A Month of Thanksgiving – Nostalgic November

1 11 2017

This marks my third annual series of thankful November posts, so this time, I thought I’d add a little wrinkle (who am I kidding – have you seen my wrinkles!) and express my gratitude for things that served important roles in my life, but are not physically present in it, now.  That means you may, when you see the word “thankful,” read the word “nostalgic.” You’ve been warned.

Starting boldly! I am thankful for the memory of pre-reality-show, three-network, sign-off-the-air-from midnight-until-morning, broadcast television.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my million-channel, always-on, superb quality modern television. It’s wonderful, but there are costs . . .

I am thankful that I grew up watching television people who were so obviously not real that they would never threaten my sense of self-worth; I knew nobody could expect to make a casserole by wiggling her nose or stop a nuclear meltdown with a paper clip, some gauze, and a used toothpick.

I am thankful for the downtime created by summers filled with reruns, so we would fill our free time with something other than burning pixel-shaped holes in our retinas.

I am thankful for Huntley and Brinkley and Cronkite, whom I soundly ignored in my youth, but who enabled me to ignore them because none of them were shouting into the abyss, frothing at the mouth, or acting anything short of 100% sane.

I am thankful for those shared-by-the-masses moments that were the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, the moon landing, and the funeral of JFK.  Even as we all sat in our own living rooms, separated into suburban households, with only family around us, we experienced these moments as a country, as Americans.

I am thankful that I grew up with that kind of TV experience. I am very thankful that I now can choose from an embarrassingly large array of content virtually on my command.  Yes, that means certain rich brats and extreme fishin’ dudes are now major celebrities, but it’s a fair trade for all the finely crafted, well-acted dramas; biting and smart satire; and sports to give me aerobic exercise (yelling at the screen is aerobic exercise, right?) that I so enjoy.

As ever, I am thankful for your time, Dear Reader.

Now, let’s all be thankful that we get to watch the seventh game of the World Series!


Testing, Testing

19 04 2017

This week, as part of my duties as vice president of standards for the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, I chaired a Master Artisan jury session – a formidable event for jurors and candidates alike. (For details on this, visit https://www.pacrafts.org/our-guild/master-status)  It brought back memories of my experience on the applicant side of the equation.

How long had it been since I looked at the work that earned me Master status? How would those pieces look to me now, after all those years? I’ll admit, I was a little more than nervous, but I hung the works together and stepped back.

Damn. While they are not representative of my current work, they are part of me. They still speak to that place I was when I created them.

I am humbled and honored to chair this year’s Master Artisan jury sessions.  Remembering what it feels like to take the test helps make better teachers. I will not forget.

Dear Diary

1 09 2010

Remember (way way back before the days of Facebook – Hell, before home computers,) when the closest anyone got to publishing their every thought was to keep a diary – a well-hidden, locked, protected-with-our-last-breath little leatherette-bound book?  I do.  I was confronted with six, yes six, of these wicked little reminders of my youthful shallowness and stupidity when my mother decided to clean out one of her spare bedroom closets this week. 

She may have wanted desperately to know the contents of my teen-aged mind, but I know my mother had not read them, even though she’d had ample opportunity. She could have never mentioned she’d found them; she could have had her way with them and I would never have known. My mother is NOT that kind of mother, though. She respected my privacy when I was fifteen, which is why I am a hundred percent open and honest with her to this day. 

What to do, what to do?  Should I burn them without even opening a page or should I revisit every high school crush, hurt feeling, insipid poem, raging sibling battle, and everything else I had so carefully memorialized all those years ago?  I knew I had to at least take a peek. I carried the volumes to my studio and opened the books. Inside, I discovered a person I can no longer remember being; someone whose goals and dreams are so foreign to me that I felt I was reading about someone else’s childhood.  Those words could not have come from me  .  .  .  but they had.

As embarrassed as I was to read those revelations, reveries, rants, and ridiculous notions, I felt relieved – relieved because I had grown up.  I had survived the ignorance and arrogance and insecurity of my youth and NOBODY had to know all those false starts and missteps that led me to who I am. 

I am planning a private celebratory burning of my diaries, erasing all physical evidence of my personal confessions of youthful irresponsibility and missed opportunity forever.  As I watch the flames consume my annotated foolishness, I will thank the Universe that Facebook did not exist in 1969 and hope today’s electronic diarists never have to regret not having kept some things to themselves – well-hidden and locked in fabulously flammable leatherette diaries.