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Posts Tagged ‘those were the days’

I’m in this Facebook group for Lularoe clothes. It’s a huge group and it’s fun. They have over nine thousand members and they run a lot of giveaways and fun participation stuff. There’s probably about five hundred of us that participate regularly.

Today, they asked a question about shyness. Are you shy? I had to think about it for a moment. I guess that I am initially shy but if I see that I have a role or a job, then I am not shy; I get in gear and come out of my shell.

It reminded me of some of the PTA dinners that I had to MC. I ended up doing it several times because the ones that were supposed to do it were too shy so I was asked to do it. It ended up being fun. Stressful but fun. They were award dinners that we put on each year to celebrate the volunteers that committed to and delivered fantastic service. I knew it was important to make the evening memorable. I had been the recipient of one or the other of the awards a couple of times and I wanted to make the evening special for the volunteers. So I went into action. First, I ordered one drink, usually my favorite, a Margarita. I walked up to the microphone and showed a bit of shyness and said I had to take a drink of my Margarita to give me courage so I took a sip of it at the microphone and went on. The evening was broken up into a number of speakers and presenters and I would come up after/before each one. I made it a point to come to the microphone with my Margarita and I made a show of taking another drink from my glass. Then the next time I would come up and say something about this is “three Margaritas so excuse what comes out of my mouth” or something like that. Each time I went up I would add to the number of Margaritas and I would carry my glass. It was funny and people laughed and marveled at how well I was handling all of the drinks. I think I made it up to about seven Margaritas before the last time up at the microphone when I appeared with a cup of coffee.

The joke was on the audience because while I definitely got courage from my “Margaritas,” I was actually not having any booze. I was always very careful not to drink in public, especially if I was going to be at the microphone. I had actually talked to the bar and wait staff ahead of time and arranged to have them bring me only virgin Margaritas, even if someone ordered one to send to me.

That was how I got over my shyness. Give me a microphone and a job to do and there is no shyness. Otherwise, you have to pull me out of my seat and drag the words out of my mouth. I’m THAT shy!

Okay, now to go find a Margarita!

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I guess I will continue with the letter theme until I run out of letter stories!

Many years ago, when I was in high school, I was recruited to apply to Stanford University. I was a senior ad I had not yet figured out or even thought of where I would go. I figured I would go to the local state university but no one had told me anything about applying. So I hadn’t applied anywhere. Then in December I got the call to the counselor’s office to meet with the recruiter. I have written about it before. I will see if I can find it so I can link you. In any case, I reluctantly went to the meeting. I say reluctantly because I didn’t think I would ever get into a school like Stanford and even if I did, there would be no way for me to go because of the finances. I was guided to ask for waivers for the application deadline and the fee and I received both.

Once I applied, I got on their list and go a lot of mail from them. Most of the mail was from “Uncle Fred” who was actually Fred Hargadon, the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions. He wrote about how decisions would be made and although the traditional date for admission notifications was April 15, that year (1974) he was making a promise. That promise was that we would all be notified by April 1! Yay! For applicants anxiously awaiting admission decisions, the two weeks would make a huge difference.

So I waited. April 1 rolled around and there was no letter! I was sure I had not been accepted and that was why there had been no letter! Then on April 2 there was a “thin envelope” from Uncle Fred with what has since been called “the oops letter.” He explained and apologized. He started the letter with the word “oops” immediately following the salutation. It seemed that they had mailed out all of the decision letters in time for April 1 delivery but the post office had just notified him that the huge bundle had been misplaced and had not gone out. So they frantically scrambled to send them all out again! He promised we would get them within a day or two as they were working day and night to reproduce them. (Remember that this was in the days of typing letters out, not just printing from a computer file! The letters had to be re-typed and signed personally by Fred Hargadon. I think that year there were about fifteen thousand applicants that had to be notified! They were working round the clock!)

Sure enough, by April 5, I got my “big, thick envelope” with acceptance notification and financial aid grants info and room mates selection information and all those other papers they sent!

That snafu kind of haunted Fred Hargadon and he when it was spoken of, it was always referred to as “the oops letter.” I kept my copy of the oops letter for many years but I think now it has been lost due to too many moves! But I remember it well and it always brings a smile to my face!

Have you a letter you remember from your past? Tell us about it!

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And a peek at the exterior of Memorial Church.

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I was up early-early this morning, not really able to sleep last night. I checked Facebook and realized it was Thursday already (funny how it can be Tuesday one minute and then Thursday the next) as I looked at friends’ throwback Thursday (TBT) pictures. I remembered one I had scanned onto my laptop to use for TBT and figured I might upload it to Facebook later, once I got the energy to sit up for a bit. Then, as I read Trent’s blog and saw his Throwback Thursday picture, I figured why not post mine here?! So in absence of much else to say, I’ll leave you with the picture which was taken in November of 1980, about a month before I turned 25! Oh, and forgive the horrid orange drapes, that’s what was in the house when we bought it a month before the picture was taken.

November 1980, age almost 25

November 1980, age almost 25

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Models

Whatever happened to models?  Not the beyond anorexic ones that walk down the catwalk.  I’m talking about the plastic models that we used to build from a kit.  Remember those?

My brothers used to have them.  They had airplane models and car models and at one point they also had “monster” models.  I think they had Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy, and a werewolf.  I remember that I always wanted to build one but I was told that they were for boys and that I was too young for them so I didn’t ever get any.  I used to sit and watch them work on their models, first putting them together with glue (boy did that smell!) then very carefully painting them.  I remember they had to sit at the kitchen table when they worked on them because the kitchen was big and well ventilated so they wouldn’t inhale the fumes from the glue or the paint.  That’s why I got to watch them work on the models.  At that time I thought that maybe when I grew up they might let me work on one of the models with them but that never happened.  I grew up.  I just never got to work on one of their models with them.

Then, when I married, I got myself a couple of kits at PicNSave (now Big Lots).  I think they were a dollar a piece or so.  I got a tank and a submarine.  I think.   I did put them together but I don’t remember painting them.  When my son was about ten, I got him a couple of model kits.  He put them together but I don’t think it was something he really wanted to on his own.  I think he did it for me.  He probably didn’t want to seem ungrateful so he accepted the offer to buy him a couple of model kits and he dutifully put them together.  He didn’t ask for any after that so I didn’t get anymore.  I had put it all out of my head, with only an occasional thought until I saw a movie last night (The Answer Man) in which Jeff Daniels had a werewolf model that he kept displayed and didn’t let anyone touch.  Then it all came back. 

Now I’m thinking I might want to get another model kit for myself.  That is, if they even still make them.

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Last night I was reminded that the opening ceremonies for the Olympics will be on tonight.  I don’t watch the Olympic games anymore but I do enjoy watching the opening and closing ceremonies and if there happens to be an event or an athlete that catches my eye on the news, I might tune in to that, too.

This got me to thinking about the Olympics in 1984.  That year, the Olympics were played in Los Angeles, California.  I lived in Glendale at the time, just a few miles away.  The Olympics were all over the place then.  Not only were the event venues spread out from one end of the county to the other, but everywhere one looked, there was Olympic related paraphernalia, stories, merchandise, etc.  As I remember it, it was a time when Los Angeles came together to get the show on the road!

For months, TV and newspapers had focused on the games.  The venues, the athletes, the hidden behind the scenes stories, and all manner of things related to the Olympics.  Regular programming was interrupted at the drop of a hat to cover anything Olympics related.  When the torch relay arrived in the United States, it was all Angelenos’ eyes focused on the event.  As it approached the west coast, the frenzy escalated.

That year, my oldest child was two years old.  He became excited about the Olympics too.  Or rather about Sam the Eagle, I guess.  He had a Sam the Eagle blanket and stuffed animal and a number of shirts as well.  One day, while playing out in the yard with visiting cousins, he grabbed a stick and held it up like a torch and ran all over the yard.  It was really cute and I can still see it in my head.  My whole world focused on my son in those days.  Ever the showman, he loved to perform when asked.  He was still learning to talk at the time and not everything was clear when he said it.  That year the TV was turned on to the Olympic games every day, as long as there were events being televised.  One of the stars of that year’s Olympics was Mary Lou Retton.  One day, as Tony was watching the TV, he got all excited, shouting and pointing at the TV.  I couldn’t figure out what he was saying.  He kept saying “me we woo wet tin” and smiling and pointing.  He said it over and over again.  I couldn’t figure it out.  A little later, he did it again.  I came to the TV to see what he was pointing at.  Mary Lou Retton.  Me we woo wet tin.  Every time she came on TV for an interview or news footage or a commercial, there he was pointing at the TV and calling out “me we woo wet tin”!  By the end of the Olympic games, Tony was imitating the athletes, including Mary Lou Retton as he climbed on the back of the couch and tried to walk across the length of it.  He continued running around the yard carrying his “torch” until eventually it was all forgotten.

I guess I’m thinking about this, not only because it is Olympics time again but because Anderson is the same age now as Tony was then.  He imitates everything on TV and he says a lot that we can’t understand.  He energy is boundless.  It reminds me of then.  It reminds me of those simpler times.

There are few times that I miss Los Angeles.  I guess this is one of them.  But don’t worry, I’ll be back to normal as soon as I finish typing that I miss Los Angeles!

 

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When I was a little girl, my parents would take the seven of us kids to look at Christmas lights. We would pile in the car and just drive around different neighborhoods, near and far. In those days, for the most part people didn’t have elaborate holiday displays. It was the late 50’s and early 60’s. Most yards had just colored lights around their house or some houses would put the lights only around their windows, like my family did. Some houses would get lots of ooohs and ahhhhs for having just one color of lights instead of multi-colored lights.

Although we lived in California, we would bundle up with coats and gloves and hats when we went out because the evenings did get cold, or at least colder than the usual warm weather we were used to. We always needed to bundle up too because my father would sometimes drive us up into the mountains where the more affluent homes were. There was no telling where we would end up when we set out to look at Christmas lights. When we went into the “better” neighborhoods, it was a special treat because those people had lights on the trees and shrubs in their yards and most of them also had some kind of display, like a nativity scene or Santa and his team of reindeer. When we found a cluster of homes with neat yard decorations, we would park the car and walk from one yard to the other, taking our time at each yard.

Usually there weren’t a lot of other people that got out of their cars but once in a while, we’d find a house with such elaborate decorations that it would cause a traffic jam and people would just park their cars and walk around the neighborhood. I remember one house in particular that had animated decorations in their yard; Christmas carols were playing and if you stood there and waited long enough, there was some kind of machine that made it snow in the yard about every fifteen minutes. There was always a crowd at that house. We would stand there and watch the gingerbread men with moving arms and legs. Their decorations were embellished with colored lights. Giant candy canes and gum drops whose glow lit the way in the otherwise darkened streets put us into a trance, broken only by my mother’s insistence that we move on or go back to the car before our hands and feet broke off!

One time we went back to that same house on Christmas Eve and there were so many people that we had to park a couple of blocks away. When we walked to the house, we all walked holding hands. My older brothers were in charge of us younger girls. I usually held David’s hand and he was always very careful that I didn’t get hurt or trip or that I didn’t cross the street at the wrong time. That night there was a bus full of people and many families, too. When we got nearer to the house, we could hear singing that wasn’t the same as the one coming from the speakers in the yard on previous visits. The police had roped off the sidewalk and people were walking by the house slowly but no one was allowed to stop for very long. In a way, that was better because the singing was coming from a choir that had set up in the wide snowy driveway of the house and when you got past the house, there were people handing out hot chocolate and candy canes. It was more exciting that night than it had been on previous nights, perhaps because of the number of people there. People weren’t pushy or loud or rude like they can be these days. The kids were all well behaved and everyone seemed to be happy to be there. It was a good feeling to be in the same place with so many happy, smiling people.

Now I think back on the simpler days when a family could jump in the car and drive around getting true enjoyment from looking at simple Christmas lights and being together with each other. It didn’t take expensive movie or theater tickets to please us. It didn’t take a visit to Disneyland. It didn’t take a lot of money. It just took being together and enjoying the magic and the simplicity of the holiday.

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When I was in high school, I went to every single football game from my freshman year through my senior year.I loved going.At first, I would ride the “rooter bus” because our school did not have a football field with lighting for night games and all varsity games were night games.Our school played at the PAL (Police Athletic League) stadium.So I would get on the rooter bus for the game.The rooter bus left right after the team bus and the marching band bus so we got to the stadium long before the game began.If we got to the rooter bus before the team left, we could line up outside the bus and the team would come running through the path we had made as they got on the bus.Once at the game, the energy was electric.We cheered and screamed and yelled and clapped and stomped.I remember bending my class ring at one game.I was standing next to the rail and got excited when our team had possession of the ball so I started banging my hand on the metal rail.Before I knew it, I had bent my ring.

Later, my sister would drive us to the games.We would fill the car with people to drive to the games at the PAL stadium or at other schools if they were home games for the other team.I also remember my uncle taking me, and sometimes my sister, to the homecoming game which was held at San Jose’s City College stadium.The crowd at the homecoming game was about triple the size of the crowd for a regular game.We always had the crowning of the Homecoming Queen and her Court during halftime and I remember one of my friends was a majorette (do they still call them that?) and was the only one on the baton team that could twirl fire batons.The lights would be turned off just before she began her twirling and the whole stadium was lit by fire batons held by the other girls and then the twirling of her batons lit up the sky as she tossed them way up high and caught them as they came back down.It was an “ooooh and ahhhhh” show, every time.

When my sister graduated and I got my license, I would take a car load of friends to the game.By the time I drove, my parents had kind of slacked off a bit and they would let me go to one of the hangouts with a bunch of kids after the game.I remember going to Round Table Pizza with a bunch of the kids, including the football players.We would pool our money and buy pizza and pitchers of soda and play songs on the juke box.

When I went to college, I went to most of the games my freshman year but sort of stopped after that.My school didn’t usually (and still doesn’t) have a winning team.The team was full of scholars, not athletes (although Plunkett and Elway came from my school and we did make it to a bowl game while I was a student there), so it wasn’t as much fun to go to those games.Besides, it became uncool to go to the games after freshman year.I had changed dorms.My dorm mates weren’t into the school spirit thing so it was very uncool to go to games.

Once I became a mom with kids in high school, I went to the football games to watch my daughter in the Booster Team (they stayed in the stands and did cheers and synchronized routines in their uniforms) and the next year, when she was no longer on that team, we still went to the games.I would be the responsible mom that would take my Explorer full of giddy girls to the games then take them out for a snack afterwards.

I miss that.I miss the excitement of the crowd and the energy.I miss the collective rooting of a large group, cheering for a common end.

Sometimes I leave the TV on when there’s a college game being telecast.It’s not the same but it lets me remember the times I miss and why I miss them.

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