All posts by drnana

Hello! Thank you for visiting my blog-Reflections on my Life by waternana. I am a retired educator who has rediscovered the importance of water! I am a swimming nut. I am a lover of the Lord. A woman who has been married for 48 years to the SAME man. A mother. A grandmother. A friend. A reader. A piano player. As I have grown older, I have realized the importance of writing down stories from my life. Some of these events are funny and are ones that I hope my grandchildren will laugh over one day. Others are those “oh my” events that suddenly mean more to me-now. I hope my writing brings a smile to your face or food for thought!

Sealed with a Kiss!

We recently purchased a new car and it came with six months of XM Sirius.  I told the dealer that I was not really interested in that at all.  Well, as things happen, I realized within a week that I was quite interested in XM!  First of all, you can pick exactly what you want to listen to while in the car and deal with no commercials.  Having hundreds (?)  of stations might be excessive but I am enjoying the ride a lot.  A whole lot! Of course I am a fan of the music of my youth as well as country which was NOT a music of my youth.  I think I didn’t discover country music until later in life.  I also like that I can listen to old radio programs such as Dragnet or the Whistler.  Pretty cool!

Today my husband and I were in the car together and playing was a song from the 1960’s called “Sealed with a Kiss.”  It’s about writing every day to your true love and sealing the letter with a kiss.  Sounds rather romantic to me!  And I actually have participated in that activity as an adult.  You see when I was a child, we wrote letters.  If you had a boyfriend who was away,  you would write letters to him everyday.  When you licked the envelope, and then sealed the letter, you would do one of several “sealing” procedures.  You could, of course, put X0X0X0 across where the envelope was sealed.  That was a less sophisticated way to “seal your letter with a kiss.”  If I had actually had a boyfriend when I was in elementary school and then he went to visit his grandmother, I could write him a letter.  If I thought NO other ADULT might see the back of the letter, I would have put the X0X0X0 on it.  Chances are good that I would not have done the XO thing.  Girls that I went to school and church with did not have boyfriends.  And we didn’t talk about boys either.  We had never held hands with a boy.  Or danced with one. Elementary schools had NO dances and parents didn’t have dancing at their houses either.  We lived in a “Leave it to Beaver” kind of time warp and that was fine!

The more advanced sealed with a kiss would be for upper high school or college age girls.  After sealing the envelope, you would put on red lipstick and actually kiss the back of the letter! Gutsy, I know! So when your “boyfriend” received your letter, he could tell you had actually kissed the envelope.  Sweet!  And he could touch his lips to the kiss, too! Actually that is rather gross.  Just think where that letter had been laying around!

The final and most advanced “sealing” method was a combination of two activities.  First the young lady would write the letter.  Then she would carefully spray the letter with her favorite perfume and allow it to dry.  Next she would carefully fold it up and seal it in the envelope.  And then, of course, apply the red lipstick and kiss the back of the envelope.  When the boyfriend received the letter, he could have that whiff of perfume from opening the letter and the red lip kiss.

I was a married woman before I actually did the “sealed with a kiss” thing.  My husband was in the army and we spent more time apart the first year than together.  So we did a lot of writing.  And yes, his letters were sealed with a kiss!  And scented!

Ahhhh-romance in the 1960’s

 

So do you have plans for tonight?

“So do you have plans for tonight” might be some interesting words.  If you say “yes” or if you say “no” you might end up with a humdinger of an evening.  Let me explain.

Years ago I taught with a very interesting lady.  She was the one who encouraged me to let our students build a log cabin inside our classroom.  M had a lot of good ideas although some folks may have considered some of the ideas slightly wacky.  It was summer.  It was HOT!  It was humid.  It was Friday evening about 7pm when our phone rang (This was before cell phones!). I answered.  It was M and she was getting some folks together for the evening at her home to watch their Cereus bloom.  I had heard about her plant.  Her husband had been babying it along all winter.  And it had one bloom and he was pretty sure that TONIGHT would be THE night that it would bloom.  So I said “Yes” and the four of us hopped into the car and headed to her house.  I had not been there before but knew where it was located.  No problem.

Once at her house, we looked at the Cereus.  It was not a spectacular plant by any means. But it had a HUGE bloom that looked like it was about ready to make its appearance. While we waited, we made fudge and popcorn and talked about a zillion things.  Then the “Time” arrived.  It was midnight.  We anxiously  watched the plant.  Slowly the bloom began to open.  We almost held our breath. Then we decided to really hold our breath.  The bloom was gorgeous but it was also STINKY.  I mean rotten meat stinky!!!!! The husband carefully pollinated the appropriate parts.  And it was over for another year.

Our kids were invited to have a sleepover and they stayed.  They loved the quirkiness of both M and Dr. G.  Where else can you go and  watch a plant bloom at midnight.  Or where can you spend the arrival of dawn hunting bugs in the front yard?  Dr. G always tried to get them to eat them but my kids always told him that they didn’t know where that bug had been!

And my husband’s final words on the matter were—-“I can’t believe we spend half the night on a porch  watching a plant bloom!”

And this is why I “love” chemistry

I think I have insinuated briefly that my best teachers were those I had prior to the 9th grade.  High school was more a blur of larger classes where teachers rarely interacted with individual students.  I did not enjoy high school.  There were too many people trying to “be” too many things.

It was my junior year.  I had a year of high school under my belt.  I had finished Latin the previous year. Hooray! I had geometry, American history, some English course (you can see I was excited there!), typing (on a “Selectric” typewriter), government and chemistry.  Frankly, chemistry sounded interesting.  I suppose I had some romantic visions of a mad scientist mixing up potions that would let me escape from high school.  Boy was I off base!

The first day I was able to find my classroom in the mere 5 minutes that I had between classes.  It was a room I had never entered.  I guess that today you would call it an auditorium classroom.  The front had the usual blackboards.  Then there  was a large island with a sink where the teacher could perform experiments for the students to observe.  The remainder of the room was composed of platforms that continued to set-up about 12 inches.  So the front row was closer to the floor than say the fifth platform.  Anyway-everyone could see just fine! My schedule card had no teacher listed.

The students began to gather in the room and find a seat.  The bell rang.  No teacher.  I began to look around and noticed that there were several girls that I knew from the Beta Club. But I really didn’t know any of the guys at all.  None of them.  None.  Hmmmm…..

Then into the room marched the teacher.  I didn’t know him either but he could be new.  Then he started to talk.  Guess what. He was the head football coach.  I am not sure I had gone to a single game so I didn’t know him.  The guys in the room were members of the football team.  The tackles.  The linebackers.  The “big” ones.  Although there was not a”no pass, no play” rule,  I began to feel nervous.  This was not going to be a regular chemistry class.

The coach divided us into groups.  Several football players and one girl from the Beta Club was the basic organizational plan.  We sat together.  We worked on every assignment together.  Of course, that is not exactly true.  The girl worked on every assignment and the football players watched.  Every class period began with a 10 minute football play discussion.  I learned a lot about football! Fridays before a game, the 10 minutes crept into longer periods of time.  Sometimes on Monday, a rehash of the game was the starting point for the lesson.

Can you believe this?  The ONE class that I thought I might like was basically a tutoring session for the players who had to pass to play or graduate or get a college scholarship—or—-or! Fill the blanks in with anything you want!

And this is why I “love” chemistry!

 

 

 

You might be having a personal summer if…

Women are SO lucky!  We are blessed with the ability to grow a new person inside our tummy.  Our body is set up to make milk to feed this new person and provide a good start to a new life.  As women age, their  bodies are also able to create what is sometimes called “a personal summer”.  When I began having my own personal summers, I talked to my doctor about them.  I asked, “SO…. how long do women generally have these personal summers?”  He replied, “Most women generally are only inconvenienced by them for maybe two years.”

I will now say to the world……..He was liar, liar:  pants on fire! I am currently working on 18 plus years!

Ok. Let’s get down to the nitty, gritty.  Personal summers are HOT flashes.  By HOT, I mean you could spontaneously combust in  probably 12 seconds,  Maybe less than 10 seconds! Maybe even 5 seconds.  Men have NO idea.

So why don’t we run through some of the common actions that women might have to do in order to deal with Hot Flashes…….I have 18 plus years of experience—remember?

**You store some of your bras in the refrigerator.  Nothing like a “cool” one to bring the temperature down! Better yet, store at least one in the ice maker!

**You pull off your shirt and stand in front of the open refrigerator door (or window fan or freezer or walk-in freezer at work)

**You can fan with a toothpick

**You step out of the shower and go stand naked on the porch, knowing that all water will have evaporated from your body by the time you get to the porch

**Your bedroom has air conditioning on the lowest setting available, a ceiling fan on high and a tower fan that faces your side of the bed

**You sit up in bed at night and pull off your pajamas or gown and throw the wet garment as far away from you as possible

Do any of these sound familiar?  Then baby, you have entered the Hot Flash Zone! B-E-W-A-R-E!!!!!!!

 

 

I need the corn!

As you get older many interesting things can (and do) happen to you. You forget where you left your glasses.  You misplace your car keys.  And then you hit the ripe old age of —50! Ha! But seriously your short term memory is not as sharp as it was at age 20.

Probably 10 years ago, I heard a woman speak at a Women’s Conference and found she had the perfect solution for that short term memory.  She accidentally discovered this solution in her own home.  So I am sharing it with you for free! It works like a champ!

The next time you go grocery shopping, purchase as many small cans of whole kernel corn as you have rooms in your house.  Doesn’t matter the brand–any old can of corn will do.  When you get home, put your groceries away but save out the  cans of corn.  Then move through your house, leaving a can of corn in every room of your house. The corn needs to be in plain sight.

Now for the magic!!!!  When you go into a room in your house and CAN NOT REMEMBER WHY you went into the room, walk directly to the can of corn and pick it up.  Then say aloud, “I need this can of corn for a few minutes.” If no one is in the room, still say the sentence out loud.  Finally walk out with the can of corn and go to another room-say the kitchen and leave the can on the counter.

Isn’t that simple?  You now have a reason for going into the room and the visible item in your hand. You are off the hook about feeling “bad” that you can’t remember. You have the corn!

One year I gifted the teachers that I worked with a can of corn and told them the story.  What started out as a kind of joke became a tool to not feel foolish when you could not remember.  You just took the corn! Problem solved!

 

Mr. Jack-The Bee Man

Not long after we moved to Rome, we meet Mr. Jack.  He was a lifelong resident of Floyd County and lived in the Cave Spring Community. He had spent his early years being a dairy farmer.  He raised milk cows  and initially sold his own milk. He was also a farmer.  But to many folks in this area,  he was THE bee man.

Mr. Jack knew everything about bees.  EVERYTHING.  He had many hives all over his farm.  He sold the finest honey I have ever tasted. He taught others about beekeeping.  He also loved to educate young and old about bees.  The first time he took my kids to the hives was a perfect example of how he loved to educate others.  First he would pull the brood chamber off and pull out the wax so you could see where the Queen was laying eggs.  He would show how he had painted a white spot on the Queen and show her to you.  It was important to him that you would not fear bees.  Meanwhile, during his initial instruction, there were lots of bees zooming all around you.

Next he would catch a worker bee. That group would build the honeycomb, gather honey and protect the hive.  He would have the worker bee sting his son, who was also there.  This was so he could show you the stinger moving around on his son’s arm. And Mr. Jack could then show you how to remove the stinger.

The drones are the last group of bees.  Their purpose is to fertilize the queen and then they are done.  Drones do not sting and Mr. Jack would show you that.

Last in the lesson was to get a chunk of honey-filled cone to chew. Yum-Yum!!  And that was Mr. Jack’s Bee Knowledge 101!

The big thing that my children loved about Mr. Jack was that he had his own soft serve ice cream maker.  He had a dairy once upon a time so he installed his own ice cream maker.  If you went to his house in the spring, summer or fall, you would get to eat all the soft serve ice cream you wanted.  There was only one catch—-you had to use the same cone!  So you would slurp up the ice cream from the cone without damaging the cone.  We found that generally a careful ice cream eater, could use one four or five times before it fell apart!

One little known fact of ice cream making is that Mr. Jack made two kinds.  If children were present, the ice cream was kid friendly.  If only adults were present, Mr. Jack would add a little additional flavoring—say a little amaretto!

And yes, we would use the same cone over and over again! But we did not have five of them!

 

The Fine Art of Frog Gigging

If you live in the country, you may recognize the term frog gigging.  If you are from the city and have no idea what a gig is—-well, just read on!

Several days ago, I wrote about how we provided assistance to a farmer friend of ours when he needed help hauling hay.  That was a real shock to me.  It was flat out manual labor.  And you did it until you were finished–not until you were tired.  All four of us helped.  My daughter had the best job-she drove the tractor and was only in 5th grade!    But there was an unexpected bonus to the hauling hay.  It was frog gigging.

Our farmer friend asked our kids if they would like to go frog gigging with him.  Of course, they had no “real” idea what it was but went anyway.  One at a time…… Of course, I really didn’t have a good idea of what it was either…….yikes!  The first time, both went together.  M came by our house and picked them up  about dark:thirty.  You know what dark:thirty is, right? Then they took his flat-bottom boat down Big Cedar and they looked for frogs.  You listen for their croak, shine a light on them and wham! stick the three-pronged gig into their body.  Gross!  After you get a “passel” of them, you are done for the night-except for cleaning them.  Only the legs are tasty so most of the big old frog is a toss-away.  Both of my kids loved frog legs.  They loved the excitement of hunting in the dark on the creek.  Generally they would be gone for three or four hours before they had enough to make a meal.  My kids generally came home and cooked theirs immediately.  They never shared a single one with me or their Dad.

Only later-much later, did I find out how they really decided when to stop for the night.  They stopped when——they ran out of ammunition to shoot the snakes on the creek!

Sometimes, it is better to not know the whole picture!

 

The New Kid on the Block!

When I started my teaching career, I was fresh out of college but I was not the average 22 year old graduate.  I was married and had not gone to college until my children went to school.  So I was older.  My first year, I taught fourth grade for 10 days.  Then I was transferred to a fifth grade position.  Any Georgia teacher can tell you about the ten day transfers.  I had not worked very much in elementary school but I really liked working there.  During the spring of my first year, the principal who had originally hired me asked me to move to middle school and I did.  I really loved middle schoolers.  I found that teachers either really loved them or hated them. There was no middle ground.

Anyway-the position the principal offered me was not a typical language arts classroom.  It was as a teacher in a Humanities block.  The Humanities Block was a fairly “new” idea.  The community was nervous , fearing their children would be exposed to some radical new-fangled ideas.  I just saw it as a chance to teach language arts.  The block teachers would be planning together and providing more intensive studies.  I suppose I also looked like a “safe” teacher-not some crazy radical hippie! We also had a social studies teacher.  She was a mother and her husband was a pastor in the area and counselor.  Our lead teacher was the wife of a college professor and had 4 children. I have to say that M was very interesting.  She was the most different person I had ever met. She raised chickens in the backyard of her house long before anyone else did.  She recycled everything.  She cared nothing about fashions or make-up or what people thought of her.  She had a wood stove in her kitchen and she would not let you waste a single drop of water.  Ever.  She was a FREE spirit.

School started and things were going well when M thought it would be a good idea for kids to learn more about pioneer life.  One thing led to another and we decided to build a log cabin.  Not outside in a field.  We decided to build it inside the school.  We happened to share a very large, windowless central room in our pod of the school.  We decided to move out our furniture and build it there.  M knew someone who would give us the outside slice of pine logs for free.  So we had materials.  The children read about cabin building and drew plans for the cabin.  Then we built it.  By “we” I mean the 8th grade students in our Humanities block.  We only had the morning so it took several weeks to build it.  M would not let the children use electric saws so they  cut the wood and built the walls only using hand saws.  When finished, the cabin seemed huge! It took up most of one side of the pod.  Then they made furnishings that were used during that period of time.  I must say that the kids loved this activity.  They researched history, drew plans, did physical labor, and even dressed like settlers.  I am really glad the fire marshal never came to the school.  We would have been in big trouble for having a cabin inside a double classroom in the school.

At Christmas time, we talked to the children about taking down the cabin.  They voted no.  They wanted it to stay up so it did.  We meet inside the cabin for class.  Students worked in small groups in the cabin.  It was an academic success!

What did I learn from this? I learned that stepping outside the box was sometimes a very good thing.  I also learned that it is easier to ask for  forgiveness than to ask permission.  M taught me about being a free spirit and about nurturing the mind of a child.  I must say that these ideas served me well during the rest of my teaching career!

 

Stroller Etiquette–(Tongue in Cheek!)

Several times I have considered making a few comments about the use of strollers in today’s family life.  Then I start a post and delete the whole thing.  Strollers in the 1960’s were quite different than the strollers of today.  Let me explain.

We had a stroller for our son and daughter.  It had four wheels and a detachable sunshade and a small basket behind the baby seat for carrying needed items.  We bought ours second hand because they were fabulously expensive and we lived on a budget.  I think we may have paid $20.00 for it.  The seat was somewhat adjustable and made from a  vinyl material that could be cleaned.  That is about all you could say about it.  It was rather heavy and awkward to get into the trunk of the car.

Today’s strollers are  lighter, carry more, and have added devices that make stroller use easier for both the mom and child.  They are also expensive.  I bet that some have wifi built into the stroller for the working Mom on the go!

My big deal (or big gripe) with strollers doesn’t come from my day to day contact with them.  My main encounters come from strollers in large entertainment parks, such as Disney World and Disney Land. These are only suggestions regarding stroller use.  Please just read and consider a few suggestions:

*If your child is over 5 feet tall, he/she probably doesn’t need to ride in a stroller in the park.  This is due to the fact that his/her feet stick out a long way ahead of the actual stroller.

*Allowing a child who can not see over the stroller top to push another child (or children) in the stroller is dangerous to the people ahead of the stroller.

*Allowing children in the stroller to have ninja swords and poke nearby people is not being  courteous of others.

*Please do not suddenly stop in the middle of the pathway with your stroller.  Pull over to the side please.

*Put your cell phone away and watch where you are pushing your stroller.

 

Something that is not a suggestion but just something I have noticed is that guests with strollers at Disney Land are much more courteous of others than guests  at Disney World. The Disney World stroller folks will flat run you over!

As for me, I practice a lot of technical walking skills at parks now!

Do you remember gym uniforms?

I was talking with two ladies at church on Sunday and we were laughing about how clothing was so different when we were children.  It was a rainy Sunday so first we talked about boots and how they were a necessity while now they are a fashion statement.  Then we talked about always wearing dresses because that is what even public schools required in their unwritten dress code.  Finally we talked about the most awful garment of all times-the required gym uniform!

I was lucky (?) enough to only have two years of gym class-ninth grade and tenth grade.   Before I tell you about the  uniforms, I need to remind you that society expected young ladies in the 1960’s to be more modest.  The gym uniform was a one piece kind of romper garment.  It snapped up the front from the crotch area to the neck. And you snapped every snap—not a bit of body skin could show.  There were puckers between every snap.  It had short sleeves that almost reached your elbow.  It had a collar. It had a waist band in the front and elastic in the back.  The bottom was almost Bermuda short length.  The legs were weird.  One leg might be tight and the other leg might be baggy.   It was the roughest cotton material that had ever touched my body!  It immediately chaffed your skin upon contact. No amount of washing ever softened the material.  We couldn’t add Downey because it wasn’t invented yet.  But seriously, I am not sure anything could soften the material.  It was the ugliest shade of royal blue that was ever made.  When washed, it had to be ironed.  Gym uniforms were ironed. Period.  No matter the amount of steam you used, the material still looked wrinkled.  Some even starched their uniforms but that didn’t help either with the wrinkles.  And once you put the uniform on, the gym teacher checked you over to make sure you were dressed properly.  And heaven forbid, you could not sweat in it!

Today I don’t wear an ugly romper when I exercise.  I wear a swimsuit, or running tights and a T-shirt.  Times have changed for the better!