03/29/14 1:00pm
03/29/2014 1:00 PM

Driving to work, I heard a song recorded by the American rock band Imagine Dragons titled “Radioactive.” The refrain “I’m radioactive, I’m radioactive” struck a chord with me (no pun intended). Arriving at work, I felt a plethora of emotions: sadness, anger and the realization that, now that I’m widowed again, I indeed felt radioactive.  (more…)

01/09/12 4:08pm
01/09/2012 4:08 PM

Right now it’s quiet time all over the North Fork. Windows are tightly closed, locked. Some folks even put up storm windows. No question about it. Chill times are here. Quiet times, too, since those closed windows shut out sounds as well as shivers. Funny, isn’t it? A few months back we read of noise problems on the North Fork. Music that’s loud, truck and boat motors running all night, helicopters intruding on peaceful skies. Finally last summer, a noise ordinance in Southold.

But with our windows closed we come to realize that some North Fork noise is not noise at all. Rather it is sound, sound we take pleasure in, sound we miss during the “closed up” months.

For example, there’s a Greenport guy, name of David Pultz. He’s married to Gillian Pultz of the North Fork Animal Welfare League. So you’d imagine Dave’s special sounds would be a woof, a meow, a tweet. Not so. Dave thinks back a few years and recalls two treasures of North Fork sounds.

One is the Greenport foghorn from early misty mornings past. How comforting it was. How secure. Dave said the foghorn sounded from a Greenport shipyard and evokes emotion still.

The other North Fork sound Dave enjoys is the 6 p.m. siren from the Greenport firehouse. Years ago Ed Pultz, Dave’s father, told Dave over and over again, “When you hear that whistle get home for dinner.” That 6 p.m. sound is familiar to so many North Forkers. Tradition ties it to dinner time in homes from Riverhead to Orient. May it always be.

I’ve a North Fork sound bringing me not memories, but anticipation. Early in the morning, certainly well before 6, I hear the Long Island Rail Road whistle as a train rumbles by about a mile away from my Cut­ch­ogue home.
I wonder, as I listen in bed or in the kitchen eating Special K and blueberries, who the engineer is, who the passengers are. Where are they going? I bid them a safe journey each open-window day. In some odd way they have become my friends and I wish I were traveling with them. Not necessarily to Greenport or New York City but to those faraway places with strange-sounding names.

With windows closed, my friends and fantasies fade.

Now hear this. It certainly appears to prove one woman’s meat is another’s poison. There are, on this North Fork, at least two ears that enjoy hearing a tractor at work. Those ears belong to Southold’s Sue Purcell.

Sue recalls “staying over” at her grandma’s home on Ackerly Pond Lane. That road, by the way, was formerly Bowery Lane. The name change must be a story in itself.

Anyway, Grandma Marta Dramm lived next to Diller’s farm and when Sue had a stay-over at Grandma’s the Diller tractors awakened her each morning. Those machines were “big and exciting” to young Sue.

Fully awake, Sue would rush downstairs to breakfast made by her grandma. A breakfast served with lots of milk and lots of love. And outside a tractor welcomed a child to a new North Fork summer’s day.

In Southold still, stop by for a visit with Judy Clark. Perhaps walk in her backyard for a bit. If you’re lucky you’ll hear Judy’s favorite North Fork sounds — sounds unheard through winter-closed windows.

First, the winter leaves, the ones left clinging to branches. Brittle and brown, dried and desolate, they rustle in winter wind. Judy thinks of that rustle as a feeble protest. Leaves refusing to go gently into that good earth. Come spring, those leaves will be gone, their protests giving way to new life.

And then there are the crows. They settle in the woods behind Judy’s home. Noisy, almost arrogant, unlike their shy, smaller bird friends. Crows are smart, too. Judy recalls seeing a TV show explaining how crows use twigs as tools. Watching the crows through snug-closed windows, Judy can’t hear their calls. But her heart responds to remembered sound.

Perhaps that’s what beloved, familiar sounds do best. Even if just in memory, they bring a sense of well-being to January’s pale days and long dark nights. Someday soon we’ll open all the windows.

Ms. Lombardi is a resident of Cutchogue.

01/02/12 10:18am
01/02/2012 10:18 AM

J.P. Morgan, Frick and me. We belong. If they’d lived in my time we’d be friends. The three of us, we collect. We like things, and things we like, we buy. They bought at auctions, world-famous art galleries, museums. I buy my things at thrift shops and yard sales. What’s the difference?

Twice in my life I ventured into the high-pressure business of auctions. No, not Christie’s, not Sotheby’s. Too difficult to park around those places. It was at Markel’s, once, in their old barn in Southold. Without my permission my right arm raised itself and attracted the attention of the eager auctioneer, Dave Markel, I think. I left that night with an old cast-iron park bench — like they don’t make them anymore, I was told. I can see why. That bench is so heavy that even a ferocious wind in Orient will not budge it an inch. I still have the bench in the same spot where I dropped it 20 years ago.

My other win at Markel’s was a primitive or naïf oil painting of children and cows with a menacing cloud that looks like the profile of an angry mother. It’s on a pale green wall in my study, the room where not much is done but where things collect; yes, those things that make me a spiritual brother of J.P. and Frick. There’s a word in French slang that sounds like Frick but is spelled “fric.” It means money. Too bad Henry Clay Frick didn’t live in France. The 99 percent  would have loved it.

My other auction action was at B. Altman and Company on Fifth Avenue. They were closing down the store. Everything was to go. I wanted a piece of it, a part of New York’s history. I walked up and down the store. There was a down sofa and a set of bistro tables and chairs that came from their tea room. Must have it, I thought, perfect for my restoration of the Bay House facing Orient harbor. This time my arm didn’t move quickly enough and when it finally made a waving motion in the air a stranger had gotten the whole bistro set and the sofa with a ridiculous low bid. I instantly hated that guy and felt he had somehow unfairly won the stuff. The bistro set haunted me for weeks. I never went to another auction except a silent one at Poquatuck Hall in Orient.

Let me not feel sorry for myself. I actually have a museum of my own. Strictly for friends and the plumber once in a while. My house in Orient. A museum of books, dust, toys and stuffed animals. A few cups and saucers and, for someone who drinks little and rarely has guests, a surprising number of glasses. Why so many? I have no explanation. I forgot to mention: on the walls, paintings by our late friend Rodman Pell. He painted where he used to run his fresh fish market in Greenport. He knew well how to charm the ladies. My sister was a fan and introduced him to UNICEF, where she helped him become one of their Christmas card artists.

In New York I keep a collection of paperweights. A lot of papers here. A good match. Stuffed animals take over couches and chairs. Certain days there are fewer of them than the day before. It seems they move on their own. My sister reminds me they are not alive. I tend to forget. We put a few in a comfortable closet like children in a crib. Of course I’ll take them out of the closet on happy days. They need to breathe, I say. Some, the lucky ones, have migrated to Orient, where they spend their retirement on couches, where else?

Books, like stuffed animals, have a life of their own. You can’t throw books away. Although I have seen plenty left at the dump with the recyclables. I have brought a few back home. Some were from people I knew. They had died. That’s what happens when you die. A six-volume history of the Presbyterian church was there. I rescued it and donated it to the Southold library book sale. Then I took it back. It had belonged to a friend. The collector collects other people’s stuff. It becomes our stuff. We get attached. Once an object enters our home, it stays. We’re caught.

There are two rows of books on each shelf. First row you can see. Second row you don’t even know is there until you pull out a book from first row. Don’t think second row is second rank. Here’s T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” retrieved from second row with a couple of years of dust. Let’s get the Swiffer dusters out of the box. Whoever invented this deserves an honorary library card. Try them if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Don’t ask me about New Year’s resolutions. Don’t yell at me on the street, “Hey, hoarder, how’s it going?” I am a collector. But I have changed my mind. J.P. Morgan, Henry Clay Frick, we wouldn’t be friends at all. They are not in my league. They don’t belong. I never saw them at the Opportunity Shop in Greenport. They lived in palaces in Manhattan that became their museums. That’s easy. My house is already too small for my books and stuffed animals. That’s tough. They would never have been able to deal with my space problem. I don’t have butlers like they did. I’m the butler to my dog, I am a poet, a monthly columnist, and I have written short plays, especially for the singer and actress Yvonne Constant, who played on Broadway in “La Plume de ma Tante” and was a frequent guest on the Johnny Carson show.

Another hundred years: I’ll still be checking what’s in the second row. The Frick and the Morgan, they’ll be around forever. My museum, that’s another story. It will go when I go. That’s the pity of it. Unless there is a wife to keep the house open and the fire going. I’m working on that. I’ll let the wife move in and let go of a few Teddy Bears. Hear that, Nancy? Why not dream?

Pierre Gazarian is a poet and a writer of one-act plays.

08/26/11 12:37pm
08/26/2011 12:37 PM

One Saturday afternoon, my stepdaughter Angela and I were sitting at her kitchen table kibitzing about this and that. While pouring me a cup of tea, she sighed and said, “Saturday is my laundry day and I dread it. I don’t know anyone who likes to do laundry.”

“Really, Angela?” I said. “I like doing the laundry, especially the folding part. Bring it on.”

Angela eyeballed me for a long moment, then replied, “Ceil, I love you and all, so don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re weird!”

Angela excused herself and disappeared into the laundry room. She returned a few minutes later carrying two large baskets of clean laundry and plopped them down in front of me. And so it began.

Being called weird is nothing new, what with loving winter and my water drinking peculiarities. (I drink water out of a favorite glass that’s inscribed with “Spaghetti Factory.”) However, this column is not about my weirdness; it’s about my fondness for doing the laundry. But wait, maybe to some folks, the laundry thing is weird.

As the oldest of six kids, laundry became my job. Mom would sing, “Celia, you have laundry” to the tune of one of her favorite opera arias. Laundry-loving isn’t genetic, since only one of my sisters also enjoys doing laundry. Another sister can take it or leave it, while the third will go out and buy new underwear when her laundry backs up. I haven’t a clue about my brothers’ laundry predilections. Obviously, Mom wasn’t crazy about doing the laundry, either; after all, she pawned it off on me.

By the time my sons, Greg and Jeff, came along, I was well versed in laundry dos and don’ts. Moreover, folding laundry proved relaxing. As my kids grew into their teens, chaos ruled; but nothing much changed in the laundry department, except that there was more of it. Control freak that I am, I suppose seeing their clothes neatly folded gave me some semblance of order. But before they left for college, they learned to do their own laundry. Nowadays, much to the delight of my daughters-in-law, my sons don’t mind doing laundry. Hmm. Maybe it is genetic.

Back when I was gainfully employed, it was mandatory that all medical personnel wear white uniforms. Saturday mornings found me in the basement starching and ironing my uniforms. I loved the sizzling sound the iron made and the smell of starch. (OK, weird.) Gradually, the whites gave way to pastel scrubs. I still passed an iron over them, but nixed the starch.

Frank is always neatly dressed, although when we first started dating, I noticed that he always wore the same six or seven shirts.

When I suggested that we shop for new shirts he said, “Nope, got lots of shirts — some I’ve never worn. Angela buys them for Father’s Day.”

The next time I visited with Frank in Rocky Point, I peeked (well, snooped) in his bureau drawer and, sure enough, I found rows of neatly stacked shirts. After some detective work, I discovered that he never rotated his shirts. He washed his clothes once a week and placed his clean laundry on top.

When I ran this laundry article idea by Frank, he joked, “What are you gonna say about me this time?

Before I could answer, he added, “And watch it, Ceil, you’re gonna have people ringing our doorbell with baskets of laundry.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“You never know, Ceil.”

Just then, the phone rang. It was Angela inviting us over for the following weekend. After checking our calendar, I called her back.

“Angela, how’s Sunday after church?”

“Ceil, can you and Dad come on Saturday?”

“I guess.”

Even though Angela considers me weird, we enjoy a close and loving relationship. But lately, I’m getting a tad suspicious about these Saturday soirees. Methinks it has something to do with her laundry.

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.

07/18/11 2:51pm
07/18/2011 2:51 PM

In the hit movie “Love Story,” Ali MacGraw’s character, Jenny, utters this now-famous line to her husband, Oliver, played by Ryan O’Neal: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” The film is a tearjerker and is considered one of the most romantic of all time by the American Film Institute — and I get it. However, that sappy line is the dumbest declaration I’ve ever heard. Saying I’m sorry is always appropriate and, occasionally, saying I’m sorry is simply not enough.

We live in a world where some folks feel they can get away with stuff that no sane person would tolerate, as long as they apologize. I’m not referring to a heartfelt apology, but rather to those folks I’ve dubbed “habituals” — a term I’ve coined for want of a better word.

Not all politicians are philanderers, but for those who have strayed, technology hasn’t proven user-friendly. An embarrassing photo is posted on the Internet, a child pops out of the woodwork, the ever-vigilant paparazzi catch an intimate moment, etc. Then — oops! Caught. Denial is the first order of business, followed by a variety of tall tales. (Remember the politician who said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail via Argentina?) Finally, they stand tearfully before the cameras and apologize to the wives, kids, constituents, country and pet dogs — after the fact. Would they have come clean if they hadn’t been caught?

Most of us have encountered the disloyalty of the now ex-friend. You know, the one who blew us off because something better came down the pike, or the one whose loose lips disclosed a confidential conversation. Then there is the ex-friend who talks about everybody, so we gotta assume she’s yakking about us, too. The friend may be contrite or, more often, said friend is clueless regarding her behavior. However, here’s what the friend failed to remember: This is not the first occurrence and, sadly, we wise up and realize it won’t be the last.

Many gals (guys, too) suffer from domestic violence. The abuser tries to maintain control by isolating the victim through physical, verbal, emotional and psychological abuse. After the abuse, an apology usually ensues. Unfortunately, until the victim sees through the apology, or suffers severe harm, these abuses can escalate. And here’s the kicker: Sometimes, when the police respond to a domestic violence call, they are turned away by the victim, who says the abuser “is sorry,” and the abuser promises, “It won’t happen again.” Only it does.

Of course, there are things that aren’t deal-breakers, but can annoy us to the max. I purchased an engagement gift online and somewhere between Ohio and Jamesport, the package went missing. My credit card was charged and repeated inquiries proved futile. The upshot? The package never showed up, the engagement party came and went (I bought another gift), it took months to straighten out my credit card and everyone was sorry. Really, folks, sorry just didn’t cut it.

Then there’s the other end of the spectrum. Humankind is beset with frailties: We make mistakes, we misspeak, we’re judgmental, we get angry and say and do regrettable things. We may inadvertently or perhaps by design cause another to become enraged at us, and although we’ve apologized, the tensions may remain and even grow.

Ah, me. Perhaps the relationship remains frozen because our apology consists of empty words. I’ll bet if one puts feet on an apology and does something to make amends, then it becomes more about forgiveness and redemption, and none of us is without the need of forgiveness.

I suppose most of us can be labeled as “habituals” at one time or another. As Martin Luther King Jr. aptly put it, “There is some good in the worst of us and evil in the best of us.” Saying I’m sorry may or may not be enough, but, hey, it’s a start.

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.

07/06/11 10:54am
07/06/2011 10:54 AM

“You know, Molly, I ain’t stupid, right?”

“Let’s say you’re no intellectual, no Jean-Paul Sartre …”

“Who’s this Jean-Paul? You never told me about this old boyfriend.”

“He’s French …”

“Don’t tell me more. How could you ever go out with some dumb frog?”

“Fred …”

“I’m so angry. I don’t even like people looking at you on the street.”

“Listen to me, Fred, he’s not only French, he’s dead.”

“Well, that’s good news, Molly, and he’d better stay dead or I’ll kill him.”

“And he’s not only dead, he’s famous and I never met him. He was a writer …”

“You mean books?”

“Yes, that kind of writer. Writers write, cooks cook, bakers bake. That’s life. We each have a job to do.”

“And me?”

“Husband, friend, dog walker, caregiver, driver, barbecue engineer, carpenter, plumber, everything …”

“Lover, too?”

“That also. No need to be jealous. I’m your woman. Your old woman, I’m afraid. Nothing I can do about that. Jean-Paul had more than one woman at a time. Don’t do that to me. I couldn’t handle it. You might as well forget the young waitresses.”

“I’m too busy for that. But I need your help. All these years and I still can’t sew a button. How do you explain that? What’s wrong with me? Needle and thread and I’m lost. As confused as a chicken who’s found a knife in the grass. What will I do in the middle of the Atlantic with torn sails? All by myself.”

“You’ll never be in the middle of the Atlantic alone. Have you got secret plans?”

“I’ve been thinking …”

“That’s when you get in trouble. You need action.”

“Yeah, I like throwing them charcoals in the fire, flipping the burgers.”

“Sewing buttons, it gives you too much time to think.”

“What about a one-button shirt? Bet nobody thought of that. One big button, no more needle.”

“Except that one big button needs to be sewn, too.”

“I’ve been thinking about it in my sleep. A young waitress could teach me …”

“NO. No young waitress in my house. I’ve tried to teach you. It’s like having our dog Muffin read the Bible. Hopeless.”

“I built our house and I can’t sew a button. Don’t make sense.”

“But you can change the oil. You’re good with cars. The old Mercury Grand Marquis looks dead in the backyard among the weeds, with stuff growing inside. You sit in it, Fred, for two minutes and the engine shakes and growls, ready to go. I hear it from my bed. I love the sound. It means travel, happy times, the winding roads, from Orient, on to Southold, Riverhead, New York, down South to Florida till you can’t go no further, Key West. You know how to make it happen. Who cares about sewing buttons as long as we can dream.”

“You may be right, Molly, but so many idiots are sewing buttons around the world and I can’t do it! Billions of people are sewing buttons at this moment except me. Billions except for one little guy on the North Fork. Am I smart or what, tell me.”

“Some people build houses, some write poems, some race at Indianapolis, some plant tulips or do embroidery. Everyone has a story and a tune.”

“And some idiot, he don’t know how to sew buttons.”

“I’ll teach you. Tomorrow. All your shirts are missing buttons. I feel terrible. It’s my fault. My hands, my eyes, nothing works.”

“You was good at it, Molly. The quilts you made, the one everybody wanted to buy, but I wouldn’t let it go, even the little winter coat for Muffin. People ask where they can get one for their dog, and I say, my wife she made it, she designed it, not for sale anywhere. Your hands, they’re incredible.”

“Tomorrow I’ll teach you how to sew a button. We won’t quit. Remember the president: “Yes, we can.” You can, too. It won’t affect the future of the world. But it will make your world better. It’s a very peaceful thing to sew buttons. You’ll see.”

“Well, thank you, Molly. It don’t mean much to most people. But my first button, that will feel good. Now I’m taking Muffin out for her walk. Then I’ll flip the burgers.”

Pierre Gazarian is a poet and a writer of one-act plays. Email: pgazarian@aol.com.

06/14/11 2:14pm
06/14/2011 2:14 PM

While sitting in my doctor’s waiting room, I picked up a magazine and started thumbing through the pages. An article titled “Taming your monkey mind” sparked my interest. However, before I could read the first sentence, I was summoned into the exam room and that was that.

I was curious and clueless about the monkey mind thing — but not for long. Upon returning home, a quick Google search turned up the following: A monkey mind is best described as the endless chattering of one’s mind. The mind jumps from thought to thought, like a monkey jumps from tree to tree.
Yikes! The description fit me to a tee.

We live pressure-filled lives; therefore, our brains are constantly hijacked with anxiety and distraction. The experts say that stress is public enemy No. 1 (all right, outside of Osama bin Laden, who is no longer with us). Stress can cause a myriad of physical and emotional symptoms that may lessen our resistance to disease; stress can kill.

Luckily for us, there are numerous stress reduction techniques that are effective in lowering tension, and I’ve tried a good many of them. Exercise is a great stress-buster. OK, so I’m somewhat fanatical about getting in my daily walks, but with good reason. Walking usually fends off my “crazies.” Sometimes, though, the crazies get the upper hand and, well, you can guess the rest.

I practice yoga regularly at home. Occasionally, while relaxing into a pose, my monkey mind will taunt me with thoughts like, Am I doing this posture correctly? or Watch that knee! Twenty minutes of deep breathing is calming, except when I’m waiting for the timer to go off, signaling the end of my session.

Attending church has a soothing effect on my psyche, unless, during the homily, the vicar brings up a line of reasoning that I hadn’t previously considered. Then, it’s the same-old, same-old me.

There is one thing that tames my monkey mind every time. I rendezvous at a spot that is conducive to relaxation: soft music, low lights and scented candles — and it’s not what you may be thinking. I rendezvous at a spa where I indulge myself in a full body massage. If you’ve never tried it, do so; or if you have, don’t you agree that receiving a massage is better than chocolate? Well, some may argue that chocolate rules, but, hey, it has calories.

Upon entering said spa, my body readies itself for relaxation; my monkey mind, however, is still at it. Unlike in the game show “Let’s Make a Deal,” it doesn’t matter which door I enter, the treatment room is a haven unto itself. I disrobe to the extent that I’m comfortable and crawl under the light cover. Then the massage starts: I do not speak (quite a feat for me), and slowly, my body begins to yield; my mind becomes extraordinarily quiet. Truthfully, I have no idea what happens during my massage; moreover, I don’t care. All I know is that afterward, I am tranquil and could use a spatula to help pry me off the table.

Because we spend so much time in our heads, doesn’t our body deserve a maintenance plan? Shouldn’t we care for our body as well as we love and take care of our car or home? Learning to love and nurture our body is a prerequisite to a more peaceful life.

Frank knows how much I enjoy my massage experience. Consequently, when there is a special occasion, he presents me with a spa gift certificate. And, sometimes, he has surprised me with a “just because” spa certificate. Hmm. Kinda makes me wonder.

I’m certain that Frank presents me with said spa certificates because he loves me; he knows how much I value my serenity. I’m also certain that Frank wants to deflect the unfortunate spillover of my monkey mind into our daily lives.

Ah, yes. My Frank is nobody’s fool.

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.

05/17/11 12:29am
05/17/2011 12:29 AM

Celia Ianelli

Frank and I were dining out with friends and, as usual, the conversation was lively and varied. Unusual, however, was that the chatter bypassed our health and settled on kids: our kids, grandkids and everyone else’s kids. Several times during the meal this question was raised: “What‘s wrong with kids today?”

Although this column is titled “Forward Living,” let’s rewind to the ’50s and ’60s, when some of us were kids.

Differentiating between the sexes was easy: Gals wore skirts, dresses and jeans (at the time known as dungarees). We rolled up said jeans and paired them with our dad’s white dress shirts. Guys wore button-down shirts with cuffed jeans or white T-shirts under black leather jackets and boots.

Friday-night dances were central to our lives. Gals sported sprayed-to-death bouffant hair and wore crinolines under poodle skirts. This getup gave us a circumference of five feet and added two inches to our height. (We thought we looked chic!) My favorite guys slicked backed their hair into a DA; others had crew cuts.

We slow-danced to Connie Francis crooning “Who’s Sorry Now” and Elvis singing “Love me Tender.” At the CYO dances, the nuns patrolled the gym and strictly enforced the “no close dancing” rule. Actually, the crinolines made close dancing a moot issue.

The nuns relaxed while we jitterbugged to Bill Haley and the Comets’ “Rock around the Clock” or Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.” However, they frowned when Jerry Lee Lewis belted out “Great Balls of Fire.” (Hmm — I did catch Sister Josephine tapping her foot.)

Gals loved Elvis; some guys didn’t get Elvis, yet they took pains to imitate him. Chubby Checker taught us two new dances: the Twist and the Pony. Alan Freed, Cousin Brucie and Murray the K were the iconic DJs that dominated the airwaves.

Television needed no parental controls. Shows like “Leave It to Beaver, “Father Knows Best” and “Happy Days” idolized the American family. TV kids were polite; the dad dressed in a shirt and tie — and always knew best. The mom, a homemaker, wore shirtwaist dresses, high heels and a perpetual smile.

Because we married young, most gals skipped over college, although some of us earned our degrees later.
Methinks we never fully outgrew the doll phase; instead, our girls were clad in frilly dresses with matching hair bows and white Mary Jane shoes. Our boys wore saddle shoes and knee socks with short pants. (Forgive me, my sons.) Shoes required white shoe polish and those shoelaces! Lest you think we were too neurotic, our kids wore sneakers and jeans for play.

Back to 2011.

Jeans, unisex clothing, girlie-girl outfits, neon hair and guys sporting earrings are some of the norms. I don’t get Lady Gaga arriving at the Grammy Awards in an Egg; nevertheless, the gal is engaging. Pink and Kesha, aka Kes$ha (not a typo), although glitzy, are entertaining. But wait! Didn’t Elvis dress in flamboyant jumpsuits? And remember his swivel hips?

Today’s TV families are more grounded in reality. (Lord knows how many cumulative hours our generation spent in therapy bemoaning the lack of a perfect family.)

Many kids send and receive 2,000 text messages a month. Yours truly had the telephone cord stretched into the basement (no cordless phones) and yakked for hours. Mom couldn’t hear me whispering, “I dig … Joe is groovy.”
Two incomes are a necessity. Most moms multi-task and don’t have time to play dress-up with their kids. (Lucky kids!)

What’s wrong with kids today? Nothing!

If you’re in doubt, check out the song “Kids” from the musical “Bye Bye Birdie.” Here’s a sampling.

Kids!
I don’t know what’s wrong with these kids today!
Who can understand anything they say?
Why can’t they be like we were.
Perfect in every way?
What’s the matter with kids today?

Incidentally, “Bye Bye Birdie” is a satire on American society in the ’50s. Wanna guess who they were singing about?

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.