Spirits, Anyone?

As promised, I have a ghost story from a boarding school. I worked there 16 years, and my classroom was either on the third or fourth floors of the old school building. This school is older than the United States, and during the Revolution, a nearby building housed injured soldiers.

Even after 16 years, I would balk at going upstairs to my classroom during study halls, and if I did, I turned on every single light as I went, practically running the whole way up and down. Why?

I believed my classroom to have extraordinary energy as it was a dormitory room many years ago. There were four separate closets which led me to think this was a room for four students. Perhaps that was why every time I walked next door to the copier (in a former teacher’s lounge), I heard definite footsteps in my classroom, although I knew no one was there!

I tried to debunk this. First of all, the footsteps were loud, and there was a stairway between my room and the copier room, so for years I told myself  it was the students going up and down the stairs, changing classes. That worked (at least in my mind) until I had a student watch for movement on the stairs. No one was using the stairs. The footsteps continued every time I left my classroom. I would even walk into the copier room and run back to my room as soon as a heard the steps. No one was there.

This got a little creepier when I began to hear furniture being moved around when I was making copies. I could never find anything out of place, but I confirmed both the steps and the furniture noises with several students and faculty. They heard it. too.

This was not all. I had a large poster hanging inside my door. The day after I hung it, I found it on the floor. Okay. I secured it better the second day, but the next morning, it was on the floor facing down. I tried again, using command strips. It was on the floor with the strips intact.

I finally decided whatever spirit, ghost, or energy that haunted the classroom did not like that poster, and I changed it. The new poster stayed on the wall exactly as I had hung it.

One day, I switched back to the previous poster. I found it on the floor the next morning.

 

Spirits and Redecoration

I’m not seeing painting today! I am living in a house that is over 100 years old, and the previous owner just slapped some neutral paint on everything! Matte paint on walls? Seriously? “Oh well,”  he said, “I figured you would want to change to your own colors.”

Yes, actually I do. But there is so much woodwork. Oh dear, now I hear my Grandpa Irvin whispering in my ear–“Just get it done!”

Speaking of ghosts, I am feeling more energy in the house now that I have begun painting and moving things around. I am a fan of “Ghost Hunters,” and I remember they would tell clients that redecoration unsettles the ghosts. Maybe you don’t believe in that stuff and nonsense, so I will try to get some work done, and then tell you some encounters I had when I worked at a 250 year old girls’ school. Stay tuned.

The Simpsons: Prophets of Truth? Or Purveyors of Idiocy?

When I began this blog early last month, I told myself no religion and no politics.

I lied. It’s impossible to be an American and not see what is happening to our country. A man is elected president through the Electoral College (neither a college nor a voting booth). I understand the idea of the Electoral College; I just don’t know why it is even called a college. (Maybe someone can answer that one for me.)

Okay, so where do The Simpsons come in? Eighteen years ago, the show predicted Donald Trump would be President of the United States. Yes. Fact-check me. I have always enjoyed the earlier years of the series as a satirical send-up of American culture and life, but this scares me a little.

I knew the creators and writers of the show had to be from my generation (aging baby-boomers), and I sat with my daughter and explained episodes such as when the first President Bush moved in across the street from the family, and a Dennis the Menace Bart annoyed the elder Bush until mayhem ensued and the Bushes left the neighborhood.

In fact, I have always liked how the writers made not so subtle references to all things United States–the good and the bad. Certainly we are talking about a cartoon, but The Simpsons has survived as America’s longest running television show, nearing its 30th year. That is even longer than my parent’s favorite, Gunsmoke.

At the moment, Saturday Night Live holds the satirical schtick on current White House goings-on, and not so subtly, either. I find some of the sketches painful to watch, but this is part of our First Amendment rights. We can say stuff. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.

I tell myself that every time I watch the news and the President has said something that makes me cringe. I’ve been told from a reliable source that our Founding Fathers expected us to have impeached and convicted more leaders than we have to date. Remember, Nixon resigned.

I wait and watch the investigations, but lately I have become tired of wasting energy on this turtle-slow moving project. I hope justice will win. I hope someone will stop this train-wreck and put another train, smarter one, on the track. We do have a smarter one, don’t we?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a Quiet July Fourth

But that’s okay. It’s hot, but I am inside, cool and comfortable. I can write anything I want to on this blog, and there is no “Big Brother” censoring me. I can protest the government. I can say how I feel about anything going on in the United States (and there’s plenty). Or, I can choose to not say anything.

Choosing to say nothing, though is a slippery slope for me. It implies that I agree with the status quo, and I am reminded of the wars, especially Vietnam. I was pretty naive during that war, even though I remember watching it on the news at dinner. Jungles and body counts. But then came something that caught my attention: a massacre at My Lai, a mass murder of people, including children and babies. Who could do such a horrible thing, I wondered? And I began paying attention. People were protesting; some fled to Canada. Was the United States going down? Were we a bad country now?

I tried to ask my parents to explain this war, but it was hard for them. Read the newspapers, they said, and I did. There was no internet, no 24-hour news feed, so I read the daily papers and Time and Newsweek. I still didn’t really understand it, so I watched for Vietnam to end.

It did, very eventually. But the men and women who had served, many of them drafted, did not receive the honor and attention they deserved. It was as though Vietnam was a bad word, and since they had participated, they were bad, too. Or maybe people were too embarrassed to talk about it. I did not know anyone who had personally been in ‘Nam, but I watched the big wigs, the military from a strangely-shaped building called The Pentagon. None of them said who won or lost the war, but I could see the truth, as I watched people running away from the jungles to get home.

Did it matter that we lost? Would it have mattered if we had won? What would have been our prize? Door Number One or Door Number Two?

After Vietnam, my husband served in the Navy and retired. My son will be retiring from the Navy in November. I thank them for their service because no matter what they saw or did, some of it was bad, and I am proud of them.

Moreover, on this 2018 July Fourth, I would like to thank the Vietnam vets, the ones who did not come home to a hero’s welcome, even though they deserved one. Thank you for your service. I remember you.

Changes: Personal

Never think you are too old to have big changes happen to you!

Ten years ago, I left the teaching assignment and school in which I thought I would stay “forever.”  (Insert Big Change)

A few weeks ago, I left a second school. (Insert Big Change)

Two years ago, I had my personal life turned upside down unexpectedly. (Insert Unhappy Big Change)

Last summer, I bought my own home for the first time. (Insert Scary Big Change)

And today, I am writing from my own office. (Insert Nice Big Change)

Sometimes, I think about what might be coming next and whether it will make me happy or sad or a some of both. I wonder if I will leave this earth, having done my best for my children, husband and family. My depression disorder has changed my personality in the last two years. That Bad Critic in my head fights me every day to stay sad and negative, to sleep too much and accomplish little. He makes me cry. He gets me paranoid about things that haven’t even happened yet!

Did you know that wild crazy thinking is part of depression? It’s usually the “worst case scenario.” Did you know that raging anger at yourself and others is part of depression, too? I have been in the anger phase for many months. I am trying to recognize when I get mad and turn it off, or sometimes, I recognize it and stop right in the middle of a conversation that is not going well. I try to apologize. It is me. I’m not blaming my behavior and reactions on a disease that I can’t always control.

For so many years, I wore the mask. I think I’ve taken it off and put it away, but if you see a rabbit scampering down a hole, that will be me, hiding.

 

Not Normal

I am not normal and never have I been.

I tried throughout high school and just managed to play on the cusp of the social “elites,” but I had better friends on my own. At least until 1971. I don’t know that these people will ever know what an impact they made on my life, but I name them with love: Joyce Myer, David Dietz, Jane Chandler, Brad Lauderman, Marie Mease, Deb Sonnen, Mike Kreider, and Donna Schmeck.

When my family transferred to Indiana just before my junior year, I was devastated and terribly homesick. You would think I would have had a time of adjustment, but I never adjusted. I came from a small high school class of under three hundred and became part of a class of 750. I did try so hard to make friends, but something else was working against me, a hidden darkness that I would battle for the rest of my life: depression. The serious kind.

I would not know the name of my mental enemy until 1990, when I was in my thirties and finally received treatment. I was lucky because my depression went into remission for about ten years. It came back ferociously, and I fight it every day.

I am so filled with sorrow to read about the rise in teen suicides, which in part, have been elevated by social media. People “say” things via text, email, Facebook. and all the other platforms that I believe THEY WOULD NEVER DARE SAY IN PERSON!

My heart goes out to all the young people who are being bullied and taken down by comments on social media. I, too, was bullied. I was in seventh grade, and a girl named Debbie pushed me into my locker and stalked me to and from school. A teacher watched me being thrown against a classroom door and said nothing. My mother told me to ignore Debbie, and she would go away. She didn’t, but she got tired of me and moved on to someone else. Even though I wasn’t hurt by social media (because it didn’t exist), I will always REMEMBER HOW IT FELT TO BE BULLIED.

I am now a grandmother, but if you need a place to vent or talk, please comment on my blog. I promise I check it daily, and I will help you. Please don’t kill yourself. Please don’t let anyone talk you into killing yourself. You have control of your life. You are the boss of you. Talk to me if you like. We will find help. Sending out a virtual hug to anyone who needs it,

Sonya

Reach me at sonyastypewriter.wordpress.com

 

Tech People Are the Greatest!

Whew! I thought I was pretty well up to date with the current software, etc, but I am not. I had a final project due for a grad class, and it consisted of 15 videos of me (!!!) answering class questions. When I finally finished the file, it was too big to upload, so I called for Superpeople–the tech department. My hero, William, not only fixed my file, he submitted it for me as well.

On a side note, we were assigned a lot of video projects in this class, and I hated watching myself talk. (Just keep smiling!). It was helpful, though, in an online class, to see everyone. But I kept looking at my wrinkly neck. Vanity at 63. Pointless.