I’ve spent a lot of time recently considering how the world has changed in the past few years.  The big subjects are very obvious.
Transportation for example.
     I made my first cross-country flight from my home in Philadelphia to California, in a prop plane!  Anyone but me ever ridden in a prop plane?  It’s a very different experience. And VERY slow as compared with leaving on a jet plane.
    Actually, that wasn’t my first plane trip.  I made my virgin excursion (had to use the phrase, I love it – virgin excursion.  Yep.  Still like that sound.) riding in a two-seater with one of the cowboys I mentioned in a story about rodeo riding.  If I didn’t, I will in a later Blog.
     Anyway, we were working a rodeo together and the guy mentioned he’d just gotten his pilot’s license and his wife wouldn’t fly with him.  Would I?  But of course I would.
     Apparently he thought he was still taming a Brahma bull and he rode that critter nearly to death.  But it was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life,  We buzzed the rodeo and waved at the  cowering crowd.  It was great!  And yes, I would do it again in a heart beat.  
I remember having a “Party-line” telephone. That meant we shared our phone line with at least one other family,  Sometimes we had two sharers which meant the best thing we could hope for was that they had no long winded relatives who would tie up the line for hours, chit-chatting about stuff that wouldn’t/couldn’t,  be half as exciting as the stuff we wanted to chat about.
     We moved on from that to a private line, which made my family one of the elite. Being VERY thoughtful people, we were careful not to point out the discrepancies in our situations. “OH, we would say with just a note of pity slipping thorough the thoughtful line, “you STILL have a party line?   Oh yes, I remember them. We used to have one.”
     The thing about party lines was that you could hear everything the other parties had to say, so the phone was a marvelous way to get information around without actually telling the story yourself. So if you did something wonderful you could expect the news to turn up someplace where everyone would learn about what a nice, clever, thoughtful, soul you really were without you ever having to point it out yourself.
     Now days I carry my phone with me.  It tells me everything I want – or don’t want – to know.  Like the time in Tokyo or what that Beiber(?) person did with his car last night.          On the other hand, it also allows everyone – I mean EVERYONE – to follow your every move.  If you doubt me, call your local government.
However, the one thing I have been thinking about that really hits home about the societal changes in my world, are the words “Let’s get together for dinner!”
     When I was a kid, getting together for dinner meant just one thing.  You would be coming to my house for dinner.  And there would be plates!  Real, china plates that had to be washed by hand because the dishwasher was still a dream machine.
We had special plates for dinner when guests were coming.  For one thing, they all matched!  Okay, they might have been Depression Ware Pink, but they were ALL Depression Ware Pink!  That was a true sign of class!
     And dinner would be special.  For one thing, it might be the only time in the month that you ate actual meat.  We ate a lot of gravy that came in little packets that had to be mixed with water.  It was Beef-Flavored and we served it over bread which cost five cents a loaf.
     But the thing was, when you were invited to dinner, you knew you were special.  That the inviters cherished your company.  It was a lovely sensation.
     If you were a kid, it also meant you had to be on your best behavior,  No getting up and down and running around the house.  No  playing with the radio or any of that nonsense.  You were there for dinner and Dinner you should have. And enjoy.  That was one of the rules.
     I particularly remember one grand evening when my Mother invited our rich friends (the Kennedys) over.  Our whole family prepped for weeks.
     We had good manner drills and polite “speak only when spoken to” drills.   And drills on how not to slurp soup!
     And then there was dessert!  For this particularly grand occasion, Mother invested in ECLAIRS…otherwise known as “heaven on earth.”  And she warned us that the éclairs came with forks and we were not to say “Ooooh what are the forks for!”  So we didn’t.
     However, my father occasionally had a skewed sense of humor and when the éclairs were served he said loudly “What is it we’re not to say?   Wait – Oh yes, I remember.  We can’t say ‘OOOh what are the forks for.”
Everyone at the table laughed heartily except Mother.  I had the feeling she would never smile again.
     Anyway, I miss those important dinners.  I enjoy the picnic atmosphere and I am aware that a perfectly grilled steak or chicken served on paper plates is hard to beat.  But I would like to go back to an occasional EVENT-type dinner invitation, where all parties, including the kid, have to be present in the room as opposed to MIPA – Missing in Phone Action.

     On to my WORD of the month:  This time it’s about a word I really, really dislike.  It’s SOLIPSISM. According to my dictionary the word suggests that “the self is the only existent thing.”  Doesn’t that sound small minded?
     On a happier word-note…last night I heard a word I like but seldom use. The word is CHIMERA and I came across it many years ago while taking a brief plunge into Greek mythology.  There, chimera is a fire-breathing she monster having a lion’s head, a goat’s body and a serpent’s tail, not exactly warm and fuzzy.  These days you can find a more modern use for the word as an illusion or an unrealized dream.  It truly does come “trippingly to the tongue.”  I don’t remember who I’m quoting but I know I didn’t make that up.
By the way, if you come across a word that you have never heard before or a word that conveys something special to you, let me know and I’ll add it to my list.  Thank you all for reading.


5 thoughts on “

  1. Betty,
    Once again, loved the blog. As an occasional dinner guest at your PA house, I fondly remember the wonderful feeling of specialness, as you mentioned. AND the classy plates were matching, to boot! What could be more special?! LOL (oops, that’s a non-Betty-ism, sorry.)
    Bob L.

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