It Was A Very Good Year

Between my 70th and 71st birthdays:

– Surprise birthday party orchestrated by my daughter. Amazing because although she had invited people several months before and I saw some of these friends on a weekly basis, no one spilled the beans. Total surprise and such fun–people from out-of-town and out-of-state. Three generations of some.

– My first significant fall as a senior. Not an experience I went looking for but I came out of it in fine shape and it didn’t take Boxie too long to recover. (See blog My 70th Year – Boomsday 2014 P. S. I am invited back this year!

– Civil War reenactment in Blountville, TN last October.  I enjoyed the history it presented, from the battle to the soldiers’ tents and the campfire kitchens. Reenactors are sticklers for authenticity which made a close up view of the women’s long hooped dresses and the surgeon’s tools all the more fascinating.

Then came the killing of the nine people attending church in Charleston, SC.

To me, the Confederate flag has never been  a symbol, but just a flag flown in the south during the War Between the States.  IMG_3711

My viewpoint is that of a white person born in 1944 in Georgia and growing up in Tennessee with a few years lived in North Carolina. I graduated high school right as segregation began. Beyond school books, I  never delved into what the 1860s period of history meant to others.

By attending the reenactment and then reading of the deaths in Charleston in June, I stepped out of my small world, learned some history, and was forced to confront that history in the present.

– I went to a The Edge, a Knoxville gay bar, alone, to see Del Shores perform.  Shores came to town right after one of his plays, Sordid Lives, was presented by Theatre Knoxville Downtown.

The play was utterly hilarious, and his show was recommended by a friend who worked with him once. I didn’t hesitate to buy a ticket, thinking others I knew would be going, but that didn’t happen so I ventured out by myself. I didn’t mind going alone; it is better than staying at home.

The material he presented was just plain funny–He read real police reports which you thought had to be made up. A lot of his humor comes from being raised in the south, being the son of a Baptist preacher and being gay.

I came away from the evening, thankful he created a life based on laughter, not violence, and I am ready for the next encounter.

– Going by bus for the Women’s March on Nashville.(see blog My 70th Year – My First Activist March)052

– Celebrating with a great wake, the life of a friend who died after a long fight with cancer. There were at least four such parties and I am sure he enjoyed every one of them. No obit and no funeral for him.

– Found myself lying on the floor of Knoxville Soap, Candle and Gifts Shop for an hour, with a  large scarf covering my face and body, listening to singing bowls. Very calm atmosphere where you can meditate or sleep. I highly recommend it.

– Started the first of a three-part dream fulfillment: Taking my 15-year-old grandson, Max, on a trip. With the help of a friend’s offer of a place to stay, we headed for a week in Key West, Florida. Priceless. Now to plan something for the other two.

169– Then there was going to the Pow Wow, Steam Punk Carnivale, a Kentucky Derby Party, writing KnoxZine articles, staying in touch with friends through Facebook, camping out under the stars, breaking in a new housemate, feeling the love of family.

I am blessed.

Bits & Pieces

I knew I would be erratic in writing my blog; the determination and drive to stay on a schedule eludes me more and more.  The big lapse in posts this time happened because   my computer going  funky on me. I couldn’t stay connected to the internet for more than an hour at a time plus I had to reboot to get back on it. Alex, the middle grandson, came to my rescue and can tell you just what was wrong.

I am still thinking about the Women’s March on Nashville and the people I met that day. Our lives followed very different paths in the 60s and 70s.  I married in 1964 at the age of 20 and by 1969 lived in a small neighborhood of young white families with working dads and mostly stay at home moms. Planned pregnancies, housework and volunteering were the hubs in my life  At the same time they were protesting, marching, and getting arrested for standing up for integration and women’s rights and being against the Vietnam War.

Now in 2015 I find myself on a bus with these women and I am thankful I have been  given the time to think outside my little box and learn, learn, learn.IMG_4198

Decision Time

It is dark, cold and early Tuesday morning when I wake up before my alarm goes off. I am getting ready to board a bus with 48 other people, mostly unknowns, to travel to the Women’s March on Nashville. This march, a grassroots effort started in Knoxville, 004developed to remind legislators that participants would be watching their actions this year. Of major interest are women’s reproductive rights, equal pay for equal work, and paid maternity leave.

 

Why am I doing this? Because a friend asked me. Because I like doing different things. Because it could be something to write about for my blog or KnoxZine. To look deeper into myself. Most of my friends do not have a problem supporting equal pay and maternity leave, but reproduction rights, specifically abortion, is a dividing line.

Do I believe in abortion? I  believe that every woman should have the right to decide what is best for her body and her life, the right to make the choice herself. Would I have an abortion? I have no answer for that question because I have never been faced with making that decision. No matter my beliefs it comes down to what I would do in real life.

I’ll be posting some of the comments from my fellow passengers and more pictures later.112