Tag: October Group Writing

Member Post

 

Our last heavily-wooded neighborhood consisted of a large circular, gravel road with night lights only coming from our lamp post and the moon. It was over half built-out, and the few kiddies outgrew trick-or-treating.  Yet every year, we faithfully bought candy, dressed up and I turned up the volume on my spooky tape. I bought […]

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A Really Great Halloween Party

 

Way back in the 1980s, I played in a string quartet with some other amateur ladies. We played strictly for fun, and we did have a lot of it. One year, we decided to have a Halloween costume party for our many musician friends. We asked all of our friends to base their costumes on something musical, and that could be anything at all with a musical theme. We made cookies with music-note cookie-cutters, and someone brought a cake with a very clever frosting in music-staff and notes.

But the best part of that party was the costumes people dreamed up. Starting with myself, and my first husband, who was a mechanical engineer… He always liked to say that I played the violin and he played the stereo. He bought some foam-core board and made himself a very elaborate boom-box costume. He painted on all the controls, front, back and sides, including all the legends (labels) and the battery compartment. I had the bright idea of going as a clarinet. We bought some black poster-board and silver paint. We cut out the front and back, and he painted on all the silver keys. Then, he made me a headdress that was the mouthpiece, with very realistic reeds on the front. I wore the costume like a sandwich-board, with shoulder-straps connecting the front and back of the clarinet. My one mistake was forgetting to put a hinge somewhere in the front panel so I could sit down! By the end of that party, I had very sore feet!

Member Post

 

I grew up in a small town in southwestern Montana. In the 1960s, Bozeman had a population of about twelve thousand, plus around four thousand students at Montana State University (go Bobcats!). Geographically speaking, you could walk the circumference of the town in about three hours. I suppose the ease with which the town could […]

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A Child’s Future Is in the Cards

 

My family and I were enjoying a memorable dinner in the restored dining room of Montana’s historic Many Glacier Hotel. There were white linens, glittering chandeliers, and live piano music. I imagined what it must have looked like at this spot 100 years ago–the same, except all the men and ladies dressed up sumptuously for dinner instead of arrayed in their pricey, earth-toned hiking togs. My four-year-old niece at the head of table contributed to the steady conversation. We talked about my incomparable roast chicken, and my sister decided she’d go for the prime rib next time. My mother and I were persuaded to take a little wine.

Partway through the meal, my brother-in-law subtly directed our attention to a table behind us. There an elderly couple sat, like us, enjoying the food and pleasing atmosphere. They had a small child with them, too. Except there was a significant difference. The napkin-swathed child, enthroned on her booster chair, was engrossed in her electronic tablet, a tiny, self-absorbed, earphone-wearing island.

We were gobsmacked. Most of us, along with our children, would admit to having our own problems with today’s ubiquitous entertainment technologies. But what these grandparents were allowing deprived the child of having to sit politely at the table, of talking with her elders, and of simply having to live real life. Before I bring the full weight of judgement to bear, though, I do understand there could have been extenuating circumstances. But I see children’s public indulgence elsewhere, too–little kids with their heads down, absorbed in their devices even while in the act of walking into an establishment. I see on Facebook that tablets are commonly presented to children as Christmas gifts–even though it strikes me that a little child doesn’t have the capacity to appreciate that he or she is receiving the most sophisticated toy in the history of the world. Adults can make far more advantageous selections as gifts for the children in their lives.