WELCOME UNION #1- ADAMS CITY HIGH SCHOOL ALUMNI

Commerce City, Colorado

Humor and Inspiration

  
Important read - Thinking about attending reunion?
THE ONE YOU FEED.  A Cherokee elder was teaching a group of children about life. He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me... it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves." "One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." "The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith." "This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too." They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked. "Grandfather which one will win?" The elder simply replied... "The one you feed."

You can continue through life harboring thee old resentments about high school and never know who is truly wanting to see you and is always thinking about you or you can take the bull by the horns and go to a reunion to see if it is still like in HS. This will be only one weekend and if it is bad at least you can say you tried. I'm willing to bet the majority will enjoy the reunion and look forward to going back. You might have been shy Jane or nerdy Ned back then and if you've changed why not others. If you feed the first wolf and let the second one starve it will consume and destroy you. A friend of mine from the class of '66 fed the first wolf and he turned into a hateful spiteful person that I didn't even know. He eventually got to where he not only hated his CMs but everyone that couldn't help him in some way. Don't be like this, go to that reunion and see first hand if everyone has changed or not. Don't go with a closed mind but have an open, receptive mind. Talk to people and don't ignore Jane or Bill because they gave you a hard time in school. Instead give them a chance. Be the one to walk up to them and say, hello. Remember that one or two bad apples don't spoil the rest on the tree. When I went to my 20 year reunion I had a chip on my shoulder and only intended to talk to some old friends that lived out of state. When the senior class beauty walked up to me and hugged me, the first evening, she didn't know it but she had knocked down my defenses because I wasn't ready for that. Her comments kept the wall down and when she started calling others over and they did the same thing I couldn't get the walls back up. They continued to talk to me the entire weekend. Guys that I had problems with shook my hand and talked to me. I am now on my classes RC because I found out that almost everyone changes. I am also on the RC to defuse those that say, "It's the same ones that had things their way in HS doing it all again." Now me and others can tell them that one of their own is on the committee. In fact there are two of us from my crowd. Sure there are two or three that are still morons but I hit them where it hurts by treating them nice at the reunions. I don't give them any ammo to use on me by doing this. If any of you want to copy and use any or all of this feel free to do so I place no restrictions on anything that I post. If a post of mine can help one person, that's all it needs to do. By Joseph Kistka
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Third Grade  

Hi, I'm in third grade but it's not easy, it's a jungle gym out there. It's not school I mind, it's the principal of the thing. My teacher is tough.   In class we have to answer "Yes Sir" and “No Sir," and my teacher is a woman.  She's cross-eyed too, can't control her pupils.  In English she told us we couldn't use 2 words, one was cool and the other was lousy. I said,"Cool, tell us the lousy one first." In science, she asked, "what would happen if one of the stars in Orion's belt went out?" I told her his pants would fall down. She asked,” Why do astronauts wear space suits?" I said” To cover their space underwear." In geography she asked us to name 2 cities in Kentucky. I said "O.K., I'll name one Waldo and the other Heathcliff." And I don't like math at all, there's just too many problems. We eat in the cafeteria.   For lunch yesterday we had Roast Beef, bread and butter.   The roast beef was so tough it challenged me to a fight after school. The bread was so stale I took it to show and tell in history class.   I'd tell you about the butter but I don't want to spread it around. They gave us animal crackers for dessert.   On the outside of the box it said "Do not eat if seal is broken."   Of course ...   (these are third grade jokes, try to keep up) After lunch we had a test.   I used to hate taking tests. The teacher told us to treat them as a game. Now I hate games. I did get a 100 the other day, 50 in math and 50 in spelling. My teacher is so forgetful she gave us the same test 3 weeks in a row. If she does that one more time I might pass it. My teacher knows all the answers; of course, she makes up all the questions. But I do better than my best friend, Mike; he made the P.T.A.'s Most Wanted list. Mike's the biggest trouble maker in school, And his parent's never thought he'd amount to anything! Mike kept telling the teacher his dog ate his homework.  We didn't believe him until his dog graduated from Yale. When I get home from school, it takes me about an hour to do my homework, 2 hours if my father helps. I was having trouble in English.  My Dad bought me a cheap dictionary but I couldn't find the words to thank him. My dad bought me a thesaurus, too.   I thought that was very nice, pleasurable, and agreeable. I was doing geography homework and I asked him where I would find the Catskills. He said, "I don't know, your mother puts everything away!" When my father saw my report card, he said I was just like Abraham Lincoln, I went down in history. Thanks, and have a good day at school.

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CLASS REUNIONS  
Every ten 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 that 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, and It was held at a fancy hotel. We wined, and we dined, and we acted refined, (line missing) 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 lost all of 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'd 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 fortieth year, it was abundantly clear, We were definitely over the hill. Those who weren't dead had to crawl out of bed, And be home in time for their pill. And now I can't wait, they've set the date. Our forty-fifth is coming, I'm told. It should be a ball; they've rented a hall, At the Shady Rest Home for the old. Repairs have been made, on my hearing aid; my pacemaker's been turned up on high. My wheelchair is oiled, and my teeth have been boiled, And I've bought a new wig and glass eye. I’m feeling quite hearty, and I'm ready to party; I'm gonna dance 'till dawn's early light. It'll be lots of fun. I just hope that there's one other person who can make it that night.
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THE REUNION  
I had prepared for it like any intelligent woman would. I went on a starvation diet the day before, knowing that all the extra weight would just melt off in 24 hours, leaving me with my sleek, trim, high school girl body.

The last many years of careful cellulite collection would just be gone with a snap of a finger. I knew if I didn't eat a morsel on Friday, that I could probably fit into my senior formal on Saturday. Trotting up to the attic, I pulled the gown out of the garment bag, carried it lovingly downstairs, ran my hand over the fabric, and hung it on the door. I stripped naked, looked in the mirror, sighed, and thought "Well, okay, maybe if I shift it all to the back..." bodies never have pockets where you need them. Bravely, I took the gown off the hanger, unzipped the shimmering dress and stepped gingerly into it. I struggled, twisted, turned, and pulled and I got the formal all the way up to my knees... before the zipper gave out. I was disappointed. I wanted to wear that dress with those silver platform sandals again and dance the night away. Okay, one set back was not going to spoil my mood for this affair. No way! Rolling the dress into a ball and tossing it into the corner, I turned to Plan B -- The black velvet caftan.

I gathered up all the goodies that I had purchased at the drug store; the scented shower gel, the body building, and highlighting shampoo & conditioner, and the split-end killer and shine enhancer. Soon my hair would look like that girl's in the Pantene ads. Then the makeup -- the under eye "ain't no lines here" firming cream, the all-day face-lifting gravity-fighting moisturizer with wrinkle filler spackle, the all day "kiss me till my lips bleed, and see if this gloss will come off" lipstick, the bronzing face powder for that special glow... But first, the roll-on facial hair remover. I could feel the wrinkles shuddering in fear.

OK!!! time to get ready...I jumped into the steaming shower, soaped, lathered, rinsed, shaved, tweezed, buffed, scrubbed, and scoured my body to a tingling pink. I plastered my freshly scrubbed face with the anti-wrinkle, gravity fighting, "your face will look like a baby's butt" face cream. I set my hair on the hot rollers. I felt wonderful. Ready to take on the world. Or in this instance, my underwear. With the towel firmly wrapped around my glistening body, I pulled out the black lace, tummy-tucking, cellulite-pushing, ham hock-rounding girdle, and the matching "lifting those bosoms like they're filled with helium" bra. I greased my body with the scented body lotion and began the plunge. I pulled, stretched, tugged, hiked, folded, tucked, twisted, shimmied, hopped, pushed, wiggled, snapped, shook, caterpillar crawled, and kicked. Sweat poured off my forehead but I was done. And it didn't look bad. So I rested. A well deserved rest, too. The girdle was on my body. Bounce a quarter off my behind? It was tighter than a trampoline. Can you say, "Rubber baby buggy bumper butt?"

Okay, so I had to take baby steps, and walk sideways, and I couldn't move from my butt cheeks to my knees. But I was firm! Oh no...I had to go to the bathroom. And there wasn't a snap crotch. From now on, undies  gotta have a snap crotch! I was ready to rip it open and re-stitch the crotch with Velcro, but the pain factor from past experiments was still fresh in my mind. I quickly side stepped to the bathroom. An hour later, I had answered nature's call and repeated the struggle into the girdle. Now I was ready for the bra. I remembered what the saleslady said to do. I could see her glossed lips mouthing, "Do not fasten the bra in the front, and twist it around. Put the bra on the way it should be worn --straps over the shoulders. Then bend over and gently place both breasts inside the cups." Easy if you have four hands. But, with confidence, I put my arms into the holsters, bent over and pulled the bra down...but the boobs weren't cooperating. I'd no sooner tuck one in a cup, and while placing the other, the first would slip out.

I needed a strategy. I bounced up and down a few times, tried to dribble them in with short bunny hops, but that didn't work. So, while bent over, I began rocking gently back and forth on my heel and toes and I set 'em to swinging. Finally, on the fourth swing, pause, and lift, I captured the gliding glands. Quickly fastening the back of the bra, I stood up for examination. Back straight, slightly arched, I turned and faced the mirror, turning front, and then sideways. I smiled. Yes, Houston, we have lift up! My breasts were high, firm and there was cleavage! I was happy until I tried to look down. I had a chin rest. And I couldn't see my feet. I still had to put on my pantyhose, and shoes. Oh... why did I buy heels with buckles?.....  Then I had to pee again......  I put on my sweats, fixed a drink, ordered a pizza & skipped the reunion. 
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AGING  

To all who have been to class reunions!!!!!  I have been guilty of looking at others my own age and thinking. . Surely I cannot look that old.  I'm sure you've done the same.  You may enjoy this short story . . .

While waiting for my first appointment in the reception room of a new dentist; I noticed his certificate, which bore his full name. Suddenly, I remembered that a tall, handsome boy with the same name had been in my high school class some 40 years ago. Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought. This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was too old to have been my classmate. After he had examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended the local high school. "Yes," he replied. "When did you graduate?" I asked.  He answered, "In 1958." "Why, you were in my class!" I exclaimed. He looked at me closely and then asked, "What did you teach?" 
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DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN?  

A... all the girls had ugly gym uniforms?
B... it took five minutes for the TV warm up?
C... nearly everyone's Mom was at home when the kids got home from school?
D... nobody owned a purebred dog?
E... when a quarter was a decent allowance?
F... you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny?
G. your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces?
H... all your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done every day and wore high heels?
I... you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time? And you didn't pay for air? And, you got trading stamps to boot?
J... laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box?
K... it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents?
L... they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed. .and they did?
m.. when a 57 Chevy was everyone's dream car...to cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarine races, and people went steady?
N... no one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked?
O... lying on your back in the grass with your friends and saying things like "That cloud looks like a.", and playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game?
P... stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger?
q.. And with all our progress...........don't you just wish, just once, you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace............and share it with the children of today?
R... When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home? Basically we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we survived because their love was greater than the threat.
Who can still remember Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Laurel and Hardy, Howdy Dowdy and the Peanut Gallery, the Lone Ranger, The Shadow Knows, Nellie Bell, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk? As well as summers filled with bike rides, baseball games, bowling and visits to the pool, ............ and eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar. Didn't that feel good, just to go back and say, "Yeah, I remember that"? I am sharing this with you today because it ended with a double dog dare to pass it on. To remember what a double dog dare is, read on. And remember that the perfect age is somewhere between old enough to know better and too young to care. 

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How many of these do you remember?
  
a... Candy cigarettes
b... Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside
c... Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles
d... Coffee shops with table side jukeboxes
e... Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum
f... Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
g... Party lines
h... Newsreels before the movie
i... P.F. Fliers
j... Telephone numbers with a word prefix.... (Bigelow 8-5000).
k... Peashooters
l... Howdy Doody
m. 45 RPM records
n... Green Stamps
o... Hi-Fi’s
p...Metal ice cubes trays with levers
q... Mimeograph paper
r... Beanie and Cecil
s... Roller-skate keys
t... Cork pop guns
u.. Drive-ins
v... Studebakers
w...Washtub wringers
x...The Fuller Brush Man
y... Reel-To-Reel tape recorders
z...Tinker toys
aa.. Erector Sets
ab..The Fort Apache Play Set
ac.. Lincoln Logs
ad..15 cent McDonald hamburgers
ae..5 cent packs of baseball cards......with that awful pink slab of bubble gum
af..Penny candy  
ag. 35 cent a gallon gasoline
ah..Jiffy Pop popcorn 
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Do you remember a time when...........  
a. Decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-moe"?
b.. Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, "Do Over!"?
c.. "Race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest?
d.. Catching the fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening?
e.. It wasn't odd to have two or three "Best Friends"?
f.. The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was "cooties"?
g.. Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot?
h.. A foot of snow was a dream come true?
i.. Saturday morning cartoons weren't 30-minute commercials for action figures?
j.. "Oly-oly-oxen-free" made perfect sense?
k.. Spinning around, getting dizzy, and falling down was cause for giggles?
l.. The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team?
m.. War was a card game?
n.. Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle?
o.. Taking drugs meant orange-flavored chewable aspirin?
p.. Water balloons were the ultimate weapon? If you can remember most or all of these, then you have lived!!!!!!! Pass this on to anyone who may need a break from their "grown-up" life. . . . . I double-dog-dare-ya! 
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Does this bring back memories or what?  
Stroll with me....  Close your eyes ...  and go back ...before the internet ...  before bombings, aids, herpes before semiautomatics and crack ...  before SEGA or Super Nintendo ...  way back!

I'm talking about sitting on the curb, sitting on the stoop...about hide-and-go-seek; Simon says and red-light-green-light.  Lunch boxes with a thermos ...
chocolate milk, going home for lunch, penny candy from the store, hopscotch, butterscotch, skates with keys, jacks and Cracker Jacks, hula hoops and sunflower seeds, wax lips and mustaches, Mary Jane's, saddle shoes and Coke bottles with the names of cities on the bottom.

Remember when it took five minutes for the TV to warm up.  When nearly everyone's Mom was at home when the kids arrived home from school.  When nobody owned a purebred dog.  When a quarter was a decent allowance. When you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny.  When your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces.  When all of your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done everyday and wore high heels.

Remember running through the sprinkler, circle pins, bobby pins, Mickey Mouse Club, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Kookla, Fran and Ollie, Spin and Marty...Dick Clark's American Bandstand ...  all in black and white and your Mom made you turn it off when a storm came.  When around the corner seemed far away, and going downtown seemed like going somewhere. Climbing trees, making forts, backyard shows, lemonade stands, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, staring at clouds, jumping on the bed, pillow fights, ribbon candy, angel hair on the Christmas tree, Jackie Gleason, white gloves, walking to the movie theater, running till you were out of breath, laughing so hard that your stomach hurt...remember that?

Not stepping on a crack or you'd break your mother's back ... paper-chains at Christmas, silhouettes of Lincoln and Washington, the smells of school, of paste and Evening in Paris.  What about the girl who dotted her i's with hearts?
(That was before that stupid smiley face)!  The Stroll, popcorn balls and sock hops?  Remember when there were just two types of sneakers for girls and boys - Keds and PF Flyers, and the only time you wore them at school was for gym.  And the girls had those ugly gym uniforms. When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking -- all for free -- every time!  And, you didn't pay for air either, and you got trading stamps to boot!

When laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box.  When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents.  When the worst thing you could do at school was flunk a test or chew gum.  And the prom was in the gym or the lunchroom and you danced to a real orchestra.  When they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed -- and did!  When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home.

Basically, we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc.  Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we survived because their love was so much greater than the threat.

Remember when a '57 Chevy was everyone's dream car -- used to cruise, peel out, lay rubber, scratch off or watch the submarine races?  When people went steady; and girls wore a class ring with an inch of wrapped Band-Aids, dental floss, or yarn coated with pastel-frost nail polish so it would fit their finger. When no one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the car and house doors were never locked!

Remember lying on your back on the grass with your friends and saying things like "That cloud looks like a..." And playing baseball with no adults needed to enforce the rules of the game. Remember when stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic  seals, because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger.

And, with all our progress, don't you just wish, that just once you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace...and share it with the children of today?

So send this on to someone who can still remember Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Laurel and Hardy, Howdy Doody and The Peanut Gallery, The Lone Ranger and Tonto, The Shadow Knows, Nellie Belle, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk...  As well as the sound of a real mower on Saturday morning, and Summers filled with bike rides, baseball games, bowling, visits to the pool ...  and eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar from the palm of your hand.

There, didn't that feel good?  Just to lean back and say: "Yeah...I remember......." 
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FRIENDSHIP  
~~~~~~~~~~
In kindergarten your idea of a good friend was the person who let you have the red crayon when all that was left was the ugly black one.

In first grade your idea of a good friend was the person who went to the bathroom with you and held your hand as you walked through the scary halls.

In second grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you stand up to the class bully.

In third grade your idea of a good friend was the person who shared their lunch with you when you forgot yours on the bus.

In fourth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who was willing to switch square dancing partners in gym so you wouldn't have to be stuck do-si-do-ing with Nasty Nick or Smelly Susan.

In fifth grade your idea of a friend was the person who saved a seat on the back of the bus for you.

 In sixth grade your idea of a friend was the person who went up to Nick or Susan, your new crush, and asked   them to dance with you, so that if they said no you wouldn't have to be embarrassed.

In seventh grade your idea of a friend was the person who let you copy the social studies homework from the night before that you had.

   In eighth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you pack up your stuffed animals and old baseball but didn't laugh at you when you finished and broke out into tears.

 In ninth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who would go to a party thrown by a senior so you wouldn't wind up being the only freshman there.

 In tenth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who changed their schedule so you would have someone to sit with at lunch.

 In eleventh grade your idea of a good friend was the person who gave you rides in their new car, convinced your parents that you shouldn't be grounded, consoled you when you broke up with Nick or Susan, and found you a date to the prom.

   In twelfth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you pick out a college/university, assured you that you would get into that college/university, helped you deal with your parents who were having a hard time adjusting to the idea of letting you go...

 At graduation your idea of a good friend was the person who was crying on the inside but managed the biggest smile one could give as they   congratulated you. 


The summer after twelfth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you clean up the bottles from that party, helped you sneak out of the house when you just couldn't deal with your parents, assured you that now that you and Nick or you and Susan were back together, you could make it through anything, helped you pack up for university and just silently hugged you as you looked through blurry eyes at 18 years of memories you were leaving behind, and finally on those last days of childhood, went out of their way to give you reassurance that you would make it in college as well as you had these past 18 years, and most importantly sent you off to college knowing you were loved.

Now, your idea of a good friend is still the person who gives you the better of the two choices, holds your hand when you're scared, helps you fight off those who try to take advantage of you, thinks of you at times when you are not there, reminds you of what you have forgotten, helps you put the past behind you but understands when you need to hold on to it a little longer, stays with you so that you have confidence, goes out of their way to make time for you, helps you clear up your mistakes, helps you deal with pressure from others, smiles for you when they are  sad, helps you become a better person, and most importantly loves you!

Pass on to those friends of the past, and those of the future...and those you have met along the way... Thank you for being a friend. No matter where we go or who we become, never forget who helped us get there.

There's never a wrong time to pick up a phone or send a message telling your friends how much you miss them or how much you love them. You know who you are, pass it on to someone who you want to remind.

 Never be afraid to express yourself. Take this opportunity to tell someone what they mean to you. Seize the day and have no regrets.  Most importantly, stay close to your friends and family, for they have helped make you the person that you are today and are what it's all about anyway. Pass this along to your friends. Let it make a difference in your day and theirs.

 The difference between expressing love and having regrets is that the regrets may stay around forever. 
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GREAT TRUTHS ABOUT LIFE THAT LITTLE CHILDREN HAVE LEARNED:  
1) No matter how hard you try, you can't baptize cats.
2) When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don't let her brush your hair.
3) If your sister hits you, don't hit her back. They always catch the second person.
4) Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.
5) You can't trust dogs to watch your food.
6) Don't sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
7) Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.
8) You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
9) Don't wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.
10) The best place to be when you're sad is Grandpa's lap.

GREAT TRUTHS ABOUT LIFE THAT ADULTS HAVE LEARNED
1) Raising teenagers is like nailing Jell-O to a tree.
2) Wrinkles don't hurt.
3) Families are like fudge.... mostly sweet, with a few nuts.
4) Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground.
5) Laughing is good exercise. It's like jogging on the inside.
6) Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the joy.

GREAT TRUTHS ABOUT GROWING OLD
1) Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.
2) Forget the health food. I need all the preservatives I can get.
3) When you fall down, you wonder what else you can do while you're down there.
4) You're getting old when you get the same sensation from a rocking chair that you once got from a roller coaster.
5) It's frustrating when you know all the answers, but nobody bothers to ask you the questions.
6) Time may be a great healer, but it's a lousy beautician.
7) Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE 

1) You believe in Santa Claus.
2) You don't believe in Santa Claus.
3) You are Santa Claus.
4) You look like Santa Claus.
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SUCCESS  
At age 4 success is . . . not peeing in your pants.
At age 12 success is . . . having friends.
At age 16 success is . . . having a driver’s license.
At age 20 success is . . . having sex.
At age 35 success is . . . having money.
At age 50 success is . . . having money.
At age 60 success is . . . having sex.
At age 70 success is . . . having a driver’s license.
At age 75 success is . . . having friends.
At age 80 success is . . . not peeing in your pants
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HEY DAD
 

Hey Dad," one of my kids asked the other day, "What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?"  "We didn't have fast food when I was growing up," I informed him. "All the food was slow."  "C'mon, seriously. Where did you eat?" "It was a place called 'at home," I explained. "Grandma cooked every day and when Grandpa got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn't like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it." By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn't tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table. But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I figured his system could have handled it: Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore Levis, set foot on a golf course, traveled out of the country or had a credit card. In their later years they had something called a revolving charge card. The card was good only at Sears Roebuck. Or maybe it was Sears AND Roebuck. Either way, there is no Roebuck anymore. Maybe he died. My parents never drove me to soccer practice. This was mostly because we never had heard of soccer. I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed, (slow). We didn't have a television in our house until I was 11, but my grandparents had one before that. It was, of course, black and white, but they bought a piece of colored plastic to cover the screen. The top third was blue, like the sky, and the bottom third was green, like grass. The middle third was red. It was perfect for programs that had scenes of fire trucks riding across someone's lawn on a sunny day. Some people had a lens taped to the front of the TV to make the picture look larger. I was 13 before I tasted my first pizza; it was called "pizza pie." When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung down, plastered itself against my chin and burned that, too. It's still the best pizza I ever had. We didn't have a car until I was 15. Before that, the only car in our family was my grandfather's Ford. He called it a "machine." I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone in the house was in the living room and it was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn't know weren't already using the line. Pizzas were not delivered to our home. But milk was. All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers. I delivered a newspaper, six days a week. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which I got to keep 2 cents. I had to get up at 4 AM every morning. On Saturday, I had to collect the 42 cents from my customers. My favorite customers were the ones who gave me 50 cents and told me to keep the change. My least favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection day. Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the movies. Touching someone else's tongue with yours was called French kissing and they didn't do that in movies. I don't know what they did in French movies. French movies were dirty and we weren't allowed to see them. If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren. Just don't blame me if they bust a gut laughing. Growing up isn't what it used to be, is it?

MEMORIES from a friend: My Dad is cleaning out my grandmother's house (she died in December) and he brought me an old Royal Crown Cola bottle. In the bottle top was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it. I knew immediately what it was, but Kati had no idea. She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something. I knew it as the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to "sprinkle" clothes with because we didn't have steam irons. Man, I am old. 
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How many do you remember?  
Head lights dimmer switches on the floor. Ignition switches on the dashboard. Heaters mounted on the inside of the fire wall. Real ice boxes. Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards. Soldering irons you heat on a gas burner. Using hand signals for cars without turn signals. Older Than Dirt Quiz: Count all the ones that you remember not the ones you were told about! Ratings at the bottom. 1. Blackjack chewing gum 2. Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water 3. Candy cigarettes 4. Soda pop machines that dispensed bottles 5. Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes 6. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers 7. Party lines 8. Newsreels before the movie 9. P.F. Flyers 10. Butch wax 11. Telephone numbers with a word prefix (Olive-6933) 12. Peashooters 13. Howdy Doody 14. 45 RPM records 15. S&H Green Stamps 16. Hi-fi's 17. Metal ice trays with lever 18. Mimeograph paper 19. Blue flashbulb 20. Packards 21. Roller skate keys 22. Cork popguns 23. Drive-ins 24. Studebakers 25. Wash tub wringers If you remembered 0-5 = You're still young If you remembered 6-10 = You are getting older If you remembered 11-15 = Don't tell your age, If you remembered 16-25 = You're older than dirt! Don't forget to pass this along!! Especially to all your really OLD friends 
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I have a list of folks I know  
I have a list of folks I know......all written in a book, and every now and then......I go and take a look. That is when I realize these names......they are a part, not of the book they're written in......but taken from the heart. For each name stands for someone......who has crossed my path sometime, and in that meeting they have become......the reason and the rhyme. Although it sounds fantastic......for me to make this claim, I really am composed......of each remembered name. Although you're not aware......of any special link, just knowing you have shaped my life......more than you could think. So please don't think my greeting......as just a mere routine, your name was not......forgotten in between. or when I send a greeting......that is addressed to you, it is because you're on the list......of folks I'm indebted to. Whether I have known you......for many days or few, in some ways you have a part......in shaping things I do. I am but a total......of many folks I've met, you are a friend I would prefer......never to forget. Thank you for being my friend!! 
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ANDY ROONEY SAYS  

If you're not an "older woman" yet, this will give you encouragement!
If you are an older woman and you didn't love Andy Rooney before, this
may change your mind!

"As I grow in age, I value older women most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

An older woman will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask, "What are you thinking?" She doesn't care what you think.

An older woman knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom.  Few women past the age of 50 give a damn what you might think about her.

An older single woman usually has had her fill of "meaningful relationships" and "commitment." The last thing she needs in her life is another dopey, clingy, whiny, dependent lover!

Older women are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot or stab you if they think they can get away with it.

Most older women cook well. They care about cleanliness and are generous with praise, often undeserved.

An older woman has the self-assurance to introduce you to her women friends. A younger woman with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn't trust the guy with other women. Older women couldn't care less.

Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to an older woman. They always know.

An older woman looks good wearing bright red lipstick. This is not true of younger women or drag queens.

Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off you are a jerk if you are acting like one.

Yes, we praise older women for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal.  For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed babe of 70 there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22 year old waitress.

Ladies, I apologize for all of us. That men are genetically inferior is no secret.  Count your blessings that we die off at a far younger age, leaving you the best part of your lives to appreciate the exquisite woman you've become, without the distraction of some demanding old man clinging and whining his way into your serenity."  Andy Rooney 
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Memories
Memories light the corner of my mind.
Misty water color memories
Of the way we were.
Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind,
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were.
Can it be that it was all so simple then,
Or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again,
Tell me? Would we? Could we?
Memories may be beautiful and yet,
What's too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget.
So it's the laughter
We will remember,
Whenever we remember
The way we were;
The way we were. 
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THE LETTER "U"
 


Of the twenty-six letters of the alphabet,
The most intriguing one I've met
Is the crooked one that rhymes with true.
I mean, of course, the letter "U"

There's a "U" Unmeasured in Memories treasured
Of alumni and friends we once knew,
Over two decades ago - Unbelievable!
The years just took wings and flew.

There are two "U"s in Beautiful,
Describing friendships made long ago.
And there's two "U"s in dutiful,
In the attitude we tried to show.

There's a happy "U" in Reunion.
With friends we hold so dear.
There's a "U" in reunion planning,
Another "U', in returning next year.

There's a sad "U" in Eulogy;
Of dear friends gone on above,
And a hopeful "U" to see them,
In that land of perfect love.

I believe this is our 5th reunion,
If I've been keeping the right score.
Here's hoping we can stay together,
For at least a dozen more. 
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Read each sentence slowly and think about it  
Love starts with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a tear. 
Don't cry over anyone who won't cry over you.
Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave, and impossible to forget.
You can only go as far as you push.
Actions speak louder than words.
The hardest thing to do is watch the one you love, love somebody else.
Don't let the past hold you back, you're missing the good stuff.
Life's short. If you don't look around once in a while you might miss it.
A best friend is like a four leaf clover, Hard to find and lucky to have.
Some people make the world special just by being in it.
Best friends are the siblings God forgot to give us.
When it hurts to look back, and you're scared to look ahead, you can look beside you and your best friend will be there.
True friendship never ends.  Friends are forever.
Good friends are like stars....You don't always see them, but you know they are always there.
Don't frown. You never know who is falling in love with your smile.
What do you do when the only person who can make you stop crying is the person who made you cry?
Nobody is perfect until you fall in love with them.
Everything is okay in the end. If it's not okay, then it's not the end.
Most people walk in and out of your life, but only friend leave foot prints in your heart.
May today there be peace within you. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.  "I believe that friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly."
  
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Comments made in 1958  
Remember this?  he following were some comments made in the year 1958:  (1)  "I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, its going to be impossible to buy a weeks  groceries for $20.00."  (2)  "Have you seen the new cars coming out next year?  It won't be long when $5000 will only buy a used one.  (3) "If cigarettes keep going up in price, I'm going to quit.  A quarter a pack is ridiculous."  (4)  "Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging a dime just to mail a letter?"  (5)  "If they raise the minimum wage to $1, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store."  (6)  "When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 29 cents a gallon.   Guess we'd be better off leaving the car in the garage,” (7) “Kids today are impossible. Those ducktail hair cuts make it impossible to stay groomed.  Next thing you  know, boys will be wearing their hair as long as the girls,"   (8) “I'm afraid to send my kids to the movies any more. Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying damn in "Gone With The Wind", it seems every new movie has either Hell or damn in it."   (9)  "I read the other day where some scientist thinks it's possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century.  They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it down in Texas."   (10)  "Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $75,000 a year just to play ball?   It wouldn't surprise me if someday that they will be making more than the President."   (11)  "I never thought I'd see the day all our kitchen appliances would be electric. They are even making electric typewriters now."   (12)  "It's too bad things are so tough nowadays.  I see where a few married women have to work to make ends meet."   (13)  "It won't be long before young couples are going to have to hire someone to watch their kids so they can both work."   (14) "Marriage doesn't mean a thing any more, those Hollywood stars seem to be getting divorces at the drop of a hat."   (15)  "I'm just afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business."   (16)  "Thank goodness I won't live to see the day when the Government takes half our income in taxes.  I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to Congress."   (17)  "The drive-in restaurant is convenient in nice weather, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on."   (18)  "There is no sense going to Laramie or Fort Collins anymore for a weekend. It costs nearly $15.00 a night to stay in a hotel."   (19)  "No one can afford to be sick any more, $35.00 a day in the hospital is too rich for my   blood." 
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SENIOR SING ALONG
 
 
Are you lonesome tonight, does your tummy feel tight?
Did you bring your Mylanta and Tums?
Does your memory stray, to that bright sunny day...
When you had all your teeth and your gums?
 
Is your hairline receding, are your eyes growing dim?
Hysterectomy for her and it's prostate for him.
Does your back give you pain...do your knees predict rain?
Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?
 
Is your blood pressure up, your cholesterol down?
Are you eating your low-fat cuisine?
All that oat bran and fruit, Metamucil to boot,
keeps you like a well-oiled machine.
 
If it's football or baseball...he sure knows the score.
Yes, he knows where it's at...but forgets what it's for.
So, your gall bladder's gone, and his gout lingers on.
Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?
 
When you're hungry, he's not. When you're cold, then he's hot.
Then you start that old thermostat war.
When you turn out the light, he goes left, you go right.
Then you get his great symphonic snore.
 
He was once so romantic, and witty and smart.
How'd he turn out to be such a cranky old fart?
So don't take any bets, this is as good as it   gets.
Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?
Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight? 
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IN MEMORIAM
 

So many things have happened
since they were called away.
So many things to share with them
had they been left to stay.
And now on this Reunion Day,
memories do come our way.
Though absent they are ever near,
still missed, remembered, always dear.
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Miss Me, But Let Me Go  
When I come to the end of the road
and the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom filled room,
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little, but not too long,
and not with your head bowed low.
Remember what we once shared,
miss me but let me go.
For this is a journey that we all must take
and each of us must go alone.
It's all part of the master plan
a step to the road home.
When you are lonely and sick of heart
go to the friends we know.
Bury your sorrows in doing good deeds,
miss me but let me go. 
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Re-Released Hits of 50s/60s  
Some of the artists from the 50/60's are re-releasing their hits with new lyrics to accommodate us...good news, for those feeling a little older and missing those great old tunes...Herman's Hermits - "Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Walker” The Bee Gees - "How Can You Mend A Broken Hip” The Temptations - "Papa's Got A Kidney Stone” Ingo Starr - "I Get By With A Little Help From Depends” Marvin Gaye - "I Heard It Through The Grape Nuts" Procol` Harem - "A Whiter Shade Of Hair” Johnny Nash - "I Can't See Clearly Now” Leo Sayer - "You Make Me Feel Like Napping" ABBA - "Denture Queen” Paul Simon - "Fifty Ways To Lose Your Liver” Roberta Flack - "The First Time I Ever Forgot Your Face” Commodores - "Once, Twice, Three Times To The Bathroom” Rolling Stones - "You Can't Always Pee When You Want” Bobby Darin - "Splish, Splash, I Was Havin' A Flash 
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SOME THINGS YOU KEEP  
Some things you keep. Like good teeth. Warm coats. Bald husbands. They're good for you, reliable and practical and so sublime that to throw them away would make the garbage man a thief.

So you hang on, because something old is sometimes better than something new, and what you know is often better than a stranger. These are my thoughts; they make me sound old, old and tame, and dull at a time when everybody else is risky and racy and flashing all that's new and improved in their lives. New careers, new thighs, new lips, new cars. The world is dizzy with trade-ins. I could keep track, but I don't think I want to.

I grew up in the fifties with practical parents -- a mother, God bless her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it -- and still does. A father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones. They weren't poor, my parents, they were just satisfied.

Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers and tee shirt and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one's hand, dish towel in the other's.

It was a time for fixing things -- a curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things you keep. It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, reheating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant there'd always be more.

But then my father died, and on that clear autumn night, in the chill of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any 'more.' Sometimes what you care about most gets all used up and goes away, never to return.

So, while you have it, it's best to love it and care for it and fix it when it's broken and heal it when it's sick.

That's true for marriage and old cars and children with bad report cards and dogs with bad hips and aging parents. You keep them because they're worth it, because you're worth it.

Some things you keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate you grew up with, there's just some things that make life Important....people you know are special....and you KEEP them close!
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The Gathering
 

To the four corners of the world we are spread,
We are diverse in our race, creed, and color,
But we come together, a single thought in our head,
To praise the place that made our lives fuller.

To some, it was "Just a School on a Hill",
But to most, it was our driving force.
Out here, on the playing fields of life,
We'll sing its praises, till our voices are hoarse!

A chance once more, to sit with our peers,
To reminisce about times now long past,
Revive old friendships, and make some new,
And remember when our die was cast.

These days, when life's pace is so fast,
It's good to talk with like-minded others,
This reunion has given us just that chance,
This meeting - this gathering of brothers.
by TONY DAVIES 
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The Ten Reunion Commandments  
Thou shalt not forget thine ordinary manners nor thy common civility, just because thou art among wild and crazy friends from childhood. After all, thou may wish to return another time.

Thou shalt not approach an old classmate with comments such as, "Thou have put on a few pounds", "So who is thine plastic surgeon?" or "Wow, Thou sure did bald early!"

Thou shalt flatter thy classmates - falsely or not. All classmates look younger, thinner, and better than in their school days.

Thou shalt tolerate the tiresome classmate and his/her tales of adventure, success and wealth (at least for a little while).

Thou shalt not play footsie with an old girlfriend/boyfriend unless thou and the other person are both free.

Thou shalt not bring into conversation any most embarrassing moments stories about thine classmates unless thou have arranged for psychological support.

Parents shalt not use intimate details of their kids' lives as conversational fodder. Boast of children's accomplishments are acceptable.

Thou shall not snipe or carp. Sniping and carping about a reunion's lack of organization is forbidden.

Thou shalt orchestrate spontaneous and frequent praise unto the reunion
organizers.

Thou shalt enjoy the company of thine classmates and enjoy thine reunion.
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Top 10 Reasons to Attend the Reunion
 

1. You’ll laugh, cry and reminisce with some of your oldest friends.
2. You don’t have to lie about your age.
3. Feel better realizing you are not the only one who has been married, divorced, married, divorced and/or is still looking.
4. Begin new relationships
5. Rekindle old relationships.
6. Expand your networking opportunities.
7. Enjoy an evening out without the kids.
8. Use this chance to diet and shape up.
9. Humor the committee; we are a deluded bunch of die hards that think everyone should show up to appreciate all our efforts.
10. Studies have shown that those who were initially hesitant about attending their reunions discover it was an event they wouldn’t have missed! 
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"The Truth in 13 Words"
 
Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened. 
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Times sure are different now
 

You lived as a child in the 50's and 60s. Looking back, it's hard to believe that we have lived as long as we have.................

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat. Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors,  or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. (Not to mention hitchhiking to town as a young kid!)

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. Horrors. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. No cell phones. Unthinkable. We played dodge ball and sometimes the ball would really hurt. We got cut and broke bones and broke teeth and there were no law suits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us. Remember accidents? We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it. We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank sugar soda but we were never overweight.... .....we were always outside playing. We shared one grape soda with four friends, from one bottle and no one died from this?

We did not have Play stations, Nintendo 64, X Boxes, video games at all, 99 channels on cable, video tape movies, surround sound, personal cellular phones, Personal Computers, Internet chat rooms, ............... we had friends. We went outside and found them. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rung the bell or just walked in and talked to them. Imagine such a thing. Without asking a parent! By ourselves! Out there in the cold cruel world! Without a guardian. How did we do it?

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live inside us forever.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment..... Some students weren't as smart as others so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade.....Horrors. Tests were not adjusted for any reason.

Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected. No one to hide behind. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law, imagine that!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 45 years since our graduation have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.  And you're one of them.  Congratulations! 
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Too Busy for a friend
 
One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" she heard whispered. "I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!" and, "I didn't know others liked me so much." were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose.

The students were happy with themselves and one another.

That group of students moved on. Several years later, one of the students was killed in Vietnam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student.

She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature. The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her.  "Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. She nodded: "yes." Then he said: "Mark talked about you a lot." After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

"We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it." Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.

"Thank you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it." All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. 
Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home."  Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album." I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary." Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me at all times,” Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: "I think we all saved our lists." That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried.

She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again. The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be. So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late... MAY YOUR DAY BE BLESSED AND AS SPECIAL AS YOU ARE. 
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Twenty-five Signs You've Grown up  
1. Your houseplants are alive, and you can't smoke any of them.
2. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question.
3. You keep more food than beer in the fridge.
4. 6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed.
5. You hear your favorite song on an elevator.
6. You watch the Weather Channel.
7. Your friends marry and divorce instead of hook up and break up.
8. You go from 130 days of vacation time to 14.
9. Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as "dressed up."
10. You're the one calling the police because those damn kids next oor won't turn down the stereo.
11. Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you.
12. You don't know what time Taco Bell closes anymore.
13. Your car insurance goes down and your payments go up.
14. You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonald’s leftovers.
15. Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt.
16. You no longer take naps from noon to 6 PM.
17. Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of one.
18. Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3 AM would severely upset, rather than settle, your stomach.
19. You go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and pregnancy tests.
20. A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer "pretty good stuff."
21. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time.
22. "I just can't drink the way I used to," replaces, "I'm never going to drink that much again."
23. 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.
24. You no longer drink at home to save money before going to the bar.
25. You read this entire list looking desperately for one sign that doesn't apply to you.
Just One Reminder - and live by this one:
"Growing old is mandatory, getting old is still optional." 
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Written with a pen  
Written with a pen.
Sealed with a kiss.
If you are my friend,
please answer this:
Are we friends
Or are we not?
You told me once
But I forgot.
So tell me now
And tell me true.
So I can say....
"I'm here for you."
Of all the friends
I've ever met,
You're the one
I won't forget.
And if I die
Before you do,
I'll go to heaven
And wait for you.
I'll give the angels
Back their wings
And risk the loss
Of everything.
Just to prove my
friendship is true...
to have a friend like you! 
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Nobody Believes Old People  
Everyone thinks we're senile...

An elderly couple who were childhood sweethearts had married and settled down in their old neighborhood and are celebrating their sixtieth Wedding Anniversary...

They walk down the street to their old school - There, they hold hands as they find the old desk they'd shared and where he had carved "I love you, Sally"...

On their way back home, a bag of money falls out of an Armored Car practically at their feet... She quickly picks it up, but they don't know what to do with it so they take it home... There, she counts the money, and it's fifty-thousand dollars...

The husband says, "We've got to give it back"... She says, "Finders keepers"... And she puts the money back in the bag and hides it up in their attic...

The next day, two FBI men are going door-to-door in the neighborhood looking for the money and show up at their home... They say, "Pardon me, but did either of you find any money that fell out of an Armored Car yesterday...?"

She says, "No"... The husband says, "She's lying... She hid it up in the attic"... She says, "Don't believe him, he's getting senile"...

But the Agents sat the man down and begin to question him... One says, "Tell us the story from the beginning"...

The old man says, "Well, when Sally and I were walking home from school yesterday . . ."

The FBI Agent looks at his partner and says, "We're outta here . . ." 
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How are you?  
There's nothing the matter with me,
I'm just as healthy as can be,
I have arthritis in both knees,
And when I talk, I talk with a wheeze.
My pulse is weak, my blood is thin,
But I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.
All my teeth have had to come out,
And my diet I hate to think about.
I'm overweight and I can't get thin,
But I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.  
And arch supports I need for my feet.
Or I wouldn't be able to go out in the street.
Sleep is denied me night after night,
But every morning I find I'm all right.
My memory's failing, my head's in a spin.  
But I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.
Old age is golden I've heard it said,
But sometimes I wonder, as I go to bed.
With my ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup,
And my glasses on a shelf, until I get up.
And when sleep dims my eyes, I say to myself,
Is there anything else I should lay on the shelf?
The reason I know my Youth has been spent,
Is my get-up-and-go has got-up-and-went!
But really I don't mind, when I think with a grin,
Of all the places my get-up has been.
I get up each morning and dust off my wits,
Pick up the paper and read the obits.  
If my name is missing, I'm therefore not dead,
So I eat a good breakfast and jump back into bed.  
The moral of this as the tale unfolds,
Is that for you and me, who are growing old.  
It is better to say "I'm fine" with a grin,
Than to let people know the shape we are in. 
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No Wonder We Never Amounted to Anything
 


My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't seem to get food poisoning. My Mom used to defrost hamburger on the counter AND I used to eat it raw sometimes too, but I can't remember getting E-coli.  Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring). The term cell phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system. We all took gym, not PE... and risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Ked's (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I can't recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now. Flunking gym was not an option... even for stupid kids! I guess PE must be much harder than gym.

Every year, someone taught the whole school a lesson by running in the halls with leather soles on linoleum tile and hitting the wet spot. How much better off would we be today if we only knew we could have sued the school system. Speaking of school, we all said prayers and the pledge and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention. We must have had horribly damaged psyches. I can't understand it. Schools didn't offer 14 year olds an abortion or condoms (we wouldn't have known what either was anyway) but they did give us a couple of baby aspirin and cough syrup if we started getting the sniffles. What an archaic health system we had then. Remember school nurses? Ours wore a hat and everything.

I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself. I just can't recall how bored we were without computers, PlayStation, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital cable stations. I must be repressing that memory as I try to rationalize through the denial of the dangers could have befallen us as we trekked off each day about a mile down the road to some guy's vacant 20, built forts out of branches and pieces of plywood, made trails, and fought over who got to Ranger. What was
that property owner thinking, letting us? He should have been locked up for not putting up a fence around the property, complete with a self-closing gate and an infrared intruder alarm. Oh yeah ... and where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed!

We played king of the hill on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48 cent bottle of Mercurochrome and then we got our butt spanked. Now it's a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49 bottle of antibiotics and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contract or for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat. We didn't act up at the neighbor's house either because if we did, we got our butt spanked (physical abuse) here too ... and then we got our butt spanked again when we got home. Mom invited the door to door salesman inside for coffee, kids choked down the dust from the gravel driveway while playing with Tonka trucks (remember why Tonka trucks were made tough ... it wasn't so that they could take the rough Berber in the family room), and Dad drove a car with leaded gas.

Our music had to be left inside when we went out to play and I am sure that I nearly exhausted my imagination a couple of times when we went on two week vacations. I should probably sue the folks now for the danger they put us in when we all slept in campgrounds in the family tent. Summers were spent behind the push lawnmower and I didn't even know that mowers came with motors until I was 13 and we got one without an automatic blade-stop or an auto-drive. How sick were my parents? Of course my parents weren't the only psychos. I recall Donny Reynolds from next door coming over and doing his tricks on the front stoop just before he fell off. Little did his Mom know that she could have owned our house. Instead she picked him up and swatted him for being such a goof. It was a neighborhood run amuck. To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have known that we needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes? We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn't even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac! How did we survive? 
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A Soldier's Christmas
 

'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF
PLASTER AND STONE.

I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY
WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO
IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.

I LOOKED ALL ABOUT,
A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,
NOT EVEN A TREE.

NO STOCKING BY THE MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.

WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.

THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING,
SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED
A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.

WAS THIS THE HERO 
OF WHOM I'D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,
THE FLOOR FOR A BED?

I REALIZED THE FAMILIES
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.

SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWN-UPS WOULD CELEBRATE
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.

I COULDN'T HELP BUT WONDER
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.

THAT VERY THOUGHT
BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES
AND STARTED TO CRY.

THE SOLDIER AWAKENED
AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
"SANTA DON'T CRY,
THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;

I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,
I DON'T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD,
MY COUNTRY, MY CORPS."

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER
AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN'T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
SO SILENT AND STILL
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED
FROM THE COLD NIGHT'S CHILL.

I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE
ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
HE WHISPERED, "CARRY ON SANTA,
IT'S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE."

ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
"MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT."


This poem was written by a Marine stationed in Okinawa Japan. The following is his request. I think it is reasonable..... PLEASE. Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S. service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us. Please, do your part, pass it on!! P.S. Thank you to all our brave service men and women. We love and appreciate you and your sacrifices! 
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AND, ABOUT GROWING OLDER  
First, eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.
Second, The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.
Third, some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know "why" I look this way I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.
Fourth, when you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.
Fifth, you know you are getting old when every thing either dries up or leaks.
Sixth, I don't know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.
Seventh, one of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.
Eighth, One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.
Ninth, being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.
Tenth, Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft.  Today it's called golf.
And finally, if you don't learn to laugh at trouble, you won't have anything to laugh at when you are old. 
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You Are No Longer "Cool" When...  
You find yourself listening to talk radio. You daughter says she got pierced and you look at her ears. The pattern on your shorts and couch match.  You fondly remember your powder blue leisure suit. You think Tragically Hip is when a middle-aged man gets a new sports car, hair piece and a 20 year old girlfriend. You criticize the kids of today for their satanic suicide-inducing music, forgetting that you rocked to Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath. You call the police on a noisy party next door instead of grabbing beer and joining it. You turn down free tickets to a rock concert because you have to work the next day. When grass is something that you cut, not cultivate. When jogging is something you do to your memory. Getting a little action means your prune juice is working. All the cars behind you flash their headlights. You remember the "Rolling Stones" as a rock group not a corporation. You bought your first car for the same price you paid for your son's new running shoes. You actually ASK for your father's advice. You don't know how to operate a fax machine. When someone mentions SURFING you picture waves and a surf board.
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Ramblings of a Retired Mind  
I was thinking about how a status symbol of today is those cell phones that everyone has clipped on.  I can't afford one.  So, I'm wearing my garage door opener. You know, I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people didn't like me anyway. I was thinking that women should put pictures of missing husbands on beer cans! I was thinking about old age and decided that it is 'when you still have something on the ball, but you are just too tired to bounce it'. I thought about making a fitness movie, for folks my age, and call it "Pumping Rust." I have gotten that dreaded furniture disease.  That's when your chest is falling into your drawers! I know, when people see a cat's litter box, they always say, "Oh, have you got a cat?"  Just once I want to say, "No, it's for company!" Employment application blanks always ask 'who is to be notified in case of an emergency.'  I think you should write, "A Good Doctor!" Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office?   What are we supposed to do -- write to these men?  Why don't they just put their pictures on the postage stamps so the mailmen could look for them while they deliver the mail? I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older.  Then, it dawned on me; they were cramming for their finals.  As for me, I'm just hoping God grades on the curve. 
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 Reunion Dress Code  
Subject: The "Over-50" dress code. Many of us "old folks" (those over 50, WAY over 50, or hovering near 50) are quite confused about how we should present ourselves. We're unsure about the kind of image we are projecting and whether or not we are correct
as we try to be nice and conform to the fashions that the designers in New York, California, and/or Paris inflict upon the world. So I made a sincere study of the situation and here are the results. I don't want to burst your bubble, but despite what you may have seen on the streets, the following combinations DO NOT go together and thus should be avoided:
1. A nose ring and bifocals.
2. Spiked hair and bald spots.
3. A pierced tongue and dentures.
4. Mini-skirts and support hose.
5. Ankle bracelets and corn pads.
6. Speedo's and cellulite.
7. A belly button ring & a gall bladder surgery scar.
8. Unbuttoned disco shirts and a heart monitor.
9. Midriff shirts and a midriff bulge.
10. Bikinis and liver spots.
11. Short shorts and varicose veins.
12. In-line skates and a walker.
13. Thongs and Depends.
Please keep these basic guidelines in your mind when you shop.
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Benefits of Aging  

A distraught senior citizen phoned her doctor's office. "Is it true," she wanted to know, "that the medication you prescribed has to be taken for the rest of my life?" "Yes, I'm afraid so," the doctor told her. There was a moment of silence before the senior lady replied, "I'm wondering, then, just how serious is my condition because this prescription is marked 'NO REFILLS'."

An older Jewish gentleman was on the operating table awaiting surgery and he insisted that his son, a renowned surgeon, perform the operation.
As he was about to get the anesthesia he asked to speak to his son. "Yes, Dad, what is it?"  "Don't be nervous, son; do your best and just remember, if it doesn't go well, if something happens to me...your mother is going to come and live with you and your wife...."

Aging: Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.

Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know "why" I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are

When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.

You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.

I don't know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.

Of all the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being youn

Ah, being young is beautiful,
but being old is comfortable.

Old age is when former classmates are so gray and wrinkled and bald, they don't recognize you.

If you don't learn to laugh at trouble, you won't have anything to laugh at when you are old.

Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft... Today, it's called golf.
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A WELL PLANNED LIFE????  
Two women met for the first time since graduating from high school. One asked the other"You were always so organized in school, Did you manage to live a well planned life?" " Yes," said her friend. "My first marriage was to a millionaire; my second marriage was to an actor; my third arriage was to a preacher; and now I'm married to an undertaker." Her friend asked, "What do those marriages have to do with a well planned life?"
"One for the money,  two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go." 
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No Nursing Home for Me  
With the average cost for a nursing home reaching $188.00 per day, there is a better way to spend our savings, when we get old and feeble. I have already checked on reservations at the Holiday Inn for a combined extended long term stay discount and a senior discount. It comes to only $49.23 per night. That leaves $138.77 a day for:
1. Breakfast, lunch and dinner in any restaurant I want, or room service.
2. Laundry, gratuities and special TV movies. Plus, they provide a swimming pool, a workout room, a lounge, washer, dryer, etc. most have free toothpaste and razors, and all have free shampoo and soap.
3. They treat you like a customer, not a patient. $5 worth of tips a day will have the entire staff scrambling to help you.
4. There is city Bus stop out front, and seniors ride free. The handicap bus will also pick you up (if you fake a decent limp).
5. To meet other nice people, call a Church bus on Sundays. For a change of scenery, take the Airport shuttle Bus and eat at one of the nice restaurants there. While you're at the airport, fly somewhere. Otherwise the cash keeps building up.
6. It takes months to get into decent nursing homes. Holiday Inn will take your reservation today. And - you are not stuck in one place forever, you can move from Inn to Inn, or even from city to city. Want to see Hawaii?
They have a Holiday Inn there too.
7. TV broken? Light bulbs need changing? Need a mattress replaced? No problem. They fix everything, and apologize for the inconvenience.
8. The Inn has a night security person and daily room service. The maid checks to see if you are OK. If not, they will call the undertaker or an ambulance. If you fall and break a hip, Medicare will pay for the hip, and Holiday Inn will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life.
9. And no worries about visits from family. They will always be glad to find you, and will probably check in for a few days mini-vacation. The grandkids can use the pool.  What more can you ask for? So . . . When I reach the Golden age, I'll face it with a grin -- Just forward all my email to: me @Holiday_Inn!
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Old Age  
I have always dreaded old age. I cannot imagine anything worse than being old... How awful it must be to have nothing to do all day long but stare at the walls or watch TV.  So last week, when the President suggested we all celebrate Senior Citizen Week by cheering up a senior citizen, I decided to do just that.  I would call on my new neighbor, an elderly retired gentleman, recently widowed, and who, I presumed, had moved in with his married daughter because he was too old to take care of himself. I baked a batch of cookies, and, without bothering to call (some old people cannot hear the phone), I went off to brighten this old guy's day.  When I rang the doorbell this "old guy" came to the door dressed in tennis shorts and a polo shirt, looking about as ancient and decrepit as Donny Osmond. "I'm sorry I can't invite you in," he said when I introduced myself, "but I'm due at the Racquet Club at two. I'm playing in the semifinals today." "Oh that's all right," I said. "I baked you some cookies..." "Great!" he interrupted, snatching the box. "Just what I need for bridge club tomorrow! Thanks so much!" I continued, "...and just thought we'd visit a while. But that's okay! I'll just trot across the street and call on Granny Grady."  "Don't bother," he said. "Gran's not home; I know. I just called to remind her of our date to go dancing tonight. She may be at the beauty shop. She mentioned at breakfast (at which house??!) that she had an appointment for a tint job." So I went home and called my Mother's cousin (age 83); she was in the hospital. ... working in the gift shop. I called my aunt (age 74); but she was on vacation in China. I called my husband's uncle (age 79).  I forgot;  ...... he was on his honeymoon. So now I dread old age more than ever. I just don't think I'm up to it.  God Bless America. AND REMEMBER:  "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away." 
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1974 VS 2004  
This is only for those whose level of maturity qualifies them to relate to it.
1974:  Long hair
2004:  Longing for hair
1974:  KEG
2004:  EKG
1974:  Acid rock
2004: Acid  reflux
1974:  Moving to California  because it's cool
2004:  Moving to California  because it's warm
1974:  Trying to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor
2004:  Trying NOT to look like Marlon Brando  or Liz Taylor
1974:  Seeds and stems
2004:  Roughage
1974:  Hoping for a BMW
2004:  Hoping for a BM
1974:  Going to a new, hip joint
2004:  Receiving a new hip joint
1974:  Rolling Stones
2004:  Kidney Stones
1974:  Being called into the principal's office
2004:  Calling the principal's office
1974:  Screw the system
2004:  Upgrade the system
1974:  Disco
2004:  Costco
1974:  Parents begging you to get your hair cut
2004:  Children begging you to get their heads shaved
1974:  Passing the drivers' test
2004:  Passing the vision test
1974:  Whatever
2004:  Depends
Just  in case you weren't feeling too old today, this will certainly change things..  Each year the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list to try to give the faculty a sense of the mindset of this year's incoming freshmen.

Here's 2004's list:
The people who started college this fall across the nation were born in 1986. They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up. Their lifetime has always included AIDS. Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic. The CD was introduced the year they were born. They have always had an answering machine. They have always had cable.  They cannot fathom not having a remote control. Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show. Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave. They never took a swim and thought about Jaws. They can’t imagine what hard contact lenses are. They don’t know who Mork was or where he was from. They never heard: "Where's the Beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel", or "de plane, Boss, de plane". They do not care who shot J. R. and have no idea who J. R. even is.  McDonald’s never came in Styrofoam containers. They don’t have a clue how to use a typewriter. Do you feel old yet? Pass this on to the other old fogies on your list. 
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Around the corner  
Around the corner I have a friend,
In this great city that has no end,
Yet the days go by and weeks rush on,
And before I know it, a year is gone.
And I never see my old friends face,
For life is a swift and terrible race,
He knows I like him just as well,
As in the days when I rang his bell.
And he rang mine but we were younger then,
And now we are busy, tired men.
Tired of playing a foolish game,
Tired of trying to make a name.
"Tomorrow" I say! "I will call on Jim
Just to show that I'm thinking of him."
But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes,
And distance between us grows and grows.
Around the corner, yet miles away,
"Here's a telegram sir," "Jim died today."
And that's what we get and deserve in the end.
Around the corner, a vanished friend.
Remember to always say what you mean.
If you love someone, tell them.
Don't be afraid to express yourself.
Reach out and tell someone what they mean to you.
Because when you decide that it is the right time
it might be too late.
Seize the day. Never have regrets.
And most importantly, stay close to your friends
and family, for they have helped
make you the person that you are today.
Thank you for being in my life!
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Growing Older
 

The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, she was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let her know.

Old age, I decided, is a gift.  I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometimes despair over my body-- but I don't agonize over it for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, and my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly.  As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself.  I've become my own friend.  I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to overeat, to be messy, to be extravagant. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read until 4 am, and sleep until noon?  I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50's & 60ies, and if I at the same time wish to weep over a lost love, I will.   I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten - and I eventually remember the important things. Sure, over the years my heart has been broken.  How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers?  But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turn gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.  I can say "no", and mean it.  I can say "yes", and mean it. As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think.  I don't question myself anymore.  I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer the question, I like being old.  It has set me free.  I like the person I have become.  I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. For the first time in my life, I don't have to have a reason to do the things I want to do.  If I want to play games on the computer all day, lie on the couch and watch old movies for hours or don't want to go to the beach or a movie, I have earned that right.  I have put in my time doing everything for others, so now I can be a bit selfish without feeling guilty.

I sometimes feel sorry for the young.  They face a far different world than I knew growing up, where we feared the law, respected the old, the flag, our country.  I never felt the need to use filthy language in order to express myself.   And they too will grow old  someday.      I am grateful to have been born when I was, into a kinder, gentler world.
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Reunion Poem -- "I Think I'll Pass, Thank You" -- by John Speer  
INTRODUCTION - As a Co-Chair for my high school reunion, I became very frustrated trying to convince former classmates to come to our reunion.  Inspired by other poetry I saw over the Classmates.com Private Group "Reunion Contacts", I decided to explore my own previous reservations to attend myself via the writing of a poem which I later entitled, "I Think I'll Pass, Thank You!”  Ogden Nash is one of my favorite poets/humorists; this poem reflects his influence.   I dedicate this poem to all the Reunion Contacts out there who work so hard to make their event a fun one.  And by sharing this, I wish to give a hearty THANKS TO YOU for being the unsung heroes of the reunion world that you are.  I wish to give you words of encouragement to not give up the good fight (folks may just not appreciate you just yet).


I Think I'll Pass, Thank You!
by John M. Speer

The other day an invite came
The address bore my high school name
I opened it with trepidation
Having moved across the nation

Long ago we graduated
Some I liked and some I hated
Now a note comes to remind me
That it's time to look behind me

"Reunion" is the name they give it
Now they want me to relive it
Days of old with much regret
"Wedgies" that I can't forget

All these folks I left behind
And frankly now I do not mind
They're all gone and long forgotten
Good riddance - most were downright rotten!

Teasing me in sadist's fashion
Seemed to be their daily passion
Down the halls and all through class
They lived to provocate my ass.

I never liked when testing started
I was smart -- They were retarded.
"Remove your hand so I can see!"
My marks inspired a cheating spree

Were I to guard my GPA
By not allowing eyes to prey
And steal the fruits of my hard studies
They would hiss, "You'll have no buddies!"

Fast I held -- it made them madder
Now they're gone -- so I am gladder
Decades later, now they're back
I think to plot my heart attack

Or at a min, to max my ire
And set my books again on fire
Oh Gee!  My friends, I missed you bunches!
Too bad you all were just Butt Munches!

I graduated with a grin
And left behind their brainless den
Got a job and climbed the ladder
Erstwhile they just all got fatter

Fortune came my earnest path
My story would invoke their wrath
And now you want me to return
For what? A "Nair-in-Jockstrap" burn?

They are dastardly deceivers
Bored and hungrier than beavers
For a piece of long lost fun
They'll spit into my hot dog bun

Now they want to reunite
To celebrate scholastic flight
Leaders, don't invoke my name
(Can I pretend that I am lame?)

Reunion Chair why can't you see?
I will not go, so leave me be!
I did so well to lose you all
And when you left, I had a ball!

Now I'm cool -- but you are not
I've graduated to a  SNOT
V.I.P.s  now crowd my door
No time to see you any more

Leader, Leader, you're persistent
I want to be remote and distant
Send me no more invitations
I'd rather ingest Kennel Rations

Why would I attend your torture?
Down my pants you'd slip a scorcher!
Flaming matches 'tween my toes
Make me spew milk through my nose

You're so funny, you're a comic
But you make me want to vomit
I'm not impressed - You've not grown up
You'll spike my punch and I'll up-chuck!

Nothing fun like strong tequila
More like scum with paramecia
Lessons from our science class
To make my lunch reach critical mass

Can't we just swap high school photos?
Memories cramming, high on Nodoz?
Oh I forgot - you never studied
I blew the curve - my nose you bloodied

Now you're back - you wanna "get some!"
Tank my car like ocean jetsam
Off a cliff and into water
Steal my tapes; Insult my daughter

You're a fun bunch -- That you are!
Let's call Valley Morning Star
Get our photo in a cloister
(Crowding makes my arm pits moister)

Isn't this a grand soiree?
Someone bring my new toupee!
Suck your belly button in
(Toesies, where the Hell you been?)

It's been so long since I could "boogie"
There's ol' Teach - Let's hock a loogie
Aim it high upon on her ceiling
Make her mad - that's so appealing!

I forgot how fun it was
To vandalize and run from Fuzz
Juvenility is great!
Always stuff to desecrate

Scratch our names in something sacred
Thumb our nose with teenage hatred
Up with youth and down with teachers
Let's smoke dope beneath the bleachers

Brilliant is as brilliant does
Let's get stupid - Just because!
Boy I think I'll win a prize
For stealing hotel room supplies

Look at me! My genius caper!
Now I'm rich in toilet paper
Grab your flashlights / Grab your spouses
Let's do shots and wrap some houses!

There's a lampshade by the bed
Beckoning to crown my head
Music loud and neighbors tested
I bet that we can get arrested!

We have reached a new nirvana
Let's all strip and hit the sauna
Aren't we having some fun now?
Who planned this mess? Come take a bow!

Reunions are a GREAT occasion!
Why it took so much persuasion
Getting me to hop a plane
To come back home and get insane

With my friends -- I can't decipher
Guess I just got much too hyper

I can't think the last time that
I had such fun just making chat

Grudges now let's all forgive 'em
Can't resist that boogie rhythm
Dance with me and let's give honors
Eventually we'll all be goners

Leaders thanks for your persistence
Never more I'll make resistance
You gave me the best time ever
Can you make this last forever?

by John M. Speer / Copyright 2005
CommitteeAssociates @Yahoo.com
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Heads up  
This is a heads-up to those friends who haven't experienced it yet, and an explanation to those friends and family who have. Most of you have read the scare-mail about the person whose kidneys were stolen while he was passed out. Well, read on.  While the kidney story was an urban legend, this one is not.  It's happening every day.

My thighs were stolen from me during the night a few years ago.

It was just that quick.  I went to sleep in my body and woke up with someone else's thighs.  The new ones had the texture of cooked oatmeal.  Who would have done such a cruel thing to legs that had been mine for years? Whose thighs were these and what happened to mine? I spent the entire summer looking for my thighs.  Finally, hurt and angry, I resigned myself to living out my life in jeans and Sheer Energy pantyhose.

Then, just when my guard was down, the thieves struck again.  My tush was next.  I knew it was the same gang, because they took pains to match my new rear end (although badly attached at least three inches lower than my original) to the thighs they stuck me with earlier.  Now, my rear complemented my legs, lump for lump.  Frantic, I prayed that long skirts would stay in fashion.

It was two years ago when I realized my arms had been switched.  One morning I was fixing my hair and I watched horrified but fascinated as the flesh of my upper arms swung to and fro with the motion of the hairbrush.  This was really getting scary.  My body was being replaced one section at a time.  How clever and fiendish.

Age?  Age had nothing to do with it.  Age is supposed to creep up, unnoticed, something like maturity.  NO, I was being attacked repeatedly and without warning.  In despair, I gave up my T-shirts.  What could they do to me next?

My poor neck disappeared more quickly than the Thanksgiving turkey it now resembled. That's why I decided to tell my story.  I can't take on the medical profession by myself.  Women of the world wake up and smell the coffee.

That really isn't plastic that those surgeons are using.  You KNOW where they are getting those replacement parts, don't you?  The next time you suspect someone has had a face "lifted", look again.  Was it lifted from you?  I think I finally found my thighs...  and I hope that Cindy Crawford paid a really good price for them!

This is not a hoax.  This is happening to women in every town every night.  WARN YOUR FRIENDS. P.S.  I must say that last year I thought someone had stolen my breasts.  I was lying in bed and they were gone!  As I jumped out of bed I was relieved to see that they had just been hiding in my armpits as I slept.  Now I keep them hidden in my waistband.
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IF MY BODY WERE A CAR
 

If my body were a car, this is the time I would be thinking about trading it in for a newer model. I've got bumps and dents and scratches in my finish and my paint job is getting a little dull, but that's not the worst of it. My fenders are too wide to be considered stylish. They were once as sleek as little MG; now they look more like an old Buick. My seat cushions have split open at the seams. My seats are sagging.  Seat belts? I gave up all belts when Krispy Cremes opened a shop in my
neighborhood.  Air bags? Forget it. The only bags I have these days are under my eyes. Not counting the saddlebags, of course. I have soooooo many miles on my odometer. Sure, I've been many places and seen many things, but when's the last time an appraiser factored life experiences against depreciation? My headlights are out of focus and it's especially
hard to see things up close.  My traction is not as graceful as it once was. I slip and slide and skid and bump into things even in the best of weather.  My whitewalls are stained with varicose veins. It takes me hours to reach my maximum speed. My fuel rate burns inefficiently. But here's the worst of it -almost every time I sneeze, cough or sputter.....
Either my radiator leaks or my exhaust backfires! 
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Senior Citizens  

Senior citizens are constantly being criticized for every conceivable deficiency of the modern world, real or imaginary. We know we take responsibility for all we have done and do not blame others. HOWEVER, upon reflection, we would like to point out that it was NOT the senior citizens who took: The melody out of music, The pride out of appearance, The courtesy out of driving, The romance out of love, The commitment out of marriage, The responsibility out of parenthood, The togetherness out of the family, The learning out of education, The service out of patriotism, The Golden Rule from rulers, The nativity scene out of cities, The civility out of behavior, The refinement out of language, The dedication out of employment, The prudence out of spending, The ambition out of achievement, or, God out of government and school. And we certainly are NOT the ones who eliminated patience and tolerance from personal relationships and interactions with others!! And, we do understand the meaning of patriotism, and remember those who have fought and died for our country. Does anyone under the age of 50 know the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner? What about the last verse of My Country 'tis of Thee? "Our father's God to thee, Author of liberty, To Thee we sing. Long may our land be bright, With freedom's Holy light. Protect us by Thy might, Great God our King." Look at the Seniors with tears in their eyes and pride in their hearts as
they stand at attention with their hand over their hearts! YES, I'M A SENIOR CITIZEN! I'm the life of the party...... even if it lasts until 8 p.m. I'm very good at opening childproof caps.... with a hammer. I'm usually interested in going home before I get to where I am going. I'm awake many hours before my body allows me to get up. I'm smiling all the time because I can't hear a thing you're saying. I'm very good at telling stories; over and over and over and over... I'm aware that other people's grandchildren are not nearly as cute as mine. I'm so cared for -- long term care, eye care, private care, dental care. I'm not really grouchy, I just don't like traffic, waiting, crowds, lawyers, loud music, unruly kids, Toyota commercials, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, barking dogs, politicians and a few other things I can't seem to remember right now. I'm sure everything I can't find is in a safe secure place, somewhere. I'm wrinkled, saggy, lumpy, and that's just my left leg. I'm having trouble remembering simple words like....... I'm beginning to realizing that aging is not for wimps. I'm sure they are making adults much younger these days, and when did they let kids become policemen?
I'm wondering, if you're only as old as you feel, how could I be alive at 150? And, how can my kids be older than I feel sometimes? I'm a walking storeroom of facts..... I've just lost the key to the  storeroom door. Yes, I'm a SENIOR CITIZEN and I think I am having the time of my life! Now if I could only remember who sent this to me, I wouldn't send it back to them, but I would send it to many more! Now- Have I already sent this to you??????? If so, I'll try not to do it again (for a while.)
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Outdated phrases  
I came across this phrase in a book yesterday - "fender skirts".  Thinking about "fender skirts" started me thinking about other words that quietly disappear from our language with hardly a notice.  Like "curb feelers" and "steering knobs." Since I'd been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that direction first. Any kids will probably have to find some elderly person over 50 to explain some of these terms to you.  Remember "Continental kits?" They were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers that were supposed to make any car as cool as a Lincoln Continental.   And when did we quit calling them "emergency brakes?" At some point "parking brake" became the proper term. But I miss the hint of drama that went with "emergency brake." I'm sad, too, that almost all the old folks are gone who would call the accelerator the "foot feed." Didn't you ever wait at the street for your daddy to come home, so you could ride the "running board" up to the house?  Here's a phrase I heard all the time in my youth but never anymore - "store-bought." Of course, just about everything is store-bought these days. But once it was bragging material to have a store-bought dress or a store-bought bag of candy.  "Coast to coast" is a phrase that once held all sorts of excitement and now means almost nothing.  Now we take the term "world wide" for granted. This floors me. On a smaller scale, "wall-to-wall" was once a magical term in our homes. In the '50s, everyone covered his or her hardwood floors with, wow, wall-to-wall carpeting! Today, everyone replaces their wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors. Go figure.  When's the last time you heard the quaint phrase "in a family way?"  It's hard to imagine that the word "pregnant" was once considered a little too graphic, a little too clinical for use in polite company.  So we had all that talk about stork visits and being in a family way" or simply” expecting." Apparently "brassiere" is a word no longer in usage. I said it the other day and my daughter cracked up. I guess it's just "bra" now "Unmentionables" probably wouldn't be understood at all.  I always loved going to the "picture show," but I considered "movie" an affectation. Most of these words go back to the '50s, but here's a pure-'60s word I came across the other day - "rat fink." Ooh, what a nasty put-down! Here's a word I miss - "percolator." That was just a fun word to say. And what was it replaced with? Coffeemaker." How dull. Mr. Coffee, I blame you for this. I miss those made-up marketing words that were meant to sound so modern and now sound so retro. Words like "DynaFlow" and "Electrolux." Introducing the 1963 Admiral TV, now with "SpectraVision!" Food for thought - Was there a telethon that wiped out lumbago? Nobody complains of that anymore. Maybe that's what castor oil cured, because I never hear mothers threatening their kids with castor oil anymore. Some words aren't gone, but are definitely on the endangered list.  The one that grieves me most "supper." Now everybody says "dinner." Save a great word. Invite someone to supper.  Discuss fender skirts.
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I'm Retired  
These came from a wonderful web site at  http://members.cox.net/maltshop/menu.htm#sayings.
I'm retired - I'll do what I want, when I want, if I want. It's not by the gray in the hair we know the age of the heart. Old age - that's always 10 years older than I am! Retirement - how wonderful to do nothing and then rest afterwards. Middle age is when your narrow waist and broad mind trade places. Age is not important unless you are a cheese. Over the speed limit but still in the race. Young at heart, slightly older in other places. After 40 your body has a mind of its own. After 50 gravity takes over. Retirement - half the money - twice as much fun. People who have the most birthdays live the longest. Youth looks ahead - Old age looks back - Middle age looks tired. Youth is a gift of nature - Age is a work of art. Retirement is not the end of the road, it is taking a new direction. Age is a matter of mind...If you don't mind...it doesn't matter. Age is all in your mind, the trick is to keep it from creeping down into your body. Don't regret growing old, it's a privilege denied to many. Retirement: twice the husband, half the income. Retirement: twice as much husband, half as much money. The difficult age - too old to work, too poor to quit. With age comes wisdom - very, very slowly. The old believe everything, the middle aged suspect everything, the young know everything. Grow old along with me.....the best is yet to be. I'm not over the hill.....I'm older than the hill.
Now that I'm older - Here's what I've discovered: I started out with nothing - I still have most of it. When did my wild oats turn to prunes and all bran? I finally got my head together, now my body is falling apart. Funny, I don't remember being absent minded. Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die. The longer I live, the less future there is to worry about. Despite the cost of living, it's still quite popular. The aging process could be slowed down if it had to work its way through Congress. You're getting old when you don't care where your wife goes, just so you don't have to go along. We are always the same age inside. It's hard to be nostalgic when you can't remember anything. Experience teaches you to recognize a mistake when you've made it again. My mind not only wanders, sometimes it leaves completely. Age doesn't always bring wisdom. Sometimes age comes alone. Just when I was getting used to yesterday, along came today. Retirement is when you stop living at work and begin work at living. Fifty (50) is being a "10" 5 times. Life not only begins at forty, it begins to show. Age is a high price to pay for maturity. By the time you get to greener pastures, you can't climb the fence. I'm retired! (Or did the permanent grin give that away already!) Wrinkled is not what I wanted to be when I grew up. I've seen it all - I've heard it all - I've done it all - I just can't remember it all. Nostalgia: Life in the past lane.
50 - The metallic age - Silver hair, gold teeth, lead bottom. I'm not 50 - I'm $49.95 plus tax. Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. Forty isn't old if you're a tree. At my age the happy hour is a nap. I'm getting so old my friends in heaven will think I didn't make it. Nostalgia: When you find the present tense and the past perfect. If I knew where I was going to die, I'd never go near the place. I'm retired....having a good time (fun) is my job. It's hard to be nostalgic when you can't remember anything. The older I get, the more I know, but the less I realize it. Lord give me patience....the man of the house is retired. Middle age is when the best exercise is one of discretion. How beautiful to do nothing and rest afterward. Experience enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again. If you're pushing 60 that's exercise enough. Retirement is when you can stop making a living and start making a life. I was put on earth to accomplish a certain number of things - right now; I'm so far behind I will never die. We're not old - we've just lived a long time. My memory is remarkable - I forget everything! Remember - it's always best to be on the right side of the grass. I'm not over the hill....I'm on the back nine. The secret to staying young is to find an age you really like and stick with it. The only thing wrong with the younger generation is that I'm no longer a part of it. Remember....It's better to be over the hill than under it! There are three signs of old age - first your memory goes...the other two I forgot. I may be over the hill but I took the scenic route. I'm not over the hill...I'm a classic. When you're over the hill, you pick up speed. Ah, being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable. Old age is when former classmates are so gray and wrinkled and bald, they don't recognize you. If I can't take it with me - I'm not going! Age is a number and mine is unlisted. Warning - Retiree - knows it all, and has plenty of time to tell you about it. I'm not aging - I'm marinating. Middle age is when you choose cereal for the fiber, not the toy. Aging Graysfully. I have a photographic memory - unfortunately, I no longer offer same day service. Don't let aging get you down...it's too hard to get back up. "You're never too old" You're never too old to chase a butterfly, to dream of floating on clouds in the deep blue sky, to catch a ray of sunshine off the morning dew, to lick an ice cream cone that's shared by two, to listen to the rhythm of the falling rain, to hop a ride aboard an old freight train, because life is what you make of it, so don't sit back and let it pass you by, stay young at heart and live it,
and the world will be your oyster, all you have to do is .....try.
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PERKS OF BEING OVER 50  
        1. Kidnappers are not very interested in you.
        2. In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.
        3. No one expects you to run--anywhere.
        4. People call at 9 PM and ask, “Did I wake you?"
        5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.
        6. There is nothing left to learn the hard way.
        7. Things you buy now won't wear out.
        8. You can eat dinner at 4 PM.
        9. You can live without sex but not your glasses.
        10. You enjoy hearing about other people's operations.
        11. You get into heated arguments about pension plans.
        12. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.
       13. You no longer try to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks  into the room.
        14. You sing along with elevator music.
        15. Your eyes won't get much worse.
        16. Your investment in health insurance is beginning to pay off.
        17. Your joints are more accuratemeteorologists than the national weather service.
        18. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.
        19. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size.
        20. You can't remember who sent you this list.
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The Reason I have Gained A Little Weight  
We all get heavier as we get older because there's a lot more information in our heads.  I am just really intelligent and my head could not hold any more so it started filling up the rest of me. That is my story and I am sticking to it!
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Where To Live After Retirement  
As we all know, sometimes we come face to face with the fact that it
may be time to relocate. The big question is: where?  Here are some tips.

You can live in Phoenix, Arizona where.....
1. You are willing to park 3 blocks away because you found shade.
2. You've experienced condensation on your butt from the hot water in the toilet bowl.
3. You can drive for 4 hours in one direction and never leave town.
4. You have over 100 recipes for Mexican food.
5. You know that "dry heat" is comparable to what hits you in the face
when you open your oven door.
6. The 4 seasons are: tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!

You can Live in California where...
1. You make over $250,000 and you still can't afford to buy a house.
2. The fastest part of your commute is going down your driveway.
3. You know how to eat an artichoke.
4. You drive your rented Mercedes to your neighborhood block party.
5. When someone asks you how far something is, you tell them how long it will take to get there rather than how many miles away it is.

You can Live in New York City where...
1. You say "the city" and expect everyone to know you mean Manhattan.
2. You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from Columbus Circle to Battery Park, but can’t find Wisconsin on a map.
3. You think Central Park is "nature,"
4. You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you multi-lingual.
5. You've worn out a car horn.
6. You think eye contact is an act of aggression.

You can Live in Maine where...
1. You only have four spices: salt, pepper, ketchup, and Tabasco.
2. Halloween costumes fit over parkas.
3. You have more than one recipe for moose.
4. Sexy lingerie is anything flannel with less than eight buttons.
5. The four seasons are:  winter, still winter, almost winter, and
construction.

You can Live in the Deep South where...
1. You can rent a movie and buy bait in the same store.
2. "Y'all" is singular and “all y'all" is plural.
3. "He needed killin’” is a valid murder defense.
4.  Everyone has two first names: Billy Bob, Jimmy Bob, Mary Sue, Betty Jean etc.

You can live in Colorado where...
1. You carry your $3,000 mountain bike atop your $500 car.
2. You tell your husband to pick up Granola on his way home and he
stops at the day care center.
3. A pass does not involve a football or dating.
4. The top of your head is bald, but you still have a pony tail.

You can live in the Midwest where...
1. You've never met any celebrities, but the mayor knows your name
2. Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor.
3. You have had to switch from "heat” to "A/C" on the same day.
4. You end sentences with a preposition: "Where's my coat at?"
5. When asked how your trip was to any exotic place, you say, “It was
different!"

AND You can live in Florida where...
1. You eat dinner  at 4:15 in the afternoon.
2. All purchases include a coupon of some kind --even houses and cars.
3. Everyone can recommend an excellent dermatologist.
4. Road construction never ends anywhere in the state.
5. Cars in front of you are often driven by headless people.
6. The 4 seasons are: hurricane, hot, really hot, and snowbirds. 
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Senior Citizen version of Elvis's "Are you lonesome tonight?"  
Are you lonesome tonight?
Does your tummy feel tight?
Did you bring your Mylanta and toms?

Does your memory stray,
To that bright sunny day,
When you had all your teeth and your gums?

Is your hairline receding?
Your eyes growing dim?
Hysterectomy for her,
And its prostate for him.

Does your back give you pain?
Do your knees predict rain?
Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?

Is your blood pressure up?
Good cholesterol down?
Are you eating your low fat cuisine?

All that oat bran and fruit,
Metamucil to boot.
Helps you run like
A well oiled machine.

If it's football or baseball,
He sure knows the score.
Yes, he knows where it's at
But forgets what it's for.

So your gallbladder's gone,
But your gout lingers on,
Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?

When you're hungry, he's not,
When you're cold, he is hot,
Then you start that old thermostat war.

When you turn out the light,
He goes left and you go right,
Then you get his great symphonic snore.

He was once so romantic,
So witty and smart;
How did he turn out to be such
A cranky old fart?

So don't take any bets,
It's as good as it gets,
Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?
Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building.
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Life Lessons by Nancy (Cottrell) Fortner  
Life Lessons was written by a classmate of mine along with this disclaimer: I have been working on a project of listing life lessons we have learned. It was suggested that we list one for every year of our lives.

I started doing this, listing them off the top of my head and in no particular order. By the time I got to 15, I didn't know if I would ever get to 62! But as I thought about it over several days, I kept adding "lessons." So far I have over seventy of them!

I am hardly setting myself up as an expert, since I freely borrowed ideas from many sources, and the list reflects my personal life experiences.  Other people will have other ideas.

LIFE LESSONS - Nancy Cottrell Fortner, ACHS 1962

1. What happens in the outside world is not as important as how you feel about it inside.

2. "Time for reflection" is necessary to a worthwhile and fulfilling life.

3. Say something loving and supportive every day to the people you live with.

4. If you dwell in the past or just look forward to the future, you are missing the only thing you really have: the present.

5. When you are talking instead of listening, you are probably not learning anything.

6. Do not let people into your life who have their own program about how you should spend your time and your energy.

7. A good laugh does wonders for your whole body.

8. You can learn something from every person you meet.

9. Life is like a series of hills and valleys. If you are now struggling up a hill soon you will be descending into a valley.

10. Feelings are not facts. Even if you feel something is so, the reality may be very different.

11. We cannot read each other's minds. Use words to communicate.

12. Routines and discipline are not confining-they are what free us for what we want to do.

13. Brothers and sisters are especially precious. They have the potential to be your friends for all of your life.

14. Happiness is not a goal you can seek, but it is likely to descend upon you if you are leading a meaningful life.

15. Cornerstones of health are getting adequate good quality sleep, eating a healthy diet, getting regular gentle exercise, and letting go of tensions, fears, and anger.

16. Almost every task can be performed satisfactorily without being done perfectly.

17. If you want to make and keep friends, you have to reach out.

18. It is a worthwhile exercise at the end of each day to write down five things for which you are grateful.

19. When people we love die, they still live on within us.

20. A lot of pain can be managed by not dwelling on it.

21. One way to deal with people you don't like is to carefully observe them, and speak to the good within them.

22. A conflict is most successfully resolved if both parties win.

23. If we understood everything, we could forgive everything.

24. Hate and resentment only hurt ourselves.

25. A warm hug refreshes your spirit.

26. God is always with you.

27. While preparing a meal, think about the people who will eat it.

28. You cannot serve anyone from an empty tray.

29. To gain respect and avoid feeling lonely, do not always put yourself last.

30. Rather than praying for specific things, pray for the strength to meet whatever comes.

31. What you read as a child is important. It can leave an impression that lasts a lifetime.

32. Joy is making my husband laugh.

33. Although a task may seem overwhelming, you couldn't do the whole thing at once even if you wanted to. It works best to break big tasks down into small steps, and just take each step when it is time.

34. If you take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.

35. Trust your instincts.

36. Losing a loved one always hurts. You never "get over" it, but you can learn to live with the pain.

37. Take joy in simple things.

38. If an unproductive thought or memory is distressing you, know that you cannot hold two thoughts in your mind at once. So push it out by concentrating on something else.

39. You cannot change the past, so instead concentrate on the present.

40. No matter what has happened in your past, do not waste regrets on it.
Instead know that your past has shaped your strengths.

41. Take time each day to just "be."

42. Joy is the sound of my husband's warm voice.

43. Congratulate yourself not just for your successes, but for every effort you make-even if it is not "successful."

44. Beauty can be found in many places-if only you look for it.

45. Many goals can be achieved by simply not giving up.

46. It is okay to make mistakes.

47. You can often learn more from a failure than from a success-so it is actually an accomplishment!

48. I used to mentally flog myself to get tasks accomplished... Now instead of flogging myself into action, I congratulate myself for every effort I make.

49. In previous years I let the demands of a task determine how much effort I put forth. Now instead of letting the task determine my effort, I pace myself, and I listen to my body's signals about when I need a rest.

50. When something upsets you emotionally, you have a choice about whether to work it up or work it down.

51. If you assume a calm and relaxed demeanor even though you feel uncomfortable, your feelings will often fall into place with your body language.

52. Listening without judging is a valuable skill.

53. Time spent enjoying the moment is never wasted.

54. Don't hurry the babies. We all need time to grow at our own pace.

55. Praise given to you by others is pleasant, but it seldom "sticks." The praise that stays with you is praise that you can honestly give yourself.

56. Intelligence and talents don't count for anything unless you use them.

57. Suffering is a universal experience, it links you to everyone else in this life, and it has the power to teach you compassion.

58. We experience the most personal growth during times of stress and suffering.

59. It is easy to accumulate so many possessions that they confine your life instead of add to it.

60. Rather than be a doer of your will in the world, let God's will flow through you.

61. Joy is a warm embrace from my husband.

62. Love shared with friends and family and those around you is a source of great joy.

63. It's okay to say "no" without explanation or apology.

64. Loving other people starts with loving and respecting yourself.

65. Words spoken in anger are usually damaging, but asserting yourself without temper is a valuable tool.

66. If you must confront someone, first find some area of common agreement.

67. Illness and accidents never happen to just one member of a family. The effects are felt by everyone.

68. When confronting someone, keep the focus on the task in question, or upon your feelings about the issue. It is destructive to lay your personal judgments upon the other person.

69. Being honest with yourself may take constant vigilance, but it is well worth the effort.

70. You can only be honest with other people if you are honest with yourself.

71. When exercising, be careful to not do too much. The purpose of exercise is to build up your health, not to tear it down.

72. Good things are present in our lives every day. We need to embrace them.

73. Blaming others for our life circumstances is unproductive, because we are the ones responsible for managing our lives, come what may.

74. To achieve success, keep your goals both doable and flexible.

75. We human beings are remarkable because we can continue to learn and grow and mature for our entire lifetime.
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History Exam  

Everyone over 40 should have a pretty easy time at this exam.

If you are under 40 you can claim a handicap.

This is a History Exam for those who don't mind seeing how much they really remember about what went on in their life. Get paper and pencil and number from 1 to 20.

NUMBE R 1-20, Write the letter of each answer and score at the end.

Then, best of all, before you pass this test on, put your score in the subject line, send to friends AND HAVE FUN!!!!

1. In the 1940's, where were automobile headlight high beam switches located?
a. On the floor shift knob
b. On the floor board, to the left of the clutch
c. Next to the horn

2. The bottle top o f a Royal Crown Cola bottle had holes in it. For what was it used?
a. Capture lightning bugs
b. To sprinkle clothes before ironing
c. Large salt shaker

3. Why was having milk delivered a problem in northern winters?
a. Cows got cold and wouldn't produce milk
b. Ice on highways forced delivery by dog sled
c. Milkmen left deliveries outside of front doors and milk would freeze, expanding and pushing up the cardboard bottle top.

4. What was the popular chewing gum named for a game of chance?
a. Blackjack
b. Gin
c. Craps!

5. What method did women use to look as if they were wearing stockings when none were available due to rationing during W.W.II
a. Suntan
b. Leg painting
c. Wearing slacks

6. What postwar car turned automotive design on its ear when you couldn't tell whether it was coming or going?
a. Studebaker
b. Nash Metro
c. Tucker

7. Which was a popular candy when you were a kid?
a. Strips of dried peanut butter
b. Chocolate licorice bars
c. Wax coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside

8. How was Butch wax used?
a. To stiffen a flat-top haircut so it stood up
b. To make floors shiny and prevent scuffing
c. On the wheels of roller skates to prevent rust

9. Before in-line skates, how did you keep your roller skates attached to your shoes?
a With clamps, tightened by a skate key
b. Woven straps that crossed the foot
c. Long pieces of twine

10. As a kid, what was considered the best way to reach a decision?
a. Consider all the facts
b. Ask Mom
c... Eeny-meeny-miney-mo

11. What was the most dreaded disease in the 1940's-50's

a. Smallpox
b. AIDS
c. Polio

12. "I'll be down to get you in a ________, Honey"
a. SUV
b. Taxi
c. Streetcar

13. What was the name of Caroline Kennedy's pet pony?
a. Old Blue
b. Paint
c. Macaroni

14. What was a Duck-and-Cover Drill?
a. Part of the game of hide and seek
b What you did when your Mom called you in to do chores
c. Hiding under your desk, and covering your head with your arms in an A-bomb drill.

15. What was the name of the Indian Princess on the Howdy Doody show?
a. Princess Summer fallwinterspring
b. Princess Sacajawea
c. Princess Moonshadow

16. What did all the really savvy students do when mimeographed tests were handed out in school?
a. Immediately sniffed the purple ink, as this was believed to get you high
b. Made paper airplanes to see who could sail theirs out the window
c. Wrote another pupil's name on the top, to avoid their failure

17. Why did your Mom shop in stores that gave Green Stamps with purchases?
a. To keep you out of mischief by licking the backs, which tasted like bubble gum
b. They could be put in special books and redeemed for various household items
c. They were given to the kids to be used as stick-on tattoos

18. Praise the Lord, and pass the _________?
a. Meatballs
b. Dames
c. Ammunition

19. What was the name of the singing group that made the song "Cabdriver" a hit?
a. The Ink Spots
b. The Supremes
c. The Esquires

20. Who left his heart in San Francisco?
a. Tony Bennett
b. Xavier Cugat
c. George Gershwin 

ANSWERS

1. b) On the floor, to the left of the clutch. Hand controls, popular in Europe, took till the late '60's to catch on.

2. b) To sprinkle clothes before ironing. Who had a steam iron?

3. c) Cold weather caused the milk to freeze and expand, popping the bottle top.

4. a) Blackjack Gum.

5. b) Special makeup was applied, followed by drawing a seam down the back of the leg with eyebrow pencil.

6. a) 1946 Studebaker.

7. c) Wax coke bottles containing super -sweet colored water.

8 a) Wax for your flat top (butch) haircut.

9. a) With clamps, tightened by a skate key, which you wore on a shoestring around your neck.

10. c) Eeny-meeny-miney-mo.

11. c) Polio. In beginning of August, swimming pools were closed; movies and other public gathering places were closed to try to prevent spread of the disease.

12. b) Taxi. Better be ready by half-past eight!

13. c) Macaroni.

14. c) Hiding under your desk, and covering your head with your arms in an A-bomb drill.

15. a) Princess Summerfallwinterspring. She was another puppet.

16. a) Immediately sniffed the purple ink to get a high.

17. b) Put in a special stamp book; they could be traded for household items at the Green Stamp store.

18. c) Ammunition, and we'll all be free.

19. a) The widely famous 50's group: The Inkspots.

20. a) Tony Bennett, and he sounds just as good today...


SCORING

17- 20 correct: You are older than dirt, and obviously gifted with mental abilities. Now if you could only find your glasses. Definitely someone who should share your wisdom!

12 -16 correct: Not quite dirt yet, but you're getting there.

0 -11 correct: You are not old enough to share the wisdom of your experiences. 
 
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NO LEFT TURNS  

-----This is a wonderful piece by Michael Gartner, editor of newspapers large and small and president of NBC News. In 1997, he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.

It is well worth reading and a few good chuckles are guaranteed.
----------------------

My father never drove a car. Well, that's not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car. He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.

'In those days,' he told me when he was in his 90s, 'to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive
through life and miss it.'

At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in:
'Oh, bull----!' she said. 'He hit a horse.' 'Well,' my father said, 'there was that, too.'

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars -- the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford -- but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines, would take the
streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we'd ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. 'No one in the family drives,' my mother would explain, and that was that.

But, sometimes, my father would say, 'But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we'll get one.' It was as if he wasn't sure which one of us would turn 16 first.


But, sure enough, my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership
downtown.

It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts,
loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn't drive, it more or less became my brother's car.

Having a car but not being able to drive didn't bother my father, but it didn't make sense to my mother.

So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father's idea. 'Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?' I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father
had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps -- though they seldom left the city limits -- and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.

Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn't seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage. (Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin's Church. She would walk down and sit in the
front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish's two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home.

If it was the assistant pastor, he'd take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests Father Fast ' and 'Father Slow.'

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he'd sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I'd stop by, he'd explain: 'The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third
base scored.'

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along
to carry the bags out -- and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, 'Do you want to know the secret of a long life?' 'I guess so,' I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

'No left turns,' he said.  'What?' I asked.  'No left turns,' he repeated. 'Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic.

As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn.' 'What?' I said again.

'No left turns,' he said. 'Think about it. Three rights are the same as a left, and that's a lot safer. So we always make three right s.'

'You're kidding!' I said, and I turned to my mother for support 'No,' she said, 'your father is right. We make three rights. It works.' But then she added: 'Except when your father loses count.'  I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing. 'Loses count?' I asked.

'Yes,' my father admitted, 'that sometimes happens. But it's not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you're okay again.' I couldn't resist. 'Do you ever go for 11?' I asked. 'No,' he said ' If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day or another week.'

My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90. She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102.

They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom -- the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)

He continued to walk daily -- he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he'd fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising -- and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, 'You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred.' At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, 'You know, I'm probably not going to live much longer.' 'You're probably right,' I said. 'Why would you say that?' He countered, somewhat irritated.
'Because you're 102 years old,' I said.

'Yes,' he said, 'you're right.' He stayed in bed all the next day. That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night. He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said: 'I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet.' An hour or so later, he spoke his last words: 'I want you to know,' he said, clearly and lucidly, 'that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have.'

A short time later, he died. I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I've wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long.

I can't figure out if it was because he walked through life, Or because he quit taking left turns. Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about those who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.' back to top

Dad & teen at the mall   
I took my dad to the mall the other day to buy some new shoes (he is 92). We decided to grab a bite at the food court. I noticed he was watching a teenager sitting next to him... The teenager had spiked hair in all different colors: green, red, orange, and blue. My dad kept staring at him. The teenager would look and find him staring every time. When the teenager had had enough, he sarcastically asked, 'What's the matter old man, never done anything wild in your life?' Knowing my Dad, I quickly swallowed my food so that I would not choke on his response, knowing he would have a good one, and in classic style he did not bat an eye in his response. "Got drunk once, and had sex with a peacock. I was
just wondering if you were my son."
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