If Only . . .

Have you ever known someone who tried to “keep up with the Jones’?” It was a common phrase and phase of the 1960s and 1970s. Our parents, who survived the Depression, were all Patriots through the WWII era. They saw rationing of essential items during the war years for the good of the soldiers. Workers purchased Savings Bonds with their scant earnings, hoping to support the troops. Rarely, if ever would you find anti-war talk or demonstrations. People sacrificed and consumed less. Front porches were the social media of the time. People were bonded together by location and support of the country.

Our dads and some moms returned to their normal roles after WWII. Korea followed a few years later, and many essential soldiers were recalled to service. My dad was one of them. He worked with the medics in WWII, and that was essential. Once Dad returned in August, 1951, he met his oldest son, Thomas Anthony, and settled in to his new job as a Pressman Apprentice at the local newspaper. Unions were still strong, and it was a job he worked until he retired at 64.

During this time in America’s history, the economy was booming. Housing was cheap and small homes were readily available. Many families were able to have two cars. Some women also ventured into the working world, but not as many as in the 1970s. Two cars encouraged women to be shopping, stimulating the economy. I believe I was in high school before we purchased a second car. Mom used a wringer washer and still hung laundry in the basement or outside. Dad wasn’t exactly stingy, but he watched his money very carefully.

The Savings Bonds Mom gave me after his death were cashed in recently. It is funding my newly formed publishing company, Jewell Publishing, LLC. I know he’d be proud of my being frugal AND naming my company after his family. I’ve established a Facebook page for Jewell Publishing, LLC. Thanks to my friends, both on my personal FB page, Kathy Jewell Raabe, and my Author page, Kathy Raabe, Author, for giving this new page a like. I’ll try not to duplicate too much on postings. I appreciate your likes on all the pages. I may also will create one for my Children’s Books. I am liking the idea as naming “Grandma Kathy,” as an author. I’m plotting and planning a couple of new website pages, and will let you know when they are launched. Before June 1, 2021. I’m sure.

During my life, I’ve known people who place happiness on an event, a purchase, a date in the future, getting married, and a host of other things. The do not learn to live in the present. They do not know the riches of a life event, buying a new car, having kids, getting those kids all in school, are lost when they’re not used in every day life. It took many families a very long time to get on their feet. We grew up through that, and we didn’t ask for things our parents couldn’t afford. There were no dance lessons, but I took piano lessons. My brothers were in Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts. My older brother and I went to Catholic High Schools. Our parents focused on private school education. At that time, it was considered college prep. My brother started but didn’t finish, I started at the age of 28 and earned two certificates (Medical Secretary and Computer Programming). I also earned a Bachelors of Science degree, in Management of Human Resources.

To show you how life can alter your plans, although I wanted to earn a BS degree more than anything, after completing my program in August, 1995, I became very ill. I had surgery in December, 1995 for a benign but growing tumor in my spinal column. If I had placed all my happiness in achieving that degree, I could have been extremely disappointed. I had to alter my idea of when and how happiness would find me.

Photo by Ekrulila on Pexels.com

And find it I did. With deep gratitude comes a bigger world, a bigger heart, and bigger appreciation for everything. I had over six weeks of near complete bed rest. I could be up three times a day, 15 minutes at a time. It was the loneliest time of my then 42 years of life. My sons were in their own apartment. My daughter was home, in high school, and going through a sullen phase. It was awful. Very few people knew how ill I was, and how hard the recovery was.

I owe a lot to my niece, Terri Koziol Sorenson. She was my physical therapist, and still is, should I need a new area of concentration. She encouraged me like no one else could. The neurosurgeon insisted I go to her. She made all the difference in the world. I was estranged from my exes family and hadn’t seen her for years. It was a little awkward, but I soon became at ease. It was very comfortable. I love the woman she has become, and the other nieces and nephews in the family. I’m so lucky to know all these kids as adults. They are all important to me. What a gift! It makes me very happy.

When I least expected it, I met the Babe on a blind date. We’ve been together ever since. March 2, 1996. Another day that changed my life. He was always gracious about my recovery, what I’ve been plagued with physically due to the aftermath of the surgery, and showing me how wonderful life is. Despite my feelings of holding him back from things like water skiing and time spent at campgrounds, he’s never left me alone while he goes off on a fun weekend or vacation.

Create your happiness in the here and now. Don’t be the fool that thinks of “If only . . . !” Chances are, you’re going to miss out. Learn to appreciate, give thanks, be aware, and take your happiness moment by moment. Time and life is too short.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your support so much. Be Safe. Be Thoughtful. Be Courteous. Be the Peace. And most of all, Be Happy. I’ll see you tomorrow!

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