Saturday, March 19, 2011


Most all of us can recall some neighbors that we have had that became very close to us, almost part of our family, but we also can think of the ones that were a bit different and interesting to watch and live near.

I can think of many in the many cities in which we have lived, but I think I will only tell you about our house on 18th street in Minnesota in the early years of our marriage. It was on a street with all those post-war G.I. houses with 2 bedrooms down, a living room and a kitchen and a large room with eaves upstairs. Janet next to us lived in one that was very different as she was always renovating and adding this and that and her house was always perfect in every way as was her yard. She had married this husband after her divorce and felt she had come up in the world, as his dad was a bigshot at Hormel's. She always thought that Tessie across the street was beneath her and her kids as well.

Tessie and Joe had three little girls. The seven year old daughter was crazy about horses so they did own a horse named Big Red. They kept him a block or so away on a vacant lot as we lived on the outskirts of town. All the kids in the neighborhood were fascinated with Big Red and sometimes when Terry rode him to their house they gave rides to the kids.

Of course, as horses do, he would sometimes leave horse apples in the street. My neighbor Janet, who was an immaculate housekeeper, complained to Tessie about the crap in the street and told her that she should clean it up. So one day soon after, Tessie, who was a very unconventional outspoken individual, scooped up the poop in a pail and went to Janet's back door, opened it up, and holding the pail aready to heave ho, she yelled "I cleaned this sh--t up, so what do you want me to do with it?” Tessie stood there laughing at the expression of horror on Janet’s face. She turned; shut the door, laughing all the way home!

All of us were young and had small children and babies. We had morning coffees together most every day. This was in the 50's when women stayed at home with their little ones and daddy made enough to support a family by himself. However we were a little competitive in some ways. They always made fun of my being the last to get my washing on the line on Monday mornings. (I always have been a night person.) I still had a wringer type washer, a good ole Maytag. So one Sunday night I decided to beat them at their game.

I washed my sheets and hung them out on the line around midnight in the dark and then with a smug smile I went to bed. It didn't take them long to figure out what I had done, but it was fun while they were still trying. When I ambled over to Lorraine's for coffee that morning, they were all waiting for me and laughingly accused me of my deception. Then they each told me of their individual thoughts when they first came out to hang their clothes on their lines. I got most of them for a few minutes and then they all thought that no way did she get up early and get those out there.

Neighbors you don’t forget.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Gorgeous Music Soothes this Savage Beast

I have just been blissfully entertained by this on my public TV station. It was a 25th celebration of Les Miserables in concert, and though I have seen it before many years ago, it was fantastic tonight. It was staged in London and they ended up with an encore including many of the former Jean Valjean portrayers singing some of the songs, especially the Bring Him Home number. It was so spectacular and done so beautifully! What lovely voices they had and how all four sang it in sinc and just as beautifully as the next guy.

I can't remember when I have enjoyed a concert so much. I was so moved by it often. That is not easy to do to a television listener where there are so many distractions in one's home, but they did it! Jim took Dodger (my dog) and went down to Sheboygan to Jordan's and so I was lucky to be home without any distractions at all. I'm eager to hear if Helena was there. I looked for you in the audience, but that arena must hold thousands. :) I hope many of you listened to this feast of beautiful music with me.

I kept wanting to contribute tonight over and over, but I have a video of a performance somewhere which I bought the last time I watched it. Bill and I saw the play in Chicago many years ago too, but we had terrible seats and were not able to even follow it until the second half when we moved down to a closer balcony. (Got those tickets over the phone and she assured me they were in the balcony just above the orchestra!)

Public TV I support and it is one of the best things I give to. I think Phantom of the Opera just was supplanted by Les Miz as my very favorite. At least for tonight.


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