Sunday, October 31, 2010


What happened to common courtesy and civility? I recently heard about police being called to a supermarket because someone had "cut in line" in the U-Scan line and had caused a scuffle!

When I'm in stores, and not in a huury, I frequently offer to let people with a few items go ahead of me in line. Last week I offered to let a woman go ahead of me and she refused and acted offended. I said, in my best Vivien Leigh/Blanche DuBuois voice, "Well, I've always depended on the kindness of strangers." [WHY I thought she would know Vivien Leigh/Blanche DuBois/Tennessee Williams/"A Streetcar Named Desire"/Stanley Kowalski/Marlon Brando or any other aspect of culture is beyond my comprehension NOW!) She asked, "What the F--- does that mean?" I immediately clapped my hands over my ears and shrieked in mock-horror, "Does your mother know you talk that way?" She turned and stomped away to another line.

Awhile back, I was in line at Kroger and a man in front of me had his items on the belt in a very disorganized manner. I moved an item of his to allow me to start loading my items onto the belt as I like to have all my items on the line before the cashier starts. The man yelled, "I didn't tell you that you could touch my groceries!" At first I thought he was kidding, but I saw his face turning red. I said, "No, SIR, you DID NOT, but you OBVIOUSLY need training on HOW to load a belt to accommodate OTHER customers!" He left his position in line and came to my cart, stood there towering above me, and his face was beet red and the veins were bulging on his forehead and neck. He said, very menacingly, "Don't touch my f------ groceries!" I looked him straight in the eyes and said, "I grew up with seven brothers so your pathetic attempt to intimidate me doesn't work and you still NEED to learn HOW to put your groceries on the line." He didn't say anything else as the cashier told him his amount owed and he returned to pay for his groceries.

When I told my husband about the incident he said, "Maybe you should have just said you were sorry!"

He's always right.

Maybe I should dust off the old Dale Carnegie book. A little trivia: while watching "Boardwalk Empire" one of the characters pronounced "Carnegie" as "Carnagey"; while checking out the music on the internet I learned that "Carnagey" was the original spelling of Carnegie's name!

And they say television isn't educational!

Vivien Leigh in dramatic closing scene - "I've always depended on the kindness of strangers." Powerful dramatic scene as she is taken away to a mental institution. Marlon Brando, Karl Malden.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


There they were:  Stormy, Louise, Sasha, Professsor, Francis, Puff, Spot, Snowball, and Polky, all lolling in the autumn sun.  As I approached, they didn't even move, let alone acknowledge my presence.  I yelled at two of them who were snugly occupying the welcome mat; that didn't work;  I nudged them with my toe and looking very irritated, they slowly moved aside. 

A few minutes later Gerald arrived and was greeted by all nine surrounding him, prancing and rubbing against his legs.  My brother and I were at the kitchen window, looking at the daily ritual.  (Les had bestowed Gerald's title "The Can Opener With Legs")

Les began singing "Daddy's Home", an old Shep and The Limelites song, and we put our heads together to sing "Rat-A-Tat" in our best Doo-Wop fashion, as Gerald, "The Can Opener With Legs", walked through the door.

CATS!    They love "The Can Opener With Legs"!

Friday, October 29, 2010




Tuesday, October 26, 2010


When I was fifteen years old, an execrable lie was told about my family. I often speak of defining moments in life, but at that time I didn't know what a "defining moment" was, but today, I know that outside of my mother's womb, this was the most transformative event in my life. How I reacted to the malevolent lie caused me to be the person I am today. The heinous lie haunted me and my family for years and caused me much turmoil as a teenager because of the great impact it caused to my personal life. Because of the pernicious lie, I was subtly ostracized at school--I was never asked for a date--I was never invited to parties--never asked to visit others' homes--and by the time I understood the cause of the quiet, cruel, shunning, I realized that it had been going on for awhile and I had never been able to comprehend why I was being treated "differently". Not only did the iniquitous lie hurt me and my brothers, the malicious lie was later flung in the faces of my nieces and nephews as the lie continued down the generations. Whenever I heard of the children being hurt, I would tell my husband I was glad we never had children who would be able to be hurt!

When the lie was flung in my face, I reacted by physically, brutally, attacking the girl who said it to me. We were in the gym at Bloomingburg School and I pushed her to the floor and I jumped on top of her body and I had my feet holding her legs down and my elbows were on her shoulders holding her torso down with my body and I was pounding her face with my fists; ironically, she was much taller and heavier than I was, but all she could do was pound on my back and pull my hair. I don't know how long I beat her, but Mr. Rudolph pulled me off her prostrate body and pushed me down on the bleacher seats. Mr. Rudolph helped her up from the floor and she left the gym and went home. She did not return to school for a week.

I had to remain at school the remainder of the day, because I rode the bus. There were just two more classes left in the day. I went to my next class, still wearing my gym clothes (which was a definite no-no!). Not one teacher and not one student spoke a word to me. My friend Cammy was not at school that day. The word spread quickly and between classes one of my brothers came to me; he didn't hug or try to comfort me, but he could tell I was close to crying and he said, "Shirkeys don't cry." That figurative ramrod up our backs that Mother instilled in all of us stiffened my resolve. On the bus ride home, no one on the school bus said a word.

The truly amazing thing--I was never taken to the office--no discipline was ever enacted--nobody ever uttered a word to my face in the next two years of school! I can imagine what would happen to a kid today! My mind was roiling and I thought that I could NEVER go back to school again!

When I tearfully related the event to my mother, she was enraged and she called the mother of the girl and the woman threatened to call the sheriff and my mother told her to do it, but nothing ever happened! However, the woman told my mother the genesis of the lie. The mother of one of my sisters-in-law was the one who had originally told the lie more than a year previously. The lie had been swirling around all that time, but we had no knowledge of it. Her motive for telling the lie was to get even, because my brother had broken off his relationship with her daughter. After the lie was spread, my brother and her daughter had reunited, married, and yet none of us knew of her mother's perfidy in telling the reprehensible lie.

My mother then called the mother of my sister-in-law who, of course, denied that she had told the lie. My mother told her that she knew it was she who did the deed and she never wanted to hear from her or her family ever again. Then my mother called my sister-in-law, but she was the one who was caught in the middle. Before this incident, my sister-in-law would bring her three sisters and brother to our home for Sunday dinners and my mother told her that those relatives would never be welcome in our home again. Her mother's name was never mentioned in my mother's home in the presence of my sister-in-law.

I told my mother that I would never go back to school again. She told me. "Oh, yes you will, and you'll look them straight in the eye and defy them to say anything." It was the Shirkeys against the whole damned world!

As I reflected, I knew that, at the moment that I was pounding my fists into the girl's face, that I could kill another person, enjoy it, and have no remorse. I was already a devotee of Thoreau and Gandhi and believer in Dr. King's message and had followed the Montgomery bus boycott with admiration. I knew that I had to change, because I didn't want to be THAT violent person! I often think that if I had followed the path of violence what could have happened to me.

Somebody called Cammy to tell her what had happened at school and she called me; she was my rock, and I will always be grateful to her for her love, compassion and understanding and the fact that I was still her friend despite the lie.

I also reflected on what had happened that day which caused the other girl to fling the insult in my face. She was showing a "diamond" ring that her boyfriend had given to her and I made fun of it! It was because of my own arrogance and willingness to hurt another's feelings that caused her to be mean and repeat the lie.

If I had not done that, I would probably have never heard the lie and would have wondered my whole life WHY I was treated the way I was in high school. Because of that, I am glad that I DID hear the lie. Ignorance ISN'T bliss!

I did go to school the next day and Cammy was there. As usual we went to her Grandma's house for lunch and we discussed my revelation about myself that I had it within myself to kill somebody!

Other than with Cammy and my husband, I have never spoken about this to anyone outside the family.

Today, I was told a lie about the daughter of one of my fiends. I am proud of myself that I reacted to it by saying that I didn't believe it. I immediately
began investigating the story and found that although the story had a basis, my friend's daughter was not involved in any way! I called the person who had told me the lie and she said it was just "BUZZ"! She asked if I'd ever played the game "buzz" when I was a kid; it's where a group of people tell a story and how it ends up being totally different the last time it's told. I answered by saying, "No, we called that LIES!" I asked her to please not repeat the lie and to call the person who had told her the lie to make sure he knew he was spreading LIES! I reiterated by saying, "This is no GAME--it's SLANDER!"

Monday, October 25, 2010


These glorious insults are from an era before the English language got boiled down to 4-letter words.

The exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor:
She said, "If you were my husband I'd give you poison."
He said, "If you were my wife, I'd drink it."

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: "Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease."
"That depends, Sir," said Disraeli, "whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."

"He had delusions of adequacy." -- Walter Kerr

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." -- Winston Churchill

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." -- Clarence Darrow

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." -- William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it." -- Moses Hadas

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." -- Mark Twain

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends." -- Oscar Wilde

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one." -- George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second, if there is one." -- Winston Churchill, in response.

"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here." -- Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator." -- John Bright

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial." -- Irvin S. Cobb

"He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others." -- Samuel Johnson

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up." -- Paul Keating

"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily." -- Charles, Count Talleyrand

"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him." -- Forrest Tucker

"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?" -- Mark Twain

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork." -- Mae West

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go." -- Oscar Wilde

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts; for support rather than illumination." -- Andrew Lang

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music." -- Billy Wilder

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it." -- Groucho Marx

Sunday, October 24, 2010



Did you hear about the insomniac, existentialist dyslexic?


Saturday, October 23, 2010


When Gerald purchased his outfit for our wedding, it required tailoring. Lazarus sent him to "Frenchy the Tailor". "Frenchy" was a Frenchman who had come to the United States after World War II. I accompanied Gerald to the tailor shop.

Frenchy had Gerald stand on a platform as he marked the suit for alterations. As Frenchy was measuring the inseam, he asked Gerald, "On which side do you dress?" I could see Gerald was bewildered by the question as he had never had anything tailored previously. I quickly stood up and motioned for Gerald to let me whisper in his ear. After I whispered some pertinent information, Gerald sheepishly gestured toward the appropriate side.

Later, Gerald asked, "How did you know that?" I answered, "I have seven brothers!"

Friday, October 22, 2010


Excerpted from a column by Dennis McCarthy of The Los Angeles Times:

Pamela Murphy, died peacefully at her home on April 8, 2010. She was the widow of the most decorated WWII hero and actor, Audie Murphy, and she established her own distinctive 35-year career working as a Patient Liaison at the Sepulveda Veterans Administration hospital, treating all veterans who visited the facility as if they were a VIP.

Any veteran who came into the hospital received the same special treatment from her. She would walk the hallways with her clipboard in hand making sure her patients saw the specialist they needed.

Her patients weren't Congressional Medal of Honor recipients or movie stars like Audie, but that didn't matter to Pam. They had served their country. That was good enough for her. She never called veterans by their first names. It was always "Mister" or "Miss" or "Mrs." Respect came with the job.

"Nobody could cut through VA red tape faster than Mrs. Murphy," said veteran Stephen Sherman, speaking for thousands of veterans she befriended over the years. "Many times I watched her march a veteran who had been waiting more than an hour right into the doctor's office. She was even reprimanded a few times, but it didn't matter to Mrs. Murphy. "Only her veterans mattered. She was our angel."

Audie Murphy died broke in a plane crash in 1971, after squandering million of dollars on gambling, bad investments, and yes, other women. "Even with the adultery and desertion at the end, he always remained my hero," Pam told me.

She went from a comfortable ranch-style home in Van Nuys where she reared two sons to a small apartment-- taking a clerk's job at the nearby VA to support herself-- and start paying off her faded movie star husband's debts.

At first, no one knew who she was. Soon, though, word spread through the VA that the nice woman with the clipboard was Audie Murphy's widow. It was like saying General Patton had just walked in the front door. Men with tears in their eyes walked up to her and gave her a hug. "Thank you," they said, over and over.

The first couple of years, I think the hugs were more for Audie's memory as a war hero. The last 30 years, they were for Pam. One year I asked her to be the focus of a Veteran's Day column for all the work she had done. Pam just shook her head no.

"Honor them, not me," she said, pointing to a group of veterans down the hallway. "They're the ones who deserve it." The vets disagreed. Mrs. Murphy deserved the accolades, they said.

Incredibly, in 2002, Pam's job was going to be eliminated in budget cuts. She was considered "excess staff." "I don't think helping cut down on veterans' complaints and showing them the respect they deserve, should be considered excess staff," she told me.

Neither did the veterans. They went ballistic, holding a rally for her outside the VA gates. Pretty soon, word came down from the top of the VA. Pam Murphy was no longer considered "excess staff." She remained working full time at the VA until 2007 when she was 87.

"The last time she was here was a couple of years ago for the conference we had for homeless veterans," said Becky James, Coordinator of the VA's Veterans History Project. Pam wanted to see if there was anything she could do to help some more of her veterans.

Pamela Murphy was 90 years old.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


How much do you know about religion?

And how do you compare with the average American? Here's your chance to find out.

Take the short, 15-question quiz, and see how you do in comparison with 3,412 randomly sampled adults who were asked these and other questions in the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey. This national poll was conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life from May 19 through June 6, 2010, on landlines and cell phones, in English and Spanish.

When you finish the quiz, you will be able to compare your knowledge of religion with participants in the national telephone poll. You can see how you compare with the overall population as well as with people of various religious traditions, people who attend worship services frequently or less often, men and women, and college graduates as well as those who did not attend college.

For a full analysis of the findings of the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey, read the full report.

Click here to take the quiz.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The first time I used the phrase, "How big do they grow women where you come from?" was in response to a male boss telling me and another woman, "You girls take that cart back to salvage." Harold, who was a recent transfer from Kentucky, looked startled and asked, "What does that mean?" I said, "Your calling me a girl is just like calling a black man BOY!" He said, "Ah (I) didn't mean to be offensive; ah (I) figured it was a compliment." I responded, "Your thinking that's a compliment is even sadder--I've worked very hard to become a woman!" Later on, when I went into management, Harold and I became friends and he had many admirable qualities (such as choosing me to be a supervisor) and having a great sense of humor.

He would always pronounce woman as "woe-man", exaggerating the "wo" part of woman; one time when he said it, I commented about our regional speech differences and he laughed and said, "Ah (I) say it like that because you are WOE TO MAN!"

I forgive almost anything if a person is funny!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


During an interview, the person interviewing me was the Plant Superintendant. There were no females working in manufacturing management and I felt very insecure about my chances of being hired although I had a good manufacturing management background.

The interviewer asked this question: "Which do you value more--your work experience or your education?" I paraphrased Mark Twain by saying, "I never let my schooling interfere with my education." He smiled and I assumed that he knew the original quote.

Of course, I knew nothing about the interviewer; I just ASSUMED that he was highly educated because of his position. After I was hired, he shared his background with me. He had started to work at the company during World War II when they were hiring 16-year-old guys. He had lied about his age; he was a tall, strapping lad but he was only 14; fortunately, they didn't check those things carefully then, and his mother signed the work permit. He didn't graduate from high school, let alone attend college until he went into management.

He told me that my answer to that one question was the reason he chose me; he said, "Personnel wants me to hire all those Joe-College guys, but I want people who know HOW to work." I often thought, "What if I'd answered another way?"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Touching words from the mouths of babes:


"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore.

So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."

Rebecca--age 8


"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."

Billy--age 4


"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."

Karl--age 5


"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."

Chrissy--age 6


"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."

Terri - age 4


"Love is when Mommy makes coffee for Daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."

Danny--age 7


"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you
still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss."

Emily--age 8


"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."

Bobby--age 7


"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you

Nikka--age 6


"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."

Noelle--age 7


"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."

Tommy--age 6


"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all
the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.
He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."

Cindy--age 8


"My mommy loves me more than anybody
You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."

Clare--age 6


"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken."

Elaine--age 5


"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."

Chris--age 7


"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."

Mary Ann--age 4


"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."

Lauren--age 4


"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."

Karen--age 7


"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross."

Mark--age 6


"You really shouldn't say '"I love you" unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."

Jessica--age 8


And the final one:

The winner is a four year-old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.

Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.

When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said,
"Nothing, I just helped him cry."

Friday, October 15, 2010


WHY DO I CARE that a person who commented on my BLOG used the word "cohorts"? Why did I NEED to correct him by letting him know that "cohort" is plural? Would I care if he hadn't been critical of the Southern Poverty Law Center?

WHY DO I CARE that a local educator used the phrase "most unique"? Why did I NEED to correct him by letting him know that unique is a superlative which stands alone? Would I care if I respected him?

WHY DO I CARE that another local educator pronounced phethora as
"pluh-thor-uh"? Why did I NEED to correct him with the correct pronunciation? Would I care if I could tolerate him?

WHY DO I CARE about someone saying "I feel badly"? Why do I NEED to correct her by sarcastically asking, "Do you also feel sadly and gladly?" Would I care if she weren't such a supercilious snob?

WHY DO I CARE about people not knowing the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs? Why do I NEED to let them know? Would I care if they didn't think they can write?

Oh, I'm just so introspective!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010



1. (b) On the floor, to the left of the clutch. Hand controls, popular in Europe, took till the late 60's to catch on in the U.S.

2. (b) To sprinkle clothes before ironing. Who had a steam iron?

3. (c) Cold weather caused the milk to freeze and expand, popping the bottle top.

4. (a) Blackjack Gum.

5. (b) Makeup was applied to the legs, followed by drawing a seam down the back of the leg with eyebrow pencil.

6. (a) 1946 Studebaker.

7. (c) Wax coke bottles containing super-sweet colored water.

8. (a) Wax for your flat top (butch) haircut.

9. (a) With clamps, tightened by a skate key, which you wore on a shoestring around your neck.

10. (c) Eeny-meeny-miney-mo.

11. (c) Polio. In beginning of August, swimming pools were closed, movies and other public gathering places were closed to try to prevent spread of the disease.

12. (b) Taxi , "Better be ready by half-past eight!"

13. (c) Macaroni.

14. (c) Hiding under your desk, and covering your head with your arms in an A-bomb drill.

15. (a) Princess Summerfallwinterspring. She was another puppet.

16. (a) Immediately sniffed the purple ink to get a high.

17. (b) Put in a special stamp book, they could be traded for household items at the Green Stamp store.

18. (c) Ammunition, and we'll all be free.

19. (a) The widely famous 50's group: The Inkspots.

20. (a) Tony Bennett, and he sounds just as good today.


17-20 correct: You are older than dirt, and obviously gifted with mental abilities. Now if you could only find your glasses. Definitely someone who should share your wisdom!

12-16 correct: Not quite dirt yet, but you're getting there.

0-11 correct: You are not old enough to share the wisdom of your experiences.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010



NO CHEATING--look for the answers tomorrow!

1. In the 1940s, where were automobile headlight dimmer switches located?
a. On the floor shift knob.
b. On the floor board, to the left of the clutch.
c. Next to the horn.

2. The bottle top of a Royal Crown Cola bottle had holes in it. For what was it used?
a. Capture lightning bugs.
b. To sprinkle clothes before ironing.
c. Large salt shaker.

3. Why was having milk delivered a problem in northern winters?
a. Cows got cold and wouldn't produce milk.
b. Ice on highways forced delivery by dog sled
c. Milkmen left deliveries outside of front doors and milk would freeze, expanding and pushing up the cardboard bottle top.

4. What was the popular chewing gum named for a game of chance?
a. Blackjack
b. Gin
c. Craps

5. What method did women use to look as if they were wearing stockings when none were available due to rationing during WWII?
a. Suntan
b. Leg painting
c. Wearing slacks

6. What postwar car turned automotive design on its ear when you couldn't tell whether it was coming or going?
a. Studebaker
b. Nash Metro
c. Tucker

7. Which was a popular candy when you were a kid?
a. Strips of dried peanut butter.
b. Chocolate licorice bars.
c. Wax coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside.

8. How was Butch wax used?
a. To stiffen a flat-top haircut so it stood up.
b. To make floors shiny and prevent scuffing.
c. On the wheels of roller skates to prevent rust.

9. Before inline skates, how did you keep your roller skates attached to your shoes?
a. With clamps, tightened by a skate key.
b. Woven straps that crossed the foot.
c. Long pieces of twine.

10. As a kid, what was considered the best way to reach a decision?
a. Consider all the facts.
b. Ask Mom.
c. Eeny-meeny-miney-MO.

11. What was the most dreaded disease in the 1940s and 1950s?
a. Smallpox
c. Polio

12. "I'll be down to get you in a ________, Honey'"
a. SUV
b. Taxi
c. Streetcar

13. What was the name of Caroline Kennedy's pony?
a. Old Blue
b. Paint
c. Macaroni

14. What was a Duck-and-Cover Drill?
a. Part of the game of hide and seek.
b. What you did when your Mom called you in to do chores.
c. Hiding under your desk, and covering your head with your arms in an A-bomb drill.

15. What was the name of the Indian Princess on the Howdy Doody show?
a. Princess Summerfallwinterspring
b. Princess Sacajawea
c. Princess Moonshadow

16. What did all the really savvy students do when mimeographed tests were handed out in school?
a. Immediately sniffed the purple ink, as this was believed to get you high.
b. Made paper airplanes to see who could sail theirs out the window.
c. Wrote another pupil's name on the top, to avoid their failure.

17. Why did your Mom shop in stores that gave Green Stamps with purchases?
a. To keep you out of mischief by licking the backs, which tasted like bubble gum.
b. They could be put in special books and redeemed for various household items.
c. They were given to the kids to be used as stick-on tattoos.

18. "Praise the Lord, and pass the _________"?
a. Meatballs
b. Dames
c. Ammunition

19. What was the name of the singing group that made the song "Cabdriver" a hit?
a. The Ink Spots
b. The Supremes
c. The Esquires

20. Who left his heart in San Francisco?
a. Tony Bennett
b. Xavier Cugat
c. George Gershwin

Monday, October 11, 2010


I've written before about being the only female Manager at Rockwell. When I became a Manager, I was touring my Department and I looked at the "sell sheet" which showed the jobs "for sale". "For Sale", in the manufacturing parlance, meant that jobs were completed and were ready to be inspected. I saw the initials "RM" posted on a great number of jobs. I asked the supervisor in the section, "Where's that RM guy?" The supervisor pointed to a woman and said, "That's Rita." I gave myself a mental tongue-lashing for assuming it was a "guy"! I introduced myself to Rita who was a young, tall, black, woman with "processed" hair--hair cascading in curls down to her shoulders. I told her I was impressed with the number of jobs she had for sale. She smiled and said, "Been wonderin' when you'd make it around to see me." I asked about her background and learned that she had transferred from Tulsa. I asked if she had any questions and she said, "Sure--how can I get YOUR job, Miz Raypole?" I immediately liked her self-confidence and chutzpah! I answered, "Make an appointment after work and we can talk about it". She always addressed me as "Miz Raypole"; I told her to call me Sue, but she said that Southern people didn't do that!

That afternoon, my secretary Myra told me that one of my employees had made an appointment to talk with me after work. I learned that Rita had a baby at age 14, had been able to finish high school and 2 years of college and was 28 years old! She told me that when she heard I'd received the promotion, she'd gone to my old department to "check out what kind of boss" I was!

When a Team Leader position came open, the Contract stated that I was able to choose a candidate from among the top 5 senior candidates. Several of Rita's co-workers encouraged her to sign the bid form in an effort to prevent another person from being promoted--it was all mean-spirited because a less-senior person seemed to be the odds-on favorite to the one who thought he desrved the promotion--and he wanted the presumed favorite blocked; when Rita signed the bid form the so-called "favorite" was then at number 6 and out of the bidding! With their internecine tactics, the Union members never considered that a woman would even be considered for the job! Rita was number 4 in seniority of all the bidders. I interviewed each of the top 5 candidates and Rita was, far and away, the best candidate for the job. Rita became the FIRST female Team Leader! She also became the "Employee Of The Month" in the Company's awards program. Because of one of the supervisors in the department taking off work for an operation, I decided to hire another supervisor. I posted the job opening in-house and I received 24 resumes. After interviewing all of the candidates, I chose Rita. She was the first BLACK, FEMALE supervisor in the Company! Rita did such a spectacular job that she was chosen as "Supervisor Of The Month". During this time, I was chosen as the "Manager Of The Year".

When we finished the Contract, ahead of schedule AND under budget in 1988, I was able to help Rita secure a position with Rohr in California. We kept in touch for several years but eventually lost contact. I left aircraft, returned to International and retired in 2002.

One evening, at home, I answered the phone and on the other end I heard, "Miz Raypole, this is". She didn't need to finish; I screamed, "Rita!" She told me that she had been selected as the Manager Of The Year and that she wanted me to attend the award ceremony. I told her I couldn't and she told me she'd already bought my airplane ticket and that I had to come! I went and I was seated next to her at the banquet table. When Rita received her award she started her speech by saying, "Beside me tonight I have two women--on this side is my mother who gave me life and on the other side is MIZ Sue Raypole--who gave me my other life." I began crying as Rita told the story of my promoting her and she knew that nobody else would have given her the opportunity! She ended by saying, "When I told Miz Raypole this last week she said, "Oh, Rita, you couldn't hide your light under a bushel, someone else would have recognized you!"

Rita went on by saying she had never heard the phrase, "hide your light under a bushel" and was surprised when I told her the quote was Biblical. She ended by saying, "I'm STILL learning from my mother and Miz Raypole!"

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Shortly after "The Godfather" was released in 1972, we took my nephew with us to Columbus to see William Walker play Figaro in "The Barber of Seville". The play was being sung in English and we thought this would give the child a good introduction to opera without the confusion of Italian, French or German language translations.

During one scene, Figaro was asked how he had accomplished a feat and Walker's voice boomed out, "I made him an offer he couldn't refuse." There were a few titters in the audience but we laughed out loud at Walker's ad-libbing to Rossini! My nephew asked, "Why are you the only ones laughing?"

Friday, October 8, 2010


One of my brother Norman's favorite songs is John Fogerty's "I Saw It On TV".

We were having a conversation with a group of people and we agreed that all the guys of my generation had crushes on Annette Funicello.

Norman started quoting:

"The coon-skin caps, Yankee bats, the Hound Dog man's big start
The A-bomb fears, Annette had ears, I lusted in my heart,
A young man from Boston set sail the New Frontier,
And we watched the dream dead-end in Dallas,
They buried innocence that year."

One of the women in the group, who happens to be rather dense, asked, "What's that from?"

Norman answered, "I Saw It On TV".

She asked, "But what's it from?"

Norman answered again, "I Saw It On TV".

He finally explained about the song.

He turned to me and said, "WHO'S ON FIRST?"

Thursday, October 7, 2010


One Saturday, Gerald and I had gone to see Dylan in concert and the following Monday, at lunch time, I was standing by our department secretary Patty's desk. She and I were discussing my love of Dylan as she cannot stand what she termed his "A-tonal wheeze." To goad her I started to do my imitation of Bob by singing "Subterranean Homesick Blues". Chuck, one of my favorites at work, heard my "singing" and he came over and said, "So it WAS you at the Dylan concert!" He continued, "I told my wife that it looked like you down there in the good seats, but I told her I couldn't believe you were a Dylan fan!" I asked, "Why would you think that I'm not a Dylan fan? I'm the biggest Dylan fan; that's my generation!" Chuck said, "Well, you're so, well, uh, well, uh." His voice trailed off and I could tell he was struggling for an appropriate word. I said, "Spit it out--what am I?" He grimaced and said, "Well, conservative." I told him, "I get that "conservative" thing a lot!" He said, "Well, I actually used the word "square" to my wife." Patty said, "She's the most liberal person I know, but I can't believe this normally intelligent person could be a Dylan fan!"

Chuck said later, "If I hadn't seen you at that Dylan concert and heard you singing to Patty I would never have gotten to know how much fun you are!"

I get that a lot too!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Yesterday, in Chillicothe, I was honored to once again be in the company of John and Annie Glenn. From his first camapaign for Senate to the 2008 Presidential campaign, I have been fortunate to have met the Glenns numerous times, but today is my favorite.

I spoke to Mrs. Glenn and asked if she would autograph a picture of herself and Senator Glenn. The photograph is from a 2006 publication, "The Road To Blue". She looked at the picture and said, "I'm wearing the same jacket in that picture as I am today." I said, "Well, it's a classic--it never goes out of style--and red is YOUR color." She said, "Oh, how nice of you to remember that." In all of the campaigns and appearances I have seen her, she always wore red! She laughed and said, "And I'm wearing the SAME eagle pin and the SAME blouse!" She pointed to the necklace in the picture and said, "And I almost wore that necklace, but I put this scarf on to keep warm!"

When I asked Senator Glenn for his autograph, Mrs. Glenn pointed out to him that she was wearing the same jacket today as in the photograph. Senator Glenn asked, "Does this mean I have to buy you a new coat?"

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


One day as I was reading the Columbus Dispatch, I noticed an article about the police closing down a shop that sold "X-rated movies and sexual novelties". It gave the owner's name and I recognized the name as Gerri's, a woman who had worked for me. The article stated that Gerri was appealing her case. I wrote a check for $100 and sent it with a note which read, "IN DEFENSE OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT!" and I included a copy of the Bill of Rights for her to carry in her purse!

I received a lovely thank you note from Gerri which began, "Dear Liberal in Conservative Clothing:" and she wrote that when she was laid off, she started the shop, because she didn't want to be on unemployment, but that there had been a public outcry which caused the police to shut down her shop. Gerri won her case and re-opened her business.

At work, about a year later, I was walking down the gangway at work and I heard a voice ring out, "There's that defender of the first amendment!" I turned around and there was Gerri and I learned she had been recalled from layoff; she was working in a different department than mine, but had come to find me. I asked her if she still had the shop and she said that business was great and that she had to hire someone to run it while she worked. She told me I should visit her shop. That Saturday I visited her shop and it was a wondrous experience. When she saw me the following Monday, she asked, "I heard you visited the shop but you didn't buy anything--how do you expect me to remain a capitalist?" We laughed and I said, "Well, I did wonder about that thing that looked like a kitchen scrubber--what DO you do with THAT?" She laughed and said, "Come to the shop and I'll give a demonstration!" She told me she oftentimes whipped out her Bill of Rights to show people.

My department was shut down after we had finished building a model and I was assigned to the "armpit of the world"; this department was known as the worst department in the Company, because of all the Union/Company problems. I'd been warned by my own brother that I should turn down the job offer, but I wanted to be able to work enough years for retirement. The day I went into the department, I was waiting in my boss' office and the door opened and there stood Gerri! She said, "Get that worried look off your face, woman!" [We always said "woman" because of my smart-aleck "How big do they grow women where you come from?" remark years before] I was so relieved to see a friendly face. She said, "There's a lot of A-Holes in this department--BOTH management and union--but I'll see you're treated fair!" I saw Gerri walking around at breaks and lunch time talking to everybody in the department. During my time in the department, I received many plaudits and later I became the Department Head, but I know that a great deal of the credit belongs to Gerri because she was always regarded as the "union heroine" and her influence made my being able to be successful in the department a possibility. At my first evaluation in the department, my boss actually said, "I don't know how you've done it!" I merely stated that "One never does it alone!" I retired in 2002; I was so proud when Gerri called me and asked me to be there when she received her 30-year award in 2008!

Monday, October 4, 2010


I was expecting a new employee to come to my department and a young woman named Gerri arrived and handed me her transfer paperwork; she was very striking in appearance with a good figure. I completed her orientation and took her to her work station. Before break, a supervisor from another department came into my department and asked, "Do you know about that new girl you got in tonight?" My standard answer when someone called a woman a girl was, "How big do they grow women from where you come?" I could see him wince but he laughed and said, "Your size."

Although I knew the man, he and I had never had any occasion to have small talk and yet, there he was, strangely, being very friendly. He snickered and said, "Well, they just brought her back--she was the one who exposed herself at the Assembly Plant." I was immediately suspicious of his motive and I responded, "What did they charge her with--DECENT EXPOSURE?" I was angry, skeptical about his motive, and I walked away; he left the area. I noticed that the crew had been watching us.

Gerri turned out to be a fabulous employee; she never missed a day of work, always achieved 100% productivity with excellent quality. One evening she told me about her daughter who had been born with a cleft palate and she'd endured many operations and she needed speech therapy to be able to be understood at school. The insurance would not cover the speech therapy. The next day I went to the insurance department and talked to Steve, the Supervisor in Insurance and he told me he would work on it. Several days later he came to the department and asked to speak to Gerri. Afterward, Gerri called me over and said, "Thank you, Sue, I've tried to get three other bosses to help me and you did it!"

Because there hadn't been women working in the plant, a small restroom and locker room was carved out for the women and I shared the room with the workers. One evening at dinner time I was in the locker room taking my vitamins. Gerri walked in and saw my vitamin bottles and she said, "My guy takes those and he's pretty old but he can really keep going!" I asked how old he was and she said, "He's 38." I started laughing and I told her I was "dissolving into a puddle of old-hagism!" She said, "Well, how old are you?" I said, "THIRTY-EIGHT!" She said, "Well you don't look it!" She came over and put her arms around me and said, "I just want to thank you for the way you've treated me." I asked her what she meant and she said, "You treat me just like everybody else and I was so scared when I came in the department, because you were a woman and the way you look and act, but everybody told me you'd be fair." I asked, "HOW do I look and act?" She said, "Well, you know--conservative!" I said, "I'm a Liberal in Conservative clothing!" She said, "You've done so much for me like helping with my daughter when nobody else would!" I said, "But that's my job!" She said, "And you never judged me and I know you knew about it from the first night I came, because I saw Mike come up and talk to you." I told her how it had angered me and what I'd said about "decent exposure" and she said, "Oh, Suzy, that's so funny!"

I told her, "Well, I have always been curious about what happened, but it would have been totally inappropriate for me to ask you!" She then told me the story: she was working at the Assembly Plant and she wasn't wearing a bra. A guy on the mezzanine whom she knew yelled out her name and he pulled his pants down and mooned her. She lifted up her blouse and flashed him! A member of management saw the incident but could not identify the man on the mezzanine. Gerri was told she was going to be terminated, but if she identified the man, she would just be suspended. Gerri refused to identify the man and she was fired. She became a Union HEROINE for not snitching. Her case went to arbitration and it was agreed that she could return to work but she had to change plants and she had to wear a bra! She asked, "You wanna know why that guy came and talked to you?" I nodded and she said, "He tried to get me to go out with him, but I don't date no married men!" AHA! There was his motive. He thought he could cause her to have a difficult time with me because I was considered to be "conservative".

Sunday, October 3, 2010


On second shift, the office telephones were switched to the manufacturing floor at 7:00 PM; although we would sometimes receive calls which were office related, mostly the calls were just inter-department related. We were still supposed to answer the telephones in a professional manner such as "International, Department 28, this is Sue Raypole, how can I help you?" but in the bustle of the night, many times I would rush to the phone and hurriedly say, "28--Raypole". One night I answered the phone that way and the voice on the other end asked, "Do you eat with that mouth?"

It was my brother on the phone, calling from his department. It was a lesson well-learned. I never answered the phone in an unprofessional manner again.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


NETFLIX! Oh, what an addiction. We have the plan where we can order two at a time and as many as we want for $14.99 per month! We average watching 15-17 movies per month. The greatest number we received was 19 in one month! We are positively manic to watch the movies the same day as we receive them and get them back in the mail the following day!

Gerald, Les and I are all movie lovers, but we've found that there are very few movies Gerald watches that I like; there are some movies which Gerald and Les both like; there are some movies which Les and I like, but seldom do all three of us watch the same movie.

Because we see so many movies, we have probably seen all the interesting movies produced in the past five years. We now have "Movie Festivals" and choose directors and actors and watch everything in their filmographies!

We started with the Stanley Kubrick Festival, because Gerald's all-time favorite movie is "2001--A Space Odyssey", but Gerald and Les had never seen "Paths Of Glory" and "Lolita". I'd seen them previously, but enjoyed watching them again. We also watched "Doctor Strangelove".

Next were the festivals honoring Billy Wilder, Preston Sturges, and Michael Powell. We had a "Film Noir" Festival and then we started festivals with favorite actors and actresses. We watched, Garfield, Bogie, Streep, Duvall, de Niro, Fonda, and Cagney.

Not that we're "scraping the bottom of the Netflix barrel", but we recently completed the David Strathairn Film Festival. What do you mean you don't know David Strathairn! Les asked, "How could a great actor be in so many bad movies?" He played Edward R. Murrow in the movie "Good Night and Good Luck" and was deservedly nominated for an Oscar for his performance. Next is the Jack Elam Festival (just kidding, we've already seen all of those!).

Les said if he sees the word "poignant" in a movie's description, he knows he doesn't want to see that one!

Friday, October 1, 2010


My nephew and I often discuss and recommend movies to each other. One time he called and asked if I had seen "The Point Of No Return" and I said, dismissively, "I didn't need to; I saw Luc Bresson's original."

He laughed and said, "You cinema snob!" He knew that "The Point Of No Return" was a remake of the French movie "La Femme Nikita" and I was just "showing off" naming the Director Bresson. He said, "Thought you would like to know that the Bridget Fonda character in "Point Of No Return" is obsessed with Nina Simone's music!" He told me that he and his roommate had gone to see the picture and that he had recognized Nina Simone's singing. The roommate asked how he knew that "old, funky music" and my nephew said he told him that his Aunt Sue was Nina's biggest fan and that he had to listen to Nina's music when he stayed with Aunt Sue when he was a kid.

The last time he visited, he asked if he could record Nina's albums! He told me that he and his roommate were "obsessed" with her music!