Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Archive for the ‘Memories & Milestones’ Category

My Brother Said. . .

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. . . the cops knocked on his door the other day

and told him there were reports

that his dogs were chasing people on bikes.

My brother said that was impossible

because his dogs don’t own any bikes.

Daily Life Changed Already

There was a never-ending stream of predictions and prognostications about how our lives would change as we emerged from of the COVID-19 shut-downs. Some have already happened.

Folks who never gave a thought to having groceries delivered have settled into this convenience for the rest of their lives. They’ve discovered the ease of shopping online and dropping by the source to have their order deposited in their trunk in minutes instead of spending an hour or two pushing a cart up and down aisles after competing with countless other vehicles to find a parking spot.

Many have realized the added comfort of having their goods dropped off at their doorstep. They’ve decided to forego the hassle of having to jostle through traffic and crowds to get their goods.

Shaking hands is disappearing. We’re learning to meet and greet each other with a fist bump or touching elbow to elbow.

Calling or emailing your doctor also is a novel approach to good health. Telemedicine has made giant strides in the few months this pandemic has been in force. Much is due to the fact that insurance companies have begun to pay for these cyberspace calls. Getting a diagnosis and medication has, in many cases, become as easy as making a phone call.

The home office and workshop have become a bigger part of working lives. Employees have discovered the comfort and convenience of not having to wear a shirt and tie and climbing into the car to spend a couple of hours on the freeway to get work. And they don’t have to drop off the kids at a chld-care center.

Employers have seen how they don’t have to provide expensive equipment and space to have their work produced, whether its schematics or sales. Computers provide the capability to have all this and more achieved remotely. Researchers report that more than one-third of office work can be performed at home. And those downtown office buildings are staying dark.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

February 1, 2023 at 2:00 am

When You Tell Jokes . . .

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. . . avoid any about the unemployed

because they don’t work.

Preparing for Death Helps the Living

Several years ago, a friend in his early 40s who was the police chief in our city, was diagnosed with raging cancer and given a few weeks to live.

He called all his friends and colleagues to a night at a local club and hosted a farewell party. At the beginning of the evening, he told everyone of his situation, told them all to eat and drink up and that he didn’t wish to see them anymore because he wanted them to remember him as he was that night.

That was his funeral.

You don’t have to do the same thing. You can acquire a life-insurance policy payable on your death to be used to pay for the casket and caterer when you pass away.

You can pare the price by opting for less-expensive cremation rather than pay for an elaborate and costly sealed box to house your remains underground.

There’s no need to buy a pre-paid package from the funeral home down the street.

In fact, some two-thirds of the more than 70-million aging baby boomers do not perceive traditional funeral-home service as a good value. Slightly more said they do not trust funeral homes to not take advantage of people during their time of sorrow.

You can work out your own funeral plans simply and economically. First ask yourself if you want an elaborate service and several-day visitation or do you prefer a simple gathering of relatives and friends. Do you want to be buried in a casket or is cremation your preference? What does your family want? Discuss it with them.

Just as sure as you were born, with which you had nothing to do, you’re going to die, but you can so do something about the arrangements.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 20, 2023 at 2:00 am

If They . . .

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. . .arrested the devil,

would they charge him

with possession?

America’s Colorful Hall of Fame

We smelled it as soon as we swooshed through the cool glass doors from the oppressive Pennsylvania humidity into the revitalizing air-conditioned building.

“Crayons,” my wife said.

We had entered the Crayola Hall of Fame nestled in a high rolling Easton meadow close by the New Jersey border just 90 minutes from downtown Manhattan.

It was a timely visit because a mittful of tones were to be retired to be replaced by a similar number in the colorful contingent. I lobbied for the enshrinement of a violet orange I developed when an old crayon melted in my water color set long ago but I was too late.

The initial move to modernity was made a few decades ago after interviews with Crayola’s major consumers – kids – revealed a need for brightness among the corporate colors. We asked our guide if there was any move to add a scent to the product. “Are you kidding?” was the response. Studies show that crayons are among the 20 most-recognized scents in America. Coffee and peanut butter top the list.

It was almost disappointing to see how such colorful pieces of my life could be the product of such a cramped and constantly-clattering plant. It was like discovering that Santa’s workshop is in a carport.

Workers did display an elfin dedication to quality in the care and concern they show in making sure every Crayola has a straight label and perfectly pointed tip. Color was splattered all over as paraffin was recycled in large globs, colorful paper sleeves awaited the cylindrical sticks of color, and the familiar orange-and-green boxes of various sizes housed hundreds of thousands of Crayolas ready for shipment around the globe.

Crayolas have rolled out of this site since the first eight-color pack was produced in 1903 and sold for a nickel. The trade name Crayola derives from the French word craie for chalk and the Latin oleum for oil. Crayolas are made of paraffin and pigment. And crayon is the generic term for a colored writing stick.

The one person I hunted for but never found: the inspector who checks for crayons that stay inside the lines.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 8, 2023 at 2:00 am

It’s Been . . .

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. . . one helluva year.

The major event was, of course, the move to Verena of Gilbert from Sunrise of Gilbert, the IL-AL facility Bev and I left California for six years ago. Sunrise was a comfortable and accommodating residence for me and I didn’t want to move. But its management and culture evaporated and, along with some dear friends, the move was made in midsummer to this senior-living building. I had to read my journal to recall what I functioned through last Christmas, it all seems so far away. Keeping busy has made life livable and the folks here are friendly and affable and want to enjoy the remainder of their time on this planet.

So, have happy and healthy New Year filled with good humor — and smile, its contagious.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 1, 2023 at 2:00 am

Wishing . . .

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. . . good health and fortune for yourself

is not being selfish,

you need at least one

to be able to take care

of those dear to you.

Older Bones Gain With Strength Training

Healthy seniors who can still exercise may also be able to lengthen the life of their bones with strengthening exercise, according to results of a six-month study conducted at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The men and women aged 60 to 83 who participated in the resistance training showed signs of greater bone density in their hips as well as bone metabolism shifting toward generating more bone than was being lost.

Participants were divided into three groups, one that engaged in high-intensity resistance training, one that went through low-intensity training, and a control group that did not change lifestyle habits during the six-month study. The high-intensity group showed the most significant bone-density gains. Leg presses, overhead presses and certain back exercises appeared to have the most impact on bone density.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

December 25, 2022 at 2:00 am

When Santa Walks Backwards . . .

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. . .does he sound like

he’s saying “Oh, oh, oh?”

Christmastime a Long Time Ago

By Tom Morrow

Another Christmas has arrived, and that takes me back more than eight decades of my life.

I recall the anticipated booty that never came but appeared in my dreamscape during the 1940s and early ‘50s. What toy-land wonders we didn’t know about weren’t missed. Comparatively speaking, post-war toys were, at best, primitive. Plastic was hard to get after World War II and metal of any kind was expensive. Toys were, shall we say, “fragile.”  

The biggest problem when fighting off Indians and robbers trying to win the American West was with six-shooters. Many toys, especially pistols, were made of compressed sawdust. When told by an opponent to lay our pistols down on the ground, we did so ever so gently lest they break apart. On more than one occasion Mom came to the rescue, but got the barrel glued back a bit crooked. A few times she glued the barrel upside down.

The only gift Santa might bring that would be close to today’s Christmas morning booty was Tinker Toys, the Legos of that time. Gift ideas for Santa were limited because there was no television or Internet. Hints for him, as well as Mom and Dad, were found primarily in store windows or in the annual Sears, Wards, or Spiegel catalogs.

Those items of joy neatly on display in store windows had price tags. The price of $3.95 seemed to be the most popular number.

Being “good” was always part of the bargain and having lots of presents under the tree measured the amount of joy you expressed. In lean years, Mom would increase the gift count by wrapping socks separately to make the day seem more abundant than it really was.

For every boy, electric trains were high on the list for most-coveted items. While Lionel train sets were the most popular, no self-respecting “Junior” railroad man would be satisfied with anything but an American Flyer. Lionel train sets were powered by centered electric track … three in total. American Flyers mimicked the real thing with just two rails.

Flyers were authentic-looking in every respect. Mom didn’t understand such things. Dad did, but had trouble with a more expensive price tag. A Lionel set was around $14.95. An American Flyer commanded $19.95 and higher. Dad never made more than $2,500 a year then so such extravagances were out of the question. 

But the Holy Grail on nearly every boy’s wish list was a Red Ryder air rifle. But Mom always said what nearly every mom did: “No! You’ll shoot your eye out.”

Gifting Mom and Dad was quite a challenge. Weekly allowances didn’t go very far. I got 50 cents a week and my sister got a quarter. If you had any money for Mom, there was always “Evening in Paris” perfume – for 50 cents, or a week’s “wages.” When my sister was helping Mom close up her house several years ago, a number of “Paris” bottles were discovered stashed away in keep-sake manner.

As for Dad, we somehow managed to buy him a necktie because Mom usually helped by giving us a dollar or three. This was for a man who had just one tie that he wore only for weddings and funerals.

One year our parents had some huge household expenditures so Mom told Dad not to worry about getting her a gift for Christmas. (You can see this one coming). Dad took Mom at her word while Mom presented him Dad with a couple of gifts. It was a very brittle Christmas morning.. From that year forward, my sister and I made sure Dad always had something for Mom under the tree.

Memories? You bet! Now enjoy the New Year! 

Written by Cecil Scaglione

December 24, 2022 at 2:00 am

‘Tis The Season Once More

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The major item this year was a move from one old farts’ facility to another. They’re not all that far apart but I feel like I’m in a different universe. Bev and I sold our Pacific Beach house six years ago and moved into Aridzona’s Sunrise of Gilbert – a combined independent and assisted living complex in metro Phoenix. And I moved six months ago to Verena of Gilbert, a senior-living apartment building just about six miles south.

It was a good move. Sunrise management just suddenly disintegrated. This place is twice as big so that means more people and more activities that keep me busy since I’ve officially become the unofficial photographer – or unofficially the official photographer. The calendar also has me leading a weekly writing class/group and Flashback sessions. And we’re going to launch bocce once a week in the New Year,

It’s been a good year and my health has held up well for the length of time it’s been abused. Staying active and my regular bike rides help.

I still provide copy for a half dozen monthly publications through my Mature Life Features syndicate and write a daily blog that I’m going to have to promote because it’s the only thing that will survive after the papers fade away. It’s where you’re reading this – maturelifefeatures.com

Keep in touch and check this blog periodically. You can contribute if you wish by sending the material to cecilscag@gmail.com.

So have fun and make the most of the New Year.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

December 19, 2022 at 2:00 am

Thanksgiving . . .

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. . . is another one of those bookmark days,

so build good memories today.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

November 24, 2022 at 6:32 am

Talking With My Brother . . .

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. . . on Family Sunday,

I was reminded that one of our favorite uncles

began walking a mile a day in his early 80s.

He just passed his 95th birthday

and nobody knows where the hell he is.

Some people never get my name right

While there have been several requests about how to pronounce my first name, See-sill for Cecil is easy to remember.

It’s my last name that gives them the most trouble. In English, you just pronounce every letter – Scag-lee-owe-knee. In Italian, the “gl” is swallowed and the name comes out Scal-YO-knee. It works the same as gnocci — knee-oki

Even after several attempts, most seem to prefer spelling my last name ending with an “i” – Scaglioni. My insurance company persisted for years to keep spelling it that way even though it was spelled correctly on the policy.

Many editors have had head-scratching sessions to make sure the by-line on my stories was spelled correctly. For many years, they preferred the shortened Cec Scaglione. One article in my Detroit paper appeared under the by-line of Ceg Scaglione until a sharp-eyed editor caught it and corrected it for the later editions.

Early in my career, I received a check from a Toronto magazine made out to Cec Scogbone. I managed to get it cashed at my bank so it didn’t become a problem.

I get a lot of correspondence with the “g” dropped – Scalione. One of the credit-card companies I was enlisted with a while ago persisted in sending me a monthly statement addressed to Scaslione. They even came up once with Schelione.

A welfare agency I did a story about sent me a thank-you note with the name Scageclone. A complimentary note for a story I wrote was addressed to Mr. Scheline. A Methodist bishop sent a letter to my boss lauding the effort of Mr. Ceg Scaliogre.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

November 21, 2022 at 12:00 am

Fighting Fire With Fire . . .

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. . . doesn’t make sense.

As far as I know,

all fire departments

use water.

Favorites From the ‘60s

You probably have some 50-year-old things around the house that recall the 1960s.

How about that pair of ugly but comfortable Birkenstocks? And that packet of M&Ms tucked into the kitchen cupboard?

A constant reminder of that decade are those big square brown trucks UPS still uses, as is your color television set, which came into its own in the mid ‘60s. Alex Trebek and “Jeopardy” began their amazing run about the same time as “Star Trek” ventured “where no man has gone before.”

The Big Mac and Pop-Tarts emerged during that decade along with a healthier counterpart, Gatorade.

Both James Bond and The Beatles popped into our culture then along with the pill, which planted seeds for the later sexual revolution.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 28, 2022 at 2:00 am