A veterinarian told me things were awful at work. In addition to being busy seeing a huge influx of pandemic pets, everything took more time due to COVID precautions. Clients were impatient with longer waits, frustrated because they couldn’t get appointments as quickly as usual, and generally short tempered. To make matters worse, receptionists kept quitting.

Efforts to hire new receptionists were discouraging. Older people who applied quit because they couldn’t master the computerized records system. But even more upsetting was the inability of younger hires to master communication skills, both in person and on the phone. These employees were…

I live in a blue bubble. Evanston, Illinois, home of Northwestern University, leans left. I live in a condo in which people still wear masks in common areas and in the elevators. We do let other masked residents ride the elevators with us, which is a change that happened recently. My fellow passengers declare they are fully vaccinated and I suspect almost everyone in the building is. While many people are not masking outside, they are wearing their masks indoors at shops and markets and in larger public outdoor gatherings. This was the norm even before the CDC did its…

And do I have the right to ask?

My granddaughter is starting actual in-person high school after spending her entire freshman year online. Here are the “rules”: Per CDC guidelines, if students are fully vaccinated and present proof, they may attend classes unmasked. How one enforces that in a high school with multiple teachers is beyond me. I assume that since students are not required to be vaccinated, teachers may also decline vaccination. If so, can my grandchild’s parents request that she only be placed with vaccinated teachers?

More importantly, all of my unvaccinated grandkids who are under age 12…

My last copy of this book, held together with tape

When I started teaching preschool in the early 1980s, my go to book was The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. The two and three-year-olds loved it for its simple story of transformation from caterpillar to butterfly, the naughtiness of a caterpillar who eats too many goodies, and its repetitive language and predictability.

Eric Carle died yesterday at the age of 91, He was the author/illustrator of many beloved books that my preschoolers, and later my grandkids, adored. …

It wasn’t that long ago that I would be asked “Smoking or non-smoking” when I went to a restaurant. And I remember when airplanes attempted to separate smokers from non-smokers in their seating assignments. In fact, it wasn’t until 2000 that smoking was banned on airplanes. In 2002, Delaware was the first state to adopt a smoke-free law that made private workplaces, restaurants, and bars smoke-free. In Illinois, this happened in 2008, which is not really that long ago.

We knew smoking was a health hazard since 1964 when the Surgeon General concluded smoking caused lung cancer and bronchitis. Cigarette…

Mysteriously missing mail

In 1961, the first version of the song Please Mr. Postman, the Marvelettes sang,

Please Mister Postman
Deliver de letter the sooner de better

At the time, a first-class postage stamp cost 4 cents. Adjusted for inflation, that would be 35 cents today. When the Beatles recorded their version in 1963, it cost a nickel to mail a letter. By the time The Carpenters cover of the song hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100, the rate had risen to a dime. I’m guessing many people don’t even know what it costs to mail a letter today. …

Recently, a college student who had spent a semester on the west coast needed to return home to the Midwest. Her parents had booked a round-trip, first-class ticket, a pricy option to ensure her safety during the pandemic. On the trip there, she sat masked and shielded, as did her seatmate. But on her return flight, her seatmate removed his mask because he ordered a drink, and she ended up moving to the last row of coach, which was unoccupied. Right now, there is no guaranteed way to feel protected from exposure to Covid-19 when flying.

Travel bookings and airport…

When my granddaughter was twelve years old and had declared her intention to be the first woman president, she was shocked to learn that in 1940, a widow supporting two children earned half the salary of her male co-workers at a public relations firm. “That’s not fair,” she declared. Indeed, it is not, but it still happens today. This is what my granddaughters need to know.

My granddaughter and I were talking to a woman in her ninth decade of life who still teaches folk-dancing. The woman shared what happened to her family after her father died in 1946, leaving…

Slogans That Still Resonate

If you are a person of a certain age, you probably remember saying some of the following in the late 1960s or early 1970s:

Make Love Not War
Power to the People
Do your own thing
Right on
Don’t Trust Anyone over 30
Tell it like it is.
Women belong in the house … and the senate.
Keep on keeping on

Some of these slogans may sound silly to us today as we age into becoming seniors. Certainly, we have to trust people over thirty. We are those people. Lately, many of us don’t trust people…

We all remember the fuss over Melania Trump’s green $39 Zara jacket that she wore on her visit to the New Hope Children’s Shelter in McAllen, Texas, on June 21, 2018. On the back, easily captured by photographers as she boarded Air Force One, it read, “I don’t really care, do you?” She was going to visit children, including some separated from their parents by her husband’s zero-tolerance policy towards illegal immigration. When asked why she wore it, she declared it was “just a jacket.” So much for Melania’s “Be Best” campaign. …

Laurie Levy

Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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