Our Country - Our People - Our Stories
Our Country, Our People, Our Stories
“The falling leaves drift by my window, the falling leaves of red and gold.” Looking forward to a new season.
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
The auto trips of my childhood gave me an appreciation for this amazing and diverse country and the people living in it.
18 Real Housewives of the Cold War
The problem that had no name was so unfathomable no one even thought they had a problem.
28 A Family Tradition
36 The Classic T Celebrating 100 years, the modest t-shirt has stood the test of time.
46 The Better You Know America
The better the future looks. Looking ahead, from a 1954 perspective.
Honoring, acknowledging and serving.
40 Building A Nation 54 The Gatekeeper
30 Top 11 Songs for
Honoring the many American workers whose jobs were crucial in building our nation.
a Better World
To abolish war, racism, hate and poverty, rockers have created anthems that have moved people to contribute money, take to the streets or just live in harmony.
Photo: Amber S. Wallace
Our USA Magazine
An amount by which the cost of something exceeds its value. Have we lost too much?
Visual fantasy and delight at the entrance of your next fate!
56 Awaken to Your Own Authority
Still seeking the world’s approval? Maybe after reading this, you won’t need to.
60 Sunrise at the
82 Sick As A Dog
One of the most beautiful places in all the world.
Man’s best friend shouldn’t get such a bad rap–especially when they help to make the impossible, possible.
Abbey of the Genesee
66 Adopt Me Every sentient being wants love and compassion.
68 Urban Homestead
70 The Story of
6 7 Contributors A Lion of America 9
Overcoming many personal challenges, one young man is now aspiring to change the lives of many.
91 Good Boy Roy
It’s not only healthy for you, it’s morselicious!
78 Open Hearth Cooking
Experience the enjoyment of preparing, savoring, and eating meals from an open hearth.
16 My Hometown Vanishing America
22 I’m Just Sayin’ Hissy Fits
26 The First Time Poetry & Photos
A very talented ZMan!
Should we believe the hype?
74 21-Day Ultimate
We’re all characters...which one are you?
92 This Happily
38 Made in USA
104 History of Handwritten Letters Infographic 108 Resources
Scary, frightening–words you associate with ghosts, right? Not necessarily so.
96 Italians in America Italians and their descendents helped shape this country, and were, in turn, shaped by it. Our USA Magazine
A homegrown revolution being fought right on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
Embracing Autumnâ€™ s Harmony By Kay Thomas
Our USA Magazine
Virginia Autumn Mountain Foliage Photo Credit - Forest Wander Our USA Magazine
can’t help it. My heart beats a melancholy song when Labor Day sneaks up. I want to hang on to summer a wee bit longer, like a youngster at the neighborhood pool dreaming of stretching out every drop of summer before returning to school. However, I am realistic. Changes are in the air and fall is inching into my life one baby step at a time. A few colorful leaves have dropped in very conspicuous places hinting for me to take notice that summer has wrapped up ever so quickly. A long-sleeved shirt is the clothing of my choice early in the morning. Those dependable tank tops have departed for their winter’s hibernation at the bottom of the pile. They had plenty of wear over the hot summer and deserve a decent rest.
Our USA Magazine
It’s inevitable that cooler temperatures will come at night, although Indian summer days are pleasant surprises in the Northeast. And I don’t take them for granted either. I find any excuse to be outside— waxing the car, pruning the trees, and gathering bouquets of deep orange jack-in-the-pulpits. Afternoons can be spectacular in their blues streaming across the cloudless sky, and for the warmth on my skin while I am cleaning out my gardens—a chore for every autumn and necessary payback for the beauty of the summertime flower displays. I gaze up at the hills and remark to those creatures hiding nearby in the bushes to come out and have a look at the swatches of browns, oranges and reds dotting the landscape. .
Having taught school for years, I automatically sense a new start at this time of year, too, and although I no longer buy back-to-school clothes and black and white notebooks, it is practical to purchase computer printer cartridges for the writing set out for me. My mother claimed that she disliked fall more than anytime because school would start and she would be home alone again. Today, on the other hand, I often hear young parents sighing in relief when the family gets on a regular routine with homework and soccer games mixing and matching into crowded days. If you are a four-season type of person, you have your being in the cycles of nature around you. Where you choose to live your life and for
what purpose is less important than the attitude you have on a daily basis about the meaning of your existence. Getting the optimum out of life is a thought process more than a physical one. I actually look forward to each new season for what it may bring. It is the way I keep my life glued together sensibly. I am not sure that I would want to be celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays swimming at the beach, although I have done it on occasion in Florida. I get a lot of strange looks from people who seem to think that a warmer climate is the answer to their woes. Well, it might work for them, and who am I to answer for someone else? Retirees begin to anticipate the first snowflake in September, and hightail it south faster than a jackrabbit on the run from a predator. There is a sacred flow of rhythm to a year. I find myself immersing in each cycle and embracing what my
body and soul receive. When I feel activity coming on, I go with it. Cooler temperatures make me more active, and I walk for miles at all times of the day, releasing thoughts cluttering my head. It never fails, though, that when I return to the house, I will have the beginning of an article written that will go directly to paper. I am excited getting an e-mail notice alerting me that my bulb order will be arriving early next week. It is fall planting time, and the garden soon will be chock full of new daffodils, hyacinths and tulips. From the dining room window I will be able to look out at them sleeping in the ground, and imagine the elegance of their show in the springtime. Their beauty will come up after a long winterâ€™s dreariness, and I will be grateful that I got them started in the fall in an all-new area in the yard that pays tribute to my sister, a lover of colorful flowers and plants during her lifetime.
Pumpkins surround my entry way and they are sparkling with dew running off their faces in the early hours of the morning. Leaves upon leaves drift down, all to be blown away, and I wonder if their descent will ever end before my energy runs out. Thatâ€™s when I remind myself that raking is a perfect fitness exercise, and worth accomplishing in fresh air. All things natural wither and die. The spectacular display of fall foliage and a celebration of the harvest is a finalizing of the season. There is one special dinner serving local produce on handmade pottery designed for the occasion that I attend every year. Two ceramic artists make it an event with the help of nearby restaurants. I am fortunate enough to live in a safe place, and I can take deep breathes in peace and contentment. For all my worldly travels, I am drawn back home not wanting to miss the orchestrated canvas of color in the fall.
Our USA Magazine
By Christopher Otto
he picture above is two pages from “The Future of America,” a 24-page, staplebound booklet published in 1954. It was prepared for The Advertising Council by McCann Erickson1 “as a public service.” The back page of this copy indicates that it was issued as part of the “Western Electric Booklet Rack Service For Employees.” Some excerpts from the booklet: • “Since you opened this booklet, a baby has been born. By this time tomorrow, your country will have 11,000 new Americans. By next month, a city the size of Syracuse will have been added to the strength of your nation.” • “All these babies need food and how! A job first for the farmer, perhaps. And to meet it efficiently,
Our USA Magazine
farmers must buy machines, and that can help create new jobs all over America.” • “Billions of dollars worth of new schools are needed -- because we must nearly double the existing system. ... Money spent in this construction creates work for bricklayers, masons, plumbers, architects, real estate brokers, construction workers and many others. In turn, everything they buy for themselves just adds new UP to everybody’s opportunity for prosperity.” • “The tremendous backlog of needs that must be met does not even include the billions that the electrical industry needs to invest. Demand for electrical energy is expected to increase by 250% by 1975.” • “Highway transport is another
industry moving ahead. For example, in the expansion plans of the entire automobile industry two manufacturers alone have immediate plans to spend $1¼ billion while one oil company alone plans a $500 million expansion program. (This need is pressing, too, for today’s roads are carrying 55 million vehicles, 72% more than in 1940.)”2
• “Right now we need 100 billion dollars worth of new homes.”3
• “America science continues to
give us miraculous developments in electronics, jets, rockets, chemistry, which are opening broad new fields of opportunity. We stand at the very beginning of the new atomic world.”4
• “It all adds up to a ... $500,000,000,0005 OPPORTUNITY RIGHT NOW...because this staggering sum should be spent immediately just to meet current actual needs.” Man, in just 24 pages, I think they used the world “billions” more than Carl Sagan. Below is another pair of pages from “The Future of America” booklet. An interesting note (but certainly not a surprise) is that all 33 people pictured in the booklet are caucasian. And, even with that, none of the caucasians have the slightest touch of ethnicity to them. (The good news is that, by 1971, McCann Erickson had properly recognized how to exploit the power of feel-good multiculturalism in advertising, as that was when the advertising agency introduced CocaCola’s “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” hilltop commercial to the masses.)
The Ad Below Reads: “Literally everything must grow faster and faster to keep us with the fantastic snowballing population growth ahead. Business today faces and outlay of hundreds of billions of dollars just to modernize plants and replace worn out or outmoded machines. Future population growth will call for even greater investments - a dramatic challenge and opportunity that can mean good times ahead for everybody! It takes energy just to keep up… This tremendous backlog of needs that must be met does not even include the billions that the electrical industry needs to invest. Demand for electrical energy is expected to increase 250% by 1975. Employees in this industry by the hundreds of thousands can be kept bust just trying to keep up with this need for growth.” Footnotes 1. McCann Erickson, now McCann Worldgroup, was formed in 1930 by the merger of advertising companies run by Alfred Erickson and Harry McCann. Among its other advertising campaigns: MasterCard’s “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard” and the Rice-a-Roni jingle. 2. I was wincing as I typed that excerpt. And not just because I’m in agreement with some of James Howard Kunstler’s writings. 3. Are we sensing a trend? 4. Here’s a week’s worth of sobering reading: Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents. Or, if you read just one, check out “Nuclear and radiation accidents.” 5. That’s $500 billion, if you don’t wish to count the zeroes.
Our USA Magazine
Our USA Magazine
Building A Nation
hey are called the “12 forever stamps” and they comprise the U.S. Postal Service’s most recent issuance, “Made in America: Building a Nation,” postage stamps that honor the courageous workers who helped build our country. The sheet features 12 stamps in three rows of four. Eleven of the 12 stamp images were taken by photographer Lewis Hine, a chronicler of early 20th-century industry. The stamps were issued Aug. 8. The three rows are: • Top row: an airplane maker, a derrick man on the Empire State Building, a millinery apprentice, and a man on a hoisting ball on the Empire State Building.
By Bill O’Boyle
• Middle row: a Linotyper in a publishing house, a welder on the Empire State Building, a coal miner and riveters on the Empire State Building. (The coal miner stamp is the only one of the 12 that does not feature a Hine photograph. The image is from the Kansas Historical Society.) • Bottom row: a powerhouse mechanic, a railroad track walker, a textile worker and a man guiding a beam on the Empire State Building. Ray Daiutolo, U.S. Postal Service spokesman, said there are five different sheets available. Each one contains the same stamps, but is anchored by a different photograph. The Hine images include two Empire State Building iron workers and a General Electric worker measuring the bearings in a casting. The fourth photograph is the same image of the coal miner that appears in the stamp pane. The final photograph, taken by Margaret Bourke-White, depicts a female welder. “In addition to the photos chosen, the naming of the sheet demonstrates that in doing these often unseen jobs, these American workers made crucial historical contributions, transforming the U.S. into an industrial giant,” Daiutolo said. “The pane showcases images of early 20th-century industrial workers. Their contributions were essential to the growth of the modern U.S.” Daiutolo said the Postal Service’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee is tasked with evaluating the merits of all stamp proposals. Established in 1957, the committee provides the Postal Service with a “breadth of judgment and depth of experience in various areas that influence subject matter, character and beauty of postage stamps.” He said the committee’s primary goal is to select subjects of broad national interest for recommendation to the Postmaster General that are interesting and educational. In addition to the Postal Service’s extensive line of mail use stamps, approximately 20 new subjects for commemorative stamps are recommended each year. First published in The Times Leader, used with permission.
Our USA Magazine 11
• simplicity sofas
For small space dwellers, Simplicity Sofas specializes in apartment sized sofas, chairs and even sectionals and sleepers. To help maneuver tight stairways and small door frames, the furniture is delivered in pieces that are easily assembled by the customer. Don’t let the threat of assembly scare you off. Simplicity Sofas shared a video of an 8-year-old putting together a sofa so you can probably handle it. Simplicity Sofas is unique. All of its furniture is patented (or patent pending) and not available anywhere else. Simplicity Sofas manufactures large and small sofas, apartment sofas, studio sofas, sleepers and sectionals. All furniture is custom-built the old-fashioned way, one piece at a time, to your individual specifications using quality components such as solid oak frames and Ultracel® premium cushions with a lifetime warranty. The furniture is shipped directly to you. No retail middlemen and no retail markups. Review from Apartment Therapy
Our USA Magazine
The Home Furnishings Capital of the World
Photo Apartment Therapy
igh Point is the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World,” (home to Simplicity Sofas), and every year they host two home furnishing markets, one in the Spring and one in the Fall. This year’s Fall Market is being held from October 19-24. The High Point Market is the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world, bringing more than 85,000 people to High Point every six months. Considering that the population of High Point is just a little over 100,000, this is a significant achievement The show space comprises 180 buildings on around 12 million square feet. This space accommodates more than 2000 exhibitors who represent over a hundred countries. The Market is now over a hundred years old, as it was originally founded in 1909. The region was rich with furniture manufacturing operations, and the Market provided furniture makers and retailers an opportunity to connect in one place for business. It has so evolved that High Point can boast of being a “Niche City”– a city that is a global magnet by providing an economic specialization in a global service economy.
Our USA Magazine 13
The Classic T-shirt Celebrates 100 years
orn in the U.S.A. from humble beginnings, the T began as an undershirt in the U.S. Navy. They were first issued to sailors (vintage 1913) to force them to button up. The T-shirts were modest endeavors to hide any chest hair that might show through a uniform’s V-neck collar. Because they were so lightweight, comfortable and versatile, servicemen returning home brought this popular item back with them. Following World War II, it became common to see veterans wearing their uniform trousers with their T-shirts as casual clothing, and they became even more popular in the 1950s after Marlon Brando wore one in A Streetcar Named Desire, finally achieving status as fashionable, stand-alone, outer-wear garments. The T-shirt, named because of its configuration, soon became popular as a bottom layer of clothing for workers in various industries, including agriculture. The T-shirt was easily fitted, easily cleaned, and inexpensive, and for this reason it became the shirt of choice for young boys. Boys’ shirts were made in various colors and patterns. The white tee is the one piece of clothing worn by people of every age, gender, nationality, race and economic status. In the words of Giorgio Armani in his introduction to Alice Harris’ book The White T: “I’ve always thought of the T-shirt as the Alpha and Omega of the fashion alphabet. The Creative universe begins with it essentially, and, whatever path the imagination takes, ends with its purity. And then, I love the T-shirt as an anti-status symbol, putting rich and poor on the same level in a sheath of white cotton that cancels the distinctions of caste. It also excels as a means of communication: writings, drawings, poems, slogans, photos, worn as a way to tell the world who you are, what you think, where your ideas are directed.”
Our USA Magazine
With striking photographs and sophisticated text, The White T traces the colorful history of the classic garment worn by billions all over the world. From the first Hanes version sold in the 1930s for twenty-four cents to its transformation into the ultimate in cool (not to mention sexy) when worn by James Dean, Elvis Presley and Marlon Brando, the white tee has become part of our culture. The significance of the white tee goes beyond fashion, to encompass the political, sexual and social trends of the past decades. Whether tie-dyed, stamped with a slogan or icon, torn, slashed or designed, these shirts make a statement, and everyone, from presidents to rock stars, bikers to bankers, babies to baby boomers, has at least one white tee. Celebrating this universally worn piece of clothing, The White T is a chronicle of cultural history and, like its quirky and expressive subject, in itself is a work of art.
Our USA Magazine 15
American Made Tâ€™s some of our favorites Honest. As in Honest Abe, the nick name for our 16th president: Abraham Lincoln. Unisex Sizing. Coffee Brown, U.S of Awesome $34
Applauding the full-length documentary that explores the rise and fall of USA made products. Unisex sizing, All American Clothing Co. $11
Our USA Magazine
Individually Hand Made in the USA Custom T for USA citizens Menâ€™s - varied colors Black & Denim $49
Pointer Brand celebrates 100 years Since American Made Star T-Shirt 100% Cotton Gray with Star Logo on Front
Unisex Sizing Pointer Brand $17.50
Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death! 50% Cotton 50% Polyester Silver Contrast Stitching Forged Clothing $29.99
Tri-Blend (50% Polyester / 25% Cotton / 25% Rayon) Durable rib neckband.
American Built $24.99
Our USA Magazine 17
WHO WE ARE
We are a non-partisan organization lobbying for American made manufacturers, small business owners, suppliers, distributors, mom and pop stores, local boutiques and service providers. We are dedicated to encouraging consumers to buy American made products; providing our members with resources to expand their use of U.S. made products; and serving as a place to share ideas to increase our membersâ€™ bottom lines. We are a conduit for change by uniting American voices to tell Washington to bring American jobs home.
To play a part in the restoration of the U.S. economy by connecting American manufactures with consumers; to educate consumers on the importance of buying American made products; and to partner with American manufacturers and businesses to collaborate on maximizing their use and distribution of Made in USA products.
BECOME A CORPORATE MEMBER
Receive 15% off membership when you mention Our USA Magazine 18
Our USA Magazine
Our USA Magazine 19
Photo Journal By Robert Oswald
Our USA Magazine
Our USA Magazine 21
How I spent my summer
By Gloria Doty
I was eighteen-months old when I took my first auto trip. It was from Indiana to New Mexico, and although I have no recollection of it, Iâ€™ve heard about it enough times to believe that I do remember it. My mother wanted to visit her sister who was living in Albuquerque with her husband, a student at the University of New Mexico. My dad loaded my grandmother, my 9 year-old sister, my mother and me into a used car and we set out for the Southwest. My father was the only driver, so he did what is unimaginable today: he drove over 2600 miles with no interstates, no cell phone,no radio, no air conditioning and no GPS; only a map, an extra pair of glasses and a lot of faith.
Our USA Magazine
He fell in love with traveling across this beautiful country, so every year following that initial trip; we went to some part of the 48 states. (Note: This was 1948 and there were only 48 states). Our days on the road followed a pattern. We would be in the car and on our way by 6am each morning. It was cooler then (the car had no air conditioning) and traffic was lighter (there were only 2-lane highways.) After 2 hours of driving, Dad would stop at a café for breakfast. Every small town in America had at least one of these establishments. As a child, I was fascinated by the dollsized glass bottles filled with cream, which the waitress brought with my parents’ coffee. The locals, who were in the café having their morning coffee, were always friendly and asked where we were from and where we were headed. After breakfast, we would crawl back into the car for the longest stretch of the day’s drive. Around noon, my father would stop for gas. While the attendant was filling the tank, checking the oil and washing off the many bugs that had met their fate on the windshield, we would all use the restroom. Usually, the restroom door was outside the station and you had to get the key from the person working inside at the counter. While we were in the town getting gas, my mother would find the local grocery and purchase enough food for our lunch. This usually consisted of bologna for sandwiches, a can of cold pork and beans and maybe a cookie and sliced peaches and water or Kool-Aid. We didn’t have a cooler, so she only bought what we could consume in one meal. To this day, the wonderful aroma of waxedpaper cups brings back visions of
a squatty green metal thermos with an aluminum lid and a spout on the side. We wouldn’t eat lunch until we found a roadside park. Usually, the park consisted of a grassy space on the side of the highway with just enough room for a car to pull off safely. There would be 1 or 2 wooden picnic tables and a green barrel for trash. As we sat and ate, we would see some of the trucks that had impeded our forward progress, roll past. This meant, of course, we would have to pass them again. Then it was time to get back in the car. The black highway with the yellow lines painted down the middle stretched ahead of us like a ribbon, sometimes curling around a curve and up and down the dips in the road. The only thing that slowed our progress was a slow-moving vehicle or a semi-truck. I remember standing on the ‘hump’ in the back seat (no seat belts) and watching as my dad would pull the car over the center line just enough to see if there was any oncoming traffic. If not, he would pull into the left lane and pass, but occasionally, especially in a hilly stretch, it could be twenty minutes before it was safe to pass the vehicle in front of us. Around 4 p.m., my parents would start looking for a motel or cabins with a ‘vacancy’ sign. My father would register, pay and get the key. We would rest for a while before eating dinner at a restaurant. Usually, it was within walking distance of our motel. After dinner and before an early bedtime, we would set outside our room in the provided lawn chairs and chat with other travelers. It was interesting to hear about their home states and their destinations. It seemed to me as though everyone traveled somewhere in the summer.
Occasionally, there were sight-seeing opportunities on the way to our final destination, so we would spend time exploring these wonders, also. It was an education no schoolbook could have provided. I knew firsthand what the Rocky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, and the Statue of Liberty looked like. I saw palm trees in Florida, visited Washington D.C., and saw rows of combines making their way across the vast wheat fields of Kansas. I waded in the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, swam in the Great Salt Lake and felt spray on my face at Niagara Falls. By the time I was 10 years old, I had been in 40 of the 48 states. When a teacher talked about a particular location, I knew exactly what it looked like. I saw cities and farms that were not like the ones in Indiana and had the opportunity to talk to children who looked and sounded different than I did. My father kept track of expenses: gas on one side and cabin, breakfast, lunch and dinner on the other. The auto trips of my childhood gave me an appreciation for this amazing and diverse country and the people living in it. I truly enjoy every type of travel, but traveling by car is still my favorite. My parents were by no means wealthy; they saved for this one expenditure each year and I am eternally grateful for the many experiences and the education that the travels provided.
Our USA Magazine 23
A Family Tradition By Barbara Hamp-Weicksel
Our USA Magazine
n the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, World War I, the “war to end all wars” ended, and this day became known as Armistice Day. In 1926, the United States Congress passed a resolution to officially call November 11th Armistice Day, and in 1938, Armistice Day became a national holiday. Soon after the end of World War II, Raymond Weeks, himself a veteran organized a “National Veterans Day” with parades and many other festivities to honor all veterans of all wars. In 1954, Congress passed a bill proclaiming November 11th as Veteran’s Day. The bill was signed by perhaps one of our countries greatest men in uniform, President Dwight Eisenhower. I was raised in the 1950s in a small town in the southeast corner of Pennsylvania where we honored our war heros – dead and alive. We stood on State Street and waved little American flags as our veterans marched proudly down the street in their uniforms on Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Veterans Day. It didn’t matter that some of the uniforms didn’t quite fit anymore, or that they were frayed and moth-eaten – they were proud to wear them, and we were proud to see them march down the street in them. We laid wreaths and placed little American flags on the graves of all the veterans buried in our town’s cemetery, and we paused for a moment to remember their service and their sacrifice.
y family is a military family. It’s not that we like or glorify war; it is my family’s tradition. My great-grandfather wore a Union uniform and gathered the wounded and dying on the wheat fields of Gettysburg; my grandfather helped the wounded on the fields of France in World War I. My father helped clear the English Channel for the troops that landed on D-Day; my brother helped keep men alive in Da Nang, Vietnam during the Viet Nam War. There were also uncles, cousins and nephews proudly wearing the uniforms of our country’s Army and Navy during the Korean conflict, The Persian Gulf wars and Iraq and Afghanistan. Our mother instilled in my brother and me a love of country. She never talked of the purpose of the wars or conflicts – she only made sure we knew to honor the men who served in uniform. I’m not sure she ever understood the purpose of any war, but she certainly understood the value of the men and women who served in uniform, and it was this unwavering pride that she passed on to not only my brother and me, but to all who had the great fortune to hear the history of the United States through my mother’s voice.
erving our country is not just an honor” – she would say – “it’s our duty.” She believed it was the responsibility of every citizen to serve their country, if not by being in the military, with a simple “thank you for your service,” or a contribution to the USO, or sending cards and letters and donations to those who are overseas and in need of some comfort from home. Veterans Day to Mother was more than a holiday. It was a day to celebrate and honor and be proud of who we are and where we came from. Mother passed away on Veterans Day, November 11, 2012. “...it is well for us to pause, to acknowledge our debt to those who paid so large a share of freedom’s price. As we stand here in grateful remembrance of the veterans’ contributions we renew our conviction of individual responsibility to live in ways that support the eternal truths upon which our Nation is founded, and from which flows all its strength and all its greatness.” ~ President Dwight Eisenhower.
Our USA Magazine 25
By Larry W. Fish
n January 2013, my wife and I moved to north central North Carolina. We had been living closer to the coast for quite a few years and decided to move to be closer to family. Moving is a big decision but we found a nice apartment only about four miles from our daughter. It had been some time since we had owned a dog, so we decided to get one that would make our home a happy one. I had it in my mind after hearing how many animals need homes that we should adopt one. Iâ€™d read that 6 to 8 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters each year. Three to four million of those are euthanized. I searched and searched on the Internet and applied for what looked like adorable dogs that would fit our lifestyle. However, we were disappointed each time to find out that they had been adopted by someone else. We continued to search and at the suggestion of our daughter, went to the website of Saving Grace Animals for Adoption. We saw several dogs that we liked and sent in an application only to find out that most of those had been adopted as well. One little dog on that website caught our attention with the cutest little face. She was a beagle, named Sarah. We arrranged to go see her and it was love at first sight. Photo courtesy ofwww.animalfamilyveterinarycare.com 26
Our USA Magazine
She became part of our family, adding sweetness to our apartment that only an animal lover can appreciate. We changed her name to Cookie. A dog in need of a home was now ours. We knew we made the right decision by going to an adoption site. Saving Grace Animals for Adoption is one of many organizations in the state of North Carolina and across the United States. These organizations help to find homes for animals that are brought in as strays, found at animal shelters, or rescued from puppy mills. Many of the animals have suffered much heartache in their young lives. It is many people’s opinion that they need a dog raised by a breeder because a dog that is taken from a shelter or a rescue organization is not safe, healthy, or will not show the love they expect. I can tell everyone that when we look at Cookie, we know that we made a choice that is making us happy and her as well. Cookie is now with people that love her in a permanent forever home. Puppy mill owners keep dogs in cages for the sole purpose of breeding. They are often mistreated, live in unsanitary conditions, and live a life that is sad in anyone’s eyes. If you know of a puppy mill in operation, witness a dog or cat being abused, or see an animal that is malnourished or appears to be a stray, contact a shelter or adoptions site and send the animal on the road to a better life.
Saving Grace Animals for Adoption is a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to find permanent loving homes for dogs in need. Volunteers give the support that is needed to care for and find homes for so many dogs. The volunteers do it out of love, because animals touch their hearts so deeply. As I walked around Saving Grace, I could see the love of those volunteers. Every one of those dogs on the grounds that day were loving and could give some family smiles and love that would last them a lifetime. Cookie has changed our lives for
the better. Every time we look at her, we smile, knowing she will have the love that she deserves for the rest of her life. Soon after Cookie was adopted by us, she had a seizure. That seizure was followed by more in the next couple of months, which we closely monitored. It is heartbreaking to see a dog have a seizure. Her body gets rigid, her eyes may roll back, and her legs may thrash uncontrollably. She may appear to be gasping for air, may froth at the mouth, and she possibly may poop or pee because
has no control. When these seizures occur, I pet her and keep rubbing my hands over her to keep her calm. I talk to her in a quiet voice and keep telling her that it is going to be alright. I protect her from harm. When Cookie comes out of a seizure, she may appear wobbly for a couple of minutes. Then, she is back to running around and playing like nothing had ever happened. Cookie and I were put together for a reason. She is now on medication to help her seizures. Cookie has only had one minor seizure in the past month and a half. Would I ever get rid of Cookie because of the seizures? That is easy to answer. Without a doubt, I would never get rid of her. I will continue to show her the love that she shows me. Cookie had been brought to Saving Grace as a stray. Had she been abandoned? Had she been abused? By her actions when we first got her, I’m sure she was. Can you imagine her having a seizure living on her own with no one around? It is a sad thought. Were the previous owners afraid of the seizures? Did they think Cookie was unsafe? Did they abuse her because of them? I can’t answer those questions, but I can honestly say she will have a home for the rest of her life. When your family desires to get a cat or dog, look at the ones that are in shelters and animal adoption organizations first. Many of those will show you love that you couldn’t imagine. Give them a permanent home. They deserve to be happy, to be loved, and live a good life. Our USA Magazine 27
Our USA Magazine
ack (the ‘ZMan’) is a 17 year old teenager who has always loved to draw. Zack used to race BMX bikes and has played baseball most of his life. Zack’s always been funny, silly and loves to do impersonations. While like most kids, Zack has challenges that he’s struggled with while growing up, including OCD, depression, ADHD and Anxiety. When Zack was quite young, he developed a severe strep infection that led to PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Disorder Associated With Strep) which, in turn, caused Tourettes and Tics. Zack also sustained several brain traumas over the years which have further aggravated these difficulties. But making light of his plight, Zack maintains “Nobody can have it worse than anybody else. It’s just a matter of how you look at it.” Zack’s health issues can make life somewhat chaotic and unpredictable at times. Drawing has always helped Zack relax. When Zack was 14, he began drawing and sharing his Good Boy Roy characters. Creating the cast of characters in Good Boy Roy’s life is both a refuge and a comfort for Zack. The Good Boy Roy team includes Zack, the artist and creator of Good Boy Roy, and his mom, Kim, the CEO, CFO and business manager for the Good Boy Roy Brand and GoodBoyRoy.com. Zack relates the simple beginnings of Good Boy Roy. “One day I handed mom a stack of drawings. She thought they were really cute and decided to surprise me. Mom had a favorite character screened onto a t-shirt for me. The first character that came to life on a shirt was Roy! Mom thought we should call him Good Boy Roy. Like me, he really is a good boy, but sometimes he does things he knows that he shouldn’t do. I have always apologized after acting out and told my parents, “I really am a good boy”, so Roy is kind of my alter ego. Since creating Good Boy Roy a few years ago, there is a cast of characters and Good Boy Roy has a collection of good friends.” This motley crew of characters is also now featured in a Good Boy Roy and Friends coloring book. Click on the image above to go to Zack’s website. Our USA Magazine 29
The Real Housewives of the Cold War
By Sally Edelstein
with Tuesdays, pick-ups and deliveries reversed, or when a tired mother deposits the last child and stayed for a quick cup of instant coffee. It was over the roar of the dryers in the afternoons while casseroles simmered in automatic ovens back home that these women gave full voice to secret whispering fears. Somehow dread words could be spoken and reassurances offered.
ike most women growing up in the 1950s and 1960s I was fed a generous serving of sugar-coated media stereotypes of happy homemakers who were as frozen and neatly packaged as the processed foods they served their cold war families. The Feminine Mistake 1960 In the years before I went to kindergarten, I shadowed my mother Betty everywhere she went. Within her suburban sphere of influence I was a contented little satellite, spinning in her orbit. Whether shopping or schlepping, picking up or dropping off, I would follow in her footstepsâ€Śliterally. The task I enjoyed tagging along with the most was her weekly appointment at the Glam-A-Rama Beauty Parlor. 30
Our USA Magazine
The beauty parlor was a unique universe unlike any place else, where unfamiliar, strange-looking equipment was being used by familiar neighborhood women looking strange. All dressed alike, their ordinary clothes replaced by identical leopard print smocks, it was a universe with its own uniform. A universe where gossip was as hot and swift as the air blowing through the missile shaped hairdryers, a world where I was privy to carefully guarded grown up secrets. Strange intimacies grew between women who organized carpools and now found themselves sitting, captive under pink hair dryers. These conversations were unlike the hurried confidences exchanged as Fridayâ€™s schedule was switched
Ladies Home Journal 5/52 - Illustration Al Parker
In the shadow of the hairdryers, as nails were polished, calluses scraped and hair teased, dread words could be safely spoken.
Sinking into a padded turquoise swivel styling chair, I sat next to Mom, carefully watching as Miss Blanche the hairdresser, combed and teased, bombarding Mom with hairspray. This was truly a space age hair-do with its propulsion accomplished by strenuous backcombing. Mom would sit in the hydraulic chair reading 2 month old, dogeared copies of McCalls and Good Housekeeping, while Miss Blanche maintaining a steady flow of mindless chatter as she worked. Magazine Madness Tucked within those pages, the periodicals promised the modern mid-century housewife would find exactly the right information and products that would give her the knowledge to excel in her role as wife and mother. Glancing at her favorite magazines at the Glama-Rama only seemed to confirm what Mom knew in her heart to be true–that love, marriage, and children is “The” career for women.
“Yes,” she would read, nodding in agreement “for today’s homemaker, her home is her castle.” “Snug within it she basks in the warmth of a good man’s love… glories in the laughter of healthy children…glows with pride in every new acquisition that adds color or comfort pleasure or leisure to her family’s life.”
between puffs of her Parliament pointing to an article in one magazine, “are those who feel that household and community activities are for “squares.” The curler clad ladies nodded in unison. Homework
“And, she’s always there! She’s an up to date modern American homemaker.” Breathing in deeply of the beauty parlor air heavy with the cloying sweetness of perfume diluted by the acrid smell of singed hair, Mom sighed contently. Of course, the gals all agreed, some poor mothers had to work to provide for their families. The big talk that day that set tongues wagging concerned Shirley Birnbaum who was pregnant and planned to go back to work as a teacher after she had a baby! “But the ones I’d like to talk about,” our neighbor Estelle Wolfson said
By the fall of 1960 there had begun to appear some quiet rumblings among some unhappy housewives across the country. Now and again Mom would read an article, usually in the “Can This Marriage be Saved” column, about those few unfortunate women who felt stifled and lonely in their marriage. “Feminists” or anyone who couldn’t find fulfillment in the Lady Clairol colorful cold war world of carpools, cookouts, cream of mushroom soup casseroles, and catering to contented children and happy-go-lucky husbands, were disturbed. Flipping through one magazine, she noticed that September’s Redbook offered a $500 prize for the best essay on “Why Young Mothers Feel Trapped.” It triggered an unexpectedly large response 24,000 entries. Our USA Magazine 31
Another magazine, Good Housekeeping, also tapped into this vein of unhappiness with a September article of its own. “I Say: Women Are People Too.” The article caught Moms eye. It noted “a strange stirring, a dissatisfied groping, a yearning” by American women, a sense that there must be more to life than raising children and maintaining a clean comfortable home. The magazine urged its readers to overcome their malaise by taking charge of their lives. “She can’t live through her husband and children.” It said of the typical housewife. “They are separate selves. She has to find her own fulfillment first.” 32
Our USA Magazine
The author of the Good Housekeeping article was by another Betty, Betty Friedan, a 39-year-old freelance writer from NY suburbs
The Good Housekeeping piece sprang from this research. She had started a book manuscript by Oct 1960.
Friedan was asked to assemble a booklet for her Smith college class 15th reunion in 1957. She sent out questionnaires expecting to be inundated with cheerful stories about successful careers and young families. Many classmates responded with tales of depression and frustration. It was Friedans first clue than many thousands of women shared her own dissatisfaction.
The book entitled The Feminine Mystique wouldn’t be published until 1963.
The Smith questionnaire inspired her to undertake a detailed examination of what she called “the problem that has no name” interviewing hundreds of women in New York, Chicago, and Boston.
Mom dismissed these grumblings and put down the magazine. She never felt constrained. She saw her life as full of choices after all she as free to choose – automobiles, clothes appliances and supermarkets. Freedom was all around her.
Suddenly she was carefree with her automatic dishwasher, there was freedom from brushing between meals with Gleem toothpaste, you could relax if itâ€™s Arnel with new ease of care, sofas covered with Velon plastic, meant she was no longer a slave to delicate upholstery, even her waist whittling calorie curve cuttinâ€™ Playtex girdle promised her new freedom. And best of all there was freedom to choose from a dazzling assortment at the supermarkets. Patting her lush brown bouffant coif floating like a gentle cloud above her head, Mom left the beauty parlor happy. With a new recipe for cheese fondue clutched in her hands and a sure-fire solution for removing ring around the collar, Mom was content. For now my mother Betty would follow in the footprints of another Betty, Betty Crocker, satisfied in her role as housewife and mother. The problem that had no name was so unfathomable no one even thought they had a problem. It was buried as deeply as our missiles underground, and would cause the same explosion when they were released.
Our USA Magazine 33
B The Gatekeeper Words and Drawings by Milan delVecchio
ut between visits, life grows longs days, for her world is made of merely shades of grays...but one day, a thought came to her, quite clear: she would ask the guests to trade a story for her to hear...so from their voices into her ears, each story would travel through her inner gears...
n a land not too far from where we be, lives a creature not too different from you and me...her task is the Keeper of the Gate - she welcomes visitors at the entrance of their next fate...
o one by one, creatures come and leave, sharing a piece of their past for her to wear on her sleeve... after each farewell she grows a new cognitive stain, for which the colors and textures forever remain.
Our USA Magazine
ut, twist, braid, seam Thick, thin, wrinkle steam Just rmember to connect the elements in a conscious stream As we all row merrily Fishy Feathers along in our own little dream.
Our USA Magazine 35
Awaken To Your Own Authority By Tama J. Kieves
Our USA Magazine
used to be the girl who needed to nab an “A” in every subject in school. I’d study what you wanted me to study—what grabbed your attention, not mine. That’s because I had no idea that chasing approval and “security” was keeping me from discovering my certainty and my power, my chance to create everything I’d ever wanted. But this is what I’ve come to learn again and again: You can’t chase approval and aliveness at the same time. Do you want to live someone else’s advice? Or do you want to live your birthright? An inspired life is the result of owning your own brilliance— following your own indwelling authority. It’s the intimate landscape of learning how to listen to and trust the infallible specificity of your guidance. This is a life that isn’t on any map. I made this choice long ago, when I first left the practice of law to become a writer. I traded “security” for meaning and heightened magic, knowing deep down that I’d claim everything, creative salvation and a tidy way to pay the bills, by following the call that meant everything to me. But I’ve had to make this choice ten thousand times it seems, each time as though it were brand new---because some part of me still thinks that maybe I’ll find certainty and the end of pain by following the authority of others, instead of my own. As a driven, ambitious person, it feels threatening to let go of doing things the “right way,” following the “experts,” and “getting the A,” in favor of stumbling into unmarked territory, because you have some hunch. Believe me, I still love the “world’s approval.” I love the bangles she wears and the beaded purse stuffed with dollars to buy my time and allegiance. But I have resisted her charms. I am chasing a greater security than anything that I can deposit in a bank. I am hunting my own authenticity. I am determined to live my full potential in this lifetime. Our USA Magazine 37
These days I am still getting an A, but now it’s in Adventure. Authenticity. Alignment. Abundance. Bet the Farm on Your Own Life I am discovering my own magic. I am healing my own pain. I am awakening to something incredible and difficult and true. It’s frightening like crashing through the air on a roller coaster some days. It’s that wild and exhilarating rush, too, when life meets you in midair for a kiss. As I continue to grow my work, my message, my reach and my life, like those who are just beginning this path—I find myself on the “hero’s journey,” the walk into a mythical forest. It’s dark and dank and on so many days I wonder what the hell I was really following. Maybe I don’t want to be a stupid hero. Maybe I just want to be saved. Worse yet, maybe I’m not following anything except a delusion-- and now something stinky, clawed, and real is following me. And then there are those other days. These are the days when you walk through the darkness, resolved, accepting the fate you chose. You decide to bet the farm on your own life. You call yourself a pilgrim instead of a fool. You walk deeper into your life. And then, just a few steps further from the darkest patch of forest, you come upon a clearing, a meadow, a thousand yellow buttercups, or red Indian paint brush and the sun gleams in a way that paints your name, your nick name, on eachpetal of every flower and you know in an undeniable way that you are exactly 38
Our USA Magazine
where you are meant to be; it’s a greater sense of security than any amount of money could offer you. It’s hitting the mother of all jackpots, the great sweet Power Ball of the Universe. These are times of knowing that you have been loved and seen and heard. There is so much joy in having trusted yourself and realizing that you were never off kilter or flawed. You were different. You were compelled. You were keeping a promise to yourself. Really, I am loving the adventure. It’s this personal game of “Hide and Seek.” I am loving losing myself and my faith and then finding it again, each time branding me in the lesson: that I can lose sight of the truth but it’s not possible to lose the truth. And this divine, fortifying, intimate Truth will never lose sight of me. I giggle like a child, every time I’ve been fooled by myself. Over and over, I fall for it, find myself feeling that maybe I’m not really getting ahead or that maybe nothing is going to change in the way that I want. Meanwhile, everything is radically transforming and when I catch a glimpse of where I really am, and who I really am, it takes my breath away. It is the most extraordinary feeling to have maintained your faith and conviction in something and to be right, to discover the magic, an extraordinary portal that no one else knew. Only you know the secrets you hold. Only you know the potential that beckons you. Only you feel this almost unwanted tug of glory in your bones. This is the adventure of your lifetime. I don’t want you to miss it.
This is the adventure of your lifetime. I don’t want you to miss it. You are a pioneer in your life. It is as though you are discovering the Wild, Wild West. There are no sign posts, Starbucks, or convenience stores. Garmin has no idea where the hell you are—because, honey, you are so off the map. There is a black, black night with 8 million greedy stars dotting the sky. And there is a nakedness, the power of nothing extra or untrue. And though you feel alone or as though you will never know how to get to your goals, know this–you have never been less alone. Without the distraction of the world’s guidance, you can finally hear your own undivided genius. Every curve of the road is guiding you. Every tree knows your step. Every bit of sky is whispering clues to you. This Mysterious, Brilliant Love is drawing you forward, rooting for you, investing in you, chanting for your fruition. It is in the nature of your destiny to lead you to your destiny. Every circumstance you are in is a chosen conversation designed for your good. There is a scent to follow. Every butterfly is telling you something necessary. The wind is pushing you in the right direction. The rain is a wild unfettered priest dousing your existence in holy water. Everything is in your favor. The moments of realizing this are worth a lifetime. Really, it’s one thing to be alive. It is a whole other thing to be awake. It’s the ultimate A.
An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break. May you be open to each thread that comes into your life - the golden ones and the coarse ones - and may you weave them into a brilliant and beautiful life. ~ Author Unknown
Our USA Magazine 39
Sick as A Dog By Mark Barkawitz
A fatherless little leaguer and his single mom find their fortunes changing when a mysterious stranger arrives in their moribund little town. Can one damaged man really make a difference in so many lives? Can the factory around which the town has grown survive a world-wide recession? Can two aspiring women break the glass ceiling? Can the stumbling, bumbling Dodgers beat the big, bad Giants? When plans go amiss—and goals unachieved—can we still realize the dreams of our youth? In GIANT KILLERS, perhaps we can. “Having read Mark’s work in various mediums over the years, I’m happy to see his talent in the form of a novel that has memorable, multi-faceted characters and poignant contemporary themes. In the tradition of authors such as Twain whose works spoke to their age and audiences young and old, this novel speaks to the triumphs and trials of our time across various age demographics.” ~Nicole Bouchard, Editor/Publisher $2.99 eBook available @ Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, Kobo.com 40
Goodreads.com & www.markbark.org WOOF BOOKS
Our USA Magazine
ack when I was really sick– down to 122 pounds, scrunched over with a broken back, and using a four-wheeled walker with hand brakes to get around—my dogs still wanted to be walked. And I wanted to walk, too. Hell, I wasn’t dead. Not yet anyway. So one day, I got the bright idea of tying Summa—the larger but more docile and controllable of my two golden retrievers—with her leash to the front of my walker. I put the buds of my iPod in my ears, sucked down a tube of energy gel, and we strolled slowly up the driveway of our Paloma Street home onto the sidewalk. When she pulled too hard or fast, I partially-applied both hand brakes and told her: “Slow down, Summa.”
I lifted my head and asked: “Is that a gum disease or cancer?” I’m kind of a smart ass. Sometimes. But I really didn’t know.
We headed east and made it to the corner without any hitches. I can only imagine what my neighbors must’ve thought. I’d been a distance runner the entire 20 years that we’d lived on the block. Lifted weights, too, in my garage. Until one day while training for a halfmarathon I was to race with my mostly-grown son, a vertebrae in my lower back suddenly broke. Hurt like hell. At first, it was diagnosed as the result of a birth defect in my spine. Birth defect? At my age? That was ridiculous and I pretty much told my orthopedist as much. Because he was closed to any other possibilities that I might suggest in subsequent office visits, our relationship and my health spiraled downward from there. Seven doctors and nine months later—keeled-over with an all-over-body-pain in my primarycare physician’s office—Dr. Gomez explained: “You have multiple myeloma, Mark.”
I pretended to laugh.
“It’s cancer of the blood and bone marrow. I’m sorry.” I must’ve sighed deeply. Because all the air left my being. As a lifelong athlete, I knew my body well and it had been telling me for a long time that something—not only my wrecked spine—was wrong. But this? This was my worst fear. “Am I going to die?” “50/50.” Then he quickly recalculated: “With you—make it 60/40 Better than Vegas odds.” He had been my doctor for years and knew me pretty well.
“The cancer has shut down your kidneys. Our primary concern right now is to get them functioning again. Otherwise, you’re going to be dead in two days.” He put his hand on my shoulder. “Better make plans—just in case.” Forty-five minutes later, I sat in a recliner at Urgent Care with an IV needle in the large, bluish vein in the crook of my arm, contemplating my mortality. ***************************** We turned south at the corner, Summa still leading the way, the wheeled walker and I following a few feet behind. It was the middle of the day in the middle of the week, so there was only an occasional car on Sierra Bonita Avenue. I knew which houses had dogs. On this side of the block, another golden retriever named Finicce
(Italian for Phoenix, the mythological bird reborn from ashes) was sometimes loose on the front lawn while Justin read the newspaper in the redwood chair on his porch. Summa didn’t like other big dogs, especially males. And sensing my weakened condition, she had become aggressively defensive of me. But fortunately, Finicce wasn’t outside today. I was relieved. My most immediate fear right now was not the cancer coursing through my veins but a loose dog or cat or Summa’s favorite—squirrels— which inhabited our neighborhood plethora of trees. Charging or chasing was no longer within my physical ability. Slow was my only speed. As we were going downhill, I braked slightly. I had a limp now, too—left leg—from the cancer in my hip. X-rays had revealed that it had spread to every bone in my body, even my freakin’ skull! Yep, I was sick as a dog, all right. Funny expression. Dogs aren’t necessarily sick at all. Probably Shakespearean in origin. From a time when God’s creatures were believed to exist on different levels: the angels above us, the beasts below us. So when a man became out of sorts—afflicted with melancholy—his level was thus lowered to that of a dog. I think. But it’s a long time since college. And I had chemo-brain now—short term memory loss as a result of chemotherapy—which was only temporary. But then—so was I. At the southeast corner of our block, we made another right turn at the stop sign onto Orange Grove Boulevard. The mid-day street traffic was light. Two Latino gardeners mowed-n-blowed a front yard across the street. Image courtesy of Playing with Brushes
Our USA Magazine 41
~ Author Unknown
grew up in the ‘50s with very practical parents. My mother, God love her, washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen, before they had a name for it. My father was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones. Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, dishtowel in the other. It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep. It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence.Throwing things away meant you knew there’d always be more. But then my mother died, and on that clear summer’s night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn’t any more. Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never to return. So, while we have it... it’s best we love it... and care for it...and fix it when it’s broken... and heal it when it’s sick. This is true for marriage... and old cars... and children with bad report cards... and dogs with bad hips... and aging parents... and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it.
Our USA Magazine
Autumn...the yearâ€™s last, loveliest smile. ~William Cullen Bryant
Our USA Magazine 43
All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind. ~Abraham Lincoln
Photo: Bob Oswald