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Virginia

Family Antiques?

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Sat, 05/27/2017 - 16:30

My grandmother Ruth was born in 1892 and married her first husband Norman, my grandfather, around 1916. My father Albert was born in 1918. They lived with Ruth’s mother Mary Ann in New Jersey, a little place called Mount Olive, on a chicken farm.

My grandmother told me that my grandfather was so untrained in practical skills that she had to show him how to use a hammer. He ultimately turned out to be a very good carpenter and then a draftsman/architect. But she liked to take credit for teaching him how to hold a hammer. Who knows? Truth or fiction?

A Mile High

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Thu, 03/30/2017 - 14:04

In 1957 I was fifteen. Eisenhower, a member of the Lost Generation, was President. He had recently agreed to defend Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan against invasion. Nixon, a member of the Greatest Generation, was his Vice President. The Civil Rights movement was just beginning. Newspaper headlines revealed there was a Mad Bomber on the loose and the Ku Klux Klan was making big trouble, We were in the midst of the Cold War with daily reminders of the nuclear bomb threat. We practiced  drop drills.  People were building bomb shelters. Elvis was on every radio, which was, no doubt, why the Everly Brothers couldn't get little Susie to wake up and Buddy Holly was distraught because Peggy Sue had to get married. There were four stage-one smog alerts that year, which meant it was dangerous to breathe.

Going to Seed

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Sun, 03/19/2017 - 18:29

It is that time of year when there are big changes coming. Some things are replanting themselves without much fanfare. Some are spectacular -- and they may be where you least expect to find them. 

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There is energy in every aspect of disintegration and rebirth. So much light reflected in this one seed about to be carried by the wind. We saw one of these artichoke seeds resting on the lawn before it took off on its journey. Tempted to place it where we wanted it to grow, we resisted. And yes, I mean we. There were three of us who could  have gotten up from our chairs and placed this amazing tiny explosion anywhere in the garden that was more convenient for  us. 

But being too happy where we sat, we let it be. And then suddenly it was gone. Where?

In Spite of ... and Because

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Fri, 03/10/2017 - 21:05

Under the best of conditions we grow straight and true, perfect images of what we were intended to be. Or are those images for us? Sometimes life throws us curves, or obstacles. Sometimes we have to bend or we will break. Sometimes we have to hide to survive. Life will do what it must, and mostly if we let it, we can trust that in the end we will be enough. We may not be what we think is our perfect image, or even anyone's image, but we survive. Being reminded of that by a carrot is unusual, I suppose, but also very ordinary.

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Bruised and Battered

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Thu, 02/23/2017 - 14:51

Parker Palmer writes about “withering into the truth” as he ages. That phrase captures both a hope and hopelessness for me. I have never felt so depleted before. Childbirth was a breeze compared to this new age and stage. At seventy-five, and recently recovering both from a bout with the flu and a bad fall, I am experiencing a kind of weariness and dysphoria that is new to me. I can’t seem to get my legs under me to move back into my life.

Whatever worn, tight, cracked and broken shell surrounds me is refusing small_P1160373.JPGto let me go. I feel ready to transform into a different shape with a new voice and eyes that can see beyond the limits of my old space. No, I’m not talking about dying. I’m talking about rebirth and renewal, even in the autumn of my life, even in the winter.

DO YOU NEED HELP OUT?

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Tue, 11/22/2016 - 15:56

That's a question I get asked when I go grocery shopping and have more than a couple of items, but not one I was asked very often when I was younger. Maybe it's a new trend -- people trying to help one another. That would be great.

My reponse is always "No, I can manage thank you." But today the shopping was a particularly big one, with a box of bottles -- wine, and sparkling water. So I decided to opt for some assistance.  medium_P1160124.JPG

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Thu, 11/10/2016 - 12:30

We certainly had them, didn't we? So many great and grand expectations..so much hope..

We knew the gift we had been longing for, working for, was really, really within our reach and we just had to wait patiently until we could open it. Until we could own it.          medium_P1160104.JPG

Then the day came. We lifted the lid, and no, it's not at all what we wanted. It is a Pandora's box, pretending to be liberation and empowerment. Instead we got patriarchy, prejudice, and disdain flying out of that brightly wrapped package. Not what any of us wanted, not at all.

We worked so hard and had been so patient. What we got was a return ticket back to 1960s complete with all the baggage we thought we'd left behind for good.  

Fall?

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Sun, 08/28/2016 - 13:54

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I'm sitting at the Farmers Market enjoying a tamale and a latte. The air is warm, but not too warm. In fact it is beginning to feel a tiny bit like fall. There are a few yellow leaves on the liquidambar (or redgum) trees. Since those are usually the first to turn, it may be some time before there is evidence elsewhere. I don't count the Halloween decorations already appearing at Michael's.

I do count the planting of the corn maze near our local vegetable stand. That has to be done in August or there won't be corn that's tall enough by the time they want to start hayrides.

Summer weather lasts here in Southern California long into October, but we still notice subtle changes in evening and morning light. And no matter how warm the weather stays, we do get some spectacular leaf colors. Yes, truly, We do. 

Contributions that Matter

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Tue, 08/02/2016 - 12:12

"What are you, some kind of a poet?!"

 

I was eighteen and out on a blind date. My roommate had asked me to double date with her because her brother was in town and she didn't want him to feel like the odd man out. We were sitting on the Santa Barbara pier having dessert. I looked out the window at the shoreline and said "Wow -- the lights on the water look like a snow cone!"

"What are you, some kind of a poet?!" was my date's response. 

I wasn't one of the in crowd. My roommate was. Long blond hair, ready smile, easy social graces. I knew I was her last choice as a fun date for her brother, but nobody else was available. She was a bit older than most of the students at the private college we attended, and the daughter of a missionary. The missonary kids and the pastor kids were always the "fast" ones, at least at that school. I was anything but fast. 

Whirled News

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Fri, 07/15/2016 - 20:55

It is Friday night and we have just come home from a pleasant evening at our not-so-local-but-friendly pub. I admit I have had a little more than two glasses of wine, and I won't tell on my husband who does love his Old Fashioneds. But we did our traditional end of week date and enjoyed every minute. 

Then we came home and turned on our usual recorded news pundits. After about ten minutes I was mired in it, and my husband disappeared to the bedroom to watch the other TV and his latest murder mystery diversion.small_13754260_10210096297386817_8324732646167616087_n.jpg

 I never thought for one moment that we were watching news without perspective, but the mix I see these days seems to be so much more spin, and so much less true journalism.