Born in the late thirties?

New highways would bring jobs and mobility.

The radio network expanded from 3 stations to thousands.

Your parents were suddenly free from the confines of the depression and the war, and they threw themselves into working hard to make a living for their families.

You weren’t neglected, but you weren’t today’s all-consuming family focus.

They were glad you played by yourselves.

They were busy discovering the postwar world.

You entered a world of overflowing plenty and opportunity; a world where you were welcomed, enjoyed ourselves and felt secure in your future although the depression poverty was deeply remembered.

Polio was still a crippler.

You came of age in the ’50s and ’60s.

You are the last generation to experience an interlude when there were no threats to our homeland.

The second world war was over and the cold war, terrorism, global warming, and perpetual economic insecurity had yet to haunt life with unease.

Only your generation can remember both a time of great war and a time when our world was secure and full of bright promise and plenty.

You grew up at the best possible time, a time when the world was getting better…

You are “The Last Ones.”

More than 99% of you are either retired, and you feel privileged to have “lived in the best of times!”

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Amsterdam Sidebars – 2

I thought we were done worrying about Communism. Guess it never ends.

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Amsterdam Sidebars 1

Sidewalk Library

One sees these free sidewalk libraries on streets from time to time. Not often, but now and then. Used books put out for anyone to take.

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Amsterdam Graffiti 3 – Hunter’s Bar

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Amsterdam Graffiti Wall 1 2022

Click on Image

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Amsterdam Graffiti – Door 1 2022

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Ramblings from The Old Man in the Attic 27 April 2022

I’ve been talking to my friend George, about my father’s ability to control difficult high school students, the ability to control, to be the boss. He was a straight shooter, totally honest, and people knew it which helped, but more than that. George mentioned a friend much like my dad, some a teacher, also undedicated beyond a few years of public grade school. Could be some kind of unappreciated and unnoticed bond between the working class, of men who come home dirty.

Women get dirty. I’ve worked beside them on assembly lines. Hot sweaty days and busy work that did not stop. Work is doing something you would rather not be doing if there was a choice. Conveyor passing never stopped unless you screwed things up. I did that only once. The others on the line were seriously pissed at me. Production must be made, hard work for bottom wages.

I was truck driver’s helper for a few nights, midnight starting all-nights, unloading more than a hundred-fifty, heavy boxes at fourteen Burger Kings in and around Tacoma, Washington. The driver helped unloading and did more than me. I’ve never been so tired as I was those nights and the mornings after. I was in my thirties, only passing through these worlds, but most of them were in it for their lifetimes. They’re invisible. We do not see them and we could not do without. If only we could get together. We’re the vast majority but a few of us are doing their best to keep us apart, using money, race, religion, color or whatever works. It’s been working.

I’ve seen snips about ‘anti-intellectual’ attitudes. “You’ve been to college, had advantages, and money, more than me. You think your smarter than me and maybe you are. How can I trust that?” It’s so hard to know the truth in this photoshopped world, news stations someone bought, and internet. I don’t think a lot of people anti-intellectual, but there are more than enough. These are people who supporting us, who do things we cannot do without, who build things, and repair things, sometimes get killed doing things. Easy to see why they dig Trump. “This is the way we talk. We don’t care if you swear or make rude remarks. So do we. You’re one of us. You put it right out front. We get it without need to think. You may be a jerk but you’re our jerk.”

So it goes. I get it and keep reading, ‘It’s impossible to change someone’s mind set, their  point of view’. A grain of truth in that as well. Tell the truth, but tell it sideways. “Tell it slanted,” Emily Dickinson suggested. Well said. Put a spin on the truth, approach it from an angle of sorts rather than head on. Hard to do. If we can’t do it, might be better to say nothing.

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Notes from The Old Man In The Attic – 25 April 2022

My thanks to all of your who sent birthday wishes.

I urned 85 this month and been thinking about my father, how he was and how I thought I would be when I was an adult like him. He always knew what he was doing, never afraid, a staunch Republican, which made no sense at all. Dad was a welder at Shell Oil and came home dirty. He thought Republicans were better people, smarter, better educated. Better than himself with less than 6th grade education. He was great with kids and taught welding part time at a high school after, he retired. They were the toughest students, with poor grades. He could control them. There were never problems. I don’t know how he did it. Some come back to visit with him after graduation, some had welding jobs he’d put them on to. After a couple years the school board told him he could not be allowed to teach because of his lack of education. They gave him the chance of going to a local college which would make it okay for him to continue, but he could not hack it, from the first day he was totally embarrassed. Class started with the professor asking students what their educations had been. Dad only lasted that one day. So it goes.

I’ve had a very different life. Longest I ever held a job was for three years, the only job that I truly enjoyed, but they went out of business. For my last job I was I high school teacher, just like dad. I’d taken classes, how to teach, before I started, but never caught on to the control thing, and my subjects, mathematics and drafting not fun. Being an introvert made things more difficult. The first weeks were hell.

One day there was a student revolt led by a black girl named Angel. I’d told the class something that was said in one of my teaching classes. “I am not a teacher, I am someone showing you the way to a good life,” or s   something corny like that. Angel went nuts and started screaming at me.  

         “You’re not a teacher and we know it!”

Others joined her. One of the girls threw a perfume bottle. It missed and broke a hole in the slate blackboard behind me. It was pandemonium—twenty students, most involved with this. I had no idea what to do. There was a phone behind me and I called of help. There was a security guard on duty. He came and then the vice principle appeared. They took on Angle who give them and equally hard time, no respect. As the VP argued with Angle about my competence, or lack of it I was near tears, totally embarrassed and thinking, I can’t do this. But I did. Years later I learned there were bets wagered in the teacher’s lounge, bets on how long I would last. I lasted twenty years, the hardest job I ever had. The most time consuming. 

My dad complained a lot, I am the same I must admit. My favorite tomb stone epitaph: ‘He had a lover’s quarrel with life.’ My dad was hard on mom, nothing physical but frequent bitching about something she did or didn’t do. I’m not like that at all. My wife is Swedish.

Other things: I guess I’ve gained some confidence, save for some flirting worries about future years. I’d like to see ninety . . . I think. When will I be too old to drive? How many years are left? The Swedes have a pre-death clean-up thing, about not leaving a lot of stuff for survivors to take care of or get rid of. I’ve made a modest effort amidst spring cleaning, but so many useless, sentimental things I’ve kept with me for years. I’ve been throwing papers away, old magazines, and more than a dozen ball point pens that don’t work.

Whatever. So begins another year. I have been lucky, in good health and wife the same, nice place to live and nothing needed but a change in Swedish weather. Cold and windy here, last week of April.

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We are the people

April 23 – Poetry Month

 “I have never taken a bus in my life—they’re gross.”  Ivanka Trump

We Are the People

On the Bus

The vast majority of us

Stand next to others we don’t know

Strange faces . . . colors, smells, beliefs

The other people

Crowded on a pre-dawn morning

On our way to work

Then home again—and maybe later

Two days off

Or not.

We’ve known dismal, late night rides . . . almost alone

Or waiting for the next one coming by

We do this without second thought

Simple necessity of life and

Lack of money, chauffeurs, maids

We are the maids, the chauffeurs

Collars blue and white

Making world go round

Clean up the mess—pay taxes

Fight the wars

For those

Who’ve never stood beside us.

Published: Poetry Pacific 2020

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 Postcard From Buzios, Brazil

At night in Buzios
Warm sea breeze comes ashore
Caressing . . . sultry breath of oceans.
Fishing boats rock gently on the dark horizon
Flashlights blinking in the distance from on board
As crews make ready for the coming day.
They call the sea Yemanja here
She is alive
A personality with changing moods that beckon those on land
With playfulness
The promise of adventure
Rolls within the sound of crashing waves:

           Do not forsake me
           There is no good reason for a man to leave the sea
           I’m everything you want
           Your greatest love
           Both life and death
           All things between.

Her implorations spill from arms that want to hold
Cool wet shadow slipping through the sand
Returning to drowned lovers.

Published: Page and Spine © 2014
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