Beginnings 1969

On a rainy September morning in 1969 I was late for my first day of teaching. I was the new kindergarten teacher commuting from NYC to a suburban town in New Jersey. Saved by a very cheerful and generous welcome from my teaching partner, it was the beginning of an inspiring 28-year career in educating young children and becoming a part of the teacher association and community of West Caldwell, NJ.

I found a “home” in West Caldwell and even today have a continued relationship with many of my teaching colleagues, (now retired), and parents of kids, and the now adult students who have their own kids.

Another 1969 event was the first Brady Bunch TV show, also in September. If you are of a certain age you know the Brady Bunch, a blended family. He, a widower with three children, and she, mother of three. What got the attention of the TV world was the very beginning of each show.

Video headshots were arranged in a three-by-three grid, with each cast member appearing to look at the other family members. Pre-internet, this was a then new “multi-dynamic image technique” created by Canadian filmmaker Christopher Chapman. Hello to the future Zoom.

New Beginnings 2020

Who knew that about half a century later many of us would be digitally connected like the Brady Bunch?

Still sheltering at home (August 12, 2020), I am going out for essentials in my Bermuda Triangle of ACE, CVS, and Safeway. I have social distance breakfasts with friends, and bike and walk in our surrounding neighborhoods.

And Then There’s Digital Connections

My email from Daily Good recently had “Tips to Connect.” I was intrigued and inspired by the list of ideas. Check it out


Write: Blog; Send emails.

Zoom: with family, friends, professional colleagues, storytelling groups, Tucson Tellers of Tales, Eastside Writing Room, Center for Spiritual Living Tucson, any number of invites to meditate, grow spiritually, be mindful, dance with Jiggy, sing with Connie Brannock.

You Tube: Dr. Richard Miller’s iRest Yoga Nigra, Amy Weintraub yoga, the Write Group of Montclair, Odyssey Storytelling, FST, Sandy and Doug McMasters Ohana Slack Key concerts on Kauai.

Facebook: Friends, writing groups, alumni groups (Wagner College ’69), If you grew up in… (Find your hometown page or high school. (Mine is from Merrick, LI, NY; Calhoun High School). I’ve connected with my childhood church (Community Presbyterian Church of Merrick)

Or like millions of folks, go through the multitude of photos you have and know with the sureness of your inner artist that yours are worth sharing. (They are.)

Facetime, Instagram, Twitter, Google Classroom, Google Photo Albums.

And The Real Stuff

Phone someone, write a letter, send a card, or photos. Say hello to anyone and everyone you see on your walk, at the store. Spread the friendly feelings around.

Connecting With Yourself

Daily yoga, (stepping on my mat each morning connects me to me). Meditation and spiritual readings. Journal. My sweetheart and I read together; my friend reads with her friend on Facetime.

Lounging: my new hobby. I’ve found comfortable and quiet areas at home and nearby where I can just be. Not easy for me but gradually the fast-moving images and thoughts racing across my mental radar screen slow down, then get very intermittent, and I just drift. I’ve gotten some of my nicest surprise ideas just lounging around.

That’s just a few. Feel free to share your ways of connecting. Click here to contact me.

Next blog: Lounging Around. (Yes, really)

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She’s retired from professional writing gigs after 30 years of teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. In retirement she’s writing to inspire, to connect with folks, and for the pure enjoyment of it, and sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling Tucson Tellers of Tales, and anywhere there’s a Zoom mic.