Alberobello (Photo credit: Allibito)

Hello friends, this past year I turned 76 years old. I can’t believe I’m 76 years old. I remember the sweet days I was the youngest in any crowd and now, well I’m the oldest. What happen? On my birthday my wife Beng had a celebration marking the big event here at our home. No big Filipino festival but we had family and some dear friends. Of course being that I live in the Philippines there was immoral roasted pig.

If there were no conspiracies, there would be a lot of terribly bored skeptics in the world! But there are always two sides to every coin…to every story, every encounter, and every experience. It’s a balance. Life is a balance. Don’t you think? Please remember us, now we are weary, confused adults.

It’s so awkward, isn’t it when you’re growing up? I can still remember as a kid when I done something terribly embarrassing… That evening everybody at the dinner table is clearing their throats, hem-hawing, trying to find something safe to talk about. At other times then too there was lots of nervous laughter, and questions concerning a family relative who had done something incredibly embarrassing. And then at other times the table’s gossip would turn to a current topical of a relative’s shameful behavior followed by embarrass laughter.

Panoramic view of Seattle from the observation...

Panoramic view of Seattle from the observation deck. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We arrived in Seattle from Salem in 1947 with the trailer house my Dad had built. Pulling the little trailer was his Model A Ford. We were greeted by passing cars with  people yelling “Get a Horse.”   Salem, the farm, my dogs were left far behind. New friends, a new school lay ahead, a new city at our footstep. Puffing the little black Ford Model A struggle on  in search of a trailer park as the sky darken in night fall. Uneasy my Mom set in  the seat quietly, while my Dad drove on and I prayed to God for His help quietly in my spot on the car seat we all shared. As luck would have it or God had taken pity we find a trailer park that was cheap enough my Dad could afford the rent that had open space. Welcome to Seattle, penniless, no belongings to speak of, no friends and were greeted by the words, “Get a Horse!” That was our welcome to Seattle.

Later I found out my Grandma Story lived north of Seattle in a little town  named Edmonds with her youngish son Bob and her husband Ozzie. Also my Uncle Eddie with young wife lived on a small farm he owned, so not was lost. Whenever we could we’d visit Grandma Story since my step mother and raised since she was a small child plus my Uncle Eddie was my Mom favorite little brother, it was prize for her. I can recall one day riding in wooden duck in the sea near the little town, which a big thrill to me. One sunny day my Uncle Eddie took my Mom and I on a ride to a place over looking the harbor of  Seattle full of navy gray warships just back from the far reaches of the Pacific. Suddenly he stopped the car and pointed to one of war ship and then he turned to his passengers telling us with pride that one particular ship he had served on during the war.

Every day it looked like we might go to war with USSR as President Truman stood firm aginst them.  World maps became redder almost daliy, Crechsovalia fell behind the Iron Curtain. Chang Kaail-chek was fighting the Chinese communists teeth and nail. The British and French Empires were falling apart as colonys wanted them out. Wanted them out, Period. War brides arrived by boat loads. America was fighting in Greece against the armed communists. The Russians did their best to drive the West out of Berlin and the Russians had the Atom bomb. Americans found out Uncle Joe wasn’t friendly guys. Rationing was stopped and new cars, electric washers were manufactured, a very new thing called the television was offered for sale, if you had the money it was yours. I remember we could

afford one and my Dad thought it was a passing fade, so school 5th grader and I would on a clear night would sneak out to watch TV hidden across the dark street we watched as people gathered together at a classmate’s house to watch his parents’ TV shows every night. In those days I think Seattle had 3 channels with test patterns coming on around 11 P.M.  McDonald’s and frozen pizza was yet to come.  TV dinners, what was that?

1948 Saturdays –  The other evening while watching an old movie on our television brought back a flood of my youthful memories so long ago. Ah, those were the happy days! Please remember this was 1948, an uncomplicated and straightforward time.  A simple time when life was far different then it is today.  Those were the days before the Space Needle, the Space Shuttle or My Space. That was a time when Buck Rogers was all futuristic talk.

After our arrival in Seattle I was enrolled at the North End’s Oak Lake Grade School. I met a fellow classmate Bobby Budett, who came from  Vancouer, British Columbia. Bobby lived near the trailer park where our trailer was parked. His parents had just moved to the states so was new to him. We would walk to school and share boyhood secrets and were poor. I soon joined the school’s traffic parol to help school mates cross the busy street. Bobby and me!

On the weekends I was free from the tribulations of Oak Lake Grade School in Seattle and particularly my fifth grade teacher Miss Blacksmith who was famous for her x-ray vision, nothing missed her attention. Whoever caught her gaze when any of my fellow classmates were a responsible for any transgression without any hesitation their name was written immediately on the classroom’s blackboard with a piece of chalk that had a loud scraping noise similar to unpleasant sound of a cat scratching it’s claws on the blackboard. Every boy was held accountability, no teacher pet in her classroom. Without any hesitation admittedly girls were not held to her high standards for some reason only known to her. No boy was immune. It seemed to me she had an eagle eye and watched every move I made. Since she was crossed eyed I could never guess what direction she was looking.  Unfortunately I knew every week I’d spend at least one or two evenings after school writing on the blackboard as if my life depending it. Once she was satisfied with my penmanship Miss Blacksmith excused me. It was apart of my 5th grade life.

 On the weekends I was free from the anxieties and tribulations of Oak Lake Grade School and particularly my fifth grade teacher Miss Blacksmith who was famous for her x-ray vision.

Each Saturday morning I awoke with my 12 year old heart pounding knowing if all went okay and if my Dad had extra money I’d spend that afternoon in a place where dreams are made. On that particular morning I rushed through my chores with all energy and enthusiasm I could mustard all the while hoping my Dad would have extra money to allow me go to the silver screened movie theater. Once finished with my assigned morning tasks I hurried to eat and polish off my lunch before noon. Shortly afterwards if I was lucky my Dad would scratch his bald head and then pull the ever present cigar from his mouth handing me my weekly allowance of seventy five cents and if my wish came true soon I’d say my good byes and sprint out the door clutching tightly my allowance. Walking as fast as my legs would carry me I’d rush to the local movie theater for the Saturday afternoon matinee all the while afraid I might miss part of the main feature.

Walking as fast as my legs would carry me I’d rush to the local movie theater for the Saturday afternoon matinee all the while afraid I might miss part of the main feature. But somehow I’d make it with time to spare. Always come rain or shine the matinee lasted for the entire afternoon and included without fail two full length features, two or three Tom and Jerry cartoons or maybe a Woody the Woodpecker cartoon thrown in and a “Movietone” news reel which generally showed the civil war in China and Czechoslovakia falling behind the Iron Curtain. (Whatever the Iron Curtain was I had no idea besides it sounded silly to me, “Iron Curtain?”) Upon reaching my destination, sometimes called “the movie house,” quickly dug deep into my jeans then handed my 25 cents to the ticket girl in her shiny glass window enclosed booth. For some reason or another they were everlastingly teenage girls who sat elevated making impossible for me or any other excited kids sneaking in to watch free “picture show.” After giving her my shiny new minted quarter instantaneous a ticket popped from a slot directly in from of her. Afterwards once the ticket was safely in my hand then walking to the main entrance making never detouring….but straight forward to the end of the line where other buoyant and lighthearted 12 year old boys stood. Without fail standing guard by the main entrance was the movie house manager all dressed-up in his business suit took my ticket, he then examined it to make sure wasn’t the ticket a fake and once he determined it was genuine he then briskly torn the ticket in half handing me my stub all in one motion. With a big smile I had my safe passage to a fun filled afternoon. After buying my ticket I then checked my change from my pocket, finding I still had 50 cents left to buy fresh buttered popcorn, a large coke and some candy. I was in hog heaven. And if I was broke there was always next Saturday…. Well maybe.

As a 12 year old boy walking into the theater was at all times an eye opening experience for me. The interior was like entering a Chinese palace and exotic as Hollywood itself. Behind the beautiful curtains was the silver screen waiting silent. Lush red carpet covered the aisles while all interior walls had matching rich red drapes. Excited and happy to be where I wanted to be, soon I spied an empty seat next to some school buddies. The audience full of 12 year old boys waiting impatiently for the movies to start. The place was packed wall to wall with boys, no girls, no grownups, no parents or older teenagers, just us 12 year old adolescents full of vinegar. The whole place was filled with screaming, laughing, rooting and tooting boys making loud noises… and everyone throwing and dodging popcorn missiles as they flew through the air in every direction. All the while the frustrated manager rushing frantically from one spot to another, warning offenders they’d be banish from the movie theater. As I now recall, the “picture shows” was; the first movie shown was normally a cowboy movie were the good guys always won the gun battles over the guys wearing black cowboy hats and of course the white hat cowboy won the girl. It didn’t matter to the audience that the plots were always the same; the scheming greedy rancher conspiring to add land from the innocence smaller ranchers, the movie was full intrigue and trickery. And the main character happened to have magically a guitar that he song to the virtuousness girl from horse back. And there was always the sidekick, a sort of second banana who made the white hat cowboy look good and smart. To this day I can see John Wayne or Roy Rogers riding off in the sunset.

 When I was a kid, I remember the second feature begun opening in a dark shadowy place somewhere in England. From past experiences we’re guarantee this movie was filmed to scare and frighten and jolt us 12 year olds. Forever setting on the edge of my chair my stare glued to the silver screen, my eyes never to venture from the terror-filled scenes as they unfolded before me.  These movies were in an English setting or sometimes an American actor with a fake English accent playing Englishmen. As the movie unfolded before the adolescent audience the opening scene was usually in very dark fogy marshes with a dark forbidding forests surrounding a run down old castle where both the mad scientist and the creature lived. Unsuspecting and unwary visiting relatives or family friends came to see their favorite ‘round the bend’ uncle or the bizarre best friend, and the creature lurking in the shadows. The ancient castle was a spooky black and white place with hidden doors and passage ways were unspeakable things started to happen. The goose bumps on my neck started to rise by now the movie had my whole attention as sat on the edge of my seat with my eyes glued to the screen. Throughout the theater every eye was glued to the silver movie screen and it seemed no one was breathing. Within 10 or 15 minutes into the movie we 11 or 12 year old juveniles were introduced to the creature…. The spectators knew the monster could be nice helpful English gentleman during the day however when the sun set and a full moon appeared knew he’d transform himself into a werewolf. Why, because of the star in the palm on his hand…. Anyone could figure that out! Or the fiend might be a vampire who sleeps in a hidden coffin right through day and when the sun set he’d awoke hungry but it wasn’t for food. Commonly it was known that the leading man’s girlfriend should watch out because this old guy with pasty face wearing his moth eaten black vampire suit with very sharp teeth wanted her to be just like him and to live forever happy together in separate coffins. Shoot up boys!

Sometimes when night falls, my eyes become heavy with sleep I dream of days long past. The days of youth, long forgotten.

I for one, I am sick and tired of Hollywood’s loose use of the F word in their movies. “Sonsofabitches” is bad enough why can’t the money-making studios and poor liberal actors think something better word then using the F word I ask. There is no way anyone can tell me its freedom expression. Open-minded Hollywood goes too far! I’m sure others have grappled with spam. I really hate spam email messages and I wish there was a why to eliminate them from my email box. But in today’s digital world how can an average person do away with these electronic messages wanting to sale anything from a to z.  Should a person has bad breath they have an answer, if a guy needs Viagra they have an answer for that too. So it goes on and on. Me I never cared for spam I’d rather have bacon for breakfast. 

You can only watch so much CSI, Star Trek and Soaps before you start to have an aneurysm. There’s too many scripted reality shows, and I really don’t need to renovate or decorate like so many shows seem to think I do. Anybody watching something new that you think the rest of us might like? I haven’t seen much of the newest shows this season, yet I still haven’t found anything that really grabs me. In the meantime, me – I like to “monkey around” on the Internet.

I remember when I was young water was sweet and tasted like fresh honeydew and my wife Beng remembers boiling tap water for drinking. However today who has the time now? It seems as if everyone is on the run. Instead, bottled water is everywhere, in offices, airplanes, stores, homes and restaurants throughout the world. We consumed over 49 billion liters of the stuff in 2007, an eight percent increase from 2002! It’s refreshing, calorie-free, convenient to carry around, tastier than most tap water and a heck of a lot healthier than sugary sodas. Nonetheless more and more, people are questioning whether the water, and the package it comes in, is safe, or at least safer than filtered tap water – and if the convenience is worth the environmental impact. Names and labels portray pastoral scenes have persuaded us that the liquid is the purest drink around. But given the lack of labeling requirements for bottled water, how much do consumers really know about what’s in the bottle? Yes, some bottled water comes from sparkling springs and other pristine sources. Would you believe in the US more than 25 percent of it comes from the water tap.



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