Tuesday, September 12, 2017

We Live in Two Worlds

Literally, my Dutch husband and I live in two worlds. Two times a year (Spring and Fall) we travel from rural southwest Louisiana to the very small progressive European country of The Netherlands. Most of our acquaintances here in the US have had very little travel experience outside of Louisiana, much less out of the US. Our acquaintances in The Netherlands or elsewhere in Europe have traveled in Europe (and some even to the US), but few stay with the "natives."

But we actually "live"in two places/two worlds.

For eleven years we have socialized with the senior citizens at the local Baptist church here in the States. In other words, we have lunch once a month with the 5-15 oldtimers who show up at the church fellowship hall to talk through the young preacher's lesson and then eat a potluck lunch.

Today one of the faithful "keenagers" at the church asked my hubby what church we attended in The Netherlands. When he said, "We don't," she freaked out. She immediately shuffled over to me at another table and said she had asked the wrong question. I laughed, since there are no wrong questions. Then she looked at me and asked, "What do you two do over there? (meaning The Netherlands) Oh, I guess they have television."

I am still laughing twelve hours later. But I promised to bring her photos of The Netherlands and our apartment in the renovated 1920's Dutch high school so that she can see that we actually "live" a whole lot better in Europe than we do here in The Deep South of the United States.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

What Are You? I am an American🇺🇸

Years ago my Dutch mother-in-law asked one of my teaching colleagues from The American School of the Hague the following question:"What are you?"

Henry and his lovely wife were both of Italian descent and had dark hair and olive complexion and had been stopped once or twice at immigration when traveling, according to Henry. As there were over 45 nationalities represented at the international school where we taught, what we were or what country we came from was never an issue.

My MIL had met this particular family before at our son's first birthday some ten years earlier. So now she was ready to ask the big question, "What are you?"

And Henry answered Ma's question just the way I expected he would.

"I am an American."

Friday, May 12, 2017

Advice to My Bachelor Son on Mother's Day Weekend

Marry the housekeeper.

No, I really mean it. Although Fox News says "Most men just want a woman who's nice," a woman who can clean up after you, your children, and your house is the woman you should marry. Unless, of course you can hire someone else to come in at least daily to do the dirty work.
Then a "nice" wife is just fine.

Makes me wonder why your father married me 37 years ago? I am definitely not the housekeeper I would like to be. And not the cook, either. Plus, I haven't always been so "nice."

But I am your mother and Pop's wife.
Happy Mother's Day to me and all of the other "nice" (but sometimes nasty) women.

Friday, April 14, 2017

How Can Your Boyfriend Rape You?

"Is LITERALLY one of the least intelligent questions anyone can ask... 😑"
Abigail Breslin

Sorry that my blog has taken on another light, Followers. For years and years my life has had another light, and now I must change the light bulb.

When I shared with my family and friends, and about a week later with my blog followers, my "story" (as some called it), that proverbial light bulb began to flicker. It was as if someone kept switching my thought process on and off. The "on" moments were as they had been for the last 47 years. The "off" moments were as dark as a burned out lamp bulb. My thoughts and remembrances were like bits of tiny bulb wire sizzling and burning to mere dust.

To complicate matters of light and dark, there were questions. Oh, very few questions from me, since I remember the date rape incident and the following handling of the pregnancy and adoption situation. But my dear friends and family had many questions. Most questions I can answer,  unbelievably void of much regret or emotion. The questions that bother me the most are the ones that doubt my honesty and sincerity.

That doubt is not new to me. Even during the four months that I was a resident at the home for unwed mothers in New Orleans in 1970, other residents and staff members doubted that I had been sexually attacked by my boyfriend. When I shared my "story" back then in a therapy session at the Home, many girls laughed. "Date rape? You must be crazy! That doesn't happen," they said. I do not even remember the therapist defending or standing up for me.

Research shows that most rapes are not committed by someone jumping out of the bushes. The
perpetrator is most of the time someone you know and even trust. Also, the Internet is cram packed with lists of Myths and Facts of Sexual Violence. (For Example)

I have hid my light under a bushel for long enough. My lamp may not be the same as the one in the religious song for children, but I will not keep quiet about sexual violence any longer. For years I would not utter the word Rape, since I had been taught that was a bad word. I heard it used for the first time at school when I was in the sixth grade. A girl in our class had been raped by her father. When I asked my mother what "rape" was, she blanched and told me to look it up in the dictionary.
What sixth grader in the early 1960's or even in 2017 would understand this definition?
"unlawful sexual intercourse or any othersexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim."

Well, I was the victim. But that will not shut me up.

Monday, April 10, 2017

We Are Our Choices (Jean-Paul Sartre)

It was not unusual for young men I knew in the early 1970's to boast that their former girlfriends had experienced an abortion or two. In most incidences I am aware of, the necessity for the abortion was the pregnancy caused by the said braggart.  It was almost as if the men of that time period were carving notches into something. It was not into a rifle handle or a bedpost. Perhaps it was their ego. Sort of a way of proving their manhood, their virility, but not of their fatherhood, unfortunately.

My mother told me many times that one particular aunt in the 1940's and 1950's had used extreme methods to make sure that she did not become pregnant. Sorry to say, I did not ask what those methods or potions were that kept pregnancy at a distance and perhaps eventually produced sterility for that dear auntie.

A woman has control of her body no matter what her partner, family, society, or humankind care to say about it. If our choices turn out well, we can take the credit. And if our choices are not so great, we suffer the most pain and agony.
In most cases alone.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Do You Have Aspergers?

Do you have Aspergers?
(Actually, I have some green ones in the fridge that need to be cooked tonight. Would you like them with a Hollandaise sauce or in a salad?)
Seriously, back to the original question. Do you have Aspergers? Not asparagus😳

The first time I ever heard about Aspergers was about 15 years ago when the mother of one of my students described her 7th grade son as "weird." I was shocked and thought that she was probably the rudest and cruelest mom I had encountered in all of my years of teaching. But she was dead right. He was "weird." And he was handsome and polite and always clean and neat. He was the best behaved kid that I taught, and he was writing a play script starring Joan Crawford and other actresses of her time. How many 7th graders that you know know enough about actresses in that time period to write a play? Much less write a play script about anything?

G's mother explained to me and the other teachers at our pre-school meeting that her son would wear the same type of clothes every single school day. A plaid buttoned-down shirt, khaki pants, brown loafers, and maybe a pullover sweater, if the weather was chilly. He would never have a casual chat with his peers, but would participate in a conversation with adults when he had no other choice. He would avoid almost all contact with peers unless that was part of the expected class participation. He would attend physical education classes, but mostly stand and watch the other students participate.

G. had Aspergers. Since that time that he was one of my students, I think that I have even recognized some Asperger symptoms in myself. Maybe that explains my "weirdness."

 You might want to know: "It was not until 1981 that Asperger’s syndrome (also called Asperger’s disorder) was acknowledged as a unique psychological condition."
"By the 1990s, Asperger’s was being diagnosed as a specific condition related to, but distinct from, autism. Generally speaking, autism is considered a more extreme pervasive developmental disorder, or PDD."
"However, those who live amongst us with Asperger’s are less likely to exhibit extreme behavior. If an early diagnosis of their condition is made and the people around them understand the syndrome, they have an excellent chance of remaining a productive and participatory member of their community."

And if you want to take a test to give yourself some more insight into characteristics of those of us who might have Aspergers, here is one test: http://aspergersquiz.com/

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Just Hang Up

Almost no one ever calls our landline phone except someone selling something or someone trying to scam us. I am almost tempted to unplug it.

Important message for today: Microsoft will not make unsolicited phone calls to help you with your computer. If you receive a phone call like this, hang up.

I hung up after I heard an Indian accent say,  "This is Microsoft."