When I was a little girl, my grandfather taught me how to count.  He cut a slot in the lid of a pickle jar and put all his change in it.  When I’d visit, we’d pile up pennies and nickels and dimes and quarters.  We added and added and I learned about how the accumulation of things worked.  1,000 was the biggest number we’d ever reach.  I couldn’t lift the jar that had 1,000 coins in it.  We’d dump it out, roll the coins, take them to the bank, get bills – and buy my favorite things.  Which happened to be comic books.

We’d walk hand-in-hand to the newstand on the corner of 72 Street and Columbus Avenue.  It was just brimming with comic books clipped to arms on a stand that swivveled and reached to the sky.  I just loved the comics.  “Archie and Veronica” were my favorites. Good teachers; grumpy principal, devilish but good-hearted friends.  I never liked the romance stories.  I still don’t.  Give me a good laugh, and I’m yours.

In those days, when I was five and six, I could read the comics easily.  One day it dawned on me that Pappy indulged me in great wads of comic books because he read my stash, too.  He was German, not terribly well educated, a hard working fellow with a weird sense of humor.  He read the tabloids diligently every day, to stay informed.  But he liked a good story, and the comic books were just his speed.

When Chris, our editor, brought to our attention the fact that she was about to post WVFC’s 1,000th post, Pappy sprung to my mind: and our counting and our stories.  Yesterday Olga Statz wrote about the church she attended with her family that is threatened with closure; her post enfolded insights into this country’s experience with  slavery and  its secret French-speaking history.

I, too, am an immigrant’s descendant: true for all of us in this country not descended from Native Americans.  Our stories and insights are treasures of our heritage and foundation for our future.  We layer our experiences and insights, expose contrasts of thought and belief, reveal profound similarities, and retell incidents that provoke shared laughter and tears.

My friend Anne De Mare sent me our horoscopes for this week.  This is hers:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world,” wrote anthropologist Margaret Meade. “Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” An excellent example of that occurred during America’s Revolutionary War against England from 1775 to 1783. Of all the men in the 13 colonies who could have fought for freedom, only 16 percent did. I hope that gives you encouragement as you seek to fix a glitch in the status quo. You and your band of allies have more power than you know.

WVFC started as a very small group of thoughtful writers; adding singular thoughts daily, as if a few pennies at a time, in a pickle jar.  When we started, we knew we were  grown women who could – and would –  carry a big load.

When we began four years ago, the word “menopause” was virtually taboo, in discourse and print.  Now – it’s common as kleenex, tampons, and ED.  We’re in it, and we’re interesting. I rejoice in this milestone of 1,000 posts and look forward to the exponential growth in our site, in our aggregate of shared experience, remembrance of families and traditions, our delights and outrages, our joys and sorrows and our commitment to changing the world through the clean, green power of telling each other what we know.

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  • Willse Elizabeth May 21, 2009 at 9:04 am

    This is giving me deja vu. My father and I still share a stash of superhero comics- Spiderman, Batman, Daredevil and the distinctly odd work of Alan Moore. Definitely not kid stuff.

    I roll my loose change and save it for fun things too. Though I’m just as likely to indulge in dark chocolate as I am in a good comic adventure.