Sunday, February 6, 2011

Once Upon a Time - There Was a Man Named Ben...

I find myself daydreaming about Ben again today.
I can't help but to think what an unstoppable force the two of us would have been.
All the little journals and ideas - laying away late at night scheming and planning.
A true soul mate.
I would have loved to know him when he was young - what a whirlwind romance we would have had.

If you didn't read about my love of Benjamin Franklin a while back, you can do so
A few of you asked how this infatuation came about - and I'm here to fill you in on the love story.

I was 26
He was 283.
I've always liked older men.

I was newly married - and I know it's hard for you to believe this - given the domestic nirvana that I crank out around here on a daily basis....

I hadn't a CLUE how to keep house, cook or anything for that matter.

I could paint my nails reallllly good.
I had good makeup skills.
I was a good sleeper.

I never made a bed until I got married.
For reals.

There was never any clean underwear in the drawer.
Ask Glenco - he'll verify it.
He wore my panties to work one day, after I insisted.
It was a new job - and he got called to go for a physical.
And he had on my panties.
True story.

I had two.
Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans or Spaghetti and Meatballs.
And I cooked them while I slammed the pots and pans around mad that "I" had to cook - cause by golly I worked too.

You mean the house isn't self-cleaning?
It seemed so my entire childhood.
Glen reminded me often that I needed to pick up after myself, that my mom didn't live with us.

There was a lot of frustration about the house.
Resentment was there too.
If I wasn't careful - bitterness would be up and knockin' at the door.

I went from the frying pan into the fire when we moved to this ramshackle old house in 1988.
I was undone.
And I wasn't even perimenopausal.
I went from a tiny apartment in the city, with NO yard, to a 140 year old dilapidated farmhouse with three acres.
I NEVER pulled a weed in my life.

It was right about then that I couldn't stop thinking about Benjamin Franklin for some odd reason.
I mean - it was WEIRD.
Finally - I went to the library and checked a few books out about the old boy.

It was within those pages of the ancient text (I know - I'm dramatic), that I found so many practical answers to life.

I was a lazy girl.
I was spoiled.

He was not.
He was industrious, and introspective, and brave and had moxie.
He wasn't afraid of hard work and I was.

And was in those pages of his 'Poor Richards Almanacks' that I fell in love.
I drank him up like a Diet Pepsi on a tired Monday morning.

My heart still skips a beat when I think of the first time I read his daily schedule:

I felt like it was the answer I'd be looking for.
But not perfection.
That's impossible (just look at my hair for cryin' out loud).

I instituted this schedule and slowly but surely, I started getting my life under control.
(Many people misread this and think he only slept from 1am til 5am - please notice the brackets)

And in that order, I found peace.
And my friends - peace ain't somethin' you can pick up at the Walmarts, so I've been incredibly grateful to Benji F. for the last 20+ years.

I know there are many of you reading this right now, that feel the way I did in 1988, and I just wanted to tell you today that there is hope!
Never give up.
You CAN change your world.
Me and Ben...we'll be here cheering you on.


  1. Lands alive you are a certified nut! I love it. It seems to me that somehow our mothers must have been sisters. My Mama didn't teach me to do nary a' thing. She wsn't much of a house keeper herself, but she had owned a lunch counter. She could cook whip up a gourmet meal from two ingredients. She felt that doing it (everything) herself was much quicker than teaching me. When my husband and I married I could make a grilled cheese- in one of those fancy sandwich makers. Oh how sad.

    I can see how you fell so hard for Ben. I went head over heels for Thoreau in high school. I don't think I've ever fully recovered.

    SO.... the truth is that I ahven't made much progress this week on the budget. I have come to realize that really I make good progress the week we get paid and then I just maintain from there. So, I am maintaining.

    Happy Sunday!

  2. I will say this one more time girl, Benji F lives just about 35-40 min. from my house in the city of Phila. Pa!!! We are in Wilmington De so girl it is a hop skip and a jump away and oh yeah I have never gone to explore the city of Phila.!!!! how strange is that. nancy settel

  3. I love that you are so real and so honest!!!!!
    Sometimes as I'm wondering why my kids have no work ethic (slight exageration) I remind myself to look at my teenage self and wish I could apologize to my mom!!!!
    Hard work feels so good and it's so nice to accomplish something. I hope they too, get it in time!
    I think I'll have to check out some books on Ben!!

  4. OMG you CRACK me up! Even if Glenco DID wear your underwear to work- do you think he wants you to tell the whole wide world? HA. too funny.
    I would say that you have grown up a LOT! XO, Cheryl

  5. Loved seeing you this morning. I think alot of us had hubby's that wore silky pink bikini's to work at some point, my first hubby did and was a sailor on a ship and the chaplains asst. lol Anywho, I fell for the amish way of life in h.s. while going on a field trip to Harrisburg Pa. Went to hs in Pa. I still love them, I'm working on the house and budget. I will have to read alittle on your Benny Boy, hugs, love ya. me Tell Cindylou who, that I'm prayin for her to feel better.

  6. Thank you for pointing out the brackets! I was one that misread his bedtime to be 1am and I'm thinking, 'What happened to early to bed and early to rise??' So glad you straightened me out.

    I have been known to clang a pot or two. My mother taught my two sisters and me to cook AND to clean and my dad never lifted a domestic finger in his life. But my mom didn't work a 40 hour job sandwiched between a 40 mile commute each way, yes, I grew resentful of the endless domestic duties after a few years. I have peace now though. I quit ONLY cooking what hubby wanted and occasionally subjected him to exactly what I wanted and I became really really efficient in the kitchen. He also helps me with a lot of the other domestic drudgery like laundry and bed-making ...although that's really only the last couple of years. Hmmm. Come to think of it, his domestic helper career took off about the time my pot banging phase was at its peak. Maybe he decided he'd better pitch in before things got dangerous. LOL

  7. are making me want to learn more about ol Ben....

  8. Jayme this is wonderful.
    I taught high school English for 32 years and many days I had blinders on about the yard.
    I was disengaged.
    But then something changed, and it became about the honor in the work.

    I agree!

    I taught my American literature classes about B. Franklin, and I love that he was such a Renaissance man.

    You go girl-

    White Spray Paint

  9. you wee one meal ahead of me, all I could cook was the spaghetti, minus the meatballs. We ate burnt hamburgers that were raw in the middle, those terrible Banquet pot pies and french fries. A lot of french fries. I could go forever and never eat another pot pie or french fry! My saving grace was the library. I'd check out cookbooks and study, study, study!

  10. There are plenty of young women out there who are going to read this and have an Ah ha...moment. You mean it doesn't happen magically. I think it's about then that you begin to appreciate your mom. Your a hoot Jamie! Gotta love it...

  11. Homeboy only slept for 4 hours a night???

    ps- Thank you for reminding me of the panty story.

  12. I love your posts about "Benny"! You're too much! Thanks for the smiles!

    How's the pink revolution workin' for ya? I've settled in and it fits quite nicely.

  13. I was the opposite. I was a cleaning freak b/c my mom cleaned every day, dusted, mopped in case someone came. We ironed our sheets. I remember ironing and watching General Hospital as a little girl. She taught me well in housework. But I still can't can or cut up a chicken.
    Don't care to learn those skills either. Ben was the man, go figure.

  14. You DID NOT make that man wear your panties to work?!...on physical day???

    I bet you haven't lived that one down yet :-)

  15. omgoodness this cracks me up! I'm lovin the schedule!! And the crush---crazy girl! Love it! You really do have a good husbad though- mine would never have left for work that day if he had to wear my delicates!! ha!!

  16. Jayme,
    You are hilarious!!! You make starting my day wonderful!!

  17. You make me want to run to the library and learn more about your man Ben...

  18. Oh my word... my sides ache.

    This is too much (I only read this, this morning- early).

    Jayme - you are balm for the soul. Amen!

  19. I adore that you are so honest and open.

  20. I'm glad you told me about the brackets - otherwise I would REALLY feel like a failure. I think he also sounds so dreamy because of the way he talks. Wish I could follow a schedule like that...

    And I think you got it going on, girl. Just look at your place now from what it looked like moving in! I think old Benji would be proud!

  21. I love your Benny posts, you've inspired me today!

  22. Well sakes alive from the sounds of things I was birthed & raised by Ben's younger sister! When I married at the tender age of 17 I forsook some of her teachings (turning socks in the rinse water of the laundry/washing plastic bread sacks & hanging them on the clothes line to dry in the sunshine/ironing diapers (YES- diapers)/making homemade dog food/canning 30 gallons of dill pickles, so your pickle loving kids would have pickles all winter. But I remembered total oven meals, meatloaf-scalloped potatoes-baked beans & cornbread on a busy day of cleaning. How to put a crease in a pair of starched Levi's & how to patch them when needed. That if the dishes are done & the beds made & the floor is swept you are ready for company. That the joys of a job well done are priceless but that some jobs just do not require the effort of well done! I could recite the pro's & con's of her teachings all day BUT the most important stays with me FAMILY FAMILY FAMILY.She's gone now but never a day goes by that I don't use one of her life lessons. Ben would be proud...........

  23. I learned those lessons at an early age from my own Father. He was kind of an icon in our area. He would sit out in the summer on a hot afternoon, under the big old elm tree, and people would stop and seek his counsel. I grew up on a farm where hard work was the norm. He got Parkinson's when I was about 11 and the running of the farm was left to my mother, foster brother, younger brother and me. I grew up milking and haying and never even thought that there might be an "easier" way of life. Then I got married and moved to the "city" and couldn't believe how easy life was for some people.

    I, to this day, feel guilty if I am just sitting and doing nothing...if I watch TV..I am also going through magazines, or clipping something, or (used to) doing needlework.

    If you learned those lessons from Ben you did good...but I think, secretly, all those attributes were there all along-you just needed to uncover them...and you did. I am proud of you for picking up the challenge of learning new ways...that is never an easy thing to do. And now look~ you are serving as a great example of "growing up" and "toughing it out"..and I am happy to be able to follow your journey! xxoo -Diana

  24. That is inspirational. Thank you for sharing.

  25. I'm a Thomas Jefferson gal myself! Love his home, library, and gardens. My dream is to visit Monticello.

  26. Too fun! I love it so much.
    Thank you for the laugh (as always) and the encouragement. :)
    I need a little Ben in my life.

  27. I was meant to find your blog. Not only are we kindred spirits, (and I have studied Ben and his works as well) but I also live in an 1860s farmhouse. I was a city girl who always dreamed of living off (and on) the land.
    Most of all - you put a smile on my face this morning.

  28. I'm not sure what's happening… used to, I could go to the bookmark on your blog and it would bring me to the updated content. Now, it takes me to a Dec. post and then I am left thinking you've fallen off the earth, or are the biggest slacker around! *snicker* So, I scrolled your blog only to find some 2011 posts and ta-da!!!! It brought me to the current post… but I see I've missed a few… YOU'RE A WEAVER????? Good grief. I've always wanted a loom. I just got a spinning wheel last fall, I think it was. But would love one of those big looms … not sure I'd use it, but sure would love to sit and look at it. :)

    And to Lorilee, Thomas Jefferson's place is the bomb! Went there last year and it is worth every penny of gas money. My friend and I talk about how cool it would have been to sit around the fireside with ol' Ben and Tom while they were brainstorming. The things those two came up with… yes. Worth every penny. Go there. :) I'd like to see that library ol' Ben set up. I hear you can still access the original books. Some of them, I believe Tom loaned him (or maybe gave him) to start that library. Very cool dudes in my book. :)

  29. This cracks me up. I must be related to Ben, because that's how my parents, grandparents always were. Rhythmic routine. I remember the day I "straightened" my sister's side of our room by neatly folding all of her belongings and putting them in paper sacks arranged in groups outside in the hall.

  30. I don't think you would have like Ben very much if you had really met him and found out how he treated his wife and daughter. I like the old adage... a place for everything and everything in its place. That works out. I need more places or less stuff. I'm working on the "less stuff" solution. Wow! The panty episode!

  31. I liked Ben until he got all those rats.

    Oh, wait.... wrong Ben... Ben WAS the rat.

    Gawd, now I'll have that stupid song in my head all day. Thank you Michael Jackson.


  32. Coopster? Where art thou? It's Friday for crying out loud! It's been 4- DO YOU HEAR ME- 4 days since your last post! I am getting worried. I am thinking of sending out a search team and I don't even know where to send them! Come back!

  33. I'm good with the lot of it... especially the 2-hr lunch break. But can't say I'm so kosher with the 5am rise-and-shine time. I'm just not pretty at that time of day, by any connotation of the word. I have one question though... how does one "address Powerful Goodness"? Would that be Mr? Mrs? Your Right Honourable?

  34. Dear Queen Coop,
    Is all right in your kingdom? Been missing you.

  35. I've never gave the poor guy much of a chance. I mean, how much do you think they teach us about old Ben up here in Canada? Next to nothing, if that, but that schedule of his? Oh my did that ever catch my eye. I'm up at five each workday and if you'd told me when I was under 25 that I would grow accustomed to it and perhaps even like it, I would have laughed til the cows come home but I do kind of like it now. It's still, it's quiet and after a cup of joe I can function quite well. I certainly can't function after 9pm anymore! I mentioned this to the Artist last week cause I thought it was really cool that Ben and I had something in common. He promptly recited, Early to Bed, Early to Rise, Makes a Man healthy, wealthy and wise. "Ben Franklin said that?" I asked. I had no idea. He's a cool guy! I just downloaded a free copy of his autobiography onto my iphone, I can't wait to read it!

  36. What an absolutely wonderful post. I really enjoyed this mixed with your true feelings. Wonderful


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