January 2022

January 2022

Monday 3rd January 2022

As I write this, snow is continuing to fall at quite a rate at my home on the Eastern Shore. Having spent most of my life living in states (5) bordering Canada, snow is nothing new to me. In fact, I really love it, especially when I don't have to go anywhere in a hurry.

I can write a lot about snow—how light it feels when it settles on your face, how hard it can feel when hit by a well-packed snowball, how quiet it is when it muffles the sounds of a city, how beautiful it looks as the world becomes monochromed with softened edges.

I'm enjoying watching the snow outside as I search inside for something not so easily accessible—the seventies. The book I'm working on takes place in the 70's. But although I was certainly alive during this decade, I'm finding it hard to access thoughts about what it was like.

What clothes did I/we wear? What did we eat? What did we do? Throughout my notes for my book I've jotted down reminders like: THERE WAS NO INTERNET in case I'm tempted to have a character 'look something up' outside of a library. MOBILE PHONES WERE MASSIVE & NOT IN GENERAL USE in case I put a character into jeopardy and am tempted to have them reach into their pocket to make a 'call' for help. There were pay phones—so make sure my character has some change. And if they need to find a phone number, they'll need a phone book or call Directory Assistance (a free call).

THERE WERE NO DIGITAL CAMERAS- cameras used film which had to be developed. If I want a character to record a conversation I need to give them a tape recorder and make sure it has a cassette tape. There was NOGPS or SATNAV so my character will need a paper map.

If my characters eat, I need to remember what foods were popular: quiche, carrot cake, Hamburger Helper (Rice Oriental was a particular favorite of mine), or a trip to a salad bar. Hair was big and fluffy (ala Farrah Fawcett) or cut into a shag (ala Jane Fonda); men wore mustaches and had long sideburns. We dressed in bell-bottoms, maxi skirts, peasant blouses, leisure suits with wide lapels. Fabrics had wild colorful stripes or florals. We drove Datsuns, Ford Pintos, cars with two huge doors like Monte Carlos and Thunderbirds, and I have a friend who actually had a purple Gremlin. I drove VW's-- Bugs and Rabbits.

As I write this I realize yet again how much things have changed. But it was fifty years ago—of course things have changed.

I don't have a great deal of fondness for the 1970's—graduating from university during a recession with gas shortages, no jobs, prompting several cross-country moves, the Vietnam War, rampant air and water pollution, and a horrible night when I was held up at gunpoint while working alone in a convenience store in Minneapolis.

Of course it wasn't all bad—I traveled throughout Europe with my sister for three months on a Eurail Pass, staying in youth hostels and giving the East Germans a good laugh when we unwittingly took a night train across their border and upon waking in the morning were asked to present our tickets and visas. Fortunately we didn't have to fake our dumb looks. It was the decade I began working for Northwestern Bell, starting out on a cord board as an operator (a great job!). And during the decade I made several life-long friends.

A lot of what took place feels like it happened 'in a story'. And so I continue to write—and reflect.

My sister Marsha and I in Zermatt--one of our favorite places during our trip.