Saturday, March 5, 2016

Have U Had Yer Vasectomy Today? or The Cost of Children

There's not much to Beatty, but I figgerd ah'd best git busy if I was gonna see what there was to see in the 32 minutes it was gonna tayk the dryer to do hits thang.

What I found was so personal it made my teeth ache...

Her grandmother was one of the founders of the Beatty Museum. She'd take the Greyhound from Las Vegas and stay with her in the summers. Later, when she grew up, she served on the Board and is now a paid staff person. She also has a position on the Fire Brigade as an EMT but doesn't like the potential for wrong (life-saving or threatening) decisions. She has a four year degree in nursing and a three year old daughter. Her daughter was born at noon on Dec 24th. (I delivered at 6:00 a.m.)

She's waiting on a ticket to Scotland where a 44 year old man she loves awaits. He's a gallery owner and they've known each other six years. She's 30...the same age difference as Frayda (a millionairess I loved who died of pancreatic cancer in 2006) and I. A year ago they spent time together in a big city (I missed the name...perhaps NY or Paris) going to museums and galleries. They skype frequently.

She talked about the desert. How everyone looks at it and thinks it's the same. "But it's not, you know. You have to pay attention to the details....look closely and LOOK." (I'd had similar thoughts just the night before. It occurred to me that dealing art, learning to see the details, gave me the training to appreciate the desert.)

We talked about her daughter and how she kind of wishes she hadn't had's too much of a burden. But she was six months pregnant before she realized what had happened and didn't want to abort. She breast fed for two years and is concerned about what'll happen when she starts Beatty!! "And." she said, "She's three going on thirteen!"

Imena was born in Israel and remembers the topless women on the Jordan beach as no big deal. She wants to raise her daughter so she's confident and herself....but in Beatty?!!


I mentioned a young lady who came into the gallery (over 15 years ago)  who'd been brought up in the Montessori tradition. I've yet to meet another 18-year-old who exuded such confidence, enthusiasm and curiosity. Imena was aware their curriculum is available by mail and was considering it. I gave her my card and asked her to keep in touch. I wanted to hear how things come out 15 years from now.

The woman running the Senior Thrift Store had waitressed for ten years at the Casino. They treated her well and she thought it was the best job she'd ever had other than working for herself. She and her husband ran a restaurant until he died. Her son has gout, a bad back and a faulty aorta, he's 55. He gets food stamps but not disability and they live on less than $1,000.00 a month. They'd cancelled her Medicare, but she didn't know why. She thinks the town is 75% Mexican and the majority aren't legal. She feels that's wrong although some of their best friends are Mexican. That Obama!! I told her I thought it simplistic to blame the President and wished I could have referred her to Shirley Hatfield's video, but she'd said she didn't have a computer.


A couple of days ago I read in some folk's blog about how he'd read a study that said the cost of raising a child was around $250,000.00. He scoffed at the number as if the only cost was clothes, food and a roof. And besides, once they were "of age" they were on their own.

After listening to the two women above and this one here (from over two years ago in Tonopah) I couldn't keep myself from weighing in. I'd recently watched the DVD about Marta Becket, the dancer-painter-actor-choreographer who bought the Amargosa Hotel & Theater in Death Valley Junction in 1967 and who, at age 91, still lives there now. I was raised by a musician and a painter both of whom loved to dance. I know the power of the arts to imbue magic and meaning.

The blogger, who has two youngsters age 5 and 7 (or thereabouts) had yet to encounter anything beyond the necessities and couldn't IMAGINE spending that much on child-rearing. I know you're "the choir" but if you're like me you never tire of nodding with smug satisfaction (I had my vasectomy when I was 22.) that you DIDN'T have children.

Bear with me as I rant about children. I posted the comment below to their blog, but it didn't pass muster for public consumption; too long, no doubt. Reading it, I'm reminded of my heritage and how we Deutschlanders love to go on at length. Hopefully, you too can smile, as they do in Whitehorse, the capitol of the Yukon, (where they fly in 300 Germans a day straight from Frankfurt) and say, "Just ignore them; they can't help it."

So I wrote:

I'm retired but used to contract with Albuquerque Public Schools to provide after-school programs. Here are a few gleanings from those years....

In one school there was an 80% turnover of children due to families moving. Many of the children had three (or more) sets of parents. (YOUR children may only have one set but they will encounter and be subjected to the behaviors of others.)

In most neighborhoods, there are no longer trees to climb or streams to play in. Even if there were, most parents would be too paranoid of pedophiles or other predators to allow their children to play unattended.

Children benefit from simple encouragement. The exposure to experiences such as "trying" the clarinet, switching to drums and then moving on to something else lets them explore their talents or lack thereof. If they're lucky enough to have a private teacher, they learn what it means to have the full attention of another adult besides their parent. [In another comment a parent bemoaned the "lost" funds as their child experimented with different things.]

They also benefit from attending ballets, symphonies, dance performances, and other types of cultural events. The variety not only gives them the perspective to decide what they like, but each occasion has behavioral protocols that expand a child's repertoire. Although many performances can be found for free, they are often expensive. And being appropriately dressed costs money too.

(notice rocks lined up at base of big one in center)

Learning manners and comportment will enable them to interact with a variety of folks. Being comfortable in places where decorum is expected comes with experience...and not just once. That too costs money.

One of the commonest aphorisms has to do with how money doesn't imbue a person with taste. And while the world *is* becoming more "casual," there are likely, even 20 years from now, to be occasions where knowing how to behave (and be comfortable) at a black-tie event would help them socially.

As they grow older they may benefit from tutoring. As with many things, quality isn't cheap. Preparing a child for life in today's global community involves much more than merely feeding and clothing them, at least, that is, if you have hopes of them becoming anything more than  cogs in someone's machine.

At present their needs are relatively simple. But all the things I've mentioned come one-upon-the-other fairly quickly. Although they may not benefit equally from exposure to everything, being able to provide a variety of experiences will give them a much better chance at acquiring perspective, self-confidence, compassion for others and a degree of sophistication that will better enable them to be flexible and recognize and take advantage of opportunities.

Your children are on the edge of entering the stage where they will increasingly be in close proximity or contact with activities that may not always have the potential for positive outcomes. The decisions they make and the resulting experiences may have life-altering impacts...not necessarily bad, but it can be argued that the ability to make lemonade from lemons is also about how one processes information...not just attitude.

Gaining the perspective to make good decisions doesn't just happen. Money, of course, doesn't buy intelligence, but it can help.

Your children are, in the not too distant future, likely to be made aware of their "privileged" lifestyle. Hopefully, as they age, you'll be able to afford to stay in places where they can entertain themselves with things besides gang activities, vandalism, thieving and such. And hopefully they won't be subject to peer-pressures that foster group-think and the need to "fit in" that is resulting in the social homogenization and nationalism so prevalent in America today. (My sister, a natural blonde, was mercilessly teased as a "jueda" (or hueda) -  a word that can be either descriptive or pejorative depending on the tone -- when she entered elementary school in El Paso, Texas.)

The interesting times are ahead. While you can cut costs in many ways such as denying an Xbox or folding knives, developing an appreciation for life isn't something that just happens. And while many pleasures can be had for free, variations in wine, bread and cheese (let's not forget song!) don't just magically evolve simply from hunger.

Phew Dawgies!! Ain't we all glad ah got THAT offn muh, chest.

Thanks for listening!

Hav a nice day, ya'll!

1 comment:

  1. love the rock splats and your details...amazing details of lives lived in the desert...OM and Best Wishes!!!