Lately my thoughts have been focused, not only on the changing of the season, and how my life has changed over the years, but also on how life in general has changed. As I look around, I see a different world from the one I grew up in.
When I was a child, life was simple, respectful, and carefree. All of our elders were addressed as Miss or Mr. so and so. We said please, thank you, and May I? To talk back to a parent was to take our life in our hands, never mind sassing a teacher. One time I sassed one of the priest at school, and I was afraid to go home because I knew I was going to get it. We obeyed our parents and we knew that if we were caught saying a dirty word, like “damn”, we’d get our mouth washed out with soap. I remember the buzz around town when “Gone With The Wind” played. I sat in the theater holding my breath, waiting for the moment when Clark Gable said, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” You could hear the collective gasp of the audience, as everyone wondered what the world was coming to, with profanity on the screen for all to hear.
The first super market to open in the New Orleans area was Schwegmann Brothers, and to us, it seemed like a city in itself. Until that time, we had a very small refrigerator, so we bought our food on a daily basis. My grandma or mother would send me and my brother to the store for a piece of meat for dinner. When they began to make bigger refrigerators with freezers, the door was open for a supermarket like Schwegmann’s to open. It was a family outing to go to the super market. We d get our two buggies, walk the aisles in amazement at what we saw, and fill both buggies to the brim. Most of that food was staples because that was before all the quick fix, boxed and frozen meals they have today.
My family was one of the first in the neighborhood to get a television set. It was a big box set and we’d sit on the floor and watch Howdy Doody, Sky King, The Lone Ranger, and a few other shows. We manually turned the TV on and off since there was no such thing as a remote. Programming was scarce, but we didn’t care because we were busy playing outdoors, going to the weekly movie, and listening to the radio.
Family was very important. We played together, prayed together, and stayed together. I grew up in a home that was usually filled with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmas and grandpas, and godparents.We had respect for each other and we stood together, no matter what. Family gatherings were a given for every holiday and almost every weekend. Because my family is scattered across the country, I miss those times.
I saw the beginning of the feminist movement,when women were burning their bras and demanding to be heard and seen as important members of society. I was a young teenager when popular music changed from crooners and swing ,to Elvis, Bill Haley and the Comets, and rock and roll. The 60’s brought the Vietnamese war (which I protested), the hippie movement (which I naturally gravitated to), wacky tobaccy(which I just had to try), bell bottom pants, go-go boots, and mini skirts (which I had to wear).
The invasion of electronic games and gadgets in homes began in the late 1970’s. One of my children got a Pac-Man hand-held game, which I think was followed soon after with Donkey Kong. Before the onslaught of Nintendo and Atari games hit the market, my children were gone, so I never had to deal with the electronic game boom. In the 1990’s, I got a home computer and now my husband and I both have laptops. That is about the extent of my involvement in the electronic world.
I’ve experienced many changes in my personal life also. I used to stay busy all the time. I raised four children and one grandchild, and when my youngest started Junior High, I got a job and went back to school. After graduating, I opened a business, and I worked daily building that business, travelling, keeping up with my house, and a myriad of other activities. I was always busy doing something. Today, life is totally different. I now have a quiet life where I get out of bed when I feel like it, and do whatever I feel like doing when I feel like doing it. I also get to do nothing, if I choose.
My relationships have changed in that after having too many unhappy relationships, I married a man I love, admire, and respect. I went through a five-year healing process and learned how to change my way of being in a relationship, and so we have a happy marriage. We’re a lot alike, neither of us are in any hurry in life, and we both practice taking each moment as it comes. We enjoy simple things, like sitting outside carefully observing nature. We love to ride our motorcycle, watch good movies, and our favorite TV shows, which are The View, and John Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Many nights we turn the TV off and go to bed with a book, each of us reading until it’s time for lights out. As I said, we have a quiet life.
The way I view the world has changed. Gone are those days when I felt the need to stand up and fight. I still stand in strength, but now I stand FOR what I want. instead of against what I don’t want. I’m learning to give up anger at the world and its mess, at women for behaving like they’re here for men’s entertainment, at the politicians and corporations for making such a mess of our country, and at the entertainment industry for putting so much trash out there to lure people into a place of deadness and complacency. The only way I know to change any of it is to take a stand for morals, strong values, spiritual growth and soul healing, and a life filled with fun and peace.
My body is changing also, and I sometimes look in the mirror and wonder who that older woman is who looks back at me. My dark brown hair is slowly turning silver, my body is wrinkled and much of it has gone southwest and southeast, my derrière seems to have fallen and landed on my thigh, and I have flaps under my upper arms. (What’s that all about??!!??) I can’t run as fast as I used to, I don’t seem to heal as easily as I did when I was younger, and my hearing and eyesight are not as keen as they were. But, inwardly, I’m finally reaching a point where I can embrace these changes and just be with my body, as it is. I’ve changed my belief that I have to look 40 when I’m nearing 70. I also no longer believe something is wrong with me if I can’t fit into a size 6 pair of pants. At this point, I’m grateful I can zip up my 12’s.
I’ve seen a lot in my sixty-nine years, and it’s taken a while for me to get to where I am. I’m certainly not through changing and growing, and I’m sure I’ll see a lot more changes in this world and in my self. Life is a journey and if I’m going to continue on a forward path, change is necessary. I may not always like it, but I do always honor it, knowing I don’t have to get caught up in it.
Hubby and I are heading out on our motorcycle on 9/11 and riding for seven days, destination unknown. My blog may be late next week, because I’ve decided not to take my laptop with me. I will be blogging when I return, I’m just not sure whether it will be Monday or Tuesday.