About Me

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I am a retired English teacher and department head, the mother of three, grand mother of three, and have been married to the same man for 42 years. I subscribe to Dr. PM Forni's concept of Civility. I was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in the 'burbs. I love soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Phillies, the Eagles, and San Diego. I love being Mom, Aunt Kathy, Nona Kathy, and Teacher. I spend a lot of time in my gardens in the spring and summer, and in the winter I plan what I'm going to plant. I also am an avid reader and photographer.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hanging Out the Shingle

It was cold here today and we saw our first flurries. I ran errands, began food shopping for Thanksgiving, and stopped in at a brand new Starbuck's to find they won't be open until tomorrow morning :(. (Well, the door was open and the lights were on!!)
Yesterday, I met a childhood friend for lunch. Mel and I attended elementary school together at a parochial school near Philadelphia. We also attended a small, all-girl, "convent" high school taught by the Sisters of the Holy Child. Mel graduated from there but after one year, I left to go to public school. Several years ago, I learned she was living in Maryland and since then we meet for lunch several times a year. We laugh, we talk about our children, our lives - then and now. The common denominator between us is strong. What a blessing to have a friend like this in my life. One who knew me as my nascent me! Our day together got me thinking about friendship...
Some time ago someone asked me what I did for fun. This was in response to a comment I had made about feeling a bit lonely. I told her I chaperoned dances and football games. She said that was work and repeated her question.
"What about friends?" she asked.
"What about them?" I said.
"Do you have any?"
I actually had to stop and think. There were people from work with whom I was very close, but the friendships didn't extend beyond school. There were many with whom I was acquainted, but very few were actually close friends. My husband and I busily traveled to and from field hockey games, horse shows, lacrosse games, and band concerts for our kids. I also served as an elected official in our community for quite a few years. Frankly, I cherished my alone time: reading, gardening, doing crossword puzzles, walking and working out. But, at that point came the epiphany: I couldn't have it both ways!!! If I wanted friends, I had to 'hang out the shingle.'
I wonder how many of us unconsciously hide the "shingle" and then suffer feeling alone? Since that pivotal conversation, I'm more aware of the "shingle" -- body language, activity choices. Even the choice to post on a blog is "putting it out there" -- at least with me it has been a real relief from feeling isolated. The 'live feed' and the comments are such a boon, such a connector, such a reminder that there are so many good people to meet, friends to make, viewpoints to appreciate. I still cherish the quiet time; the alone time, but I know how important a balance is.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I think you're right that balance is important. We all have a preference--introversion or extroversion, but it's good to try to cultivate the opposite of what we naturally desire.

I hope "putting out the shingle" works out the way you want.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Good morning. You have an award on my blog.

Christy said...


I read Ruth's blog, and thought I'd say hi and tell you I understand.

I'm going back to school to be a nurse now that my kids are almost grown.....but I haven't got many "friends"--I've been busy being a mom, I guess, or something.

Hanging out the shingle....I'm going to remember that.....

Kathy said...

Being a nurse is being an angel on earth. Although being a mom is the hardest and more rewarding job there is, it is still a solitary one. Blessings on your new profession.

cri said...

Ciao Kathy!!!
I'm so happy you add my blog into yours!!!It's a pleasure for me!!!!
Maybe my english is not at best, but is a good chance to dust it!!!
Did you like Ewan and Mattew's pictures?
Everyday, when I go to work I see in a perfurmer's shop and it'a mascot for all the day!!!!

happyone said...

Yes, balance is good. I like going out and being with friends but enjoy my time home alone too.
You can be alone without being lonely.
I think blogging friends are very special and sometimes we get lucky and get to meet them in person too. :-)

Ginni said...

I totally agree on the balance thing. I love being with people, but cherish my "at home" time.

Cheryl said...

A lot of dittos here, and I'll add mine to the bunch. I too enjoy my alone time. I'm never really lonely. I was probably loneliest when I was married! I realize that to have friends you have to go out of your way and make an effort. I'm glad we're friends, and we'll have to make an in-person date soon.

Anonymous said...

I too, treasure my alone time. My friends and I tend to go in spurts, we spend so much time together...and then ease back for a bit. Hmmmm...maybe it's just me holding them at bay as I can't imagine all of us suddenly deciding to take a bit of a Me-break.

I'll have to think about that.

cri said...

Kathy, you are GREAT!!!!! I see the pictures of the two men everyday on the way to work. They are actors, and very beautiful too!!I I'm in love with EWAN ( Claudio knows!!!).
I coocked pizza and frittata in my own kitchen. I'm not a great cook, but sometimes I prepare delicacy....
Have a great day!!!