The Debtors

Dog Tales/Tails

Mrs. Goodfellow

Sorry?

ESSAY

FICTION

TRAVEL

ARTS

GALLERY

 

ESSAY

 

 

 

Say You're Sorry?

 

You want an apology for what? For fannypacks? For disco? For Neil Diamond? Platform shoes? To millennials and GenXers who want to blame baby boomers for practically everything wrong in the world, I say give me a break!

 

Every generation has its stuff and not all of it was germinated by the participants themselves – you think a young baby boomer fashion designer came up with the white patent leather belt?

 

We were marketed to by our fine capitalist system and we often bought what they were selling. Hippies may have sewn the first bellbottom jeans, but the clothing industry jumped on the trend and soon a whole generation had to have those wild pants. Same goes for disco music, mood rings, lava lamps and pet rocks. We often ended buying what someone else was selling but that doesn’t make us responsible for the original sin.

 

So I say again, sorry for what? PBS is running a documentary program called The Boomer List in order to tell the story of the boomer generation through the lives of 19 iconic baby boomers. Check out some of the names on the list and tell me why we should be sorry. Samuel L. Jackson, Deepak Chopra, Billy Joel, Steve Wozniak, Amy Tan, Eve Ensler, Erin Brokovich. No slackers there.

 

If you want to pull out some kind of balance sheet with the good things on one side and the bad things on the other side, I am certain that the positive contributions of baby boomers such as those featured in The Boomer List would far outstrip the goofy stuff for which you could say we’re responsible.

 

History will be the final arbiter on the good/bad scale, but I think I can safely predict that baby boomers will be seen as a generation that had a profound and mostly positive impact on our world. So put that in your fannypack!


 

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

 

 

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FICTION

 

 

The Debtors

 

Ned and Carol, where are you? The reason I ask is that we keep getting calls for you. It’s been five years since we moved here and signed up for landline phone service. They gave us a number that must have once belonged to you.

 

But you two – you little imps – you two must have run up some mighty big debts, because not a day goes by that we don’t get a call from a collection service looking for you kids.

 

“If you are Ned Street or you know how we might locate Ned Street, please call yada-yada-yada.”

 

Now, when I see the collection agency name come up on caller ID, I pick up the call for two seconds and then disconnect. They are such wearisome calls after five years of hearing the same recorded message. And if I were Ned, would I really call the number for the collection agency? I hardly think so.

 

And not just one collection service is looking for you. There are several that would be interested in knowing your whereabouts. You and Carol must have racked up some serious debt. I imagine that it all started with some profligate spending on the credit cards and perhaps some gambling. The next thing you knew, it spiraled into a second mortgage and then maybe foreclosure on the house. The banks must have come after you too, but by then you and Carol had split town. Speaking of splitting, my guess is that the stress of your indebtedness drove a wedge between you and Carol, and the marriage folded. I could be wrong, but it seems unlikely that a marriage could survive the such a tremendous fall so far down the rabbit hole. I imagine you’ve gone your separate ways and tried to disappear into the cracks somewhere new, but it must be hard to try to rebuild a decent credit history with the collectors breathing down your neck.

 

I don’t know when the calls will stop. Maybe never. You would think the statue of patience limitations would have run out after five years, but hope springs eternal in the collection biz. I guess my own hope that the calls would finally stop demonstrates that I too have unrealistic expectations. Anyway, Ned and Carol, I hope you’ve landed on your feet somehow and find a way to rebuild your lives. If you’re ever feeling nostalgic, call your old phone number and let us know how you’re doing.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

 

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TRAVEL

 

 

Lessons from Mrs. Goodfellow

 

When I was in college, I spent summers waitressing in a perfect, perfectly charming historic inn in Maine.

 

One of the delights was to be assigned to a table of summer "residents" -- guests who came to stay at the hotel for a month or so, who had been coming to the inn for decades.  One of these was Mrs. Goodfellow.

 

True to her name, she was a delight to be around.  Just taking her order for breakfast or dinner was a lesson in grace, old-school courtesy, and a pinch of old-girl mischief.  A spry octagenarian, she was my lifetime role model.

 

Her birthday was August 3, and somehow, I always remembered it.  The dining room in those days was low-key and tables were covered in ancient white damask, and the atmosphere was genteel and calm, with the most beautiful view of Somes Sound and Acadia National Park. Men in jacket and tie, ladies in dresses. Mrs. Goodfellow shared her table with another widow and a spinster, all from Philadelphia.  They were a jolly trio.  If you could look forward to serving breakfast (and I did) it was for those three ladies.

 

On my morning walk to work, I strolled past all the most beautiful Maine wildflowers.  So, for Mrs. Goodfellow's 83rd birthday, I picked her a bunch of lupine and Queen Anne's lace, black-eyed susans, added to a mass of of fragrant phlox and roses from our family's garden.  I arranged them artfully in a vase and set it at her place before she arrived for breakfast.

 

She exclaimed over the thoughtful gesture even more than was necessary, her luminous blue eyes shining, lighting up my day.

 

Sometimes being the giver of a gift is happier than being the on the receiving end.  That's certainly how I felt giving that simple bouquet to Mrs. Goodfellow.

 

The next week, after the flowers had faded, she returned the vase to me.  With a box of chocolates inside.  "Mother always said to repay a kindness with a kindness."

 

That was lesson #1.  A life lesson, and I have never forgotten it.

 

A few weeks later, I was about to depart Maine for France to begin my junior year abroad.  At tea time on the porch, as we sat chatting, Mrs. Goodfellow quietly slipped an envelope into my waitress pocket. Patting my arm, she said, with a twinkle in her eyes,  "Mother always said, 'When travelling abroad, take twice the funds and half the clothes that you think you'll need.'"

 

The wisest travel advice ever.

 

Thank you again, Mrs. Goodfellow.  And Happy Birthday.

 

 

Polly-Vous Francais is a Boston-born Baby Boomer who is back working in Paris (yay!) and is blogging about it at Polly-Vous Francais. © 2006-2014, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

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ARTS

 

 

Short Tales from the Dog Park

 

Overheard at the dog park: “I thought Emma would calm down a little after I got her the kitten.

 

The attractive, professional-looking woman, standing next to a small pack of canines, was not referring to a child named Emma.  Instead, she was talking about her frisky, four-legged, Sheltie-mix named Emma.  That’s right, earlier this year, for Emma’s first birthday, the woman bought her a cat.

 

Stuffed, you ask?  A wind up toy, you wonder?  A joke, you hope?

 

No, no and no.

 

This woman, who looked sane, but obviously isn’t, bought a real, live kitty because she believed her dog Emma wanted one for a playmate.  After sharing this news, she moved on to another topic: What costume to buy Emma for Halloween?  After all, it was only five weeks away and all the “really great” costumes sell out quickly.

 

I’m a proud dog owner, and I love Callie, my Goldendoodle puppy.  However, Callie is not getting a cat for Christmas, no matter how much she whines.  It is simply going too far.  However, on the way home from the dog park, I did ponder a Halloween costume.  Indeed, my little Callie would look pretty cute dressed up as a kitty-cat.

 

As we pulled into our driveway, I asked her, “Callie would you like to be a cat for Halloween?  “Grooof!” she replied.  I took that as a yes.

 

Nancy Wurtzel  writes about making big changes at midlife in her blog Dating Dementia. Read about Nancy’s often humorous and sometimes twisted journey as a baby boomer, single woman, empty nester, feminist and caregiver.

 

 

 

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GALLERY

 

10 - 10<>

 

Dawn Denfield sees her world (around Portland, Oregon) in the close-up view.  Talk about getting close to your subject! See more of her images at flickr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links of Interest to Boomers Going Like Sixty Baby Boomer Daily Curmudgeon Viva Veracruz  MidLifeBloggers Dating Dementia Polly-Vous Francais