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Today in My History

2001:  Apprentice Hermit
2002:  The Numbers Game
2003:  Katie, How COULD You?
2004:  The Eww Factor
2005Old Friends

2006:  My Life is an Open Book

2007: Rampant Homophobia
2008: The World Keeps On Spinning
Bri, Paycheck and Grandma

Noises Off

Books Read in 2010
Lost Light"

Recipes for Cousins Day Drinks
(updated 9/4/09)


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Ideas Worth Spreading
An Ecological Christmas
Stupid, Callous, Homophobic, Hateful Legislation
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15 March 2010

Facebook just started a new group (I think they start about 100 a day) for "People Who Always Have To Spell Their Names For Other People."  It already has 548,756 members.

I've been spelling my name all my life.  You cannot believe how many people cannot spell "Beverly."  All throughout my life at home, I was constantly asked if it was "ly" or "ley."  The best day, though was when I was shopping at The Emporium in San Francisco and someone asked me how to spell "West."  (Gee.  I dunno.  What are my options?)

I should have known that I was asking for trouble when I took Walt's name.  I never realized that my name would not be "Bev Sykes" but "Bev Sykes S-Y-K-E-S."  I don't even think about it any more.  I just automatically say and then spell my name.

I suppose that I'm glad I never married our Ukranian friend, David's godfather Andrij.  All those years we were at the Newman Center in Berkeley whenever we went out to eat in a group, we always gave his name - Hornjatkewyc - even if he wasn't with us.  We laughed watching the host or hostess trying to pronounce that name (horn-yacht-KAY-vich.  Sorta.  Remember to roll the "r.")  One creative hostess at the Pancake House just gave up and called for "Mr. Horn."

As accustomed as I am to saying and spelling my name, I certainly never envisioned an entire lifetime of being called Mrs. Skies.  It boggles my mind that someone can look at the name sYkes and think it is pronounced "Skies."   But I'll bet that 90% of people contacting me for the first time make that mistake.

I hereby apologize to our children and my daughters-in-law for doing that to them.  I shoulda only had girls who had a fighting chance to finding someone whose name they would like to take as their own!

Curmudgeon Andy Rooney was railing at the US Postal Service on 60 Minutes tonight, pointing out how many post offices have closed in the past five years vs. how much the population has grown and what a terrible, unacceptable thing that is. 

The post office has been a huge part of my life, with my father's working the mail on the train from San Francisco to Los Angeles for almost all of his career, certainly for all the years I lived at home. 

I also had a fond spot in my heart for the mailman.   We were the third house on his route, after he took the bus from Rincon Annex.   I would sit in the window of the flat and watch for the mailman to get off the bus and start down the hill, and hope there was something in his magic bag for me.   Christmas time was the best because they would deliver mail 2-3 times a day.   I corresponded regularly with Peach and with some penpals I had in England.

When we moved to Davis and had foreign students living with us, I knew my mailman and was told that I received more foreign mail than anybody in Davis (quite a thing to say in a town with a University!).

But over the years we have seen a decline in postal service (where once I received a letter addressed to "Mrs. Beverly, Davis, CA" now I can't mail a letter to a prominent business in a mall 5 blocks away from here, just using the business name and the cross streets!) and a regular increase in postage to where it is ridiculously expensive to mail Christmas cards.

E-mail has changed how people think about communication.  If I send a letter to my next door neighbor it may take a week to be delivered because it has to go to Sacramento to be sorted.  If I e-mail something to Peggy, 9,000 miles away, it will be delivered in seconds.  And it's free.

There will always be a need for some sort of postal service, I suppose, but I feel no pangs over the difficulties that the USPS finds itself in.  It tells us every year that it is in such debt that it has to raise rates to mail a letter, and then tells us that it has to cut back on services.

Paying more for less makes no sense to me just to keep the postal service alive.

And no matter how much Andy Rooney prefers "a real letter" to e-mail, I'm afraid that the world has moved beyond that and those happy times that I remember too, are definitely a thing of the past.


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