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Gwin Paden: June in January, safety tips and catching up with Lodi

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Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 12:00 am

Back in the 1930s, when I was in boarding school, we used to have dances every Friday night. The music back in those days was provided by 78 rpm records on a windup Victrola. One tune was “June in January,” a nice melodic ballad performed by a young Bing Crosby.

What brought it to mind, of course, is the way the garden is behaving — June in January, indeed! Hyacinths, daffodils, snowflakes, grape hyacinths and a lovely purple flower with a name I can’t remember are all above ground and blooming, challenging the paper whites, who are just now giving up after blooming for a month.

And the camellias have already gotten a head start on Valentine flowering. Professor Sargent is offering red wishes, Betty Sheffield is flirting in deep pink and white, and Eleanor (?) is sharing delicate pale pink smiles. Others are holding fat green buds until they are sure it’s really safe to venture out.


Spent some time the other day over at Bruce’s Tires, nattering away with Dennis Cunnington about this and that, including the fact that his father, at 80, is still pretty much an active country doctor up in Arnold, where he “retired” some years ago after practicing here in Lodi. House calls and payment in pies and produce still continue the classic medical practice we were all used to a lot of years ago.

We also reminisced about old friends, the late Jack Takahashi and Buzz Fleming.

Dennis lent me a summary (written by Jim Beckman, son of the late G.O. Beckman, co-founder and long-time president of Super Mold) about the establishment, growth and fading of the tire retreading industry that became Lodi’s largest employer and made Lodi known throughout the world at one time in its history.

A different friend (another Beckman, by the way!) told me very recently that retreads are no longer allowed on most cars and only on the front wheels of large trucks. Even so, retreads can peel off; one sees them on freeways. These pieces are called alligators, and truckers warn each other about them because, if run over, they can fly up and get caught in a truck’s hydraulics.


Speaking of warnings, here is another one making the rounds. Those nine-volt batteries — the ones used in smoke alarms — can cause fires if their terminals touch, which can happen if ones taken from the alarms are being collected prior to taking them to electronic recycling. Be sure all terminals on these batteries are covered with electrician’s tape.

Also making the rounds: another sign of stroke. If a stroke is suspected, check by having the person smile, speak a simple sentence, raise their arms upright AND stick our their tongue. If it goes straight, all’s well. If it twists or pulls to one side, then a stroke might have occurred.

And a third, very serious, warning: If you are admitted to the hospital, be sure you are designated “in-patient,” not “for observation.” If you are designated as the latter, the word is that Medicare will not pay for any care under that term. This information comes with the caveat that it is not something Medicare wants known. True or not? Worth checking.

I don’t know where or how I heard about this one: a cake of soap placed in one’s bed beside one’s legs will prevent leg cramps. Sounds silly, but I tried it — and it works. The power of wishful thinking? You tell me!


I have been remiss in a lot of things trying to catch up with “normal life” after my husband’s death, but a main one has been thanking William Van Amber Fields for his very kind mention of Jack in a Letter to the Editor some time ago. I always enjoy reading anything Mr. Fields writes; he always gives me something to think about, even though I don’t always agree.

Leona Schmierer was in Golden Shears a couple of weeks ago, showing off some delightful quilted tote bags made by her husband, Lee. One had a particularly cute patch with a perky brown bird on it; another had a hummingbird. I am tempted, loving birds as I do! Anyone interested can contact me at with name and phone number and I will have Leona or Lee call you.

And one to end with: A friend of 50-plus years, Frank Pegg, gave me this poem recently, one he wrote himself after the death of his wife, Joyce, and which he gives to all friends who are bereaved. “I thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new; I thought about you yesterday and the day before that, too. I think of you in silence; I often speak your name. All I have are memories and your picture in a frame. Your memories are my keepsake with which I’ll never part; God has you in His keeping; I have you in my heart. You will always be the wind beneath my wings.”

Gwin Paden has been around Lodi since 1957 and has written this column since 1999. My thanks to those who read it.

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