Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. 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. (Just remember I'm looking through my prism which may or may not be the full story.) Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

PJs and Other Controversial and Relevant Topics

It’s eight AM and I’ve been sitting in front of my computer for an hour and these are the first words I’ve typed. Sure, I’ve been reading around my normal morning circuit---e-mail, Facebook, other people’s blogs, a bit of news and back around again waiting for inspiration to strike. I look out the window and for the third time this morning I think that I should get dressed and go outside and take a photo of the woods across from our green space while the trees are still damp from the rain. It must have come in strong from the west because only one side of the bark on those trees are almost black from the dampness while the other side is lit up to a silvery gray by the morning sun. It would make a great painting, if I was skilled enough to capture the sap green and lemon drop yellow leaves with their touches of rosy pink dappling here and there against those tree trunks. 

How long before I’ll ever see this again, I ask myself but still I sit in my bathrobe too lazy to get dressed. It’s one of the downsides of living in an apartment; you can’t wander around outside in your night clothes and bathrobes. Especially in an independent living apartment where that could be taken as a sign that dementia is making inroads into your brain.

There was a silly debate at Tuesday’s Happy Hour about a woman who came downstairs to get her mail wearing her pajamas. Someone said, “This is our home. We can do that if we want” and someone else shot back, “It’s my home too and I don’t want to see that.” Others came down on one side or the other and I piped in with a comment about pajamas covering more than many daytime outfits and I was rebutted with “Not all pajamas.” I didn’t see the woman’s PJ’s that sparked this discussion so I kept my mouth shut after that, but I wanted to ask if she was wearing baby doll short shorts but I didn’t want to be told “no” because the idea of drawing a cartoon of an old woman with too many meals under her belt wearing baby doll PJs with no bra and fuzzy pink slippers was having too much fun in my head. 

I need to learn to keep my mouth shut more often around here, like I did when I first moved in. My sense of humor is not always understood. One night when dinner was over I remarked that I wish they had served dessert because I was still hungry. “Even an after dinner mint would help,” I joked while using sad, basset hound eyes. After we parted and I went back to my apartment I got a knock on the door which never happens. It was one of my neighbors bringing me a mint patty. That was funny but when I got the second knock and a delivery of another mint patty and I started wondering I was being funny or pathetic when I was belly-aching about still being hungry. I got my answer the next day when I thanked one of the Sugar Fairies for keeping me from dying of hunger overnight and she admitted that they'd coordinated their prank.

Change of topic: Do you ever worry that you’re putting too much stuff in your brain and it’s going to start falling out at an alarming rate? I'm listening to an audible book I thought would be more relatable than it’s turning out to be. Music is History by Ahmir Khalib Thompson covers 1971 to present. I thought I’d remember most of the song titles mentioned and so far I’m remembering maybe one in ten. I’m only up to 1977, the year Elvis died and the TV series Roots was a big deal. More than 80% of Americans watched Roots according to this book and to this day the last episode holds the record for being the third most watched TV show of all time following the last M*A*S*H and the 'who shot J.R.' episode from Dallas. 

I saw a 60 Minutes TV show within days of hearing the above facts. It featured a black guy who’d bought a house that unbeknownst to him had been a plantation where his ancestors were slaves. He mentioned that seeing Roots was the first time in his life that he knew slavery was a part of the black experience. That's happening more and more to me lately where two random but related facts will come together from random sources. It's like a beam is reaching out of my head to pull stuff in like matching Go-Fish cards and my brain is flashing a warning message that my hard drive is close to being full.
 
After seeing that 60 Minutes I tried to remember where and when I first learned about slavery and I’m pretty sure it was in 1950's Life Magazine that was devoted to the history of Segregation. The centerfold picture was of a ship’s cargo space below deck where blacks were chained together and lined up like cord wood. Over 200 American slave schooners were running the seas after the Revolution bringing 12.50 million enslaved humans to our shores, according to the Encyclopedia Virginia, between 1500 and 1866. 
I still had that copy of Life Magazine until I downsized last year. It's too bad so much of our history gets lost or white-washed in the shame of it because that lack of common knowledge of our history gives the Tucker Carlson’s of the world full rein to be super-spreaders of hate and conspiracy theories like the one that got ten people killed and three wounded while buying groceries in Buffalo, New York. ©



   Find the magazine here 

 


41 comments:

  1. Amen. The truth of our past is part of history and should be taught so it won't be repeated.

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    1. With the push back we get from certain sectors of society about Black History month, I can just imagine the fights at school boards if more Early American history were introduced in the lower grades. But it would be a fight worth having.

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  2. Although we can take pride in much of our history--the truth is that there is much for which we should feel shame. I'm not pointing a finger at Americans, only, because abuse and neglect against humanity has taken place since the beginning of time, all over the world. There are no easy answers, but telling the truth would be a good place to start. As I type this, I'm listening to the news coming from Texas, where 21 lives were taken, tragically. We can't let pride (and politics) get in the way of telling the truth; doing what is right; and valuing every single life. Thanks for inserting the article from Life magazine, Jean. It might be "old news" but it is still relevant!

    On a lighter note, you made me smile when you described the old woman in baby doll pajamas. You know, lots of leisure clothing looks like pj's and fits like them. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the "leaders" among the residents of the ccc take this issue up with management. Time to add some more rules, lol.

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    1. I was kind of surprised that the entire text of that magazine can be read online. I discovered that last year when I was researching the issue to sell on eBay. Made its value less but for the great good of our country I'm glad they've made it accessible.

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  3. My mother read us Uncle Tom when I was preschool but since my school education was split between the north and south, I got very different versions of slavery. The truth should be taught but sadly I am sure regional bias will color the versions.

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    1. Regional difference is why I'm against church sponsored charter schools, not just on the issue of race but I firmly believe that all American kids should be taught that same facts and basic core of subjects.

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  4. You pose a very interesting question: I'm now trying to remember when I first learned of enslaved people in the United States. It feels like a fact I always knew, yet that cannot be true, of course.

    Much of history was recorded by white men, however; it's important that it gets looked at again and again, more deeply, so that its truth is uncovered and unvarnished.

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    1. More and more documents and period writing are being brought to light on the topics of race and women. History does work that way....the farther away you get the easier it is forhistorians to encompass all the factors on what really happened.

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  5. I learned about slavery in history class, maybe fourth grade? As for the genocide of Native Americans, that was glossed over, barely ever mentioned. I lived in a small town with a VERY conservative school board running the show. History was all about brave white males, you know?

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    1. Those brave white males owned all the publishing houses and even though occasionally they published works by women they had to use a male name and keep it hidden, even from their editors. It is any wonder those brave white male claimed every invention and every victory for themselves?

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  6. I remember watching Roots and being very moved by it. I have no idea when I actually learned of slavery, but I know I grew up without seeing a black person (except on TV) until I was in my teens. That part of our history absolutely needs to be taught...it's insane and devious that people are trying to whitewash our past. The town I grew up in is on an Indian reservation (though I'm not Native American) and I remember the prejudice against those kids by some in the community. Ironically, the tribe is now helping fund most everything in that little town -- including the public schools which surely would have been closed by now if they weren't.

    As for getting the mail in pajamas, I do remember going onto my patio at our previous house in pj's a few time to catch a good picture along the river. But I am pretty careful what I wear outside now. And our mail is down the street at bit at a common bank of mailboxes, so that's a no go. LOL. It will be interesting to see if they make a rule about that. haha

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    1. More power to the modern Native American communities that are taking their casino money to help the community schools, fire and police departments, etc.

      I seriously doubt they'll be rule about wearing PJs in the lobby area when it's been just one person doing it. The grumblers aren't the ones with a CEO's ear.

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    2. Unless she's strutting around naked or very scantily clothed, they'll just have to deal with it. LOL.

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    3. That was sweet of your neighbors coordinating the prank.

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  7. The first time I saw someone in the grocery store in pajamas (or what sure looked to me like pajamas) I couldn't even form a thought. I just know that I wouldn't do it, although I have been known to fill the bird feeders in the morning while wearing a robe.

    I never thought much about Black people when I was a young kid; there was only one Black family in town, although that gradually changed. We were far more familiar with Native Americans, since a nearby town was the home of the Meskwaki tribe. We played their school teams in sports, and everyone loved visiting the town for their celebrations. It's said that familiarity breeds contempt, but just as often familiarity helps to bring acceptance and enjoyment -- at least, it did for us. It's one reason I'm so opposed to groups of both Blacks and Whites who want to re-segregate classes and activities. We need to learn to live together, but we can't -- unless we live together.

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    1. I'm still shake my when I see people wearing PJ's in the grocery store, especially when it's clear they aren't wearing any underwear.

      I did not know there are groups who want to re-segregate the schools! You're so right about learning to live together requires we get to know each other.

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    2. It's happening mostly in colleges and universities. Various groups have made it clear that they're only for Blacks, and in response of course various White and Hispanic groups have said, "Well, ok then. We're only for us." It's a downward spiral, and we don't need any more downward.

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  8. It feels like we're on such a dangerous path of arrogance and ignorance. The mix of those two is taking over our politics and media and poisoning our country.

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    1. I wish I could disagree with you but you're right on point. Sadly.

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  9. Loved the mint prank! Your neighbours definitely got your humour and decided to one-up it, seems to me (LOL). Let the prank wars begin...

    Deb

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    1. They did. We have some really neat people living here.

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    2. That mint prank was great! I love that people have a sense of humor and care enough about each other to reach out in fun. Brains are funny body parts...I don't know if I have too much going in or not enough but either way there are times I just draw a blank! I love how you research for your blog and share great facts with us. History is not the just "good" parts -- we all need to know everyone's truth in their own words. But as has been said, "History is written by the victors". So often those conquered lose their histories, identities, and ability to know what is accurate and what has been filtered in a way ameniable to the persons writing the story.

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    3. Sharing research is another way to pad a post when you can't think of enough stuff on your own to fill your word quota. LOL

      I was tryin to think of that quote you used yesterday and it wouldn't come to me. Thank you!

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  10. I love Tucker Carlson.

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    1. Not sure they'll care to Share Why... or not hide behind Anonymity.

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  11. I don't wear PJs I consider them leisure wear. I live in a condo and am often stunned by what people wear in the common areas. I have seen skimpy dressing gowns and fluffy slippers, clothes I wouldn't wear to paint.

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    1. Wow, that hasn't happened here. Yet. Except for the one woman. I often change my clothes to go get my mail if I've been painting or something sloppy. People here go to bed early so the most I will do is go to the trash shoot on my floor in my long chenille bathrobe late at night. Haven't been caught yet in the five months I've been here.

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  12. I have NO idea when I first learned of slavery. That's fascinating. Probably in grade school or maybe from my parents... I'll have to think on that. LOVE the mint prank!

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  13. If wearing my Jammies of mismatched Jammies Pants with disparate Tops of my regular Wardrobe is any impending sign of Dementia GF, then I am in deep trouble. *Winks* You were having too much Fun in your Head with the Visual of the Elder in her Pink PJ's Vision you had concocted. I don't think I'd be able to keep my Mouth shut and not have some wicked Fun with the Pearl Clutching sorts of Neighbors who get so easily offended... since, it would just Amuse me too much to Stop. *LOL* I remember when in History we were supposed to do a Book Report on "The Holocaust" and of coarse the Teacher meant the German one, but I did mine on the one against Indigenous Tribal First Nations People, since my Dad and his Family are of that maligned Race that America still has a lot of Issues with respecting as fellow Human Beings... you could hear a Pin drop in the Classroom! I had a very Cool Teacher and I'd done a lot of Art to go with my Book Report of some of my most Beloved Tribal Leaders in History, he asked if he could have them and I obliged, I got an "A"... and he Thanked me for Teaching the Class something that I'm pretty sure he couldn't and wouldn't have been allowed to Teach at the time.

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    1. Too bad we didn't have more history teachers like yours. That's so cool that he gave you an 'A' when I'm sure some would have used the fact that you didn't follow the Holocaust assignment the way it was meant to give you a lower grade. Back in that time frame we were probably still looking at the Native Americas the way the old black and white movies were portraying your ancestors. I can see why your class was spell-bound.

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    2. Yeah, I Laughed at your last couple sentences since it always irked me that Hollywood's Native Americans in that time frame or before were the likes of Joey Bishop or Elvis Presley in 'Red Face' and people actually Believed "Iron Eyes Cody" was Indian, when in fact he was an Italian. And often they'd have the TV Indians speaking jibberish instead of a real language, or Spanish... eye roll.

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  14. How does one get to be almost adult without hearing about the Civil War and the reasons behind it?

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    1. I don't know other than home schooled or schooled in an area in the south where it was glossed over? If the magazine I wrote about was truly the first time I was exposed to it I would have been 13 which seems to me would have been an age-appropriate time back then, before mass media. I remember taking it to school.

      Thanks for asking the question of the Tucker Carlson fan up above that I didn't want to ask.

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  15. LOL. I love your neighbors' puckish response to your dessert whine; it suggests to me that they appreciate your sense of humor and were responding in kind. As far as connecting seemingly random pieces of information, I see that as a sign that making connections is one of the things our brains get much better at as we age, rather than as a "disk full" error message. I am frequently delighted by my aging brain's ability to find surprising patterns and connections in the world around me.

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    1. Some people here are catching on to my sense of humor which can be off the wall sometimes and other times sort of slap-stick.

      I love your take on random information connecting in your brain, You know I'm going to borrow that from you.

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  16. It is true, we should admit to our good and our bad.

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    1. Yes, and the good often is inspired by the bad, by those of us who want to do better than the generations before us.

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