Thursday, January 9, 2014


We still have stories for you, but as we round up pairs and submission forms, we will take a brief hiatus.

We look forward to bringing you more stories beginning 

Saturday, February 15th!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

High School Fashion Is Painful

Nancy, 80, and Helga, 79, reminisce about the literal and figurative pains of high school fashion.

Bad Hair Day - Helga, 79

My sister, Rosemarie, had read about a new beauty rinse for after shampooing your heair.  She was eager to try it, and she talked me into it.

“You must be kidding,” I said.  “I heard of lemon rinses or vinegar, but beer?”

“Sure.  It’s especially beneficial.”

Very soon after that, she sneaked into the kitchen to sneak some bottles away from my stepfather’s stash.

“What are you girls doing in the bathroom for such a long time?” My mother knocked at the bathroom door.

“Oh, we’re just doing our hair, Mom!” we shouted back, pouting more beer over our heads and licking the liquid that had spilled over our faces away with our tongues.

“Did you bring the hair curlers with you?” I asked Rosemarie, wobbling on my feet a little.  I felt kind of dizzy and the beer smell coming from my hair was really strong now.

After I rolled up my hair in rollers, I turned on the hand-held hairdryer and blew the warm air right over my head.  My dizziness grew worse, and I felt kind of tipsy.

My sister seemed to get infected, too, by this special hair rinse and started to giggle.

My hair was dry by then, and I tried to take the curlers out of my hair.  But my fingers were all of a sudden very clumsy.

I touched my hairdo, but it was hard as a board.  I couldn’t even comb it out with a come, but the cork-screw curls sprang back like wires.  I cried.  I looked horrible.

“Are you sure you read right that this beer rinse was good for your hair?” I wailed, pulling on the hard locks.

“Well, maybe we should have followed the beer rinse with more warm water rinses,” my sister admitted.

School Days - Nancy, 80

When I entered high school in the fall of 1948, Christian Dior was already famous as a clothes designer.  His "New Look" had taken the fashion world by storm in February 1947.  Women's clothing was more feminine, featuring sloping shoulders, a full bust, and a cinched-in waist above full, long skirts.  Seeing other girls wearing the long, full skirts prompted me to tell my mother I needed new skirts so I would fit in.  Mom disagreed, probably because she couldn't afford to buy me a new wardrobe.  Besides, as she firmly stated, the clothes I had were in good condition.  It really bothered me when it was time for the class of 1951 to pose for a group picture, and I--in my just below the knees jumper--was put in the middle of the front row, where everyone could see I was not dressed in the newest fashion.  Somehow I survived, and although I have followed style trends through the years, I no longer care that I am not on the cutting edge of fashion.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Helga, 79, and Bonnie, 69, recount the changes time makes.

Who’s in the Mirror Behind the Door – Bonnie, 69

I walked past the mirror, and what did I see?
Someone looking back at me!
Who is this lady?  I’m not sure.
She lives in the mirror behind the door.

I look and look and I can see.
This lade kinda looks like me.
She’s older though, of that I’m sure.
The lady in the mirror behind the door.

Time Will Tell! - Helga, 79

T i m e - just a snap of fingers in evolution.
              The only thing to count on in revolution.
              Time's fascination and obsession,
              Entertaining plaything and possession.
              Perpetual is the search of time.

T i m e - keepers are sun-dialed, spring-wound, never static,
              Mechanical, technological and automatic.
              Atomic time is accurate precision.
              Time is computerized, waterproofed acquisition,
              Inventive is the pendulum of time!

T i m e's enigma undetected,
              Painstakingly researched and dissected.
              Time's carved in bedrock and in trees,
              In sand dollars, urchins of the seas.
              Hidden is the very depth of time!

T i m e - light the fundamental measure,
              Future revealing at telescopic leisure,
              Chronology of past and present,
              Illuminating, iridescent.
              In the universe - time and light are one!

T i m e - lost forever, never recovered.
              Time's money, teacher and no lover.
              Time heals all wounds and wounds all heels,
              Is always in motion, an eternal wheel.


Monday, January 6, 2014


Roseann, 61, and Linda, 52, share their memories of influential teachers in their lives.

Me and Miss Pero - Linda, 52

Me and Miss Pero

Were to meet at the Junior/Senior High School
Me, a Seventh Grader
Her, a Seventh & Eighth Grade Geography Teacher.
The student grapevine rumors were "Pero is mean & tough."
Looks like this year is going to be rough.

The bell rang for my second period class.
As I made my way down the hall. 
"Pero" looked about ten feet tall!
In reality, she was quite small.
She greeted me with a smile
As my eyes looked down at the tile.
Oh, how big is her room,
And I am filled with dreaded gloom.

The bell rings signaling second period is over.
She's not bad...I think I like her.
The days that follow prove the rumors wrong.
As, because of her teaching, I became strong.

One day as I entered her class,
Things all changed with a surprising blast.
Miss Pero said, "I saw you brought your friends with you today."
Oh, good I need relief from this bad scene.
For today I wore a gathered skirt,
Made by my mother's hands.
Not from a fabric roll, but from an old feed sack.
The background was deep blue.
With a border print of old hounds sitting all around,
As if calling attention to every passerby.

All I want is to get through the day unnoticed.
No attention to me.
But that was not to be.
For Miss Pero greeted me, "I see you brought your friends with you today."
Although I didn't want to be seen, she was very keen.
She saw that I was embarrassed by her greeting.

From that day forth, she took the extra step
To take me under her wing.
She encouraged me to excel,
At the sound of that second bell.

I learned more than just geography that year.
She taught me I had value.
For without my knowledge,
Miss Pero entered my geography project in the Buhl Science Fair.
I was awarded a second place ribbon in front of the whole
School (seventh to twelfth grades).
I was stunned and not with a gun.
But by the action of Miss Pero, she proved to be my hero.

Again in the eighth grade, she helped me find my voice.
And it wasn't by my choice.
There was a vote taken by the teachers and my peers
For a student to receive the American Legion Award that year.
As the recipient, I was to give a speech on Memorial Day
at the cemetery on the hill.
Oh, that gave me such a chill.

The crowd would contain the whole marching band,
Veterans of several wars, and many spectators too.
Again I was facing the big guns (just a pun).

Miss Pero spent her spare time with me after school and
At lunch, teaching me how to publicly speak.
I was such a geek.
I memorized John McCrae's poem:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

...The torch: be yours to hold it high
If you break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
And Miss Pero really put me through the drill.
"Breathe here.  Raise your voice there.  Lower it here.
Look around, not at the ground." (Inflection was the direction!)
All the while, Miss Pero munched on celery sticks or bananas
Covered with peanut butter.  This was strange to me,
But, oh, gee...
Miss Pero was doing this for me.
I often wondered why
She would spend her lunch,
Teaching me just so...

Seems I learned much from her.
I hope I made her proud
Because Miss Pero taught me more
Than just speaking to the crowd.
I hope someday to see her again,
And be able to thank her much
For taking a shy, self-conscious girl
And growing her up.

Two Very Different Teachers - Roseann, 61

For second grade, the school district moved me from Center to Renton Elementary School.  Mrs. T. was my teacher, and I learned to tell time.  She used a wind-up, Big Ben face clock on her desk and taught us by moving the hands.  She used to read from the Bible and pray first thing in the morning, but I didn't understand the old-fashioned words.  I felt uncomfortable.  I could not relate the words in the book she was reading to the personal faith my mother had taught me.  This was 1958, so she also drilled us on what to do in case of a nuclear attack.  "Everyone kneel under your desk and cover your head with your hands," she barked at us.  She lived close by in the Renton community, and one day she complained about the paperboy walking across her lawn because he was ruining her grass.  "I will turn you over to the Communists if you don't behave," she threatened us.  I feared her.  One time she cracked my knuckles with a brown wooden ruler for some offense I don't remember.  Another time the classroom got very quiet, and, when I looked up, she was walking down the aisle toward my desk.  I must have been concentrating on a book or paper when the rest of the class saw her look at me.  She didn't say a word but reached under my chair and pulled my legs from where one had been crossed behind the other.  She had warned me about this once or twice, but I guess I was in the habit of sitting that way and didn't realize I had done it again.  I felt my face turn red, and I was humiliated.

Fourth grade was also spent in Renton School, and I had a wonderful teacher named Mrs. M., another gray-haired lady who was patient and warm.  I loved her, and she was the only teacher to whom I gave a Christmas present.  I convinced my dad to buy her the beautiful porcelain bowl I picked out at Woolworth's.  White with painted flowers in red and blue, trimmed with gold around the edges, the bowlwas worthy of a special dais in her china cabinet--in my opinion at least.  "Thank you very much, Roseann, for the lovely bowl.  It is the perfect size for my salads.  Sincerely, Mrs. M.," her thank you note read.  I was worried that the paint would chip after exposure to vinegar and a bit disappointed that she didn't preserve this bowl for display only, but I did not say anything to her.