This is 20/20…

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?

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Posted in Aging, Attitude, Blessings, Caring, Challenges, Change, Children, Christians, Faith, Faithfulness, Family, Fathers and Mothers, Florida, Getting Old, God, Gratefulness, Happiness, Humor, Life, Lord, Love, Marriott Vacation Club, Memories, Oxygen, Pools, Recliners, Uncategorized, Vacation | Leave a comment

Calvin Graham, an Incredible Life

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. 

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CoVid Quirks…

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.

It’s beginning squirt.

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! 


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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?


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Posted in America, Books, Bookstores, Humor | 3 Comments

Strangely Familiar….

This past week the little school where I am teaching American History and English, opened it’s doors again. We’ve not been in classrooms since March 10, 2020. It’s good to be back, regardless of the new “Covid” rules. The rules are a little tedious, a little time consuming, but necessary.

My husband shared this article with me. I shared it with my High School History students. I told them the same phrase my teachers told me all those years ago. Many teachers repeat this phrase to their students, which in itself proof.  It is simply this, “History repeats itself.”

As it was then, so it is now…

From the NY Times ~

The Mask Slackers of 1918

As the influenza pandemic swept across the United States in 1918 and 1919, masks took a role in political and cultural wars.

People waiting for masks in San Francisco in 1918.
Credit…Hamilton Henry Dobbin, via California State Library

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.

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.”

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Posted in 1918 Spanish Flu, America, Americans, Attitude, Challenges, Humor, Pandemic | 1 Comment

A Tribute to a Stinky Little Dog

Yesterday we said “goodbye” to our almost 17 year-old little dog, Stinky Stell. It was a hard decision, but a necessary one. Stell was blind and deaf, she rolled down our 16 steps like a little tootsie roll more than once and had to be carried up and down, her teeth were falling out, and she waddled because her little lady legs were gnarled with arthritis. She could no longer jump onto her corner of the couch, which had come to be the only place she felt safe, and she was afraid to jump off of the couch because she could no longer see the floor. There were days she wouldn’t eat and days she threw up after she ate. She didn’t really like going out of the doggy door, which was another jump for her and couldn’t always jump to get back in through the doggy door, which in Florida heat could be a little dangerous, especially if we weren’t home. Yet, with all of this, she still seemed fairly happy. Isn’t that the wonder of dogs? No matter how horrible they may feel, they will still wag their tail for us, just to let us know how much they love us.

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Posted in Animals, Chihuahua, Death of a dog, Dogs, Family, Florida, Home, Humor, Life, Love, Memories, Old Dogs, Saying Goodbye to dogs, Tribute, Tributes, Veterinarians | Leave a comment

Not Today…

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!

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Winnie the Pooh ~ Which One Are You!

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!


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Posted in Disney Princess, Enneagram, Humor, Myers-Briggs, Personalities, Personality Tests, The Four Temperaments, Winnie-the-Pooh | 1 Comment

Squatty Happens

When I first began teaching, I did an exercise in adjectives with my high school students. They had to go around the room and use two adjectives to describe the person next to them. Of course, they had to be kind. It was going fine until we got to the last student, a young man who shall remain nameless, that had to describe me. His first adjective was “funny”. I didn’t mind that one at all and then came his second adjective…”squatty”. Excuse me?  Squatty? How did he even know that word? Squatty?! Who uses a word like “squatty”? The worst part was, I knew he was right. I was squatty.  Squatty can happen when you’re 5’2″ tall. The worst part, squatty creeps up on you.

Squatty for me, happened when I turned 50. That was the year that the fat hit the fan, literally. Before 50 I could eat anything, anytime, anywhere, and barely gain a pound. I remember glorious days when my kids were young. Days of hiding in the bathroom to eat an ice cream or some cookies and milk all by myself. The kids always knew, of course. Mostly because it was the only time I locked the door. When I came out it was usually to an inquisition. “Mommy, what were you eating?” “Nothing.” Convinced that I was lying, they would stare me down and make their demand. “Let me smell your breath.” I knew I should always brush my teeth before I left the bathroom, but I always forgot. Those were good days.

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Posted in Aging, Attitude, Bathrooms, Best Friend, Challenges, Children, Discipline, Encouragement, Exercise, Family, Food, Getting Old, Health, Humor, Life, Sisters, Teachers, Teaching, Turning 60, Uncategorized, Walking, Wisdom, Women | 1 Comment

A Vegan Apocalypse?

When I was a little girl, the dinosaurs had pretty much died out, but hippies began to roam the earth. They stayed around for awhile, but by the time I was 11, though they didn’t die out, they did hang up their “love beads” and  settled down. The hippie movement introduced Americans to all sorts of new ideas, Eastern philosophy, pot, bell bottom pants, pot, folk and rock music, pot, free love, pot…you get the idea. One of the healthiest things the hippie movement introduced us to was the idea of vegetarians. You know, the people that don’t eat anything with a face, or a mother, or pretty much anything that tastes really good, like hamburgers.

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Posted in 1960's, America, Americans, Animals, Attitude, Childhood, Conspiracies, Differences, diversity, Family, Food, Growing Up, Health, Hippies, Humor, Life, Moms, Shoes, Uncategorized, Vegans, Vegetarians, Zombie Apocalypse | 1 Comment