When You Know You Are Getting Old

lincoln kids
Lincoln Elementary School. People in my kindergarten class

You know you are getting old when you attend your 45th year high school class reunion. How did so much time go by? If I live another twenty years and become elderly, that time is going to whiz by faster than the rest. Knowing this I fill my life with as much as I can, never thinking I am too old. It’s easy think we are to old do things or it’s too risky. We wonder, “What will people think?” I have a motto I live by, (actually I have several of these) “If you don’t like what I’m doing, then don’t watch me do it.” I don’t care what people think about what I do. It’s my life and I’ll do what I want to do. If the fear is all in your head you’ll end up with regrets. Trying and failing isn’t nearly as bad as not trying at all.

It had been twenty five years since I went to a class reunion because I lived too far away. I moved closer to home in 2010 when I was sick and decided a few years ago I wasn’t going to miss this one. It wasn’t because I was such great friends with these classmates and we stayed in touch over the years – it was quite the opposite. I was a loner. I had a couple friends I hung around with and made no attempt to fit in. I suffered from low self esteem. If I didn’t make friends they couldn’t reject me.

As a very young child, music was the only thing important to me. It was the only music I listened to – the only albums I collected. A stack of classical piano albums was put on my record player at night and it played through the night. I was enthralled with Van Clyburn and Andre Previn. I knew current music because it was played on car radios when my boyfriend and I drove up and down the main street through town in the evenings, but I could rarely identify a song with the name of the band. I still can’t, even though I know all the songs.

In school I took every music class and sung in the chorus and yearly musicals but I never joined any other club. I think every school has their cliques and they are often divided by what part of town you live in and if your parents could buy you the latest fashions. I definitely wasn’t part of those groups of kids. I was part of the ARchie Bunker style streets. I always had what I needed, but what I wanted I didn’t ask for. My parents were young, struggling to raise three children.

We were not taught racism. Nothing negative was said, but neither was anything positive. We understood there was a clear line down the middle of town and black people lived on one side and whites on the other. Realtors wouldn’t sell a house to a black family on the white side of town because it brought down property values. That changed after I left home when homes were bought by realtors and broken up into apartments. Black people didn’t go to our church.  I remember wanting to touch a black person and see if their skin felt different. The elementary schools weren’t mixed. Kids went to the school in their own neighborhood. It wasn’t until Jr High that classes mixed because there were only two jr high schools, and only one high school. But even though we all went to the same school, black and white students generally stayed with those they grew up with. But still there was no racism. No name calling because someone was a negro, because the word black wasn’t used. Kids weren’t taught to hate. Were there problems – yes, sometimes – but not like today. Still, white kids didn’t walk through black neighborhoods. I did that – once. Children threw stones at me. There was an underlying fear. That is a story for another day.

There was bullying and I was on the receiving end. I honestly don’t know why. I was cornered in the restrooms, stairwells and the auditorium. I was threatened. I ran out the back door in the music room because I was afraid. That is yet another story. But kids have it much worse today with bullying because of the use of social media.

In many homes, kids today are not taught respect. Why? What happened? Suicides by kids who feel threatened are common. Kids in the 70’s still had respect for teachers and staff. The thought of cussing at a teacher was unheard of. It is much different today, and it shows in the behavior of the kids. We also had no cops at our school ready to handcuff us on school property and take us in the back of a police car and lock us up. The principal was the law. Black kids weren’t filling up juvenile detention facilities the way they do now. Now there is a lot of profit for locking up kids and preparing them for prison by destroying their education. It is so wrong – and that is another story.

Today, in 2017, I was now more than twice as old as I was when I graduated. I knew I was not the same person I was in the early 1970’s and I knew the students weren’t, either. Starting a few years ago I began connecting with people in my class through facebook. There can be a lot of drama and other crap on fb but the positive aspect is being able to connect with people. Some of these students I graduated with I also went to Kindergarten with as well.

If I was going to the reunion I didn’t want to walk into a large room with a lot of people who were strangers, so I used my time getting to know many of them. We “talked” about the things that separated us. It taught me a valuable lesson.
What we think about people – what we think is the truth – often isn’t. People put on faces of what we want others to believe. We hide things about ourselves  we don’t want other people to know.

We continue to do that even as adults. When someone asks us how we are, we say “fine” even when we aren’t. We assume people really don’t want to know so we don’t tell them. We don’t show people what is really going on in our lives. We think they will judge us.  We don’t get to know other people, either. Sometimes we also choose to not do things we want to do because, “What will people think?”

What I found over about three years is – all these kids grew up.  I’m not the same kid and neither are they. They had their own mountains to climb, kids to raise, careers grew and some were destroyed. Spouses died, kids died, health problems destroyed dreams. People moved. Some had wonderful experiences and some didn’t. No one had a perfect life with no problems. Our experiences shaped us. I enjoyed getting to know these same kids, now all around 63 years old.

Our reunion was over two evenings. Our class president and other students who stayed local put a lot of time into preparations so we could enjoy our time together. I saw many people who looked familiar but I had to look at their name tags to remember who they were. I honestly thought I had been so insignificant in school I didn’t think anyone would remember who I was.  But they did.  Part of me was dumbfounded. We hadn’t been “friends” in school so why? That was my low self esteem surfacing. Growing up I had to put on a tough exterior. I put on a face of confidence that wasn’t real, until I made it real. One student I didn’t remember walked up to me and said, “You always did dance to the beat of a different drummer.” What did she know about me that i didn’t? I have no idea what made her say that – but it was true. I always bucked the system.

One of the tables at the reunion held the pictures of all the classmates who had died since we graduated. Today that number is 39. About a half dozen of us stood there looking at those pictures and reading about how they died. A few died very soon after graduation, and the most recent one was in March of 2017. Looking at these pictures of people knowing I was still alive was overwhelming. I had come very close to dying of liver disease and cancer in 2012 but a liver became available in the nick of time.

“The Pain That Unites Us All” a book being published right now, has twenty-seven authors contributing their story – in short story or poetry. My story about my liver transplant and the emotional pain of being ignored by my immediate family while going through something so traumatic is published in that book. I had come home thinking they would support me.  I was dead wrong. That is also a story for another day. I’ll be posting a link to the book soon if you are interested.

We all have stories. Some people change for the good and some don’t.  I have more new/old friends because I took the time to listen and not judge. We can have value in other lives and they can have value in ours, but if we think we know it all and don’t need to take the time to listen, we lose that person in our life. It has taken a long time for me to find a place in my head to put the knowledge, realizing that coming home was a mistake. Except for patching it up with my mother, I have no value in the lives of the family I grew up with. I can’t even try anymore. But I have children and seven grandchildren and I am the head of my own family.  When I moved home, extremely sick, and was treated badly – I’m done with them and that is just the way it is. I had to teach myself to not care any more

I could have been in one of those photos of people who passed away. Anyone of us could have been up on that wall. At 63 we aren’t elderly, but more and more of us are reaching the end of our life. Many die due to illness. Some give up. My mother had her class reunion the week before mine. She graduated from the same high school. Her list of students who have died was a double column, front and back of two pages.

It is hard to look at your own mortality.  When I didn’t die of liver failure I had to make a choice. Wallow in my illness and give up – or push past it. I could say I’m getting too old to begin again. I live in a senior community and I see it all around me – those that give up and those that force themselves to live their lives completely until the end. I chose to give my live everything I can. It wasn’t time to give up.

That is when I started the blog My Name is Jamie – and everything else that followed – the writing of the book “Inside The Forbidden Outside” which I am still rewriting. I am heading to Texas next week to go to the Allred prison where Jamie is,  and to complete the stories that tie the chapters of the book together. I started writing the ITFO Newsletter which focuses on different issues concerning our prisons because many people really do not know the real reason for why we have more prisons than any other country. I also write about different people in prison with a story to tell. If you have one – contact me. My focus is to educate people and teach them there is no race that is better than another, no matter what mainstream media teaches you. We all need to work together to save our planet and our humanity.

This gives me the reason to write music as the soundtrack for the book. Helping others makes the cause to help my own life. I never sit around bored wondering what to do next. I spent most of my life creating music. Why stop when I am better at it now than I ever was in my life. Our senior years are when we have the most experience and wisdom to give the world. The youth has nice skin – but they lack life experience. We should strive to find a way to utilize it.

Sonni Quick improv pianoAfter I returned from my class reunion I sat at my piano and recorded a piece of music for all of the students who were no longer here – to honor them. When I play it I will think of them. They will not be forgotten. I’m hoping my friends – these past classmates will listen and remember and remember them, too.

I have a new album coming out that will soon be at CDBaby and Spotify named “Stories without Words”. This music will be part of that. I often give music as a gift. Writing music is a part of me I can give. It is all improvised. I feel, I play and record it. I can never play anything twice because I let it play me, not the other way around. I’ll be posting a link to the album soon.

Thanks for reading and thanks for listening. It is for everyone who graduated from Pottstown High in Pennsylvania in 1972. It is my gift to you.

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SkunkRadioLive . . . Indie radio station out of London playing music composed for  the book being written for Jamie.  If you can, help support. It will all help Jamie in the end.

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Protect yourself by having an attorney on call with an app on your phone. Have you ever been stopped and given a ticket? harassed? Get screwed by a landlord? Customer service not refund your money? Your rights abused in any way? Need a FREE will done? (normally about $300) Click on the link below and see why you need this. Just knowing you have access to an attorney when you need one, especially with all the crap going on these days, it gives you some peace of mind. No one knows when the police car lights are going to go off when you are driving in your car. Who do you call? What happens when one of your kids or grandkids ends up in trouble whether they are guilty or not. Today, people are guilty until they are proven innocent and today even that doesn’t matter, or they lock you up for months because you can’t afford bail money. This is why I promote this. Our govt is looking for new ways to lock you up. Without an attorney to call there is little you can do. This is only good for the US and Canada. Click on the link below that says 101 reasons to use Legal Shield.  You owe it to yourself to find out what this is about.  Leave me a msg here – or if you want it to be private leave me a msg at Facebook through messenger or at itfonews@gmail.com. All for much less than a trip through Kentucky Fried Chicken.

No one can make you do this, but it is why you have car insurance even though you are a good driver – the other person who hit you, isn’t. Then you call your insurance company. That is why you NEED Legal Shield.

You can also contact me here: Legal Shield

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101 Reasons Why You Need Legal Shield

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101_Reasons_to_Use_LegalShield

Legal Shield Website

The past few weeks I have been writing about a service called Legal Shield.  I could be wrong but I think many people who have seen what I’ve written have thought this was something they didn’t need and couldn’t see any reason why they would need it – but might think it could help other people.

So I am going to keep this post short and sweet.  First, it is only good in the US and Canada, but for everyone else in other countries, if you are on Facebook and other social media and have contacts in the US or Canada, please pass this on.

When I read this list of 101 reasons quite a few things that have happened over time where I got screwed in one form or another I sure do wish I had had a service like this.  It would have made my life a lot easier and way less frustrating.

In addition to being able to get an attorney on the phone right from an app on your phone, there is another service Legal Shield provides whether you sign up for it or not.  Go your play store and search for LS-Ask . If you have a legal question of any kind you can ask Legal Shield and find out if you have a leg to stand on. But you would have to be a member if you wanted to talk to a Legal Shield Attorney.  There is another app by LS called SHAKE where you can download any kind of form you need for everything from freelance work to loaning money to someone who promises he will pay it back ( and often doesn’t) as well as renting out something from equipment to garage space. And how about a roommate agreement for your college bound kids?

So if you are a skeptic about the value of this, but see the value in renters insurance or (mandatory) car insurance, burglar alarms, nanny cams to protect your children or just plain cameras in your house when you are away and everything else that protects you, then surely you can see the value of having an attorney in your pocket and it is probably the least expensive cost of all the things I just named.

I became an associate of this company because it is the most valuable piece of information I can pass on to you that you are going to need one way or the other, and those of you with kids, that thought is triple. Teenagers – in cars- with friends – doing whatever you don’t know about?

What I haven’t talked about yet is ID Shield.  I had my bank account hacked on April 26th. I wonder what other parts of my identity did they get?  We know how hackable  we are and all most of us do is put a virus protection on our computers and keep our fingers crossed.  It didn’t work for me and it won’t work for you.

Take the time to look into this.  I promise I don’t bite.  But at least ask questions. For those who want to make money – become an associate like I did and bring your friends on board.  The commissions are well worth it.  If you are 18 you can work it. In our unstable times we need all the stability we can get our hands on.

Message me – or find me on Facebook and lets talk.

Legal Shield Associate Member

Sonni Quick

 

Do You Have an Attorney in Your Contact List? Why Not?

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This post is for people who live in the US.

I have talked to many people who have had more than their fair share of run-ins with the police, and those who get out of jail or prison and have no way to level the playing field when cops continue to harass you. This is why I originally decided to show people their is a way to have better control over your life. But this is for everyone because all of us are no finding that what we believe to be our rights under the law are being taken away from us. Plus, everyone needs an attorney at some point and would call one if they had one to call, when things go wrong.

The justice system in the US, with our new Attorney General, is now more determined than ever to lock up greater numbers of people using drug usage and crimes committed by poor people that hasn’t worked the last forty years. People who can’t afford attorneys. They don’t see the inside of a courtroom except to plead guilty whether they are or not. These people accept pleas because they have no choice. Only about 3% of arrests get to plead their case with a jury of their peers.

Even people who are guilty, without an attorney at the onset, are going to do many more years, decades even, than they would if they had the ability to say 6 magic words, “I want to call my attorney.” The police are very confident you don’t have an attorney to call. If you don’t they can and do anything they want to you and get away with it.

cop in mirrorThey can say you have a broken tail light, even if you don’t. They can force an illegal search of your car. Who is going to stop them? They can do a search and seizure and take your money and anything else they want and say they think it is drug money. They can shoot you if you don’t comply. As a woman they can search your body and stick their fingers where they don’t belong. What can you do?  You don’t have an attorney you can call.  But if you did?

The list goes on – but what if you could press an app on your phone that is answered by a law office – 24/7 for an emergency. Has this ever happened  to you? The cops do these things because poor people don’t have attorneys. Again I ask, what if you did? Do you think it would level the playing field a bit? How much would you pay for that ability? Would you pay the price of a pizza?

Do you say, ” No good law office is going to take my call and do that for me unless i pay him hundreds of dollars.  And on a Saturday night?  No way!

Let me carry this thought a little farther. You are walking down the street. Cops follow and harass you. “Why are you following me?” You ask politely. “I don’t like your punk ass,” the cop mouths off at you with a cocky sneer, because he is wearing a uniform and he’s just itching for a reason to put you face down on the ground. Maybe he didn’t like the way you crossed the street.  You tell him you have called your attorney. Your phone should already be in your hand, app pressed, ssaying, “I’m being illegally detained by a cop,” and show the cop your phone and who it dialed. Tell him, “My attorney would like to talk to you.” They won’t want to mess with you with an attorney listening.  If he really is just harassing you, looking for a punching bag, he will probably tell you, “Have a nice day,” and leave.

I can write many different scenarios about things that can happen about why a cop stops you. It might even be just for speeding or changing lanes without signaling.  The things we call ourselves names over for being stupid because we know better. But it could be other situations, some as ordinary as being screwed by a landlord, overcharged on a bill or for every single thing you sign your name to.

Every person needs an attorney hiding in their phone waiting to be called, except, oops,fox2news you didn’t think you would need it.  You thought you weren’t interested. You are a good driver.  You haven’t been stopped in a long time. You never sign your name to anything without reading every bit of fine print, right?  We all read everything their company used an attorney to write for you to sign that protects them, not you.

If you are familiar with my writing, one of my biggest concerns is what does a prison inmate do when they are released back into society? He’s watched. Is he on parole or maybe probation? That means he is still tied to the justice system. At the snap of a finger, for any reason that parole can be taken from him. It is the fastest and easiest way to keep a prison full through the back door and there is nothing you can do about it. When he is off parole he has a bulls eye on his back and absolutely no protection from anyone who implies he did anything.  It’s open season.

What is the cost per month for this privilege? About a fifth of your cable bill? The price of a run thru at fast food place? A half a tank of gas? Less then the price of an oil change? A couple boxes of Jimmy Deans breakfast sandwiches? Would that be worth paying to have an attorney in your pocket the next time a cop stops you and makes you subservient because he thinks you have no legal recourse?

There is a lot more I could tell you – after you think about this. There is one more thing, though, to consider. You, or one of your children gets pulled into a police station and is relentlessly grilled hour after hour until someone admits they did something – without a parent present. Or maybe they played good cop bad cop. “Just say this . . . and you’ll get to go home.” They don’t. They end up up getting 20 years, when they could have said instead. “I want to call my lawyer.” How much would it be worth to you to be able to say those words and possibly change the outcome of what you or your child could be facing?

Tip the scale. Look at the website. Don’t make a decision until we talk so you know everything. My grandchildren have had 2 fathers in prison. Four out of my seven grandchildren are half black or Hispanic. I’ll be damned if I will lose any of them to some racist cop who thinks it’s okay to beat up, taser or take them to jail and abuse them because of the color of their skin. Poverty level poor people, and those who just can’t afford to keep an attorney on retainer, which is all of us, need a way to protect themselves from people who think they have the right to harass us.

If you want to hear more – no commitment.  Just leave a message and say “Interested” or send me a private message or email at squick@mynameisjamie.net.  It never hurts to talk. It can hurt a lot more if you don’t.

 

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