Monthly Archives: May 2016

America, the Beautiful

America, the beautiful. Or is it America, the beautiful? I think it’s probably both. Certainly this country is not perfect. Certainly, I would live no where else. And I’m eternally grateful to my grandparents who had the courage to flee Russia and Lithuania. As they sailed into New York harbor, they felt the protecting shelter of the Statue of Liberty and the benediction of Emma Lazarus’ words: “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.

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Their way was not easy when they hit these shores. Instead of the streets of gold they’d heard about, they found only poverty, hardship and prejudice. But they weren’t afraid they’d be killed outright as they had in Europe. With hard work and perseverance, they could build a successful life. And they did.

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Fast forward a hundred years and their granddaughter has been lucky enough to go to Washington D.C. three times in the last ten months. Who’d ah thought? I’ve toured the Capitol Building twice and the White House once. I’ve toured the monuments all three times. I’m now a junkie!

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The city is built on a grand scale that we don’t see much of in our united states. Statues and magnificent buildings are interspersed with green parkways. It’s beautiful, truly.

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This last trip I was at an ADL convention. The Anti-Defamation League was originally founded in 1915 to protect Jewish people from Antisemitism. It has grown and broadened its goal to protect all human and civil rights. I feel safer at night to know the ADL exists. I was impressed by the dedication of the young people attending, and inspired to action, myself.

Our hotel was only a ten minute stroll from the White House and I walked to it a couple of times. Tourists from around the world flock there. It’s impressive both because of its architecture and its significance.  My four-year-old granddaughter walked there with her babysitter. My daughter and grandson walked there to see it at night.

We were home only two days when I heard about the shooting at a White House check point. It sent shivers down my spine. What if one of my family had been there then?

 

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“Did you hear about the shooting at the White House?” I said as I walked into the dentist’s office.

“I hope they shot Obama,” a pleasant looking woman said.

I was taken aback. “Too unkind,” I said. “He’s our President.” Where’s the respect? I thought. There should be some respect for our President, if nothing else. Just plain old human decency.

The woman gave me a dirty look and turned her back on me. I sat down across the waiting room, not looking at her either.

Where has all the civility gone? I wondered. Long time passing.

Will it take another 911 to get out the “United We Stand” posters, and to bring back the realization that we’re all Americans, all part of the same family? Disagree, fine. Disparage, okay. But to wish someone’s injury or death? That’s too ugly of an American for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Older, But Wiser?

Lately I’ve been meeting people who have a preconceived notion of me. They’ve buttonholed me into several categories: old, entitled white person, golfer, living a life of leisure, problemless, one …

Source: Older, But Wiser?

Older, But Wiser?

Lately I’ve been meeting people who have a preconceived notion of me. They’ve buttonholed me into several categories: old, entitled white person, golfer, living a life of leisure, problemless, one foot in the grave… Maybe the last is unfair, but sometimes I see the look in the eye.

We stayed in Hawaii this winter for four months. We always said that when we got older, we’d live in Hawaii because we love it so much. One day, we looked in the mirror and said in unison, “That time has come. It’s now or never.”

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Our condo is by a hotel on a golf course so my gregarious husband meets a lot of people at the driving range.

“You’re playing golf with us Monday morning,” a new acquaintance of his says one evening as we sit watching the sun set.

I shake my head. “I don’t really play golf.”

He looks amazed. “You don’t? What else do people do here? Well, come with us anyway. My back is bad so I’m only chipping and putting.”

“Sorry, but I’m busy Monday morning. I teach a class.”

He looks at me, trying to assess what I could teach at my advanced age.

I don’t offer any more information. I’m sitting at the beach trying to absorb the fact that someone I’d been talking to yesterday had died five hours later in a car crash. A guy who was only two years older than my son. A guy who was a sweetheart.“What kind of class?” the man asks.

“A writing class. A memoir writing class,” I say.

“Really. I should talk to you. I’ve written a book,” he says.

Oh here we go, I think. Another stranger who wants free help.

“That’s great,” I say with no enthusiasm.

“Yeah, it’s sold over a million copies. It was at the top of the bestseller list.”

Now I’m confused. He obviously needs no guidance from me.

He begins to tell me about his phenomenal success with his self help book.

“Very nice,” I say, wishing I had the guts to tell him he was blocking my view of the sun setting behind him.

“That’s nice you have something to do to occupy your time,” his young wife, a fantastic golfer, says.

“Really?” I want to say. “Occupy my time, as in giving me something to do while I’m in God’s waiting room? No, I’m very much alive and busy living each day.”

But then I think I may be a little defensive, and I stay quiet.

Two days later, I’m in a store and the saleswoman ringing me up says, “So you live in California part of the year and Hawaii part of the year? I’d sure like your life style.”

I look at her and try to imagine what she sees when she looks at me. I settle on: privileged white person living a life of leisure with not a problem in the world. (Again I was probably being defensive and over sensitive, which I need to get over…some day. )

She’s not the first thirty-something-year-old to say this to me so I have a ready response: “You live another forty years, work hard every day and save your money. Then you, too, can have this life style.

I say it kindly and with a little laugh, but it’s the truth for me.

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