Images that matter

August 15th, 2011 by John Morris

At the recent cousins’ dinner, the ones named Bogush walked in with armfuls of old photos. My late Aunt Theresa had saved all her photos, and the brothers wanted to disperse them to the other six families. It was their way to find closure while doing a good act for us all.

I soon learned the box for the Morris family was filled with golden memories of long ago days. Pictures that make us wonder if we were ever that young. We hooted at hairstyles and eyeglass fashions. It made for a good time just passing through them.

The box’s bottom held ten photo booklets once popular decades ago when we took our exposed film to places like Camera Craft for developing. These booklets helds photos of three Mascherino Aunts’ 1991 visit to our ancestral hometown of Teramo, Italy.

How best to share this bounty? I assigned myself a new and worthy quest. I’ll scan the pictures and post them on an internet photo site. Then I will alert my younger cousins in Italy about where to go to see them in the hopes they’ll be able to show them to my older ones. My mind’s eyes plays out a scene of them looking at them with excitement – especially the ones in their 70s (Maria Pia, JoAnna and MiMi). I would love to be there.

In the doing of this quest, I learned a fact about me.

As I sorted through the booklets, I selected to scan only the ones including family. The ones with background and historical sites were passed over. It struck me that all the pictures we take while vacationing of touristy stuff doesn’t stand the test of time. Sure we trot them out to show friends because we’re expected to provide such a show.

As the years roll by, what eventually matters the most about our photos is freezing a moment in time with our loved ones as the subject. Then, many years later, we can look at them and remember the good times.

Tutto bon – it’s all good.

A good marriage can take stress

August 13th, 2011 by John Morris

After  losing my career job in 2008,  I had nine glorious months to myself in the house  before Lyn’s teaching job granted her a long summer vacation. Then we got in each others ways. She was terribly underfoot.  Our small house became too small for two small people. As in all things before – like wallpapering – we got through it. Soon enough, the education season started again, and I’d regain my daytime living space.

We are now two months into this year’s summer break period, and our skin is thin. I know it me because I seem to be the one who is a beat slow getting where I want and wind up waiting impatiently for her to clear. I don’t like to wish away my days, but school can start anytime it wants.

Here’s an example.

Yesterday, I approached the sink to fill my tea mug with water. The phone rang. It was Wills Eye Hospital, and Lyn knew they wanted me. She handed me the phone. As I answered the prerequiste questions about how I was doing after my procedure, Lyn used her cat-like reflects to command the sink area for the purposes of – and get this – washing dishes.

My call ended but the dishwashing didn’t. In a time, she looked at me and said something like, “Oh, did you want to use the sink?” I know I flipped back an ill-advised response.

Lyn finished enough of her task to allow a window to get my water. As soon as this happened, she stood in front of the microwave blocking step #2 to tea preparation.

Trying to keep both my composure and humor I said, “That’s it! We getting two kitchens and mine won’t have a stove.”

Lyn shot back, “Neither will mine!”

You got to love a woman like this.


The old boy writing this blog wears many hats: Vietnam Veteran, husband & father, salesman and techno-dude. After my service with the Army Security Agency, I operated a sign company for nineteen years, The sign industry changed after CAD/CAM machines made the task easy enough for the non-talented. I sold my company and never looked back.

Life has granted me a life partner better than I deserve. My wife, Lyn is a transplanted Kansas gal. Her bliss is teaching kindergarten and first grade.

I am the most proud of my children. My son, Adam lives an international life teaching English and living in Sozhou, China. He is married to one of life's truly lovely women, Yuri Kim. My daughter, Beth grew up in a small town and found her way in life means working and living in major cities like Chicago and New York. She and her life partner, Julie Sterling married in LaJolla, California in 2010.

I like getting the newest gadgets, but also I like to use things until they are useless, i.e., my last personal car was an 88 Honda Prelude Si.

I wrote a Vietnam Veteran newsletter for nine years. During this journey, I learned I like to write. It is a harmless exercise that rewards honest effort while tolerating failure gracefully. I been away from it for too long. My son gave me the blog, and it was a lifeline back to writing.

My best advice is to show the world what you can do but to accept only your opinion of who and what you are.

Update: In August 2008, my job became one of the half-million jobs that went away that month. I took the following year getting the home ready for my official retirement.

In October 2009, I took a part-time job as a saleman at the vaulted Maxwell's Hardware.

On November 29, 2011, I reached my 66th birthday, and I officially started Social Security. I intend to stay with Maxwell's as long as I can contribute.