Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, November 5, 2016

From Submarines Races to Michael Moore



I live in a state with 9.9 million people and sometimes it feels like they all live close by but, in fact, only 1,027,703 live in the greater metro area where I do. My bedroom community is a mire 10,000 but I tend to forget that we’re actually a separate community because I have to drive nearly a half hour south to get past the wall of humanity. To the north and west, it’s only a seven minute drive to get to rolling farmlands, orchard counties and country roads. I avoid driving in the downtown area like I would avoid sitting on a beehive so when our senior hall offered a short cityscapes tour---billed as a drive-around our downtown with a step-on historian---I was all in. We have some beautiful, old buildings downtown and a rich history that includes Indian tribes, lumber barons, furniture makers and a “medical mile” that in a few years, they say, will rival the Mayo Clinic.

The highlight of the tour for many of us was going to the highest point in the city that in our dating days was known as Lookout Point, a place where people would go to “watch the submarine races”---a euphemism for making out in a car. I googled that phrase for its origins and apparently it began in the '50s with an influential disc jockey/song writer named Murray the K in New Jersey whose theme song sang out, “You're never too old, and you're never too young, to watch the submarine races on the run. Just keep your dial on the Kaufman show, and you make a lotta lovin'…” As our tour group all stood in a small park at Lookout Point most of us were giddy with memories to share. The one and only time I’d ever been there was with my husband and we both got poison ivy which just goes to prove that watching submarines race should only be done from the safety inside of a vehicle. Now, the entire neighborhood up there on the hill seems to be under construction and is being energized with new, classy looking retro-houses and condos to support all the medical research places being built within walking distance---if you don’t mind traversing a ton of steps to get back and forth to work. We were told those steps are a favorite workout place for serious marathon runners.

We had lunch at a brewery, but not an ordinary brewery so common in West Michigan now. This place only brews hard cider and distributes their drafts, bottles and cans throughout a five state area. It smelled like we were eating inside of an apple pie. They make eleven kinds of hard cider and I sampled the ginger peach but if I’d read the menu before ordering off a wall chart I would have tried their Ashmead Kernel described as, “A UK variety introduced to the U.S. in the early 1700’s. This cider has a very rich, dried fruit aroma, big flavor and a full body of apricots and apples..." Now, that would have made me feel connected to my colonial ancestors who I know from reading court records were fined for making hard cider without paying the King of England his tax. (It helps to have famous people in your family tree when you’re doing genealogy research.) According to our tour guide at the brewery, hard cider remained popular from colonial times until prohibition but afterward its popularity never recovered like beer and wine did. It only accounts for 7% of the alcohol market in the U.S.A. and half of that growth happened in the past ten years. A day without learning something new is a wasted day. 

Guess what else I learned this week…that you can order marshmallow dip for your sweet potato fries. Oh-my-gosh, what a good pairing! I had them for lunch in a small, tourist town with a woman I met through the senior hall---let's call her B.L. because that's her name. She’s a long-time widow who seems to enjoy laughing as much as I do and we didn’t lack for things to talk about. Between lunch and shopping the near-by boutiques we spent two-and-a-half hours together. We also made plans to go see the movie, Michael Moore in Trumpland on Monday---her idea---then out to eat afterward.
Reviews said he filmed in Ohio, trying to make a case to undecided voters that Hillary is the best choice. He's a home state boy and many of us here understand his sense of humor so it should be fun. I like that B.L. has taken the initiative in our getting-to-know-each-other process because I’ve come to the conclusion in recent months that I’m a follower, not a leader and that’s been a fly in my not-making-friends ointment. Why is that? Fear of rejection? Insecurity? I’ll let you know if I ever figure it out. ©





  

26 comments:

  1. I never heard it called watching the submarines - maybe I was too young, to old, or from an area that didn't have them ... LOL!
    DH buys hard cider every now and then in the summertime, although his alcohol consumption has dropped considerable over the years. He got some "Apple Pie" shine a couple of years ago and it lasted a good long while - not sure of the alcohol %. I just need a whiff and I'm slightly intoxicated. Ha Ha.
    Sweet potato fries and marshmallow dip sounds good, about now.

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    1. When I was researching the "submarine races" I found 13 songs with them mentioned in the lyrics. I was shocked by that. I don't think it was particularly a regional thing. Even Fonzie from the Happy Days TV show talked about them and Dick Clark. Everyone in our group remembered them. LOL

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  2. I know tours of our city are available. I should look into that.There's lots of history here, and it would be interesting. I lived about five miles from Annapolis for almost 20 years. Evert street and building reeked of history. I loved it, but not the traffic in the area.

    So nice that you're getting to know B.L. I hope this turns out to be a lasting friendship for the two of you.



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    1. Annapolis would be a great city to tour. We never seem to do that close to home, do we yet we'll go overseas or across country and take city tours.

      Me too on B.L. I'll just be happy if I find a friend I can talk to once in a while on the phone and/or go out with once in awhile. We have some common interests.

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  3. I do enjoy reading about your Senior Club activities.

    Glad you're out and about, and developing a friendship. I think some people are by nature friend-maker and others friend-acceptor. It takes all kinds to make the world go round. It'd be a boring world if we were all the same.

    Look forward to reading your review of Moore's film. ~ Libby

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    1. I'll let you know about Moore's film. We had to get the movie in before the election. Somehow I don't think it would be the same afterward, knowing how it turns out.

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  4. The city tour idea sounds very interesting. Portland offers a lot of tours but I'm out a little too far for them to be convenient. We live our lives in a radius of about five miles. Everything we need is conveniently located. It's unusual for us to go outside that radius. Glad things are working out for you with B.L.

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    1. Portland does have its advantages in that regard, doesn't it. We've never had a lot of residential living places downtown but that is all about to change.

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  5. You do get out and about in the good weather! I hope to get active with our Adult Center! I was a volunteer there for several years while Kate was in grade school.

    Better get to the movie SOON!!!! I can't believe the day is next week.....

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    1. Knowing you, you'll get a volunteer gig going soon after you get settle in.

      Ya, we figured that movie won't be funny once we know the out come of the election. I'm curious to see if we'll be the only ones in the theater.

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  6. Hi Jean. You know my friend, I hadn't heard the statement, "submarine races” for such a long time. I remember the nights that My girlfriend & I enejoyed the " submarine races”. I remember her say " Dive, Dive, Dive ". No not really Jean. I did enjoy close times with all my girlfriends but I was taught by my dad, you always treat your lady friends with deep respect and I always followed that throughout my life and even to today, I treat my wife and daughters with respect. You know, when my daughter was dating, I worried about the " submarine races”,( they didn't call it in their world ) when she dated but I wasn't upset because my wife told what not to do, or I would tell her boyfriend that I was a member of the Mafia. ha,ha,ha.
    I worry about your country Jean. I'm not sure what to say about Trump or Hillary. Thank goodness I'm a Canadian. We've got problems of our own. Just look at our dollar. As of today our loonie was worth, $0.74, no wonder we have problems in our country.
    Well, that's it for now Jean. I hope you are OK health wise. My high blood pressure has been dealt with and it's OK for now. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. The mafia myth would work with an Italian like you. LOL My older brother fingerprinted a couple of my dates. I had forgotten about the "submarine races" too but it was a popular term back in its day (50s and 60s) and in 13 songs!

      I love your Justin Trudeau! He seems like a classy young man with a good heart and soul.

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  7. I'd forgotten about the submarine races, too. Of course, there also were the snipe hunts, but that was a different deal. I still can envision the road out of town that led to the hill where many a couple spent their hours, but I haven't quite been able to pull up the name. It wasn't anything particularly obvious, but if anyone spoke the name, everyone within earshot giggled. Now that I think of it, I don't remember any of the adults ever asking why we giggled, either. I suspect they knew.

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    1. Teenagers invent the most euphemisms to fool the adults, don't they. Like talking in code without realizing it doesn't take much to break the codes since we were all young once.

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  8. The preview of Michael Moore's Trumpland is so so funny! Just what I needed t-t-t-two days before the election. Perfect timing, watching it tomorrow with your new friend. New friend...Yay, Jean!

    I've never heard of the submarine races...maybe by the time I was kissing, we did it in dimly lit rooms with psychedelic posters, pulsing music (remember the Vanilla Fudge?), and a couple tokes from a hashish pipe. Great fun!

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    1. I can't believe yet another bombshell came out today. Well, a mini bombshell.

      The Vanilla Fudge? I wasn't into pulsing music unless disco counts. That's what was in when I was clubbing and no drugs.

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  9. I never heard about the submarine races until I met Fred. While visiting his mother in Fond Du Lac, WI--he took me over to Lake Winnebago and told me that is where they used to watch the submarine races--after dark. Innocently I asked, "How could you see them if it was dark?" I was 65 at the time. LOL

    No thanks on the MM film. I have met him numerous times and he always makes me want to vomit.

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    1. As young as you were married, I'm not surprised you'd never been to the submarine races on a date. 65 was not too late for that.

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  10. I didn't know Michael Moore had a new film out about the Trump candidacy; I've got to see it. I love his sense of humor and used to show Sicko in my medical sociology course.
    BTW, just to give you perspective, the population of the entire state of Maine (1.33 million) is only slightly larger than the population of your metro area, and there are only 21 communities in the state with a population of at least 10,000! -Jean

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    1. Wow! Those statistics are a head turner. We were in Maine once on vacation and the thing I remember the most is none of the roads had street signs. We were lost the whole time we were there but we didn't care. Beautiful state with nice people.

      I saw the movie this afternoon and we laughed so hard our bellies were aching. But it had a surprising depth to it, too. We both left the place feeling upbeat and happy to be Hillary supporters. One woman we talked to in the lobby afterward drove an 1 1/2 hours to see the movie and she lied to her husband about where she was going. She was proud that she would be canceling out her husband's vote tomorrow.

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  11. Hi Jean R. - Congratulations! to you and USA (fingers crossed). Like millions world-wide I've been stuck to the internet for the past few weeks. Its been fascinating. And the fireworks yet to begin tomorrow. Good prevails over evil, hip hooray. ~ Libby

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    1. Thank you, Libby. Hopefully, we will never have to go through such a stressful and nasty election again and Trump will end up to be a footnote in history.

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  12. Jean R. - so all the polls/pandits were wrong. I watched it with a thudding heart at the end so can imagine your feelings. NYT indicated much earlier than the news channels that all was lost. My heart goes out to Hillary, and Barack Obama - he having to hand over the baton to DT - and the poor people whom this will affect.

    He will not change at this stage. Many international leaders rubbished DT, so lets see what happens. USA has followed a world trend of throwing a brick through the window - for me, that's all it is, despite whatever theories the pandits prattle on about now.

    My hat off to all the political comedians and other great people who flagged the danger, but to no effect. Take care. ~ Libby

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    1. I'm in shock, Libby. I'm sure the people who voted for him will be very disappointed and angry within a year when he doesn't deliver on his ridiculous promises. The only good thing is what you mentioned is the political comedians will have endless material for the next four years.

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  13. My comment re "fireworks" was re DT refusing to give the concession speech. Who thought Hillary would lose? I checked all the major poll sites and my trusted pandits before sending you the congratulations very late that night. Who dreamt that ALL would be wrong?!

    Ignorance, blatant lying, misogyny, racism, sexism etc is now acceptable. No need to add any more - you'd have read like me the same sentiments on the blogs. Remember: it all works out for the best in the end. Take care of yourself. ~ Libby

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    1. I wish I had your optimism, on it all working out for the best.

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