Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Days of Future's Past

"Patriotism is a kind of religion; it is the egg from which wars are hatched."
Guy de Maupassant: French short story writer and novelist (1850-1893)

In my first novel in the HERITAGE series, BOTTOM'S DREAM, my story begins with the rebuilding of a once-great country from the ashes of tragedies. There are two tragedies actually: a pandemic and a civil war. The former preceeded the later, but respectively I tagged them the Green Fever and the Poor Wars.

With our economy sinking into this horrible abyss where 401k's (K nows stands for Knockout, huh?), pensions, and savings huddle in shivers, my husband now wonders how prophetic teh HERITAGE series could be. I hope not very.

If you missed either BOTTOM'S DREAM or SOME TOUCH FIRE, the first two in the four-part series, it's understandable. They haven't found a home with a publisher. Such is the life of a writer. There's always another story...

But anyway...

In my last blog, I waxed eloquent (OK, maybe just "waxed") about layaways. This morning's Wall Street Journal includes a story about the reappearance of such an antiquated device. According to a story by Miguel Bustillo, KMart, Burlington Coat Factory, TJ Maxx, and Marshall's are again offering layaways. Kmart even has Jon and Kate Plus Eight's mommy, Kate Gosselin as its layaway spokeswoman. Of course, there is a charge for taking the merchandise off the showroom floor. Additionally, supposedly offers some fantastic merchandise for those who prefer online shopping.

Either way, when 2009 rolls around, there will be no hefty bills for all that fun shoved under your kids beds.

Okay, I'm off to my life now...


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Life Goes On or Denial May Be THE New Virtue!

My brother used to call me "Quarter Judi" because, as he contended, give me a quarter and in a little while I'd own the world.

Of course, he was wrong, but way back then when I wanted something -- clothing, books, presents, etc. -- I wouldn't feel shy about plunking down a quarter to lay something away. Layaways were more than common then. Everybody did it, especially in the months just before Christmas.

I snatched up the very first copy of the Beatles' RUBBER SOUL album at the 5 & 10, securing it away with a whole 25cents. The album sold out before the next Monday at both of the dime stores and the record store. And even if it took me several weeks to earn the money to spring that album free of its bin, I knew it was there, waiting for me.

Back then credit was something rarely used and when it was, payments were made in a timely manner. The little old ladies in our neighborhood had some of their groceries "put on the books" at the corner grocery. Then when their Social Security or pension checks arrived, they'd clean the slate.

I know because besides being the princess of the layaway, I was also a demon on a Schwinn who brazenly dashed the extra "delievery charge" the corner market tacked on. I ran errands for a number of very sweet old ladies and charged nothing. On the other hand, these sweeties were rarely without a freshly baked cookie or two. That seemed more of even trade, and for an aspiring writer, the tales I heard in kitchens ripe with scents of powdered detergent and boiling kale.

Which brings me to the present. I didn't wind up owning the world, and all those quarters my husband and I tucked away for sunsets on a sugary beach have dwindled to a sad stack.

We're hardly alone, I know. There are far too many in our situation. We trusted that there were only two things to do with money: spend it or save it. We trusted the latter meant it would be there for us to do the former someday when jobs weren't as available to us.

But... well, life goes on. Possibly the world can still be had for a quarter. Maybe I can buy a share of Ford Motor Company now. :-)

Don't look for I couldn't afford the site just now. Maybe later.


Please do vote during this presidential election. Look closely at the candidates for president and other offices. It doesn't cost a dime (or even a precious quarter) to cast your ballot. As an American, it is your right and responsibility to vote. Exercise that or it may up and disappear, too.

Meanwhile, hang in there for as Scarlett O'Hara declared: "Tomorrow is another day!"