Category Archives: Memories

What Happened When I Went To Renew My Driver’s License…

Has it been 8 years already?  Here in Florida, our driver’s license is good for eight years.  It was a beautiful, Spring-y day here in South Florida, with lots of blue sky and great, puffy clouds hanging up there.  A great day!

Sample only. Notice gold star.

I had received a reminder postcard a couple of weeks ago to renew my license.  Since my schedule is so busy, I set aside last Wednesday to take care of that nuisance task, even though I had more than a month in which to complete this requirement.  This is one of the few things that must be done in person.

So, I collected all the necessary legal documents, as stipulated on the postcard:  proof of my change of names from maiden name to married names (government-issued marriage certificates); two proofs of address (utility bills, property tax bill, etc.); social security card; and official (government-issued) proof of birth.  A blank check, because, while this office will take credit cards, they will charge extra for that convenience.

When I parked, I noticed there was not a plethora of parking spaces.  I got the last one close to the DMV office.  I arrived at 2:45pm, and originally thought that was a good time so that I wouldn’t have to wait too long.  Boy, was I wrong!  I was the last one next to the door.  About 25 people ahead of me.

After a half hour wait, I was finally at the head of the line.  Wouldn’t you know?  One of the 2 clerks decided it was time for a break.  So, there I waited, starting to feel the impatience gather.  Finally, after 10 minutes, another clerk took her seat, got her personal things put away, took a few more gulps of coffee, and called me.

Briefly stated my reason for being there (driver’s license renewal and, oh yes, vehicle registration renewal as long as I was there).  I presented all the documents I went to all four corners of my house to collect.  She asked me for my current license.  I presented it, and she said, “Oh, you don’t need all these papers; you already have the yellow star on your license.”  So, why did the postcard state I needed to bring all these documents?

In less than a minute, I was given a number:  D363, with the added information that I would have to wait about an hour and a half to 2 hours before being called for the test.  I had a choice of waiting, or coming back another time.  What would you do?  I waited.  I had taken a book to read with me, in case I had to wait.

Actually, this machine is quite modern as opposed to the one I had to use.

I was called after only a half hour.  This is where my anxiety began.  I had to take an eye test on their machines, which were grossly outdated, clumsy, and, I believed, purposely “set up” so as to turn away as many people as possible from passing the eye test for a driver’s license.  I refuse to say the machine was “programed,” because it was obviously purchased before computers were put into common use.

I neglected to state above, that I have a chronic “dry eye” problem; however, I started using a prescription eye drops for it, to be used twice a day.  I really should have made an exception this day, and taken more drops just before driving to the office.

She told me to read line 6. Tiny numbers!  There were 2 sets of numbers.  I had no trouble with the first set; however, trying to read the second set was like trying to read with cotton stuffed into your eye.  I complained the machine’s glass cover was smudgy (it probably was my dry eye), so she directed me to another machine on the other side of her desk.  I was told to press my forehead to the bar above, so as to keep my head steady.  Fine.  I tried reading the set of numbers:  3868635.  Wrong!  How’s about 6836683?  Wrong!  How’s about 8836338?  Wrong!  Oh god, I was sweating and pushing my forehead tight against the bar, but that didn’t do any good.  How’s about 3568863?  Wrong!  Finally, I got it right by guessing!  Don’t ask me what it was.  All I do know is that she finally said, “OK.  You got your license!”

When I finally got home, I washed my hands and face.  Couldn’t stand the thought of how many foreheads were pressed against that bar.  When I looked in the mirror, I saw a deep line indented across my forehead.

I spoke to my sister this afternoon.  Told her about my experience at the Driver’s License office.  She was with her husband, Stu, and she told him about my experience with the eye test.  Stu said I could have gotten a note from my eye doctor.  ????

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Memories of Yosemite

Bob and I were newlyweds, and in our first full year, we planned a trip called, “The West,” which included some time in Yosemite.  It was beautiful.  That was in 1995.

I found these photos on an old memory card (has only 256mb). We stayed at the old AhWahNee Hotel.  It was very rustic, but elegant at the same time.  It doesn’t bear that name anymore; it’s known as the Majestic Yosemite Hotel.  The Ahwahnee was renamed the Majestic Yosemite Hotel on March 1, 2016, due to a legal dispute between the US Government, which owns the property, and the outgoing concessionaire, Delaware North, which claims rights to the trademarked name

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel was specifically designed to highlight its natural surroundings, featuring Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and Glacier Point. The hotel holds a historic heritage as it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark. The destination of queens and presidents alike, this distinctive Yosemite hotel offers a perfect balance of history, hospitality and elegance.

Good memories!

el-capitan-yosemite

El Capitan Falls

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I Was A Homeless Person

…for three days in 1990!

Today (September 28th, 2016) is the 26th anniversary of my official residency as a Floridian.  Three days before, on September 25th, 1990, I gave up my citizenship as a legal resident of the State of New York, as I signed on the dotted line to sell my house.

It was a big, new adventure; one which held an unknown future for my then husband, Dan, myself and his Mom.  That’s what I called it, as we drove into Delaware on US I-95.  “A new adventure,” I announced to Mom.  I felt excited and positive.  Little did I know, as we settled into our first motel stay and I got my first mosquito bites which were of major proportions, what was in store for our future.

We were a caravan of two cars and were “attached” by a CB system that Dan rigged up.  It was very basic, but served the purpose in notifying when we intended to stop at a service area.  Dan led the way in his car.

I followed, with Mom in my back seat.  She was 86, full of trepidation; full of trepidation, because we couldn’t leave her in Long Beach.  She had no one there on whom she could depend if she needed help.  Friends had moved away to be near their kids, or died.  Nothing was left there for her.  She really didn’t want to leave, but there was no other choice.

Mom was very comfortable what with pillows and blanket to insure her comfort. She was of small stature and she fit right in on the bench seat of my 1986 Ford Granada – turbo engine, of course.  Ha ha.

We were making very good time.  I had arranged for motel stops and the next one was located in Georgia.  When we got there, it was only  3:00pm, and we decided that it was too early and had the manager call ahead to another one in St. Augustine, Florida.

We lost all the time we made before that motel stop in Georgia.  We got caught up in the Jacksonville rush hour traffic.  What a bummer!

Mom was very tired after the two days’ travel, so she just wanted to rest when we arrived in St. Augustine.  We decided that we would bring her back some food, which we did after enjoying our supper in a casual restaurant.

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We had visited that city previously, some years before, and found ourselves wandering about, and visited some of our favorite places.  It is such a quaint, old city, and it was a pleasure to stretch our legs and feet over cobble stones!

After an exhausted sleep in St. Augustine, and after five more hours of driving, we finally arrived at our first destination at Forest Trace in Broward county.  It had opened only a year before; it was beautiful (we had visited it a couple of months earlier).  Mom was settled in at her apartment:  she was warmly welcomed by the staff, and made to feel at ease.  Her rented furniture was in place, so she was able to rest after the long trip.

forest-2

At the same time we had made arrangements for Mom’s apartment, we made arrangements for an apartment in a nearby apartment complex for ourselves.  Our rented furniture had been delivered in our apartment, overseen by the complex office manager.

All our furniture and Mom’s were sold in New York.  This was really a new start for us all!

It was an odd feeling I had, knowing I didn’t have a place where I could call “home.”  I had a destination, but those three days had me feeling “displaced.”  And, in another way, it was a free feeling because during those days, I had no responsibilities.  No tethers.  It was peculiar, but, yes, exciting.

Everything went smoothly.  That was a good feeling.  The next day, we went to the court house, and signed a “Declaration of Domicile.”  We were no longer HOMELESS!

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Personal Memories: Looking Back At the Early ’40s

 

My parents struggled in the early and middle ‘4os, and my Dad worked very hard to support his family.

No summer vacations until my Dad was able to save up enough to send my Mom and me to the Catskills for a month at a cheap rooming house.  He wanted us to get out of the hot city (Brooklyn) for a while.  I remember him boasting that he went without lunches in order to do that.

Dad also worked part time at the post office to earn extra money, in addition to his day job.  Since he and many others were not accepted into the service due to medical reasons, and job openings occurred in post offices and other private and government offices due to the lack of enough employable people because of serving in the war, it was a natural way to earn extra income.

WW 2My Mom did all she could to help with the “war effort.”  She saved aluminum foil and tinfoil (chewing gum had wrappers made of tinfoil) by rolling it all into a big ball she kept in a special closet built into the wall near the kitchen table nook.  That was a very big ball, and when my Mom couldn’t fit any more on it, my Dad would bring it to some station where it was collected along with all the contributions of citizens who felt so patriotic.  These types of collections were commonplace, along with any unwanted, broken things made of metal.

ww 2 4I spent much of my time sitting at a big desk in the basement of the house my Dad’s father owned; writing, pasting, and sending hand-made crossword puzzle books to the Red Cross to be distributed to the wounded soldiers. I felt great pleasure in doing that. I remember how excited I became when my Dad showed me a postcard that came from the Red Cross, thanking me for helping the soldiers who were in the hospital, recuperating.  My very first mail!

We had a victory garden in the backyard.  My grandfather and Dad attended to it.  Most of our neighbors grew their own veggies.  The whole war effort was based on saving everything we had, re-using and re-purposing what we could, and repairing instead of buying new; anyway, most people couldn’t afford to buy new.

ww 2 2Mom sent me to school with a lunchbox that contained a sandwich (don’t remember what kind of sandwich – probably peanut butter) that was wrapped in last week’s bread’s waxed paper wrapping.  (No such thing as plastic bags.)  This was re-used for the entire week or until it was too messy to be cleaned again.  I recall the name of “Silvercup” bread.  Does that ring a bell with anyone reading this post?

School was a great enjoyment.  I remember it was challenging:  I loved to learn and absorbed like a sponge, all that there was to take in, those many years ago.  Now, I call it learning by “osmosis,” because I felt such great pleasure in the learning.  I still do.  At that time in the past, there was no such word as “nerd.”  I’ve said many times in the recent past, that I was born too soon, because I love this technological world in which I now live, and I wish I could live longer so that I could enjoy all the progress and innovations yet to come.

 

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On The Way To Papa’s Tapas

 

I participate in a small group of senior ladies, numbering between 5 and 8, depending on who can make it.  We make a concerted effort to get together the last Thursday evening of the month to go out to dinner.  Yesterday, our designated driver picked up 4 ladies (including myself) in her SUV.

Now, we are not your “everyday-type” of senior ladies.  We are all special in our own ways, and stand out because of our very personal individual characteristics.  We treasure each other because of, and in spite of, these.  A sense of humor is most important!

old

One lady sits in the back and must get in on the driver’s side where she finds it easier to enter; another must sit in the front passenger seat; the thinnest of the group sits in the middle so she can get the full brunt of the a/c vent, and then I’m left to sit behind the front passenger seat.  Throw in aching, painful back problems, difficulty in walking, difficulty in getting in and exiting the car, and with three of us using canes to assist in walking, we were a fine, healthy bunch of women.  Toss in young at heart and a keen sense of humor, and you have the makings of a great pot of senior ladies’ soup.

Oh yes, we mustn’t forget about Ms. Driver.  We are aware of her strong driving personality.  We all brace ourselves by holding on to the handles above the doors; grasping the door wherever we can find a finger-hold; and not to mention gripping the backs of the front seats to steady ourselves – particularly when going over bumps, train tracks and most importantly, getting ready to stop at a traffic light or stop sign.

driver 2

Ms. Driver is a very thoughtful woman and has a heart of gold; however, when she’s behind the wheel, we all hold our breath.  We take it all in stride.  Even though some teeth-mashing occurs, we always seem to arrive safely and in one piece.

This evening, we weren’t so sure about arriving at the restaurant in one piece, due to an incident that occurred when we were only one block from our destination.

We had to slow down because a man was walking a motorcycle in the middle of the road.  He didn’t seem to notice the sound of the car’s motor, and had no awareness about our wanting to continue down the street.  So, Ms. Driver blasted the horn.

The man turned, looked very upset, and left his motorcycle where it was, came over to the side of our vehicle with an angry face, yelled something unintelligible and threw his fist at the car.  It landed on the post between the front and back windows.  Hard!  We thought he must have broken his hand, or at least, dented the car.

Properly frightened, we sure were. What if he had a weapon in addition to his fist?

Ms. Driver was able to scoot around his motorcycle.  We kept watch, looking  back, worrying that he might get on the motorcycle and do something dangerous and irrational which would cause us harm.

We finally drove into the lot in front of the restaurant, parked, and Ms. Driver had her finger over her phone, ready to call the police. We continued keeping an eye out for that crazy guy, exited the car and hurried in.  We didn’t take our eyes off that guy.  We could see that he was looking up and down the street, obviously searching to see where we went.  He evidently didn’t see that we pulled into the lot.  Finally, we saw him walking his motorcycle down the street.  He passed us by.

Don’t you think we kept looking outside while in the restaurant, to see if he would come back?  Of course.

It was an exciting evening in more ways than expected; one, I believe, we will be talking about for a long time.

 

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One of #MillionsMissing

My daughter has ME – Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.  She’s one of those “#Millions Missing.”  On May 25th of this year, there was a world-wide campaign during which millions of pairs of shoes were placed in front of government buildings to show support for the millions of patients who are “missing” from participating in a “normal” life.  A life which they, against their wishes, were forced to leave, due to the debilitating nature of this horrible disease.

There is no known scientific diagnosis; no cure; and no recognized treatment.  Expert clinicians are still experimenting with medications, supplements, etc., while trying to find ways in which to help their patients.  Some things work – but not for long – to help relieve symptoms.  Each patient reacts differently to these “experiments.”  No such thing as “one size fits all.”

My daughter’s symptoms started approximately 25 years ago.  It was not a sudden onset like many other patients.

It occurred slowly over these many years.  The last two years were the worst.  She was still working, but truthfully, towards the end of 2014, I was positive she couldn’t continue with her job.  I don’t know how she did it, and looking back, she doesn’t, either.

She sort of set goals for herself.  Just another month, just another week.  She finally gave it up at the beginning of this January, when her body just gave up.

She cut her hair years ago.  She didn’t have the strength to take care of it anymore.  She used to have such beautiful, long hair.

There were many other activities of daily living (ADLs) she had to stop.  Frugally managing her time and energy allowed her to hold on for another year at the work site.

It wasn’t only the profound exhaustion.  There is the pain – in every part of her body.  She has told me that even her hair feels pain during the worst days.  The viral outbreaks.  The painful and debilitating chronic migraines which could last for days and keep her in bed, immobilized.  Did you ever hear of a migraine in the optic nerve?  Now, I have.

The “brain fog” and the constant wanting to put her head down and sleep.  Concentration was non-existent.  All these symptoms, put together as they were, forced her to bed.  Work was out of the question.  And she suffered all these and more, while trying so hard to keep her job and not appear to be sick at the office.  They frowned upon “being sick.”

She spends most of her days either lying on the couch or in bed.  It’s not where she would like to be.  She is forced to give up a “normal” life.

Talking on the phone is exhausting, and many is the time I’ve told her to hang up because I can hear and feel the extreme effort in her voice as it slows and gets slurry.

ME patients ARE NOT LAZY; THEY ARE NOT MALINGERERS.  Too many patients have lost their families and friends and even doctors.  These people refuse to believe the patient is REALLY SICK and they crossed the patients off their “list.”  They walked away.  That may be the most debilitating and greatest loss of all.

I’ve touched on only a very small amount of her symptoms.  The general public will find it impossible to understand that which patients go through in trying to manage from day to day; hour to hour.

Each day is different.  She never can expect that the next day will be better.  Too many times, it is worse.  There really is no such thing as “better.”  Sometimes she knows she has over-spent whatever energy (spoons) she had on the day before, and her body lets her know about it, for sure, during the next few days at least.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is a multi-symptom chronic disease.  All patients do not suffer in the exact same way; however, they do share most of the known symptoms.  As I said above, “each day is different” for each patient.

Sweetheart, if you are reading this, remember I love you so very much.  Words are not enough.  You know.  It is there in the depths of my being.

This post is my ode to you.  You are the most inspiring person I’ve ever known.  And you happen to be my daughter! 🙂

 

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In Memoriam: A Brother-in-Law I Never Met

Leonard Lapidus, aka Leonard LaPidus.  I married his younger brother in the year 1958.

Leonard was a navigator on a B-29 bomber during WWII.  I had heard this particular plane was fraught with mechanical failures (hearsay).  I don’t know if this was the case in Leonard’s plane; it could have been the fault of damage from an enemy plane or from artillery on the ground below.  I was told, according to family stories, that Leonard’s plane crashed into a mountain due to mechanical failure:  navigational controls were inoperable.

My husband was 7 years old at the time, which means Leonard was only 20 when he was killed.  My mother-in-law, Florence, became another “Gold Star Mother.”  She hung the small flag in the front window, as so many others had done.

gold star

My husband’s parents were completely distraught, of course.  Leonard was the topic of conversation many times during my marriage; always with smiles of remembrance and shaking of the heads with sorrow about the great family loss.

The family on both sides was large – siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins – all who remembered Leonard as being a special, caring person, and who was also a gifted artist.  In fact, he had sent Walt Disney examples of his work, and Disney wrote back that he wanted to personally interview Leonard when Leonard returned from service.  Of course, that interview never took place.

Florence completely fell apart, and could not remain at home – she had to have a change and get away from the house where all the memories lived so vividly.  She took my husband and ran to Florida, leaving her husband for a year, and tried to cope with her sorrow.  It was a very bad year, according to my husband.  His father came several times to visit, but there was a serious separation during that time.

There was more than sorrow.

You see, it was my father-in-law that encouraged Leonard to enlist and “serve your country.”  Leonard was a peace-loving soul and war did not attract him.  He was deeply engaged in his studies, and dreamed of having his life concentrated on his art.  But, his father convinced him it was his duty, and he finally submitted to those wishes.

Blame and guilt got all mixed up with the sorrow and despair, and Florence fled.

In time, she returned home, and did her best to continue with a “normal” life.  Her husband, who was a strong man in many ways, became contrite, but more loving, and did his best to take Florence’s mind off their devastating loss.

We lived in that house for several years, after my in-laws moved to another state.  When we decided to move, we went through closets with a fine-toothed comb, and came upon a painting by Leonard that no one had remembered.  It was leaning against a wall in a bedroom closet – totally unnoticed for decades.  It was my favorite of Leonard’s.  It was a beautiful painting of an American plane with the American star emblem on its side, soaring in the beautiful blue sky.  A painted photograph.  It was beautifully done.

He had dreams; however, didn’t live to fulfill them.

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My Truth About Invisaligns and A New-Fangled Container

 

For the last 2 years and 3 months, I’ve had to wear “Invisaligns” to correct a mistake a former dentist made with a “night guard” (NG).

Without going into gross details, suffice it to say that my whole bite became misaligned, and my mouth was reduced to a very bad bite which affected my ability to chew properly as well as rendering some teeth to become crooked.

Finally, two weeks ago today, I had impressions taken for “retainers” and a week ago, I picked them up.

FREEDOM!!  Now, I could go a whole day without worrying about making sure I wore the Invisaligns 19 – 20 hours a day for them to be effective.  Now, I could even have a piece of fruit during the afternoon in peace, without removing the Invisaligns, brushing and replacing them.

(I’ve seen many commercials on TV for Invisaligns.  They misrepresent them by omitting the fact that sure, you can eat anything, but you have to take them out in order to eat.  Misrepresentation by omission!)

I returned home with my new retainers safely residing in the container in which the orthodontist placed them.  I got comfortable, relaxed, and enjoyed the company of Patches and Rusty.

A thought occurred to me:  The container looked kind of strange – reminded me of one of those intergalactic transports from Star Trek.  I got up and took a good look at it.

container

I couldn’t figure out how to open it!!  It truly was strange.  I pulled, pushed, looked for a place to put my fingers to open it, but there wasn’t any visible way to get it open.  I tried prying it open with a pointed knife (not a good idea).  Nothing I did made it move in the slightest.  I was ready to take a hammer to it.  How was I supposed to put the retainers in my mouth for the night, if I couldn’t open the damned thing?  I was getting frustrated.

I called the orthodontist’s office.  Fortunately, they were still there.  I complained about this new-fangled thing, and what was wrong with the old style?  That certainly was easy to use.

The woman put me on hold for a minute.  She came back and holding one of those containers, she proceeded to instruct me as to how to open it.  I followed her instructions, et voila!  Success.  It popped open.  It was as simple as could be.  Just a push in the front released the hooks that kept it closed.

I suggested in future, they should have an instructions sheet to go along with the container.  The woman told me that they were having complaints.  Duh!

Sometimes, these new inventions that are considered “progress” should have never been invented.

Moral:  It was probably cheaper than the original ones.

 

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At This Time Of Year

 

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Remember to reach out to those living with illness and pain especially during this time of the year.  It can be a very lonely and isolated time for them. Give them a call, a smile, a hand, a hug and an encouraging word that shows you care.

I doubt there is no one who could use an extra dose of caring from a friend, a relative and yes, even from a stranger.

Speaking personally, the month of December has proven to be a very difficult month every year.  It is the month when I lost both my husbands who I deeply loved.  December anniversaries and events keep running through my mind.

I don’t look forward to this time of year and wish it would hurry along, so that the new year may begin with feelings of freshness and hope for a better year.

 

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Memories Of Dad’s Love Of Electronics

 

Our Dad was a techie nerd or nerdy techie – whatever you want to call someone in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s who loved all the newest electronic gadgets on the market.  My awareness of his interest in electronics began when we lived in the 2-storey house on E. 42nd Street in the “dead end” behind the largest cemetery in Brooklyn.

What were these gadgets?  The Victrola and RCA Victor “his master’s voice” records (he had a one-sided one on which was recorded the Anvil Chorus).  He was the talk of the family and neighborhood with that one.  Another favorite record was “Humoresque” by Dvorak.  He played it over and over.  I was a very young girl at the time – 9 or 10 years old.

victrolavoice

A new black, heavy metal (it-wasn’t-going-to-fall-to-the-floor heavy) telephone with holes in a circle that you put your finger (usually the index) into, in order to “dial” someone’s number.  (We still use the word “dial” when we speak about calling someone’s number – never say, “key in” or “push the buttons.”)  Numbers like CLoverdale 8 or HYacinth 7 or MUrrayhill 2, etc. were the rage.  Remember those?  I’m speaking about New York prefixes.  At a time when there weren’t any area codes, and to get connected to someone in another city, you needed a Bell Company operator to connect you.  I remember our phone had a very heavy receiver, and we couldn’t speak long, because the weight of it made our hands very tired.  After I was married, and lived in Brooklyn, we had a CLoverdale 8 number.

phone

Dad built a shelf for the phone in a corner of the dining room near the stairs going up to the second floor of our house.  The only thing missing was a chair.  But we really didn’t need a chair.  The stairs were comfortable enough.

We were also the first family on the block to get a TV.  It was placed in the far corner of the dining room (opposite corner from where the record player was situated).  The screen (10 inches wide) sat in a large blond wood cabinet.  All the neighborhood kids were invited in to see this newfangled machine.  Everyone complained that it was too small to see the picture.  My father solved that problem with a big magnifier that was available.  Some smart inventor came up with that idea – “necessity is the mother of invention.”  That monstrosity stood on a heavy stand and stood about a foot away from the small screen.  The image sure was bigger, but it was distorted.  The magnifier was not doing the job to anyone’s satisfaction.  So, we did away with it, and just had to move closer to the TV.

We had moved away from E. 42nd Street when I was about 12 years old.  Life went along, and I got married and then my sister got married.  After she got married, Dad took over the bedroom we had shared and made it his den with comfortable seating, etc.  This was before the term, “man cave” became popular.  Dad set it all up with his (newer,  of course) record player, shelves for his large collection of records, his radio, and telephone extension.  Wires were spaghetti-ed all over the room.  I don’t think Mom liked that idea too much, but she couldn’t do anything about it.

Years later, Mom and Dad moved to Florida.  Of course, Dad set himself up with his cabinets and shelves in the “Florida room,” and with his recording and dubbing machine, his myriad of records, and hundreds of blank tapes that he used to record programs and movies starring his favorite stars, starting with the silent films.  Their community had a special TV channel on which residents could view all these “oldies but goodies.”  Dad had literally hundreds on tapes.  He had books where he organized and categorized and cross-referenced and stored every one of them.  I think he would have loved computers.

 

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