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

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bare Naked Butts and Frog Flopping



It’s been a long while since I’ve been invited to a high school graduation party. This year it happened. The graduate was a great-great niece on my husband’s side of the family and I was happy to be included because the opportunities to see people I’ve known for close to a half century have been nearly non-existent since my husband and sister-in-law died. Before the party I couldn’t have picked the graduate out of a line up but her grandmother says the girl is “sweet inside and out.” At one point during the party she was standing with a group of friends, looking pretty with her long black hair falling half way down her backless-to-the waist dress, the hemline of its circle skirt hitting her mid-thigh when a breeze came up and exposed her entire buttock, as bare as the day she was born. My mouth dropped up and I looked at the people sitting near me for validation that I was seeing what I saw. My shock must have shown on my face because without me saying a single word her aunt said, “I saw it earlier. She’s wearing a thong made out of dental floss.” It must have been nude colored dental floss because I couldn’t see it that time or during the other opportunities that came up later to look. (It was a windy day.) Another one of her aunts said she wouldn’t let her daughter wear a thong like that and I was having a hard reconciling the label of “sweet inside and out” with a girl who must have felt the hot sun and wind on her bare butt and didn’t have enough decorum to go inside to put on some proper underwear. 

Another one of her friends was also wearing a backless-to-the waist dress that was pretty but it was completely spoiled by the fact that she was wearing a ratty looking bra with it. Who does that? Did she chicken out on going braless? That dress required it if you’re not going to spend the money on a backless support garment. Did her parents stop her as she was walking out the door? “You’re not leaving the house without your underwear!” Back in my day, we had special lingerie pins we used to make sure our bra straps didn’t slip down our shoulders and show with sleeveless blouses. How times have changed. Other than “underwear-gate” to spice up the party, it was a normal and nice afternoon spent catching up with everyone. That side of the family has the best cooks and I welcomed seeing all the classic family dishes on the buffet: The cheesy potato casserole in a crockpot; the strawberry Jello, pretzel and cream cheese salad; the pulled pork with potato buns, and other things I didn’t try so I’d have room for the best peanut butter brownies made with rice crispy cereal and marshmallow crème you’ll ever taste.

All and all, I was glad the week was over and ended with a relaxing party. I’d been on the go for six days in a row and after the party I slept like the dead. I woke up to find that my emergency dialer actually was dead. Good thing I didn’t need it during the night---made me sick-to-my-stomach to think about it. One of the things I did the day before the party was go to a Start of Summer event at a near-by small town with one of the Gathering Girls where we had lunch in a historical building. I love that place. A hundred years ago it had been a mill that used the river for its power source to grind grain into flour. We also browsed the arts and craft tents and I resisted taking an elephant ear home for dessert from the row of food trucks. 

A carnival was set up a block away from the food trucks. We didn’t walk down to their midway but just seeing the Ferris-wheel over the tree line and hearing their music brought back memories of a summer my husband was totally obsessed with a game he called ‘frog flopping’ but technically is named Flip-a-Frog. Each player gets three rubber frogs and by using a mallet to hit a frog’s launching pad you have to catapult all three frogs onto lily pads to get a stuffed frog. I don’t even want to think about how much money we spent ‘frog flopping’ but, boy, did we have fun with the silliness of it all. There wasn’t a carnival in the county that we didn’t go to that summer, looking for the game. 

Don won several frogs and when I downsized his things a few years back I agonized about put those frogs in a donation box. In the end I couldn’t let go of the memories attached so I kept one and let two others go. He sits high on a book shelve to protect it from little kids and dogs who, over the years, have wanted to play with Don’s frogs. No one plays with Don’s stuffies. It’s a house rule and has been since that summer over thirty years ago. There are no cell phone photos that captured The Summer of Frog Flopping like there would be today, nothing that showed a grown man who usually worked extremely hard having so much fun---nothing except for that frog on the shelf. And he’s the reason why Don never wanted to go the Las Vegas; he didn’t trust himself not to get addicted to something far more costly than flipping rubber frogs onto lily pads. ©

36 comments:

  1. How lovely to visit with extended family for a graduation party. All that good food does bring back memories!
    Bare butts, yes, disgusting. True, 'underwear' as we know it hasn't been in existence all that long in the grand scheme of things, but before then, at least the skirts went to the floor. I don't like to see bra straps under a garment that wasn't designed with one in mind. Yes, I am a bit judgemental, shoot me.
    Frog flopping ... never saw the like. Nice that you were able to to save at least one of Don's frogs and not share with dirty, rough fingers.

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    1. Agreed on the underwear history. In addition I don't like to see black or red bras under blouses where they show through. My age is showing, I guess.

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  2. Had to laugh about the Bra/Underwear Lectures from Mom long ago. We were always admonished about clean underwear and bra straps with No Safety Pins. "What if you end up in the Emergency Room? What kind of mother will they think I am!?" Priorities...

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    1. Obviously, the mother/daughter underwear debates don't happen at the graduates house. LOL

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  3. Frog flopping is one of those memories that earmarks the simple pleasure s of one's own history. It sounds like incredibly silly fun and I would have loved it too.

    The lack of or use of inappropriate underwear isn't acceptable or typical. It's tasteless pure and simple. Having money is no indication of good taste.... none at all - in behavior, attire or decor.

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    1. I can't look at that frog without it putting a smile on my face. Definitely a simpler time in my life.

      I honesty don't understand why anyone would want to wear dental floss for underwear. Every once in a while she'd push the back of her skirt down when the wind would blow it up so it's not like she didn't know she was exposing herself.

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  4. It seems that all of the morality that we were taught has gone completely out the window, I am positive that she is a sweet girl but this generation doesn't appear to have any self respect, "times are ah changing"

    Don sounds like a very fun loving man, it's good to hold onto memory reminders like the frog, I need to look for that game next time we go to a carnival, frog flopping sounds like a blast.

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    1. I think parents have a hard time putting down rules when all the young singers the kids idolize are showing their wares on TV.

      If you find that game at a carnival, let me know. The next year we looked for it but it had been replaced with something else. I see they still sell them at carnival supply sites. If we had had the internet back then, Don probably would have bought his own game and let all the neighborhood kids play.

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  5. Well, the bare bum show kept the ceremonies from being boring and gave you good post material. Wonder if she knew she mooned everyone before Mom told her?
    I've never seen the frog game but now if I do, I will try it. Sounds fun.

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    1. As far as I know no one told her that she was mooning everyone. I kept expecting one of her aunts to go tell her mother, father or grandparents but everyone minded their own business and over the course of the party, I'm pretty sure all the guests got a good show.

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  6. The Mother/Daughter clothing debate was daily when my kidlet was in Jr/Sr high! I think the string thongs are what make these teens CRABBY! Can you just imagine that feels like? I actually bought one (when Mr. Ralph was here) and it irritated me to no end for the whole hour I wore at. UGH!

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    1. That's a good theory. LOL I don't want to sound gross but I can't imagine what those thongs look and smell like when they take them off.

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  7. Oh My Gosh!!!!I cannot even imagine one of my grand daughters or any girl in my family going around like that--especially at her grad party. You should have gone up to her and given her a twenty, "I didn't realize you couldn't afford under wear. Will this help?" Of course the way "they" talk nowadays she probably would have replied, "F*** you B****."

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    1. I just got the sweetest and personalized thank you note from the girl. She's got good manners and even hugged when I got there.

      I actually did think about speaking to her mother, father or grandmother with a "Did you know, it's windy out and {girl's name} isn't wearing any underwear?" But I didn't want to be a trouble maker and there were closer relatives there to see it---at least 25 sitting near me who could have/should have spoke up. At least I got a half a blog out of it. LOL

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  8. A grand neice and nephew graduated from high school. It been a while since I known anyone to get out of high school...Coffee is on

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    1. If I get invited to other great-great nieces and nephews on my husband's side I'll have parties to go to for the next four years after a very long drought.

      I'm drinking my morning coffee as I write.

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  9. Can you explain what elephant ears are? Are they like beaver tails in Canada? Or fried dough in Massachusetts?
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. I found recipe at a site called "How to make elephant ears like you get at the fair." They are fried pastries about a foot big and very common around here and have been as far back as I can remember. Years ago they sold them for $3 and now they are up to $6. I've never heard of beaver tails or fried dough but I'm guessing they are the same thing with regional names? What do you think?
      Ingredients
      1½ Cups Milk
      2 Tablespoons Sugar
      1 Teaspoon Salt
      6 Tablespoons Shortening
      2 Tablespoons Yeast
      4 Cups Flour
      Oil
      ½ Cups Sugar, for topping
      3 Tablespoons Cinnamon, for topping
      ¼ Cups Butter, melted, for topping

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  10. I flipped through a magazine with celebrities dolled up - all pretty much naked. I don't get why females feel the need to flaunt their 'family jewels'. I'm thinking of a future fashion where men will too (particularly after an enlargement procedure). Also don't like the suggestive poses females, particularly school going girls or younger, take for pix. I think it makes them look like ladies-of-the-night, to say it in polite language. But each generation to its own. Fashion cycles will also probably come when, after near nudity, it'll be all covered up from head to to.

    Glad the graduate sent you a thank you note and hugged you for coming to her party. ~ Libby

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    1. This girl's family are very caring and nice people. I'm guessing BL (below) has it right when she says mothers just give up trying to influence fashion on girls ready to go off to college. Peer pressure winds out.

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  11. We hate to "but in" (pardon the pun) but it sure can be uncomfortable waiting for the next gust of wind to come up. I would have probably "tried" to ignore the scene but would be very hard to do. Saying anything could just make people mad. Maybe the mother just gave up on trying to influence her---not easy to make those teens listen sometimes. Good post!
    BL

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    1. Thanks, BL! It was uncomfortable at first because you don't want to look, but you can't help it. I think everyone decided, like I did, that saying anything could embarrass the parent over something they probably can't control anyway. I mean they had to know she likes thongs with short skirts.

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  12. Wow, wow, wow Jean. You have to remember that these young people are living in another world then we are. I bet that she didn't even noticed what happened except maybe the young boys around. I have an 11 year old granddaughter and I worry about the world that she's growing up in. She's a smart girl, a thinking girl, an intelligent girl but it's the other people around her I worry about. I just hope that
    she''ll know what to do when the time comes. Her nude buttocks probably you more the her. It would have bothered me if that had been my granddaughter. I guess we are getting old Jean. Ha,ha,ha. See ya my friend.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. I know what you mean about worrying about the other people around innocent young people. They may see nothing wrong with showing bare butts but it could get them into situations they are emotionally ready to handle. I've taken a lot of nude figure drawing classes over the years and I'm not a prude about the naked body but there is a time and place for everything. I guess I am getting old, Paul. LOL

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  13. Thanks! That sounds a lot like fried dough or beaver tails (most pleasant memory is eating beaver tails on the frozen canal in Ottawa having skated the miles to the shack!)
    Leze

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    1. Finding that recipe and the photos with it made me so sorry I didn't get one. I remember them as being wonderful!

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  14. I laughed out loud at your story about your niece's buttocks. It reminded me of that scene in Steel Magnolias when Olympia Dukasis said that the behind of one of the dancing wedding guests who wasn't wearing a girdle looked like "two pigs fighting under a blanket."

    I know you had a hard time giving up some of Don's things. I know I would.

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    1. I remember that line! I'm just glad I didn't remember it at the party, I wouldn't have stopped laughing.

      The thing about widows having trouble giving up their husband's things is it's also giving up parts of yourself as well. I also worry that without the memory triggers, the memories will be gone.

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  15. I loved the story of the frog flipping. It took me straight back to the years when my dad would take me to the carnivals. For years, I had a green glass bead necklace and a tiny bisque kewpie doll he won for me. Where they went, I haven't a clue, but the memory still is sharp -- when I remember it!

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    1. Your story of your dad taking you to carnivals reminded me of the earliest memory I have of my dad. We were doing the floating duck pond game. You had to net them and get a prize that matched the number on the bottom of the duck and it took me for years.

      The little bisque Kewpie dolls are cute and can still be found at antique shops and probably e-Bay.

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  16. OMG. That thong thing is both hysterical and appalling. Many years ago a friend said she'd started wearing thongs and recommended it to me. I tried. What a horrible contraption of discomfort! Plus...what's the point? Well, anyway, yes, I think they are considered "in style" and "sexy", but not EVERYONE should have to see them -- and that which they are NOT covering! I did notice many of the young local girls in Hawaii wore thong bathing suits when we were last there. Just butt cheeks galore! I don't know exactly how I feel about it in theory, but in practice, I'd sure hate to see any of MY relatives in one. I'm hoping they'd have a bit more modesty. At any rate, they can only get by with it for a precious couple/few years before their bodies become mature and hopefully they do too.

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    1. The concept of butts being beautiful came into fashion in very recent years compared to how long I've been on earth. I just can't look at bare butts and see any beauty there. All though I remember them being fun to draw. LOL

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  17. Not sure I'll ever get used to some of the attire popular today for all shapes and sizes. Wearing thongs are uncomfortable I think & bare butts are cute only on babies.

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    1. Yup, only babies can wear the bare butts look. LOL

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  18. LOL, I think the bra straps hanging down are an intentional "look." Of course, elders being shocked by the fashion statements of young people are nothing new; I still remember my grandmother complaining in the 1960s that you could no longer tell the girls from the boys. I'm just grateful to be in the stage of life where I no longer feel any pressure to make myself "attractive" by wearing clothes that are uncomfortable (I can't imagine why anyone would want to wear a thong).

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    1. If I had to choose between a thong and wearing nothing, I'd go with nothing.

      I remember not being able to wear pants/slacks to high school. I don't even remember being able to wear them to college in the early '60s. All that changed in the late '60s and I have been wearing pant ever since to your grandmother's dismay, I'm sure.

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