Saturday, December 2, 2017

Remembering the Beginning Days of Reinvention and Early Beginnings as a child.

January 30, 2009, Revised December 2, 2017

Looking back from where I am today I am truly aware of what a lucky woman I have been. Oh, that does not mean it has all been a bed of roses. It has not but then I don't anyone who has lived a life of all good times and days. It is almost 10 years since first publication. I had been working on a blog for about a year.... not very often and not with much success.  As I reread that first version I forgot to think of the good things I have enjoyed.  The one I am thinking about

My two brothers and I grew up in South Shore in Chicago. It was a wonderful place and one could come and go easily, get almost everywhere, without a car. It was a block and a half walk to O'Keeffe School at 68th and Merrill. It was a Kindergaraten through 8th grade school. There were chances in the early grades to have older children come and read with you or to your class or draw pictures together. When you became one of the older children the roles were reversed. It was just as special to go down and help the younger children. If I had a voice I would change many school's back to that structure.

Many times I could walk a block and a half down Clyde and lunch with my Grandmother, my mom's mom. Other days we would walk home for lunch. After school, if we were really lucky and had a nickel to spend we would stop on the way out of the school yard at Pete's not very large candy cart. That cart was my introduction to Snapz and very long red licorice sticks.

As we got older we could walk to 71st Street, only 3 blocks down Chappell. there was a bowling alley, a dimestore (remember those), two movie theaters, several restaurants and a wonderful drug store with a soda fountain. Next door to one theater was a card shop with a mezzanine. The mezzanine held a rental library. My first introduction to 'grown up' books and where I really became a lover of reading.  Looking back my greatest book memory was being introduced to a trilogy by Taylor Caldwell. The three books were Eagles Gather, Eagles Gather and The Final Hour. They were a fictionalized version of the Dupont Famil

Jan 30, 2009
In June of 2004 my colleagues held a Reinvention Party in my honor. The title of the party came from all my negative comments about the concepts of retirement. I had been reading Women Confronting Retirement by Alice Radosh and Nan Bauer-Maglin. I recommend it to all women thinking about retirement. In their preface the comment that 'battleships are retired, not people." That really struck a chord with me and so my colleagues who all new my feelings on the concept adopted by feelings for the party. I really thought I was prepared for the life ahead, the life that would begin with my second reinvention. The first began when I took official retirement from a K-8 district and started anew at a private teacher-education institution. That move began the most exciting, amazing, satisfying 15 years of my professional life.

As this was a second career and I was well beyond 65 I realized I had better make some decisions about what I wanted from my remaining years and I knew traveling was one of the things I wanted to do. "Better get to it" I said to myself. I decided to leave the university and arranged to work a 50% load during that final year. Well, I thought, aren't you smart. This will really prepare you for the time you will have next year. I cannot believe, to this day, how wrong I was and how ill-prepared I was for what the next year would bring.

It is still painful to remember the loneliness of that first year. For the past 15 years I had been part of an active, exciting, professionally involved community. And there I was, one September morning, no longer a part of that or any other community. My friends who had retired earlier or who had not worked all had busy lives of their own that filled their days. My community of learners and colleagues had their own lives. My children were happy to visit and have me have special days with their kids but that was not how I wanted to spend my time. What had I been thinking!! You can't travel all the time!! You travel for two weeks or so at a time. Even with planning included what was I going to do with me in the years to come.

I remembered someone once saying... " You remember Joan. She used to be.......(whatever she did before)". Is that what I would become. A Marianne who used to be.....

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