The Innocence of Youth

Mom and I went out the door hand in hand and headed to the bus stop.  Mom didn’t drive when we were little so the two of us did our weekly trek to catch the bus for downtown.  We would do our errands and then do our grocery shopping and finally take a taxi home with our treasures and groceries. 

InnocenceThree-year-old me ran up the steps and found a seat for us near the front of the bus.  Most of the people that rode the bus back in the day knew each other.  This day there was a man that was unfamiliar.  Something was a bit different about him.  I tried to whisper to Mom but my voice came out a bit loud.  I asked how come that man had such a dirty face.  She shushed me but too late.  The man had heard my question.  He told me that his skin was a different color than mine. I asked him why and he answered that he was born that way.  He asked Mom if I wanted to touch his skin.  She quietly declined and I climbed up in her lap.  

It was the first time I had ever seen a man of color in person.  I tried not to stare. He was very nice and smiled at me when he caught me looking.  I think he could tell that I meant no offense but that my youthful curiosity had gotten the best of me. 

I was raised in a small town in south-central Wisconsin.  There were not many people of different races or colors when I was little.  It was the 1950s and it was a different time. 

When I was in the 4th grade, I was driving with my Dad.  We went through a part of town where there were homes that were kind of run down and not as well kept as some other neighborhoods.  I asked Dad if this would be concerned the slums of our town.  He frowned and pulled the car over.  He said that it was not right to label a neighborhood that way and said I shouldn’t do it again. 

When I was in High School, I joined the forensics team.  We had to pick a famous person that we admired and write an essay about them.  I had been fascinated with the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and chose him to write about.  My talk centered on his “I Have a Dream” speech and his words moved something deep inside me.

Innocence

In August of 1963, Dr. King led the march on Washington for Jobs and Freedom by some 210,000 People.  The demonstrators came from all parts of the country: one-quarter of them were white.  

1963 marked the centennial year of the Emancipation Proclamation. Dr. King stated “when the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Dr. King went on to use his check metaphor to say that “America has given the negro a bad check; a check which has come back marked insufficient funds. But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.”

I moved to Iowa when I was in my early 20s. The town I lived and worked in was segregated by color and real estate.  I worked at the local television station part-time on the weekends and often got into discussions with a young black reporter that worked there.  Randy was bright and articulate. He would argue with me that it was wrong that people like myself were raised in “lily-white communities”. I explained that while I had not grown up with a diverse group of people, I had been raised to treat all people equally. He explained that through the ignorance of exclusion, my view was not helping the black cause.  Coincidentally, Dr. King was assassinated on my birthday in 1968.

I could go on to describe other instances where my naivety concerning the plight of the African Americans challenged my opinions. 

I remember a good friend of mine told me that until a person walked into a room and no one could tell what color they were, we would not have a truly integrated America. 

InnocenceToday, these issues are more present than ever before. We watched with horror the murdering of George Floyd. We have watched and participated in the demonstrations and still have no answers.  

I can no longer claim the innocence of youth. I do understand that my lack of understanding could be looked at as ignorance. And yet, in the words of author Viktor E. Frankl, in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, “From all this, we may learn that there are two races of men in this world, but only these two – the “race” of the decent man and the “race” of the indecent man.  Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society. No group consists entirely of decent or indecent people.”

Who is Judy

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Shopping for Intimates (namely Bras) with my Sister?!?

braBra shopping is an event that comes along very rarely in my life.  Several years ago, I found a bra that fit well and I keep buying the same make and model over and over in different colors but mostly flesh color. I know, boring.

Frankly, my first choice, when I’m not out in public, is to go without. I find it much more comfortable.  I was delighted when I recently read a report that said going without was better because it built up your chest muscles.  All right! I’m happy to comply and all in.

One day, several years ago, my sister and I decided to go bra shopping for her. She never could find a bra that she liked. We spent three+ hours in the “intimates” department picking out pretty bras, utilitarian bras, lacy bras, and plain bras.  She would hang out in the fitting room and I would bring in different sizes, colors, and styles. She would try them on and we would both laugh hysterically. Very quickly the fitting room was filled with rejects. 

After many false starts, we settled on 3 bras that she felt were just right. The final picks were not too big, not too small, but just right. It was a bit of a goldilocks moment. We selected a few pairs of underwear to match and called it good. I was exhausted and she was quiet. 

About a week later, I asked Sandy how the new bras were working out. She got quiet again and wouldn’t make eye contact. She finally confessed.  The Monday after our intense shopping excursion, she had returned all the purchases we had made and continued to wear her old, worn-out bra.  I couldn’t believe my ears.  

I have always wanted to have a professional bra fitting, however, after my escapade with Sandy, I think it can wait. 

Who is Judy

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Letting Go, Decluttering and Streamlining

letting go

A magical night (in the perfect dress)

We work from the time we’re old enough to make money to buy stuff.  Actually, it’s true that there’s a lot of good stuff out there like collectibles, beautiful crystal, all of the issues of Oprah Magazine from Day one, clothes, furniture, decorations, and shoes (my special weakness). This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stuff. Then one day when we’re older, our desire to have things turns into the need and desire to purge and to work on letting go of the extras in your life.

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My Latest “AHA” Moment

Aha Moment

Hhhmmm…

I sat down at my desk and opened my daily calendar. Suddenly it hit me. Today is April 4, 2019, and I am turning 70 years old. Most of the people I know, who are my age, seem to have their act together. Several friends own lovely cabins up North. People I graduated from High School with have substantial pensions and retirement funds. Others have retired and are traveling and seeing the world. I always thought I would be enjoying these things too. Instead, I was still working at the bank and as much as I enjoyed helping others reach their goals, working at the bank was no longer one of mine.

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I Love Me – I Love Me Not!

What is something I love about me? And Why? Good grief. When someone asks me a question like this, my first response is “I have absolutely no idea”. Then when I get quiet and dig deeper, I find a thing or two.

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Want a Friend? Be a Friend!

BeingFriendWhen I was a little girl, I always felt like I didn’t have any friends. I was raised in a neighborhood of all boys. Play revolved around playing cowboys and Indians and other games that involved me being the only girl.  I must say since I was the only one with cowboy boots and a holster set, I often played a lead role.  I would pretend to be Roy Rogers or The Lone Ranger. Most of the boys were younger and smaller than I was so they didn’t argue with me. They followed my lead.

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Compliments vs. Insults

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I’ve had a tough time writing this post. I’ve erased and started over multiple times. I wrote it to the end once and when I read it back to myself. I wanted to gag, so it too was deleted.

The truth is, I don’t remember being complimented. It is much easier to remember the snarky remarks and yes, even the insults. Compliments? Not so much. Continue reading

My Happy Parenting Moments

aunt parenting happy parenting momentsAttempt #1

My attempts at “parenting” have taken many forms.  My first hint of what parenting looked like was at a distance with my two nieces.  I lived out of state.  I always made sure birthday gifts were received on time and was always available by phone but unlike the real thing, their parents did the heavy lifting.  As the girls grew older, I had the wonderful experience of being a confidante and a mentor. I enjoyed this relationship with all my heart and still do. I do understand that this was not “real” parenting. Continue reading

Cell Phone Etiquette

Orange case phone and glasses cell etiquetteI resisted having a cell phone for years. The thought of having a phone “on me” all the time gave me the creeps.   Then I took a job out of town that took me away from home at all different hours and in all different seasons, rain and snow and I gave in.   

Before I knew it, I had just the “right” cell phone. My blackberry even had to match my glasses. In no time at all I was hooked. I couldn’t leave home without it.

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I Was Born a Pleaser

Somehow, in life, I was born a pleaser.

Ideal Life I was the youngest of three girls and I quickly learned how to act so that my sisters would be pleased with me.  The other side of this spinning coin is, I have often been devastated when someone close to me says mean things to or about me.  I can never understand why they would want to be hurtful. This results in me wanting to do something or try something, but being held back by the abuse I allow myself to suffer in the opinions of others.

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Honey… What’s Cooking??

I have a confession to make. I don’t cook very often. My husband was raised in the restaurant business and started scraping gum off the bottom of tables with a putty knife when he was too little to remember. One thing led to another and he started food preparation when he was very young. Being around food and people who cooked well caught on with him.

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