Love Ya

The first time I heard this phrase casually used, I was a bit shocked. I grew up in the 1950s when people didn’t express affection, unless it was in the swoon of romantic love, much less using “Love ya” as a good-bye greeting.

Watching a movie recently, I was struck by how a mother and uncle constantly reminded their son and nephew, respectively, that they loved him. That wasn’t in the vocabulary of my parents—or grandparents or aunts or uncles. They belonged to a past generation that thought if you spared the rod you would spoil the child. It wasn’t just that a good spanking was considered a necessary part of raising an obedient child, but there was a sense that too much praise would give children a big head, and there was nothing worse than that. Children weren’t supposed to be coddled. In fact, my grandparents grew up at a time when child labor was still allowed. And people had large families because they needed the free labor on farms.  

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Where Did I Put That List?

I always laugh when a working friend tells me they worry about retiring: What will they do with themselves all day?

Those of us who have been retired for a while, who have gotten the hang of it, know the answer: that your days will fill up faster than you know—with medical appointments and trying to schedule appointments; with the never-ending task of getting rid of stuff; with doing all the physical exercises needed to combat (pick one): arthritis, bursitis, sciatica, back and leg pain, aging knees, and/or loss of balance and flexibility; plus the mental exercises to keep our brains sharp, whether it’s learning a new language or how to paint or play the piano; or doing a daily Wordle.

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“Read Before Tossing”

In cleaning out old (paper) files, I found those words on a folder with my dad’s initials. He was an incorrigible saver of almost everything, including clothes and shoes. He made a practice of clipping articles from magazines and newspapers, scribbling in the margins the names of one of his seven children whom he thought should find this article interesting. After his death, we found stacks of articles he had saved, which somehow never reached us. Because these missives often were tinged with my father’s biases, they weren’t entirely welcome, especially since my father and I had different, if not polarizing, political views.

Yet, I inherited the need or desire to save articles from magazines or newspapers, stashing them away in folders and large envelopes, which have been sitting for decades unbothered until I embark on a cleaning project in the basement or the back of my closet. I have found articles I saved 10, 20, even 30 years ago on subjects that no longer mean anything to me. In a file folder in my cabinet called “Articles, interesting,” I found a 2001 interview with former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and an article about “Truth in Advertising” from 2001. I can no longer  remember why I found those articles from 20 years ago interesting, but you can be sure I won’t be rereading them to find out. Today, I need to educate myself on new issues and challenges—the Ukraine war, gun violence, climate change.  

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