Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Social Media - Privacy, Friends, Family & Bing Crosby

     There's been a lot  written  about Facebook regarding  privacy ,  and  addiction to  social media.  Two subjects I take very seriously. I, like most folks,   cherish privacy,  and don't relish the idea of  being addicted to something , anything out of my  control.  Because of this , I have  seriously considered closing my Facebook account.

      But  then  something interesting happened. Bing Crosby ! Yes, that popular crooner from long ago . Bing has always been a favorite of mine  - his songs, classic  movies, and Tv specials  I watched in days of my youth. And now, PBS is airing  an episode of American Masters ,  about Bing! I posted on Facebook about the show.  To my great delight, I  found  cherished friends from  high school days , and newer friends made comments and were going to watch the show, too.  For me , it was  a  welcome connection past to present,   with friendships  I value , and love ; friendships I hold dear .  

    I began to ponder if interaction like this  could have happened  without Facebook, the sharing back and forth in real time , and if this might be the positive of Social Media where long distance families  and  long ago friends , and new friends are able to connect so easily .     Where folks share the happenings of their  everyday  life-  those  fun , silly , happy times; and yes,  broken moments, when life seems in total  despair.  Or are we only  being self centered, yelling out to the world ,  'Look at me, here I am'

   I don't have an answer yet, but  will continue to seek a resolution ,  if social media is a good or bad thing.   I do know I enjoy hearing from long ago friends, seeing pictures of  a beloved aunt , Joy Thorson Mann running in an Omaha marathon,  Cooney cousins and other family members,  and on this night watching Bing Crosby Rediscovered on PBS , and being able to share commentary  about  my favorite song man ,  with dear pals Jeannette, Roberta, Cheryl,  and Kari B Allen.  On this night,  social media seems a good thing, and the camaraderie it brings.






Saturday, October 25, 2014

Now I'm 64

   For the past several days , in anticipation of my 64th birthday I've been going around the house singing in a  slightly off key, but  spirited voice to my husband, Gary

         Doing the garden
         digging the weeds
         who could ask for more
         Will you still need me
         Will you still feed me
         When I'm sixty-four
  When this popular Beatle song from their album Sgt. Pepper's  Lonely Hearts Club Band was released in June 1967,  my friends and I were 16 years old  and 64 seemed an eternity from where we were at.   Our point of reference was  more immediate: Summer fun at the beach, date night , toilet papering the Smith household,  hanging out at Taco Bell, and   anticipating our  senior year at good ol' Bell High.

   But  I soon learned what seems an eternity  is only a series of  tomorrow's , soon to become long ago yesterday's .  Which brings me to this special day, October 25, 2014. My 64th birthday.

     I like birthdays, mine and everybody else's . I think of  them as the day The Lord has made , we shall rejoice and be glad in it (Ps.118:24). To celebrate the gift of life.  I like my birthday is in the Fall of the year, the end of October when the seasonal change in color moves to  autumn orange, gold's and reds, and  the change of weather takes place -  from hot summer  sun to cooler days.  I like Scorpio is my astrological sign, and opal my gem.  I like I'm  a baby boomer and remember hula hoops, silly putty, roller skates with a key, chasing through the sprinkler with my little brother, Walt and neighborhood kids on hot summer days,  and riding my bike  to Bell Park with  best friend, Linda.

  On T.V.  there was   Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, The (original) Mickey Mouse Club starring  Annette Funicello, Cubby and Karen;  My Three Sons,  and The Rifleman. Today, what  I'd call sweet shows.

    At 64 I  look back and  cherish all the times of my life: My early years  in Council Bluffs, Iowa  where I was doted on by loving  grandparents, aunt and uncles, where my roots began as my parents did,  in a small mid western town. I was baptized in the same church my mother was, Holy Family Catholic Church,  and played at my Grandpa Cooney's upholstery shop. I equally relish my growing up years in Bell/Maywood, California where I attended  St. Rose of Lima grade school first through eighth grade, and Bell High starting my Freshman year, and learned lessons of faith and friendship.

     And my working years at the Herald American/Call-Enterprise newspaper and The Los Angeles Times. Editing copy, writing the story, retail sales, meeting a deadline. A job that helped me gain confidence, and gratified me with a sense of personal achievement.

   Then , the most rewarding years - marriage  and motherhood;  my Gary, and sons, Gavin and Garrett. Husband and wife making a home, raising a family, creating new memories for future years. The joy of experiencing my son's first word, first step, first day of school; family trips to Disneyland and Disney World, New York City and Yellowstone. Play days, sick days, Sunday go to church day.  Halloween costumes and Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas Eve at Grandma Nor's, coloring eggs for Easter and  4th of July fireworks, and yes, birthday celebrations filled with smiles and laughter.

   For sure, not every moment in my 64 years has been carefree and happy, but all has been good. I'm grateful for my mother and dad, where I came from and who I am. I'm blessed in family and friends, and knowing God's presence.

    I  started this birthday reflection with lyrics from one Beatles song, and    think closing with another (with slight word change) sums up my feelings pretty well

            All these places had their moments
            with  family and friends
             I  still can recall
            Some are dead and some are living
             In my life I've loved them all










Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Sky

The  poets prose can't
accurately describe the
awesome beauty , unfiltered
and pristine of todays
north Idaho sky
Nor a painters brush
its brilliant hue;
A blue so blue
with clouds so white
bringing to mind
something pure and serene
I wonder,  is  this  what
the  first sky looked like
when the world was created ?
And God  saw what he had done
and proclaimed, This is good

Thursday, September 4, 2014

His 60th Birthday (my brother Walt Cooney)

September 4 , 2014 - note to Mother

Congratulations, Mom! 60 years ago today you gave birth to your beautiful blue eyed baby son! Walter Rod Cooney - 9 1/2lbs. 21" long. Named for your beloved Walt Thorson, Walt was welcomed into the world with great joy  by you and dad,  grandparents, aunt and uncles , and  me - his big sister. But most  especially in your tender and unconditional love, a love that nurtured and guided Walt throughout his life , and helped him become the caring , good man he was.

We celebrated his first birthday, and each year after wished Walt a happy birthday with party, cake and presents; and while all memorable in some way, his 21st birthday stands out as one his most special birthday's.  Not only because turning 21 is considered a landmark birthday, moving from youthful idyllic days into adulthood,  but because of all the friends and family there, including Patsy and Lawrence Mattix; Linda Mattix Funk and Jim Funk, Austin and Mark, Jim Moore , and Walt's best friend, Jimmy Taylor. Phyllis and Don .  You , me,  Gary, and of course, Patty.  Not only was Patty my brothers long time girlfriend, she was, and is like a little sister to me.

And let's not forget Harris the Parrot! Your gift to Walt, the number one gift on his wish list!  Although, I do remember it was a cockatoo, like the crazy bird on the popular T.V.  show, Baretta Walt had  originally asked for , but when learning the  high cost, he said, " you know, Mom, I think I could like a parrot just as well".   Harris fit right in with all  of us laughing, dancing, singing folk - at first a little shy, he quickly began with his squawking, talking parrot sounds. Not exactly, "Polly want a cracker",  but more a deep throated , "Caw, Caw, Caw" .

With Walt's birthday so early in September, the sounds of summer still played in our heads and we listened to some of the great pop  hits of 1975 - Elton John's Someone Saved My Life Tonight, James Taylor How Sweet it Is To Be Loved By You, Bee Gees Jive Talkin , and a favorite of Patty and Walt's,  One Of These Nights by the Eagles .

Mom prepared a lovely buffet of meats and cheeses and homemade dips . My childhood playmate and life long pal,  Linda  (she had known my brother since he was 6 months old) fixed herself and Walt a Rum and Coke  (now that he was a legal age ) , then offered a Happy Birthday toast . When she finished we all clapped our hands and shouted cheers,  and took turns giving Walt a birthday hug.

It is sweet memory of a happy time , when life was good with loved ones near.  But the years pass quickly, and today would be my brothers 60th birthday, though he is no longer here for us to give him a party or buy him a parrot. Yet,  we love him still - the baby , the little boy, teenager ,  and man he was.  Happy Birthday,  dear Walt! Love,  your  Sis.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Fabric of Friendship

    I'm home from a weeks visit with  a very dear friend of mine since high school . Diana and I spent leisurely hours reading, watching movies , going for a morning walk .  Along with her husband Bill, also a friend since high school we played Scrabble each night ,  enjoyed a glass of wine (for Bill n' me a mug of beer ) and ate ice cream . It was a most pleasant time.

    Diana and I also went to Cheesecake Factory and Mimi's Cafe - two totally different  restaurants , but both with an ambiance suited to the ladies lunch set.  At Cheese Factory  we met a long time friend of mine to help celebrate her 70th birthday - a special day, indeed. Phyllis and I became friends when we worked together at The Herald American/Call Enterprise newspaper; she was 27, I was 21 and have remained close friends over these many years.  The  next day , Diana and I met our mutual friend,  Manya   at Mimi's CafĂ©.  Manya is  another cherished  pal from high school days.

    It was during that lunch I began to think about the thread of friendship, and the fabric it weaves. Diana, Manya and I are three of a larger group of high school friends that try to get together at least once a year to reminisce
our youthful antics,  and renew our vow of friendship. To celebrate our past , while at the same time build new memories. Just this past April we met at Susan's home in Eatonton, Georgia; we laughed and played, and carried on like we were the same carefree teenage  girls from long ago.

    The truth is we're now women in our 60's - 2018 will mark 50 years since we graduated high school. Underneath the L'Oreal or similar  product, our hair is some shade of gray, our skin wrinkled and crinkled,  and dotted with age spots, and our once slender bodies a bit fuller than they once were. Each of us in some way have endured heartbreak in one form or another, and have persevered. Faith, family and yes, abiding friendship.

     I listened and watched Manya and Diana as they spoke - Manya telling us about her husband Bill who just left for Tennessee  on a work related job; Diana, about her grand-daughter starting her first year of college. I saw them as they are now , but also saw them through the eyes of time, remembering who they were then, and recognized at once  their same familiar smiles, the lift of Manya's eyebrow, the gentle sound of Diana's voice. A warm feeling washed over me knowing we have been friends the greater part of our lives, sharing  much happiness and deep sorrow. I am joyous that the fabric of our friendship is made of cloth strong and enduring, that our friendship doesn't reside only in the past, but is present in the here and now, and no doubt, long into the future.

                   (a favorite photo of a favorite time with friends Diana,
                     Manya and others. Our first Mammoth ski trip 1969)