United States and United Kingdom

usa-uk-flagI have a friend whose brother married a Chicago Cubs fan.  This was troubling, because her  brother is loyal to the Boston Red Sox, and the supporters of these two baseball teams aren’t known for being friendly to their rivals. Further complicating matters, the Cubs are in the National League, and the Red Sox are in the American, so it is possible that these two teams will meet up in the World Series one day, causing all kinds of familial angst. (Except that the Cubs have trouble reaching the World Series – the last time they got that far was in 1945, and they haven’t won the championship in over a 100 years.  The Cubs are the saddest team in baseball. The Red Sox have been a little more successful.)

To show that they were ready to overcome these baseball differences, the bride and groom devised a symbolic gesture: during the wedding, a little girl and a little boy came up the aisle, one wearing a Cubs cap, the other, Red Sox.  When they got to the front, the exchanged caps.

I’ve been thinking about that story as my daughter makes plans to marry an Englishman.  Her wedding will be the union of two people, and two families, and two countries. There’s already been some confusion about the planning, since we’re having two weddings, one in London and one in LA, and the expectations and traditions are different on the two sides of the pond. It seems we all speak the same language, but we don’t always understand each other.

So I’ve been thinking we need something for a symbolic exchange during the ceremonies. Maybe flags. Lovely cups of coffee and tea. Or shots of high quality bourbon and gin.

Now that would be a fun wedding.

Pajama Game

Pajama GameMy husband doesn’t like musicals. I knew this going in. His logical accountant brain can’t wrap itself around the notion of someone bursting into song because, you know, they walk outside and it’s a Beautiful Morning. Never mind that our youngest daughter does this all the time.  She sings spontaneously on the street and in the house and in the car; in the car she might randomly launch into a song that is entirely different from the one playing on the radio. This doesn’t bother her at all. It is somewhat difficult for the rest of us.

My husband doesn’t like musicals, or he didn’t until our daughters were in a youth theater production of The Pajama Game. Now here was a story he could get behind — it’s about a business, with workers and managers and labor disputes. There’s even a song about adding things up:

Seven and a half cents doesn’t buy a hell of a lot,
Seven and a half cents doesn’t mean a thing!
But give it to me every hour,
Forty hours every week, 
And that’s enough for me to be living like a king!

Our youngest daughter was only eight when she was in The Pajama Game so she played a Button Sewer, kind of a mini-cast member. All the eight year olds were Button Sewers; they sat on wooden boxes in front of the stage and pretended to stitch buttons onto pajama bottoms.  During chorus numbers they would join the rest of the cast and sing and spin around each other and take little ballet steps. But they could be short on stamina – one Saturday the director scheduled a matinee and an evening show, and during the prep for the late performance, we found the Button Sewers sprawled out on their boxes, sound asleep. Fortunately, they were able to rally by curtain call.

My husband loved that show.

The Pajama Game was made into a movie in 1957, starring Doris Day.  She was the only actor in the film who was not part of the Broadway cast; it seems Hollywood needed a star.  She was perfect for the role, anyway, and the film did pretty well, just the sort of upbeat, happy movie musical that was popular in the fifties and early sixties.  I caught it on TV once, the colors were a little washed out, and the picture was grainy, but it was still a lot of fun, full of great performances.

But there weren’t any Button Sewers.

(A-Z Challenge: P is for Pajama Game.)


X FilesExcept for J. Edgar Hoover, and the incredibly dull film that Leo DiCaprio made about his life, I have mostly positive feelings about the FBI.  There was that TV show in the sixties, with Efrem Zimbalist Jr. that I wasn’t allowed to watch, but my sisters would sometimes let me sneak down to see when our parents weren’t home. And The X-Files, of course, we all loved Scully and Mulder around here, although I think the show gave our daughter nightmares. She’s a sensitive type.

Recently a young woman I know was accepted into the FBI training program.  I met her when she was a baby; I remember when all she wanted for Christmas was a Little Mermaid doll in a wedding dress. Now I keep imagining her rushing into a building with her weapon drawn, like Clarice Starling.

I guess she wants more.

This young woman is a great believer in justice and she needs to take action – step right into the fight.  None of this studying the issue or lobbying for it, she wants to get out there and make the right thing happen. This is all very admirable and I think she’ll make a great agent, but I’m uneasy. FBI work is risky. Scully and Mulder got into all kinds of tricky situations.

But there’s not much you can do when an independent young person makes up their mind. They’ll do what they do; it’ll work out or it won’t.  I know a few twenty somethings who are on the verge of making big changes in their lives, all of them looking to shake things up, none of them opting for a traditionally safe path. All you can do is pull for them, kind of like Scully is always there for Mulder, no matter how wacky his plan.

F is for FBI – A-Z Blogging Challenge day 6.

(Anyone have thoughts or experience in the FBI? Any tips to share? Any wacky young people in your life who are doing their thing in a surprising way? Let me know in the comments.)


Mom and babies watercolorD is for daughters – I have two of them.  They grew up and moved away, but now they are coming back.  It’s a Millennial thing.

The youngest has spent that last two years in New York City. She turned an internship into a job that paid enough to make her self sustaining, but she didn’t like it.  There was the whole thing about going to work, and then staying there all day.

“Office work isn’t healthy,” she often said. “You’re inside all the time.”

I would point out to my Southern California child that when it’s 20 degrees outside, most people seek out central heating, but that logic didn’t impress her.  She went to NYC because her friends were there, and she has had a busy social time, hitting clubs and restaurants and taking late night Ubers around town. But now many of her pals are moving on, as twenty-somethings will do, and she’s bored with her job, so she’s taking her considerable savings and coming home.

Her big sister, three years older, is in a PhD program in Durham, North Carolina, but all her classes are done, and she says it doesn’t matter anymore where she lives. This is cheerful news because Durham, for all its NCAA charms, doesn’t appeal to her at all.  She likes the big city – Los Angeles, and also London, where her fiance lives.  But, it turns out that he wants to move to Los Angeles too, so it seems we sent two children off, but three are coming back.

It’s one heck of a boomerang.

I have no idea what will happen next, but then, that’s been true since they were born.