Total Pageviews

Monday, April 25, 2016

KATTISH - Loss of Amber

Amber with flowers

No lap kat she
an independent breed
no less companion
hung around . . . nearby
ten years.
Amidst the dark of this last night
no more
left earth as softly as a shadow
gone forever
leaving this exquisite pain of loss
decade of memories
much easier to hold.

Street Doctor – China 1981

China Doctor - Name 

Still looking through old 35 mm slides.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Amber & Ellie – 4 A Blue Ribbon Day

Amber & Ellie – 4 A Blue Ribbon Day

Ellie Ribbon 
Practice pays off.  I won three ribbons today. Best Bitch! They got that right. I am so happy, and a bit tired. It’s not easy being a show dog. I suppose Hollywood will be calling before long, and glamour magazines. Amber will probably be jealous, but that’s show biz.

Ellie Ribbons 

I got a big kiss from the houseman.
Ellie Kiss 2

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Amber & Ellie - 3

Ellie Haircut  A 

I have to tell you what happened today. I was taken to the beauty parlor . . . again. I don’t mind too much, but the catty remarks start to get to me after a while. “She needs more hair on her legs,” the stylist said. Can you believe it? Tell me girls, which one of you wants more hair on her legs?

Ellie Woried  A 

This whole trip makes me nervous. It can only mean one thing. Another beauty pageant. I’m not sure I’m ready. Amber says I’ll be okay, but what does she know — just a cat. I’ve been nervous all day, but trying to chill out.

Varieties of Truth

Varieties of Truth

Absolute truth                              Acceptable truth                              Affordable truth
Alienable truth                             Awful truth                                      Basic truth
Biological truth                           Bitter truth                                       Burden of truth
Comparative truth                       Conclusive truth                              Constructive truth
Contradictory truth                     Cosmic truth                                    Costly truth
Cryptic truth                               Damned truth                                   Deceptive truth
Disgusting truth                          Dismal truth                                     Empirical truth
Ethical truth                                Evasive truth                                    Ever-present truth
False truth                                   Glaring truth                                    God’s own truth
Gospel truth                                Half truth                                         Historical truth
Honest truth                                Horrible truth                                  Imaginary truth
Inner truth                                   Ironic truth                                      Incontrovertible truth
Joyful truth                                 Liar’s truth                                       Liberating truth
Living truth                                 Mysterious truth                             Mythical truth
My truth                                      Naked truth                                     Natural truth
Noble truth                                  Obvious truth                                  One and only truth
Painful truth                                Partial truth                                     Pitiful truth
Plain truth                                    Political truth                                  Popular truth
Practical truth                              Pragmatic truth                               Prevailing truth
Questionable truth                       Realizable truth                              Real truth
Recognizable truth                      Righteous truth                               Scientific truth
Shocking truth­                             Simple truth                                    Spiritual truth
Tabloid truth                                Terrifying truth                               Theological truth
Timely truth                                 Twisted truth                                  Ugly truth
Ultimate truth                              Unacceptable truth                         Unavoidable truth
Unbelievable truth                       Undeniable truth                            Understandable truth
Unfortunate truth                         Universal truth                               Unparalleled truth
Unpleasant truth                          Unprecedented truth                       Unquestionable truth
Untold truth                                 Variable truth                                  Welcomed truth

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Bushido Steel 2

Saamuri 2

Bushido Steel

Only the winter wind surrounds me.
soldiers do not come to look for death

My sword’s calligraphy is perfect.

Brush of steel
red ink on white snow.

Published: Pirene’s Fountain - 2014

Saw this old photo today and cant resist posting this poem again.

Bukowski – On Writing 1

Buckowski Pic

Bukowski summed up his philosophy in a letter he wrote in 1963: “Somebody […] asked me: ‘What do you do? How do you write, create?’ You don’t, I told them. You don’t try. That’s very important: ‘not’ to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It’s like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks you make a pet out of it.
I wish it came as frequently to me as it did him.

Monday, April 18, 2016

San Francisco Earthquake - This Day 1906

110 Years Ago


Except From Writer's Almanac:

The first foreshocks were felt at 5:12 in the morning, and the main quake struck four minutes later. It was caused by a rupture of 300 miles of the San Andreas Fault, and it lasted for about a minute. It was felt from southern Oregon to south of Los Angeles, and as far east as Nevada; even though it's known as the "San Francisco earthquake" because of the damage it caused there, that was by no means the only place where strong shocks were felt. As devastating as the quake was, the fires were worse. The rupture of gas lines caused the first of them. The water mains also ruptured, so there was no water to fight the fires. In desperation, fire fighters blew up buildings with gunpowder in the hope that they would serve as firebreaks. Unfortunately, it didn't work, and the gunpowder they used just added to the inferno.

Members of the American armed forces were first on the scene; many didn't even wait for government orders. They guarded buildings, discouraged looting, distributed supplies, and pulled people out of the burning wreckage. Despite their best efforts, at least 3,000 people died, and more than half of San Francisco's 400,000 residents were left homeless. Survivors dragged trunks full of their worldly belongings up the steep hills of the city and camped out at the Presidio. Officials hurried to rebuild in time for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, which the city was to host in 1915. They created an elegant new city, but in their haste, built some buildings that were less sound than the ones that had been destroyed by the quake.

Opera superstar Enrico Caruso was in San Francisco the morning of the quake; he had performed Carmen at the Mission Opera House the night before. A couple of months later, he published his eyewitness account: "But what an awakening! You must know that I am not a very heavy sleeper - I always wake early, and when I feel restless I get up and go for a walk. So on the Wednesday morning early I wake up about 5 o'clock, feeling my bed rocking as though I am in a ship on the ocean, and for a moment I think I am dreaming that I am crossing the water on my way to my beautiful country. And so I take no notice for the moment, and then, as the rocking continues, I get up and go to the window, raise the shade and look out. And what I see makes me tremble with fear. I see the buildings toppling over, big pieces of masonry falling, and from the street below I hear the cries and screams of men and women and children."

Novelist and journalist Jack London was also in San Francisco when the quake struck. He wrote an essay about the disaster: "Not in history has a modern imperial city been so completely destroyed. San Francisco is gone. Nothing remains of it but memories and a fringe of dwelling houses on its outskirts. Its industrial section is wiped out. Its business section is wiped out. Its social and residential section is wiped out. The factories and warehouses, the great stores and newspaper buildings, the hotels and the palaces of the nabobs, are all gone. Remains only the fringe of dwelling houses on the outskirts of what was once San Francisco. [...] All the cunning adjustments of a twentieth century city had been smashed by the earthquake. The streets were humped into ridges and depressions, and piled with the debris of fallen walls. The steel rails were twisted into perpendicular and horizontal angles. The telephone and telegraph systems were disrupted. And the great water-mains had burst. All the shrewd contrivances and safeguards of man had been thrown out of gear by thirty seconds' twitching of the earth-crust."

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The White Cat and The Monk

“If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially some piece of writing or paper-work,” Muriel Spark counseled, “you should acquire a cat.” Long before the cat became a modern literary muse, a monk whose identity remains a mystery immortalized his beloved white cat named Pangur. Sometime in the ninth century, somewhere in present-day southern Germany, this solitary scholar penned a beautiful short poem in Old Irish, titled “Pangur Bán” — an ode to the parallel pleasures of man and feline as one pursues knowledge and the other prey, and to how their quiet companionship amplifies their respective joys.

White Cat & The Monk

I and Pangur Ban my cat,
‘Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
‘Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill-will,
He too plies his simple skill.

‘Tis a merry task to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

 Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur’s way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

‘Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
‘Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den,
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our task we ply,
Pangur Ban, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Poem by Su Shi - The Immortal By The River

The Immortal By The River - Poem by Su Shi

Drinking through the night at East Slope,
still drunk on waking-up,
I return home around midnight.
My house-boy snores like thunder, no answer to my knock.

Leaning on my stick, listening to the river,
I wish this body belonged to someone else.
When can I escape this turmoil?

In the deep night, with the wind still, the sea calm;
I'll find a boat and drift away,
to spend my final years afloat,
trusting to the river and the sea.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Amber & Ellie – 2

I was just reading Amber’s last blog comments and feel in need to clear up what may be some misconceptions about me.

Ellie Talking 

I am more than just a show girl. As some of you may, or may not know, I write poetry about nature, and  have spent much of this winter tracking the illusive and highly dangerous Swedish moose. Amber doesn’t even go outside during the winter months because the snow gets her paws wet. She’s such a pussy!

Ellie & Moose 

I’m sorry this is so short, but I must get back to spring training. I will be entering another show & contest later on this month.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Observing Sweden – Malmö Urged

Excerpt From:
Published: 11 Apr 2016 07:16 GMT+02:00
Malmö urged to crack down on radicalism

Sweden’s national co-ordinator against extremism has criticized Malmö for not doing enough to stop jihadism, after a 23-year-old from the city was arrested by Belgian police on terror suspicions.

Osama Krayem, a Swedish national, was one of the five men arrested in police raids on Friday alongside Mohammed Abrini, one of the chief suspects in the deadly attacks on Brussels airport.The 23-year-old is the son of Syrian exiles from Rosengård in Malmö, where football legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic also grew up, a troubled suburb with a reputation for crime and ethnic segregation.
Mona Sahlin, who has been appointed by the government to develop and implement a national strategy to counter extremism, accused the southern city of having closed its eyes to warning signs.

“There are no municipalities which can guarantee that no resident will go to join a terrorist movement, but Malmö belongs to those municipalities that should have an action plan and a strategy,” Mona Sahlin told Swedish public broadcaster SVT.
She added that civic institutions such as the police, social services and schools need to work closely together with preventative work to detect people at risk of becoming radicalized at an early stage.

“If a person goes so far in their extremism that they are ready to blow themselves up, it is incredibly difficult to defend yourself against that. But finding that person in time before they have been radicalized is possible, and that’s why preventative work at council level is so important,” she said.
But a Malmö councilor hit back at Sahlin on Monday.
“I don’t understand her criticism,” Andreas Schönström, who represents the center-left Social Democrat party in the city, told the TT news wire.

“There are very few evidence-based methods for how to reach individuals. We have plenty of knowledge when it comes to working on a society and group level, but we have a hard time reaching the individuals,” he said.

Belgian prosecutors, who spent the weekend questioning Krayem and several other suspects, said on Saturday that he is the man caught on surveillance cameras speaking briefly to Khalid El Bakraoui moments before the latter blew himself up in a subway station in Brussels on March 22nd. They told the AFP news wire that Krayem is the product of a “now classic cocktail of social marginalization, ideological radicalization” and criminality.

In Malmö, people close to him described him as an ordinary but idle young man from a working class neighborhood who took part in petty crime in between bouts of drug taking and worship.
But they also described how he adopted more radical values and grew his beard in the months before leaving for Syria to allegedly wage jihad in 2015. Before he left, he had “tried to recruit” worshipers attending the same mosque, Ranstorp said.

In my opinion:
As far as I have been able to learn, only 1 in 4 immigrants are able to find work here. They end up 7 to a room in ghettos like Rosengård where police don’t dare to go, and turn to crime and drugs – of course. This happens everywhere in the world where there is poverty and desperation, regardless of race. Still more incoming here in Europe. It doesn’t look like an invasion until fences go up. Children are used as shields. See Greece. Sweden is doing its best, at staggering expense. No end in sight.

A few Swedes continue to travel to Syria to train with radial groups, and are allowed to return. Hard to understand this. Maybe authorities are unaware of reasons? Why would anyone want to spend a month or two in Syria? They give false travel destinations I suppose. If only one in a thousand immigrants become terrorists, that would mean about 300 are here already.  Just sayin’.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Postcard From India – Tiruchirappalli

Trichy Finished - 7 April
Postcard From India

Morning comes
the only difference here from night
is light
as life goes on all hours
the nights are cooler.

Town is self described – Industrial
with endless slums of palm leaf shanty rooms
darkened from years of dust and smoke
spectrum reduced to shades of black and tan.

Streets are infested by a seething anthill mass
of human form
each making desperate attempts
to maintain life
they start out early
wheelwrights, potters, weavers, fortune tellers
rickshaws, cows and business men in shabby brown suits
office workers.

Labor stops at noon
the sun directly overhead
equator’s shimmering, deadly heat.
the people slow
a starving dog finds a convenient place to die
he will be taken care of in the night
by other starving dogs
nothing is wasted here.

Late afternoon
the pace picks up again
returning with the early evening shadows
night is merciful
life seems more possible
another day survived
tomorrow much the same
more endless hours on sun baked earth
the only possible escape
beyond the reach of man.

Trichy Temp

Stone monoliths extend
into the sky
grasping for sovereigns of the universe
gigantean sculptured pyramid
spans acres
gods and demons
pose at entrances to temple labyrinths
no waiting
better than a hundred priests inside
one is expected to leave coins.

Pilgrims walk barefoot across stones worn smooth
by ancestors, their fathers, father’s, fathers
deities in every corner
some are crumbling and ignored
almost forgotten in these modern times
divinities and devils find their last abode in Trichy.

Land of fortune tellers, jungles, ancient  asmaras
spells and curses
white men feel oppressed here
out of touch
within this distant world.
India Temple AB

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Observing America – Harry & Bess

Harry & Bess
(This seems unreal.)

Harry Truman was a different kind of President. He probably
made as many, or more important decisions regarding our
nation’s history as any of the other 42 Presidents preceding
him. However, a measure of his greatness may rest on what
he did after he left the White House.

The only asset he had when he died was the house he lived
in, which was in Independence Missouri. His wife had inherited
the house from her mother and father and other than their
years in the White House, they lived their entire lives there.

When he retired from office in 1952 his income was a U.S.
Army pension reported to have been $13,507.72 a year.
Congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and
personally licking them, granted him an ‘allowance’ and,
later, a retroactive pension of $25,000 per year.

After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and
Bess drove home to Missouri by themselves. There was
no Secret Service following them.

When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he
declined, stating, “You don’t want me. You want the
office of the President, and that doesn’t belong to me.
It belongs to the American people and it’s not for sale.”

Even later, on May 6, 1971, when Congress was
preparing to award him the Medal of Honor on his
87th birthday, he refused to accept it, writing, “I don’t
consider that I have done anything which should be
the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise.”

As president he paid for all of his own travel expenses
and food.

Modern politicians have found a new level of success
in cashing in on the Presidency, resulting in untold
wealth. Today, many in Congress also have found a
way to become quite wealthy while enjoying the fruits
of their offices. Political offices are now for sale.

Good old Harry Truman was correct when he observed,
“My choices in life were either to be a piano player in a
whore house or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s
hardly any difference!”

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Observing Sweden – Killer Elk on Rampage

Moose New 

Photo: Marie Emitlöf/Image Bank Sweden

Elk gang terrorizes joggers in Swedish town
Excerpt from: The  Published: 03 Apr 2016 13:03 GMT+02:00

A gang of aggressive elk have so terrorized joggers in parks around the Swedish town of Halmstad that one has called on local authorities to intervene.
A series of women joggers have been ambushed over the last six months by elk bounding out of the undergrowth and charging towards them, with the latest attack taking place as recently as March.
“None of the people who live here think this is especially pleasant,” one of the’ victims, who was attacked while jogging in a disused quarry which is a popular local exercise spot, complained to the Hallands Posten newspaper. 

“There are many who have been have been so disturbed by the elk that they no longer feel free to move. I think that the municipality should do something about it.”
Goshia Weber, another of the victims, told the newspaper that she had feared she would be injured or even killed.

“The elk came rushing towards me. I could smell it and just saw the big muzzle,” she said.
She tripped and fell onto her stomach, forcing her to wait as the animal towered over her just meters away. “It was maybe only a minute or two, but it felt like an eternity,” she told the paper. “I had time to think that now it might trample me, and to ask myself ‘how much pain would that bring? Will I even survive?”

Roland Larsson, who is responsible for parks in the municipality, recommended that anyone who felt threatened by an elk should call the police. “They can be on the spot much faster than we can,” he said. “But we are also out and about checking on the situation.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Observing Sweden From Chicago

News we don’t hear here. An article in the Chicago Tribune

Here’s how the refugee crisis threatens Swedish social model

By Amanda Billner

A passenger train passes the makeshift shelters of migrants and asylum seekers at a temporary encampment in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2014. Bloomberg photo by Casper Hedberg)
In a Sweden grappling with an unprecedented inflow of refugees, many unthinkable things are becoming thinkable.

The government is now facing pressure to interfere in the sacrosanct labor market — where pay is traditionally set by employers and unions. The argument goes that Sweden needs a lower minimum wage to help create the thousands upon thousands of jobs needed to absorb the record inflow of people seeking refuge.

“The Swedish model was a competitive advantage when Sweden was a homogeneous industrial society,” said Andreas Bergh, an economist at the Research Institute of Industrial Economics. “But now it’s become an obstacle as no one really knows who should take responsibility for the changes that need to be made.”

Several cornerstones of the fabled Swedish model with free education and health care are also being put under the magnifying glass. The government has started a review of rent controls, negotiations that politicians normally stay out of.

Three of the opposition parties have become so worried about the bleak job prospects for migrants that they are prepared to legislate to lower wages. They have so far been rebuffed by the ruling Social Democrats and the largest opposition party, the Moderates. The collectively bargained minimum wages are among the highest in Europe at about 20,000 kronor ($2,468) a month.

The ruling Social Democrats say the model is robust enough to deal with the 250,000 migrants that have flooded into the 9.9 million-people nation over the past two years. But their concern is evident. In December, they erected border controls, ending an open-door policy.
“Politicians can’t stand with their arms crossed and do nothing,” said Mats Persson, a parliamentarian for the opposition Liberals. “There’s a high risk that the labor market parties won’t take the general public interest into account and that large groups will continue to be left outside the labor market. The government completely lacks a plan for how newly arrived refugees will be able to enter the labor market.”

Prime Minister Stefan Loefven, the former head of the metal workers’ union, says the opposition’s proposals constitute an attack on the Swedish model. He has vowed to safeguard the wage system and the welfare state. What Sweden needs, he says, is more welfare workers rather than lower salaries.
Strains are also showing in the tightly regulated housing market as the inflow of people exacerbates an acute housing shortage. The government and the opposition are holding talks on how to speed up building. An estimated 700,000 new homes will be needed over the next decade.

Reinhold Lennebo, head of the Property Federation, hopes the talks will be the starting point for a reform of the rent-control model. “We have gigantic demand for housing in Sweden but no one has an incentive to meet this demand,” he said. “Rent control puts a lid on the market.”
The influx of 70,000 children last year will also add to a severe shortage of teachers. Eight out of 10 elementary schools struggle to recruit staff, according to the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions.

To sustain the tax base and pay for these efforts, the overarching concern is getting immigrants faster into the labor market. But if Sweden’s record is anything to go by, it will be tough. Only about 25 percent of refugees that arrived over the past eight years now have a full time job.
Still, with the economy booming, fueled by negative interest rates and recovering exports, the labor market is showing greater demand. Unemployment among those born in Sweden is already low and there’s an increasing labor shortage in some sectors, according to Jesper Hansson, head of forecasting at the National Institute of Economic Research.

“The current employment numbers are a result of a quite deep downturn over the past 10 years,” said Hansson. “All else being equal, we should be more optimistic” about the employment prospects for refugees, he said.

Even so, the current wave is unprecedented and so is the political fallout. The nationalist, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats are polling at nearly 20 percent after winning 13 percent in the last election. A SKOP poll on Friday showed that a record number Swedes, or 64.4 percent, said that the country is going in the wrong direction.

In the end, tax increases may be needed. While the tax base will grow in the coming four years, costs will rise twice as fast, according to the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, SKL.
In Malmoe, Sweden’s third-largest city, population growth of especially school-aged children is expected to crimp tax revenue in relation to the population by 15 percent until 2030, according to the city’s long-term budget planner Mats Hansson.

“The pluses and minuses don’t add up,” he said. “That means we’ll need to consider what we see as welfare. The risk otherwise is that everything just gets 15 percent worse.”

No good deed goes unpunished.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Herb Caen's Birthday

Herb C Photo

It’s the birthday of San Francisco columnist Herb Caen, born in Sacramento (1916), whose column in the San Francisco Chronicle began in 1938, when he was 22, the year after the Golden Gate Bridge opened. He continued writing 1,000 words a day, six days a week, for almost 60 years – it was the longest-running column in American history. He coined the term “beatnik” in 1958, and he made the word “hippie” popular in the 1960s.
He said: “I’m going to do what every San Franciscan does who goes to Heaven. I’ll look around and say, ‘It’s not bad, but it ain’t San Francisco.'”

Herb Cean Clip

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Poet Ted Kooser

Excerpt from: Writer's Almanac

Ted Kooser was born in Ames, Iowa, in 1939. Like Wallace Stevens before him, he took a job in the insurance business, where he worked for many years. He would get up early and write poems for an hour and a half before he went to work. By the time he retired in 1999, Kooser had published seven books of poetry, including Not Coming to Be Barked At (1976), One World at a Time (1985), and Weather Central (1994). He resigned himself to being a relatively unknown poet, but he continued to write every morning. Then, in 2004, he got a phone call informing him that he had been chosen as poet laureate of the United States. He said: “I was so staggered I could barely respond. The next day, I backed the car out of the garage and tore the rear-view mirror off the driver’s side.”

Excerpt from an interview:

Where do the subjects of your poems come from? A strong sense of place is nearly always present.

All of my poems I really care about come from experiences I’ve had, things and people I’ve observed. Fiction has no place in my work. In this postmodern age I’m out of place, believing as I do that a poet is someone who actually witnesses something and truthfully reports back.

Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poems?

Yes, certainly. When I was young I subscribed to the idea that poetry was made up of elevated language, put forth in elegant forms like the sestina and villanelle and sonnet. Now I believe that poems are most effective with readers when they sound like everyday speech. Thus I moved from metrical verse over to free verse.

Can you talk about your poem “Splitting an Order,” which was recently featured on The Writer’s Almanac? It is also the title of your latest collection of poems. Can you speak about the book as a whole? How are the poems arranged? Did you enjoy the process of putting it together?

That poem had its origin when I watched an older couple in a restaurant, splitting a sandwich. I used it as my title for the book because many of those poems are about ways in which people help one another. The way my books come together is one poem at a time. I never have a plan. Day after day I try to write single poems as best I can, and then after the best of them have been in literary magazines, I spread them on the floor and shuffle them around until I feel satisfied with the arrangement. There’s the book

*          *          *

Kooser served as U.S. poet laureate from 2004 to 2006, one of the first poet laureates to be selected from the Great Plains, and during that time, his book Delights & Shadows (2005) won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. He also began a weekly newspaper column called “American Life in Poetry.” His goal was to introduce simple poems about ordinary subjects to people who might not otherwise read poetry. He lives on a 62-acre spread near Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife, Kathleen Rutledge. His latest collection, Splitting an Order, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2014.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Politics - 1

Token Quote

Observing America - The Last Ones

Children of the 30s & 40s “The Last Ones”
              A Short Memoir

Born in the 1930s and early 40s, we exist as a very special age cohort.  We are the “last ones.”  We are the last, climbing out of the depression, who can remember the winds of war and the war itself with fathers and uncles going off.  We are the last to remember ration books for everything from sugar to shoes to stoves. We saved tin foil and poured fat into tin cans.  We saw cars up on blocks because tires weren’t available.  My mother delivered milk in a horse drawn cart.
We are the last to hear Roosevelt’s radio assurances and to see gold stars in the front windows of our grieving neighbors.  We can also remember the parades on August 15, 1945: VJ Day.

We saw the ‘boys’ home from the war build their Cape Cod style houses, pouring the cellar, tar papering it over and living there until they could afford the time and money to build it out.
We are the last who spent childhood without television; instead imagining what we heard on the radio.   As we all like to brag, with no TV, we spent our childhood “playing outside until the street lights came on.”   We did play outside and we did play on our own.  There was no little league.

The lack of television in our early years meant, for most of us, that we had little real understanding of what the world was like.  Our Saturday afternoons, if at the movies, gave us newsreels of the war and the holocaust sandwiched in between westerns and cartoons.  Newspapers and magazines were written for adults.   We are the last who had to find out for ourselves.

As we grew up, the country was exploding with growth.   The G.I. Bill gave returning veterans the means to get an education and spurred colleges to grow. VA loans fanned a housing boom.


Pent up demand coupled with new installment payment plans put factories to work. New highways would bring jobs and mobility.  The veterans joined civic clubs and became active in politics.  In the late 40s and early 50’s the country seemed to lie in the embrace of brisk but quiet order as it gave birth to its new middle class.  Our parents understandably became absorbed with their own new lives.  They were free from the confines of the depression and the war.  They threw themselves into exploring opportunities they had never imagined.

We weren’t neglected but we weren’t today's all-consuming family focus.  They were glad we played by ourselves ‘until the street lights came on.’  They were busy discovering the post war world.
Most of us had no life plan, but with the unexpected virtue of ignorance and an economic rising tide we simply stepped into the world and went to find out.  We entered a world of overflowing plenty and opportunity; a world where we were welcomed.  Based on our naive belief that there was more where this came from, we shaped life as we went.

We enjoyed a luxury; we felt secure in our future.  Of course, just as today, not all Americans shared in this experience. The South was brutally segregated, depression poverty were deep rooted.  Polio was still a crippler.  The Korean War was a dark presage in the early 50s and by mid-decade school children were ducking under desks.   China became Red China.  Eisenhower sent the first ‘advisors’ to Vietnam.  Castro set up camp in Cuba and Khrushchev came to power.

We are the last to experience an interlude when there were no existential threats to our homeland.  We came of age in the late 40s and early 50s.  The war was over and the cold war, terrorism, climate change, technological upheaval, the Middle East, and perpetual economic insecurity had yet to haunt life with insistent unease.

Only we can remember both a time of apocalyptic war and a time when our world was secure and full of bright promise and plenty.   We experienced both.
We grew up at the best possible time, a time when the world was getting better not worse.
We are the ‘last ones.’
Author unknown