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, February 16, 2019

From President Ford to Nigerian Princes


I live in President Gerald Rudolph Ford territory. The Ford Presidential Museum is near-by, his childhood homes, too, and I met the guy on many occasions when I was a kid. Ford had a camper that as near as I can remember looked like the one in the photo to the left and when he wasn’t in Washington serving one of his many terms in the House of Representatives he was in his district moving that little camper around to different neighborhoods so it was convenient for his constituents to come talk to him. He’d publish a schedule in the paper and people would line up at the door and if my memory serves me right when you got inside a kitchen timer was started so everyone one in line got an equal amount of his time. That kind of attention to his constituents is what kept him in office from 1949 through 1973. Ford was a Republican and my dad was a Democrat and a labor union representative for the factory where he worked and Dad took me with him whenever he had ‘advocacy work’ to do with Ford. Ford listened, took notes and gained my father’s respect. 

I know a lot about Ford so I almost didn’t go to the Life Enrichment lecture at the senior hall about the former president. But I needed to get back into my normal routine and I did learn a few new details like the fact that “Junior” was a stutterer until the 5th grade when his teachers finally quit trying to turn the left-hander into a right hander, then the stuttering just went away on its own. I also learned he kept a copy of Robert Kipling’s poem “If” in his breast pocket every day of his adult life. As a boy his mom used to make him recite the poem if he showed any signs of a temper. She feared having a bad temper was passed on from his birth father who was physically abusive. She had left him when her son was just two weeks old.

My favorite permanent exhibit at his museum is about pop culture from the 1970s because Ford was the president during the Bicentennial and if I had to name a favorite year in my life, it would be 1976. I even had a long, loose fitting hippie-style dress with a smocked front that I made out of a light weight “homespun” cream colored fabric with small, 1976 dated flags and fireworks printed all over it. I wore it to every weekend music festival and parade we could find that summer of ’76. I still have it. As Marie Kondo would say, it gives me joy. Seeing it from time to time hanging in the back of my closet makes me want belt out a little Bellamy Brothers “...Let your love fly like a bird on a wing and let your love bind you to all living things..Just let your love flow like a mountain stream and let your love grow with the smallest of dreams..."

After the lecture I walked across the hall to go Book Club. I’ve never been less prepared for a book discussion and I didn’t even try to bluff my way through it. I’d read the book a couple of years ago and had planned on reviewing it last week but the power outage put a snare in that plan. I couldn’t concentrate on anything more complicated than putting a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle together. Yup, that’s what I did when I was cut off from media and good reading light. From the time I was a kid, if weather got in the way of something we wanted to do, we’d pull out the puzzles or games. We didn’t even have electricity in the early years at the cottage or indoor plumbing. Puzzles, Monopoly or playing poker were our ‘devices’ back in the ‘40s and early '50s. 

A week ago today when I posted the short note about having to leave the house because I didn’t have heat or power someone left the following comment on that blog entry: “You Baby Boomers are the most evil generation to ever exist. You are all psychopaths. You destroyed your own children’s future, destroyed the economy and then you sit back and laugh. I hope you boomers enjoy your retirement homes! I guess what I’m really trying to say is, can you Baby Boomers hurry up and fucking drop dead?”

It was a poop-and-fly-away, cut-and-paste comment that I found on several other blogs after googling those words. It wasn’t the first time I’ve heard Millennials vs. Baby Boomers smack like that. It’s a theme that pops up on political message boards from time to time. But wouldn’t you love to know the backstory on why that particular Millennial feels so beaten down by his/her life that he/she has taken to leaving death wishes Johnny Appleseed style across the internet. I'm tempted to say, "Get a grip! Gripping about the generations before and after our own is a time-honored tradition."

But rather than get snarly about the “debate” I tend to look for the lighter side of the Millennials vs. Boomers conflict. For example: A tweet by Mrs. Math Teacher: “Baby Boomers blame Millennials for everything but WHO PUT CARPETING OVER ALL THESE HARDWOOD FLOORS?” Or this tweet by Andy Levy: "'Millennials are idiots' [says] the generation that made a millionaire out of the creator of the pet rock." And Zach Wallen's: “I love Baby Boomers who say ‘kids don’t even know how to write cursive’ in a negative way. Like ‘okay, grandma you can’t even turn your laptop on without getting six viruses and wiring half your retirement income to a Nigerian Prince.’” ©


The Bellamy Brothers

30 comments:

  1. Good morning Jean. I hope that you're back to normal. It just started snowing again but oh well that's winter. I never heard about the Millennials vs. Baby Boomers battle before but I can see why this would happen. I wish everyone would just grow up and enjoy life. Some day we all and I mean everyone the Millennials & Baby Boomers will die and fly into the wind. I really enjoyed the Bellamy Brothers song. I loved all the words in the song. I hope when the time comes to visit my God, I hope that I “...Let my love fly like a bird on a wing and let my love bind you to all living things..Just let my love flow like a mountain stream and let my love grow with the smallest of dreams..." I'm glad we are friends Jean. See ya.


    Cruisin Paul

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    1. I am getting back to normal, Paul, except for a vague feeling I'm coming down with a cold---no real symptoms though.

      Baby Boomers are getting blamed for things we didn't/don't control...like the post-war prosperity and being able to step into the job market without much trouble while Millennials have to work several jobs to make ends meet. Boomers have the Vietnam War that is our defining (dark) 'mark' and the Millennials have yet to find theirs. But the Parkland kids who are crusading against gun violence could set them on a path of being the generation that actually turns that around. Although they may be Post-Millennials... I'd have to look at the chart. All I know for sure is from the time they started school the idea they could get killed in class was always with them while my generation had an innocence growing up they were cheated out of. But to try to pit one generation against another is just plain wrong. None of us pick the era we're born into.

      That Bellamy song is great, isn't it. So upbeat.

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    2. Maybe we're not of the same generation. I still remember the day we sat in our classroom, watching the clock marking the minutes and wondering if the Cuban missile crisis would be resolved, or if we were all about to be blown off the face of the planet. Add to that the monthly drills that sent us under our desks to find some protection against nuclear annihilation, and you had some raised anxiety levels. There's a reason the film "Dr. Strangelove" became iconic!

      Also: there are too many millenials who expect to walk out of their inadequate colleges and expect to start at $250,000. Well, ok. $150,000. The idea of living within a budget is quaint to a lot of them. (Saith the grinchy Boomer!)

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    3. I was in a college dorm sitting in the common room during the Cuban missile crisis watching it on TV so I think I'm a little older than you. But I remember the air raid drills in the lower grades at the end of WWII. I remember the bomb shelter salesmen who came around door-to-door. I still have one of their pamphlets.

      The Millennials run up more debt getting a college education than my generation and some are very resentful of that. But there again, how are Boomers to blame for that?

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  2. Wow. That's a really vituperative comment. I think it's a lot of really misdirected anger. It's something I'm going to leave there...right there, and move on. Wow.

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    1. Makes you wonder, doesn't it. The funny part is technically I'm not even a Baby Boomer but I've always claimed to be "on the cutting edge of the Boomers."

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  3. Goodness, I wasn't aware of the hostilities between the two age groups. My,my, such venom out of a youngster.
    Really interesting facts about Ford.
    HOWEVER, I now have an earworm via the Bellamy Brothers. Oh well it usually only lasts a day.

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    1. I had to google 'earworm' to understand what the Bellamy Brothers gave you. I have one too...not a bad tune to be running through your head though. LOL

      I'm left handed so I really perked up over that Ford fact.

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  4. That last little diatribe just says it all!!!! As a Boomer who was A+ in math .... I hate common core math they are teaching today!

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    1. I don't know anything about common core math. I'm guessing it's like cursive writing that the powers of be don't think anyone will need in the future because of the computer age we're in.

      I hope the person who left that diatribe doesn't work in health care.

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  5. I enjoyed your memories of President Ford. Liked being able to hear that song too---I always liked it. Great blog Jean.

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    1. There were a lot of empty seats at the lecture which is rare at the senior hall. I think a lot of people were still not back in the groove after our power outage.

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  6. That person wrote on my blog too. I deleted it. But yeah, you sort of wonder what gets into folks...

    As far as presidents go, I never really thought much of Ford one way or the other but a few years ago we went to the Ford museum in GR and it was fascinating. I came away with an entirely different appreciation of this guy. And I think you just reinforced it with the story of your dad and how Ford would listen to his people, treat them with respect. We could use a lot more of that in today's political world.

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    1. My husband used to say that Ford was a last good Republican in Washington. He truly tried and did work across the aisle to find compromises...that's the way our government was meant to work. At first we were angry that he pardoned Nixon but we came to see that it was the right thing for our country, to be able to move on.

      I was wondering if the poop-and-fly person hit any of my other blogger friends. Most people would delete it. I was going to at first but I then I decided to dig a little deeper. I found out that another blogger reported it to a Blogger Help forum and that two other blogs left it in their blog comments section and they both had blogs related to retirement traveling.

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  7. I liked everything about Gerald Ford, other than the fact he attended UofM. LOL!!

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    1. The speaker told an interesting story about how he ended up there but I can't remember it. LOL

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  8. I found all the Ford background fascinating. I always liked him, and his "better for the country" motivation for pardoning Nixon made sense to me. The idea of him meeting with constituents in a little camper fits my image of him.

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    1. You would have liked this lecture. Its main focus was his early years---the jobs he had in high school and college, his meeting his birth father in his late teens---lots of details I'd never heard before. He was a good guy and a hard workers.

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  9. Enjoyed reading your account of how Ford served his constituents. I think that Anon.comment which blanketed many U.S. and foreign blogs having nothing to do with post topics was little more than that of a troll — possibly a more serious effort to create dissension as we enter into election year. Doesn’t meet my criteria for civility, or providing some sort of link accepting responsibility for view expressed — one of few I’ve never bothered to publish since I’ve had to screen to prevent spam. I’m not about to let my blog be used to provide a forum for such, even if it’s someone trying to stir things up just for having fun with the old folks.

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    1. That comment could very well have been a troll but whether a Russian troll or an American the topic it still "out there" at places where debate is encouraged and some of the stuff that is said back and forth about the generations is interesting----stereotypes but still interesting. I think there is some value in knowing how far the people who want to divide us will go.

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  10. I enjoyed your story about Ford too. He was a good man with solid values. No self-aggrandizement.

    He had been an athlete and was in good shape but was teased mercilessly by the press as a klutz because of a couple of falls. Bob Schieffer was one of the reporters doing it, but he got his just desserts:

    "...after he took a tumble or two on the ski slopes and then slipped one rainy day and fell headlong down the stairs coming off Air Force One, he developed the reputation for clumsiness. The joke was Vice President Rockefeller was just a banana peel from the presidency.

    It was completely unfair but partly my fault, because I wrote a lot of those stories, but as someone said, "What are you gonna do, if the president takes a header? Keep it a secret?"

    The stories were great sight gags, but during the 1976 campaign I learned the hard way that the gods have a way of getting even with those who tell the same joke too many times.

    When Mr. Ford stumbled, missed the door and bumped his head after a speech from the rear platform of a train in Kalamazoo, Mich., I filed the obligatory story.

    I thought it was hilarious but afterward, as I rushed to catch a plane for the next campaign stop, it didn't seem quite so funny. As I was boarding the plane someone hollered at me and, momentarily distracted, I walked head-on into the overhead luggage rack, brained myself and for an instant saw stars and passed out.

    I wasn't really hurt but the next time I saw the president, it seemed only fair to tell him about it. He laughed out loud and said, "By God, I just wish I could have been there to see it."

    I think he meant it, too."

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    1. I had never heard that Bob Schieffer story. How funny. Ford could have played professional football. He was recruited by two teams but wanted to be a lawyer and got a small scholarship that made him decide education instead. He swam every day and held press conferences while he was doing laps.

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  11. Thanks Jean, for sharing your memories and insights on Gerald Ford. I remember SNL making fun of his supposed clumsiness, but that's about all as I was a self-absorbed Aerosmith-obsessed teenager at the time.
    I have yet to attract a troll like you did. Not sure if I should feel slighted or blessed. I am sure my turn is coming...LOL!

    Deb

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    1. Ford was good-natured about those SNL skits. If anyone of us had cameras following us around practically 24/7 catch a lot of stuff like that.

      The troll has to be human, not a bot because of the 'prove you're human' feature in my comments. At least three of us bloggers who know each other through our blogs got hit. Other than that, our age is only common thread. You're just a baby. LOL

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  12. for some reason your posts are not appearing in my reading list. Hmm...
    I liked Ford. Didn't agree with his pardon. Didn't agree with a lot of his politics but it was a time when most people were civil to one another in politics.
    As for the baby boomers vs. millennial's. Baby Boomers kids are Generation X. Gen X bore millennial's. Why are they bothering their grandparents? I am biased. Our music was better too. :-)

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    1. We were angry over the pardon at first but a couple of years later we came to see the wisdom in not putting the country through the trial and media circus that would have followed.

      Why? Probably because there are a few grumpy grandparents out there who pick on Millennials for living in their parent's basements, etc. "When I was your age..." sort of thing and a few Millennials are jealous because they perceive the Baby Boomers as being spoiled by having it too easy to get cheap educations, life-long jobs, buy houses and second homes and become first class consumers who some blame for killing the earth. I'm guessing the vast majority of Millennials don't take that harsh of a view but some definitely do.

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  13. Interesting post, Jean! Thanks for the music, it can roll around in my head as long as it wants!

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  14. Glad to see you around the blog community again, Sharon!

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  15. I liked Ford.
    What a nasty little troll. I haven't had many of those, but I have had a few. They pop up and then disappear, never having the nerve to leave a trail.

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    1. Knock on wood, that was my first really nasty one but it came on a post where I literally think I would have died if not for my friend sending his son over.

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