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Posts from the ‘Who am I?’ Category

4
Aug

It’s Here! It’s Here! It’s Here !

I’m still not breathing at 100%, but so far, so good.

WHAT is here?

I have been as anxious as a kid on Christmas morning, waiting patiently for it to arrive.

The song going through my head:   “I’m so Excited!  I just can’t hide it–I’m about to lose control, and I  think I like it!”

Yep, Windows10, the fabled new “best Windows ever!” version.

I’m cautiously optimistic.  So far I like Windows10 a lot, and they keep sending me little notes saying things like:  “How do you like it  so far?”   “Would you recommend 10 to your friends?”   “Do you like our adorable commercial featuring the adorable toddlers from all over the world who will ‘grow up with Windows10’ ?”

They needn’t think that I’m going to fall for that sweet-talk.   I’m going to wait until I have a chance to look it over.  They know how much I HATED Windows 8.1.   Everyone I know knows how much I detested it.   I don’t speak for everyone else in the world, but I don’t care if they “like” or “don’t mind” 8.1   But that’s just me.

Windows95, Windows98, Vista, XP, I liked Windows7…in fact 7 is the version was on my laptop (which I am writing this article on as we speak.  It was infinitely superior to Windows8, which came with my new “mainframe” computer (as I like to call it) last year…being the ONLY choice available on the very day I bought the PC.  It came equipped with Windows8, then immediately (like the next day) 8.1 hit cyberspace in an effort to compensate for the shortcomings of 8.

Oh–woe!   My experiences with photos came to a screeching halt…and my eBay and other images suffered.  I discovered by searching online that Windows8.1 had a “known issue” with Photo Gallery, and I had a heck of a time with trying to get the my pictures from my camera onto my published work.

Let me hasten to say that I am not a newbie computer person…I had my first computer in 1983, practically the dawn of everyday-people-with-computers.  I was the first kid on my block to have one.   It was a Kaypro2 (that’s a Roman numeral Two () II but it appears as two “Ls” and I certainly don’t want anyone to think it was called a Kayproll.  Good grief.

For those who are interested, my WordPress blog post entitled Rise of the Machines, published this spring, details my adventures in setting up and teaching myself to operate the computer. http://mumbletymuse.com/2015/01/26/rise-of-the-machine/

So I’m giving Windows10 the old college try.     It’s fast,  looks good, and seems to have banished the evil gremlins  to Computer-Hell.

7
Jun

So if you’re a Writer–why aren’t you writing?

This is a question I have asked myself over and over– “if I am a writer, why am I not writing?”

I AM writing, or thinking about writing, or reading some deathless passages penned during my starry-eyed youth.  Poetry, expounding on the various virtues and lack thereof possessed by certain passages of fancy…romantic interests with which my life had been wrecked by unrequited love, or various disastrous relationships…real or imagined.

Thinking about writing has always been a favorite of mine.

By “writing” I mean actual seat-in-chair pounding away at the keys, producing Fiction.   Non-fiction has always been a form of writing, but not the end-all-be-all of fulfilling the Writer’s need and longing to … well, write.   Enthralled by my own turn of a phrase…disappointment at some less-than-ideal piece of work.  Who among us Writers has not spent a stray hour re-reading our work and marveling at how remarkable was the phraseology, the genius of putting words together in unique and individual style.

“Gosh that’s good, did I write that?”

Or the flip side of that scenario, where I stare at the page in horror… “Good Lord, I could NOT have written this piece of garbage!”

At this point of this narrative I should say that I have in fact worked as a Writer, newspaper reporter, and writer of countless university-level term papers,    I have written about almost everything I know, from Stonehenge in England to ancient pyramids in Mexico.  Once I wrote about what happened to bank checks when they were “in float,” which meant from the time a check was written until it arrived at the bank and was attributed to personal checking accounts.  (Known in the vernacular as “beating the check to the bank.” )

I wrote about a land-reclamation project which used dredgings from a harbor on Lake Erie, scooped out and deposited in an area a mile out on a cause-way to form a park.  Wrote about ghost ships at about the same time; and Johnson’s Island confederate prison out on Lake Erie.

Later, working on graduate degrees in Latin American History, I wrote papers on a vast variety of subjects, including the European Union, Herodotus and other “fathers” of Historiography, and Aztec “Flower Wars.”

The point here is that those feature articles were part of my professional position as a newspaper writer, and as a university student…although  I have never really considered these to be examples of “creative writing,” and even though I was physically engaged in “writing” virtually every day in some capacity, I longed to do Writing, with a capital W.

Oh sure, like most writers, I have a novel in the works.   In fact, I have FOUR novels in various stages of completion…none anywhere near publication.    There is a Civil War novel, a Science Fiction novel, a Murder-Mystery of course, and a Time-Travel work based on the development of Christianity in the New World/Mexico.

Within the dream of dedicated work on those four novels lies my goal of being a Writer.  This is what I want to write, although I understand that  any readership that I ever develop is much more likely in blogging, working on non-fiction articles, opinion, ranting, and yes, the occasional Fictional short story for a WordPress challenge.

So here’s the thing–if I am a Writer, I write.

4
Jun

Below the Matrix…a dream

(Please note: This Post was originally a Page,  for WordPress reasons, so if it seems familiar that is because it has been published verbatim previously.  This switch is part of my Housekeeping chores for my blog.  Thanks.)

There is a deep and thick underbelly of the city.  I usually begin slightly inside the perimeter, heading inside.   I don’t know who I am.   Sometimes walking in and out of buildings, slum buildings, searching for someone, in condemned apartment buildings, or in courtyards with no walls, ruination and destruction everywhere.  I give up the goal, and look around for a  street sign, having no idea of location.  There is no sign…no street…only ill-defined filth-strewn paths winding off in different directions.  No way to get from here to there. A corner  where there is no street, more littered paths sinking away.   Paths where an ill-blown wind has cleared pass-ways, to a vague intersection…I run to the edge, and peer frantically into the right, then the left, back to the beginning.   It becomes clear that there is no right or wrong way, only a thicket of debris that is indescribable…just there.

Finally, after wandering endlessly, seeing no one, hearing nothing except the silent rustle of the papers and leaves…finally I am aware of a presence, someone there where only nothing had stood before.  A woman, tall, gaunt, eyes like cold, deep, obsidian… the wind, whispering “There’s no way out.”

“There has to be a way…these city blocks have to end eventually.”

“They do, but there is no easy way, no fast way.  No public transportation, no passable roads.   Only terrible crushing destruction and devastation, and the remains of what was once….but is no longer.   Look up…there is no sky, no ceiling, no clouds…only clear and uncluttered UP.   If you can get to the station there is hope.”

What station?

“There us a way, for those who dare to take it.   It begins here…”

The misty woman inclined her head toward the center, where I now could see what I can only describe as two secured ropes, or strings, such as in an entry to an exhibit or a demonstration.   It reminded me of a rope bridge over a gorge, such as one sees in the great colored photos of explorers to the jungle lands.   Only this track, if it can be called that, forming the walkway, consisting of two one-inch in diameter ropes placed side by side about six inches apart.   The track ropes were not fixed, but seemed to be more or less secure, and above them about waist-high were two more ropes, these thinner and more flexible than the bottom of the track.

People approached the suspension bridge, as it might be called, and stepped onto the bottom track, one foot on each of the parallel ropes.   The hand railings were of a thinner rope, more accurately a stout string or twine, which were not taut as one would expect them to be, but more flexible and allowed for a gentle wave-like motion.   The bottom track ropes, and the higher track strings, were secured at wide intervals of perhaps eight feet. I stepped onto the apparatus, and the misty woman entered behind me, and she and the man in front of me showed me how to set my feet securely, and to hold onto the string loosely, wrapping strings around my hands in a gathering motion in order to maintain a satisfactory tension.

The track rose steadily from the beginning point, until it was many feet above the ground level, perhaps thirty, then fifty feet high.   As long as the rhythmic tension of the string-ropes was steady, there was a secure feeling of comfort and security.   Below was a montage of landscape and color, streets packed and lined with all fruits and vegetables, lush collections of the bounty of Earth.   There were no people on the streets below.

If only this bounty could be used to feed the world population!

“But this is not possible,” said the woman..  ” Only the deserving can partake of this grand bounty, and they are few and far between.” We passed along, sometimes in an orderly queue, other times the string ropes would stretch or a long gap between the “riders of the ropes” would cause the path to sway and weave about unsteadily.

“Here is everyone’s favorite part…” said the woman facetiously, as we passed over a great canyon of bones and skulls, the remains of dead people and animals.   The dead were brought in from everywhere, stored in this terrible receptacle below our secure bridge.   Falling off, slipping from our path, was fatal.   Fresh bodies lay among the parched bones. The landscape began to assume the character of tunnels, subways or  underground passages, concrete walls beginning to take the place of the buildings below.   Burned out buildings passed below, rubble, destruction, and death of many kinds.

Eventually the chasm brightened, and great staircases of concrete and stone began to materialize below.   Tunnels branched off in all directions.

“This is where we can leave,” the woman said.   “Now is the opportunity to jump off of the rope/bridge and escape.”

Unfortunately the alarm interrupted the dream…

21
Mar

The Decade 1945-1955: My Life, Part 3

Having outlined important features of my life through early childhood,  into World War II and out by age 11, what follows here is a rather well-edited version  of the highlights of my life during the decade of 1945-1955.

History According to Me: 1945-1955

PART 3 of Who Am I?

On the last day of World War II, when the armistice was signed with the Japanese, the official word report for that the war was indeed over, came from 11-year-old-Me…at least for my elderly neighbor, Mr. Myers.  I proudly delivered the news report, standing in the front yard.  He was the only person that I actually discussed the war’s end with, as my parents were not into talking of important world issues with kids.

Next followed several years of childhood.  This half dozen years or so was a very difficult time in my life, in which my school life was marked by depression and questionable educational progress.  The less said about that era the better.

One of my favorite good memories was of the library BookMobile.  There was not a branch of the library in our town, but the BookMobile did come around once a week.   It parked in an area at the center of town, behind or adjacent to a new car dealership.  During the war car sales had slowed to a stop, and it was a couple of years before new vehicles began to appear–once the resources and manpower needed to produce new cars became available as the soldiers returned from the war front and went to work in the factories again.

Anyway, the BookMobile was a highlight of my young life.  The vehicle was an old bus that had been made over into a make-shift library, with shelves built into the sides and some portable shelves that were moved out into the  parking lot when the weather permitted.   Even today I can recall choosing books from the shelves, with guidance from the librarian, who was kind and liked to read.   She knew about books and the types of books children liked to read, and supervised the avoidance of inappropriate materials.

I seem to recall sitting on the steps at the entrance to the BookMobile, but that memory may be an embellishment of my active imagination.  At any rate I sat there and read for hours, and always went home carrying an armload of books that the library lady had approved and recommended.  My library card was one of my favorite possessions, and my goal was to read every book in the BookMobile.  I modified that goal shortly to provide for reading all of the books on certain shelves stocked with age-appropriate materials.

When the BookMobile was not there, I had another hang-out where I could go and spend afternoons–high in a cherry tree in the field at the back of our half-acre lot.  That tree was a refuge and a joy for me, as I was the only person in the world who knew about that particular tree.

But I want to get on with it, and so I’ll skip to junior and early high school.

Although the War was over, the Cold War had begun.  This time the enemy was the Russians, or more specifically the dreaded Communists of the Soviet Union, and Red China.   We kids and teenagers were still very well aware that we were within the easy sights of instant annihilation, and soon there was another war demanding our allegiance–this one in Korea.    My primary remembrance was the Korean War (er…conflict, it was never a declared war) was that a lot of our schoolmate boys joined the service as soon as they could, and one of my best friends…a mild-mannered red-haired guy who went off and never came back–died when  the army tank he was riding in over in Korea  hit a land-mine and exploded.    The military draft was in effect, and many of the boys in our school joined up with one of the branches of the service.   It was permitted for them to quit school at age 16 as long as they went into the military.  My brother joined the U.S.Navy at age 17.   My boyfriend, who would be my husband later, quit school and  joined the army, but was sent to Germany instead of Korea.

The first half of the 1950s saw us growing up, and the girls all got jobs in offices or shops, although a few did manage to go off to college to become teachers, or nurses.  There really were not any other viable choices for girls: nurse, teacher, secretary.   Oh, there was also the opportunity to join one of the Womens’ Services: the WACs, WAVEs, SPARS…with the Army, Navy, Coast Guard.

I wonder now why I never thought of joining up myself.  It would have been a great job and something that I would jump at the chance–NOW–to do.  Well, I could have gone to nursing school I guess, but my nonexistent math skills and absolute disinterest in school in general would have made that option unlikely.

A word about Girls of the era:  it was common to be planning one’s wedding at the same time as graduation.  A few girls got –OMG, pregnant– which completely destroyed any educational aspirations.  Even high school was out of the question.   Most of us who did not get into “trouble” and graduated high school were sent off to work in offices.  At least I did have secretarial skills which landed me a job and provided a respectable occupation.  Typing and Shorthand were the skills to have.  I did not qualify as a stenographer (who was proficient in secretarial skills–especially Gregg Shorthand, which was a mark of distinction.)  I was classified as a “clerk-typist,” which was higher rank than “file clerk.”

In 1954 I got engaged, got married in August, and on Christmas Day 1955 landed in Bremerhaven, Germany to meet a train which transported me to Frankfurt, and Giessen, and a U.S.Army base  in a small town called Butzbach.     I was 21 years old when I went to Germany on a troop ship which had been converted partially to transport officers and dependents.

That was an experience…at 21 I had no clue.  Spoke only a little bit of German, and had never been farther away from home than about ten miles.   The trip across the Atlantic Ocean was wonderful…I spent every waking moment on deck soaking in the atmosphere of the sea air and the turquoise water churning at the bow of the ship.  I absolutely loved that journey, and while my fellow dependent wives languished in their small cabins or crowded “theaters” aboard ship, I stayed on deck as much as possible.  My tiny cabin was shared with two other women, and two two-year-olds in cribs.  Yikes!

My German never did get beyond some rudimentary grammar and basic Berlitz self-study.  We lived in a German apartment for one week, maybe two, then moved into U.S.Army quarters into a brand new apartment building.   Most of the people I came in contact with were Americans, except in the commissary (grocery store) and shop-keepers, most of whom spoke English.   My two closest friends were American wives from US southern states, one of whom was still quite incensed at General Sherman’s March to the Sea after the U.S. Civil War… not the best company for a Yankee gal like me.

We played a lot of Scrabble, Canasta, and Pinochle…especially when the troops/husbands were out on maneuvers and we wives were left to entertain ourselves.

I often remember with some regret that my year and a half in Germany was pretty much squandered, in that my interaction with the Germans pretty much involved buying things… haben sie haferflocken? (Do you have oatmeal?)  And ordering and paying for things like bread, rolls (hung in plastic bags on our doorknobs,) and beer.  (Yummy beer, in green bottles with the bale stoppers…delivered by the case to our apartment door.)

That was also my introduction to hostility…as the locals were not crazy about Americans in general, and snotty young-girl-wife Americans who showed up to re-claim their soldier-husbands in general.  When we got to the area  there were still burned out buildings and huge piles of rubble everywhere in the cities, children that did not want anything to do with us, old lady widows dressed in black…riding bicycles…who hated our guts.     The town near us was especially bombed-out, as according to local lore, some American fliers were killed by farmers armed with pitch-forks as they parachuted from their shot-down planes.  The story was that the allied planes on return flights from Frankfurt back to London routinely “saved a bomb for [the town].”    Very logical, and the town was really in shambles.

In March of 1957 my husband and I returned to the States, via the MATS, Military Air Transportation Service, because I was pregnant.  I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to returning to the States by ship.  The plane ride (I think my second flight ever) was long and boring–and we didn’t even have a window to look at the Atlantic Ocean.     We retrieved our car from the port in New Jersey, then drove home to Ohio, enroute to new military orders shipping us to Fort Hood, Texas.

Thus began the next phase of My Life…

coming up soon…

23
Feb

Who am I to have an About Page? Part 2: Me and the War

In the first installment of this feature, Who Am I to have an About Page? http://mumbletymuse.com/so-who-am-I-to-have-an-About-Page-?/   I started out as a newcomer to the world on a Friday the 13th, and by the end of Part One I had been to California and back, eaten part of a persimmon and part of a gourd, and had finished Kindergarten.  Which pretty much sets the stage for the second part of my life story.

Part Two:        ME AND THE WAR

That would be the Second World War, WWII, The Big One– the catalyst for the rise to world dominance of the United States.  I was eleven when the war ended in 1945, and I must say that I was one patriotic little girl.  I was so proud of the accomplishments of my country, in which we had emerged mostly safe and sound (those of us who had not been killed during the war years, of course) and had the distinction of being THE leader of the Free World.

But let me skip the rhetoric and get on with MY part of the War, which began in 1941…along with the arrival of my baby sister when I was eight and a half years old; my brother was six.  It was just us three until near the end of the war in 1945, when another sister joined our merry band.

One thing I recall about grade school is that there was a Congresswoman who regularly was permitted to leave fliers advertising her prowess in the U.S. Congress on our school desks.  She would come in and talk to us about how important it was for our parents to vote for her. Despite having been told, on my very first day of first grade,  by the teacher to “go home and never come back again,” as I explained to my parents when they picked me up walking home from school about an hour after classes began,  I did indeed continue with my education.  I remember well the adventures of Dick and Jane, Baby, and Spot, the stars of our first level readers.

The main thing going on everywhere was THE WAR.   We went to the movie theaters, and were treated to black and white newsreels showing bombs dropping from airplanes, Hitler’s marching troops in huge showy choreographed formations, and in-coming shipments of USA- flag-covered coffins.  We recited the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, and read The Weekly Reader, a newspaper produced especially for school children at various levels. My grandfather taught me about television.  He had a floor-model radio, which had a large window area for tuning various stations on the radio, and he said that some day, after the war, we would be able to look at windows like that and see actual movies and real people talking and singing and the like.   I was properly impressed…this was undoubtedly the source of my great love of electronic stuff.

Then the newspapers, The Cleveland Press, The News, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer told us every day how many soldiers had been killed in battle, and kept us well informed about the terrible evil enemies of the United States on all areas of the world.   Toward the end of the war there was news about Hitler’s atrocities, and the Japanese cities evaporated by TWO atomic bombs.  The pictures were everywhere in magazines and newspapers. The newsreels at the movies were relentless in presenting the horrors of war, and these were incomprehensible to American kids, who had thankfully never had bombs dropped on them.

Movies themselves, presented on monster screens in huge movie theaters that always reminded me of palaces (not that I had ever been in a palace) also presented the great block-buster films of the 40s…complete with horror stories about the war. So this brings Me to the end of the Great War, and the beginning of the phenomenon known as THE COLD WAR.

The newspapers treated us to daily headlines screaming of annihilation and pending doom.  A particularly horrible series presented by the newspapers contained in part a huge bulls-eye, with segments indicating the extent of the death shadow that marked Cleveland…with its four NIKE missile sites forming at once a horrible defense capability of retaliation.  The center of the bulls-eye, of course, meant instant end to everything…out in the suburbs the threat lessened sequentially until by a distance of thirty miles out some percentage of life might survive.

BUT that survival would depend on bomb shelters, which might delay death by radiation by a couple of weeks. As children we were conversationally proficient about hydrogen bombs, pros and cons of including guns amongdbomb shelter supplies, and just how bad radiation poisoning was. So that was pretty much what one little girl knew about THE WAR… The next era of MY ABOUT PAGE    will be coming up soon:  THE 1950s

please stay tuned…

2
Feb

Who am I — and What am I doing here?

This introduction post has been an assignment of the blogging101 course that I just never got around to doing, so with a new course starting it’s as good a time as any. And yes, I do intend to change my header image…soon.

This is a hard thing to do, making up a sort of resume, putting the right foot forward and all that. I have written about parts of my life story, so I’ll just fill in a few blanks and say a few facts. Facts are good.

Writing is my first love…since I was old enough to hold a pencil without poking out an eye, letters and words on a page have always fascinated me. Finally learning to actually read and write was thrilling for me. I read everything available, and still remember some of my favorite books even after all these years.

I have been around for more than eighty years, but please don’t anyone hold that against me. I try really hard to avoid being obnoxious or too much of a know-it-all, and I really do work at not being rude, out-spoken, or annoying. Everyone who knows me if they are reading this are rolling their eyes and saying “yeah, right!”

Blogging is one of the best things that has ever come to my attention. I did try journaling, keeping a diary, but that got old fast. My great-grandmother was a good diarist, whose life was filled with interesting things to write about: the Goodyear blimp’s maiden voyage over Akron Ohio, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) although I don’t think she ever wrecked any bars with an ax like Carrie Nation did…and she wrote often about her “soldier boy,” who was a Civil War cavalry man. My grandmother, on the other hand, didn’t enjoy writing much, and her entries complained about the garbage men banging up the trash cans, and the ice man dripping water all over the basement stairs, and how old her mother would have been had she lived past 93.

My work history includes having been a newspaper reporter, political hack at various times, city council clerk, and a full-time student once I hit the age of 50. I do hold a master’s degree in History, noteably United States and Latin American History, but ran short of a doctorate in History because I ended up ABD (all but dissertation) at about age 70…because I had other things to do that were more productive. Such as more writing, selling books and stuff on ebay.

My writing has found its home with WordPress, blogging satisfies my need to write about anything and everything, and I can go on and on about my life…and if anyone doesn’t want to read it they don’t have to. The story of my life history will just go on in cyberspace forever.

Five children, six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren give me more fodder for great prose. I love CATS, nature, all kinds of needlework, collecting stuff…lots of stuff. I am a terrible housekeeper, a haphazard gardener, and a disorganized and distracted business person.

Whom do I want to read my blogs? Anybody who wants to. I would really like to write a novel…well, actually I have FOUR novels in the works. They probably aren’t going anywhere, due to procrastination and lack of concentration.

So that’s who I am.