1964: Goldwater, Ann Margaret, The Beatles, Annette, Bill Holden and Jackie Kennedy
Just about fifty years ago, this was a version of People magazine.
*I wonder how far Annette thought she would go after she was engaged? And did she?
*Why was William Holden stalked by death? (He was a favorite actor of mine, who many nowadays don’t know about, unless they watch great old movies.)
*Would you vote for or against Goldwater? (I was a member of Youth for Goldwater.)
*What about the Beatles? In our high school talent show, some of the boys wore mops on their heads and sang, “She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.” Their hair doesn’t look all that long, does it?
*There is the obligatory sexy cover photo–tame by today’s standards. I can’t picture Ann Margaret twerking.
*And, of course, the reference at the top, to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy leaving Jacqueline a widow with two children and an uncertain future. Jackie Kennedy had a lot to deal with in her life and I never fully understood that until I read more about her in later years.
That’s a week in 1964. Save a magazine or print out an Internet article this week and your children will enjoy it in 2064.
I recently attended a high school class reunion. If you must know, it was my 50th year high school reunion, for Arkansas City, Kansas Senior High. I graduated when I was 5 or 6.
My high school friend, Sara Bly, worked like crazy to compile a DVD of video and PowerPoint, complete with music and comprised of old photos, scans of newspaper articles and other memorabilia. I helped by nagging her about it and making copies of her final product. It’s truly a masterpiece and I encourage you to start saving items now, no matter what your age, so your high school class can do something similar. (Even if right now you don’t think you care.)
As I looked over the photos, I realized, more than ever before, how many classmates have passed away. Their stories stopped right after high school or years later. Some were killed in Viet Nam, some died in car accidents, many fought cancer bravely until the end, heart failure took some and several ended their own lives.
The girl on the left is Tina Springgate, a funny and very intelligent girl and woman, who died from cancer shortly after our 30th reunion. She and I were on the Debate Team and she also was on the staff of the school paper,The Arklight. The last time I saw Tina she told me, “You’ll get to be the only ‘Tina’ before long.”
The girl on the right is Leslie Neal, my co-Feature Editor on the paper. We also co-wrote a column called, “Gleanings from the Grapevine”, in which we made what we thought were hysterically witty comments about various things around school, especially about the teachers. Leslie committed suicide when she was in her early twenties and I’ve never known why. I found out later that she was living in Denver at the time and I’ve wondered if I could have said or done something to make a difference–probably not, but I would have liked to try.
I’m in the middle, smiling with the other two–none of us having any idea what life would hold or how soon it would be over for two of us three.
I’ve included the photo of Tina Springgate, Leslie and me, not to be sad or morose about it, but to say that photos are still the best way to capture our memories. Even a written journal benefits from a photo or two of the author and others. However, take them in a way that gives people a chance to look their best and to smile for the camera, rather than the candid, often embarrassing photos you might take with your phone/camera when no one is prepared. A few candid shots are OK, but most women want to be ready to be photographed and both men and women look better when they are sitting or standing still, have their mouths closed and are looking moderately happy.
Tell people a day ahead of time that the next day is photo day for those who agree. Don’t force someone to get their picture taken, just let them see that you’re not making a huge production out of it. If your supervisor or manager is available, have a photo-op so people can get pictures taken with him or her. Some people will decline, but almost everyone who gets his or her photo taken with the boss, will be glad about it later.
In the 1970’s, Paul Anka sang the Nichols/Lane song that became a Kodak standard, “The Times of Your Life”. It’s easy for us to think of saving photos of family members and close friends, when we consider how quickly time passes. Think also of those you work with or meet with at work. Even the ones who irritate you, frustrate you or make you dislike them strongly, will one day–maybe sooner than you think–bring back worthwhile memories of that time of your life.
The Best Food In the World!
My mother, Creola Kincaid Lewis, worked in the Fish, Pet and Plants department of the Woolworth store in Arkansas City, Kansas, in the 1950s and 1960s. Every dime she made went to support our family, so eating at the lunch counter was a rare treat. But, sometimes my brother and I were given that treat! When we did, my favorite thing was a Grilled Cheese Sandwich and a Vanilla Malt or a Deluxe Baked Ham Sandwich and a Strawberry Malt.
I once asked my mother, “Don’t you think this is the best food in the world?” I doubt that she did, especially since she was a tremendously good cook. However, I know she liked eating at the lunch counter as much as I did, because we planned those special lunches as if they were big events.
Not long ago a seller on e-bay, scram85, offered a 1964 menu and used the photos shown here. 1964! I would have held a menu just like it, as a teenager. I wanted it very much and bid it up to $205 before I dropped out. It sold for a little over that. I was probably lucky someone else was more impulsive than me. However, I may always regret not going just a few dollars more in an effort to buy it.
Incidentally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the wonderful food I enjoyed at the Woolworth lunch counter couldn’t have been enjoyed by black children or adults until the mid to late 1960’s. Sadly, it took sit-ins by black college students, and a willingness to go to jail and face sometimes unsupportive local justice systems, for that to change. ( In 1998, Lisa Cozzens–at the time a student at Brown University–published an excellent online resource about those events and others related to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.)
Nowadays I eat at restaurants more than I want to, although none of them have counter service. If they did, I probably would rather sit at a table and I would probably think the food was edible but not wonderful. Nevertheless, I wish I could ask Ms. Lucille, who managed the lunch counter at Woolworth’s, to fix me a sandwich and a malt. And, I wish Mom and I could sit together at the counter and enjoy it.
Have you ever eaten at at Woolworth’s lunch counter?
Pay Attention To The Noise You Make While Eating and Drinking.
No, That’s Not Being Picky.
On the Ask the Workplace Doctors site, a frequent complaint involves coworkers who eat and drink noisily–especially those who do it almost constantly during the workday or shift. We hear about food odors as well as noise. This summer I’ve heard complaints about the noise of thermal sipper cups. (First is the slurping-sipping sound, then the “ka-thunk” as the ice falls back into the cup.) It sounds picky, until you have to listen to it all day, every day. It’s distracting and irritating–and it is unncessary.
One employee said, “I’m surrounded by people crunching carrots, rustling food bags, guzzling drinks, chewing ice, slurping hot chocolate, blowing on soup then sipping it repeatedly from a spoon, munching on celery sticks, glugging from a bottle, and at least three or four people who politely but obviously, burp. Right at this moment I can smell said chocolate as well pizza, egg rolls, burritos, leftovers of something and a hot dog–and it is not lunch time. With some of them, the eating never stops. One coworker consumes a bag of carrots a day, so the chomp, chomp sound is almost continuous. I want to scream!”
A reality of worklife is that working in close quarters requires some adjustments. Every employee has to have the courtesy and good sense to realize that to the person who isn’t eating, the sounds of eating can be very noisy and very irritating. The solution is easy:
1.) Use the break room as the eating area, not your desk or work station.
2.) Pour your beverage into a glass or cup, if using your thermal container makes noise.
3.) Stop grazing all day–or leave the desk to do it.
4.) Be courteous and mannerly about the impact you have on those around you when you eat and drink.
I don’t think that’s too much to ask! But, an employee told me when he asked a coworker to please stop chomping ice all day, the coworker gave him a pair of earplugs and brought in an even bigger cup of ice. That is when it becomes obvious that peers are not always able to get cooperation. The supervisor is responsible for the workplace environment and supervisory intervention may be necessary.
If you are a supervisor or manager, consider talking to employees individually (not in a blast email) about the noises and smells caused by eating at desks or work stations. Then, informally monitor it when you are walking around the area. You don’t have to create a tough rule and enforce it, simply remind people of the potential for bothering others and ask for courtesy. Let employees know they can talk to you if there is a distracting or irritating situation developing. That means you may need to do something about it–the tough part for many supervisors.
If the situation is more than minor (chewing carrots all day, chomping on ice or making other eating or drinking noises), and requests for courtesy aren’t helping, you will have to tell the bothersome employee to stop. Don’t worry, the employee won’t starve or die of thirst. But a bunch of other employees will probably silently thank you!
23.8 Cubic Ft. of Trouble
We’ve all seen the signs:
*All items not removed by Friday will be thrown out!
*Your mother doesn’t work here. Please clean out your trash and spoiled food.
*Label it or Lose it!
*To the person who ate my lunch yesterday: How does it feel to know that in your heart you’re nothing but a low-life thief?
An employee took me to the refrigerator in her office’s breakroom last week. She showed me the five signs on it and around it telling people to keep the refrigerator clean. When she opened the door I almost gagged, the odor was so gross! Then, she pointed out the notes accusing people of taking food. It was a depressing situation!
There are four actions that will change a situation like that or like the situation in your office: (If you have a happy office situation and no problems, these ideas may seem a bit much. I can assure you, they are not excessive for the needs of most offices):
1. Consider issues related to the break-room/kitchen, refrigerator and microwave just as important as any other source of conflict. It is part of the office environment and is under the purview of the supervisor or manager whether he or she likes the idea or not–just like the thermostat, music, fragrances and the other non-work things that have an effect on work relationships.
Do not refer to this as being the “refrigerator police”. It’s part of managing the office. It’s also a way to test whether or not the manager’s influence and leadership is as strong as he or she hopes it is.
2. Establish one foundational policy: The refrigerator is only for storage of the employee’s lunch the day or shift it is brought in or for restaurant leftovers that day. If an employee wants to have the food again the next day it can be taken home and brought back. If there are leftover items from an office function, distribute it the same day. Employees can bring their cake back the next day if they want it.
That one improvement–no items left overnight–will save most of the thefts and all of the rotten food smells. Forget making the rule that the refrigerator will be cleared at the end of the week. That isn’t working anywhere. Bring a lunch and eat it or take it back home, but don’t leave it overnight.
3. All employee food items must be in a solid paper bag, stapled and marked with the employee’s name. Have various sized paper bags, a stapler and a pen in a container next to the refrigerator. Even that one apple, container of yogurt or can of soda should be in a bag. (By the way, I think those (and cream, mentioned below) are the most common things to steal, based on many angry reports I receive. I had no idea how many people will give up their ethics for a container of yogurt.)
Employees can bag their items at home or do it at work, but nothing is allowed in the refrigerator without being in a marked and stapled paper bag. After lunch, leftovers can be re-bagged or the first bag can be re-stapled.
No thermal bags: Thermal bags take up much more space than others. They also prevent the cold air from getting to the food. So, if someone wants to bring a thermal bag they can keep it in their personal space or take the items out and put them in a stapled, marked paper bag.
The requirement to bag, staple and mark food items will eliminate the rest of the thievery and food smells. It will also make it possible to remind employees that their lunch bag is still in the refrigerator.
*The same rules applies to the cream, milk or soy milk and the various condiments employees may want to bring. Inevitably it will be stolen or tampered with and the uproar begins. So, that too should be brought the day it is needed and taken home at the end of the shift. There is no reason to have hot sauce, soy sauce, ketchup or anything else, taking up permanent residence in an office refrigerator.
*These rules also apply to the freezer. It’s not to be used for long-term storage.
*Suggest that employees put their car keys in their lunch bags as a way to remind them to pick up their leftover lunch food.
*Acknowledge that this will be more effort for employees who bring food, but it is not horrible work or energy-draining work. The flipside is that since the refrigerator won’t be dirty, no one will have to have the assignment of cleaning out someone else’s old food.
*Make this part of new-employee orientations, even for employees who are not new to the overall company. If they haven’t worked in an office with a clean refrigerator they’ll need to be coached about what your office does to keep it that way!
4. Consider failure to follow these established processes just as much of a behavioral problem as failure to follow rules about anything else, because it is. These aren’t suggestions they are the way things are to be done.
On your own: Whether your office has a process like this or not, if you bring a lunch you could start bringing a stapled and marked paper bag on your own. Maybe it will catch on and maybe not, but at least your lunch will not be stolen and your food will never be considered a problem for odor or anything else.
The bottom line: You may be thinking that Refrigerator Rules shouldn’t be needed. They probably shouldn’t be needed, but they are, aren’t they?
Developing a New Tradition
Several years ago my hair stylist (OK, it was really just the young woman who cuts my hair…but hair stylist sounds better) and I were talking about traditional recipes for holiday dinners. She said: “I always made traditional cranberry sauce until I found a recipe that sounded really weird but good and I tried it on my family. They loved it and never guessed what was in it! Now, it’s a tradition they will never let me stop.”
I asked her what it was and she said, “First, let me tell you that even though it doesn’t sound good, it’s delicious. It’s Pork Rind Cranberry Sauce and it’s really easy to make.”
I was somewhat incredulous and asked about the recipe. She said, “You cook cranberry sauce just like always. Then you add pork rinds, stir, and let it set until it cools. It gives it a different taste, but nothing you can quite identify. My kids absolutely loved it. Of course, when I told them what was in it they said, ‘No way’!”
I asked if it gave it a different texture and she said the pork rinds mix right in and don’t change the cranberry sauce texture at all. She made me promise I would try it even though it didn’t sound like something I would enjoy. I said I would try it, but would probably make the regular kind too. She said, “You wait, people will eat more of this kind.”
I had already walked out of the beauty shop but the recipe was on my mind and I turned back to ask her how much of the pork rinds she put in the sauce. She said, “Not a lot, just enough for flavor. About a fourth cup for a regular recipe but you can adjust that to taste. I just buy those little bottles of it at the liquor store.”
That was the first time I heard her clearly–and also the first time I realized the recipe she gave me was for Port Wine Cranberry Sauce not Pork Rind Cranberry Sauce. Big difference.
Now you see why I stick to traditional recipes.
I’ve written about this every year at Christmas and was recently asked when I was going to use it again. Since I haven’t been writing as often as usual, I was glad for the reminder and the chance to start back on my regular weekly article schedule. Happy Holidays!
Parties with coworkers and managers can be fun times when people get to know each other better outside of work. However, there is also the potential for problems. Whether you are considering hosting a party or are invited to one, plan ahead to ensure that your party memories–and memories about you–are good ones.
1. Attendance is optional. Some managers don’t attend any parties hosted by employees since they may not want to–or cannot–attend all of them. Some employees may simply not want to socialize with coworkers they don’t much care for the rest of the week. In most cases, in spite of the fears of a few employees, you can say you have other obligations. (If you are the host, don’t push people to attend once they’ve said no. They have their reasons.)
Having said that, let me add this: Attending parties hosted by coworkers, employees or managers is a good way to show willingness to be part of the group and to build better relationships. Don’t automatically say no. If you’ve had bad experiences in the past, use some of the following tips to have a better experience the next time.
2. Be clear about the type of party and what to expect. If children are invited you can be fairly sure the event will be less problematic (at least in some ways) than if the invitation has a beer keg and phrases like, “Party ‘Til You Drop!”
If you are hosting, remember that a party can be merely a time of relaxed conversation and some food and beverage (even non-alcoholic beverage). It doesn’t have to be a bacchanalia with conga lines, limbo dancing, wet t-shirts and embarrassing toasts.
3. Leave while things are still fun. The fact that the invitation says, 7:30-?????, doesn’t mean you have to stay until ?????. Many people find it more fun to make a brief appearance, mingle with purpose and leave when they see that things are either getting rowdy or losing sparkle. You can usually tell when it’s time. If you’re hosting, don’t plan a big activity for later in the party because some of your guests will probably be gone.
4. Remember that you’ll be working with everyone after the party. What happens at the party will not stay at the party. How do you want to be perceived back at work? It’s possible to have fun while still keeping in mind that once a business-like relationship is destroyed it can’t easily be regained.
5. Keep some basic warnings in mind:
- Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want photographed or taped surreptitiously and sent to others by email. (And don’t be the kind of snake who would do that!)
- Keep your conversation light and able to be quoted without coming back to haunt you. If you’re a manager you can bet that anything you say that is flirtatious or risque or that sounds like inside information about work will be quoted and misquoted, so censor yourself. (I certainly have been burned enough to know about that!)
- Don’t talk about work, except in the most general way. It takes the relaxation out of the party and is boring to most guests.
- Don’t make the mistake of thinking that work hierarchy doesn’t apply at parties. Of course it does!
- Participate. Walk from group to group to say hello and introduce your guest. Don’t stand in the corner people watching–it looks rude. If you don’t want to be at the party, don’t go, but don’t attend then act miserable or aloof.
- Get outside your usual work clique and mingle with everyone.
- If you bring your spouse or partner, swear to each other that you will present the image of a happy couple. No bickering, arguing, flirting with others or showing your unloving feelings. If you can’t keep it together for a couple of hours, you should stay home.
- Demonstrate your social graces and social adeptness. The repercussions of bad behavior can be severe. The memories of you being a gracious guest or host and a pleasant person (even if you feel you are behaving a bit more bland than normal) will remain in the minds of others for a long time.
At the beginning of the holiday season I wrote about not being a party-pooper at work and I encouraged everyone to make an effort to enjoy the festivities. I heard from many people who agreed and some who didn’t. Even those who had another view were unanimous that they didn’t mind a few cookies and some decorations here and there. One man said he had been inspired to help coworkers put up the decorations and he found he enjoyed it far more than he thought he would. Their disagreement was more with the idea of forcing people to participate in things that seemed to be outside the scope of workplace camaraderie. I agree with them on that topic!
Happy Hour events. In some workplaces a weekly or monthly “happy hour” get-together is routine and a fun activity for many. However, not everyone wants to drink alcohol, be with those who do or be in a bar or similar place, even if no one is having alcoholic drinks. Many people need to get home and be with their families. Some know they have alcohol, smoking or sexual temptations and they try to avoid situations that lead to those things. Some can’t afford drinks and snacks every Friday afternoon or even once a month. Many have told me that happy hour times tend to be gossip times in which remarks are made about those who aren’t there. As a result, they don’t want to go but also are fearful about not being present!
If your office has a regular happy hour, make sure everyone knows it is optional. Don’t let anyone who is absent become the target of remarks. If there are problems with anyone about work it should be handled openly at work. Whateever your role in the workplace, you can stop that kind of conversation. Keep the Happy Hour happy and don’t let anyone drive home if there is even a mild concern about sobriety.
Group and spouses functions after work or on weekends. Some employees enjoy participating in all-group events such as movies, bowling, sports or other activities that happen after work or on weekends. Usually spouses are invited to these and that seems to make people view them more positively. However, there should not be even a vague hint that it has anything to do with work success. Example: “You don’t have to attend, but I see it as a way to decide if you want to keep being part of our team or not.” In the real-life situation, the threat was obvious and even though the manager didn’t have that level of authority, the employee knuckled under.
Company parties and picnics. I think these should be appreciated by employees rather than avoided, but they still should not be used to judge the quality of the employee on the job and should not be mandatory. (Often those who opt out would not have added much anyway, because of their negative view of everything, so don’t push it!)
Charitable giving or activities: I’ve always supported food drives, Toys for Tots, The United Way, The Combined Campaign, school volunteerism and similar activities, but I resented the few times when it was made a requirement not a choice–most people I know feel the same way. So, before your business, group or division adopts a school, supports a program or has a blood drive, make sure there is an understanding among organizers that participation is voluntary and no strong-arm tactics will be allowed.
Your role: If you are a manager or supervisor speak up to represent the employees in your group when it seems there is inappropriate pressure being put on to participate in any activity or function that should be voluntary. If you are the one who came up with an idea for a function, charity or progam, take your ego out of it. Getting 100% participation doesn’t mean you have 100% support. It may actually mean 100% of the employees resent being badgered into participating.
If you are an employe who feels pressured, think about whether you really must participate or is it just that you don’t want to say no? What will happen if you don’t take part? Often the idea of intimidation is mostly in the mind of the employee. They could courteously say no without repercussion, but they would rather sigh heavily and do something they don’t enjoy. Decide and do it or not, of your own free will.
Bottom line: We still have a work week to go before Christmas. Enjoy the season and encourage those you work with to relax, smile and enjoy it too–without implying, “Or else.”
Developing a New Tradition
I’ve posted this every year and recently was asked if I was going to publish my famous cranberry sauce recipe again. Another tradition I guess!
Several years ago my hair stylist and I were talking about traditional recipes for holiday dinners. She said: “I always made traditional cranberry sauce until I found a recipe that sounded really weird but good and tried it on my family. They loved it and never guessed what was in it!”
I asked her what it was and she said, “It’s Pork Rind Cranberry Sauce. And, before you say you wouldn’t like it, let me tell you it’s different but really delicious.”
I was somewhat incredulous and asked about the recipe. She said, “You cook cranberry sauce just like always. Then, you add pork rinds, stir, and let it set until it cools. It gives it a different taste, but nothing you can quite identify. My kids absolutely loved it.”
I asked if it gave it a different texture and she said no, that the pork rinds mix right in and don’t change the cranberry sauce texture at all. She made me promise I would try it some time, even though it didn’t sound like something I would like. I said I would try it, but would probably make the regular kind too. She said, “You wait, people will eat more of this kind.”
The recipe was on my mind as I walked out of the salon, which was near a grocery store. I turned back and asked her how much of the pork rinds she put in the sauce. She said, “Not a lot, just enough for flavor. About a fourth cup for a regular recipe, but you can adjust that to taste. I buy those little bottles at the liquor store.”
That was the first time I heard her clearly–and also the first time I realized the recipe she gave me was not for Pork Rind Cranberry Sauce, but for Port Wine Cranberry Sauce. Big difference.
Now you see why I stick to traditional recipes.
There used to be a fantastic pizza place on Highway 101 in Encinitas, California: OlyO’s. (It’s been a wine bistro since 2006.) The small space had casual tables and wooden benches that were always crowded but fun. There was noisy conversation, laughter and a beach within walking distance. Dave and Sue Olsen were the owners and when Dave chatted with me briefly one time when I visited, I felt very special because he had a role in making OlyO’s the perfect California beach town pizzeria. (And, the pizza was spectacular!)
There was a sign at the front, “If there is time to lean, it is time to clean.” Dave told me he had been given that advice early in his career. He and the employees apparently followed the advice, because they were constantly wiping, washing, tidying and putting away. For a hectically busy, small pizza kitchen, it looked very clean.
Since then I’ve heard bartenders and store managers say that adage–and I’ve said it to myself! I have a mental OlyO’s list of things to do–recurring tasks, now and then chores and things to start even if I don’t get them done right away. It’s been useful for keeping me energized, productive and caught up with tasks I might normally procrastinate about.
Create An OlyO’s List
If you’re supervising, managing or working with a group, enlist their assistance in developing a list of things that can be done instead of killing time in the afternoon, before lunch, the days before vacation or when the schedule has some free time–even five minutes. Or, make a list just for yourself.
Clean the break room or coffee area.
Clean around the copier or in the supply room.
Clean your desk top or get rid of clutter.
Contact someone who could be a good resource.
Do something on a project that always needs work (Research, organize, file, shred, replace, stock, clean, inventory or whatever ongoing work is required.)
Delete old emails or old files or organize them more conveniently.
If you’re going to talk with coworkers anyway, talk about work in a positive way or focus on solving problems not just complaining about them.
Pick three recurring problems and write them on a card to place where you can see it. Now and then use your less-busy times to think of solutions to those problems. Put a due date and swear you’ll have at least one option to consider or to present to the group.
Leave your work area if you can and go to another area to say hello–without being disruptive there and without taking more than a few minutes at most.
Make a list of the people who have helped you recently and send a thank you note. It doesn’t have to be mushy, just sincerely appreciative.
Put something on your calendar and get it started as a way to force yourself to take action.
Scan some material you want to save or can share.
Get started on something you’ve been stalling about.
Produce some work in advance of when you need it, so it will be ready to go.
Freshen a PowerPoint presentation or edit a document you use but haven’t evaluated in awhile.
Make a list that fits your situation or have your group make a combined list, then distribute it or have it in your desk drawer, billfold or workspace. Use it to provide a push when the temptation is to lean instead of clean!