Saturday, May 20, 2006


Margie Martini Jones

50 years ago, numerous graduating classes resolved to go out and make this a better world. Our class motto was “Today we follow, tomorrow we lead”. I thought about that for a long time after finding out that yet another piece of legislation passed that was going to make the rich, richer and the poor, poorer. I honestly had to wonder if our collective classes really made the world a better place.

I looked at pictures in the old “Highlines” on the website and wondered if any of those leaders went out and tried to change the world. If we all had, would there have been more wars, would 40% of middle class people be without insurance, would women still be making less than men? I am not really a “do-gooder” but I really believe in doing something to make the place better for our children and grand children.

When I moved to Wenatchee, I felt like I was in a time warp. I consider myself rather conservative, but in this town, I am considered a flaming liberal. I became involved early because I could not stand what was happening. Using my background in debate, I began speaking out. Later, my children did the same. Some of them found themselves in trouble in school and my poor husband wondered just what we were up to.

I joined the only activists Wenatchee the American Association of University Women. It was interesting to me that at one point after our AAUW Readers Theatre appeared in a school, the principal got an anonymous letter saying we were “pink ladies” and that did not refer to the color of our dresses. This only made us madder and we became stronger. We took up the cause of the Equal Rights Amendment; we fought to get a gifted program in the schools, and worked to change our antiquated form of city government and on and on. I must say it was fun. We even invited one of our local legislators to a “coffee hour” and when he arrived there were 75 angry women and no coffee and he heard our concerns sputtering the whole time. Incidentally, he declined further invitations to meet with us as did other elected people. I constantly met people who were happy with the status quo, or who agreed but were too timid to speak out, or who thought we were crazy. Often we found people who were just interested in making more money and not caring about anything or anyone else... We met kids we were trying to mentor who were only interested in getting everything from their parents and being responsible for nothing. Over the years, we saw our elected leaders, our generation, as anything but honest leaders... I wondered how many people I knew and had known who were doing anything for change.

Then again, maybe I am judging everyone too harshly, because our generation did many things to make life easier.and insure some measure of equality. Maybe I crossed paths with some of you when I testified in Olympia or prowled the halls of Congress working on education and women’s issues, I hope so. We were a bright class graduating in a time of relative peace. However as bright women we had yet to really break out of the nurse-secretary-teacher mold. I regret my college advisors talked me out of law school. We still have time to do something, so let’s go out and work harder and show we can still lead.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Chuck Cooper - WISDOM : The Two Keys to Happiness

This sharing of wisdom is dedicated to Captain Linville, who speaks for all of us when he says "If I got a life, I don't know where I would fit it in!"

Happiness entails strictly following the two basic RULES OF LIFE. Some experts say there are three, but sunscreen makes my eyes burn, so I use only two. These rules are important throughout life, but are particularly so after retirement.

RULE ONE: Keep a list of all the things you have to do.

RULE TWO: With two exceptions I will get to later, don't drink in the morning.

The rule one list includes everything that you should do as soon as possible. That can be chores, errands, projects; everything from clean the garage to call your creditors. These don't have to be things that you don't like. It is OK to include things that you think you will enjoy. The key is to make this a list of items you have been putting off. Once you complete your list, relax and start enjoying not doing them.

There is nothing worse than having nothing to do. With your list you will always have plenty to do. Some people think that the goal is to go to work on your list and finish it up. This is a dangerous fallacy. Think about it. If you do everything on your list, you will end up with nothing to do. Why do you think retirees often feel that the weekends are no fun any more? Weekends are great because you are not going to work. Once you have no work to not go to, the weekend loses its luster.

Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with doing one or two items on your list when the mood takes you. That can actually enhance the intervals when the mood hasn't taken you. Just remember, whatever you do has to be replaced by another item on the list, so cross them off with great care. People who finish their lists are in the same boat as those that don't keep lists, and can end up drinking in the morning.

Rule two is pretty self evident for those that have to go to work. Drink in those circumstances and you will soon end up relying on your list. But contrary to popular belief, this rule is even more important for retirees. In the first place, you can forget about the enjoying the afternoon pondering your list. You will be asleep. Second, it really screws up the cocktail hour. Not only will you have nothing to look forward to all day, but also the gin takes on a harsh taste the second time around.

The first exception is for Christmas morning with your in-laws. Here getting a little snockered not only improves your mood and the experience, it makes you clever and funny, improving the holiday for all. Likewise, after the large afternoon meal everyone is going to be sleeping anyway. Finally, and I really can't explain it, you are still looking forward to enjoying the cocktail hour.

The second exception is for when you defect to a hotel for the weekend and spend Sunday morning sleeping in, drinking champagne, watching old movies on television, and making love. I don't know what it is about old movies, but that sure beats contemplating the list.

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