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How I spent Myself

Claudine Jones-Scene4 Magazine

Claudine Jones

Your Comment on 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates Are Lining Up. Who Matches the Moment?

Claudine |Oakland 

January 1

Wow judgmental much? have you looked at the price of rent? whose fault do you think that is? taking cheap shots at young folk not very helpful. I'm turning 70 this year by the way. hoping that we can pull something together by some concerted attempts at listening to each other.


In the Country of Motherhood, Finding My Own Path

January 21

Enough with the judging! Every single woman on this planet has had a different experience. I could give you a bunch of anecdotal stuff about my pregnancies, my early years, my sorrow at not having a daughter even though I love my three sons. I could also tell you that I raised them alone because their father was killed. I tried at that point to be both parents, I figured they needed a father as well so I tried to do that. Didn't exactly work. But I was totally making it up as I went along. Nothing had prepared me for that. So my take away from this article is that nobody has any business telling anybody else what they should or should not do. This is an intensely personal area of life. That's one of the reasons I'm so astounded when some kind of template is placed on motherhood or Parenthood. I'm here to tell you, it's not possible. Just by its very nature. All these years later now with my sons in their forties, and a lovely grandson whom I adore, the one thing that I am proudest of as a mother is that my sons are decent human beings. But I don't define myself by motherhood.


Prominent Democrats Form Pro-Israel Group to Counter Skepticism on the Left  

January 29


Fair enough. However if this your solution, can it not apply universally? I arrive at your address, I really want live there. Pack your bags, sir. And don't give me any nonsense about titles and deeds. If you don't like it, too bad. There are lots of other places you could live. Go! Get out!
I have permission from god, or lacking that, elected officials.


The Bad News About Helicopter Parenting, It Works

February 7

Wow. Simplistic much? are we factoring in gender? how many siblings, position in chronological order of birth, genetic predispositions. The list goes on and on. And of course the giant red flag: how on Earth can you equate material success and happiness. As far as I'm concerned the gold standard is are my children decent human beings.


The Progressive Assault on Israel

February 9

What I find really sad here is the complete lack of acknowledgement that there may actually be some anti-zionists out there, myself amongst them, who use their brains. Who are informed, thoughtful, inclusive... in fact, are pretty much insulted by the tone of this article / opinion. It's as if we hadn't thought through our opinions, we jump wildly into what is demonstrably an immensely complex and tragic struggle. No, sir, you may use a broad brush, but your painting is sloppy; it will at some point have to be redone by more skilled hands. We will marvel that it took so long, but the end result will be a thing of beauty!


Parkland: A Year After the School Shooting That Was Supposed to Change Everything  

February 13

How sad and ironic that I hear the words Parkland and I instantly know that it is associated with school shooting, but it blends in with all the others. how we come to this that there are so many school shootings we can't keep them all straight.


In a Divided Washington, Congress Averted a Shutdown — but at a Price 

February 15

I'm a human. I don't want the wall.


‘It Is Not a Closet. It Is a Cage.’ Gay Catholic Priests Speak Out 

February 17

My mother who is a French Catholic was sent to a school run by nuns. She is presently 96 so this would have been approximately 88 years ago. She still remembers her shock at being told that she had to take a bath with her chemise on; she was not allowed to look at her own body. She says she thought to herself "these people are nuts". Her parents took her out of the school shortly thereafter, I'm not clear exactly why, perhaps they sensed that she was very unhappy, for she was a very mild, sensitive child. After World War II she married my dad and came to the states , she turned her back on the Church, trying a lot of different places like Episcopal, where I was baptized, and Universal Unitarian, which was run by a wonderful lesbian woman. She has always maintained a voluminous fascination with all things religious, and loves a good conversation about spirituality. Curiously the thing that I find fascinating is that in recently going over her medical directives and end-of-life choices, she listed herself as a Catholic. I asked her why and she said "that's what I was born".


A Nation of Weavers 

February 19

This hits me right where I live. Almost 40 years ago I launched myself on what I thought was going to be a pretty traditional life husband children house in the suburbs . I taught myself active listening and became a volunteer on a local parental stress hotline . I started teaching French at a local school part time . Well happenstance intervened. I lost my husband in an accident which pretty much blew up those plans. With a bit of luck since then I've had a long pretty successful life by my own metrics. I feel privileged to have raised our three sons by myself and call them decent human beings. But at age 70 I'm now faced with an almost impossible situation trying to navigate Health Systems and caregiver assistance for my 96 year-old mother. it is intensely frustrating heartbreaking and is entirely unnecessary. I also have a partner who is 12 years older than me and has health issues. I feel like I'm pedaling just about as fast as I can trying to just get through everyday life. And guess what? Housing prices have made it so that I essentially have opened my doors to my sons whenever they might need it because the kind of opportunities available to me and their late father are pretty much gone. This applies to employment as well. So while I applaud your sensibility and certainly appreciate the obvious compassion that you display, the idea that I might possibly do something for myself is pretty much laughable.


A Nation of Weavers

February 19

I hear you!


Guantánamo Trials Grapple With How Much Evidence to Allow About Torture 

April 6

Now you do.


Cursive Seemed to Go the Way of Quills and Parchment. Now It’s Coming Back.

April 14

This is so goofy. I've often wondered about styles of handwriting. Now at age 70 I've totally given up on it, it's much easier to dictate, don't hurt my hands and goes fast. but it is funny that on different occasions in my life, my handwriting has changed to suit my mood. sometimes my handwriting would look exactly like my father's aggressive and smooth. Other times it would look like my mother's, classic French. Sometimes it would be big and loopy, sometimes tiny and cramped. All I have to do is go back and look at my journals and I can almost see the effect of the subject matter on Style. To this day I cannot decipher my French aunt's handwriting. Nobody can, but then she's also a doctor. My grandson however, is at age 11 one of the smartest people I've ever met and cannot write in cursive at all.


As States Race to Limit Abortions, Alabama Goes Further, Seeking to Outlaw Most of Them 

May 9

I'll say it again. The day that men voluntarily submit to vasectomies to make this problem go away is the day I believe that this is about pro-life. The day that men are held accountable for the pregnancies that they cause is the day I believe this is pro-life. The day that men take responsibility for the children they produce is the day I believe this is pro-life. I love my kids to pieces, all three sons, but I'll say it again: if you haven't given birth, stay out of the conversation.


Trump Walks Out on Pelosi and Schumer After 3 Minutes 

May 22

Outrage aside, I believe there is something to be said for a measured approach, if only to avoid the obvious bear baiting peril that goes along with any attempt at a reasoned exchange with this particular president. This is not to say that, to any person with a brain, we are not absolutely justified in our desire to have a complete investigation. No, it is to avoid the Sideshow circus aspect that this president considers fuel. I think he counts on Kentucky Fried Chicken and squabbling to guarantee he wakes up the next morning. And chocolate cake of course.


America’s Cities Are Unlivable. Blame Wealthy Liberals.

May 23

*sigh* once again a vast oversimplification of decades of bizarre economic theories. I blame Reagan. I mean who decided to dump low functioning Miserables out of their sanctuaries with no thought of the consequences? I can tell you one thing: trying to solve this with wholesale giveaways to Developers is not the answer. and can I also say as long as I've got the bully pulpit? I'm doing my part here. I moved with three very young Sons to raise by myself after their father's death in 1980. I bought a house which I still live in, but guess what? even though I worked in the Energy Efficiency industry, I drove electric before anybody else, I installed solar on my roof and I take walks and use public transit as much as I can oh, I'm not able to fix everything. I now have two of My Three Sons living at home, my 96 year-old mother tucked in a corner living out the last of her life, and I provide childcare for my grandson. I thought of my backyard as a place where some tents could be pitched, but then I realize you know? what would happen if there were truly a comprehensive housing plan in place? why does it come down on those of us who are trying, to be the ones who solve everything?


My Rapist Apologized 

May 24

Harsh realities. everybody knows that the statistics are going down, there are many fewer abortions necessary as we come to understand human sexuality. I feel sometimes that we are not progressing and recognizing that men must be accountable for their actions. not the first time that anyone has said straight up: women can not get pregnant without a man. so guys, what are you going to do? are you going to step up? Are you going to honor women? you either do or you don't. There's no in-between. and women. enough with the stockholm syndrome. If you feel like you need to give power to men because they are the ones in charge, I'm going to just say to you that's your choice. Not mine. enough with the patriarchal. enough.


A Black Feminist’s Response to Attacks on Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy 

June 4

I kind of stopped trusting the FBI a long time ago. (Anecdotally, when they did a top secret background check on my husband before he started working on Military contracts, they tracked my mom, who is French, and came up with a phony name for her none of us in the family had ever heard of. We still think it highly unlikely that she is a former spy...)


Their Fathers Never Spoke of the War. Their Children Want to Know Why. 

June 6

My dad was 22 when he was drafted Straight Outta Missouri, as a lieutenant he was trained as a photographer to document the war. I grew up seeing some of the footage that he smuggled out of the the European theater after he was discharged. a lot of shots of Paris people in the streets wild enthusiasm when the Americans liberated the city. sadly he also had to go document some of the liberation of camps. I didn't get to see that stuff. although he didn't speak in great detail, it was clear from what little he did say that he was so traumatized he had to spend some time in a psych ward in Germany after the war. he saw a prison guard at a camp literally torn to shreds by the newly liberated prisoners. although they gave it their best shot, my French mother who came home with her American husband never was able to get through to him. their marriage was, I think, doomed from the get-go. My father never got over this experience. he was a very quiet shut down person. Even at the end of his life, the mention of what it was like in this country the day of Pearl Harbor would cause him to begin to cry.


Let’s Ditch Mitch 

June 6

This is an opinion piece ... last time I looked even newspapers have free speech. and besides he totally looks like a turtle!


Let’s Ditch Mitch

June 6

Fetid indeed... and how ironic that the president was going to drain the swamp.


 How to End a Friendship 

June 14

This whole discussion is fascinating. I am often involuntarily forced to replay the tapes embedded in my psyche by my mother that essentially tell me unless I have uncounted numbers of friends upon whom I can count for phone calls, letters, visits and all kinds of attention by means of flowers, gifts and other evidence of affection, I'm a failure. I'm not a "great lady", one whose heart is so open that others cannot help but be attracted and slather me with friendship. since this is not my life experience, I can only assume that it is my mother's desire to be surrounded by so much love that is impelling her to go into overdrive. it's also evident to me by Decades of contact with two or three people that what's really important is not the quantity of time one spends with somebody , it's the quality. I've come to feel as though if I don't hear from someone for an extended period of time it's not because the Friendship is dead. It's that I need to proceed as if unless otherwise informed, the Friendship is eternal. I'm going to continue to be friends with you forever. I have no reason not to. Every time I hear your voice my heart is lightened. I want to hear what's going on with you. it's especially important when something traumatic has happened, as did recently happen to me. I have three friends who immediately jumped in, visited, emailed, inquired about my progress. and that was immensely comforting. that's all I need.


 A Year in Paris That Transformed Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis  

June 24

@joyce try to look at it from a different perspective. Rather than being nauseated, accept that culture of France and specifically of Paris is there, for anyone, with many different levels of money or connection as you put it. My own mother, who is now 96, survived the German occupation of Paris, moved to Missouri with my father, who was a GI, and they migrated West with me and my older brother. All these years later, my experience of being bicultural as of course shaped me. I am fluent in French, have visited my family in France many times. but you know what the first time, was with my mother when I was 10. I got to hang out with my cousins, all girls, for a month in Brittany. My family wasn't rich at all. They simply did what all French people do during the summer. They Escape From the City, rent a house, and relax before having to go back to the Grind like everybody. Based on that experience, I developed a need to return every few years and yes I have family there, but to characterize this as something that only rich people can do is simply wrong.


 Call Me ‘They’


Two thoughts: I belong to a synagogue that has a lead rabbi who goes by ‘they’ and there are also prospective members of the congregation who would like to join our committee and who use they as a pronoun, but I wonder in the second instance if that person would be comfortable knowing conversations that occur within our committee when we say the quote wrong unquote pronoun and then quickly correct ourselves or worse say does anybody know what insert person's name here wants to be called? And my second point: my 96 year-old mother yesterday conducted a conversation with me telling me old stories about her father and so forth, but consistently confused genders to the point that I started wondering if she was okay. Then I remembered Hell she's 96.


Your Comment on ICE Is Dangerously Inaccurate 


Check out South Africa folks. you do not have to prove anything there if you decide you don't want to have papers the only problem is you can't leave but you certainly can exist without burden of paperwork, the right to be anonymous if you should so choose.


~In Honor of the Original 1970 Catch-22
 for which there can be no remakes~

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Claudine Jones has had a long career as an Actor/Singer/Dancer.
She writes a monthly column and is a Senior Writer for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives.

©2019 Claudine Jones
©2019 Publication Scene4 Magazine



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