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Nostalgia August 2019

Laverne's View

Too Smart Too Late

By Laverne Bardy

“You are a woman,” he said, “and women are supposed to
enjoy taking care of their families and their home.” I apologized
for not fitting into his belief that all women came from the same
cookie cutter.

It was the late 1970s, and women were being told that they were justified in expressing their need to be more than homemakers. They had the right to obtain jobs if that’s what they wanted. Up until then, it was akin to treason for a woman to express such a desire. When I told my husband I needed more in my life and wanted to get a job – even a part-time job – he was vehemently opposed.

“You are a woman,” he said, “and women are supposed to enjoy taking care of their families and their home.” I apologized for not fitting into his belief that all women came from the same cookie cutter. I explained that I didn’t hate what I was doing, but I needed more mental stimulation than what working in the confines of our home offered. And, if I did get a job I would need the family to take a more active part in helping out around the house.

“You can get a job,” he said, “so long as you complete all of your chores. Just because you want to work outside the home is no reason we should have to change our lifestyle.”

To avoid further dissension, I put my dream on hold. I decided that if I became active in town and school events, maybe my void could be filled. In addition, it was important for me to keep abreast of what was going on, and to recognize how what was happening might affect my children's lives.

I became involved with the Parent-Teacher Association, which included editing and writing the school’s newsletter. I collaborated in writing a Parent/Teacher play and I ran a book sale. I was a Cub Scout leader, I made and sold meatball sandwiches at Little League games , and hoagie sandwiches for hockey fundraisers. I carpooled to and from Hebrew and Sunday School four days a week and attended as many of their extra-school activities as possible.

Since drugs were a big concern in town I became involved in the town’s Preventive Drug Abuse program. I wanted to learn everything I could about the symptoms and the dangers of drug use and I wanted my children to know that I was well-informed, toward a goal of deterring any thoughts they may have had about experimenting with drugs.

Marijuana, in particular, had become a huge problem in our community. I was proud of my involvement and dedication; maybe even a little smug about my extensive knowledge of and devotion to this issue. I continued to want a real job but accepted that what I was doing, for now, was important, and a job could wait.

One afternoon I sat all three of my children down and shared my knowledge of drugs in general and marijuana in particular.

"You may think that marijuana is not dangerous,” I said, “but allow me to list just a few side-effects you may not be aware of: Most teens think they can use marijuana once or twice in their lives and then give it up. However, in most cases, it is very difficult to quit. Marijuana has a deep impact on the overall nervous system of a teenager. It can affect their alertness, their concentration level, and even their academic performance. It can also make it challenging to gauge spatial distances, understand road signs, how to react to them and, consequently, put their lives in danger when on the road. It can make them depressed and withdrawn from their peers, and can even lead to schizophrenia.”

The three of them sat there, obediently, without making a sound or showing any facial expressions. I wasn’t sure whether they were absorbing my words or planning their escape. But, they sat, long-sufferingly, no doubt hoping my lecture would end soon so they could get back to doing  – anything else.

Undaunted, I continued with one final sentence. “Smoking marijuana makes sperm less fertile.”

t was then I heard a barely audible whisper from under someone’s breath – as though his quiet thought had involuntarily escaped from his lips. “I can always adopt.”

It seemed I’d spent so much time educating myself about the dangers of marijuana, and how to recognize symptoms of marijuana smoking: red eyes, runny nose, lethargy. I’d managed to miss what was right in front of me.

I got a part-time job the following week.


Laverne H. Bardy transforms life’s adversities into hilarious adventures that boomers and seniors relate to. Her book, "How The (Bleep) Did I Get This Old?" is available at and other online bookstores. or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Meet Laverne