Tuesday, June 30, 2015


grandbabies in Boston visiting the hospital where  they were born as was the current king of Thailand
One benefit of retirement was that I was able to come to Boston for each of their births. For Tessa, I was there a whole month. As much as I loved my Boston trips, I am very glad they are less than 5 miles away now

Finally framed my snowy owl print. Have I ever seen one in the wild? I had my chance 2 years ago as there were so many, they ventured south but again I missed the chance.
Nothing like a good physics joke
Today I attended a retirement reception for a good friend. She is very excited to begin her new life free of work worries and drama. So many things to do. For starters, I will have a bicycle riding partner during the week. She will do the 6 day trip  in Northern Michigan with me. She is (was?) an archivist for the University. She showed us all the stacks, much of it University of Michigan history but also of local people. For instance, my grandfather, a physician but also a historian, gardener, speaker and writer, has plenty of papers there. She showed us an early (1865?) UM yearbook. Under the club pages, they actually had a Ku Klux Klan page with the names of officers. One of the officers was called a 'hangman'. The N word was sprinkled liberally all over the page. A very sorry bit of Michigan history promoting a group dedicated to hate. Nothing drives me crazier than people who believe 'in the good old days' we had better morals when crap like this was legal and sanctioned.

Her workplace overlooks a courtyard frequented by wildlife. Two young stags chewed on day lilies ten feet away separated only by glass throughout the festivities. Usually there are turkeys too. A tom likes to keep her company, but alas, the turkeys were a no show today. Lots of nice things were said about her and she received many gifts. Her former boss made a special trip from the East coast for this. His son once was on a soccer team I coached. Both of his boys went to the same daycare with Josh and Shanna and now live in NYC. He told me he recently went to a museum in Hartford CT of all places that was devoted to Coney Island history. Coney Island is where Steve grew up. Too bad we don't drive anywhere near Hartford anymore since our trips to Boston are over.

Anyway, her retirement party was in sharp contrast to my last day of work. Of the 200 people or so in my department, I was one of the last 5 to go. I went to many of my colleagues' parties but by the time I was to go, hardly anyone was left. It was a courtesy to me to let me work as long as possible before everything was shut down. I attended a debriefing meeting, handed in my badge, and walked home alone. That was it. I did get to pick out gifts from a retirement catalog.

And I was a full 10 years younger than she is now. Never did I think we would retire so early but then our hands were forced. On the day they announced how our whole place would be shut down, while others sobbed, Steve was silently cheering. He had a way out.

I thought about all these projects I will do and things I would volunteer for. Most of which never happened. But I stay busy. I wake up when I see the sun and walk around the yard with my coffee seeing what needs dead heading and what has bloomed. I feed the birds. Then I go for a run and sometimes a bike ride. Today after both, I went with Steve to the old house to air it out and weed while he mowed the lawn. I took more plants back to the new house where I planted them. By then it was past noon. Time to clean up and then on to the party. If I ever find that I have free time, I have plenty that needs doing.


Elephant's Child said...

After his retirement my father told me he didn't know how he had ever found the time to go to work.
After my retirement I agree - and I am not a fraction as busy as you are.

Snowbrush said...

Your post got me wondering when the Klan was founded, so I looked it up and learned that it dates from December 24, 1965. I know that in its heyday—the 20s, I think—it controlled Indiana government, but was able to elect governors in other states as well. Then came some scandals that caused it to lose members to such an extent that it became the relatively powerless organization it is today. Of course, I was a teenager in Mississippi in the ‘60s when one’s Klan membership wasn’t advertised, but still the Klan had enough power to scare people. One night I saw a cross being burned in someone’s yard, and wondered what they had done to piss-off the Klan. I also found Klan leaflets that were dropped in my family’s driveway.

I loved this post because it really gave me a better feel for whom you are. I can easily picture you with your coffee walking around your yard to see what needs attention.

Too bad about your retirement party not happening, but at least you're out of there and can live life as you please.

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Yep, I was surprised at the early date of the yearbook as the KKK seemed to begin in Tennessee that same year and the KKK didn't officially get its start in Michigan until 1923. And initially, the target of their hatred was directed towards Catholics as they seemed to threaten the Protestant way of life some how. No mention of the evils of Catholism on the yearbook page but it did have that N word sprinkled about. For all I know, Ann Arbor was settled by Protestant German farmers and there were very few people of color besides the native Ojibwas.

About 50 miles NW of here in Howell Michigan, lived the Grand Wizard of the Klan in the 1960s. I remember my friend got a leaflet promoting the teenage version of the Klan at the high school. The town remains all white. My daughter's basketball team, largely African American, played them once and heard all sorts of slurs. But there is an active group in the county trying to promote racial harmony despite the county's negative history.

Snowbrush said...

When I was a teenager in Mississippi all those years ago, I was equally attracted to the romance of the Klan and the romance of the Freedom Riders. What they both had on common were appealing props and idealism (robes, visual art, and tradition for the one and youth, clean looks, and exotic Yankee accents for the other). I was even a fan of Stokely Carmichael and Angela Davis, being but little moved by causes and a great deal moved by romantic appeal.

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Quite a contrast between the groups competing for your attention. Did you ever read 'Little Drummer Girl" or see the movie? Somehow the heroine was a terrorist for the Palestinian cause and they were able to switch her to the Zionist cause.

Do you still have your Mississippi accent or have years of living in the NW modulated it somehow?

As for the rabbit I wrote about in a comment to you dying in vain, a vulture got to eat followed by the crows, followed by various insect life and microbiota.

Snowbrush said...

"Did you ever read 'Little Drummer Girl" or see the movie?"

No, but I can imagine that a person who approaches life in a certain way would continue to do so after changing allegiances.

"Do you still have your Mississippi accent or have years of living in the NW modulated it somehow?"

When I first came here in 1986, it was the first thing that most people would mention upon hearing me speak, nearly always in the form of asking where I was from in a tone of disapproval. Now, it seldom comes up. I thought I would be the kind of person who never lost his accent, but I guess I have. Another thing that happened when I first moved here was that most people had trouble understanding my words.

"As for the rabbit I wrote about in a comment to you dying in vain, a vulture got to eat followed by the crows, followed by various insect life and microbiota."

Everything gets recycled, but I assumed that it died on a busy road.


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