Supporting Our People

This Thing Called Age!

Well, it has been a real surprise for me.  Aging sneaked up on me when my back was turned.  I was in the drug store getting some vitamins one day and suddenly within a matter of weeks I was told that I had a 26 degree curvature of my spine.  I challenged my doctor:   there surely was a mistake!  I had been athletic all my life, baseball, swimming, hiking, dancing competitive tennis (my team went to national championships) – I climbed trees & jumped on tractors and off the roof of farmer’s barns as a child, dove off the roof at the swimming center, and in Africa I ran in the Hash House Harriers.   We climbed the lower (very, very lower)  slopes of both Kilamanjaro, which already was a “flat” hill… and The “Feet” of the Himalayas.

“How could I do all that with a spinal curvature?”  Surely the doc was wrong…but he shook his head and said “Isn’t it amazing what we can do when we are unaware we have handicaps! ”  My doctor, like most people in the medical field had a firm handle on Belief, and I have to say I never really realized I lived my life as a gimp.  I carried on through the childhood years of playing marbles with my brother, swinging upside down on the merry-go-round in the park, pitching for my brother’s baseball team and slugging  a base ball nearly out of the park (I always had a designated runner! but nobody knew I was a gimp.)

Years later I danced my ass off at a place in San Francisco called Dance Your Ass Off, and continued on with doing whatever I wanted to do.  Moved to Africa and occasionally ran in the international running group called the Hash House Harriers….

Home again, at the tender age of sixty-nine  I had a hip-replacement.  The REAL problem was about my left leg which was a lot shorter than my right!   I had pounded it into submission, almost into the ground as I kept on running, climbing trees, hiking, dancing, and  later on more running when I started competitive tennis at 55 (you have to be over 50 for Senior Tennis.)  Dr. Bruce said the X-ray showed my hip looking more like a crocheted doily that his grandma used to make.

Then he pointed out  the scrawl on the X-ray that said “But she’s got the bones of a 30-year old!”  So something worked out for me, as I lived a life doing whatever I wanted for nearly seventy years.

These days I am much more able to walk in nice long strides, without jerking from left to right, and with an easy gait (so sorry my mom never saw me walk easy!)  She never knew why I was such a “Big Galumpus” consequently was really tough on me for not “walking like a lady”.

Oh, yes, and my border Collie Lulu is much relieved too, she hated it when I fell, and took to walking so close to me that she leaned into my leg and could block any fall.

Aging people should look into getting Border Collies!

I keep having thoughts about going out to the courts again…..maybe just practicing serves, maybe a little bit of..no, I don’t want to risk it:  I’m still having too much fun staying vertical.

 

 

Categories: About Ageing, Family History, Learning to Run Again, Life Overseas, My Home Town, Old Time Religion, Parenting, Peer Pressure, Poverty, Supporting Our People, This Thing Called Age.., Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WELFARE BRAT

Winter-time lighting

The gas oven for warmth

I learned to beware

of the flare

Singeing eye-lash

and eyebrow

But never my hair.

Whooosh!

Door full open,

To my straight-back chair.

Ahh, wrapped in my blanket

Pray hurry, the warming

Of winter’s night air.

Categories: Family History, Family Secrets, Poverty, Supporting Our People | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

It’s About Death

Both my mother and brother died on Dec. 13th, three decades apart. He had not reconciled with our mother and I have had a hunch that it was his way of honoring her at last.  I dunno, I’m just built that way:  life (and death) have meanings.   This year it is Corrie, my Dutch friend who married an old boyfriend of mine.  I’d passed him on to Annie who was so mean to him – but then we were Just Seventeen then and stupid.  It freed him up to eventually take a holiday to Amsterdam, where certain vegetation could be purchased with no hassles.  I’m not saying he found Corrie there, doing that.. but they both were known for dam heavy smoking and whiskey neat.

It was a godsend that Patrick was in Holland when my world collapsed in Sudan.  The kids and spent the better part of three months in Den Haag, waiting to see what the political outcome would be in Khartoum.  Pat is one of my oldest and dearest friends, and he had a beautiful life with an incredibly intelligent, funny and loving woman.  They were married over 30 years.

Corrie passed on New Years Day after nearly a decade of fighting brain and lung cancers.  During those years she was in and out of hospital, and when she was strong she and Patrick took off to various parts of the world to continue their lifelong devotion to improving the world.  They worked on fresh water and farming in Africa, built schools in the Greek Islands andSouth America. Where there is need the Dutch always roll up their sleeves and literally “dig in”.  They came to me a year ago last summer, and we held a wonderful party for them in our back yard when it still looked beautiful.  Food and drink and old folks:  we reminisced about our teenage years when we were young, silly and excited about everything – even an event in San Francisco I’d blocked out:  a “Horse Potato” fight in Golden Gate Park.  Disgusting but fun.

Most of us have relatives and friends who seem to choose the Annual Party Time: starting with Halloween, through Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year.  I am of the opinion that they choose their departure deliberately, they have some say in the event and it is not to bring sorrow to the celebrations, it’s their way of participating annually ~ perhaps even looking in on us???  Anyway, that’s my own take. I promise to make a post to my blog if I find out if I’m right after I make my own transition.  That should be Thanksgiving.   I will no doubt be hovering near your stove because I love to be warm!

In our wonderful online world, I found a distant relative living in the North of England and began a correspondence with her regarding a mysterious island in the freezing depths of the North Sea just off Scotland.  We did some research then she finally cracked her own “mystery” of the ancient isle of Ates.  During the course of searching I decided I really MUST visit the coastal islands of the UK, soon.  It’s the Isle of Man that has my attention as I once met a fellow who said he was Manx, so I asked if he was from the Isle of Man and he said yes, the residents call themselves Manx, and in answer to my unspoken query he added “Like the Cat. The breed is native there.”

I can only wonder how and why a tail-less breed of cat mutated only on this one small island.  It’s my understanding that cats were first civilized in Egypt.  Now how does this work?  In this paragraph one can see how my mind works and I probably should feel shame but I don’t.

I hope all have enjoyed your tour through my brain above.  Off we go to my letter from Hilda, and how the family celebrated the death of her husband Frank during the Holidays.  (While you read, I think I’ll post and move on to find out what the Barnardos Homes are. Perhaps foster care or orphanage…)

 

Happy New Year Melanie,

 I had a LOVELY Xmas, despite everything.  My grandson James sat in Franks usual place at the dinner table, and said all the things ‘Grumpy’ usually said on such occasions. It was fun.  His funeral service was beautiful.  He asked for “the cheapest funeral we could get “, and absolutely no religion”. He lost what faith he had when the cancer got him. We granted him his wish.  We had a ‘Humanist’ service. Some of his favorite songs, and a female officiate called Val.  She stood and told his life story. (he was brought up in foster care, starting with Barnardos  Homes.  About 12 of his old work mates turned up. I was delighted. I had only ever met one of them, and it was him who got the rest there.  He remained a loyal friend to Frank, and visited regular when he was ill. We are so very grateful to him.  

We played Ketty Lester’s ‘Love Letters’ to go into the chapel, ( we started out as pen-pals while he was in the army) Kenny Rogers / Dolly Partons  ‘Islands in the Stream’ , for the quiet thoughtful, quiet period half way through, and the very irreligious ‘Another one bites the the Dust’ by Queen, when we were leaving the chapel. (He was cremated) That was his specific request. He would have been laughing.  

 I have had a bit of a struggle with the arthritis  lately. the weather hear is weird at the moment. We have VERY strong winds at moment. I hate them. Makes me tense and head-achy.  Anyway, will finish now. Watching ‘Ben Hur’ for the umpteenth time, as tele  has been pathetic over the holidays. Very few adult programmes, all repeats, and nearly all childrens programmes, even in the evenings. They get there licence fee for nothing these days.  Bye for now melanie. get well soon.

Your friend Hilda.

Categories: Family History, Friends I've never Met, Life Overseas, Supporting Our People | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Fellow American

MY FELLOW AMERICAN

It is a bitter cold day.

His unshaved face is hunched over a grocery cart

Filled with plastic and tin and clothing;

And his eyes are fixed

On disappearing sidewalk.

I pull my car over , and call out “Pops!”

He stops and stares and I see he is of my generation.

I pull a twenty from my wallet,

“How ‘about a cuppa Joe, Joe?”

His eyes light up as he barely

reaches through the window,

Promising he won’t hurt me.

I sigh and shove a bill at him.

He takes it gratefully, and then

He spots the mistake:

With tearful eyes he tries to correct

The error I never made.

“Uh, this is a Jackson, Miss,”

And tries to hand it back.

“No mistake Bud. So get yourself

A piece of pie too, huh.?”

Tears stream,

He makes a sound

Like laughter.

I honk I wave I drive away.

In my rear-view window

He stands tall

He shakes his head and smiles.

For a moment he is a man with a mission.

Melanie Alcorn 8/NOV/2014

Categories: Supporting Our People | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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