- There was a second part to my essay on "IF WE SMILE" which I did not read but am including it here.Elaine
SMILES (IF WE SMILE)
September 23, 2009
What is there in life that is capable of doing more good at no cost than a smile? Giving a smile not only has the capability of making the pleasure centers in our brain light up, but has the same affect on the brains of those we bestow our smile on. It is a win - win situation so why don’t we use it more?
Two people approaching each other will most likely look at the ground and pretend the other person does not exist? Or they may look at each other with a questioning look, not quite sure what to do. Then if one person smiles, the other will respond with their own smile, and both will walk away feeling a pleasure they did not have before. Of course, there are those people who just refuse to smile, and might even look annoyed if someone smiles at them.
I happen to be looking through old music sheets and actually found a song titled “Smiles.” I had forgotten I had it and was amused that I should find it just at this time when “smiles” are on my mind. The song dates back to 1917 with words by J. Will Callahan and music by Lee S. Roberts. According to the description the song became a moral booster for both soldiers and civilians at that difficult time. So it seems, I am not the first person to appreciate the value and need for smiles.
The words to the song:
There are smiles that make us happy,
There are smiles that make us blue,
There are smiles that steal away the teardrops
As the sunbeams steal away the dew,
There are smiles that have a tender meaning
That the eyes of love alone may see,
And the smiles that fill my life with sunshine,
Are the smiles you give to me.
So now, lets all smile and spread some sunshine!
SAD AND HAPPY SMILES
September 28, 2009
In July I went to a Procida reunion and my biggest pleasure was seeing, once again, my Aunt Florence, my father’s younger sister. Aunt Florence has always been special to me because when I was a small child and my mother had to go to work, she would very often drop me off at my Aunt’s house to spend the day with her and her four children. Since the reunion I had been planning to go to South Philadelphia to visit Aunt Florence and her daughter Terry who had a beauty shop in the 2300 block of 12th street. Last week I received a letter from Aunt Florence.. She told me, again, how much she always thinks of me and loves me. I decided I would try very hard to visit her this week.
This morning, I found out she has died yesterday from a stroke. I am sad that I never did get down to see her as I had promised. I decided that I would go to Philadelphia today and maybe be able to see Terry and find out some information about the funeral. So I took the speedline to 12th and Locust and then walked down 12th street about 20 blocks to 2300. I was a little nervous about walking that far but surprised and pleased to see that the neighborhoods were pretty much as I remembered them and I did not feel unsafe at all. And, even with feeling sad about Aunt Florence, I enjoyed the walk so much. It brought back memories of my childhood. I had a smile on my face the entire time.
I made it a point of smiling at the people I was passing. Most of them, smiled back and some of them just seemed so happy that I had smiled at them. And I thought, I am doing something good for others and it is making me happy too. At one point I passed a trailer with a sign on it that included the word “Smiles.” I started to laugh and stopped to talk with the people who were in front of the trailer. They were there to give free dental care to anyone who wanted it. I told the lady that I loved smiles and she laughed and said “you have a beautiful smile.” She told me her name and asked me mine.
A special treat for me was when I decided to go into a local hospital to use the rest room. It happened to be Methodist Hospital. The last time I was in that hospital was May 27, 1940 when I was born. They even had a very nice interesting historical board in which they talked about the times from when the hospital was first started in the late 1800’s to the present.
And I continued on my walk, a total of about 40 blocks, spreading smiles and feeling good. I’m sure Aunt Florence, if she could see me, would approve.
BEAUTY + QUIET = PEACE
April 3, 2010
I have to admit, I was not impressed with my first view of the Arizona Desert country. As I looked around the Tucson countryside it seemed to be too much sameness. The colors that stand out are tan and brown. Not only the impressive Saguaro Cactus plants but the houses as well were tan with brown roofs. It did not take long for this impression to change. I found that I delighted it taking walks along the desert paths and even, in a braver moment, getting off the path for short walks.
What was it that was delighting me so much? Was it the majestic mountain peaks in the near distance, some with snow at the top? Was it the knowledge that within all this vegetation there was animal life, including snakes, that I would occasionally be privileged to see? There seems to be a feeling of respect in the desert. If we leave the animal life alone, they leave us alone. I delighted in studying the various cactus plants. They seemed to have their own personality. Especially the Saguaro! No one seems to know what makes the arms grow in different numbers and at different places. At times, the arms turn down and I have been told that is the result of cold weather. The result is a plant that seems to be talking to us with its arms and other markings. I actually saw a smaller plant that I swore had its branches turned into the figure of a cowboy. I had to look close to make sure it was really natural.
I know I did more walking and climbing on this trip than I have ever done. While there was one time I decided to turn back rather than risk climbing a rocky path and the more dangerous descent back, most of the time I was right in there pushing along. For the first time in my 70 years, I took my shoes and socks off to wade through a stream of mountain runoff. It was either that or chance jumping from rock to rock to cross over. The water was so cold I thought my feet would fall off but after a few seconds, I adjusted and delighted in the adventure. At another point, I had to climb around a rocky ledge and while it was not high up, I could still have gotten hurt if I had fallen.
Did I say the landscape was mostly tan and brown? I take that back. I was privileged to see the beginning of the mountains blossoming with flowers. We know how beautiful a flower garden is. Picture a whole landscape of flowers.
I don’t think even all of this was what really made me love the desert. I think it was these things and the most important. Which was the totally silence. Other than an occasional birdcall or the sound of water running, it was quiet. And I delighted in it. Not here, was the annoyance of an overhead airplane, a power mower, a passing motorcycle or auto. I discovered the true peace that only beauty and quiet can give us.
Barnes & Nobles
June 15, 2011
I have lived in my current neighborhood for 42 years. I moved in as a young lady and am now a young old lady. For the most part, it has served me well. When I first moved in to my apartment building at The Towers of Windsor Park, I had a free bus to Philadelphia for my daily commute to work. I had a swimming pool, which I occasionally used. Being out to work most of the day, I can’t say I knew my neighbors that well, except for the ones who rode the bus with me. It was not until after retiring and joining a senior group here that I met many more of my neighbors and became friends with some. It seemed like a good place to grow old in without the cares of having a house.
But, does anything ever stay the same? The Towers has aged along with me and, as is normal with aging, is no longer as nice looking as it once was. Or as strong! Or as pain free! The place changed from what was originally mostly middle aged, middle class to older aged, middle class. For some reason, we never had more than an occasional child living here. Gradually, over the years, our number of vacant apartments increased. Of course, management had to try to think of ways to increase occupancy. Changes were made: The two-year lease that was required to move in was dropped. People could move in for a few months if they wanted to and then disappear. The requirement of no pets (which translated to no barking dogs) was dropped. We were hearing more and more barking dogs. And the children: so many families with small children were moving in, most of them after they had lost their house.
So where does that leave me? I have concerns that if my apartment complex changes too much, I might be forced to move. But where would I go? The places I like are all too expensive for me. Remember, Cherry Hill has rent control and someone like me who has been in the same place for 42 years benefits from this. But, is it really worst now? I will be the first to admit that some changes I like. I love children and love seeing them around. Are they noisy? Sure, but if it gets too bad all I have to do is remove my Cochlear Implant processor and will not hear them. I love my new little neighbors Emily aged six and Ethan aged three and am amazed at how much they love being with me. I even, kind of, like the dogs, As long as they don’t try to jump on me or bark too much. So I am staying for now. Waiting to see what the future changes will be.