Saturday, March 30, 2024

Child's first attempt at writing

 Memories: As I sat writing at my typewriter (yes, I'm that old) One of my kids handed me a piece of paper with a pumpkin drawing and many, many lines of scribble under it. She asked me to read her story to her.  

(so I made up a story about a pumpkin that was sad he wasn't chosen by a child)

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Spelling Counts

 My names were 'new' names when I was born.  

I was actually named after an aunt -- Lavinia Winifred -- but my parents changed it to Wendie Louise. I've suffered ever since. Believe it or not my parents were influenced by the story of Peter Pan, but probably thought the 'IE' part of the name might make it closer to Winifred.  

All it did for me was to make sure that NOBODY could spell it. Wendy, Wendel, Wendi, Wende. I've had all of these show up. (It was especially fun for my 'friends' to call me Wendel the whole weekend we were at a conference together and THAT was how my nametag was printed out.)  

I've had people accuse me of faking/ lying about being a published writer. They claimed they had looked me up on Amazon dot com. They (not noticing the spelling of my online name) addressed their message to Wendy in their accusation. Which made me laugh. They couldn't even READ the name on the header of the message they sent to me?  

I answered with two words, "Spelling Counts!"

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Francis Scott Key bridge destroyed and family adventures with it:

 This morning (Marcy 26, 2024, very early in the morning, a cargo ship crashed into the very very tall (scary tall) Francis Scott Key bridge while trying to get out of the Baltimore Harbor.  Which reminded me of the many times I have driven over that bridge.  Also reminded me of that time.....

One day the family was going to go to my oldest's graduation from college - in southern Maryland.  

So we packed two cars and off we go to drive from north of Baltimore city to St. Mary's City. My youngest drove my mother in law's car and went first. Then we (the rest of the family) took off. We arrived at St. Mary's City and where was my youngest and my mother in law? They arrived an hour later.  

It turns out that neither of them could navigate. So - They got onto the Baltimore Beltway (696), took a right at I-95, went under the Baltimore Harbor through the tunnel, continued on I-95 until they reached the south part of the Baltimore Beltway (695). They immediately got onto 695 and soon found themselves driving over the very scary high Francis Key Bridge and suspected that they may have taken a wrong turn. Continued on 695 until they met I-95 again, so they then again headed south on I-95 and figured out that they needed to Not take the beltway again, but to take the road to Annapolis and then on to St. Mary's.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Is history boring?

 Students ask a lot of questions when writers visit schools, but some of them can knock you for a loop:

One student asked, "How can you write about history - it's soooo boring ! "

That one stumped me for a minute , mainly because I LOVE history.  

I replied -- that I don't write about the boring stuff. I try my best to find 'fascinating facts' and do include those. For example, did you know that.... (and then pull out some of the weird and wonderful things I discovered while researching my books.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Extra social security monies

 When my husband retired and called about beginning social security, the gal on the phone was great. 

Since he was retiring later than the required date at that time, she said he could take the slightly higher monthly amount for the rest of his life, or he could take the original amount and GET the extra money he would have gotten as one chunk of money. Knowing that he was dying (and should have died 5 years earlier, but he's stubborn and also had a grandchild to raise) he asked for the chunk. Which we immediately shoved into savings and used for years to help pay grandchild expenses. 

Yes, he died a year and a half after retiring, (and I had retired a year ago to take care of him), so grandchild and I were able to use that money to move closer to my other children (across the country) plus other expenses. 

Thank heavens for that a very nice SS lady. (I hear that nowadays they're not allowed to tell you about these various choices.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Know that you'd be good at the job

 In grad school, I knew we needed part time jobs to get through this course of study, so when I noticed that a downtown department store was expanding, I marched right into the HR and told them that I could see that they needed workers and that I was an experienced department store worker -- had worked several Christmases at one. It kind of took her aback, but she hired me.  

When I asked about a job for my husband, (he didn't have sales experience but did have warehouse experience) she also hired him to work behind the scenes - maintenance and other stuff. By our second year , they promoted him to be head of a team of workers. Why? Because this was Kentucky in the 1960s and the other workers on his team were black, so they put the white guy in charge. In charge of much older, experienced men. Luckily, he was good at his job so the men already respected him, plus he was a good organizer and had been taking management courses so he was a good manager.  

(After we graduated, in just a few years he became a branch manager and when computers were introduced he organized the first IT department there.)

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

How I began working my way through school (and college)

 In the 1950s high school meals were made in large batches from scratch, so when I knew they'd be serving my favorite meals, I'd join the volunteer students who helped serve and then I could eat as much of my favorite food as possible for free. (me- on the Academic track - got to know a lot of the kids on the commercial track that way. 🙂  

They also pointed out that I could skip the last weeks of school before Christmas by joining their training classes that trained kids to work in stores during the Christmas rush. What's not to like? I got paid plus got the store discount to buy presents for my family. And I had a large family.)

And I used that training to work part time all throughout my college years, even in grad school.

Since I had a year of secretarial training my first year of college, I then had the skill to part-time join a typing pool and then was promoted to operate the very first IBM word processor - the MT/ST Machine. 

 MT/ST (Magnetic Tape/Selectric Typewriter), which connected the Selectric typewriter with a separate magnetic tape drive. Magnetic tape was the first reusable storage medium for typed information.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Driving while unborn

 I have a traffic ticket. I happened to turn right on red -- which is legal in California - but got caught with a traffic camera.  

Two things. The beginning of the pictures they captured showed me turning at 0 seconds, which means it was still yellow (also legal in California) AND the actual ticket sent to me showed NO money owed -- because it put my birth date at 2026. In other words, I was driving a car but I hadn't been born yet.  

The person at the courthouse gave me my ticket back and told me that, if California hadn't contacted me with a bill in a year, I was home free.  

(that year ends in a week - and I'm still waiting for a bill)