Friday, June 10, 2016

As Years Go By

Thought for the day:  Time can be spent, but it can't be bought, so we've gotta spend it wisely. (It isn't always on our side...)

Last Saturday was our high school reunion, but Smarticus and I didn't spend all day driving to Maryland so we could attend. It wasn't our hundredth, but in human terms, it was a pretty big milestone. Fifty. (gulp) Fifty. (Maybe we'll attend our hundredth?)

To celebrate that rather auspicious half-century mark, I offer you the following poem about reunions. (Author unknown.)

Every five years, as summertime nears,
An announcement arrives in the mail,
A reunion is planned; it'll be really grand;
Make plans to attend without fail.

I'll never forget the first time we met;
We tried so hard to impress.
We drove fancy cars, smoked big cigars,
And wore our most elegant dress.

It was quite an affair; the whole class was there.
It was held at a fancy hotel.
We wined, and we dined, and we acted refined,
And everyone thought it was swell.

The men all conversed about who had been first
To achieve great fortune and fame.
Meanwhile, their spouses described their fine houses
And how beautiful their children became.

The homecoming queen, who once had been lean,
Now weighed in at one-ninety-six.
The jocks who were there had all lost their hair,
And the cheerleaders could no longer do kicks.

No one had heard about the class nerd
Who'd guided a spacecraft to the moon;
Or poor little Jane, who's always been plain;
She married a shipping tycoon.

The boy we'd decreed 'most apt to succeed'
Was serving ten years in the pen,
While the one voted 'least' now was a priest;
Just shows you can be wrong now and then.

They awarded a prize to one of the guys
Who seemed to have aged the least..
Another was given to the grad who had driven
The farthest to attend the feast.

They took a class picture, a curious mixture
Of beehives, crew cuts and wide ties.
Tall, short, or skinny, the style was the mini;
You never saw so many thighs.

At our next get-together, no one cared whether
They impressed their classmates or not.
The mood was informal, a whole lot more normal;
By this time we'd all gone to pot.

It was held out-of-doors, at the lake shores;
We ate hamburgers, coleslaw, and beans.
Then most of us lay around in the shade,
In our comfortable T-shirts and jeans.

By the fiftieth year, it was abundantly clear,
We were definitely over the hill.

[Hmmmph! How can we be over the hill when we haven't even reached the top yet?]

So how did we spend our time in lieu of pretending a bunch of old farts and fartessas still look just like they did fifty years ago? We spent it with youngsters... four of our grandchildren. Rather than feeling old and (hmmmph) over the hill, we played and laughed and felt... young. Okay... young-ish. 

This summer, while our son and daughter-in-law are at work, their kiddos will be spending weekdays at karate camp, which is like a totally cool daycare, with karate lessons, and all kinds of other sports activities, field trips, and adventures. So while waiting for the family to get home, Smarticus and I visited the Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus. We'd been there before, but there was a new exhibit there that we hadn't seen: the Maple Leaf.

This paddle-wheeled steamer, which was built in Canada, (explains its name) and contracted by the U.S. Army during the Civil War, was sunk by a Confederate torpedo, and now rests at the bottom of the St. John's River, near Jacksonville, Florida. This shipwreck contains the largest collection of Civil War military and personal items in the country, and some of the recovered 130+ year-old items are currently on display at the museum in Columbus.

Plate and eating utensils.

Various recovered weapons and other items.

And of course, there was lots of other stuff to see at the museum, too...

Anybody know what this is?

It's the iron hull plate from the Civil War ironclad the Monitor. It was recovered in 1998, and weighs about 375 pounds. [This cool piece is currently on loan from the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Virginia. Very nice of the Yankee aggressors to share, don't you think...?]

Okay, I don't want to screw up by making this post too long...

So I'm gonna drop anchor on talking about the museum, and move on to the kids.

Kymber looks surprised to have won her school's Student of the Year award, doesn't she?

L to R: Kymber, Devyn, Jaiden, and Aaron. Yeah, Aaron is the hambone. Also the one who's fascinated by weird facts, so you know I had fun telling and showing him about some of the disgusting things I know.

Now, thanks to their weird grandma, the kids know about lizards that squirt blood from their eyes, animals that break their own bones as a means of self-defense, beetles that squirt toxic liquid out of their butts,  a toxic bird called, appropriately enough, the patooie, and  they even saw pictures of dead cockroaches clad in tiny costumes. (Which used to be on display at a cockroach museum in Plano, Texas.)

Weird grandma? Maybe, but also a very happy one. No question about it. These kids conquered me and my heart a long time ago, and they still take it hostage every time we visit.

An hour with your grandchildren can make you feel young again. Anything longer than that, you start to age quickly. [Gene Perret]

But ya know what? It is totally worth it...  and one of my favorite ways to spend time.

How about you? Have you attended any of your class reunions? (We went to one... our thirtieth. There were a bunch of old people there...)

Do you, like me, ever look at other people your age and think they look much older than you do? If so, you'll appreciate this joke:

While sitting in my new dentist's waiting room, I noticed his diploma on the wall, and seeing his full name on it immediately brought to mind a tall, dark-haired, handsome boy with the same name, who'd been in my high school class nearly 50 years ago.

Could this dentist possibly be the boy I had a secret crush on in high school?

When I saw him, I quickly dismissed that possibility, because there was no way this gray-haired, balding man with the deeply wrinkled face could have been my classmate. He was way too old. Or was he?

After he examined my teeth, I asked him if he'd gone to Dundalk High School.

"Yes, I did!" he said with a smile.

"What year did you graduate?" I asked.

"In 1966," he said. "Why do you ask?"

"I was in your class!" I exclaimed.

He looked at me closely. Then, that ugly, wrinkled, old, fat, bald, gray, decrepit SOB had the audacity to ask, "What did you teach?"


Smarticus included the following in an email of funny stuff he sent me recently, and it puts some of the changes that have occurred in the past fifty years into perspective:

1966: Long hair
2016: Longing for hair

1966: KEG
2016: EKG

1966: Acid rock
2016: Acid reflux

1966: Moving to California because it's cool
2016: Moving to Arizona because it's warm

1966: Trying to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor
2016: Trying NOT to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor

1966: Seeds and stems
2016: Roughage

1966: Hoping for a BMW
2016: Hoping for a BM

1966: Going to a new, hip joint
2016: Receiving a new hip joint

1966: Rolling Stones
2016: Kidney stones

1966: Screw the system
2016: Upgrade the system

1966: Disco
2016: Costco

1966: Parents begging you to get your hair cut
2016: Children begging you to get their heads shaved

1966: Passing the driver's test
2016: Passing the vision test

1966: Whatever
2016: Depends

                                          ( For the record, I still like the Rolling Stones...)

                                     Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. I went to my 10 th reunion on the wrong day. I took that as a sign and have not tried again. I hated High School, what makes me think I would like all those people now when I did not like most of them then?

    1. HA! Yeah, I'd take showing up on the wrong day as a sign, too. But since you hated high school, and didn't care much for your classmates, it's a wonder you even tried to go in the first place. I loved school, and Smarticus and I both liked most of our classmates, so we probably would have had a super time. (If it didn't require driving all darned day to get there.) Maybe next time.

  2. I haven't gone to any of my reunions for very similar reasons to joeh. Didn't like them then, don't want to see them now.
    And yay for weird grandmas. And weird people in general.
    Snickering at the dentist joke - but it is very solid reinforcement of my dislike of the breed.

    1. Hmmmm, I'm not surprised that our favorite self-professed "cranky" Joeh didn't like his classmates, but I am surprised that you didn't. You're such a sweetie, I figured you liked everybody, and everybody liked you. (I guess your classmates weren't weird enough, huh?) :)

  3. "How about you?" We went to my 20-year reunion in the late '80s --got presented a bottle of wine for having 4 children. I'll do anything for a bottle of wine.

    Fun post, Susan!

    1. HA! A bottle of wine for four children, huh? I'd say that was a pretty good trade. :)

      Thanks, dude!

  4. Not sure which made me laugh the loudest, Smarticus' list or the Dentist joke.

    The picture of your grandbabies posing in their Karate suits made me smile. But the one of you lying on the floor is priceless! How cool is grandma?

    Never been to any of my school reunions. It seems a bit pointless making small talk with people I didn't talk to at all. If I wanted to see how they had fared in life, I'd stalk them on Facebook...which I don't...okay, I do, but a girls gotta have a hobby.

    Have a wonderful weekend Susan. :)

    1. Cool. (As long as ya laughed!)

      Actually, Grandma was pretty darned WARM... :)

      You have a wonderful weekend, too.

  5. I like the Rolling Stones too, Susan!
    You have beautiful grandchildren (I am still waiting).
    As to reunions: I seldom go - at first we didn't meet for ages, now they are so eager to meet every year. Every year!
    I meet those three who are still my very good friends at least two times a year, and we telephone and mail.

    1. I get a lot of "Satisfaction" knowing you like the Stones, too. :)

      Our class reunions used to be held in October, which made it next to impossible for those of us with children, and living in another state to attend. Now that we're all old farts, they're holding it in the summertime. Go figure.

      Every year is a bit much. (Evidently, every five years is a bit much for some of us!)

  6. Hi Susan - brilliant ... I've been to a few reunions - usually cajoled by a great friend - it's good to see and see how everyone's doing ... and I enjoy seeing how the school has developed - maybe that's the latent historian in me. Great post - such fun .. and wonderful you're enjoying the kids - that best student - well done to Kymber ... have a lovely weekend and keep those joints working for the kids to jump all over you?! Cheers Hilary

    1. Hi, Hilary. Thanks to Facebook and email, we're able to keep up with most of our old friends these days. And our school was demolished so a new school could be built. We were only the third class to graduate from that school, but the powers that be decided it was "too old." (How rude!)

      You have a lovely weekend, too. I'll have to get out and do some walking to keep the ol' joints working. Cheers!

  7. Okay, I'll admit it - - I am constantly guilty of trying to convince myself that I look younger than other people my age.
    I haven't been to a class reunion in a long time. A friend of mine in California sent me a photo of a recent class reunion and I couldn't recognize one person. They were all ancient!!

    The Civil War Naval Museum is definitely a place I'd like to visit. I love to see things salvaged from shipwrecks.
    BTW - your grandkids look so cute in their little Karate uniforms.

    And I still love the Stones. The song "Angie" still turns me on...

    1. I'll admit it, too. People have always told me I looked younger than my age, so I think I do. Then again, people may have always lied to me... :)

      You'd like the museum. Not only for the artifacts, but for the parts of the salvaged SHIPS, too.

      I like a lot of the Stones music, but "Paint it Black" may be my favorite. Maybe. Too many good ones to be sure...

  8. That iron hull weighs about 375? That's almost as much as two homecoming queens....LOVE that poem.
    I've never been to a reunion, class or otherwise. Not even the reunions from the job I loved best, for the first five years I didn't know they were having one every year. When I found out, I still didn't go, why go where I'd never been invited?

    1. HA! Right you are. I'm glad you enjoyed the poem. :)

      I've never even heard of a job reunion, but I don't blame you for not going. Phooey on 'em! Then again, my hubby and I go to a retirees' luncheon every month, which is kinda like a reunion. (But it tastes better!)

  9. P.S. those kids are gorgeous!

  10. Oh my, those grandchildren are adorable and look very active, but they got a grandma who is up for the job. BTW, where is the picture or video of you getting up from the floor?

    No, I never attended a high school reunion. We moved to another state in October of my junior year and because of different curriculum, I was placed in senior and junior classes and made some friends with both groups but never felt I belonged to either. All my children enjoy going to their reunions as they went to the same schools with the kids they grew up with and have strong bonds with many. I think it it is a nice tradition if you are comfortable with it, if not, stay home and play with your grandchildren and keep making memories.

    1. The kids are the apples of my very tired eyes. HA! No videos. But believe it or not, I didn't have (too much) trouble getting up from the floor. Must have been from all the exercise I got going up and down all of those stairs in the house. (THREE floors... puff, puff, puff...)

      I think reunions can be a lot of fun, but I don't think they're as all-encompassing important as some people try to make them out to be. Playing with the kids was a lot more fun.

  11. Wow that museum seems really interesting. I just love history and the Civil War is still so fascinating. Of course, your grandkiddies are darling as always. The pic with you on the floor is classic! Made even funnier by the dog in the foreground just chillin'.

    I've never been to one of my reunions. I always thought they seemed like hell LOL. I was happy to get out of high school and had no interest in going back. I guess I've always been more than a little anti-social. :)

    1. That museum is pretty darned interesting. If you're interested in Civil War history, in a couple weeks, I'll be posting something about the Confederacy that you may not know. :)

      Nah, not anti-social. A bit introverted, maybe, but I have a feeling your writing conferences and book-signings may be making that a thing of the past.

  12. What You Did on Your Summer Vacation is off to a great start! Love your grandkids - they're adorable :)

    1. And it isn't even SUMMER yet! (Although it sure does FEEL like it. Record high temperatures this weekend...)

      Thanks. We're kinda partial to them, too. :)

  13. I'd be the kind of grandma who would tell the kids things that would terrify them. Then their parents would say, We're never letting the kids near you again.

    I've never been to a reunion. I don't remember many people from high school, and I didn't go to classes much. We had no attendance policy until my senior year. The list of the deceased has more people I remember than the list of the living holds. Last year I noticed a familiar last name among my daughter's Facebook friends. I checked out the young woman and found that she is somehow related to a boy I dated when I was in high school and he was in college. I found his Facebook page from her Facebook page. That adorable young man with the beautiful blue eyes has somehow turned into an old guy with gray hair. But I'm still young and gorgeous! I've never figured out how the two are related, and I have no interest in contacting him. But she could be his daughter, which would mean our daughters went to college together and moved to the Bay Area at approximately the same time. Wouldn't that be odd? Or she might be his niece.

    I love the reunion poem.


    1. HA! I don't believe you. Like me, you might tell the kids weird stuff, (AKA COOL stuff) but I don't think you'd scare them.

      No attendance policy until senior year? Really? Wow, I never heard of that before. The first time I encountered anything similar was in college, when some of the classes allowed unlimited cuts. A verrrrrry dangerous policy.

    2. I do think it's a bad policy in college. College costs money. Go to class. It was very hard on us when the attendance policy was instituted at our high school. We were used to running free. Out of four hundred some students, I was ranked thirty-second at graduation (which I did not attend). I've always wondered what I would have been ranked if I'd bothered to go to school regularly. I might have been the valedictorian!

    3. Shoot, girl. You would have been a GREAT valedictorian!

  14. never been to my reunion but I do see my fave friends every time I'm back east. My father at age 84 - their class meets every year now for lunch - I think there are 10 hardy souls. No doubt your grandkids are having the BEST SUMMER ever with you folks. They are so cute, and that's a lot of energy to harness. Keep having fun. (and I'd love to visit that museum). Happy Weekend!

    1. I think seeing the people who were actually your FRIENDS sounds a lot better than hanging out with a whole mess of people you can barely remember...

      It is totally cool that your father is still meeting with his classmates. Talk about long friendships! The classmate I most want to spend that many years with is the one I married. :)

      Happy weekend to you, too!

  15. hahaha they've got you beat.

    Pffft to any reunion at my sea. If I haven't talked to them in 10 years, I have no want to talk to any of them now.

    1. Yeah, they had me on the floor like a beached whale. :)

      None of our kids have gone to any of their reunions, either. Since their spouses all went to different schools and graduated in different years, I doubt if any of them ever will, either.

  16. I've never been to any of my high school reunions. But I did attend my hubby's once. We were still young, must have been the first (He hubby, had a blast). I attended school in one town for 10 years, then mom threw me out and I ended up at another school in another state in my 11th year. The adjustment was lousy and I made zero friends, then dad threw me out and I ended up in yet another state and another school. I've lost track off the friends that meant anything and have no desire to go to any reunion except for the one that would be held for the high school I left in the 10th grade, but that ain't going to happen. LOL Great poem, but yeah, I'm still climbing that hill!
    Love hearing you talk of the grand kids, my two boys tell me no, ain't going to happen! My most cherished memories are of the time I spent with my grandparents! Precious!
    Lovely post!

    1. You're breaking my heart, girl. I hate that you went through that with your parents.

      Ya never know. Your boys may change their minds about having children. Our younger son wasn't all that sure he wanted to have kids, and he has NINE of 'em!

    2. I've thrown out a lot of stuff, but there's no way I would ever throw out any of my kids, no matter how aggravating they might be.

    3. Agreed. But some of our kids' families threw them out... GOOD kids, too. Just like I'm sure our Yolanda was.

  17. This was funny Susan, I never go to those reunions either... just a lot of fake people ... we weren't friends then so no need to know how they are doing today... That poem is so very true.. it's a little bit of all of us and how we should never judge each other because no one knows how that person would turn out. People back then had me pigeon hold and they were wrong, that's life.

    It looks like you had a lot of fun with the grandchildren... mine are coming for a visit in August and I can barely wait... my grandson is a doll (he's only 5) and calls me his bootful nana... I love that boy... lol and my granddaughter is only a year, so still super sweet.. haha..

    Have a great weekend xox

    1. Somehow, I think after this many years, the "fake" has worn off most of us. By now, I think most of us have a better understanding about what's important than what we did back then.

      Oh, I know you'll have a fantastic time with your grandchildren. They're both at such good ages. :)

      You have a super weekend, too.

  18. What a fun post. I have never been to a reunion. My former classmates from uni did one a few years ago but it being in Miami and me living in London, well, it was nigh impossible for me to go. I don't know what my expectations would be, to be honest. I imagine that a few of us have changed (what with children and partners and responsibilities) and others maybe not. :-)

    And The Stones played in Cuba recently! :-)

    Greetings from London.

    1. I don't know if anyone knows what to expect at a reunion. Anyone expecting those old pals to be unchanged is bound to be disappointed, though. (And if they ARE the same, that's kinda pitiful...)

      YAY, Stones!!!

      Greetings back atcha.

  19. Looks like we are the same age, as my 50th is this year as well. I won't be able to make it, and I really would have liked to. I haven't gone to a single one of my high school reunions. I actually wanted to attend this one.

    1. If you wanted to go to your reunion, I'm sorry you won't be able to make it. My hubby offered to take me, but I just couldn't get enthused about that long drive, and he wasn't all that excited at the prospect of going at all. Maybe next time.

      Cool on us being the same age. :)

  20. Fun post I can relate to. :) I have not gone to any of my high school reunions, but in 2017, it will be time for my 40th! Yikes. I doubt I'll go to it either, though.

    1. If you had any close friends which you haven't seen in a lot of years, it might be worthwhile to go to at least one reunion. Even at our 30th, we were horrified at how many of our classmates had already died, and a whole lot more of them are gone now.

  21. I keep saying this is the best post and then you come up with a new one that is the best. You're killing me here !
    The poem and then Smarticus email was so funny.
    Thank You for the giggles I needed this.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

    1. HA! Thanks. Always happy to provide a giggle or two.

      Cheers back atcha!

  22. You look like a very cool grandma, and your grand kids are just adorable in their karate attire!

    I've never been to any of my high school reunions, though I'd love to go to. But I'd have to fly all day and then drive some and... So I never went.

    That dentist joke is fantastic!

    1. Thanks. Our grandkids are the cool ones. :)

      Oh yeah, going to a reunion would be a MAJOR ordeal for you. Who knows? Maybe a trip to Germany can coincide with your reunion one of these years.

      Glad you liked the joke. I thought it was a hoot, too.

  23. Yay! What a post! Loved reading!

  24. What beautiful grandchildren!! You are so blessed. I would have made the same choice and stayed with the kiddos. Kids amaze me. They're like, miniature humans. LOL.

    I've been to most of my class reunions. I only live twenty minutes from my alma mater and since we were a small school, it's more like a family reunion. Much less pressure in small town life.

    1. Thanks. Yeah, I know how blessed we are. Some of our "miniature human" grandchildren are taller than I am! (They're all growing up way too fast.)

      Oh wow. That's super. If we still lived in our old hometown, I'm sure we would have attended all of our reunions, too.

  25. Funny stuff from Smarticus. I've never been to a reunion. I admit I look at the pics online to see what I missed.

    1. We looked at some posted pictures and videos from our 50th reunion, too. Almost like being there!

  26. Hi Susan, Your grandchildren are adorable, and they are so lucky to have you! I'm sure you kept them laughing the whole trip! I enjoyed the clever reunion poem - so many rhymes, and the list your hubby shared! It is truly spot on! I'm glad you chose the right reunion to attend!


    1. Thanks, kiddo. I know we sure are lucky to have THEM!

  27. So I assume that the kids' karate instructor is now teaching them how to break their own bones in self-defense?

    We've never attended a high school reunion. Have no desire to. Thanks to Facebook, anyone worth keeping up with we've already kept up with. Plus, seeing some of our classmates look like they're old enough to be our dads is depressing. We definitely look younger than our age. That joke you posted reminded me of one time I went out to lunch with some coworkers. Two of them ran to the bar to order some drinks, and that left this female coworker and myself as the only ones sitting at the table. The server that came by saw us and exclaimed to me, "Awww, it's so nice that you took your mom out to lunch!" My coworker looked horrified, but didn't say anything.

    Yeah, that coworker was only 2 years older than I was.

    Also, we both just wanted to say thank you for that killer review! Not just because you liked it, but because it was so well thought out and completely honest ...Well, except for the last part. Ahmad is clearly NOT a terrorist. :)

    (Oh, and thank you for introducing "old fartessa" into our collective vocabulary)

    1. Nah, as far as I know, the kids' instructors aren't teaching them anything bone-breaking. :)

      I feel for your co-worker. Some people have mistaken my poor hubby as my father before, too. Matter of fact, when my father saw Smarticus the first time, he thought I was dating an older man.

      My pleasure. I'm glad you liked the review. Not a terrorist, huh? Yeah, right. Ever see Jeff Dunham's "I KEEL you!" Achmed? I think he and Ahmad may be related...

      HA! Again, my pleasure. I've called myself an old fartessa for a long time. :) Also, SOB, for sassy old broad. :)

  28. Looks and sounds like you had one heck of great time!!!! Old farts? Girl. You look amazing

    1. We did have a super time, you sweet talker, you.

  29. Oh, my! I had fun reading this post! You are definitely not old, Susan!

  30. I don't go to my high school reunions either. I think your time was better spent with your grandkids.

    And YES, the Rolling Stones look EXACTLY like that!

    1. For sure. A reunion with the kiddies is ALWAYS fun!

      HA! Yeah, they do look like they. (Poor things.) But they still sound the same!

  31. I haven't been to any of my class reunions. They did a poor job with the ten year one and the 20 year is right around the corner, but at the same time it's on the other side of the country. I'm pretty sure I won't be there. It sounds awkward anyway.

    1. Yeah, those long-distance reunions make attending a lot more difficult, so I understand. But based on our 30th reunion, which we did attend, it wasn't the least bit awkward. We had a blast!