Wear a Mask – Don’t Give me Cooties!

By Marsha Wilson Rappaport

Hear My Interview with Laura Rich, on the Texas Standard about Masks on August 27, 2020 – All Over the Great State of Texas:

LISTEN HERE

The Rant Continues Here:


We didn’t really have germs when I was kid. If your friend had a runny nose, first you would ask if they had washed their hands. If your friend would then drag their sleeve across their runny nose, then you would run away shouting: “Don’t touch me – I don’t want your cooties”.


Years later, armed with college degrees, I fully understand words like “germs”, “virus” and “bacteria”. My educated brain absorbs the scientific jargon on the evening news and understands the endless alerts about COVID-19 in print and on the internet.


My senior citizen brain checks for achy body parts and new signs of infection every time a new symptom is announced. And yet, when words like pandemic and epidemic are being tossed around my six-year old self emerges shouting: “Cooties – lots of Cooties”.


Therefore, on behalf of my inner child, I am begging everyone to quell my hysteria by wearing a mask.


When I venture out to the grocery store, all masked up and wearing my cute, blue nitrite gloves, I just want you to stand six feet away.
I am too nervous to look at you to see if you are wearing a fancy N-94 Mask, a pleated blue mask or a pair of repurposed underpants. I am not a mask fashion maven and the grocery store is not Operation Mask Runway! I just don’t want to glance back at you, and see you aren’t wearing a mask.

PODCAST ON iTunes, Spotify, etc;


Moreover, I don’t care what political party you belong to or what conspiracy theories you subscribe to. Nor do I care about the color of your skin, the language you speak or the food group you belong to.
Because, my friends, COVID-19 doesn’t care. This bug represents color blind, deaf and mute random death incarnate. It scares me that months later, some of the smartest people in the world, aren’t even sure how it travels and how fast it will kill you.


All this is pretty simple for me at this point in the 2020 Epidemic Horror Show:


Stand back – Mask-up- and don’t give me Cooties!
Thank you,


A grey-haired Senior Citizen with a hysterical inner six-year old running the show!

WIN-WIN-WIN – How to Kill Writers Block During a Pandemic: RESPECT a Senior Buy Them A Restaurant Meal!

by Marsha Wilson Rappaport

The onset of COVID resulted in weeks of my staring in the mirror with my “deer in the headlights” face. My brain had frozen. My fingers followed suit. What could I possibly say that would uplift others that would combat my personal fears.

My personal fears were pretty serious. In addition to the fear of a killer virus, my day job was finding grants that would keep the homeless safe during a pandemic. My vocation was writing, glowing articles about food and attractions in my little tourist town. My town was shut down, my friends were facing the loss of their businesses and my food supply had been cut off. I was trapped in my little cottage, hiding behind my facemask, having the ultimate fear festival.

Weeks later – it occurred to me. What would make me feel better? A great restaurant meal- delivered! What about other Seniors, trapped inside! Once again, a great restaurant meal- delivered!

Seems like a simple thing. But if you are a senior, on a fixed income – not so fast! That wasn’t easy for me, and it wasn’t easy for a lot of my aging friends.

The second light bulb went on – why not do something – rather than just say something.

So..I developed the RESPECT Project. I would buy a meal for a Senior in the community who had supported others with little recognition and was living modestly. I would buy meals and have them delivered from restaurants that needed the business.

My first gift was to an African-American role model named Pat Tate. Tate was one of those people that had put together events, served on all kinds of boards and vastly improved the quality of life in our community. I wrote about her a lot. She was quiet mover and shaker in developing our Annual Juneteenth Parade. She lead “Save R Hood” a community effort to help our underserved neighbors. She was a tireless worker at her parish of St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church. I got a call every year for their BBQ Dinner and did a story about her son who has gone on to tout his BBQ on television. She was kinda of quietly everywhere making life better for the rest of us. And she did it all without messing up some of the prettiest hair I’d ever seen. Her hair, unlike mine, seemed immune to the Galveston humidity – it was a wonder.

Patricia Tate


During her senior years, she fought and beat down cancer twice. Recently, she had lost her mother and she was having a tough time. I choose her, when I realized that her Facebook posts were reflecting her moods. Heck, even beating me badly at “Words With Friends” wasn’t cheering her up.

So I hoped Pat, would enjoy a treat during a time of fear and isolation, my friends in the restaurant business could put a few more bucks in the coffers and I would write about it and feel less isolated and fearful myself. When I spoke to her after her meal, she seem happy. Win-Win-Win.

I asked Pat if she would enjoy a meal from Mosquito Café a family owned restaurant in Galveston and she said yes. Mosquito Café is locally owned by Steven and Patricia Rennick. Their daughter, Kyla Wright, the Managing Partner and CFO of Mosquito Café and Patty Cakes Bakery was just named in the “40 under 40” list in the Galveston County Daily News.

It all worked out fine. She had a meal to eat and a meal to save. Both were shrimp based. Nothing picks up your spirits like a Gulf Coast meal with our favorite crustacean.

Here’s the big fantasy. I want to start a movement. I want everyone to look around – find a senior friend or relative and have a great meal delivered to them.

Not going to change the world – not going to stop the virus -but it’s a really cool, kind thing to do!


Marsha Pre-Covid


Marsha During COVID

Save an Old, Wise Soul

MASK-UP!

Support our Efforts: Click the Image to Donate

My New Humor Podcast for Seniors was Funny: Until COVID Popped Up!

By Marsha Wilson Rappaport

I am one of those. If I pick a four-leaf clover, I will get poison ivy. That being announced at the onset, I can explain my current plight. I am a journalist with a very depressing social service day job. Several months prior to the COVID-19 crisis, I turned my blog into a podcast. Both are called “Staying Vertical”. I am over 65 and I like to rant about stuff that drives me crazy. Much like one of my idols, the late Andy Rooney, I want to know why there are so many things in the modern world that don’t work properly or even make sense.


Once you get older some of that stuff really works your nerves. I have ranted about why all of my tech is fashionably black, which makes it impossible to real the dials or buttons without a search light. I recounted my brave move to go to trivia night with trendy nerds who wore flannel and had beards. I write book reviews. I generally, just amuse myself, so that I won’t focus on my arthritis and long stays in the “reading room” because I have IBS.


I was kinda on a roll by January. The podcast was running on a local radio station and was accepted on all of the major outlets. By February, I was tuning in to iTunes, IHeart and Spotify to croon myself to sleep after I took my blood pressure meds. It was fun project and I was looking for sponsors. My podcast was designed to cheer all of us up by pointing out how weird life gets when your hair turns gray.


AND then, the thing happened. The strange nature of my situation hit me on that day a young man on the beach refused to leave because “ only old people “ get the virus. The messages kept coming. Day after day of broadcasts begging people to social distance so they won’t kill an old lady like me.


Can I share this with you? There is NOTHING – remotely funny about the idea of the grim reaper, bouncing a red spiked green ball, sitting in your bedroom corner while holding a sign that says “old folks” . Somehow my next podcast, where I explain my quest to find a safe way to slice onions without risking my less than steady fingers with big stainless steel knife seemed real unimportant.


March came and went. My writers block had gone into full lock-down, just as I had to do to avoid what seemed to me had evolved into the worst, bad horror movie ever. I had to admit it – I was afraid. Trips to the grocery store had become traumatizing. Retrieving the mail, required the repurposing of dishwashing gloves and a disinfectant spray staging area.


The rich imagination that was whining about senior moments and aggravation had turned on me. Everyday had become the Passover scene from the classic “Ten Commandments”. I worried about that creepy green mist, dropping from the sky and floating near my door. This fantasy was made even more unbearable because there were no guest appearances from Charlton Heston or John Derek telling it was going to be o.k.


April is here. I owe myself a Podcast. I think I’m going to talk about why we need brave and honest leadership during this crisis. It’s not really funny – but if you’re an old lady being stalked by the grim reaper – you might as well say your peace!!


The Hole in my Sock, the Knot in my tummy and My Trip to the Galveston Symphony Orchestra

By Marsha Wilson Rappaport
It was a sunny Sunday. It was one of those odd Texas days in the middle of the winter where a jacket was too much and a sweater wasn’t enough. I slept late, looked at my schedule and started toward an afternoon at the Galveston Symphony Orchestra.

Started and then stopped. One of the things that keep seniors locked into horizontal position is the dreaded morning inventory. It’s a common procedure. You sit in your easy chair with your morning cup of Joe and you catalog what hurts, what really hurts and what feels like its going to fall off. Often, before you start, you have been pre-warned of what might collapse. For example, you might be tired due to a bout of night leg cramps, or you’ve already had the first glimpse of that swollen ankle you thought yesterday’s diuretics had tamed.

So, I sat and realized my ambitious attempt at eating a full healthy dinner the night before had failed miserably. For although black-eyed peas are calcium rich, your morning commute to the bathroom might also become enhanced. My stomach was giving me fits.

At this point, I reminded myself that this trip to the symphony was critical to my mental health and a key component in my ongoing efforts to keep vertical. I admit, I have been struggling with my holiday poverty and was depressed in “ go to work and fake perkiness way”. I needed music.
I therefore, took a handful of Gas X, then swallowed a Tums, and prodded myself into the shower.

I dressed and then hit another more serious barrier. My socks – my good compression socks I had gotten with a near magical coupon on Amazon, had holes in them. I froze. After months of pampering them with Woolite, they were acting like regular socks without the ability to keep my legs from looking like baby elephant feet. Worse still – I was the world’s most inept seamstress. My poor eyesight had always made threading a needle, agonizing minutes of pushing a thread through a hole I could barely see.

I sat there grumbling as my stomach cried out for another Tums. Moreover, I began to do the one thing that would keep me home – I pulled the lever on my easy chair and laid back.

I sat there a few minutes and contemplated picking up the kiss of death for all outside activities – the remote control. I contemplated the real worth of my mental health in a world dominated by You Tube and Snap Chat.
Then I found the needle and thread, patiently closed the holes in my still very useful socks, picked up my keys and left my house.

Next Challenge
I was on a roll, once I got downtown to the 1894 Grand Opera House. I found a nearby free parking space and went to get early supper. To minimize my risk, I went to Little Daddy’s Gumbo Bar, one of my usual haunts, owned by friends of mine. Because I wrote glowing articles about their food, I knew I would be greeted by smiles.

That all worked, until I realized that although I am sitting in a place with gumbo brimming with seafood swimming in a perfect dark roux, my tummy was screaming. Once again, I was tempted to go back home, grab a pot, make some nice soothing grits and grab the remote.
Oddly enough I was sitting next to the First and Second Violinist. They were all decked out in their appropriate black formal orchestra clothes and talking about the upcoming performance. I decided to screw my courage to the sticking place and order some steamed seafood.


This move was more extreme than you think. I have a hard a fast rule about eating messy food before events. And yet, I cracked those crab legs and peeled those shrimp, and dipped them butter while wearing my silver special event sweater. Then I walked to the Grand, fed, happy and ready to support my mental health.

I was richly rewarded for not allowing my aches, pains and fear from stopping me. Grace Park, a superb violinist, performed Violin Concerto in E Minor by Felix Mendelssohn in breath taking fashion. It was standing ovation worthy and whatever musical heaven holds Felix must have been startled by his enthusiastic clapping.


Between her performance, and the always delightful narrative of Conductor Trond Saeverud, I could feel the darkness and doubts fade slowly away. I realized that Weber, Mendelssohn, Debussy and Hindemith, probably had plenty of holidays where the carols were sung over empty artists bank accounts.

Leslie Bowman Photo of  GSO Conductor Tround Saeverud

When I finally got back home, I realized that the music had given me some much needed perspective. I am a writer – I will survive. But first, I need to find another killer coupon for new compression socks.

Millennials, Beer, Trivia and Hanging Tough

By Marsha Wilson Rappaport

I am one of those geeks who bought multiple editions of Trivial Pursuit as soon as they came out. Jeopardy was “must-see” TV. My friends and family spent many moments staring at me in wonder as I blurted out weird international factoids. And yet, as I grew older, my zest for trivia competition had slowly been reassigned to sitting in front of a computer or phone screen. My introverted personality had discovered the perfect way to express my geekiness without interacting with humans.

My congregation started a once a month trivia night years ago. It was one of those things I knew I needed to try. It was good for my mental health, it was good to get out of the house – it was going to help me stay vertical. And yet, I passively watched the announcement each month and made excuses for not going.

This October I changed. I ignored my desire to turn on the television and sit in my chair. I did my paperwork the night before so I would not have an excuse to turn on the computer. I put my phone in my pocket and went downtown to play with other people.

I arrived at the craft beer place downtown and immediately had to fight the urge to turn back. My congregation wasn’t there. And the room was filled with young doctors from the university, young girls in yoga pants, and guys with trendy beards and flannel shirts.
When the bearded master of ceremonies came over and asked me what team I was going to play with, I lamely answered “Team Marsha”. He looked at me, explained the point system, gave a stack of white slips of paper and didn’t laugh at me.

I made up my mind to do this. I ordered a hot dog plate with some highly addictive fries. Although there was a board with a long list of craft beers, my current health regime limited me to a glass of water with snappy craft ice cubes.

I hid against the wall at my little lone team table, next to the designer bicycles of the other players. The only thing worse than their fitness was the trendy expensive bumble bee helmets hanging on their handle bars which signaled fitness, good sense and high credit card limits.

The game began and I was already a standout. The young folks had really cool team names blended with profanities and sexual innuendos. When teams were called, they all pivoted to look at who missed the point.

The contest itself was even more challenging.
For example, did you know that in 2005 Google sold a stock offering equal to a piece of the mathematical “Pi”? Pi is the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. I was clueless. Did you know that Marie Curie named the element Plutonium after her home county of Poland? Hey, I thought naming it after the Planet Pluto was a reasonable guess.

Ultimately I did know that Exxon was the largest company in Texas. But I still missed the Exxon/Mobil part
No matter. I was out of the house for a couple of hours enjoying my geekiness in public. I may have to invest in a flannel shirt in order to fit in. But – I’ll be back!

HEAR THIS ON MY NEW PODCAST ON SOUNDCLOUD:

The Danger of Turning “Us” into “It”

By Marsha Wilson Rappaport

Encore Post: In solidarity with our brothers and sisters in El Paso and Dayton

Acceptance of the status quo has never been one of my dominant personality traits. Yet, when I received at lay-off notice from my social services job at the age of 66, my compliant self immediately overruled my warrior princess persona. I abruptly made a CVS run and grabbed a box of 100% Grey Coverage Espresso that would complement the red tones in my mocha skin.

This capitulation comes at a time in our society when labeling the “other” has evolved into a brutal, social media spectator sport. Voting Democratic or Republican has divided families and broken up relationships. Accusations of racism as a symptom of right or left leanings have conveniently obscured the fact that hate has no political party affiliations. Moreover, we have returned to old religious mythologies and a dangerous level of Anti-Semitism has grown back from the pruning of its murderous roots after World War II.

As a result, I instinctively knew that in a job interview, my resume would take a back seat to the visual of the “kindly old grey-haired black lady” who should retire and accept her new role cooking cornbread and greens.
All this nasty social discourse seems impossible to me as a US citizen. The last election cycle pushed the process into overdrive. No one has stopped yelling long enough to take a look at the U.S. Constitution and the intent of men like Thomas Jefferson. None of the Founding Fathers trusted party politics. Their own contentious personal relationships and party differences are well-documented. Despite that they formed a system with some elegantly simple attributes we have all appeared to have forgotten. Simply distilled: No one gets to be King and everyone gets to vote the bums out!
I have been a published journalist since I was a teenager. I am a realist and a cynic. As the result of writing in newspapers for years I have a real low bar of expectations for politicians. I believe that the Founding Fathers got it right. Politicians often screw up and we are here to vote to replace them.
My personal friendships have never included party considerations for those very reasons. I personally like and support folks who have integrity, pay attention to their constitutes needs, and genuinely serve the public. I am also pragmatic, I live in a small town and ignoring anyone cuts down your chances of a pleasant evening during a community BBQ.

In this emerging new world of technologically driven name-calling, we are devolving into rude tribes who swing words much like our ancient ancestors swung clubs. What used to be gossip about anybody now spreads as fact within minutes. We are reviving lynching by creating a world of social judges, juries and executioners. Obviously, destroying reputations, economic status or relationships is not a midnight ride with a rope. And yet, even children are committing suicide now due to social media bullying. The social “gang” effect is just as dangerous and deadly as mob rule was 100 years ago.

Perhaps the most pernicious component of this current state of social affairs is that we have been warned about the dangers of “group-think”. The mechanized, extermination of six-million Jews in World War II was preceded by years of “public social grooming” by a madman.
In short, I must cover my well-earned grey hairs and assumed I have been pre-judged before I walk into a HR office. Because I didn’t like gossip in the pre-tech world, I have no idea how else I have been labeled. Just the fact that I have friendships across party lines may seal my fate. But attempting to accentuate my brain, by faking my brain rug seems like a reasonable first step in invalidating the “it” label.

Encore Blog from my Essay Collection “Sharp Grey Edges” in English and Spanish on Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Sharp-Grey-Edges-Warrior-Essays-ebook/dp/B07CWJP5VD/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=sharp+grey+edges&qid=1565050372&s=digital-text&sr=1-2

Tech: Where Black is the New Black

What fun stuff can you do when the flu forces you to stay home from work? What possible trouble can you get into when you’re stuffy, nauseated and living in your bathroom? I have an idea, why don’t I stop watching Jerry Springer, look around my home and fix the crap that’s driving me crazy!


Let’s start with all of my fashionable tech. These days, most tech is designed to make my messy home office look more professional. Therefore, every piece of equipment is sleek, curved and stylishly black. That also means that every button, every cable port, and every raised description is drowning in a sea of black.


I have concluded that tech is apparently designed for offices that have spectacular bright lighting and staff members with very young eyes. I have old eyes. In fact, I’ve had them from that day at the dinner table when Dr. Weisskopf noticed my three-year-old face in my mashed potatoes and told my parents I needed glasses.


At this point you’re asking yourself, why I would be worried about my work tech, when I am stranded in my bedroom recliner, wondering why there are so many baby mamas on Maury who needed DNA testing on their kids?

Well, I started to turn up my air purifier to the max and realized my eyes were so watery I could not see the raised black settings buried by the stylish black color. My fight with Texas pollen had recently driven me to buy a bigger unit. It was on sale. And now my frugality had betrayed me.
Once I put in some eye drops and cleaned my glasses, I moved the dial to fast. Then, I sat there brooding and blowing my nose.


As luck would have it, I had recently moved out of my comfort zone and bought colored labels for my trusty Brother label maker. I was sick, I was upset – but it was on.


Once the task was finished, I had some hot tea and honey and put up my feet. I glared back at my home office. I will be back on my feet soon, label maker in hand to make my tech a lot less stylish.


Rant Challenge: Isn’t it time for some savvy entrepreneur to make tech with senior-friendly buttons? Your fortune awaits.

Staying Vertical!

by Marsha Wilson Rappaport

Join us on this new adventure!

Do you remember when you were a kid and you refused to eat broccoli? If you are a baby boomer, you remember your parents telling you: “It’s all in your head – eat it or get punished!”

As I grew older, I knew that most of my aches and pains were real. However, some of my decisions to withdraw from things that used to be fun, really were “all in my head”.

According to Mental Health America, depression is prevalent among senior citizens:

More than two million of the 34 million Americans age 65 and older suffer from some form of depression.[2]

Comprising only 13% of the U.S. population, individuals aged 65 and older account for 20% of all suicide deaths, with white males being particularly vulnerable. [2]

(See: https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/depression-older-adults-more-facts)

This project isn’t medical. If you are clinically depressed, then you should seek medical help.

However, this little project It is designed to make small suggestions that will simply cheer us up and take some of the worry out of our lives as we age.

What We Intend to Do:

Tackle the Eating Out Issue: As much as we all know that eating and cooking healthy meals is critical to good health -sometimes you just want to eat out and NOT stress out. Let’s face it, it the 24/7 news cycle was right, then even a diet of pure water will kill you eventually.

We’re going to track down healthy eating options on Galveston Island. If that sounds simple – think again. Galveston Island is a major tourist destination – everything is designed for fun!

Tackle the Entertainment Issue:

Would we all like to go to a rock concert and stand for hours in the rain again? Of course. Can we do that now? Not a chance! 

I am going to seek out safe fun at a host of entertainment venues. For example, I will find ways to enjoy an amusement park knowing that a ride that drops me 100 feet from a crane is not a good idea when I have high blood pressure. On the other hand, a Ferris Wheel would be great. I just need a safe way to keep my glasses on so I can actually enjoy the views.

Keeping It REAL!!

How far is the parking? Is there a drop off zone? Are there elevators? Are there handicapped ramps? If it is an attraction, are there lots of benches around to take a break?

We Are Going to Try to Make this Fun

I am a writer, not a movie maker. BUT I have an iPhone, and some other cool tech. You’ll see photos. Videos and audio on our twin website at: http://www.xcctexas.org and YouTube.  We are going to interview our neighbors and friends about their journey while we play. Get ready for some local celebrity surprises!!!

Everything will be senior friendly with big text that I can read!!

Join us on this journey.

We are going to have some fun.