"A person's life can be compared quite nicely to the four seasons of the year. This blog is from someone in the Winter of Life enjoying the fruits of his "Summer and Fall" and looking forward to assisting the growth and nourishment for the next generation.

My Father and Grandfather passed on their wisdom through their actions and their stories. This is probably be the most impactful way to pass on wisdom. But the written word can have an affect on lives that extends beyond the memories of a couple of generations. This blog is an attempt to reflection on my life experiences and pass these reflections to future generations of my own family as well as any others who might come across these pages.

Monday, May 31

Life Ain't Fair

Almost all parents have heard their children lament, “That’s not fair” when confronted with one of the thousands of disappointments that come their way. “Why does Jane get to stay up and I have to go to bed?” Why can’t I have a new bike like Charlie?” The disappointments don’t stop as we get older, they just change. “It’s not fair that Marshall gets a car and I don’t” “It’s not fair that Mrs. Johnson gives good grades to the band kids and not the rest of us.”

Like all of us, I have had my share of “It’s not fair” moments. Most have been trivial in retrospect. I don’t think any have been life changing. Over the last two years, however, I have been experiencing an “It’s not fair” moment that has put something in prospective for me. After retirement, I began working part time at a local department store during the Christmas season. After the season, part time became full time. Starting pay was not great, $11 per hour, but the work was easy, it didn’t need to be carried home with me and it was fun talking to customers.

To maintain this pay level, you have to maintain a certain sales per hour. Being naive as to the retail business and basely an optimistic person, this requirement was no major concern. And then the recession hit and business predictably slowed dramatically. My first review resulted in a $.50 per hour reduction. The second review, after the recession deepened, resulted in a $1.50 reduction to $9.00 an hour. Since this was totally unacceptable, I requested and was allowed to go on a straight commission basis. Since then, pay per hour has been averaging $12.50 an hour.

Now this is not written to solicit your sympathy, but to give you a feel for the situation. In the same department is a gentleman, about my age, who constantly produces sales per hour sufficient to warrant $18 per hour, and he is only part time. But, and this is the basis of the article, he works part time three evenings a week from 5:00 to 9:00 and all day Saturday and Sunday. If you are familiar with retail sales, these hours are generally the times of the most traffic, larger sales and thus a higher sales per hour.

Wednesday, May 26

You Never Know!

High school class reunions are ____ (you fill in the blank) For me, recently I had my 50th high school class reunion and I had a blast! I was apprehensive about the reunion when I signed up to come several months ago. As the time drew closer, my apprehension grew by leaps and bounds.

I was going to meet people I had not seen in 50 years. Obviously I would not recognize them and properly would even forget their names. Talk about embarrassment! Imagine walking up to someone, looking at their name tag and then saying something stupid like, “Oh yeah, I remember you”. And that’s with the guy’s, imagine how that sounds when glancing down at a woman’s breast!

Fortunately, my apprehension was misplaced. Sure, faces and bodies change but the names came back immediately. The pleasant memories returned and the not so pleasant memories stayed in the background. We hugged and shook hands and slapped each other on the back. Conversations began with, “How are you? What are you doing now? What did you do before you retired?” We really didn’t care what the answers were, we just wanted to talk to old friends and laugh once again. I had one of the major self esteem boosts in my life. Two ladies approached me and confessed they had had a crush on me during our high school days. Talk about grinning from ear to ear!