Daily Post: Futures Past

Twenty years ago, the premier advice, from givers-of-advice on job searches, was how to prepare for the question, “What do you see yourself doing in five years?” Sometimes the time frame in a very aggressive job search put the number at ten.

I had no idea. Usually I could figure out today and even a week in advance, but five years? What would I be doing in five years? Even pondering the question made me laugh out loud. Not to a recruiter’s face, mind you, but otherwise, yes. Laugh out loud.

I was asked to ponder the question in high school. And after I began college. Again, I had no idea so I took the basics and let it go at that.

Even twenty years ago, living a professional life in Washington D.C., I had no idea. I’d already had several careers. Perhaps I should say “faux-professional.” As a contractor for the Office of Personnel Management, I was, essentially, a part-time teacher.

But today’s Daily Post question asked “As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How close or far are you from that vision?”

Oddly enough, my future really was in my past. As a kid, I wrote all the time. A diary, mostly, that I hid under my pillow and was always surprised when my mom found it. And outraged, I might add. But I never expected to be a writer. That simply wasn’t on my horizon even though my mother wrote a column for the local paper and my grandmother was a poet. But my grandmother was dead and my mother annoying. Why would I be a writer? But I am.

What I really and truly dreamed about was a home, a husband, kids, and a picket fence around it all. Truly. So in high school, I got tired of the question and left school to marry a soldier. We moved all over the place but no picket fence. No marriage after a while either. But I did have kids. I was part of the way there.

In 2003, Cliff and I bought this 1924 two-story stucco and brick house with a privacy fence around the back yard. Taller than a picket fence, but nonetheless, a fence. In 2004 we married. In 2005 we got a kid. True, oldest kid who came to live with us and go to college, nonetheless, a kid.

And that’s how we’ve lived ever since, home, fence, kid.

Oh. And writer.



dpchallenge: Moved by Music

My mother listened to the Nutcracker Suite/but she wanted to be a flapper.

That’s how one of my poems begins. The Nutcracker Suite was a part of our Christmases for as far back as I can remember. Unfortunately, since it was an every-year thing and a part of our life, I never thought to ask here why. Why did a Kansas small town girl learn to love that particular piece of music? We forget to ask our elders a lot of things and then suddenly, or not suddenly, it’s too late to ask.

Of course, the Nutcracker Suite also means ballet. I began ballet lessons when I was in my mid-thirties so it goes without saying it wasn’t a career move for me, but I did love dancing.

My mom and dad married because of music and dancing. A year after my father died, Mom went with friends to the Cahon Ballroom in Marysville, Kansas (no doubt I’ve misspelled Cahon), a place all of us of a certain age frequented at one time or another although now it’s gone. They’d dated many years earlier, before she married my father, and so when he walked in the door, she recognized him immediately. They danced once, talked the rest of the time, and married six weeks later.

Except for my early teen years, music, itself, was never central to my life although dance is central and it’s hard to dance without music. In my teen years it was Doo Wop and Elvis and Frankie Avalon. I had the room in the attic peak of the house after my sister went to college and I can’t remember that room without seeing a can-can in the corner. I learned to starch them with strong sugar water and stand them in the bathtub to drain. There was no hanging them up. Sticky though on a hot summer evening.

This photo is thanks to Living-Fifties-Fashions. That site brought back weekend nights when I had no date and morosely stared out the bedroom window to avoid seeing it in the corner, as lonely as I was. And no doubt listening to Elvis.Pink_Crinoline_CanCan

But the site also reminded me of “poodle skirts.” My sister and I both had one of those. We sewed them in 4-H from pre-printed fabric. Now that was something to dance in.

My husband dances too–he grew up on the polka as well as dancing to rock ‘n roll. We have a dance floor here in the living room at one end, an open space just big enough to do several polka turns or a line of “The Slide.” I’ve tried to teach him the grapevine but he’s better at the polka. And as long as he doesn’t let me fall over, I can keep up with him. He hasn’t let me fall yet.

So there’s my moves to music: jitterbug and swing and ballet and polka. And The Slide. And every Christmas we listen to the Nutcracker Suite.

If you want to write your own “Moved by Music” click on the link below.