured it must be a children party, but as I turned the corner there was the ice cream truck slowly gliding down the street playing sweep music.

One of the first signs of summer is the neighborhood travels of the ice cream truck. The bells and whistles and happy tunes can be heard blocks away, creating the anticipation of watching the vehicle decorated with sticks and signs of cartoon characters and all sorts of sweet temptations.
Although the prices are high and sanitary conditions questionable, the sight of the ice cream truck always brings a smile.

Like so many past remembrance, this is one that still enters my environment to create a childhood joy.

Perhaps I will never again read the Sunday comics on the living room floor, experience the first kiss, take off the training wheels, feel the pull of the sail, slide down the water on a fiberglass board, get a crew cut, fly a kite at the beach, run to the net, wrestle with a pup, sit by a pond watching the bobbing string, or stop and delight in a dripping ice cream cone on a hot summer day.

But the sound of that innocence will continue to lighten my spirits knowing another generation can enjoy the laughter and experience the wonder of the ice cream truck.

Keep sharing your magic.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Solitary Confinement

This suppose to be the worst form of punishment other than torture. Deprive a person from any interaction but them self.

Alone in a single room with only your thoughts to entertain you.

So is the culture of today's society in need of complete stimulation? Television, internet, phone, texting and conversation are all part of the nature of noise surrounding us every day, but we have created them all.

Television with it's high definition flat screens presenting hundreds of channels with very little of interest to spend time watching, the massive internet with fact and fiction mixed in with pure trash and a waste of time looking for something important, the phone which has become smart enough to bypass talking to another human by typing in text to a tiny screen for immediate response, and finally one-to-one conversation fill our waking hours.

Now the television with all of it's action and sound and fancy colors can be turned off, the internet like a giant library can be shut down, the phone with all it's connections can be ignored, but human conversation is different.

A person talking to another person face-to-face can view expressions and reactions from statements or questions. Inflections in the voice can relay messages the words don't clearly express. A facial gesture or a smile or frown or a pause in the conversation can speak volumes of silence.

So take away all of these outside interference to the mind and what do you have?
Solitary confinement.

Alone with your own thoughts. The mind free of outside interference. Only the individual ideas are forefront to be truly thought through and contemplated.

Now, whatever conclusion these thoughts bring to the self, there is no method to share with another.

As with a conversation, when an question is asked and instead of the immediate reply, there is a pause to contemplate the answer, such is solitary confinement.

Time to think and ponder the thoughts.

Is this what punishment is?

Or is this a gift we don't realize until it is too late?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mama didn't raise no dummy

I used to use that phrase all the time, but looking back, I may have been wrong.

Recently I went over my college grades, and maybe mama did raise a dummy.

and yet i grabulated and walked into a job that didn't require no edubacation and never had to show off my superior learnedness.

Requirements for Entering College

After applying to the local college, I was sent this sheet of requirements to be evaluated by the staff for approval of allowing me to buy higher education.

Richmond Professional Institute
Commercial Art & Design Department
901 West Franklin Street
Richmond, Virginia 23220


We require all entering students to complete the following and mail them directly to this department in a regulation manila envelope, 9 ½ x 12 ½ inches. All materials are to be mailed flat with a cardboard filler so that the drawings will not be damaged. This material will not be returned. No action will be taken on a port-folio if it does not contain all of the above items.

1. Make a freehand perspective drawing of the house you live in, on a sheet of paper, 8 x 11 inches.

2. Make a freehand perspective drawing of a corner of a room, including at least three pieces of furniture. It can be pencil or wash on a sheet of paper, 8 x 11 inches.

3. Make a freehand pencil drawing of a figure, from life, to fill the following size paper: approximately 16 x 22 inches (so when folded twice it will fit into the mailing envelope). Copies from photographs or other drawings are not acceptable. They must be drawn from living persons.

4. Make an illustration of the most interesting even that you can recall, on any paper or illustration board to fit the envelope. Write a paragraph of explanation.

5. Letter your name in ink, no less than 1 inch in height on any type paper.

6. List all the magazines you read through each month. List the books you have read over the past two years.

7. Enclose a small photograph of yourself, approximately 1 ½ x 1 ½ inches for our departmental files.

8. Pair off the following words into inventive two-word combinations. Do not add to the list below:
Tree baboon burglar cow show shoe
Ancient canary circus boy tom see
Arrow Cicero ditto bird horse saw
Fall dungarees driver house rain girl
1.________ 4.________ 7.________ 10.________
2.________ 5.________ 8.________ 11.________
3.________ 6.________ 9.________ 12.________

9. Using the same idea above, but with cut-out magazines photographs of human figures and objects, paste up these photos in combinations that are (1) inventive and (2) in opposition to each other. Paste up five sheets of 8 x 11 inches on one side only.

10. With your attention elsewhere (as often happens when talking on the phone) make a series of automatic scribbles. Select five that look interesting and mount all five on a 8 x 11 sheet. Take those left over and by cutting and pasting them in new combination with each other on a second 8 x 11 inch sheet.


The above material should be sent in without delay. We have a limited enrollment for Freshmen in this department, and in the past, students have postponed sending their drawings until after our enrollment was filled.

We thank you for your interest and look forward to seeing your work.

....and somehow, I got in. And more amazing I got out in only 4 years.

Here's How

It is amazing some of the things we keep. In my old footlocker, I found a envelope with "high school" written on it. Inside I found bumper stickers, pennants, letters, booklets (see below), ceremonial listings, awards from my three years attending this establishment of high learning.

One of he examples of mid-sixties training was this little booklet, I suppose handed out during my high school years. It was provided by a local department store to insure proper behavior and decorum in the troubled youth of the time.

Read on.

Here’s How!
For High School Students
Compliments of Miller & Rhoads
Sponsored by Woman’s Club of Highland Park

We hope this book will be of help to each of you, but it’s only a beginning. After all, it’s you who set the standards. These are Suggestions, NOT rules.

Let’s Begin At Home
All of us feel that frank and eloquent family discussion of problems as they arise, or better still, as they are foreseen, can work wonders.

1. Plan in advance with your family for use of the car. (Where are the keys?)
2. Driving is a privilege, not a right. Road laws were made for your safety. It’s common sense to obey them. (Common sense?)
3. As a passenger you have as much responsibility as the driver for safety. (If you don't like it, get out and walk)
4. Your record of traffic violations will follow you through life. (So I've been told)
5. When young people begin talking everyone has the same answer: they hate speeding, as it is dangerous to themselves as well as to others. It is a violation of the law, and let’s face it – speeding and reckless driving are a pitiful display of childishness on the part of the driver. (But when you feel the roar....)
6. Be sure you have had adequate training, that you are constantly alert, that you are physically fit. All of us agree that alcohol and gasoline don’t mix. Think of your responsibility to others. (What is that flashing light, throw those beer cans out the window)
7. When you are driving a car you are in control of power that can take you where you want to go or leave you dead on the highway.(The same is true of life)

When Telephoning Remember (pre-cell phones)
1. Consideration of others on a party line. (Party line?)
2. What time is it? Others may be at dinner, doing homework, or it may be their bedtime. (Hopefully it is her parents bedtime so we can talk for hours)
3. Doctors, as well as others, must keep their line open. (What teen is going to call a doctor?)
4. Much can be said in fifteen minutes if you have planned what you want to say beforehand. (And much more can be said by simple sighs over hours of silence)

Radio and T.V.
Consideration is the keynote. (Give me the remote)
Don’t let radio or television interfere with your or others’ homework. (Has anyone heard of multi-tasking?)

The family should decide together the amount of the allowance and what expenses it covers. The income of the family should be taken into consideration. (If you can't get it from your parents, steal it)

Baby Sitting
1. It is only fair that older children stay at home with younger children while parents have a little fun. Most of us will do our share gladly, and fair parents don’t ask too often. (What are those parents doing?)
2. Advance planning saves disappointments and makes for harmony. (Oh come on)
3. Babysitting for others is a responsible job. If you are engaged I a telephone conversation, you can’t hear the baby cry. Parents should be consulted if you want to entertain while baby sitting. When yo are employed, your time is your employer’s. (Some of the best time I had was with girls who were babysitting)

Clothes and Borrowing
1. Borrowing without asking isn’t borrowing. (It is stealing)
2. Eliminate borrowing except when absolutely necessary. (Like you don't have clean underwear?)
3. Promptly return borrowed articles in good condition. (Don't worry about those stains, just bury it in the drawer under some socks)

1. A party at home is fun and inexpensive. (Especially if you have a 3-watt blue light bulb)
2. Spontaneous parties are fun, but every good hostess should have games and cookies handy for such. (or have a 3-watt blue light bulb)
3. Planning a party – (was most of my teen year's goal - to see who, where, and when the next party was going to be)

A. Make out a guest list. (or make out with your guest list)
B. Inform your guest of the type of party so that they may dress accordingly. (loose clothing a must)
C. Decide on refreshments:
1. What kind (whatever you want)
2. How served (it's in the kitchen, go get it yourself)
3. When served (anytime you come up for air)
D. Set up definite hours for party (between now and then or whenever the parents kick you out)

A. Tolerate crashing (who are those guys?)
4. Guest (their obligations)
a. Don’t put off answering invitations (Sure, I'll probably be there)
b. Be considerate of household furnishing and property. The Golden Rule applies here! (Sorry Mrs. Johnson about your mother's vase. We just got a little rough)
c. Go along with the plans of your host or hostess. (We'll just turn down the lights and...)
5. Chaperones – they are a must (Creepy)

Let’s jump in with both feet and discuss going steady. First we ought to have our definition straight. Some young people think of going steady as merely friendship and have many steadies during the year. To most of us going steady means that we are either in love or think we are, and we take it seriously. There are two schools of thought on this – each very firm.

For Going Steady:
1. Going steady clarifies your ideas about the type of person you may later want to marry. (Marry??)
2. If you see a lot of the same person you find common interests in meeting the usual ups and downs, which may help to build an enduring love. (Ups and downs??)
3. Going steady gives security. (Marry????)

Against Going Steady:
1. Since you change as you grow, you may hinder your chances of choosing well if you limit yourself to one person in your teens. (Called playing the field)
2. It is easier to date one person than to exert yourself to meet and know others (the easy way out).(It is also lonely when you can't find a date)
3. Dating many different types of people will help develop your character and ideas of choice. (And you don't have to get into discussions about getting married)

Dating At Home:
We are all more relaxed at home and therefore have more fun. Girls, it helps a boy save his allowance. Boys, it gives you a chance to see a girl around her family. (No, get out of the house and away from the parents. Sure it's cheap, but you can't make out with her parents watching)

Dating Datails:
How many a week?
1. The answer depends on your studies, your health, and our pocketbook. (Health?)
2. Most teenagers agree that dates should be saved for the weekend. (or whenever you can sneak out of the house to be together)
3. On Sunday nights most of the churches have something for young people that is fun and ends in time for a good sleep before Monday. (Even ran one of those things on weekends, but didn't get enough sleep)

Consider Mom and Dad! Work out a schedule with our own family and stick to it, letting them know where you are going, with whom, and agree on a reasonable time to return. You in turn should know where to reach your parents in case you need to. (I'm gone, but I'll be back sometime, maybe)

Should you park?
1. People were shy about speaking on this subject, but once they started talking they all agreed – the answer is NO! (Oh come on, why do you think they invented back seats?)
2. Both boys and girls invariably like best those who never suggested or agreed to parking. (Then why do girls get into the cars??)
3. No mater how innocent you are, it looks bad. (If looks could kill, we'd all be dead)

What shall I wear on a date?
1. All of us like the four fundamental principles of simplicity, appropriateness, cleanliness and neatness carried out in a person’s clothes. (and this from a department store)
2. Don’t be ashamed to ask what to wear if you are not sure. (don't wear garters)

1. Everybody agrees that drinking for boys and girls in high school is out. (but no one told the boys and girls)
2. Girls are especially emphatic on this subject; they don not like to go out with boys who drink. (Sure, did you ever see American Graffiti? )
3. Finally the state law says: In Volume I, Code of Virginia, under Par. 4-62 – It is a misdemeanor to sell alcoholic beverages to any person under 21 years of age. (I'll forge an ID for you if you pay me)

Another Gold Rule
Use tact and consideration concerning dates.
1. Boys shouldn’t call up at the last minute or ask bluntly, “What are you doing tonight?” They should have something planned in advance. (Believe me, the boys have something planned in advance)
2. Girls should always be thoughtful in turning down a date. (Burn your bridges and they won't come back)
3. Good manners, formed in early teens, reflect throughout life fine qualities of character. (Huh?)

Nothing is more irritating that waiting for a late-comer. Try not to cause others this annoyance.
1. Budget your time. Try to allow enough time to extras that often come up. (Don't be too eager)
2. Girls should be ready when their dates call. (But they never are, it is part of the plan to get grilled by the parents)
3. Let others know when you are unavoidably late. (or if a better offer comes along)
4. It is courteous for the boy to find out the time his date is expected home and comply with these wishes. (I'll try)

Never Underestimate the Power of A Woman
1. Girls can set a standard for the boys they date by not putting up with any foolishness. (But I'm serious. I'll respect you in the morning)
2. Girls like to look up to a man whose character is even stronger than his arm. (Has she heard about testosterone?)

A Word to Parents
1. Parents should agree, in advance, with their sons and daughters upon a time to be in at night to save misunderstanding. (or wait up with the porch light on)
2. Parents should provide money for emergencies that may arise, for instance, telephone money for notifying parents of change of plans. (They will never see that money again)
3. Although parents should set an example, you people agree that they want to accept responsibility for their decisions and behavior. They want to deserve the confidence they expect to be placed in them. (Trust me with your daughter)

And in Farewell
Many of he misunderstandings between generations come form a failure to talk it over.
1. Most parents are eager to help us with our problems. (yeah, right)
2. Teachers, ministers and older friends are complimented when asked for advice. (Don't bother me)
3. The standards we set for ourselves are basically those that we inherited from Mom and Dad and there’s nothing like talking over history with those who made it. (So that's what wrong with me)

These booklets supplied as a public service by Miller & Rhoads.

While I am not sure it made any real difference in my life at the time, I kept it for over 40 years in an old musty footlocker, in a crumpled envelope, just for this occasion of viewing it again.

Have things changed? One thing has, the Miller & Rhoads department store is gone.