Friday, January 21, 2011

Ask Not... 50 Years Later

Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's inauguration.

What a shock to think this happened a whole half-century ago!

I am one of that ever-shrinking number of people who were around in 1961 and actually remember the inauguration. Well, parts of it anyway.

I was in third grade and my teacher Mrs. Smith took our class to her house (she lived three blocks from the school so we walked) to watch the event on her television. Before we left she told all of us to pay careful attention to an old man who would be reading a poem. She said, "His name is Robert Frost, and he won't be alive very much longer."

And that's exactly what I remember from the inauguration -- an old, thin man with a shock of white hair. The wind blew his paper away, but he kept talking. I don't remember seeing the President take the oath of office, or hearing him deliver his famous, "Ask not what your country can do for you..." speech. I don't remember seeing Jackie or anyone else standing near him.

But I remember Robert Frost.

Mrs. Smith was right too, Robert Frost died two years later in 1963. I also keenly remember that terrible day in 1963 when Kennedy was assassinated. But that is a sad story for another time.

What historical events do you remember from your childhood?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Aunt Liz!

Yesterday, my DH's Aunt Liz celebrated her 91st birthday and I wanted to take a moment to send her a few cyber good wishes!

I've been truly lucky to have this remarkable lady in my life for over twenty years!

Liz grew up during a time when not many people went to college, especially women. But she did, and took her degree from the University of California, Berkeley just after World War II broke out here in the States. Immediately after college graduation, Liz joined the government to do her part for the war effort. She wound up as a civilian inspector of munitions trains in Slidell, Louisiana. After the war, she settled in Flagstaff, Arizona and married a college professor.

During the 1960s Aunt Liz was a single mom who went back to school, got her teaching credential and taught 3rd and 4th grades. In the summer, she would take her two kids and her nephew (my DH) on camping trips to places like The Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Zion National Parks.

By the time I met Liz in 1989, she had retired after 20+ years of teaching. She had an active life that included membership in the Sierra Club and the San Francisco Opera. An avid hiker, tennis player and bird watcher, she also continued to travel. Liz was instrumental in helping my DH overcome his fear of flying and she traveled with us a lot, including our first trip to Turkey, a couple of forays to Europe, and once to China. In fact, Liz enjoyed China so much that a couple of years after we traveled there, she went back on her own to see the Xian warriors and cruise the 3 Gorges area of the Yangtze River!

These days, Liz spends most of her time at home enjoying her flower garden and playing with her cats Sammy and Ralphie.

So HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Liz! You have enriched my life beyond measure and I hope to stay around for many more years!

Do you have a special friend or relative who has reached a milestone birthday? Please share some stories with Aunty!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Accentuate the Positive!

It's a new month and a new year. As I said in my previous post, the last one went out on a pretty negative note, so I'm determined to start this one by concentrating on POSITIVES!

So let me focus my attention on things that make me HAPPY...

First of all, I'm so grateful for all the wonderful friends and readers I've encountered online, and I want to let everyone who reads this blog know how very much I appreciate your support.

In addition to wonderful friends, books have always had a very positive influence on my life. Reading and writing never fail to lift my spirits.

I am happiest when someone tells me they enjoyed one of my books! More than anything, I want to entertain my readers. I want my stories to be enjoyable escapes. I want them to pull the reader in, be exciting and interesting enough to keep them reading, and when they reach the end, I want my readers to smile and give a satisfied sigh.

Happy 2011! As Jay Leno said the other night in his monologue, "Twenty Eleven sounds like an upscale Seven Eleven!"

Help Aunty look on the positive side. Please share some of the things that have made you happy lately. And please tell me the last book you read that made you sigh happily when you finished it