Sun Lakes Writers’ Group

Stop the World and Review the Situation

Jacqueline M. Ruffino-Platt

Someone recently said they felt everything in life had been accomplished. Roads traveled, people to see, books read, movies watched, foods sampled, flavors to taste, children grown and nothing more to do.

There is so much more to accomplish at any age. More than anyone could imagine. We share many wrinkles in our faces, our hands, our arms begin to sag, Senior freckles, (I call them) disbursed on certain areas of our bodies. Some folks become nervous and saddened by these changes. Our bodies are trying to tell us something. They wear long sleeves, jackets and high neck shirts to cover our sagging areas. We all have earned them. They are attributed to the laughter, the happiness, the experiences, the sadness, we shared through our lives. Look in the mirror, you have a face which smiles, remembering happiness, beautiful memories and meeting friends who experience the same. Friends and families you may meet along the way and not remember their name, but remember the happiness they brought into your life. Keep moving.

For some folks we had difficulty growing up with parents who worked very hard to buy a loaf of bread or a bottle of milk to feed the family, and could not stay in school for this reason. Others were fortunate to attend high school, colleges, universities and move on to become professors, doctors, lawyers, teachers and worked hard to get there. In order to compete in this world today you have to work hard to fulfill your dreams. Most folks do work hard to achieve their goals some with a little difficulty because of funds or time that comes up against them. I believe the majority of these individuals complete their mission to have a good life.

“Review Your Situation.” We live in a community with the most interesting ladies and gentlemen. We laugh with them, cry with them and help wherever and whenever we can. Take some time and actually hear each other, not only hear but listen, pay attention to their needs and “Review Their Situation.” You will find peace within your hearts and love for all. The community where I live has many activities. Activities for everyone who wants and cares to participate. Write and share your lifetime experiences with others. Leave your children and grandchildren a story about you and your life. Begin now, if you hadn’t given it a thought.

A saying I remember always and share with others, especially children.

“The Best Education you could receive is at the feet of an elder.”

Let me “Review My Situation.” I am a senior, I have gray hair, wrinkles and sometime forget some things. (We all do that regardless of age).

I remember when my mom would stand me up against a wall and measure my height as I grew taller. Today, I want so much to stand against the wall and measure the inches I grew smaller.

In my lifetime I meet the nicest, interesting people, men and women who are so talented, fun, and worldly. They traveled, read many books, watched many moves, sampled many foods, watched and tended to their children and watch their children grow into adults. Performed many skills in their lifetime, held important jobs with experience they learned along the way.

Today I am wiser and full of knowledge I learn from my experience with others, with books I read, travels I have taken, foods I eat, liquids I drink, and movies I watch. I keep good company with others who share their stories and adventures. Laugh so hard and cry so loud are tummies hurt.

I “Review My Situation” many times in my head. I have many hobbies. Hobbies, I learned when I was a small child. Hobbies my mom taught e. Crochet, knit, and sew (just a little now). I’ve always loved spending time in speed boats too, and I’m always looking out for the latest center consoles to invest in. As a child I always loved to color in coloring books. Today they sell Adult Coloring Books, still love coloring. Didn’t lose the touch. I make jewelry for friends, family and me. I do not sell any or put them on display. I love to dance and love to sign. I love to write, especially some of my life experiences. I married late in my life to a man I adore, love, and spend as much time as we can together. We are happy and just Renewed our Wedding Vows in Palermo, Sicily, performed by my brother who is an Episcopal Priest.

I don’t want to “Stop the World and Get Off” yet. I will leave it to a Greater Being than you or I.

Enchanted Alley

Ruby Regina Witcroft

As I sit here basking in the morning sun, listening to my skin wrinkle, my attention was drawn to a long forgotten scar on my knee. As I vaguely recall, and believe me it was a long time ago; the scar came from sliding into first base on my knees, in the alley behind our house. It is small but still has black cinders deeply imbedded. I usually never told my mom when I got skinned because she would pour the dreaded iodine into the sore so it just healed on its own.

Most people think of an alley as nasty. A smelly place filled with trash and pistle tailed rats scurrying around. Not true. The alley behind 2525 Sullivan Ave., between Terrace and Burgess Avenues was a wonderful place of enchantment and wonder to the dozens of kids that played there. Mind you, only a block away was a nice clean schoolyard with swings and slides but did not come close to holding the enjoyment for our little minds looking for the unusual. There was always a bike or two, a scooter, or a wagon to skid through the cinders on but clamp on roller skates never seemed to work.

When you stood behind our garage and looked down the full block length of the cinder covered alleyway you could see dozens of stately steel garbage cans all lined up in a row like soldiers. Their jaunty lids perched squarely on top like regimental requirement. They probably smelled bad enough to stink a dog off a gut wagon but not to us.

In contrast there were the lovely four-o’clock, hollyhock and rhubarb plants that grew wild as if to further enhance and beautify this storybook wonderland. The rhubarb was for a sour chew on a hot and steamy Ohio summer day. In fact, one little girl, me, got her nickname of Rhubarb from always having one of these sticks hanging out of her mouth. But the hollyhocks, these lovely little flaring blossoms, could make even a tomboy have girlie thoughts. If you picked the largest flower, of the prettiest color, turned it upside down and pushed a bud into the end, it became a gorgeous, miniature lady in a ball gown. One such creation in every color and soon you had a whole, array of lovely ladies dancing across the verdant green grass for the whole afternoon.

Most days, in this endless wonderland, were filled with softball, which the whole neighborhood of kids turned out for. Home base was a cushion off of our back yard swing, first base was Mrs. Agristi’s garbage can lid, the third base was an old worn out tire. Fourth was Mrs. Southard’s overturned birdbath. Of course, these items were sneakily acquired and had to be replaced when said owner realized what was going on. Naturally, this was a very narrow playing field, only two cars could pass, so the batter had to employ extreme caution. You could hit as long as you wanted but over either side fence was out and would probably incur a severe scolding from some mom if you scaled said fence and ran through the little vegetable gardens at the end of every lot. However, this was also part of the fun. Besides, it gave you a chance to grab a handful of cherries or an apple on the way out. This straight hitting stood me in good grace when I, later, played girls high school softball.

We all learned how to play marbles, mumbly peg, Red Rover come over, and hide and seek was especially challenging in such a narrow playing field with serious violation of the rules if we went over a fence into a yard. Ten knucklehead rubs or a very gauling wedgey. Two leg, croaker sack races were about as much fun as any carnival ride could be.

When I see a clean, skinny little girl looking so adult, playing with Barbie Dolls I wonder what she would think of my beautiful hollyhock; dancing, damsels. My cinder scarred knees from sliding or, more aptly, falling into first base. Her mental image of my hind-end scaling a four foot, wooden fence to retrieve a dirty, torn up old softball. This happy, dirty little girl named Rhubarb would feel so sorry for her.