SEXUAL HARASSMENT


As my grandmother used to say: "Men will be men."  Actually, they aren’t to be faulted.  Taking advantage of any opportunity provided them is what men do.  At least, most of them.

Just look around and you’ll see they have no end of invitations/opportunities, what with the inclination of the female population, by make-up, dress and mannerisms, to “flaunt it.”  As Grandma would say, they’re “asking for it.”

We all know that once a woman/girl makes it obvious that she will not tolerate such advances, and demands respect, she’ll get it.  And she doesn’t have present herself sans make-up, or to dress like a nun to do so.

I’ll admit, I’ve had my share of advances, passes, or whatever, but I took them for what they were and handled them accordingly.

Following is an excerpt, from a work in progress entitled “Headwinds,” showing how I handled one gentleman who had, apparently, misjudged me:

Bob Griffith had started hanging around the airport two or three weeks back.  He always came directly to the office and sat around an hour or so, asking questions which I answered patiently, while encouraging him to take flying lessons.  He hindered my work but, considering him a prospective customer—possibly even a buyer—I tolerated him.  As owner of a local business, he had the money, he had the time, and his interest in flying seemed genuine.

Carl, less enthusiastic, called him my “boy friend.”

“What do you want to bet that his only reason for hanging around out here is just to talk to you,” he said.

“Nonsense!” I protested.  “He always acts like a perfect gentleman, and we never talk about anything but flying.”

“All the same,” Carl laughed, “I’ll bet you a quarter that you never get him to take up flying.”

“It’s a bet!” I replied, more determined than ever to sell Bob Griffith on taking flying lessons—and maybe even buying a plane.

It was the morning of Ungerer Flying Service’s first flight breakfast.  I was flying the Ace.  Bob Griffith had asked to be my passenger.

Sunday morning, we met at the airport shortly after dawn.

Eight planes were participating in the flight; our destination Union Airport in Lincoln, Nebraska, a flight of approximately one hour.

To make sure everyone got away OK, Bob and I were the last to take off.  The sight of the planes lifting into the air, one by one, just as the sun peeped over the horizon was beautiful.  Once on course, the other planes fanned out before us.  It was a beautiful, sunshiny morning and the air was calm; perfect for flying.

As we flew, I pointed out familiar farms and towns below to Bob.

“When we fly over, you’ll see people coming out of their houses to watch the planes,” I said.

When we were about half way to Lincoln, I asked Bob if he would like to take the controls and see what it was like to fly the plane himself.  He smiled, but shook his head.

Undaunted, I pointed out a community, appearing up ahead off to the left of the nose.

As he leaned forward to look, he casually placed his arm across the back of the seat, his hand resting on my shoulder.  At the same time, his other hand dropped to my knee.

Oh, Oh!, I thought.

As his hand moved slowly up my thigh, pulling my skirt above my knee, I pushed the left rudder forward and pulled sharply back on the wheel, negotiating a wing-over to the left.  I then reversed the controls and made another to the right.

After I brought the plane back to straight and level flight, I turned to Bob.

“Wasn’t that fun?” I said cheerfully. “That’s only one of the maneuvers you’ll learn when you start taking lessons.”

Not only was the plane back on course; so was Bob.  His hand, no longer on my thigh, was covering his mouth as he reached for the ice cream container in the baggage compartment.

I babbled on about flying maneuvers but Bob was strangely silent for the remainder of the flight.  When we landed at the Lincoln airport, he sought out Carl and told him he wouldn’t be joining us for breakfast; or the return trip.  He’d decided to spend the day with a friend in Lincoln.

The flight breakfast was a huge success but Bob Griffith didn’t show up at the airport the next day—or the next.  When a week passed and he hadn’t made an appearance, Carl said:

“What happened to Bob?  I won’t say ‘I told you so’ but it looks like you lost a bet.”

“Looks like it,” I grinned and tossed him a quarter.



OLD LIKE ME

 

When I first began tinkering with the idea of writing this essay, I looked up “old” in the dictionary.  The first of fourteen or so definitions was: “having lived or existed for a very long time.”

That’s me! I thought.

And about thirty-nine million others in these United States—and that’s not counting the Baby Boomers who don’t consider themselves old.

As our numbers increase (an estimated 40 percent in the next five years), so does our influence on the economy, politics and the marketplace, and a lot of people who once gave us nary a thought or the time of day, are sitting up and taking notice.

Although they no longer pass us over as “that old woman” or “that old man” and refer to us, respectfully, as “Senior Citizens” and “Older Americans,” it’s a bit disconcerting when we converse to realize that many of them haven’t a clue as to who we are or how to relate to us.

As a certified member, perhaps I can provide a little insight on the essential nature of America’s aging citizens.

First of all, even though most of us have white hair and stoop a little, we are not “peas in a pod;” we come in a wide range of sizes, shapes and colors, have disparate interests, beliefs, desires and opinions toward life, religion and politics.  We do, however, laugh, cry and bleed like everyone else.

We detest condescension, patronization and discrimination and we don’t like being called a “geezer,” an “old fogey” or a “fossil.”  We are proud of the contributions we made to “our century” and we appreciate being treated as an equal—socially, mentally and professionally.

We may be rich (whoopies, opals, grampies), or appallingly destitute.  Most of us are somewhere in between.  Collectively, we pour billions of dollars annually into the marketplace and provide jobs for millions of workers.

While some of us may choose to retire to the couch to watch TV, vegetate or fossilize many of us, agreeing with French author, Andre Maurois, who wrote: “Growing old is no more than a bad habit which a busy man has no time to form,” are postponing retirement, launching new careers or going back to school to further our education.

Although many of us remember when the term “horse power” meant the four-legged kind, we’ve learned to take electronic technology, space travel, moon landings, and studies of life on Mars in stride.  We’ve traded our lead pencils and treasured books for computers, TV’s, cell phones and other electronic devices which simplify our work, provide us with E-mail and instant access to worldwide news, weather, sports, entertainment and every kind of information imaginable.

            Although discrimination still lingers in sundry sectors, many in the business and professional world, valuing our dependability, our work ethic, the expertise we’ve acquired from years of experience in the work place, welcome us with open arms.              While some of us fume when a younger driver flips us the bird for driving too slow others, searching for adventure, become race car drivers, airplane pilots, motorcyclists, mountain-climbers, or take to the sea.

Despite widespread opinion otherwise, we don’t dwell on what it was like in “our” day.  We feel that this is our day.  We want to make the most of it.

What is it like to grow old, to be, as they say, on the “twilight side of the hill?”

Well, it isn’t as if we’d suddenly metamorphosed into a different person.  Actually, we’re the “end product” of accumulative change.

All of us who live to a ripe old age experience numerous changes—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  We make geographical changes, changes in career, mate and family; our particular generation has dealt with phenomenal technological changes.

With each change we learn to adjust.

How we feel about aging varies with each individual.

Some of us accept physical changes passively; others fight the invasions of old age with face and body lifts, physical fitness agendas, vitamins and Viagra.

Most of us, having accepted the person we’ve become, feel pretty good about ourselves.

As life expectancy increases (from 47 in 1900 to 59 during the Great Depression to 78.l in the year 2009), living to be 100 and beyond, isn’t the miracle it once was, and since we’re no longer destined to settle for the biblically allotted “four score years and ten,” we look forward to this millennium, its imperfections, strengths and new discoveries.

            Although we’re concerned with the dire fate of the earth—as predicted by mystic soothsayers—we are more concerned with the state of our soul.

Nor does it bother us that our younger counterparts consider us a little “quirky.”  Having “been there,” we know that even though they don’t understand us they will one day walk in our shoes.

God willing, as the years take their toll, they will deal with their “future shock” as courageously as we dealt with ours.

Regardless of age, physical or financial condition, we’re here for the duration (research shows that a Baby Boomer turns 62 every 7 seconds).

Like most of my contemporaries, I’m hoping to stick around—say for another forty or fifty years—not only because life is good, but because the future looks challenging and exciting; to resurrect a saying almost as old as I am, “We ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

The Best Times  and Kansas Seniors





THE U.S. ARMY AIR FORCE

Although the nation is celebrating the 70th birthday of the U.S. Army Air Force on Sept 15, 2017, some would argue that it is actually 100 years old.

In April, 1917, as the increasing use of airplanes and military uses of aviation became apparent, during World War I, The U.S. Army Air Service was created as a separate branch of the Army.

On July 2, 1926,  The Army Air Service became The United States Army Air Corps, and on June 20, 1941, The Air corp became the United States Army Air Forces, giving it greater autonomy from the Army’s middle level command structure.

During WWII, The Air Corp remained as one of the combat arms of of the Army.

In 1947, it was legally abolished and the Department of the Air Force was established.



BECOMING A WRITER


The following may not be of interest to professional authors—or to those who specialize in content writing—but it may be helpful to writers whose aspiration is to write for magazines and newspapers.

I was once asked to do a presentation at the Kansas Author’s Club convention because, the president said, I have “an amazing body of work and expertise.”

Mulling that over, I realized that, although I’ve been writing for most of my life, I’d never considered anything I did extraordinary.  I merely did what I was supposed to do.

When I made the decision to become a professional writer, I didn’t expected miracles.  I started out by doing what every aspiring writer should do—I learned how to do the job.

I’ve seen numerous posts on LinkedIn and other social media by writers bemoaning the fact that they can’t find markets, that their manuscripts are not selling, that they cannot concentrate on their work, they have problems with procrastination, etc. etc.   (To my dismay, many of them also have problems with English grammar).

To me, this indicates that they haven’t “paid their dues.”

I know—anyone can write—but I believe there’s always more to be learned so, from the beginning, I took courses:  English courses, Literature courses, Composition courses, Creative Writing courses, courses on how to Write To Sell, College courses, Correspondence courses….  Any time the opportunity arose, I took another course.

One of my very first—a correspondence course from The University of Kansas—was, without doubt—the most helpful of all.  It launched my career and got me off on the right foot.  Included in the course was to read—and follow the instructions—in Dorothea Brande’s book “Becoming A Writer.”  I give Ms. Brande credit for the fact that I’ve never suffered from writer’s block.  It’s still in print and I advise every aspiring writer to read it and heed her words.

The fact that I have sold hundreds of articles, essays, stories and poems to magazines and newspapers worldwide doesn’t mean that I’m a great writer.  Far from it.  There are hundreds—make that thousands—of far better writers than I.  My advantage as a selling writer was that I’d learned, early on, how to find a market for practically everything I wrote.  I didn’t shoot for the “major” markets but I seldom wrote anything that didn’t sell.  And I never wrote for free.  If not money, there was always an equal exchange—advertising, promotion, product, etc.

A writer’s job isn’t an easy one.  If done right, it entails spending many hours at work other than writing.  I’ve probably spent as many hours studying markets as I’ve spent writing—studying magazines, their style, format, content, what they have published, their audience, and other factors a writer should take into consideration— bearing in mind meanwhile what I have to offer; information I have access to, an individual I might interview, what I might write that the editor would be interested in.

I particularly like to write human interest stories.  Few editors will turn down an interesting article about an interesting person, place or event, especially if it is slanted specifically for their publication.

For many of my articles, I took my own photos which gave me additional advantage in that it saved the publication the cost of hiring a photographer.

In recent years, I have concentrated on writing books.  I’ve published six and have several more in my “works in progress” file.

You’ll find my published books as well as a number of articles, essays and stories on the various pages on my website www.bell-pearson.com



MORE BECOMING A WRITER


I got my first computer in 2005.  (Until then my work, and my correspondence, was done on an electric typewriter).

Following is my very first email.  I sent it and numerous others, when I found that many of my (previously published) articles were being offered, by publications world wide, for sale on the internet.  It took me a while to contact all those who were selling them.

When I started the EDoc page on my website, I thought at first that, if the articles were of enough interest for people to buy, I’d sell them myself.  Then, since they have all been previously published, I thought again and decided “What the heck!  I’ve been paid for them once;” so I post them for free.

jerry.moore@thomson.com

Dear Mr. Moore,

I understand that you are distributing the above story.  Please be aware that I own the rights to this (and others) and have not given permission for them to be used elsewhere.  It would be in your best interest to contact me before selling any stories/articles/essays written by Edna Bell-Pearson.

If you are interested in buying the rights to this and/or other documents, contact me at this address.

Thank you for giving this your attention.

Edna Bell-Pearson 

I published my first book, Fragile Hopes, Transient Dreams, a year later and, as of now, have published a total of six books.  Have two more in progress.

Check them out (blurbs and excerpts) on my website www.bell-pearson.com.

Available in print and ebook at amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, your favorite book store, Memory Lane Mall in Hardy and Far Out and Funky in Ash Flat, Arkansas.


RAISON D’ETRE

 

“If I don’t write, I’ll die,” a writer friend quipped.

 

He says it jokingly but there’s a grain of truth in his words.  Writing is his “raison d’être”.

 

Raison d’etre, a French phrase meaning “reason for being,” has come to suggest, in English, an intense emotional attraction to a course of action such as “not money but love of sport is his raison d’etre—his reason to be an athlete.”

 

Raison d’être has inspired poems and songs; businesses have been named for it.  Philosophers have expounded on the subject, essays have been written covering a spectrum as broad as the human race.  A Belgian beer, created for those who are connoisseurs of the drink, has even been named for it

 

Psychiatrists associate it with mental health and depression, the consensus being that a raison d’etre—a reason for being—is important to mental acuity, to health and, henceforth, happiness.

 

A saying attributed to Allan K. Chalmers says that a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: “Something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to.”  And inspiration guru, Tony Robbins, says that, if we aren’t happy, most likely our problem is that we don’t have any goals.

 

Most of us can find something to do and, if we open up a bit, someone to love, but there are far too many who have nothing to look forward to except the same old hum-drum existence—work, home, eat, watch TV, go to bed.

 

Art was Mary Spurgeon’s, raison d’etre, her lifelong dream; her reason for being.  Busy with home, family and ranching, she treasured the moments she could steal away and devote a little time to painting—until she was in her 70’s.  Then, once her children were grown, and on their own, and she had the time, painting and sculpture became her passion.  Mary achieved many awards and lived to see her paintings, and her sculptures—which include the eight-foot statue of Wyatt Earp gracing the Trail of Fame in Dodge City, Kansas—enjoyed by admirers nationwide.

 

Mary is only one of thousands whose reason for being isn’t necessarily the same as what they do for a living.  David Carter, president of the bank in his home town, puts in long hours at his business.  However, he truly comes to life in his role as tenor for his city’s symphony orchestra.  Music is Carter’s raison d’être.

 

Many writers spend hours each day, working at routine jobs to earn a living, then go home at night to burn the midnight oil writing.

 

Our reason for being doesn’t have to be lofty or “hi-falutin,” however.  Nor must it necessarily generate cognitive stimulation.

 

Family and children are many people’s reason for being—even after said children have “flown the coup.”

 

“Each morning I wake up looking forward to seeing my grandchildren,” one grandmother said.  “It gives me pleasure to teach them, to help them see the beauty and the opportunities of this wonderful world we live in.  What more can I ask for than to give them guidance that will enhance the quality of their lives?”

 

Many agree that one of the most satisfying raisons d’etre is doing something for others.  They find an immense satisfaction in helping friends, working with the poor, the homeless, the abused, alcoholics, animal shelters, etc.  Others find pleasure in working for a cause, be it political, religious, saving the planet or endangered animals.

 

Carol, one of my neighbors, volunteers at a hospice.  This is her raison d’être.

 

Rose, who gets about with the aid of a walker, spends hours each day doing favors for others.  She wouldn’t be happy if she didn’t.  It is her reason for being.

 

Georgia, who is a fabulous cook, spends hours in her kitchen mixing, baking, stewing, preparing food to share with friends.  She delights in their pleasure.  I always look forward to seeing her coming, bearing a pot or a box full of goodies.

 

When we reach a certain age, life often intervenes—we lose loved ones, develop health problems, become depressed.  At times like this, we have to think hard to come up with a reason for being.  But doing so is well worth the effort.

 

When we were young our work—our job—was just a way to earn a living.  Our raison d’etre was to enjoy life, to dream, to explore the possibilities of the world around us.

 

Thinking on it, maybe enjoying life, and seeking ways to make others happy, isn’t a bad raison d’etre after all.