Monday, July 30, 2012

When We Were Young and Wild(er)

Katja and Jacques at Faber’s Fabrics in Ann Arbor (circa 1962)

Dear George,
Katja’s and my life together is sort of sedate nowadays compared to years ago.  I think of the summer of 1962 when we set off on an improbable road trip from Michigan to the West Coast.  I’d just finished my second year of grad school.  Katja, then as now, had an intense desire to travel, and she’d scrimped and saved from her Faber’s Fabric job in downtown Ann Arbor and put together about $200 to finance a five-week trip to the Seattle World’s Fair.  Though a budget of six dollars a day seemed tight, we decided we could manage if we camped along the way.

We left from Menominee in late June.  We borrowed my grandfather Guy’s 1930’s white canvas tent which had been stored for many years in my folks’ garage.  It no longer had poles or stakes, so I cut these from alder trees on our back lot.  On the day we departed, my dad lent us his Standard Oil credit card to cover our gasoline expenses.  It was a generous and thoughtful act – we would never have made it across the country without it.  Katja hadn’t camped out since being a Girl Scout, and she was exceedingly anxious.  My mother reassured her that I was a very experienced camper and that she had nothing to worry about.  That helped at least a bit.

We headed west and drove through Iron Mountain where we stopped to look at the giant ski jump, deserted in the early summer heat.  We stopped for our first night at a state park in the Minnesota lake country.  I pitched the tent, and Katja prepared dinner.  She’d just finished the salad when she accidentally knocked the bowl off the picnic table.  She burst into tears.  I scooped it up as carefully as I could and explained that when you’re camping it’s not unusual to have a little dirt in your lettuce.  Katja was relieved, and that was the only emotional camping crisis of the trip. 

After passing through the Badlands and checking out Mount Rushmore, we drove west through Canada.  There was a doctor’s strike going on in Saskatchewan, so there were no medical services available of any sort.  Though we were healthy enough, we fantasized about getting into a car crash with no hospitals or doctors’ offices open.  It put us on edge, and it seemed to take forever to get out of the province.  Then into the beautiful Rockies, where we stopped at Banff and Lake Louise and enjoyed a dip in the hot springs. 




Seattle World’s Fair 1962

In Seattle we stayed with our college friend, Dave S., who had introduced the two of us in Milwaukee five years earlier.  The World’s Fair, with the Space Needle, monorail, and all its ultra-modern structures and exhibits, was thrilling, and we spent a couple of days taking it all in.  Then we drove down the Oregon coast, which was stunning, and we camped on the beach.  At dawn the tide came in, the Pacific Ocean began flowing into our tent, and we had to pull up the stakes and vacate in the early morning light.

Agriculture Dept. rangers were checking cars at the California border to insure that no foreign vegetation was being brought into their pristine state.  They spotted our Michigan alder tree tent poles, and, despite my protests, we had to surrender them.  We drove a few miles, pulled over at the road’s edge, found a fallen evergreen tree, and cut some pure California branches to make new and legally approved tent poles.  In San Francisco we stayed with Mary and John P., Mary having been one of  my childhood friends in Menominee.  They were very gracious, and I enjoyed showing Katja around the beatnik landmarks in North Beach where I’d hung out as an aspiring novelist in 1959. 

We left California and drove through the Nevada desert at night, scared from seeing no cars for hours and worried that grizzled prospectors would be discovering our sun-parched bones in the sand.  We spent an hour in Las Vegas at 3 or 4 a.m., but had no extra change to gamble away.  The Southwest was exciting, with all the Hispanic and Native American presence -- the closest thing to a foreign culture that we’d ever experienced in the U.S.  We took in the Grand Canyon, Taos, the Hoover Dam, Santa Fe, and numerous other sites.  It was boiling hot, and Katja, against all her inclinations, eventually broke down and bought a skimpy little bra-like mini-top to wear in the midday heat.  She looked very cute, though definitely embarrassed.  We visited our grad school friend Dodd B’s ranch outside of Albequerque, and he was pleased and proud to show off the magnificent desert and mountain surroundings.

Leaving Albequerque, we drove into a state park in New Mexico after 10 p.m.  Too late to register for a campsite, we simply set our sleeping bags on the ground and slept under the stars.  In the morning a guy from Texas came by and asked if we’d seen the “bahrs”. We didn’t know what he was talking about, but, after a few more tries, we discovered that he meant “bears”.  He said that they came every night to try to get into the sealed garbage pit containers on the ground.  It turned out that we had been sleeping on top of the garbage pits, exactly where the pack of bears had been prowling around.  We were relieved to have not been eaten alive.

We headed northeast and stopped in Denver to fill up the car with gas.  I gave the guy our Standard Oil credit card, but, to my dismay, he said that it wasn’t valid in Colorado.  He showed me on the card where it said that.  We had to pay cash, but it was the last four dollars that we’d set aside for the remainder of our trip back to Michigan.  No more campgrounds, no more food.  In Nebraska we simply pulled our car over in a big field and slept in the car overnight.  In the middle of the night I went out to relieve myself.  As I was doing so, I heard the pounding of hoofs, and I saw in the moonlight that a large stallion was charging toward me.  I raced back to the car and jumped in just in time.  We drove and drove nonstop and finally we were back in Ann Arbor, glad to be home again but full of good memories.

I still think camping road trips are the best vacation of all.  I asked Katja last week if she’d like to go camping at Lake Cumberland in southern Kentucky, or perhaps to the Indiana dunes on Lake Michigan.  She just shook her head.  But after a pause she said that she’d like to go on a camping road trip to the West Coast.  I was amazed.  At first that seemed beyond possibility to me.  But then I thought, maybe we could do that again.  We’ll have to see. 
Love,
Dave


G-mail Comments
-Jennifer M (7-30):  I love this story.  I hope your trip to the farm is great!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Archive: Menominee Postcards (#5)

Bay Shore, Menominee, Michigan (circa 1910)

Dear George,
Every week or two I put a vintage postcard image of my home town, Menominee, Mich., in the righthand column of this blog.  Because these aren’t saved when I delete them, I’m putting a previous batch of them here as an archive in a permanent file.  One can also access four previous Menominee Postcard “archives” (posted on 6/26/10, 2/5/11, 6/17/11, and 1/11/12) by going to the blog’s righthand column, scrolling down to “Labels”, and clicking on “Archives”.  In addition to these earlier Menominee postcard archives, the reader will also find there an archive of “Marinette Postcards” (posted 11/25/10), Menominee’s sister city across the river in Wisconsin, and archives of my father’s family photos taken in Menominee in the 1940’s and 1950’s (“Vic’s Photos”, posted 12/12/09 and 8/17/11).  I’ll add additional archives for these categories in the future.
Love,
Dave




MENOMINEE AND MARINETTE (from 10,000 ft. altitude)
This is a sensational view of the twin cities.  I’d say it was taken in the 1940's.  You can see the immense significance of water for these communities.  The upper half of the picture is Green Bay.  The waterway which runs downward through the center of the photo is the Menominee River (the state boundary between Michigan and Wisconsin).  The town of Menominee is on the left; Marinette is on the right.  The bridge near the mouth of the river (barely discernible) is the Menekaunee Bridge.  The major bridge near the middle of the photo which connects the centers of the two towns is the Interstate Bridge (U.S. Highway 41).  Stephenson Island is located under the Interstate Bridge, near the Marinette shore.  There's also a bridge and a dam just below the Interstate Bridge in the picture.  That's the Hattie St. Bridge.  Following down the river, at the junction of its sharp curve, is a second dam.  At its left is the Riverside Cemetery.  And just above the cemetery is the Riverside Country Club golf course.  The road that runs off at the lower left is Riverside Boulevard where our family lived from the late 1940's to the 1960's (our house being located about a mile past the bottom of the picture).  Back toward the top, along the Green Bay shore toward the left you can make out the marina breakwater which is located at Menominee's business district.  My grandfather's drugstore, my dad's law office, and Washington Grade School were located near the lefthand end of the breakwater.  All in all, this is the world in which our family and friends lived, and it's pleasing to see the entire area in a single photo.




OGDEN AVENUE
Ogden Avenue is Menominee’s major east-west thoroughfare, running from the Green Bay shoreline at its eastern end to the Hattie Street Bridge and the paper mill at the west.  Travelers heading north from Wisconsin cross the Interstate Bridge and enter Menominee on Ogden Ave., then follow it till Highway 41 turns to the north near the courthouse.  Our family lived on Ogden Ave. for my first five years, and it was the main route for my mother’s baby carriage walks with me and then Steven.  I believe that Ogden Ave. was named for William B. Ogden, a Chicago mayor and Director of the Chicago and North Western Railroad, who developed the settlement of Peshtigo as a lumber mill company town and was instrumental in extending the C&NW Railroad from Green Bay to Marinette and Menominee in order to ship lumber to Chicago. 




SNOW ON MAIN ST., 1909
My early memories of Menominee include huge snowstorms that piled up windswept banks of snow that came up to my chest.  I think my memory of the frequency of such storms is grossly exaggerated today.  Menominee gets about 53 inches of snow a year, more than double the 24 inches in Cincinnati, but dramatically less than the 210 inches in Marquette.  During my childhood we probably got a couple of storms of the magnitude shown in this photo.  They were very exciting because they meant multiple vacation days from school. 




THE EPIPHANY CHURCH
The Epiphany Church, located at 1016 Ogden Ave., was originally a branch of the St. John's Catholic parish in Menominee (founded in 1872), but it withdrew from the Mother Church in 1890.  The church's foundation was laid in 1891, and the church was dedicated on Nov. 13, 1892.  Construction cost $35,000.  Epiphany added a school in 1902.  After more than half a century, a shortage of teaching nuns forced the school to close, and in 1964 Epiphany, St. John's, and St. Ann's merged their school systems into Menominee Catholic Central.




MENEKAUNEE BRIDGE (ca. 1910)
As teens we used to drive around the "loop" through the twin cities, crossing the Interstate Bridge into Marinette, going up Main St., then returning to Menominee,  Sheridan Road, and Ogden Avenue via the Menekaunee Bridge.  The latter was a drawbridge which opened up for large boats and ships entering the Menominee River.  We always got annoyed when we had to sit “endlessly” in a line of cars waiting for a sailboat to pass through.  




CARPENTER COOK BUILDING
The Carpenter Cook Building was located on the Menominee River near the north end of the Menekaunee Bridge.  One of our good family friends, Francis S., was an executive for this grocery wholesale distribution company.  Some of my neighborhood chums from Washington Grade School used to go swimming at the Carpenter Cook docks, but I never joined them.  Many years later I learned that the river was badly polluted near its mouth, so it was just as well that I’d been wary.  




THE MENOMINEE RIVER SUGAR COMPANY (ca. 1910)
Menominee's sugar beet factory, the third largest in the nation, opened for business in 1903, supported by the town's wealthy lumber enterpreneurs.  The factory was designed to produce 1,000 tons of sugar beets per day, though only 14,000 tons were processed in its first season.  The area's low temperatures were not conducive to sugar beet farming.  The beet crops were sufficient to keep the factory going but not to encourage expansion.  By 1955 the equipment was exhausted and the company closed its doors.  




RIVER SCENE AT MENOMINEE, MICH.
This scene is from the early 1900’s.  These were the glory days of the Menominee River.  The town's population was 16,000, about 6,000 higher than in my youth and 7,000 higher than today.  There were only remnants of the turn of the century lumbering operations leftby the time we were growing up on the river in the 1940’s and 50’s, but we were aware of the historical importance the industry to our area and sometimes pretended that we were lumberjacks, balancing ourselves on dried out logs that we had towed home from Pig Island.  




NORTH PIER LIGHT
Menominee was (and is) a significant Great Lakes Port, including being a destination for commercial shipping, leisure craft, and the Ann Arbor Carferry which ran to the Lower Peninsula.  As children, we were mostly out of touch with the town’s commercial shipping industry, though one of my high school classmates was to become a seaman on the boats.  




OGDEN AVENUE (1915)
For my first five years our family lived in a big white house at the foot of the Interstate Bridge on Ogden Avenue.  This is a photo taken a block or two from our house, looking east toward Electric Square and the Green Bay shore.  My grandfather VAL Sr.’s drugstore was at the end of the street on the left at the intersection with Sheridan Road.  My mother used to take me and my infant brother Steve on walks down Ogden Ave. to the Office Supply Store.  I’d get to buy a pencil or an eraser.  It was my favorite place to go.  




FUN ON THE BEACH
I don’t remember this particular bevy of beauties from the 1940’s, and I don’t think that this generic postcard really depicts the Menominee shoreline.  But it does capture the spirit of Menominee in the summertime.  A number of our friends – O’Hara’s, Caleys, Sargents, Mars, Jacobsen’s – lived on the Green Bay shore just north of the city, and we would spend a lot of time swimming in the Bay or sunning on the sand.  It truly was fun on the beach.  




AERIAL VIEW, YACHT HARBOR (ca. 1950)
Menominee’s downtown business and shopping district is mainly on Sheridan Road which runs along the shore of Green Bay.  The breakwaters, which harbor local and visiting sail and powerboats, are at the center of downtown, with Marina Park visible here toward the left side of the harbor.  The big white building in the center of the picture is the Montgomery Ward Building which also housed the Lloyd Theater.  The street which runs from near the right end of the breakwater toward the top of the picture is Ogden Avenue, the town’s other major thoroughfare.  Looking up Ogden Ave., one can see the Interstate Bridge which runs across the Menominee River to Marinette.  Near the top of the picture is the dam which spans the river.  A lot of memories are contained in this picture.




AERIAL VIEW, DOWNTOWN MENOMINEE
This is another view of Menominee’s downtown business district looking north from its southern edge.  The breakwater is at the right, with Marina Park and the Bandshell facing it.  The building at the south edge of the park is a bank, and our dentist and Riverside Boulevard neighbor, Dr. Mead, had his office on the second floor.  My mother, my brother Steve, and I lived in the apartment building directly across the street from the bank during World War II when my dad was away in the navy.  The large building toward the lower left of the picture is the Menominee Opera House which had been converted to a movie theater by the time of my childhood.  We grade school children paid a dollar to get a booklet of ten tickets to the Saturday afternoon matinees where we watched Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, the Marx Brothers, Charlie Chan, The Three Stooges, the Lone Ranger, and many more.


RUSTIC BRIDGE, HENES PARK
We enjoyed Henes Park on Menominee’s outskirts a lot as kids and teenagers, but it became still more important when we returned home for visits as adults and parents ourselves.  We’d take our son J over to see the buffalos and deer in the deer yard, stop by the pond to watch the ducks, look at the bear and raccoons in the mini-zoo, go swimming at the beach, do kiddie rides at the playground, and enjoy a popsicle at the beach’s refreshment stand.  





HOTEL MENOMINEE DINING ROOM (ca. 1945-50)
I’m sure our family must have eaten in the Hotel Menominee on occasion.  However, when I asked my dad in adulthood about our family’s eating out during my childhood, he said that we never ate out because we never had enough money to do so.   Anyway the Hotel Menominee was a fine old establishment on Sheridan Road along the Green Bay shore.  When I was in fourth grade, our Washington School glee club performed there in a concert for the local Lion’s Club, much to the enjoyment of the Lions and their spouses.  The hotel burned down in 1977.  





LOG JAM ON THE MENOMINEE RIVER (ca. 1910)
The Menominee River, as I’ve mentioned, was the site of the nation’s largest lumbering production in the 1890’s and early 1900’s.  In our youth, the river was the site of numerous deadheads, and we’d watch out for them when navigating our rowboat with its 1.5 hp. motor.  The channel which separated Pig Island from its neighbor was filled with water-logged stumps, and every now and then we’d pick out a fancy one and tow it home behind the boat. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Off to the Warren County Fair


Dear George,
I think county fairs get in your blood.  Especially if you grow up in a small town in a rural area, traveling carnivals and county fairs are major local entertainment events of the year.  We had the Menominee County Fair in Stephenson, the Marinette County Fair in Wausaukee, and, greatest of all, the U.P. State Fair in Escanaba.  These were and are filled with the wonders of childhood -- bright lights, hot dogs and cotton candy, rabbits and chubby pigs, the Whirling Dervish and the Bumper Cars, the Tunnel of Love, and in the old days a politically incorrect “freak show”.   There’s usually a demolition derby on Saturday night, tractor pulls, the crowning of the Queen of the Fair, sometimes harness racing.  One of our most memorable experiences was seeing Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash and family perform at the Wausaukee Fair twenty-five or so years ago. 

The county fair is a time for farm folk and others to display their animals and poultry, vegetables and flowers, baked goods, and arts and crafts, as well as to socialize and enjoy the excitement of the midway.  We city-dwellers get a chance to reconnect with a world from which we’re one step removed.  In Cincinnati, when our son J was growing up, we went every August to the Hamilton County Fair at the Carthage Fairgrounds.  Despite a more urban flavor, it had plenty of goats, rabbits, and sheep to keep us enticed.  The Carthage highlight was Zambora the Gorilla Woman, an illusion in which a scantily clad young woman enters a booth on the stage, then is transformed in the midst of mirrors and flashing lights into a mammoth gorilla who roars and breaks out of the booth, leading younger members of the audience to run screaming from the exits.

We learned years ago that the biggest and most splendid fair in our area is the Warren County Fair in Lebanon, Ohio.  The fair, originally planned by future President William Henry Harrison, was first held in 1850 and had an initial budget of $354.50.  The 4-H program began in nearby Springfield in 1902 and soon became an integral part of the Warren County Fair.  I suggested to Katja that we go to it last week, but with her knee still recovering from surgery and a forecast of 97 degrees and the likelihood of serious thunderstorms, she declined.  I was able to recruit my friend Jennifer and her son Calvin though, and we set out early on Thursday morning.  Jennifer had grown up with county fairs in Minnesota, but Calvin had only been to one before.  With seniors and kids free, our total admission price was $8.  At first the Fairgrounds looked deserted, but then we discovered a large crowd at the 4-H sheep-judging competition. It soon became clear that sheep aren’t the most cooperative of show animals, but we watched admiringly as the girls and boys used wrestling holds to move their wards into proper positions.  Here’s how they looked. 







The Warren County Fairgrounds have about eight or nine buildings devoted to animals and poultry, and we took in most of them.  There was an impressive array of pigs, sheep, goats, and even alpaca.













Katja and I raised rabbits for years in the 1980’s, and we still enjoy seeing them the most.  There were lots of bunnies that I wished I could take home, as well as cages with hens, roosters, and geese. 










We stumbled upon a large horse-judging competition.  I think of our neighboring state of Kentucky as the main horse region around here, but Warren County has an impressive number of show horses.  They were the most magnificent animals that we saw. 









By noon we were getting hungry.  There were 50 or 60 different food vending operations that had been towed into the fairgrounds, all of them colorful, kitschy, and flamboyant.  Everything was over-priced, unhealthy, and completely appealing.  Jennifer and Calvin had crepes, and I settled on an Italian Sausage sandwich with the works for $6.  It was my best meal in recent memory.  




In the main Fairgrounds building we wandered about, checking booths by the Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians; Right to Life, Planned Parenthood, and the NRA; Warren County Parks; churches; Girl and Boy Scouts; 4-H; and many other organizations.  I bought a “Cyclists for Obama” button for a dollar, even though I haven’t cycled for quite a while.  My companions graciously posed for a picture at the Liberty Tax booth.




A chainsaw wood sculptor was pursuing his noisy but skillful task outside the grandstand. 




The arts and crafts exhibits weren’t an extensive as I’d remembered them, but they were enjoyable nonetheless.  It’s fun and inspiring to check out all of that amateur effort, which ranges from rough at the edges to professional in quality.










There were plenty of vegetables and flowers to go around.  Warren County’s biggest cabbage was huge – the photo doesn’t even do it justice.













The games and rides weren’t scheduled to open till after our scheduled departure time, so we looked them over but didn’t get to partake (which was fine with me).  




It started to rain about 1 p.m.  Calvin decided he should take a walk in the drizzle.  Then we got in the car and headed home on I-71.





I thoroughly enjoyed the fair, everything about it, and hope we get to take in another one this season.  It’s very homey and familiar, offers many different sights and experiences, and is a leisurely way to spend a day.  I hope everybody gets to go to the fair this season.
Love,
Dave

Friday, July 20, 2012

Seventy-Five: What's That All About?



Dear George,
At the stroke of midnight tonight I’m going to turn 75.  Wow!  The very idea of it is overwhelming.  Among other things, this will amount to being 518 years old in dog years.  I think back to my grandfather being 75, and I can envision that.  When I try to recall my father being 75, I have more trouble --  my image of him is of a middle-aged man.  Then when I try to imagine myself as 75, I feel like I’m hallucinating.  How in the world did that happen?  Did I just skip over my fifties and sixties?

Part of my bewilderment is that I can’t figure out precisely what 75 means.  As I normally do, I turned to Wikipedia for some answers.  Wikipedia isn’t interested in the age of 75, but it’s great on the math part of it.  It seems that 75 is a pentagonal pyramidal number, as well as an enneagonal number, and also a Keith number because it recurs in a Fibonacci-like sequence.  That was intriguing.  I have never thought of myself as having any connection to Fibonacci-like sequences.  Now I discover I’ve achieved that just by sticking around long enough. 

Mathematics are good for the abstract thinkers, but everybody knows you can learn more practical things from  Numerology.  I went to one of the best web-sites (lucky-name-numerology.com) and plugged in “75” as my search term.  In less than a milli-second the web-site told me that “numerology meanings for 75 confirm academic excellence.  As such you outshine others in your school life.  You study religion, philosophy, and many occult sciences (e.g., like social psychology), but you are not attracted by wealth and monetary gains.  In later life, you exhibit your talents as an author, writer, and poet.  You excel in your speeches and writings.  When 75 is afflicted, however, you undergo a lot of mental anguish, live alone despising the world, and are fleeced by your greedy relatives.” That’s amazing – so true.  The mental anguish, the study of philosophy, not being attracted by money, and so forth.  While I don’t know if I’m completely afflicted at this point, most of Numerology’s observations are spot on (e.g., greedy relatives).   
Google, of course, is the ultimate fount of wisdom.  You wouldn’t believe how many tens of thousands of illuminating insights I got when I Googled “75”.  Here are just of few of the examples that were personally relevant to my life situation: 

  • Issue #75 of Batman (DC Comics, February 1953) was "The Gorilla Boss of Gotham."

  • 75% of Americans with mobile phones report that they use them in the bathroom.

  • In order to simulate the experience of being age 75, MIT scientists designed a suit with braces which mimic joint stiffness; leg straps creating slower leg movements; helmet attachments giving an age-induced curved spine; yellow eyeglasses making it difficult to read small print; and earplugs which impair hearing. 

  • July 13, 2012, marks the 75th anniversary of "creating fond memories through the joy that is Krispy Kreme."

  • 75-year-old baseball player Serge Skok of New Jersey has a 9-1 record and has been named the best pitcher in the Wayne Y modified fast-pitch softball league, regularly striking out ex-college players in their 20s and 30s.

  • The breakfast special at Tony's I-75 Restaurant in Birch Run, MI includes a pound of bacon. 

  • 75 to 84 year-olds make up 4.8% of Ohio's population. 

  • "75 Questions to Ask Yourself" include: Do I have fun?  Do I annoy others?  Is there an afterlife?  Have I settled for mediocrity?  Do I smile more than I frown?

  • Competitive bodybuilder and fitness instructor, Ernestine Shepherd, age 75, wakes up every day at 2:30 a.m. and runs 10 miles.

  • 2012 is the 75th anniversary of Spam.  In the four years following its debut on July 5, 1937, Hormel sold over 40 million pounds of the famous luncheon meat.   

  • The Transportation Security Administration has modified airport screen procedures for passengers 75 and older, allowing them to leave on shoes and light jackets, though physical pat-downs may still be conducted if anomalies are detected.

  • Forecasters project that 75% of the US population will be grossly obese by the year 2020.

  • From Sonnet 75 by Edmund Spenser: Where whenas death shall all the world subdew, our love shall live, and later life renew. 

  • 75 wild turkeys live at the DeYoung Family Zoo in Menominee County, MI. 

  • On the occasion of his 75th birthday on July 12, 2012, Bill Cosby said, "On turning 75, some people...do this everyday...and some don't." 

Google is unquestionably remarkable, but long before Al Gore even invented the Internet I learned to rely on the I Ching, the ancient Chinese Book of Changes.  My brother-in-law, David W., who lived in L.A. at the time, introduced us to the I Ching when we were all young and avant garde, and we’ve consulted it ever since.  I asked the I Ching, “How should I consider my new age of 75?”  Then I tossed my Chinese coins six times in a row, each toss yielding a combination of coin faces which signaled either a broken or unbroken line.  Remarkably, and for the first time ever, I got six unbroken lines in a row, leading me to the I Ching’s very first reading, Ch’ien.  Here’s a condensed summary: 
1.  Ch’ien – The Creative, Heaven
           
THE JUDGMENT

                                    The creative works sublime success,
                                    Furthering through perseverance
                                   
The Ch’ien hexagram is made up of six unbroken lines which stand for the primal power – light-giving, active, strong, and of the spirit.  The hexagram is consistently strong in character.   Its image is heaven.  The hexagram includes the power of time and the power of persisting in time, that is, duration.  When an individual draws this oracle, it means that success will come to him from the primal depths of the universe and that everything depends upon his seeking his happiness and that of others in one way only, that is, by perseverance in what is right. With this image, the sage learns how best to develop himself so that his influence may endure…

I’m not that enthused about the I Ching’s emphasis on Heaven in my future, but I like all the rest of it: creativity, persisting in time, strength, seeking happiness for others, perserverance, enduring influence.  Not only are the I Ching’s strictures relevant to blogging, but they apply at least as well to marriage, sheepdogs, line dancing, and bubbly grandchildren.  I should have known that the I Ching would offer the best possible action plan for being 75. My next step is obvious.  Pardon me while I toss six more coins.  Then we will be off on a new adventure. 
Love,
Dave


G-mail Comments
-Linda K-C (7-20):  David , truly fascinating, I turn 70 next may, are there cliff notes on the chinese science.  I'd like to have an early view of what is in my 70 th year . According to Chinese method of  counting  wouldn't I be seventy now?  I thought I would die before now, but I can't decide to die just yet.  Going to memorial for my baby brother the 28th and I understand k. J. And twins will join you at farm. That will be such fun and glad katya can make it.  Getting back to the turning 75 business, by Jewish law I might be a greedy relative, any thing you have I should drop hints about wanting?  Safe travels and happy birthday
-Phyllis S-S (7-20):  Dear Dave,  What a creative blog.  I enjoyed reading it a lot.  But - I'd never, ever use my mobile phone in the bathroom and I detest Spam.  I understand perfectly about missing decades - where did they go?  What did I do then?  Happy, Happy 75.  Phyllis