Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lost in the Fifties...and WOW

So here I am, my first semester at Compton College, my smile captured fifty five years ago by the man who became my first husband, Bob Elders. He took photography in the same building where my journalism classes were held.

This weekend I slipped back to the fifties and sixties. My time travel started when I picked up Terry Ryan's captivating recap of her mom's efforts to keep a family of ten children afloat through contest entries. The book's title sums it up, "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less." I well remember the era, as I first married in 1955. I never became an avid submitter, but did win a prize in at least one of these skills contests before sweepstakes replaced them. I received a cardboard soft drink stand, and my son, Steve, and his pals peddled Funny Face from it off and on in front of Circle Gardens apartments in Long Beach, CA, on hot summer Saturdays.

I didn't see the movie made from Ryan's book when it appeared a few years back, but have moved it to the top of my Netflix list. Those were simpler days...less technology, fewer expectations. Postage stamps cost only four cents. Like Evelyn Ryan, I didn't drive in those days either...didn't get my license until I had to in 1967 to go to work for Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services. I walked to the grocery store and post office, rode my bike to Cal State Long Beach and the Los Altos library...and took the bus to Jordan High, where I taught English and Journalism. Or Bob would drive me to where I needed to go.

Just as I was recalling those days, I got a telephone call from an old Lynwood High School classmate. She's compiling a mini-anthology for a reunion next month. I transferred to Lynwood in January, 1954, too late for class photos. She wondered if I had something from that period that I could scan and send her. So I spent hours digging through the duffle bag where I store old photos, to come up with one from that time period. Every three or four years I plow through this bag. I've always hoped to take a weekend to sort out the photos, but never have. There's ones dating back to my early childhood, to my son's childhood, to my early teens. Photos from my 1955 honeymoon in Catalina. I spent more happy hours reminiscing.

But now I return to today. Today I appear as the first featured guest columnist in Publishing Syndicate's WOW Principles Newsletter. In this article I detail how I hope to turn my experience at the University of Cambridge into stories for a variety of publications. Here's the link to the newsletter:

I've listed a dozen or so possible stories I plan to create, using my Cambridge experiences. And I intend to follow up on these good intentions...just as soon as I finish two stories that need writing about a humbling experience in seventh grade, and one about borscht.

The story about my transfer to Lynwood appears this month in Whispering Angel's Living Lessons.

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