Roxanne Teresa Sicurello. That’s the name I was given at birth. My mother, knowing that Italians have a habit of naming their children after themselves and fairly certain that she could never look into a cradle at her infant son, if ever she had one, and call him “Rocco,” told my father that I was named for him. Thus, she satisfied both Dad’s need for a child named after him and her need to not have a son named Rocco. Just to sweeten the deal, I was given the middle name Teresa for my paternal grandmother, Teresa Massessi, lovingly referred to as Tessie Massessi, and yes, it rhymes with messy and yes, it suits me well.
41 is an important number. A significant number in many ways. It is the number that follows 40 and precedes 42. It’s a prime number, which means almost nothing to those of us with a “no math mind.” There is a US Highway 41 that goes from the very southern peninsula of Miami, to the very northern U.S. peninsula, the upper peninsula of Michigan. Amazing!
For those of us old enough to remember the tear-jerking, full box of tissues movie, “Brian’s Song,” Brian Piccolo’s retired jersey is number 41. Side note ~ I actually remember where I was sitting in my living room and holding and using an entire big box of tissues. I also cried for about an hour after it was over. It was that bad. Moving on, in 1941 three very significant things happened, the Japanese bombed Pear Harbor, we officially entered WWII, and my mother was born, thus securing my place in the world…kind of.
This past Tuesday, my husband and I celebrated our own 41. We have been married for 41 years. I was 19 when we married, one month before my 20th birthday, and I am 60 now, I have been married for fully two-thirds of my life. That’s a long time, like an “I really am an old lady” long time, which is even harder to comprehend when I feel like I’m still about 41 years old. Of course, the mirror says otherwise, but still the feeling is there. It’s not true, but it’s there.
You’ve heard the age old saying opposites attract. Can I tell you it could not be more true? In fact, when I think about it, there’s not much that Cliff and I have in common. For example, Cliff likes sports, he likes playing them and watching them. When we lived in NJ, Cliff was the pitcher in our church’s softball league. They played on Monday nights. For the guys, it was a competition, a time of camaraderie, an athletic event. For me, it was a wonderful social outing! A time to visit with the wives, chat, and slather ourselves and our children in what we felt was a “natural” mosquito repellent, otherwise known as Skin So Soft by Avon. I have no idea why or how, but it worked and though I wasn’t overly fond of the smell, we definitely smelled better than the men.
Cliff enjoys old movies, I do not. But, I do like to crochet and will sit beside him with my hook and yarn while he gives me a rundown on different actors and the trivia he knows about them. It’s interesting…sometimes. Lately, we have found a common interest in British television programs. I don’t know why. We have to have the subtitles on to understand what they’re saying since we are “separated by a common language,” but the series’ that we’ve watched so far have piqued both of our interests and we’ve really enjoyed them!
Cliff enjoys things to be “orderly,” his drawers, his closet, his shoes…a place for all things and all things in their place. I tend towards “creative chaos.” My drawers are separated into shirts, pants, shorts and underthings, but they are not even close to orderly. They are shut most of the time, so that’s good! I tried to organize my closet once. That lasted a day. I realized I missed my closet disarray because sometimes I find something I forgot I had and it’s like getting a new and unexpected gift! Who wouldn’t love that?
My husband is a food camel. He can go for long periods of time without eating and think nothing of it. I am a foodie. I eat every few hours and think I will meet some horrible end if I don’t. If we plan a trip to Disney, something we both enjoy, it is inevitable that I will ask him where and when we will eat and whether or not we’ll get a Starbucks Refresher. If plans change as far as where we will eat, I can deal with that. I can even be mature about it, as long as I know we will be eating. Besides, I usually have my pockets stuffed with snacks like a chipmunk, so I can make it through until our meal. However, if he tells me we will be getting a Starbucks Refresher when we get into the park and then realizes that a very popular ride has almost no line and decides that we should get in line instead of getting our Refresher. Well, let’s just say that can and did, yesterday, push me to a mild meltdown. I did enjoy the ride and saw the wisdom of his decision when we came off the ride and saw a 105 minute wait. We only waited for 20 minutes and we did get a Refresher immediately afterwards.
For all of our differences, and obviously they are many; there is one thing Cliff and I have in common, our faith. Our common love for Jesus has held us together through some of the toughest moments of our lives. He is our third cord, that causes us to not be easily broken. Who loves us unconditionally and teaches us to do the same. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it.
41 years…It’s a pretty big deal!
“…a threefold cord is not easily broken.” ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12
The term 20/20 has come to have a few different meanings. It can be the measurement of visual acuity, of course. In the late 1970’s Barbara Walters was the co-host of a new show called 20/20, which is still on the air. And then there is hindsight, which is always deemed to be 20/20. Things are always much clearer looking back. Though we may have heard of most of those things, none of them really prepared us for the actual weirdness of the year 2020. So, what did I really expect from a big family vacation in 2020?
In 1930, the United States experienced the worst drought it had ever seen in the Midwest and named the area hit, the Dust Bowl. The Great Depression had begun at the end of the previous year and Herbert Hoover was our President.
In 1930, Pluto was discovered. The Chrysler Building was completed and stood as the tallest building in the world until the Empire State Building was completed the following year. The average yearly salary was $1,970.00. You could rent a house for $15 per month. A brand new Pontiac Big Six car cost $745.00 and a gallon of gas was 10 cents.
In 1930, my father-in-law was born and so was Calvin Graham.
On April 3, 1930, Calvin Graham was born in Canton, Texas. He grew up in Crockett, Texas and was one of seven children living at home when he and his older brother decided to find a place of their own. Calvin sold newspapers and delivered telegrams after school to support himself. Until one day, when he came up with a plan for his life. He decided to join the Navy and fight in the war. It was 1942. Calvin was 12.
He had begun shaving when he was 11 in an effort to look older. He also practiced speaking in a deep voice. He told his mother he was going to visit relatives, forged his mother’s signature, stole a notary stamp from a hotel, and went down with his buddies to sign up. He wasn’t worried about the recruiting officer and his mother’s forged signature, he knew he could tell them he was 17 and bluff his way through that. After all, the Navy needed men. What worried him was the Dentist.
There was no way to hide the fact that he still had a few baby teeth. The Dentist said he was 12. Calvin insisted he was 17 and told the Dentist that he knew for a fact that the two guys ahead of him were 14 and 15 and he’d let them through. Finally, the Dentist told Calvin he didn’t have time to waste on him and let him in. And that is how Calvin Graham became a Navy Seaman, all 5′ 2″ and 125 lbs. of him.
Calvin was on board the USS South Dakota as a gunner when it was attacked in the Pacific at Guadalcanal. A 500-pound bomb struck the main gun turret. The explosion sent shrapnel through his mouth and jaw, knocked out his front teeth, and knocked him down three stories of the superstructure. At 13 years old, though injured himself, he helped pull fellow crew members to safety. He took belts off the dead and made tourniquets for injured men. He gave the injured crewmen cigarettes and stayed with them, encouraging them all night. He was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.
Calvin’s mother, seeing her son in newsreel footage, contacted the Navy and revealed his secret. He was returned to Corpus Christi, Texas and thrown in the brig for almost three months. It took his sister’s complaint to the newspapers to get him out of the brig. The Navy stripped him of his medals, revoked his disability benefits, and ordered his release with a dishonorable discharge. He married at 14, was a father at 15, and divorced at 17. Knowing he was about to be drafted, he signed up for the Marine Corps. Soon after enlisting, he broke his back in a fall. After that he sold magazine subscriptions. In 1976, he began writing letters to then President Jimmy Carter, seeking honorable discharge status so he could get disability benefits for his medical and dental expenses. In 1978, with help from some Texas Senators, it was approved and his medals, except for the Purple Heart, were restored. He died of heart failure in 1992. He was 62 years old. In 1994, two years after he died, his Purple Heart was returned to his family.
Calvin’s was an incredible life. He was a very big deal.
I think these CoVid times have caused a certain oddness to emerge in us. A time of digging in and discovery. A time of finding out what makes us “tick”. A time of realizing we all have some pretty strange quirks.
We’re still mostly at home, for us there is the exception of work one day a week for each of us and the necessity of the grocery store. We shop for my parents and try to get them out of their house a little each week. And, we’ve just started going back to Disney, but that’s another post for another time.
I, personally, feel like I’ve accomplished quite a bit at home. My counting has almost become prolific! As you know, I’ve already counted my mugs – 72, and my books – 1492. Evidently, this does not include a few books lent out to friends, and I maybe, just bought another one. Okay, I did. I did buy another one, but it was for a good cause. However, I’m still sticking with the 1492 number. It has a certain ring to it. Don’t you think? I recently discovered that I also have 32 pairs of shoes, a fairly modest number, I think. Of course 10 of those are Keens. I may be a little obsessive, but I’m at that stage of life that screams, “comfort above all else” and I have weird feet. I also have 2 pairs of slippers, which are my footwear of choice when I’m home. Nothing says comfort quite like shuffling around the house in your Dearfoams.
My husband has uncovered a few interests as well. He’s not a book guy, he leaves that to me; but he has exhumed some old, and I mean really old, video games. Not only did he dig them out, he’s been sharing them with our grandsons. And, guess what? They love them! The favorite seems to be WarCraft. I have no idea how he’s playing the old games on new computers, but he’s got it all figured out and he and the boys are enjoying them. Old video games aside, he’s also a fountain guy. Not only that, he’s a fountain guy, who loves solar, (we have panels on our roof), who loves a good deal. So, when he opened his Deal Dash email and saw a solar pool fountain, well, you can guess what happened next.
Please allow me to meander for a moment. Yesterday was National Dog Day. Can I tell you, I think these times have to be hardest on our pets. Their lives haven’t changed except for the fact that we’re around more than they’re used to. Now for dogs, and especially our Phoebe, this is a wonderful thing; I don’t think cats feel the same way, but I don’t own one so I can’t be sure and I don’t want to be racist against cats.
Anyway, the Deal Dash solar pool fountain was seen and purchased. Upon arrival, it wasn’t exactly what was expected, but it’s cute so we kept it. It only squirts when it’s in the sun and even then some of the squirts are pretty small.
This second picture is about the biggest it’s ever squirted. We were very excited. If you look closely you can see the water lifting about six inches above the spout. Kind of pathetic, but I think it’s kind of cute! Cliff just shakes his head and laughs. The kids just think it’s weird. However, there is one of us in the family that is not fond of this fountain at all.
Poor Phoebe thinks this thing is some kind of an invader on her property. She stalks it, she growls at it, she raises her hackles and barks. She doesn’t understand why, despite her best efforts, the thing continues to float around completely disregarding her warnings. She is not always a bright dog, but fortunately for her, she is pretty and lovable.
The squirrels, on the other hand, are very fond of our fountain. It keeps Phoebe busy and she leaves them alone. So, that’s a good thing!
I’m wondering what the next Deal Dash email will bring. Until then, I think I’ll go count my silverware, because it’s really not that big a deal!
Aside from the year that Columbus made his journey across the sea, the above 1492 stands for something else. I’ll give you a hint. It isn’t mugs. I already told you I have 72 of those and the number, thankfully, hasn’t grown. It’s also not silverware, although we do have a lot, mostly to accommodate family get-togethers. Also, none of it is actually “silver”, but stainless steel ware is to hard to say. So what exactly is my 1492?
The masks were called muzzles, germ shields and dirt traps. They gave people a “pig-like snout.” Some people snipped holes in their masks to smoke cigars. Others fastened them to dogs in mockery. Bandits used them to rob banks.
More than a century ago, as the 1918 influenza pandemic raged in the United States, masks of gauze and cheesecloth became the facial front lines in the battle against the virus. But as they have now, the masks also stoked political division. Then, as now, medical authorities urged the wearing of masks to help slow the spread of disease. And then, as now, some people resisted.
In 1918 and 1919, as bars, saloons, restaurants, theaters and schools were closed, masks became a scapegoat, a symbol of government overreach, inspiring protests, petitions and defiant bare-face gatherings. All the while, thousands of Americans were dying in a deadly pandemic.
1918: The infection spreads.
The first infections were identified in March, at an Army base in Kansas, where 100 soldiers were infected. Within a week, the number of flu cases grew fivefold, and soon the disease was taking hold across the country, prompting some cities to impose quarantines and mask orders to contain it.
By the fall of 1918, seven cities — San Francisco, Seattle, Oakland, Sacramento, Denver, Indianapolis and Pasadena, Calif. — had put in effect mandatory face mask laws, said Dr. Howard Markel, a historian of epidemics and the author of “Quarantine!”
Organized resistance to mask wearing was not common, Dr. Markel said, but it was present. “There were flare-ups, there were scuffles and there were occasional groups, like the Anti-Mask League,” he said, “but that is the exception rather than the rule.
At the forefront of the safety measures was San Francisco, where a man returning from a trip to Chicago apparently carried the virus home, according to archives about the pandemic at the University of Michigan.
By the end of October, there were more than 60,000 cases statewide, with 7,000 of them in San Francisco. It soon became known as the “masked city.”
I am on a quick, mini-vacation with my husband and my sister. When we return I will have stories to tell. Stay tuned and have a wonderful week!
I’m tired of being “puzzled”. I’ve completed all of the ones I own and most of the ones I’ve found in closets that no longer have boxes but live out their existence in plastic bags. Yes, they’re that old. So old, that some of them don’t even have a picture to go by. Tired of being tired and bored, I turned to facebook, which is always amusing if you scroll through the whining parts.
And there it was, a Disney Princess test! Who doesn’t want to know what Disney Princess they are? I was sure I’d come up as Merida from Brave, after all, I’ve got the hair, the ethnic background, and I liked archery in high school! I never turned my mother into a bear, at least not on purpose, but that’s another post for another day.
I came up as Mulan. Not sure how that happened. I’ve never ridden a horse, nor have I have I ever had any inclination to go to war in place of my father. I probably did dress up as a guy for Halloween when I was a kid. It was a cheap, easy costume. AND, I am married to an Asian who does love Mulan, so that’s probably it!