Monthly Archives: March 2015

March Badness

meftbllfrside 48bit 800 color  dust122It was March, 1963. I missed my old school from last year. I longed to have friends like the ones I had there. My new school experience at Oakview Elementary in Silver Spring, Maryland, was one big bore. Tedium. Rote drills. So many things, over and over again. Even air raid drills.

Curled up in a ball under my tiny wooden desk, I wrapped my arms tightly around my knees and bowed head. All I could think was – hadn’t World War II ended twenty years ago? Was sitting under this desk going to save me from our school roof falling down, let alone an H-bomb that landed on the cafeteria? Scarier still was coming face-to-face with sharp, petrified boogers down here, ones that dated back to World War I students.  If that wasn’t scary enough, what about the words, “Hitler was here,” and “Burn this school,” scratched on the underside of my desk?

Suddenly, my teacher said, “All right, children. Get up, now. The drill is over.”

Oh, no. Reading hour was next. Remember the exciting day back in early October when reading period was cancelled? Just to watch TV? That day had such potential.

It was a cloudy morning when a hundred students assembled on Mrs. Clark’s classroom floor, all eyes locked on the RCA Victor TV set showing Mercury Atlas 8 standing straight up against a clear Cape Canaveral sky. I sat cross-legged on the hard linoleum tile, my body forced between other kids’ legs and torsos. The position grew increasingly uncomfortable because the launch went through several delays. Even teachers began to whisper. “What’s taking so long?” “Do you think the rocket’s having technical difficulties?” 

Then the TV screen began to flutter. The picture turned snowy. The horizontal hold went wild.

An assistant librarian rushed to the scene to fix the ever up-scrolling picture. It looked like Mercury Atlas 8 had already blasted off six hundred times. Frustrated teachers fidgeted with foil-wrapped rabbit ears and various loose wires behind the set, all to no avail. If world-famous RCA Victor couldn’t keep its own horizontal hold under control, how was America to keep China from dropping the big one on our cafeteria, let alone Washington DC, worse yet Disneyland?

Out of nowhere, the TV announcer proclaimed the mammoth rocket had taken to the air. Everyone in the class rose to their feet and cheered the incredible news, even though no one actually saw the rocket go anywhere.

Eh. I wasn’t as impressed. Just not the same without seeing it. What a letdown. Even October had been boring. 

I missed my old school. I missed their horizontal hold, their TV sets, and my friends, the few that I had. I could think of nothing else. It was as though I was frozen here, locked in time forever, never to escape the worst month of all – March.

This was an excerpt from my memoir, Maybe Boomer. Read more there about my nostalgic look back at the 60s and the Baby Boom generation.


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Aquarius Astrology and Horoscope in Retrograde

Aquarius signs 002I’ve never used astrology. I’ve never read horoscopes. If it hadn’t been for the Fifth Dimension’s big hit “Age of Aquarius,” I wouldn’t know I was in the age of anything.

However, curious about all the horoscope hoopla, I pick up a local newspaper to check out what people of my sign – Aquarians – should do today.

I’m immediately cautious. The horoscope section in The Santa Fe New Mexican is sandwiched between “Annie’s Mailbox” advice column and “Hocus Focus” puzzles. However, my horoscope for today says Aquarians are going to have a “dynamic experience,” according to astrologer Jacqueline Bigar.

“Recognize that you can’t do more than is possible. You need to take better care of yourself. Make it OK to be a couch potato for now. Tonight: Don’t feel as though you have to go anywhere.”

Not exactly a dynamic outlook, this advice may nevertheless be spot on. Maybe I do need to slow down a little. On the other hand, I wonder what other horoscopes have to say. I get comfy of the couch, go online and check out Newsday.

“It’s the ideal day for getting involved in some negotiations because you’ll be able to play your hand without giving away too many of your tactics or motives.”

I don’t get it. How can one horoscope say, “Be a couch potato,” and another, “It’s the perfect day for getting involved.” Get involved from the couch? How?

I check out what famous astrologer Linda C. Black has to say.

“Dare to speak words of romance and passion right out loud.”

Again, am I supposed to do this from the couch, in my living room, a place where the echo is real bad?

“Declare your heart to someone important,” Ms. Black continues. “Share a bold decision. Write poetry or prose. Send off a message in a bottle.”

To me, this sounds like, “Read poetry and drink heavily tonight, then go online for love.” Geez – I could have written that (and have followed similar advice several times before and got nowhere).

The New York Post horoscope says, “Chances are you want to relax and not take life too seriously this week.”

“This week” – does that mean I take the whole week off from work? Stay on the couch for seven entire days? I need more guidance than this.

The Albuquerque Journal suggests, “You might pull back in your personal life and create some space until you figure things out.”

Figure what out? Do I have a big problem I’m not aware of?

The Journal goes on to say, “Check the ristra.”

What? Do they mean the dried chili pods hanging by my front door? Does my ristra needs replacing? And is that what I’m supposed to “figure out?” Maybe The Journal’s horoscope is too local for such a big Aquarian as me.

I try The New York Daily News.

“Love: You want strong connections, but also need independence. Career: Opportunities for work and money can open up.”

Open up how? I thought I was supposed to be at home this week, on the couch, taking it easy, writing poetry and drinking a lot while looking online for love. Every horoscope for Aquarians today is different. Does the kind of day astrologers predict I’ll have simply depend on which newspaper I happen to read? Which astrologer I think is prettier?

I scan The Albuquerque Journal horoscope one last time when I notice something at the bottom of the page.

“If you don’t like your horoscope click here to change your luck with the stars. These horoscopes are for your entertainment only. They are generated randomly by computer.”

What? You mean I could’ve lost a week of pay because I listened to a computer generated horoscope? I can just see my horoscope for tomorrow: “Pay scale goes into retrograde; love life disappears into black hole; Mars has last laugh.”

The heck with it. I’m going Capricorn from now on. Or Pisces. Or Scorpio – that’s a cool-sounding name.  I don’t care what day I was born on. Aquarians are all wet. Supposed trailblazers of the zodiac, we’re terminally stuck spinning around in orbit as lame Water Bearers, singing hysterically for someone to please let the sunshine in.

I pick up The Santa Fe Reporter. Finally, someone’s got it right – their horoscope is on the next to last page.


All horoscopes were taken from cited newspapers and astrologers on February 22, 2015.


NM road sign, crocus, 007




(The God Aquarius slipping on wet floor.)


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Remember This? “Lassie” TV (and cuddly collie obedience vs. indifference)

Lassie was a staple for millions of television viewers from the days of black and white sets in the fifties to the fancy color consoles of the seventies. Perhaps what I appreciated most about this nostalgic boy-and-his-dog adventure show was the rural life presented with such carefree access to fishing, camping, wildlife and outdoor recreation, activities I still appreciate today. They’re all elements in this early Lassie episode you are about to see entitled “The Bear” in which young Jeff, old Gramps, and trusty Lassie head out to the country for the weekend.

I have a dog, too –  a rough collie mix named Rusty. More than a wonderful companion, Rusty provides laughter. He’ll never be as obedient as Lassie (“Rusty, come back in here!”), smart (“If you wouldn’t wander off, you wouldn’t need a leash”), energetic or outdoorsy (“There are other places to be than the couch, Rusty”), but he’s my Laddie.

During each step of this Lassie episode, enjoy Rusty’s colorful take on what he’d do in each situation.


Lassie helps Jeff dig the campfire ring.
Lassie 'The Bear' episode shots 00350s Record Album Jackets 003





Jeff shows Lassie how to set up camp.
Lassie 'The Bear' episode shots 0053Rusty out the door 002





In control whenever in nature, Lassie leads Jeff to a fishing stream.
Lassie 'The Bear' episode shots 002Rusty 1st Dale Ball hike 007





“That trout sure tasted good. And you were so good, Lassie, not begging at all.”
Lassie 'The Bear' episode shots 004stupid Christmas cap 006





“Gramps hurts his back, Lassie. Come quick!”
Lassie 'The Bear' episode shots 006Rusty looking down from the carpet 004





“I better get help. You stay right here with Gramps, Lassie.”
Lassie 'The Bear' episode shots 007003





Lassie hears a bear and wakes Gramps from a nap.
Lassie 'The Bear' episode shots 008Rusty picutres at Cat 006WebStory4





The bear enters the camp. “Stay back, Lassie! Good dog – stay right there.”
Lassie 'The Bear' episode shots 009Rusty first Norski hike 005





Lassie fights the bear!
Lassie 'The Bear' episode shots 0103Rusty out the door 002





“Lassie, you must be hurt, girl. Are you all right?”
Lassie 'The Bear' episode shots 011Rusty 1st Dale Ball hike 023WebStory6





Later, lassie catches a fish.
Lassie 'The Bear' episode shots 0123Rusty out door and fish 008







(Oh, yeah, Timmy eventually replaced Jeff on the show after three seasons, and there were a million Jeff-Timmy parents throughout the years. I, however, hope to remain Rusty’s obedient master forever.)

Doggie FIRST DAY PICTURES 018WebStory7







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Why I’m Late, But It’s Not What You Think

sticky bun 2 002I admit it. Sometimes I’m late. I can be late for anything anywhere.

Oh, it’s not that I’m late late, just a few minutes usually. Some people have a hard time living with being late. But if I’m early, I will never be able to live with myself.

You see, to arrive early and have to sit and wait around is a crime. It all started long ago. In my family, wasting anything was a transgression like no other. Even Sunday morning pastries:

To Mom, squandering was a sin, and something God would know you did every time you did it. The minute she placed the bear claws, doughnuts, fruit rolls and sticky buns on the kitchen counter, I instinctively began working on saving the pastry bags.

Promptly folding the grease-stained paper sacks in nice, neat squares, I placed them in the “Used Bag” drawer. Perhaps one of the bags might be used to wrap frozen meat patties, carry my school lunch, or hold all the other saved bags in someday. I knew Mom would leave the pastries out until every leftover pecan bit and dried up doughnut fragment had been eaten (or saved in foil wrap). In the Andberg household, frittering away anything was a sin, anything – wax paper, paper clips, rubber bands, twist ties, nubby pencils, Saran Wrap. The guilt from throwing something out that could be reused – even tissue paper – should be a burden too great to bear.

So, as you and I plan to get together and you watch me arrive a minute or two late, please understand my plight. Thank you.

Of course, you might ask, “Why don’t you just show up on time and there’d be no wasted time?”

Yeah, but what if you’re late? Then I’m stuck here wasting time waiting for you.

My waste clock is always running.


The excerpt above is from Chapter Six, “Religion,” in my memoir Maybe Boomer.


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