Every morning my husband and I get ready for our walk around 5 a.m. to avoid the heat. We don’t make it out the door for at least 30 minutes, needing clothes, clean teeth and coffee!
Consistently, we see one other couple out early. We say “Good morning!” “What a beautiful day,” and usually walk on.
During the weekend, my husband stopped to ask about their granddaughters who are swimmers. They told us their oldest signed with Northwestern and their youngest is getting calls across the country at top colleges. They talked about how they did at CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) where swimmers compete for their high school teams and how they were top finalists.
“Our daughter was a multiple CIF Champion,” my husband mentioned. Yes, she was. That’s a memory I’ll look back on with pride.
Our neighbors talked about a meet they just returned from in Northern California, the George Haines International Swim Meet. Yes, we’ve been to that meet, too. It’s filled with top swimmers including Olympians from the USA, Europe and Mexico.
Here’s a video I took of warm up from the George Haines International meet in 2017:
The conversation with our neighbors brought back so many memories from the days our kids swam. Busy days traveling to meets, staying in hotels, sitting with favorite parents on the stands. Each morning we wondered what the day would bring.
I felt a little sad and melancholy after talking to our neighbors. I’m glad we were a swim family. But there’s no going back to those days. On a sad note, the team our kids swam with from kindergarten through high school folded a few weeks ago after more than 50 years. I couldn’t count the hours we spent volunteering and supporting our team.
My daughter celebrating with her relay team at the end of a swim meet.
What memories from days past do you think about in a happy or melancholy way?
“With her widower’s help, a splendid new documentary explores Mary Tyler Moore’s private side,” is an article from the Los Angeles Times by television critic Robert Lloyd. Here’s an excerpt:
“Who can turn the world on with her smile?” It’s Mary Tyler Moore, of course, and you should know it.
To be precise, it’s Mary Richards, a person Moore played. But the smile was her own, and it worked magic across two situation comedies that described their time in a way that some might have regarded as ahead of their time. Although Moore proved herself as an actress of depth and range and peerless comic timing again and again, on the small and big screen and onstage, “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” made her a star, and incidentally a cultural figurehead, and are the reason we have a splendid new documentary, “Being Mary Tyler Moore,” premiering Friday on HBO. Were it titled simply “Being Mary,” there’d be little doubt who was meant.
My daughter called to tell me about a documentary I had to watch called “Being Mary Tyler Moore.” If you’re wondering why someone born at the tail end of the millennial generation would watch a documentary about Mary Tyler Moore, you have me to thank.
I loved the Mary Tyler Moore show with great characters like Lou Grant, Rhoda Morgenstern and Phyllis Lindstrom. My family watched the show religiously in the 1970s. Not only was it a ground-breaking show, it was one of the first sitcoms to employ women writers. The original writers (who were men) realized they had no clue what was in a woman’s purse, so they hired women writers to make the show authentic. Not only was the writing fabulous, the actors were, too.
I have faint memories when I was very young of Mary Tyler Moore as Laura Petrie in the Dick Van Dick show and Van Dyke tripping over their ottoman. That show propelled Mary Tyler Moore to become a full-fledged Emmy-award winning star.
When my kids were growing up, I believed they were missing great shows that were no longer on the air. I bought the entire Mary Tyler Moore, I Love Lucy and Seinfeld TV series on DVD. My daughter loved them. One of the things she like best about Mary Tyler Moore was the fashions.
I took my daughter’s advice and watched the documentary over the weekend. I found out many details about Mary’s life and how she changed how women were presented on TV forever.
Do you remember Mary Tyler Moore in the 1960s and 70s? What shows were your favorites when you were growing up?
I wrote this post when my daughter graduated high school. With graduation season here, I decided to repost my thoughts from not quite ten years ago:
Today my little girl graduates high school. What a joy she has been to raise, teach and hang out with. I remember her kindergarten interview when she had to be tested for one of the coveted spots at St. Theresa’s. She had fun buns on her head and ankle high “Britney Boots,” marketed for little girls dreaming of becoming Britney Spears. She boldly entered the kindergarten class and announced to the world that she was “Robert’s little sister.”
Today, I have a tall, wise-cracking young lady with a big smile and sparkle in her eye. If I could tell my daughter three things she needs to know for her next adventure called college, what would it be?
“To thine own self be true.” Don’t worry about what other people think. Do what you know is right. This famous quote is from Polonius to his son Laertes, before Laertes boards a boat to Paris in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Even though it’s pretty old, it still resonates today.
Happiness is not having a boyfriend or being thin. My mom would tell me the worst things when I was my daughter’s age — mainly focused on the need to “have a man” — or that “a man would make me happy.” This must be a throwback to my mother’s generation, where a woman’s identity and self-worth were wrapped up in a spouse. Instead, I will tell my daughter that happiness is found within yourself — by doing something that you love. Once you find happiness in yourself, only then can you share it with others.
Don’t worry about what your career or major will be. You will figure it out. Don’t feel pressure about it. Most people going into college that have a major, change their minds anyway. Get your basic requirements out of the way and then after taking different classes, you will discover what you don’t like and what you do like.
And most importantly, not even on the list — I love you.
What three things would you tell your son or daughter on graduation night?
Our yellow lab Angus (RIP) on our chaise-and-a-half lounge.
I finally let go of our chaise lounges. We moved them from Palm Springs at my insistence. My husband wanted to leave them behind.
I recently wrote about my mom’s unnatural attachment to her flute and her reluctance to let it go HERE. Then I realized I was doing the exact same thing with two chaise lounges we’ve owned since the kids were little. For sentimental reasons, or for what those chaises represented, I couldn’t let go.
The chaise lounges in our Palm Springs backyard.
For the two-and-a-half years we’ve lived in Arizona, we’ve never once sat on our chaise lounges. They’ve been sitting under waterproof covers. Their fabric was deteriorating. But someday I was going to do something about that.
I watched as a chipmunk made trips across our patio, back and forth, with something white and fluffy in its mouth. I finally figured it out. I lifted the cover to a chaise lounge and there was a one-foot hole in the cushion. The chipmunk was using our chaise lounge to “feather his nest.”
Because of harsh desert weather, I’ve had the chaises recovered several times through the years. One of my best friends has an upholstery and sewing business. She recovered them for me at her cost. We used to live close enough to drive them to her.
I shopped online and the chaise-and-a-half cushion is not a standard size. I’d have to have them made to order and now it’s no longer the fabric, but the stuffing is ruined too. For a little more than the cost of new custom cushions, I ordered two standard-size chaises from Costco. We’ll even be able to lounge on them!
What did the chaises represent to me? Why couldn’t I let go? We got the oversized lounges so our young children, dripping wet from the pool, could snuggle in next to us. Angus our lab would spend evenings laying by my side as we watched the sunset. That was one of his favorite things to do. Mine too.
Those years are gone and nothing will bring them back. Not even holding onto chaise lounges that hold my dear memories.
It is bulk trash pickup week. I finally let go and my husband took the chaises to the curb.
The chaises were picked up from our curb — before the bulk pick up truck made it to our neighborhood! I hope they found a nice home and the new family enjoys them as much as we did!
Have you ever been attached to a physical object for sentimental reasons? Was it clothing, art, chaise lounges or something else?
Last week a thought occurred to me. I should get out my flute. Not only would it be nice to play again after a few years of not playing, it might give me a burst of creativity. I’m always looking for ways to encourage my creative spirit including walks, sketching or reading. However, in my advanced age, I promptly forgot about playing the flute.
Actually after moving, the flute got tucked away along with my music. At our former home, my flute was out on the piano and I’d walk by and stop to play. We donated our piano to our kids’ elementary school before we moved.
I was reading through blogs yesterday when I ran across a mouse playing a flute in a story on Nuggets of Gold called Moonlight Sonata. A note went off in my head. Yes, I want to get my flute out — and music.
I remembered where I squirreled away my music in the guest room dresser. My flute was hidden in my closet. My favorite flute music is falling apart, but still readable. I also found piano music for the Phantom of the Opera and Wizard of Oz. The good thing with the flute is that it’s in the key of C and I can play piano music easily — at least the melodies.
My mom played flute since she was a child and took me to lessons when I was around 10 years old. I played her beautiful silver flute at lessons and practiced with it. She got the flute from her high school flute teacher as a teen. When I was 11 years old, she gave me her flute. Her friends asked why she would give a child such a valuable instrument and she took it back. My parents bought me a flute appropriate to play at school when I joined Band.
When I turned 30, I asked my mom for the flute. She said no even though she hadn’t played it after taking it back from me two decades before. I was planning to make a leap and join our church choir. A friend of mine played flute in choir and suggested I give it a try. I could have played with my old band instrument, but it sounds tinny and is hard to play compared to the rich tone and ease of Mom’s silver flute.
Anyway, that was my excuse — also I was scared. Buying a flute at that time wasn’t even an idea we could consider.
I asked mom at age 40 and again at 50. The answer was always no. Sometime in my early 50s she told me she wanted me to have her flute. On one of my visits, she insisted I take it home on the plane. I held on to it for dear life on the flight back to Palm Springs.
My son and I practiced Christmas Carol duets each year, me on the flute and him on piano. I’d go through phases where I’d practice daily and then stop and start again.
Then the phone calls began. Mom had moved into assisted living. When she was in her 80s she wanted her flute back. I tried to explain that I was enjoying playing and I knew she wouldn’t play her flute or even open its case. She assured me she would and wanted to practice for a concert. Then she’d forget all about it and months later she’d call again about the flute.
I think in the back of my mind, I was hurt when she took the flute away from me as a child. I overheard her telling a friend that I was getting my sticky peanut butter and jelly fingers all over it — which was not true. I also felt that it was wrong to hang onto a possession for thirty or forty years and not let someone enjoy it.
My aunt, her little sister, had a similar story with china inherited from their family. My mom gave it to her little sister (my aunt) before she moved from her home, but once in assisted living kept calling to get her china back. There was obviously no room in the assisted living studio to display the china or store it.
Looking back, I wonder if I should have returned the flute for a few years to appease my mom. I think she was attached to these possessions because they reminded her of her earlier years and she saw them as her identity.
In any case, I have the flute and music out and it brings me joy to play and connects me to Mom in a good way, that I am able to enjoy her beautiful instrument and her musical talent. RIP.
Do you think people hold onto possessions because they see them as part of their identity or youth? If yes, what other things do people hang onto for that reason?
I woke up yesterday morning dreaming about my skis I bought when I was a freshman in college. They were the pair of skis in the photos above. They were my identity, is what I dreamed. My bright orange Olin Mark IVs.
I bought them in Everett, Wash. near my hometown of Snohomish. I was a student at the University of Washington in Seattle. The sales guy who sold me the skis was cute and he asked me to go skiing with him.
I remember the day so well. It was raining on the mountain and the snow was thick slush and totally unskiable (if that’a word?)
We had lunch in the ski lodge and headed down the mountain in the sales guy’s sports car, a small Fiat, which broke down on the way home. Those were the days before cell phones, but somehow we got back to Everett and my car. Once we got to the sales guy’s apartment, a friend and coworker from the ski shop came over with a case of beer. Apparently it was payment of a bet on if I’d go skiing with him.
I loved skiing. I enjoyed it so much, that I went to Sun Valley with a girlfriend on Spring break to ski. We decided then and there that we’d take off our sophomore year to become ski bums. We got jobs and an apartment lined up on our Sun Valley ski vacation for the next ski season.
My parents weren’t sold on me taking off a year of school. They were sure it would get me off track and they feared I wouldn’t go back to school.
As luck would have it, I didn’t make it to the next ski season because I ran across a street and froze like a deer in the headlights and got hit by a pick up truck. My girlfriend went ahead with the Sun Valley season — and no she didn’t make it back to the UW.
It reminds me of the saying to get out over your skis.
What moment have you had when your plans dramatically changed from what you had planned?
Today would have been my mother’s birthday. The Ides of March. (Mom died New Year’s Day.) Today I’m going to my brother’s house and we will reminisce and have dinner with family including my mom’s little sister who is 13 years younger than mom.
My mom often told me that she raised her little sister.
My cousin wrote me a loving sympathy letter that included a funny story I had never heard before about Mom, my aunt (my cousin’s mom) and red squares.
My aunt had a friend over and my mom, as the older sister, had them in a competition to earn red cloth squares. I’m not sure what ages they were, but Mom had them busy doing chores. They would earn a red cloth square for finishing their chore first.
I talked to my aunt about it and she said whoever earned the most red squares won the grand prize. She said she wanted the grand prize more than anything!
She won — and the grand prize turned out to be a bigger red cloth square.
Mom was a strong Christian and I have memories of her giving us a Bible verse each morning. She typed hundreds of them on 3 1/2 by 2″ cards.
She was big on chores and that’s one thing I despised the most coming home from school. We’d come home to an empty house, as latch key kids when Mom was earning her degree in Music at the University of Washington. She already had a degree in Home-Ec Education. Mom would leave a legal-sized yellow sheet of college-ruled paper with both sides filled with chores to be done before she got home. She had an ineligible scrawl that was hard to read.
I realize now, she not only wanted dinner cooked, the dishes done, the house vacuumed, the garage swept (you get the idea) — she was keeping my brother and I out of trouble. She was keeping us busy.
Tomorrow we spread her ashes at our riverfront property.
Here’s a photo of her in her teens or early twenties at the river.
What chores did you have growing up? Did you have your children do chores too?