Retirement #1

Big day for yours truly, dear readers.   After toiling alongside of you in the many venues of America’s workplace for 37 of the last 40 years, I inhaled deeply on the big fat joint of retirement. Scary, exhilarating, yes, but also very, very FINAL .  After just 10 weeks of running-wild-on-the-beach freedom and an unplugged alarm clock, it is too late for this lioness to return to my cage of dental office management in coastal North Carolina. What does one do with an endless landscape of no obligations?  Lucky girl that I am, I’ve been fortunate enough to live out my biggest dream of becoming a successful fashion model in NYC and Milan in the 1970’s, but now that I’ve scoured every last blade of grass in my yard and whipped every last rose into submission, countertops are gleaming and all cabinets organized to Martha Stewart-like perfection, NOW WHAT?!?!?

Casting back in my childhood memories didn’t exactly bring on a plethora of ideas, as I was raised in farm country in the middle of God forsaken Nowhere, Texas. If you wanted chicken for Sunday dinner you better be out in the yard killing and plucking your birds by Friday, if you wanted to eat at all. Saturday nights, weather permitting, was usually frog giggin time. All the male relatives over the age of 12 spent the entire afternoon playing dominoes and drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon and Lone Star beer and downing tequila shooters, so by the time midnight rolled around (apparently the most auspicious time to spear hopping slimy green things to bring home to fry!), they were so damn drunk all the little kids had to take care not to get run over by the big assed pickup trucks hurtling toward the stock ponds at break neck speeds blaring sad Patsy Cline and Hank Williams songs. I could never decide which was worse, dodging those darn pickups or the “chew tobaccy” constantly being spit into coffee cans that these hillbillies had permanently attached to their left hands. All  little girls just wanted to grow up to be Miss America;

Texas circa 1957

that was the only open freeway we saw as a means to escape Polookaville in the 1950’s.

I did eventually recall years in elementary and middle school in Texas when I would often be called upon to read one of my ghost stories to the class during lulls, usually when the overhead projector would cease to work midway through the teacher’s spiel. What fun it was to look at all those expectant, upturned faces eagerly awaiting the next terrifying words to come out of my mouth. From the age of nine, my future was sealed in blood; I would be a journalist or a writer because I was fascinated at how the power of words could evoke such a strong emotional response in people. Funny though how life sneaks in and pulls you through many doorways you may never have planned. Such was the stuff of my writing career.  My 58-year-old brain was now stuck in the rut of “Would I try to attempt a humor column, perhaps for a newspaper, ala Erma Bombeck; if so, how to go about it? Or write a book and send that little labor of love out to one publisher after another for the next umpteen years?” Not too appealing to this Instant Gratification Gal (IGG). But look, who do I see riding up on my horizon? Why, it’s my amazingly brilliant brother-in-law Jeff, who will forever after be referred to as BIL. BIL has a fascinating knowledge of blogs, social networking sites, and other communication and technological wonders that have cruised right by me in recent years. Tweeting in front of your patients in a dental office is not the preferred plan for career advancement! BIL is convinced that utilizing these social networking sites is the up-to-date way to start writing for an audience immediately.

Fast forward to a visit to the Apple store where I become the proud but hesitant owner of an IPhone 4 AND an IPad!! Perhaps, in this day and age, this might just be the modern-day equivalent of a tiara and an armload of roses!!  Like a newborn colt on wobbly legs BIL assures me he can teach me the wonders of all these strange new devices and worlds of Tweets, Facebook (my 17-year-old will die of mortification; YEE HAW!! Payback’s a bioche, ain’t it son?!?) and blogs. Could this miracle occur? I hadn’t had this sense of rising excitement and the tantalizing aroma of new horizons since 1974, when, as a newly arrived country bumpkin in Manhattan, a strange, small, middle-aged woman aggressively tapped on my shoulder while I was staring wide-eyed into the windows of Tiffany’s (yes Audrey, THAT Tiffany’s!), repeatedly demanding “Who are you with? Who are you with?” My eyes narrowed suspiciously; I had already taken a homeless man to eat lunch at B. Altman’s Dept. Store my first week in NYC, much to the thinly-veiled, nose-crinkling disgust of the waitstaff and other shoppers; my radar was firmly engaged and this disheveled little lady wasn’t going to snow ME. Sensing my confusion, the crazy lady opened her purse and  pushed  something into my hand. “What agency are you with dear; who represents you?”  Seeing me standing still as a stone and uncomprehending, she pulled away from the card she had deposited in my hand, spun on her heel, and called over her shoulder “Come see me first if you’re looking for an agency”. Looking at the white business card in my grasp I saw Ford Models and an address on East 57th Street. In disbelief I walked south to the main public library where I pulled a book from the shelves written by one Eileen Ford, detailing the ins and outs of the modeling business. In shock I stared at the photo on the inside back cover, looking at the face of the crazy little lady on Fifth Avenue.

Stayed tuned til tomorrow gentle readers for another serving of Texas Toast. Til then.

6 thoughts on “Retirement #1

  1. Pingback: Strike a prose! « Big Happy Nothing

    • There you are…I was almost starting to worry. Was hoping you didn’t get buried in a snowdrift! I hope this means we have more of your wonderful writing to look forward to, but aren’t you off on your birthday vacation trip soon??

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