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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Rock Your Hairstyle (for Women Over 50)

hairI got my hair cut–I mean CUT–right before 2nd grade. I was 7 years old. My mom had just gotten her 1960’s shoulder-length locks updated into the iconic 70’s shag. I loved her new do and wanted to be a grown-up who could make choices about my hair. So after much begging and pleading, mom relented. Thus was the beginning with my love/hate relationship with my hair.

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No Bras Required – Ever!

bras source of strife

Age 18 – No Boobs!!

Bras have always been a source of strife in my life – being one of those people that really doesn’t require one completely.  (I’m the odd duck in my family in this regard)

 

Look at this picture!!  I’m 18 in this picture and you can see – I have NO BOOBS!!  Ha-ha!

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Who the Hell Invented Bras?? It Must’ve Been a Man!

bras

Bra drawer of a cute perky teen

Who the hell invented bras, and who the hell says we have to wear them????

Who likes bras? Well, I don’t know many people, women, who do. On two different occasions, maybe three, I have gone bra shopping with family and friends, spending many, many hours in dressing rooms, thinking that I have found the ONE. Then a couple of days later I returned all them much to the dismay of my helpers. As you will note in some other Sidetracked Sisters’ posts I am not very popular in this department.

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How Do I Love Thee – Let Me Count The Ways…

love about myselfWhat do I love about myself is the question of the day.  It’s a challenging question to answer because people tend to focus more on the negative aspects of themselves.  I’m choosing to try to be more positive, so I’m actually having a hard time picking just one thing.  That will most likely sound conceited to some.  Here are a few things that I’m proud of about myself.

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How to be a (Worst) Friend

I am well well-suited to write this post for I fulfill the top three qualifications to be the worst friend…

I’ve always loved being with friends, laughing and hanging with great women, drinking and sharing memories with others who appreciate a self-deprecating story.

family friends

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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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Retirement Reality

Retirement RealityMy aha moment came many weeks, months, after my retirement last year.  I realized it after 56 years of working as a paralegal/legal secretary for the same firm my boss retired and the office closed. It is hard to break old habits, like cleaning at night and on weekends, never having any free time without feeling guilty, and being able to have some free time for myself.  My aha moment came when one day many months later I realized, while I was on a road trip with a friend, that I didn’t have any real-time constraints other than my family needing me to come back for things such as cleaning, cooking, driving grandkids around, you know, the usual.  We were driving along and I thought aha, I am on my own at this moment and don’t have to go to work. No one was expecting me to get out a will, do divorce papers, real estate documents, correspondence, and the list goes on.  Continue reading

Friends – Both Old and New – I Love You All!

Best Friends

My BFFs

Are you the type of person that has lots of friends around you or just one or two good ones?  Throughout my life, I’ve had a few different people that I considered my good friends.  

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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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