Overheard: I Know How Old An Old Person Is, According To The Neighbor Girls

I believe the children are our future… let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.

With a hat tip to Whitney Houston, here’s a short conversation I overheard when the neighbor girls next door were playing outside with their cousins and friends.

In total there were seven girls, ages 6 to 12.  They are creative girls, boisterous, and oh. so. funny. when they get together.

Girl #1: I know. Let’s play theater up on the deck.

Many voices, shouting at the same time: Yes! *yay*

[Sound of small feet running all over wooden deck as they drag metal furniture around on it.]

Girl #1: I’ll play the sister!

Many voices, talking over each other: I’ll be {indistinct words}. *blah, blah, blah* No me… I wanna be {indistinct words}. *blah, blah, blah*

Girl #1: OK. Now we need someone to play the old person.  

[Complete silence. Nary a peep. Total quiet.]

Girl #2: I’ll be the old person.

Many voices, filled with concern: Are you sure? Really? You want to do that! 

Girl #2: Yes, I’ll do it.

Girl #1: How old will you be?

Girl #2: I’ll be… (dramatic pause)… seventeen.

Many voices, in unison: *gasp* That old? {indistinct jibber-jabber} Oh my!

And that, my gentle readers, is all I heard because the girls started talking quietly among themselves, presumably to prepare for their big performance.  Of an unnamed show that I can confirm has at least one sister– and an old person in it.

Break a leg, girls. Happy Friday, everyone. 😊

Smiling In Hello-Land: 1921 Telephone Etiquette For The Social Elite

Doing research for last week’s Thursday Doors post I fell down a rabbit hole that had zilch to do with what I was supposed to be learning about.

[I’m sure you’re not surprised, are you?]

However this tangent was not in vain. I found something unique + entertaining, meant for a blog post, as you will see.

Keep reading.

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The following came from Mrs. Devereux’s Blue Book of Cincinnati Society, the go-to source for lists of club members and their home addresses for the social elite circa 1921.

Below are little snippets of telephone etiquette advice printed at the bottom of some pages in Mrs. Devereux’s book.

These snippets, put there by the printer I imagine, filled the page with text, while at the same time SUBTLY TEACHING THE SOCIAL ELITE HOW TO POLITELY USE the newfangled thing called a telephone.

These six little snippets tell a charming instructive story that I’ve transcribed at the bottom of this post.  It is a story, in fact, that I’ve gone so far as to dub: How to be a Gracious Member of the Grand Army of Telephone Users.

Enjoy!

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How to be a Gracious Member of the Grand Army of Telephone Users

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life it is easy to lose the better things– the finer qualities.  About the cheapest abuse in the world is the abuse of people at the other end of a telephone wire.  It is the trait of a gentleman– the proof of good breeding– just to smile when you telephone.

The voice with the smile is the voice that wins.  The smiling man or woman who uses the telephone in a sensible way always enjoys the best service.  They never get the hydrophobia when delays occur in answering a call.  Quite often the operator is not responsible for delays.  To complete quick service the party called must immediately respond.  

Did you ever see the Girl at the Switchboard during the rush hour?  If you did you never would kick again.  Some of the people who are loudest in their criticisms would drop dead of heart disease if they were under the strain which is just part of the everyday life in Hello-Land.

There are some people who in ordinary ways of life keep within the bounds of calmness and sanity, but they shy at a telephone and look upon it as the vent for all the accumulated spleen of generations of grouches.  The Supreme Court of New York has ruled that telephones may be taken out if abusive language is used by the subscriber.

Edward W. Bok, editor of the “Ladies’ Home Journal,” declares that one sure sign of an imminent nervous breakdown is a disposition to lose temper when delays occur in telephoning.  When you feel inclined to go to pieces at the ‘phone– consult a doctor.  You have rung a danger signal for yourself every time you growl over the ‘phone.

The great majority of the Grand Army of Telephone Users know the value of keeping sweet.  It is a pleasure to serve them.  They have sensed the disaster that lurks in the poison which is generated in one’s own system every time a fit is cultivated.  It saves doctor bills to smile when you phone. 

The End

If A Butterfly Flaps Its Wings In August, Do We Get A Polar Vortex In January?

Look closely.  The above is a photo of a butterfly landing on salvia.  I took it, while standing on our stone path by the side of the house, last August.

Seeing the butterfly then made me happy because I’m working on turning one quadrant of our garden, by the stone path, into a butterfly habitat.  So far, this is a project in its infancy having attracted only a few butterflies.

But I have dreams. Big Butterfly Habitat Dreams.

And now, not to put too fine a point on it, I have a cheerful photo, perfect for sharing here today, whilst we’re in the midst of the Polar Vortex.

People, it is cold outside.

Yesterday it was 7ºF in the early morning and I thought that was cold.  I had to go to the doc’s office for routine blood work so I bundled up and navigated the plowed, but still slippery, streets to get there.

It was an interesting drive.

Today, at the same time in the morning, it’s -3ºF outside and I’m going nowhere.  Nowhere I say.  Yep, I’m staying at home inside, being the reasonably prudent slacker that I am at heart.

Why?  Because I can [the obvious flippant answer that we all know and love].

And because you, my gentle readers, are out there in the world wide web, waiting, I hope, to comment on this post so that I have something meaningful to do with my time today.

What up, kids? Life treating you well?

How To Turn A Bully Into A Fool [Part 2 of 2]

[Part 1 of this childhood story is here.]

The next time Karl started hassling me was in class a few days later.

He sat a row in front of me and turned around to torment me, the quiet girl named Alice, by mocking my name in a sing-song fashion: “Alice in Wonderland, Alice in Wonderland.”

I was mad.

Following my father’s advice I turned to Karl and said loudly: “So who are you? The March Hare?”

As fate would have it, our teacher, Miss Thomas, a maiden lady [as they used to say to describe unmarried women over 50], was standing at the end of my row.

She was a known disciplinarian, seemingly devoid of whimsy.

However, my adult putdown of a kid who she knew was going to be trouble for years to come caught her off guard, and she burst out laughing.  At which point the rest of my class joined her in laughing at red-faced Karl, former bully turned class buffoon, thanks to a few well said words at the right time.

Thank you, Daddy.

From this experience I learned three valuable lessons that have stayed with me to this day:

  1. Words have power;
  2. If you can make people laugh, you can make a point;  and
  3. Bullies are weaklings who you can take down, one way or another, if you just apply yourself to making them look like fools in front of their peers.

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How To Turn A Bully Into A Fool [Part 1 of 2]

Watching The Donald make an ass of himself while attempting to intimidate Hillary reminded me of this story from my childhood.

My father, a genius, did not suffer fools easily.

He had zero patience for stupidity combined with malice.  It’s from him that I learned how to shut down anyone who gets out of hand by flaunting his or her willful ignorance &/or bad manners in my face.

Be forewarned.

However, as a kid I was not naturally inclined to defend myself.  You see, I was a shy, bookish child with poor coordination, no siblings, and thick eyeglasses.

Bullies used me for target practice, because I was physically weak and because I was a girl and because of my legal first name.

In the first few weeks of kindergarten one bully, Karl, an oversized-oaf with pale blond hair and a need to be noticed [sound like anyone in particular?], started bugging me on the playground and in the classroom.

I was upset and didn’t know what to do.

When I told my mother, an introvert, about what was going on she gave me her general advice about people: “just ignore ’em.”  This, as you can imagine, was of no help to me in this situation.

Kindergarten is not the time for taking the high road.

So I turned to my father.

He listened to my problem then told me exactly what to do.  I didn’t understand what he wanted me to do, but I knew, even at a young age, that this guy had a way of dealing with people, so I did exactly what he said.

[Tune in tomorrow for Part 2.]