Saturday, January 23, 2010

Drunken Crickets

I survived "The Great Dust Storm" and was working at TG&Y,"a five and dime"(imagine a miniature WALMART).

In the summer of 1977 or was it 1978? a plague of crickets descended upon Bakersfield like a scene out of a horror movie. I would walk out of the door at work and the sidewalk, parking lot and my car would be blanketed by the crusty bugs. Walking to my car, I would dodge crickets flying drunkenly through the thick smoggy air. Thank goodness camera phones and YouTube had not been invented as I am sure my wild weaving, jumping, and thrashing around to avoid the crickets would surely have gone viral.

One evening a gentleman came into the store to have a key copied. I went over to the key machine, matched his original with a blank, set them in the machine and started the grinding process. As I was standing at the machine , making idle chit chat with the customer, I felt a strange scratching on the inside of my thigh, and then felt a crawling sensation moving up towards my panty line.

I started screaming and jumping up and down, stomping my feet and shaking my pants leg trying to dislodge the cricket from the inside of my pants. After what seemed like a lifetime, probably 10 seconds in reality, the wretched creature fell to the floor and I stomped it to smithereens!!!

With the remains of the dead cricket at my feet I looked up to continue copying the key and my customer was GONE!! VANISHED!!

Nearly 33 years later and I still wonder what the poor guy thought and did he have another copy of that key at home?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Can you do the Twist?

Today Elvis Presley would have been 75 years old if he had lived.

Music defines every year, era and stage of my life.

My very youngest memory is connected to the song "Let's Twist Again" by Chubby Checker. I remember sneaking out of bed, very quietly tip-toeing to my bedroom door and peeking out to watch my parents and some of their friends dancing "The Twist" on the hardwood floor in our living room. Rapture, the music, the joy , then oops my mom spotted me. I tried to run back to bed but my dad came after me, picked me up and danced with me. Pure rapture.

My parents loved music and dancing. We danced in our house everyday, everytime a song with a beat came on, "Wooly Bully" and "Hey Good Lookin" are two that bring back very specific happy memories.

When I was 8 I had the maddest crush on Elvis. While watching his movies on TV I would run up and kiss the TV. This is the age I started buying Elvis records. My first was a 45 "In the Ghetto". I still have it.

Music evokes emotions , some happy, some sad, some sentimental. Music wakes sleeping memories, of people , events, places. Music stirs my soul.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pizza or goodwill

My parents taught me through example, by the way they lived their lives , that helping others was indeed a magnificent way of life. Helping others gave me a sense of accomplishment, purpose and well being even at a very young age.

As a child my parents were always helping someone. I remember helping a complete stranger clean out a house she wanted to rent. The owner let her have the first months' rent free if she cleaned it herself. She was recently divorced with small children and very broke. If my memory serves me correctly quite a few neighbors pitched in to help.

Unfortunately youth today expects "The Government" to help. I was recently asked by a 12 year old girl, "Why didn't you get the government to pay for that?" and she honestly expects the government to take care of all needs. How much have today's' youth lost by NOT being expected to help others (without monetary compensation). The rewards, skills, and self esteem that are built by doing for others is immeasurable.

"Magnificent Obsession" If you haven't seen either version of this film , please do. I watched this film many years ago and was struck by how much I wanted to BE a member of this Magnificent Obsession. However I was raising kids, saving dimes for pizza night, I did not have the time or money to be a philanthropist.