Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Sorting Hat was needed

Not for me but for all the papers I found in the tub labeled "family stuff" in the garage. I filled it full of things I didn't want to see after Mom died. Her scrapbook from high school filled with valentines, gift cards, notes, graduation invitations. Letters from my brother (died in 1961) who was apparently dating three girls - one in Mississippi, one in San Diego, and one somewhere North of San Diego - while he was stationed there with the Navy...and letters asking Mom for money. Three marriage licenses for Mom and two divorce proceedings. Marriage licenses for others in the family, birth notices - birth certificates, baby books for me and my brother, records from the farm. Mom's graduation certificate from junior high school - bound in the softest purple suede.

Letters from my brother's father to Mom, her parents, my Dad, and also letters this guy's parents to Mom. From the tone of the letters, I suspect that Mom met David's father when he was buying whiskey from her Dad, Mike, my grandfather.

WW2 documents and letters and Dad's big book of the 24th Construction Battalion. Rationing stuff.

Lots of receipts, letters from grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, former landlady,

The trash bag got fuller and fuller. My brother is dead and so are his son and wife. I have no children. My nearest relative is a cousin in Mississippi, and I'm sending him some of the WW2 stuff - especially a mushy letter from Dad to Mom when she was in high school and another after they were married. I think he'll get a kick of that - Mom was kind of neutered by Dad's alcoholism. But, I'm keeping the letter from Mabel to my Dad where she refused to marry him because he'd never loved anybody but Lucy (my Mom). And, I kept one page of a letter where my brother wrote about how much he loved me.

I save birth announcements to send to those who were born - perhaps they don't have them. I'll send the graduation announcements to some museum in Mississippi. A few photographs without identification went into the trash.

But, I stuffed all the letters that I'd written to Mom over the years back into the box. I'm not sure I want to know that I begged for money just like my brother or what stunts I was up to when. If I were famous, these letters would bring lots of money because I was always deviously honest with Mom. She could read between the lines and so could anyone else.

My Dad helped build the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and one letter dealt with the men refusing to work. There's a picture of him drinking his better with his arm around a cute Cuban woman. So much for the letters he wrote begging Mom to come back to him and promising faithfulness. Even a letter from a woman he met in the South Pacific who invited him to come back there.

I got cold as darkness suddenly came; so I threw the rest of the stuff back in the tub for another day. More later.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Geometrically increasing pace

The pace of life and of new things increases geometrically. One new piece of technological hardware begats hundreds of new software applications - not only for that piece but for other pieces. And, the competitor has to keep up or lose business; so two or three or five new similar hardware items pop up - and each one has a different operating system with different programs to do the same thing. After a few years some of the competitors have dropped out of business and their products become obsolete. This is a minor glitch in the geometrically increasing idea.

When I finally finished college at age 35, Cobol II could be used as your language requirement. You seldom hear about computer languages any longer - programs in some of these languages translate ordinary words and numbers and boxes and pictures into the ideas you don't write on paper with pencils. And, we called them lead pencils - they are carbon and you don't need a sharpener.

Inventions and discoveries are abounding. Take Windows 7 for instance. Some technology just doesn't excite me. I don't play X-Box games (and is Nintendo surging ahead?), but I do have a Wii - a gaming device that I use primarily for exercise. And, now Windows 7 has arrived after extensive testing. I spent two minutes with it in Staples last week - now I crave a new computer with Windows 7 so that I can figure out how it does the things I like to do - better - worse - quicker (quicker is always better, huh?) - easier?

My Prius Hybrid can now be adapted to run on electricity alone. A gasoline engine combined with an electric system that has evolved into a different kind of car - one that has been available for some time. However, the Prius has made the idea more popular. It was state of the art. Now, almost every manufacturer is copying its system, adapting it, making it better, going one more step.

International relations seem to work the same way - a new election or coup and we're friends with a country that was our enemy. And, other countries fall into line with that thinking - so for a while, peace is more likely in that part of the world. Hillary Clinton must be exhausted - trying to form coalitions that cause a domino effect for peace and prosperity for all. One domino falls to the side, and the set-up has to be redone.

In my life, this increasing pace is new combinations of fibers for yarns, new operating systems for computers, new exercises on the Wii, new formats for banking (what happened to cash and checks?), new cleaning products (when all I wanted was something for these wood floors), and what happened to that product that I used to help remove or cover up scratches on wooden tables (does the Vermont Country Store carry it now?)?

I don't envy the young people of today. They have to know so much more than I did - along with most everything I knew then, too. Pregnancy was the direst consequence of sex with your boyfriend - now it's a fatal disease. I'm not saying that the world is moving too fast; what I'm saying is that I don't keep up. I have chosen my areas of increasing knowledge, and they are few. I look interested when others talk about things outside those areas. My friend, David Keill regularly writes on Facebook in a lingo that is outside my knowledge. So, I admit my ignorance and go on reading it anyway - maybe someday it will all make sense.

Keep on truckin', kids. The pace is getting faster and the race is getting bigger.