Marilyn Writes

Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall began her career as a journalist with the Wyoming Eagle in Cheyenne. During her 20 year banking career, she wrote extensively for The American Banker, Bank Marketing Magazine, Trust Marketing Magazine, and other major industry publications. The American Bankers Association (ABA) published Barnewall’s Profitable Private Banking: the Complete Blueprint, in 1987. She taught private banking at Colorado University for the ABA and trained private bankers in Singapore.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Fatherless homes need strong hands, hearts

Tuesday August 12, 2003 Grand Junction Free Press

(c) Copyright 2003, Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall, All Rights Reserved Grammy's Axioms, Special to the Free Press

By Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall

Axiom: Self-respect is based on one simple rule: Do the right thing because it is right.

     A recent Men Against Domestic Violence Survey says children who come from fatherless homes represent:
      ...85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders;
     ...71% of all high school dropouts;
      ...75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers;
     ...70% of juveniles in state operated institutions;
     ...85% of all youths sitting in prisons;
     ...80% of rapists motivated by displaced anger;
     ...90% of all homeless and runaway children.
     That means children from fatherless homes are 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders and 9 times more likely to drop out of high school. They are 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances. Children from fatherless homes are 20 times more likely to end up in prison and 10 times more likely to commit rape. They are 32 times more likely to run away from home.
     I often think about the negative impact on my children of their father's desertion. Forty percent of the children of divorced parents haven't seen their dads for the past year.
     My kids went years at a time without seeing their father. Then he would come and take them out to dinner. They were thrilled! He did not have to correct them... all he had to do during his brief encounter every few years was take them out to dinner and charm them.
     It took me a long time to figure it out... why kids blame mothers because they do not have a dad.
     Kids are not present during all of the fights, the visits (in my case) to the prison in which their father was held... or the difficult time on parole. They do not know about the stress of being the family's total support because "he just could not face the public."
     Then he decided I had to stop working so he could support his family. He had to regain his self-respect and when I worked, he said, it diminished him. That, in his mind, was why he could not succeed at anything.
     When the Lion's Club brought a box of food into my home so we could eat, it was the final straw. We had no money, no food. I went back to work and got a divorce.
     The kids were protected from these events... and many more.
     No one (including me) sat down and told the children what an irresponsible and (from my perspective) cowardly parent their father had been. All they saw was the charm every few years. Until they were older and began asking questions, I said nothing to them about him.
     Not having a father in the home causes hurt and resentment children carry into adulthood. Dad was cool when he visited. Mom made them do dishes, clean up after themselves, and do homework. And, kids never stop and think that maybe the reason mom's in a bad mood today is that she is exhausted from doing the work of two people, year after year.
     Because single parents do not want to be bad guys all the time, the kind of discipline required to make children into balanced, healthy adults is often avoided. It is one reason we have so many undisciplined kids running around today.
     Is the cool distance that exists between me and my children today because of childhood resentments worth the price of being a disciplinarian? You bet your sweet socks! It's why they are happy adults today!
     How do I know unreasonable resentments exist? One experience explained the entire thing to me. Before my son left for his tour of duty in the Navy, we had a long conversation about how it would be necessary for him to find male traits he admired in adult males and learn to emulate them. After all, there had been no male around to set an example for him.
     My son and I watched hundreds of football games together. We shot baskets together. I taught him to swim and play tennis and made sure he learned to ski. Teaching him how to develop male-based competitive instincts was not the problem. It was how to be a man. I don't care how smart you are, that is something no female can do.
     After he was married, one night he called and told me that because he'd had no male image to emulate as a child, his father-in-law was very important to him.
     Since I had never said anything to him one way or the other about his father-in-law, the comment came out of left field. I was shocked. And then I became angry. I was being blamed for something that was not my fault.
     I was not the one who deserted him. I was not the one who got sent to prison. I was not the one who refused to adjust to society after confinement. Yet, from my son's perspective, it was my fault he had no male image to emulate as a child.
     Since this conversation took place 18 years after I divorced his father, I know children carry resentments into adulthood caused by childhood hurts. If it sounds like I feel sorry for myself, I do not. Raising my children was the greatest privilege I was ever granted.
     Thirty-six percent of children, close to 30 million, don't live with their biological father. By comparison, in 1960, just nine percent of children lived with only one parent.
     The number of live births to unmarried women increased from 224,300 in 1960 to 1,248,000 in 1995, while the number of children living with never-married mothers grew from 221,000 in 1960 to 5,862,000 in 1995 -- an increase of over 26 times the 1960 number. Those number are going up, not down.
     A National Fatherhood Initiative analysis found that of the 102 prime-time network TV shows in late 1998, only fifteen featured a father as a central character. Of these, the majority portrayed the father as uninvolved, incompetent or both.
     But for the kids who have them, good dads make a vast difference.
     Girls aged 15 to 19 who are raised in homes with fathers are significantly less likely to engage in premarital sex.
     Children with involved dads are less susceptible to peer pressure, are more competent, more self-protective, more self-reliant and more ambitious.
     Involved dads make an irreplaceable contribution to the lives of their kids. Those who are not involved do irreparable damage...and the mom's who raise these children get blamed for everything that was wrong with their childhoods.
     When I read this kind statistical data, it partially explains to me why my healthy, employed, never imprisoned, non-smoking, non-drug involved kids who have never had out-of-wedlock children are not close to me, their mother.
     My role was not that of charming them every few years. My job was to protect them... even from themselves when they went through periods of self-destructive behavior. Raising my kids was not about me. It was about them. I made mistakes... a couple of huge ones. But I never stopped trying.
     During the years I was a single parent, I did not think about how I was the only one handing down discipline. Then, I began pondering why my kids sometimes resent me. I worked hard to provide a good home, a happy home where everyone felt safe and secure.
     Where I went, they went. When I won two first class tickets to Honolulu, did I take a boy friend and spend some time away? Of course not. I took my kids. When I spent two weeks in Ensenada, Mexico, did I "get away from it all?" Of course not. I took my kids.
     Interestingly, while on the Ensenada vacation, I sent my son out on a fishing boat with other tourists. I untied apron strings... and had the chef at our hotel cook the fish he caught (for an outrageous cost!). I was trying to teach him about things men do... that being a provider was appreciated. He was 15 at the time.
     It sounds like a success story. When they were young, we were very close.
     For single moms who read this, take heart. Raising your children -- alone or otherwise -- is the most important job you will ever have. Teaching them discipline is the most important lesson you will ever teach. And, the example you set will largely determine how happy they are as adults. Raising children is not about you. It is about them.
     The resentments children have towards parents for correcting them become hurts they carry into adulthood. I see no way to avoid it -- at least, not if you want to be a good parent who avoids all of those statistics about fatherless homes.
     When I read these statistics about the importance of fathers, I feel better about the single parent job I did. Both of my kids are wonderful parents. It took me a long time to realize it is because they had a good example... and it was not their father. Arrogant? No. Facts are never arrogant, just true.
     I hope every man who reads this article will re-read the above statistics before touching that zipper and taking the chance of fathering an unwanted child.
     I'm sorry a marital mistake I made caused my kids to be raised without a father in the home. I'm not sorry for raising them, for disciplining them, or for loving them enough to do both.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Hold Tightly to Your Hope...

Tuesday      June 17, 2003      Grand Junction Free Press      Page 10
(c) Copyright 2003, Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall, All Rights Reserved
Grammy's Axioms, Special to the Grand Junction Free Press

By Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall

Axiom: If you feel hopeless about a thing, it is, indeed, hopeless. To beat adversity, hold tightly to your hope. Without it, you have no dreams.
     It is amazing how important life’s principles become as we age. To learn what works and what doesn’t work in life, people go through a great deal of stress. Sometimes, trauma. There is glory and beauty, too. As we look back, we realize all of those things define our individual lives.
     All human beings can be assured of one thing: At some point in life, each will be tempted to lose hope. Many of us will .
     For me, the most recent temptation to lose hope came when I became disabled in 1993. I owned my own company and in the 1980s was one of the highest paid women in the U.S. I traveled the world, was called by major publications like Time and Wall Street Journal for my opinion about banking. I gave speeches in Zurich, London and Singapore. I loved my life. My kids were raised, success was within my grasp... and suddenly I had to walk away from it all. It hurt. Badly. It almost caused me to lose all hope for a happy life.
     “Because your condition is more or less invisible, friends and family may not believe you when you say you hurt... you may be deprived of the normal support network that forms around a chronically ill person because ‘you look just fine.'” Some family members -- including my own children -- reacted just as Dr. Starlanyl predicted in the above paragraph.
      That statement by Devin Starlanyl, M.D., and Mary Ellen Copeland, M.S., M.A., in their book, Fibromyalgia & Chronic Myo-fascial Pain Syndrome (New Harbinger Publications, 1996) was, for me, an epiphany. I, who had been disgustingly healthy most of my life, had just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. These words suddenly made clear the essence of a health problem.
     Though Dr. William Balfour at the University of Edinburgh identified the symptoms of FMS 200 years ago, the American Medical Association (AMA) until 1987 did not recognize FMS. Even today, many physicians view FMS as a "junk" disease. Unfortunately, a lot of physicians know so little about FMS, whenever a person has a lot of diverse symptoms and they do not know what is wrong, doctors tell patients they have fibromyalgia.
      The symptoms of FMS are diverse... and that is part of the problem. You get referred to a lot of specialists. There’s the neurologist, rheumatologist, orthopedist, surgeon, nephrologist or endocrinologist. They need to get together and say “Hey! We’ve got a classic case of fibromyalgia here! Look at these diverse symptoms!” But they usually do not.
     When you do get a correct diagnosis, you may find your way into a support group. They tend to support treating the symptoms, not the disease. Instead of a group, I found my way to Barnes & Noble where I found Dr. Starlanyl’s book and, through her, the medical expert in the country treating fibromyalgia.
     What are the diverse symptoms of FMS?
     You may be excessively nervous, depressed, or find your memory impaired. Muscle stiffness and tingling in extremities occur. You can have digestion, bladder and bowel problems – or, hot and itching palms of hands and soles of feet. Even painful intercourse, eye irritation and loss of hair quality may be symptoms of this disease. A recent study in Israel determined a large percentage of people with FMS also have thyroid disease.
     Sleep is impaired by various problems... the inability to breathe properly, the need to urinate often. Fatigue, lost concentration (fibrofog) and irritability when combined with pain are primary symptoms of FMS. Most of us have small lumps... they can’t be seen, but we can feel them under the skin.
     How many people are afflicted with this disorder and what causes it? A conservative estimate of the number of people with fibromyalgia is 20 million. It represents about 5 percent of the population, all ethnic groups, 85 percent of whom are women.
     In his recent book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Fibromyalgia (Warner Books, 1999) Dr. R. Paul St. Amand states “Another twenty-five million people suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, which I (and most other physicians) believe is the same disease” (as FMS).
     St. Amand also believes fibromyalgia is today’s prelude to tomorrow’s osteoarthritis “and that afflicts another thirty-five million people.”
     St. Amand teaches at UCLA’s Harbor Medical facility. His theory – and he emphasizes it is a theory – is that fibromyalgia is caused because some human bodies do not properly dispose of phosphates. When you read his entire explanation, it makes so much sense.
     His theory has been tested on a lot of people. In his private practice, he has for over 30 years specialized in treating more than 5,000 fibromyalgia patients. Some fibromyalgics, he says, “live with their symptoms for years, until they finally succumb to excruciating pain.” St. Amand points to phosphate abnormalities in the muscles of fibromyalgics which he postulates is due to a faulty enzyme at the kidney level. Most people’s kidneys eliminate phosphates easily. Not true if you have fibromyalgia.
     When this metabolic malfunction occurs, the blood needs to store the phosphates... get them out of the blood. Our efficient bodies find room for the phosphates first in the bones. When that space is gone, it is stored in muscles, intestines and, eventually, in joints. That accounts for the lumps and osteoarthritis.
     St. Amand has identified a very old and well-tested drug with no side effects to reverse the symptoms of FMS. Too few doctors know about it. As a result, too few people who suffer with this disease know about it. Instead, symptoms are treated... pills for sleep, pills for pain, pills for delaying trips to the bathroom, etc. And, almost all medications have side effects.
     The treatment is a little more complex than just taking a pill or two each day. Not much more complex, but a little. It takes a book, not an article, to explain the details. Once understood, the treatment is straightforward, causing little inconvenience.
     If you are one of the 40 percent of women who are hypoglycemic as well as fibromyalgic, you may have to change your diet a bit. Your cosmetics cannot contain salicylates – nothing you put on your skin can contain them because salicylates are absorbed through the skin. The same is true of toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, etc. Salicylates block the medication from doing its job.
     Though these things sound small and insignificant, they are key to succeeding in FMS reversal. I had to change a lot of my cosmetics... my toothpaste and mouth wash, my shampoo and rinse. And, I have to wear gloves when I garden. These are small prices to pay for pain relief! Since anti-inflammatories burned the lining of my stomach, I can’t take anything for pain. Not even an aspirin. Perhaps that is why the price seems so small for pain relief.
     Before people try St. Amand’s reversal treatment, they and their physicians need to be informed about how to find the proper medication level, what dietary changes need to be made, and what you can put on your skin and what you cannot.
     St. Amand generously provides the information to FMS patients and their physicians for the cost of a book and videotape. You can get the information free on the Internet. Download what needs to be done from his Website,
     Dr. Starlanyl’s book taught me that FMS causes the neurotransmitters in my body to get disrupted... more than once, I dropped a glass of water trying to bring it to my lips. It scared me to death because my dad died of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS. In her book, Starlanyl uses the specific example of dropping a glass of water to explain neurotransmitter interruptions suffered by FMS patients.
     Dr. Starlanyl understands FMS because she has it. So, too, does Dr. St. Amand.
     I sent away for Dr. St. Amand’s videotape about FMS. I purchased his book. Thank God I got informed rather than joining a group that doled out sympathy (and approved of pills) for my pain.
     Today my symptoms are 50 percent improved over what they were less than a year ago. Because of Dr. St. Amand’s medical insights, I expect a complete reversal of the disease within a few years. It takes two months of the medication to reverse symptoms for each year of FMS symptoms.
     Fibromyalgia presents a complex (and painful) problem. You need information to help yourself.
     Go to Dr. St. Amand’s web site at
     Go to Dr. Starlanyl’s web site at
     There, at no cost, you will find in-depth explanations of what I’ve barely touched on in this article. Get informed. Get well!
     If you do not have a computer, go to the public library to access the web sites. If you’re computer illiterate, ask the librarian for help.
     My fondest hope is that one year from the date you read this article, you or a friend or a loved one will say “My symptoms are 50 percent better than they were last year!” Hold tightly to your hopes. Being hopeful rather than hopeless sometimes requires us to take responsibility for ourselves in ways we hadn’t anticipated. Do you suppose that is part of the meaning of : “Physician, heal thyself”?

Friday, August 19, 2005

Getting Fired by My Own Physician

Tuesday      August 5, 2003      Grand Junction Free Press      Page 10
(c) Copyright 2003, Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall, All Rights Reserved
Grammy's Axioms, Special to the Grand Junction Free Press

By Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall

Axiom: People value truth, but don't like those who tell it.

     The letter from my primary care physician went beyond cold to cold and impersonal.
     "Dear (Add any name -- mine was on this letter): As of the date you sign for receipt of this Certified letter, the ABCDEFG Medical Group will no longer provide medical care for you."
     The first paragraph went on to tell me that none of partnership corporation's subsidiary groups would provide service, either.
     A second paragraph informed me that the medical group of four family practitioner physicians would provide emergency medical services for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days.
     I have never been fired by a doctor before. In fact, I have always gotten along with my doctors very well. I respect and admire them. If I do not, I find another doctor.
     When I became disabled, my medical alternatives became limited. Why? Because the powers Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) bestow upon primary care physicians (PCPs) are huge. Without PCP referrals, you cannot even get to God.
     In the old days, I probably would have laughed at such arrogance. This, however, had to do with a potentially malignant growth on my leg. I was not laughing.
     I qualified for Social Security Disability and Medicare in 1992, but did not take advantage of it until 1996. I had private hospitalization insurance until that time. I had paid huge premiums for it all my life and seldom used it.
     With private insurance, I could select my own doctors and if I needed to see a specialist, I could call and make an appointment. Then, I was introduced to managed care.
      Everything progressed nicely. The primary care physician who wrote me the nasty letter was a good doctor. He referred me to the best rheumatologist in the state. He was the one who identified my fibromyalgia (FMS) -- a difficult disease to diagnose.
     Two weeks before I got the letter -- an abuse and exercise of power in its worst form -- another physician who was a friend looked at a growth on my leg and said "You really ought to talk with your PCP about that. It could be malignant."
     I had intended to ask my primary doc about it for months, but I always had so many important health issues going on. I forgot. The growth on my leg was about a year old.
     I decided I'd stop at my primary care doctor's office on my way home and make an appointment. My doctor was off that day, but one of his partners could see me in ten minutes if I wanted to wait, the girls at the desk told me. I hadn't met this particular physician before, but had been treated by three of the four partners. Those three provided quality care.
     "You were right to have this looked at," said physician partner number four. "This kind of growth is high risk for squamous cell carcinoma." He smiled.
     I asked to be referred to a surgeon.
     "Fortunately, HMO has given family practitioners permission to remove skin growths ... we can do it right here and much less expensively."
     What a stupid thing for a doctor to say to a patient. My top priority should be saving money for my HMO rather than getting the most qualified medical care for a growth he had just told me was at high risk for cancer?
     Understand me. Saving money within the health care system is important. Very important. But my personal health ranks number one on my list of priorities. This was not a head cold about which I quibbled.
     A month earlier, my mother's family practitioner had frozen a growth on her neck. Two weeks later, it grew back. Her PCP surgically removed and biopsied it. It was malignant.
     Her PCP did not get the entire tumor. It grew back, even more quickly this time. She was finally referred to a surgeon who removed all of the growth. Three office calls and medical procedures before getting a patient to the right doctor -- a surgeon -- do not sound like less expensive ways to run a business to me.
     During the same time frame, my next door neighbor's son had a benign sebaceous cyst removed from his forehead by his family practitioner (same HMO as mine). He was out of work for a month and will require at least two plastic surgery procedures to correct the damage done.
     By the time it was over, this sebaceous cyst the family practitioner was given permission to remove by HMO because it is less expensive will cost well into five figures, rather than three (if the kid doesn't sue him). Wow! That sure saved money!
     These two experiences were rooted firmly in my mind as I once again requested to be referred to either a dermatologist or a surgeon. The smile disappeared from partner Number Four's face.
     "HMO says we can do this procedure here. I will not give you a referral. Call and make an appointment with your own doctor after tomorrow. I will write up my notes and have them in your file by then."
     With that, he turned on his heel and he and his unfriendly bedside manner left the room.
     And it was at this moment the difference between the medical care I had received pre-HMO and managed care became apparent: Doctors were now in control of my choices, not me. The bottom line, not my health, had become the primary consideration. Decisions like this result in non-personalized "care." Group decisions are always non-personal and seldom result in care.
     For example, skin growths like mine are not categorized as high or low-risk for malignancy. All family practitioners are encouraged to remove all skin growths because it is less expensive. Not all family practitioners are good surgeons -- which is why they became family physicians.
     In the two cases I'm aware of, that lower-cost theory was totally wrong. Since those are the only two cases I know of where a PCP removed skin growths, the percentage of error was pretty high. I do not know who made the original assumption, but it is a wrong one. It is a faulty assumption that leaps to an erroneous conclusion.
     According to a survey on the Internet by dermatologists, research proves that primary care or family physicians misdiagnose melanoma, the most virulent and deadly form of skin cancer, 61 percent of the time.
     This is someone I want surgically removing a skin tumor? Not
      My HMO is a good one. Until a procedure occurred that had life-threatening implications about which the HMO had issued a dictate, everything moved smoothly. My care was good. Not as flexible as it used to be, but good.
     I did return to my PCP's office to see my own doctor. His people skills are much smoother than Number Four's. And, I trust him. His answer, however, was the same. No referral to a surgeon. He did offer to refer me to a dermatologist, however.
     I scheduled an appointment with him for the next week to have the growth removed. His office called the next day. He had an opening with time to perform the surgery that afternoon. Would I like to come in early and get it over with? I agreed.
     With all of my fears and misgivings over this situation, this physician had earned my trust. Did I like the result? No. I would have preferred a surgeon perform the procedure. I thought of my mother's problem, of my neighbor's son's problem.
     They brought in the consent form I had to sign before he would perform the surgery. It was supposed to explain all of the risks.
     It bothered me that the greatest risk of all -- from my perspective -- was not listed. So, I listed it.
     Under the sentence stating that all of the risks had been explained to me and that I fully understood them as explained, I added these words: "...and, I have been informed that this is the only surgical alternative available to me." I then signed the form.
      It was the truth. A stark truth, perhaps, but the truth, nonetheless. To leave the sentence out of the stated risks was to bend the truth. If it was an ugly truth, the ugliness was not mine. I did not create it. They did. The sentence I added, of course, placed the PCP in a dangerous position relative to malpractice if he erred in removing and diagnosing the growth on my leg.
     Like a spoiled little child whose mommy won't provide a favorite toy, he became angry. He referred me to a surgeon to remove the growth. It was benign (thank you, Lord).
     How sad that because so much power over who managed care patients can see for medical procedures has been vested in primary care physicians, patients cannot share personal fears with the people to whom they trust their lives.
     If they do express their fears -- as I did -- a letter firing them as patients might come by Certified Mail a week later.
     The health care I have received from HMO doctors has been just fine ... until we got to an life-threatening issue.
     That is precisely when I want to be in control of the quality of my medical care.
     It is precisely at that point that managed care appears to remove control from patient hands and put it into the hands of accountants.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Test Gives New Meaning to an 8th Grade Education

Tuesday      July 29, 2003      Grand Junction Free Press      Page 10
(c) Copyright 2003, Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall, All Rights Reserved
Grammy's Axioms, Special to the Grand Junction Free Press

By Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall

Axiom: It’s more important to ask the right question than to find a brilliant answer to the wrong one.

     Henry Ford once said that after Americans harnessed atomic energy, we became a nation fixated on quick answers. Too often, he said, we found brilliant answers to the wrong questions.
     When you surf the Net and use e-mail, you get used to receiving messages containing misinformation. Because it is so easy to send e-mail, most people forward the erroneous data without bothering to check it -- a simple process.
     To make sure the e-mails you so easily forward contain truthful information, go to or or
     After you get to the Urban Legends or Scambusters Web site, add it to Favorites. Then it is very easy to check message accuracy before sending it on to someone else. Just click on Favorites, the Web address, and see if what you are about to send is true. Most of the "factual" data sent to urban legend investigators is found to be untrue. Some, however, is not.
     For example, the Naval Air Station in New Orleans got a telephone call from someone saying he was an AT&T Service Technician. He was running a test on the telephone lines he said. He asked the person who answered the telephone to "press the 9, then the zero, and finally the pound sign (#)-- and then just hang up."
     The Naval guy who answered the phone was suspicious. He reported the call to one of the Urban Legend hot lines on the Internet.
     They found that if you have to dial 9 to get an outside line, and if you hit the 9, zero and # keys (in that order), you give the person calling access to your telephone. They can call anyone using their phone but on your telephone line. They can call anywhere they want, free. Most of these calls originated from local jails and prisons, by the way.
     Another really good one and is the 809 area code scam.
     Crooks in the the 809 area code -- the Caribbean -- call and leave a message on your answering machine. They call at an hour you are most likely away -- they want your answering machine, not you.
     The messages they leave are always critical in nature. "This is ABC Hospital. A young man identifying himself as your nephew has been in an accident. Please call me back right away."
      The 809 area can be used as a "pay-per-call" number -- like 900 numbers in the U.S. If someone leaves you a message and asks for a call back to the 809 area code, be very careful.
     When people return the calls, they are put on hold for awhile. Then someone talks nonsense to them. By the time callers realize a scam is taking place, they are on the telephone for several minutes. The cost? From $25 to $100 a minute!
     My favorite e-mail is a test found at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society in Salina, Kansas and published in 1996 by the Salina Journal. It caused a to-do in some very famous publications. The test has resurfaced via the Internet. That is how it showed up in my e-mail.
     Mary Laas, granddaughter of J.W. Armstrong, 1895 superintendent of Salina County schools, says the test is for 8th graders. They had to pass it to graduate. She gave a copy of the test to the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society.
     According to urban legend Internet expert, the test is real. They, however, believes the test was given to teachers rather than 8th graders. There is no evidence to support this theory... other than how difficult the questions are.
     Jeff Jacoby who reports for the Boston Globe heard about the test and became interested. He researched other tests from the good old days. Jacoby says the hardest test he found was the 1885 Jersey City High School exam.
     "It seems that they (the tests) get harder the further back you go," Jacoby said. "Pupils, parents and pundits who think today's standardized tests are intolerable might find it instructive to spend a few minutes with the kinds of tests high schools use to administer," his article states.
Grammar (Time: one hour)
     1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
     2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no modifications.
     3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.
     4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of lie, lay and run.
     5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.
     6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
     7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.
Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)
     1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
     2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
     3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50 cts/bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
     4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
     5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
     6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
     7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per metre?
     8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
      9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?
     10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.
U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
     1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.
     2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
     3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
     4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
     5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
     6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
     7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
     8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.
Orthography (Time, one hour)
     1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication?
     2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
     3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?
     4.. Give four substitutes for caret 'u'.
     5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
     6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
     7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
     8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
     9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
     10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.
Geography (Time, one hour)
     1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
      2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
     3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
     4. Describe the mountains of North America.
      5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.
     6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
     7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
      8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
     9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
     10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.
     The exam took six hours to complete. It gives the saying "she/he only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning.
     No wonder my Mom -- who only got through the 8th grade because of the depression -- was so smart. I always admired her for all she had to learn on her own, without benefit of school or teacher.
     One thing is certain. We sure knew how to ask the right questions in the good old pre-atomic age days!
     Come to think of it, Henry Ford was of an age where he would have taken a test very much like this one. No wonder he was so smart!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Heroes Provide Road Maps for Success

Tuesday      July 27, 2003      Grand Junction Free Press      Page 10
(c) Copyright 2003, Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall, All Rights Reserved
Grammy's Axioms, Special to the Grand Junction Free Press

By Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall

Axiom: People today confuse the words "freedom" and "license." Historically, freedom implies responsible behavior. License does not.

     I keep wondering why there are so few Hollywood stars with public appeal equal to that of movie legends from the 1940s. People who were not alive during the 1950s may argue with that... but they don't know any better. They really did not know John Wayne or Jimmy Stewart.
     Tom Cruise is a very handsome, sexy man. He is a wonderful actor. Something tells me, however, that his movie image will not carry him as a movie great into old age like it did for Wayne, Stewart, Heston, Scott, Niven, Brando, etc.
     Why? Okay, I know... as we age, we all lose the physical attributes so much a part of star appeal. But that did not stop John Wayne or Jimmy Stewart and a lot of other 1940s movie giants from being lifelong Hollywood stars. And, their appeal was not gender biased. Their popularity did not rely on sex appeal. They were equally loved by all movie goers, male and female.
     What is different about today's stars?
     I believe the appeal of stars from my generation had a lot to do with integrity. Since integrity (or, lack of it) always results from character, I guess it is also a matter of character. Today's stars have a lot of style... but often show very little class. Jimmy Stewart exuded class. So did Charlton Heston, David Niven, and George C. Scott. Is the name of Tom Cruise equal to the names of John Wayne or Clark Gable?
     Do you consider Bruce Willis the equal of Charlton Heston? Will Sean Penn's star keep shining as brightly as Jimmy Stewart's throughout his life? Part of the answer to that question lies in real-life behavior rather than the screen heroics that safely occur in front of cameras.
     Can you imagine Jimmy Stewart going to Berlin to talk with Adolph Hitler just prior to World War II? Can you see him telling the German people how ashamed he is of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt for wanting to declare war against Germany... to help our allies, the Brits? I can't.
     More people were killed on 9-11 than were killed by the Japanese during the Pearl Harbor attack, December 7, 1941.
     Sean Penn might be able to imagine it... he visited Saddam in Iraq. With the advent of World War II, many of our 1940's actors gave up their wealth, position and fame to become G.I.s. Here is what our super stars of the 40's were doing after war was declared:>
     Sir Alec Guinness (Star Wars and many other important leading man roles) operated a British Royal Navy landing craft on D Day.
      James Doohan ("Scotty" on Star Trek) landed in Normandy with the U. S. Army on D Day.
     Donald Pleasance (The Great Escape) really was an R. A. F. pilot who was shot down, held prisoner and tortured by the Germans. David Niven was a Sandhurst graduate and Lt. Colonel of the British Commandos in Normandy.
      James (Jimmy) Stewart entered the Army Air Force as a private and worked his way to the rank of Colonel. During World War II, Stewart served as a bomber pilot, his service record credits him with leading more than 20 missions over Germany. He took part in hundreds of air strikes during his tour of duty. Stewart earned the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, France's Croix de Guerre, and 7 Battle Stars during World War II. In peace time, Stewart continued to be an active member of the Air Force as a reservist, reaching the rank of Brigadier General before retiring in the late 1950s.
     Clark Gable (mega movie star -- remember Gone With The Wind?) was too old to be drafted at the time the U.S. entered WW II. Regardless, in Los Angeles on August 12, 1942, Gable enlisted as a private in the Army Air Force. He attended officers candidate school at Miami Beach, Florida and graduated a second lieutenant on October 28, 1942. Gable then attended aerial gunnery school. In February of 1943 he was assigned to the 351st Bomb Group at Polebrook where he flew missions over Europe in B-17s. Captain Gable returned to the U.S. in October 1943. At his own request, he was relieved from active duty (as Major Gable) on June 12, 1944. His reason? He was over age for combat.
      Charlton Heston was an Army Air Corps Sergeant stationed in Kodiak. Long before he became a leader for the National Rifle Association, Heston was ready to fight for American freedom.
     Earnest Borgnine was a U. S. Navy Gunner's Mate, 1935 1945.
     Charles Durning was a U. S. Army Ranger at Normandy earning a Silver Star and awarded the Purple Heart.
     Charles Bronson was a tail gunner in the Army Air Corps, more specifically on B-29s in the 20th Air Force out of Guam, Tinian, and Saipan.
     George C. Scott was a decorated U. S. Marine. No wonder his performance in Patton was so realistic! He did not need to use method acting to understand his role!
     Eddie Albert (television's Green Acres and a lot of top films, too) was awarded a Bronze Star for his heroic action as a U. S. Naval officer. He aided Marines at the horrific battle on the island of Tarawa in the Pacific, November 1943.
     Brian Keith served as a U.S. Marine rear gunner in several actions against the Japanese on Rabal in the Pacific.
     Lee Marvin was a U.S. Marine on Saipan during the Marianas campaign when he was wounded, earning the Purple Heart.
     John Russell enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942. He received a battlefield commission and was wounded and highly decorated for valor at Guadalcanal.
     Robert Ryan -- be still my heart -- was a U. S. Marine who served with the O. S. S. in Yugoslavia.
     Tyrone Power (an established movie star when Pearl Harbor was bombed) joined the Marines. He was a pilot who flew supplies into -- and wounded Marines out of -- Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
     Then, there is my favorite movie hero: Audie Murphy. When I met him at the National Convention of Peace Officers in 1970, I was surprised at his size -- he was 5' 5" tall and weighed 110 pounds. His physical size did not matter. He was a giant among men. I notice things like that -- I'm five inches taller than he.
      Murphy was the most decorated serviceman of World War II and earned: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts. He also earned the U.S. Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, two Distinguished Unit Emblems, American Campaign Medal, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with One Silver Star, Four Bronze Service Stars (representing nine campaigns) and one Bronze Arrowhead (representing an assault landing at Sicily and Southern France) World War II Victory Medal Army of Occupation Medal with Germany Clasp, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar, Expert Badge with Bayonet Bar, French Fourragere in Colors of the Croix de Guerre, French Legion of Honor, Grade of Chevalier, French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star, French Croix de Guerre with Palm, Medal of Liberated France, Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 Palm.
     I was in Kansas to interview this brave man for an article in National Peace Officers Magazine -- I was the editor. It was a hot Kansas afternoon and we stood, trying to find shade and not melt down, close to the runway where his private plane had just landed. I was proud to introduce my children to him.
     I did not worry about his public image... it was impeccable. I did not worry about the kinds of movies or the messages his acting roles would send to my kids in the aftermath of their having met him, either. They would be family-friendly.
     He was a friendly person... a warm smile lit his eyes. He was very soft spoken and bore such a look of gentleness. It made me wonder how he could have performed so many heroic deeds. Maybe it was his wartime experiences that made being gentle an integral part of him.
     A few short months after meeting Audie Murphy on that hot August runway, the same airplane that flew him to our meeting crashed. He was killed.
     Perhaps that is the biggest difference I see in the stars of today versus those of my era. My stars believed in the same things I did... Mom, country and apple pie. Corny, I know, but a philosophy likely responsible for providing the quality of life Americans enjoy today.
     There are exceptions to my "general rule" observations.
     Tom Selleck... well, there's an exception to the rule. Mel Gibson, too. Either could be the new Jimmy Stewart or Clark Gable.
     Like Charlton Heston, Mel Gibson would make a wonderful Moses. Like Clark Gable, as Rhett Butler he would charm Scarlett right out of her... senses.
     Ah, well... fiddle-dee-dee. I'll think more about this tomorrow.

Monday, August 15, 2005

It's not the money, it's what you do for it.

Tuesday July 15, 2003 Grand Junction Free Press Page 10
(c) Copyright 2003, Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall, All Rights Reserved
Grammy's Axioms, Special to the Grand Junction Free Press

By Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall

Axiom: Success -- true wealth -- is experience from which wisdom about life and the discipline to live it well is gained. It may or may not be accompanied by a large bank account.

     A recent e-mail I received tells me about money: "It can buy a house, but not a home. It can buy a bed, but not sleep. It can buy a clock, but not time. It can buy a book, but not knowledge. It can buy you position, but not Respect. It can buy medicine, but not health. It can buy you blood, but not life. It can buy you sex, but not love.
     “So money is not everything. And it often causes pain and suffering. I tell you this because I am your friend. As your friend, I want to take away your pain and suffering. So send me all your money. I will suffer for you. Such is my friendship.” --Author Unknown
     If you do not like people who have money, chances are you do not have it. Jealousy and envy are nothing new to the human psyche.
     There has been a trend in the United States since the 1960s. Many people with money feel guilty about having it. They tend to not like the system or the country that made their bank accounts possible.
     Some people probably should feel guilty about having money. They should feel even guiltier about exercising the power that goes with it. They did nothing to earn it. They did not learn the lessons or gain the wisdom involved in the process of achieving true wealth. They were lucky eggs fertilized by affluent sperm -- or vice versa. This is jokingly referred to as "Gaining wealth the old fashioned way... through inheritance."
     Children of wealthy parents often have more difficulties to face in life than do children of the non wealthy. Because of money, they have more options. The more options you have in life, the more choices you must make. The more choices you must make, the greater your chance for error.
     In today's drug culture, children of the wealthy who make bad choices end up in Amsterdam or Sweden or some other European socialist haven. There, government provides protected living areas in parks for drug addicts. They provide clean needles to prevent the spread of AIDS. These children of great opportunity and misdirected choices frequently receive funds from wealthy parents to maintain their misbegotten lifestyles. It conveniently keeps them from showing up on the family's front doorstep. This is certainly not a lifestyle to be envied or emulated. How sad and wasteful!
     When people do not feel worthy of what they receive in life, they are not comfortable with the resultant lifestyle. They are unhappy. Kids who inherit a bundle and never really have to work to ensure a financially comfortable future look around them and wonder if, lacking the inheritance, they would have been able to provide for themselves equally well. They question their own worth... as they (as we all) should.
     People who earn money in their own lifetime but do so by risking OPM (other people's money) -- movie stars, musicians, professional athletes for example -- often fall into this "I don't really have a lot of confidence in myself" category. They appear to be terribly insecure. Maybe that is why so many of them have problems with substance abuse.
     It always amuses me that superstars to whom God gave a beautiful voice or the ability to act like someone else while a camera runs think themselves qualified to advise others about their social and political beliefs. That's the equivalent of believing because Mike Tyson is a hell of a boxer he is qualified to run a gymnasium for girls. In short, it is delusional.
     I do not believe that having money makes anyone qualified to do much of anything -- except spend it. I am sure they are much better shoppers than I -- though admittedly some apparently forget to pay for their selections when they leave the store.
     I feel the same way about most of the entire Hollywood crowd... you remember their threats to leave the country if George Bush got elected? Have you noticed any ships loaded with superstars pulling out of port? Maybe their delusions of grandeur do not carry them far enough to reach reality.
     It's not just Hollywood. Years after winning large sums of money from state lotteries, winners are asked about the positive impact of their windfalls. They do not say much that is good. They find money does not bring a life without problems, only a life with a different set of them.
     People who are happy in spite of having money have learned some of life's lessons. They are secure because they have done it once and know they could do it again.
     Many times, they gain their wisdom the hard way. And that is the advantage of earning what you have. It brings with it true wealth and true success, not just money. Experience, unfortunately, is not an inherited commodity. A large percentage of today's wealthy got that way because their parents left it to them. They learned none of the necessary lessons on the journey to success.
     To those poor souls who have no money and the benefits it buys like housing, clothing and food, such claims are not to be believed. "I'd rather have your problems than mine," says the person sleeping in the streets for lack of a job. Everyone, it seems, would rather have someone else's problems.
     What is the problem with wealth? Why do so many people dislike those who have it while so aggressively pursuing it themselves? Can those who find affluence be happy until they realize "money" and "wealth/success" are not synonymous?
     Success, not money, is what brings happiness. Money is merely a byproduct of success. Most people think it happens the other way around -- that money brings success.
     It is a rather natural mistake to see the apparent -- the social lifestyle money brings -- as the objective. Rather we must work to see the subtle the building of character that occurs when challenges are faced and overcome as the thing that makes people both wealthy and happy.
     American entrepreneurs have been quoted numerous times as saying "It was never the money that drove me to succeed..."
     What was it then?
     When questioned about why they were willing to work seven days a week to succeed, most American entrepreneurs say "To know on the day I die that I left the world a better place than I found it." Or they say, "It was making my idea work that was my passion, not the money."
     What seems apparent is that people who start with a shoestring and gain affluence from square one pay a pretty big price for their wealth. The workweek is often 80 hours and the project or dream dominates everything -- including social life. And when it is one person against the world, you get hit on the head a lot. Wealth creators know how hard they had to work to earn it. Their children to whom they leave their fortunes do not.
     It is equally clear that people who do not go through the "earn it on my own" process feel unworthy of money. It appears there is a certain amount of guilt associated with comfortable lifestyles one does not work very hard to provide.
     We live in a country where wealth is very important, yet we seem to understand so little about it. Is wealth good for society? Or, is it bad? A lot of people say it is bad and want to take it away from one group of people to give to another. If it's bad, isn't that an unkind act?
     Integrity, compassion, character... all are part of true wealth. People who are Wall Street brokers and compromise their integrity by violating insider confidentialities may have money. They do not have wealth or success.
     People who seek wealth for its own sake and who compromise basic principles of integrity or who ignore social responsibilities may earn a lot of money. They are, however, doomed to be short term successes and long term failures.
     There is nothing wrong with money. Some of the people who have it are as obnoxious as some who do not have it. Both groups are, after all, human.
     The American people need to give the respect due those people who risk their personal assets to build a dream, especially since the success of that dream provides employment to so many people.
     Anyone in America can achieve wealth. It is a very difficult road. It is filled with opportunities to compromise personal integrity -- a sure way to fail. If all you want is money, you can make such compromises.
     If you want success that provides true wealth, you cannot. That is one of the beauties of free enterprise and capitalism. They really do not care who succeeds or fails.
     Success is a process, not a position. So, too, is wealth.
     Anyone can have money. That does not make them wealthy -- or successful.

Seniors: Forge Fearlessly into the Future

Tuesday June 24, 2003 Grand Junction Free Press Page 10
(c) Copyright 2003, Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall, All Rights Reserved
Grammy's Axioms, Special to the Grand Junction Free Press

By Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall

Axiom: It's hard to give someone your forwarding address when you live in the past.

     I admire my 93-year-old mother tremendously. I admire anyone who has lived eight or nine decades and been able to deal with the tremendous changes that have taken place.
     Just think, when my mother was born in 1909, there were no interstate highways -- there weren't any cars to speak of. There were no airports, no airplanes, no -- well, think of any modern convenience from indoor toilets (televisions and telephones too) -- to penicillin.
     When it came to the computer generation, though, Mother drew a line in the sand. My 83-year old stepfather, however, owns a computer. He taught himself to use the keyboard and is writing a book about dinosaurs and the ice age.
     The older I get, the more difficult I find it to adjust to the changes we see in our society. I never thought I'd see kids walking around with jewelry affixed to their belly-buttons, for example (let alone their tongues, eyebrows, etc.).
     It is hard to accept what is distasteful to me. That has nothing to do with age -- I was in my 20s during the Hippie generation. I found their lack of personal cleanliness disgusting. I never adjusted to it -- and it had nothing to do with age.
     I dislike women's shoes today. The high heels of my era made a woman's feet look… well, feminine. They also enhanced the shape of the lower leg. What women wear on their feet today often makes them look like they are training for the Marines. It appears to me shoe designers do not like women much.
     Some women who read this today will react negatively. What young women put on their feet is their business, not mine. I agree. But just as they do not have to like my comments, I do not have to like the way their feet look.
     Women say what they wear today is to "eliminate the obvious dress differences between the sexes in an effort to level the career playing field. The word 'feminine' doesn't belong in the office," they say.
     They wear thongs, jeans and slacks so tight they have few secrets left. They wear tops about two inches above their pant tops -- which are down around their hips so we can all see their belly buttons. And, they do this to neutralize their sexual identity so the workplace playing field is more level? Sure. Yes. Of course.
     There are many social changes to which I will not adapt because I am not comfortable with them. To each his or her own. And that's the way it should be. This kind of dislike is a matter of taste (or lack of it).
     There are some things, however, we seniors need to not only accept and adapt to, but embrace. Computer technology is one of those things. The Internet and e-mail are others. Why should you accept these things but not pierced belly buttons?
     Computer technology is perfect for seniors and retirees. A lot of us have difficulty going out in the world today. Computers bring the world to us.
     You can do everything from write checks to balance your checkbook on a computer. You can manage a stock trading account or look up your family tree.
     I bought my first computer in 1982, early in the game. My son came home from the Navy and insisted I get one. Looking back, I cannot believe how much more productive I became. I said good-bye to my IBM Selectric and have never looked back.
     What other things can you do?
     Start by researching public records. One Web site has comprehensive links to a large number of free public record databases. There are over 10,000 links to databases around the world.
     What's listed here? If you buy a car, enter the VIN and get a free report on the car's history. Is it worth what they're asking? You'll know very quickly. You can find inexpensive properties for sale… in foreclosure. All you have to do is type the address:
     Parents who want to control the Web sites their kids visit and monitor games they play can visit the Entertainment Software Rating Board. It tells you for what age a game is suitable. There are six ratings categories: Early Childhood, Everyone, Teen, Mature, Adults Only and Ratings Pending. It also has four categories of violence: cartoon, fantasy, intense and sexual. Just go to
     It was well worth it to go to the "do not call" site to register up to three phone numbers. It prevents telemarketers from calling at dinnertime -- or, any other time. It took about 30 seconds and I got an immediate e-mail back from the government confirming my registration.
     To register, go to Click on Register Now and follow the directions.
     Is your salary competitive? Are you earning what others in your profession or occupation earn? I just used this site for an article I'm writing to research what various medical professionals earn in various locations of the country. Find out very quickly if you're getting paid what you should by going to
     Did you know that the Federal Bureau of Investigations keeps records on… well, just about everyone in America. You can see what records the FBI has about world-famous people -- or possibly, about you. Spend some very interesting time at famous.htm.
     Remember "The Shadow" radio show? "Gangbusters?" "The Lone Ranger?" "The All American Boy, Jack Armstrong?" It is fun to listen to old-time radio shows.
     Get your favorites any time of the day or night! It takes a few minutes for files of this kind to load… be patient. Then sit back and close your eyes as you are taken to days of yesteryear. Just go to
     Want to be your own private eye? This site gives you links to county court records, resources for child support enforcement, places to search criminal histories, and inmate searches. Go to http://www.virtual
     At is a U.S. Postal Service site that helps you through the moving process. The post office has done a very good job of making its services available on the Net. Want help calculating postage? Need to change your address? Want to find the post office closest to you? Go to the USPS home page on the Web at Find a ZIP code? … find a post office? db/USPS/. The main postal site Web address is
     If your grandkids are coming to visit you this summer, you may want to check and see if there are convicted sex offenders living in your neighborhood. Go to and it will tell you.
     How much does it cost for you to get started? You can buy a good used computer for very little, though the prices for new computers are getting lower every day. If you are unfamiliar with computers, get qualified help if you buy used. You don't want to spend $100 on a nice used computer only to find out you need to spend $800 on new software.
     Yes, it costs money to have an Internet server… but it does not have to be costly. You can find Internet service providers and the prices they charge at
      Another good place to look for free or inexpensive Internet service providers is heep://
     To find Freenets near you, check the list at
     Yes, you do need anti-virus software if you are going to go on the Internet.
     Go to for an excellent anti-virus program that protects your computer against viruses, worms and malicious codes, and it's free. You have to look for the free edition, but it's there.
     You also need a firewall. Get one of the best free of charge at the Zone Alarm Web site.
     Most of the Web sites I've referred to above came from a wonderful resource on computer technology, Kim Komando (the Digital Goddess). She has a weekend radio show... try the radio station in your city that provides the best talk radio to find her. Go to her Web site at and sign up for her free weekly newsletter and her daily tips. She's very good at what she does!
      There is no doubt the biggest change and the biggest challenge to keeping your feet planted firmly in today rather than yesterday is using a computer and going on the Internet.
     We can keep up with change. We are, after tall, the tail end of the Greatest Generation.