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The Human Side

The Human Side


Magda Wilson Houtz

This is the YEAR! I am finally going to get my house totally in order! (Hold the chuckles and giggles please.) I know that not all of you live with Bob Villa or Martha Stewart.

The project has begun by cleaning out drawers and closets; and it is progressing fairly well. The book case got it today - (I cannot bear to throw out books;) - and the back hall is tomorrow. Moving right along; I have even organized my art supplies, which is no easy feat in itself. Throwing out “junk” is so hard to do! I still have some of my Dad’s supplies. A good friend once told me, that by the time you get around to using some of the old supplies; there are many new and better ones to purchase. Why use up valuable space?

There is a little of my Dad in me, - I hate to discard anything that I might be able to use… but, then I remember cleaning out Amherst Place; and the task suddenly becomes easier. The clothes closets are next in the process; and then the garage…oh my, the garage…! It looms like a giant albatross, hanging from the rafters. Stuff in the corners; stuff piled by the back door just waiting for me to walk by without looking. Stuff taped into boxes, and buried under mounds of dust on the “organizational” shelves. (We won’t discuss my husband’s work bench.) However, true to Ed’s fervent request; the new car makes it into the garage every night. I’m not always sure I can get out of the car; but, you see where this is going.

Several weeks ago, in an effort to start the Garage Project; I donated all of my unused ceramic molds, left-over clay and supplies, to a new ceramic shop. I tossed out a huge garbage can of junk. Good riddance to the menagerie! Now I can concentrate on hand-building pottery and not storing items I do not use. Well, that freed up some space, which quickly got filled when I cleaned out the car so it could be detailed. Uh oh….here we go..! But, I am determined. I mentally organized the Garage Project. Being an artist, the need to set the mind’s eye on the goal; has me designing the “progression of the organization.” It will be beautiful when done…but getting there…?

If I manage to get through the garage, the last project is the closet under the stairs. (Save the best for last.) No, Harry Potter is not there but who knows…?!

Welcome January 2014…February…Maybe March… I will be organized and then the diet and exercise start...sometime after that …!??



It’s Reunion Time Again…Oh My……..

I turned and looked backwards into the mirror. I thought to myself…does this dress make my toosh look FAT!!!!!! OMG! How am I going to find something to wear with this “bigger than life” rear?! I quickly concluded; I certainly cannot go looking like this! No way; no how!

More hair has fallen out. HELP! I’m getting bald like my father. I cannot let anyone see me this way. And a toupee is out…they are so fake. How can I grow a head of hair in six months?!

What am I to do about this beer gut…never have had this problem before…
If I see my old girlfriend she will be so disappointed in me…
Billie MARRIED Julie… how will I face them…
I have a hard time walking and my hands shake…

Most of the people there will not talk to me…Going to the reunion, - no I don’t think I will…no one really cares if I show up. Anyway, I won’t have a good time because …

There it is again! The age old plague of all high school reunions foretold by a myriad of self imposed excuses which were born out of our high school experiences. Even after 50 years, we are still haunted by certain events that have gnawed at us over these many years and thus multiple ones reunion apprehension.

Take heart – Rejoice - Don’t be a sad or fearful person. We are WHAT we are; and we are WHO we are. I for one cannot wait to see old friends and classmates, who made my years at CW wonderful and memorable. You may worry about your derrière, but, not as much as someone else may worry about their own.

But there are exceptions to all rules and there are some very beautiful people in our class both inside and out. Some of us have retained our youththful vitality and others have aged very gracefully. Some not so well as it is the way life is.

And so the same can be said of those we loved so very much who have passed from this life. I am sure they would love to be here to have this chance to say “Hello” and pass the evening reminiscing and sharing memories with high school friends.

We are all bound in to the old hereditary DNA…some of us more than others. Take me…120 lbs in high school…a Schwartz School dancer….weekly lessons and summers in workshops. Now heredity and life changes have caught up with me. I am lodged right between my short chubby maternal Hungarian heritage and my tall stocky English paternal grandparents. Even worse…I look like my paternal Grandfather. OMG! I cannot stand it! But it is not going to keep me away from my old friends and from a great party. I have always loved parties and I cannot wait to go to this one.

So I expect you all to bring your bald heads, few extra pounds or your gorgeous youthful heritage to our reunion and October Night Out. We all want to see everyone. Yikes! 50 years! I for one never thought I would make it. But here I am.

In the words of Uncle Sam



Respectfully submitted,
Magda Wison Houtz

It Grows

     It grows…multiplies; and becomes a toe stubber, coat rack or rug dryer. Of course I am talking about the recumbent exercycle, gizelle, tummy stretcher, treadmill and “whatsa housa” that you found at a “great price” some time ago. You swore that you would religiously use it to gain back your youthful figure that keeps eluding all of us. We are all guilty, me probably more than most.

     Mine sits between the dining and living room. It stares at me. Sometimes I stumble over it. Occasionally, I change the batteries in the timer. After all, we have to keep it in good working order. This gizelle actually replaced one that I wore out. Now it gathers dust. And I feel guilty each time I look at it.

     Last week I was cleaning the work room closet and ran across the ballet bar that my Father made for me. How that bar has gone from house to house and marriage to marriage. Now it sits in the closet and waits to rear its ugly head, like a menacing snake, and remind me that it is there waiting.

     I remember beautiful Marilyn Hamlin Stockstill; telling me that now in her retirement, she has an exercise schedule that she adheres to every day. And she looks like she does. Marilyn is in terrific shape. I need her determination. I need motivation. I need to clean the closet and get rid of some of this junk or just go for a long walk.

     But neither thing is going to happen. One morning I will roll out of bed, stub my toe on the gizelle before my coffee; - unthinkable, - and get mad enough to give it a really hard workout. Then maybe I will be on the road again and maybe I will get that determination back.

     For your HEART’S sake, get that exercise machine out of the closet, dust it off and get started. I am. But first I want to have my coffee, and look at the paper…Skype rings…and oh my, I am going to be late…gotta run…..

Respectfully submitted,
Magda Wilson Houtz

PS….we have a Wii. I love to work out on the Sports Plus and play games on the Wii Sports. Ed liks the orginal Wii and the Sports. We have moved on into the 21st century!

     The Holidays are finally over and we are all limping back to normality, whatever that is. Ed and I were sitting in a restaurant having breakfast and as usual I was people watching. Now let me explain. I am an artist of sorts and I watch people, animals and the roadside when I am not driving. It is a habit I picked up from my father who would draw an interesting looking person, etc., or anything he could find when sitting in an audience. I am almost as bad. Anyway to continue�

     A couple got up from a table not far from us and they caught my eye because they would have made an awesome portrait. The man was about six feet tall, curly grey hair and rugged features. The crags and wrinkles in his skin were brought on by years of hard work, drinking and cigarette smoking. He was carrying a portable oxygen tank. He was surprisingly spry for his health problem. Dressed in old work pants, a tee shirt and jacket, he reminded me of many of the hard working fathers we all knew.

     Behind him was a slight woman, gently bent. What struck me was her dress and demeanor. She had on jeans, a white sweater, Reeboks and a huge tan winter jacket that came down almost to her knees. On top of her head was a light purple hat with ear flaps. It was so of character for the way she carried herself and the way she walked -- several steps behind her husband. Her eyes were set on him and only him.

     They love each other. You could tell. The man turned and took his wife's arm as they walked through the door to the parking lot. A look passed between them, a spark, an understanding. They had been together for a long time and time was creeping up on them. It was visible.

     That morning I learned something about myself. In this game of life I have forgotten to love like I would like to do. My family and friends deserve more understanding and consideration from me but I get caught up in the survival of life and aging, I have forgotten. So do all of us in one way or another. We do not mean to; it just happens. We show love in many ways, volunteering, hugging our grandkids, cooking for our families, vacations and etc, but just for the new year let's all make a resolution to say �I love you � at least once per day to someone special to you. Perhaps if we all practiced this action our world would be a kinder place to live, but th at is a subject for another day.

So my classmates�I love you! Have a wonderful New Year and remember����������.
Respectfully submitted,
Magda Wilson Houtz

Welcome October

     Welcome October: the changeover to Fall and the slow onset of Winter. But before the leaves all fall, and the days completely change, Halloween Happens. For those of you, who celebrate Halloween, enjoy this article. For those who don’t …read something else. I remember when we dressed for Beggar’s Night. We made our own costumes. My Father, the artist, said that we needed to expand our creativity. We had a ball. We convinced our Mother to help us with sewing, and raided our Brother’s and Father’s closets for all kinds of stuff. And on time, we were ready for Beggars’ Night. But was Beggar’s Night ready for us?

     Forget the plastic pumpkins. We took pillow cases, raced up and down the streets; ran home to drop off our bounty and out the door again. Of course being the youngest, my second time home I had to stay, so consequently my bag was really heavy. But it was worth it. In those days we did not have to be so afraid of Mrs. McConnaughey’s cookies or Mrs. Jone’s homemade candy. Apples came from everywhere and all kinds of treats were distributed by our wonderful neighbors. Candy was of course the top of the list and we knew everyone and what kind of treats they gave out …thanks of course to my sister and her friend who always hit the houses first. We even knew who gave out coke, and many times in the future, that was my treat for my neighbor kids. In the end we came home to my Mother’s house, made donuts, fresh from the fryer and warm cinnamon cider. Wow. What a great way to end a Halloween evening!

     And when we finally got down to sorting our candy…the Reeces went first. They are still one of my favorite candies today. Everything was sorted and bagged up, and we were allowed to have our candy. I imagine that my parents figured we would find our own fill levels; and they were right.

     We carved pumpkins, washed the seeds and roasted them. And my Mother always reserved a small pumpkin to make cookies and pies. And somehow those pies made it to the Thanksgiving table. What a great time in our lives.

     And if you remember our old house…we had bats…lots of bats. They came in under the eaves of the roof and October was their witching month. I can not tell you how many times a bat interrupted a party - or a date...what fun.

     Walking to school became a little colder, rustling through the leaves and watching our breath take a ghostly form. At Jefferson, we had parties with homemade treats from the room mothers, and more active play on the playground with all of the healthy sugar running through our veins. In later years, Halloween changed and during my children’s years of Halloween we could not be so carefree. Society changed and the old days were left behind.

     But here is October, the memory of Halloween, hayrides and bon fires in high school and the smell of smoke from burning wood fires in the fire place. A light touch of snow and winter is on us again. AH Halloween, and October. Cuddle up by that fire and remember. It is good for the soul.

Respectfully submitted,

Magda Wilson Houtz


The Garage

     We have all seen the signs. We have all felt the need. We have all participated in one way or another whether to give to charity or to go to the trouble to have one. We have all at some time or another done THE GARAGE SALE. Oh My!

    I can remember when I was a kid and there were Estate Sales and auctions; fancy names for the birth of the garage sale. My father found many antiques and interesting art effects at these sales. Somehow over the years the “sale” evolved and became the “garage sale”.

     It is like a fever…when you become affected, it takes a while to soothe and cure. Although I do not believe there really is a cure. It starts quite honestly by simply stopping at one garage sale. Here you accidently find that Tupperware lid you have been looking to replace for five years. You buy it for twenty five cents. Wow! Wasn’t that lucky? In reality, no. You have passed the first step to becoming “hooked” on garage sales. The next time you stop at a sale you are a “goner”.

     If you are like me, you will take that lid home and suddenly realize that you discarded that Tupperware a long time ago. Oh well, into the discard box …the one that is waiting to be part of your coming garage sale. Only you are not yet aware of this coming sale.
And on it goes.

     Over the years the “garage sale” has evolved into flea markets and thrift stores; big family and organizational garage sales where you can buy anything from books to zithers. Clothes, baby items, picture frames, furniture and on and on it goes. The big garage sale is the thrift store. You can buy designer clothes, milk glass, many books, VCR tapes, old records and let us not forget…anything wicker your heart desires. And of course on the way to the thrift store, you drop off your contributions to the charity thrift store. Just another form of garage sale - recycling.

     I look for old books and lamps. This past weekend I attended a big garage sale at Hithergreen and bought a beautiful hand leaded tiffany chandelier for my dining room and a bread machine that was brand new. But of course I was just contributing to charity. I have recovered from the garage sale fever.
…oh my…there is a big family sale off 48 this weekend. I had better call Janet. We need to go early when they open on Thursday …and also a sale at the church across the street from that sale ………

Respectfully submitted,

Magda Wilson Houtz


     I was cruising around on Face book this evening, when it dawned on me that our communication has changed drastically; but has it really changed that much? If you will remember in the late 50’s and early 60’s our forms of communication were clusters of people at school; and notes being passed under the noses of our teachers. I am sure they chose to ignore them. Then radio and television became a little more informative. However, the telephone had come into its own. Oh My! When we were old enough to talk on the phone it was really the “cat’s meow”!

     I remember my poor Father. He was so clueless when it came to me, that he just was lost in left field. To give some history here, my parents were 40 when they had me. When I was in my teens, it was all over for them. I was not a bad girl, I was just terribly independent. That is what they taught me to be. As it always seems to do; my education came back to bite them. They had no control, no chance of redeeming control and now they had a telephone and I had possession. I had also discovered boys. Ah the teen years and our major communication…the telephone.

     First my Father tried suggesting that I limit my calls to five minutes because someone may try to call our home and it would be impolite to keep the phone busy. That did not work. Then Dad kept a list of the calls I was allowed to make …three per night, five minutes each, 15 minutes each night …right! Finally, he resorted to you will not believe this - an egg timer! Eventually he just gave up and I became a full fledged teenager - serving my time on the phone. Now in all honesty, not a whole lot has changed.

     There are more phones in our homes, more lines, cell phones and computers, and with computers, - e-mail, chat rooms, yahoo groups and the like evolved. Then enters Face book, the Granddaddy of all communication experiences for teens and adults alike. Here we talk and share experiences much like we did as teenagers on the phone. Some of our Face book counterparts spend a lot of time online…communicating. So you see, everything evolves and history repeats itself. I can only hope that my experiences with my dear Father made it easier for me deal with my own children; and hopefully they will be prepared for their teenagers. Uh OH. My cell phone is ringing oopps! I mean singing...it is my Granddaughter…she is three. Her poor Father thinks she is just playing at talking to me while she pushes her Princess grocery cart around the family room.

Oh well ………

Respectfully communicated,
Magda Wilson Houtz


     As we become “of age,” the atmosphere of our youth begins to change.
Perhaps the most significant change was the beginning of the memorial
list from our class. The next was the destruction of our hallowed walls.
But most of all is the change that has overcome all of us. We grew up.

     There are those who drew well from the gene pool; and are as healthy
and vibrant as they were way back when. There are those who have to
work at it; and those who have succumbed and have died. Vickie Brown,
Jeff Allen and many others, gone from our class but, not forgotten.
Those of us who remain, have a duty to carry on the legacy and to live
as well and happy as possible. I for one, intend to live to be an old, old
lady, as long as my old heart holds out. And of course, to be a burden
to my children.

     I believe that I survive all of the adversities in my life with one absolute attribute. Attitude. I have faced death three times and each time
I have refused to give up.

     I took over Tom Bradrick’s class at Hithergreen Center; coordinating and teaching ceramics. Yes me. Can you imagine? In this wonderful place I have met many people who are ages older than I am, fighting illness and disabilities and they are an absolute hoot! Never have I experienced such determination and positive thinking.

     There is an exercise room, which is Dayton’s most undiscovered treasure. In this room 70, 80 and seniors over 90, exercise, lift weights and work out on all kinds of machines. They are in better shape than you could possibly imagine. They have accomplished all of this with ATTITUDE.

     Being one of the “youngsters” of the group, I can never get by with a non- smiling face; or a day of feeling badly because there is always someone to smile, give me a hug and cheer me up. These people have lived through several wars, deaths, tragedies, good times and many other things. They are alive and I mean more alive than I feel some days when I have to drag my poor sorry body out of bed.

     I take a cue from the Seniors. You see I am not one, because in my mind I am still 30, and I have remembered to love life: to take the ATTITUDE that I am a very lucky person. I have Ed in my life, beautiful children, grandchildren, and my loyal dogs. My parents were wonderful people. The big change here is that my sister and brother and I are the elders of our family. YIKES!!!

     May fate grant all of us the strength to gain health and success with attitude in our coming later years. I, for one, intend to be a very young 90 year old lady someday and maybe I will inspire a young 64 year old youngster.

     May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back and may your God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Be Well,
Magda Wilson Houtz

Hithergreen Center is located in the Centerville - Washington Township area:
The Hithergreen Center
5900 Hithergreen Drive
Dayton Oh 45429




©2014 Colonel White H.S. Class of 1964

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