Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sexual Harassment - My Story

As a young bride, I took a job babysitting one Saturday evening. My husband was working that evening. When the woman came home and paid me, I left for my apartment. I noticed a car was staying even with mine in the lane next to me. If I slowed down, so did the other driver. If I sped up, so did he. I was scared. It was close to midnight. I tried to figure out what to do. As I neared the turn to reach my apartment, I decided to abruptly turn without signaling or slowing. It worked briefly as the other driver had to go down to another block to turn. That gave me enough time to get into my drive and inside the door to our duplex apartment. I called to my husband who'd just gotten home. The man in the other car had found my car and was idling in the middle of the street. My husband took my keys and ran to our car. The other guy took off with my husband in pursuit. I waited at our apartment for what seemed like forever. (No cell phones back then.) When my husband returned, he told me that as he was following the man, he saw a police car and he flashed his headlights to catch the policeman's attention. Eventually, the cop pulled over the other driver. My husband pulled over and confronted the man. He told the cop and my husband that he thought I was the lady I had babysat for and that she was trying to ditch him. My husband saw the man's ID and told me his name. He was a teacher and powerful union member in our community. So it was a case of mistaken identity. But, it still was a very scary experience.

My second story was truly a story of a powerful man who used his position to try to seduce me. He was my principal and I was a first year teacher. He called me into his office one day. I thought we were discussing my upcoming evaluation. But, no, not this time. This time he wanted to tell me about the dreams he was having about me. I told him I didn't want to hear about his dreams but if he really wanted to tell me, I'd need to have my husband present. I guess that was a good response because he didn't pursue it again. But, later that year his wife who also worked in our building accused me and another first year teacher of having interest in her husband.

Men who have power often feel they can do what they want. They use their positions to intimidate people who don't have the same level of authority.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Facing the Future

I've studied human growth and development and I know that I'm in Ericson's life stage Ego integrity vs. despair. Soon, I'll be turning 67. Right now, I am well. I usually don't feel old. But, I'm married to a man who is 10 years older than I. In the past 10 years, he's had 4 surgeries and dealt will having to undergo kidney dialysis. I've watched him go from a healthy, vibrant man who walked 4 miles a day and did yoga to a frail, old man who must use a walker to safely cross the room.  Right before my eyes, he's gone from a muscular 180 lbs. to a pitiful 135 lbs. If tried my best to help him through his trials. I know he's grateful to have me. We've been together 46 years!

I see the widows at church, sitting alone in their pews. I think to myself, I won't go back and sit like they do. Facing the future when one is no longer young requires courage, I think. While none of us knows what lies around the next bend, those of us who are the elders have a pretty good idea that it isn't going to be fun and games.

Right now, I'm close at hand to tend to the needs of my husband. But, I have my escape handy. I am so thankful for the Internet. It helps me so much. I can go there and meet new people, yet be physically present to dispense the medications and take care of our daily needs. I've met some wonderful people and made some dear friends on Twitter and Facebook.

So, right now, I'll face the future by being present for my husband, my family, and myself.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Still at the Foot of the Mountain

When something bad happened in my family many years ago, my dear friend Linda told me that it was like standing at the foot of a mountain. The problem was like the mountain and seemed insurmountable in the immediate moment. Time from the problem was like distance moving away from the mountain. As time elapsed, the problem would seem more manageable, much like the mountain viewed from afar doesn't seem so daunting.

Since that time, I've used my friend's analogy to help me get past several other issues and I've shared the imagery with others. It has been very helpful in the past.

This March, after a lovely two week vacation in Florida, I came home to the news that my daughter-in-law was going to do a 12 week internship in far away New Mexico and that my two grandchildren were going along. As the news sunk in, I struggled to keep a smile on my face. On the one had, I was so very proud of her! She'd come so far from the high school dropout that I'd first met 13 years ago. Now, she was going back to her homeland, the Mescalero Apache reservation, to complete a paid internship for her Masters' degree! In between, she'd had my first grandchild and suffered a life-threatening bleed out in her brain. What a fine example she is for her children and for anyone on her reservation!

Yet, everyday, my heart breaks anew as I see something that causes me to think of them. I put away the puppets that my granddaughter and I used for our puppet shows. It pained me too much to see them. Yesterday, I noticed the Wii controls and game lying where she'd left them by the TV the last time we played. The tears welled up again.

Now, it seems that my son may eventually join them and they won't be coming back. How will I stand it? Today, I thought about the holidays and trying to make it without them. It hurts so much. Yet. I should not be feeling so sad. It's not like anyone's died. I can see them via technology when we do Google Hangouts! It is a bitter consolation. Seeing isn't the same as being together. Yet, it's better than texting, I guess.

Coping with change is the task we all must master. Change brings loss and loss brings grief. We know that grief has stages and is complex and unique to each individual. I want to get away from the foot of the mountain. I really do.

Here's my plan. I'm going to work on several areas of my life that I can control. I'm going to exercise more. I'm going to meditate again. I'm going to read more fiction. And, I'm going to smile again. Really!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mrs. Duggins

Grace Duggins was a feisty old lady. I was kind of scared of her. She was a friend of my dad and step-mother. A widow, she lived alone. Her only child, a son named Bernard, lived in Hong Kong. Grace (I would never have called her that back then) taught piano lessons out of her home. She much preferred teaching boys as she said girls were just too silly. I was a teenager when I met her. She fascinated me. She was independent and out spoken. If she thought you were full of poppy cock, she didn't mince words telling you so. I remember thinking how cool it was that she seemed perfectly fine without a man. As a young teenage girl, all I could think about was getting one. After Kenny and I got married, Mrs. Duggins gave me a black half-slip. I can't remember why she did it. Perhaps I mentioned needing one. More likely, she caught a glimpse of my legs through my skirt when I was wandering around without a slip. That wouldn't do at all; so she presented me with the slip. Now if you ever want someone to think about you, give them something they will wear often. Every time I put on that slip, I thought of her. She lived on her own well into her 90's and drove herself out to a country church to play the piano. Although she is gone now, I still have her gift  in my lingerie drawer.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

People are Like Windows

People are like windows, I've noticed over the years.



Some are tall and thin.




Some are short and fat.



Some are open, wide and inviting.


Some are closed tight and say, "Go Away."


Some are plain and simple, in fact, very ordinary.


Others are quite fancy.


Some are so dirty their usefulness is hindered.



Some are bright and shinning.

Some are broken, their purpose wasted.




Others are so lovely, they are a sight to behold.

What kind of window are you?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

If Looks Could Kill

Have you ever heard the expression, "If Looks Could Kill, I'd be Dead."? That thought occurred to me the other day when I caught a good look at myself in the mirror. Now, I wasn't looking evil or anything. But, where did the young lady go that used to get wolf whistles as she walked down the street? The sagging jowls and wrinkles on the upper lips didn't just appear overnight. How is it that I just now noticed? One thing is certain, I do not have the money to change my outward appearance. I don't blame the aging starlets who spend fortunes on botox injections and laser treatments. Cosmetic surgery is a booming business. Maybe I would do it if I had the money. But, I don't think I'll ever have the option. I'd like to believe that if I ever came into a fortune, I'd have the good sense to use it to help other people instead of indulging my vanity. When I was a young child, my grandma would get me all dressed up and then tell me, "Now Patty, if you only act as nice as you look, you will do fine." She was trying in her way to tell me that my inner beauty, reflected in how I treated others, was far more important that outward loveliness. So Grandma, that is what I will continue to work on. It doesn't cost a penny to enhance one's inner beauty. Each day, I will try to choose the beautiful way to behave. Knowing my character flaws, that will be quite a project. If I can avoid the snide response, or keep myself from yelling at the idiot driver who just cut me off, then I will be working on my inner beautification project. If I can keep from talking about myself and instead focus on others, I will be showing them attention in a meaningful way. Does this make sense to you? Yes, I'll still comb my hair and put on lipstick. But, I will also put on a cloak of kindness so that I can treat others the way I would like to be treated. Just like my grandma taught me.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Medicare

I got my Medicare card recently and promptly took it to the bank and had it laminated. I want it to last a long time because I plan to as well. I started this blog when I was nearing 60, trying to wrap my head around what that meant. I didn't feel old then and I don't feel old now. Not really sure if I even understand what feeling old means. When I was much younger, I thought anyone over thirty was old. Poof! I was thirty and found out that it wasn't true at all. I hear people talk about being old. Some have called me old on Twitter and at home. I even called myself old on one of these blog posts because I needed another word to describe myself. I am not going to do that anymore. I work hard every day to stay young. I workout and line dance and take swim aerobics classes. I am not going to turn into an old fuddy, duddy. I want to learn new things and stay involved with people. I love technology and embrace change. So, I proudly march forward towards 70 and wonder what the next age will bring my way.