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Imagine yourself in a multiplex movie theater. Curiously, no walls separate the half-dozen theaters that form the multiplex. Miraculously, you are watching six different screens all at once, thoroughly understanding and enjoying every scene, word, character.

Welcome to ADHD

[You in the Real World, be sure to click on the red underlined hyperlinks!] Grandparents    Smiles might have dimmed if they’d known what they were in for!

Not to add to your busy day, Boss, says historian Screen Four, both of us knowing what he’s about to say will do just that, but it’s been a pretty good minute since you ran the last thread.


When so much time passes, readers tend to forget the rest of your family is as – ummm – interesting as you are. This is how you remind them that you’re not alone in your –


curious behavior patterns. Well, not curious to us, but to the Real Worlders.

“Point taken. Which screen would like to explain ‘threads’ to our newer readers?”

Put me in, Coach! volunteers Two cheerily.

“You did it last time. Somebody else’s turn. Three, you’re unusually quiet. You have the honor.”

I always get interrupted, moans Three. At least allow me to complete the entire performance.

He feels as if he’s in a play, mutters Six. Pure ham. “Honeybaked” stamped right on his forehead.

Threads, intones Three in a Shakespearean voice, first arrive years ago in the Blackwell history when your sister handwrites brisk and biting margents – MARGin commENTSon typed family letters.

But typewriters go the way of the buffalo, shot down by e-mail. Margents, re-named “threads,” occur whenever a Blackwell first sends an e-mail, photo or video and family members reply with limitless, laugh-inducing lectures in return.

“Impressed am I.”

Grandparents Day 2014Right, Yoda, Three says, bowing. Now, tie National Grandparents Day into this thread.

“No worries, mate. We’ll start with snippets from Granddad Doug – ”

Black, whispers Two frantically, your last columns spoke of his passing and being missed.

“ – who sent this e-mail two months before we lost him.”

Nice recovery!

Screen Five suggests, Remind your readers that Dennis and Ted also are known as Blackie and Thor.

Dad: O.K., gang, what follows actually was typed in full yesterday. I scrolled back to the beginning. “Do you want a spell check?” comes up. “Sure,” I say. The process discovers I typed “mnoths,” highlights it in red – and freezes! I swipe the mouse across the word, make ’er blue, push “Backspace” aaaand … lose everything. Try again.

 Is this why, asks Two, your dad never bought an answering machine?

Dad: During my Navy time, I was in electronics. Been thinking about amateur radio, so I go to big meeting at Salt Brook Elementary School where local radio club – after three years of hard work, correspondence, and anxiety – has arranged for us to speak to International Space Station astronaut during 11-minute window!

School gym has 500 students, 150 or so adults/teachers/police/politicians and more. The eighth-grade moderator (certified radio specialist – yipes!) asks for absolute quiet. (You could have heard a field mouse back into a pussy willow.)

 If a mouse bumps the willow, asks One, and nobody’s there to hear it, does it still squeak?

Dad: We can hear the astronaut but he isn’t getting our calls. Time runs out without formal contact. Everyone very disappointed. Later info reveals our transmissions and equipment are OK – someone else transmitting on frequency we were to use.

Fun. Hope you enjoyed [my account].

Love, DB

Dianne: Pater, Pater! Hold down “Control” key, tap “Z” key and let both go. This UNDOES the last action taken. You would have been able to unswipe your words, get them all back. (I know, I know … now I tell ya.) 🙂

I was so sure you were going to get through to the astronaut. Call me, Daddy. I’ll talk to you.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATed/Thor: Dad … Dennis used the space station frequency trying to transmit pictures of his Hawaii honeymoon.

Guess I gave him the wrong frequency.

If we weld clothes hangers to the side of the flagpole with strips of aluminum foil, we should get the astronauts over the Baltic Sea…

(Really, Pop, you were there for the coffee and rolls, weren’t ya?)

Mike: Seems hard to get ANY respect from your kids, Pater … but I’m not like THEM.

However, your astronaut adventure reminds me of a Dennis-and-Ted thing. First, they do the big sales job that they are gonna talk to someone from space. Then they sell tickets. Unfortunately, they sell the tickets for five cents, because it costs seven cents to make the tickets.

(That’s ANOTHER story ….)

They put a broken radio with a large tuner on top of a garbage can and add a big antenna. At show time, Dennis fiddles with the dials while Ted (hiding in the garbage can for two hours) yells, “Can you hear me? Is anyone there? I can copy you, can you copy me? Hellllloooooo down there!”

Dennis pretends he can’t get through … the show ends … and they pocket $21.50, forgetting their costs are $28.25. They ride their bicycles home, carrying the garbage can between them, and only crash two times but break Ted’s front light ($4.95 value).

This stuff is waaaaaaaay too close to home, isn’t it?

Thanks for your email, Dad. And thanks to Di and Ted for forwarding “Pater” e-mails to me. (Dad SAYS he sends them to me, but they never get here.)

Dianne: How I love Mike and Ted’s threads. You guys are SO quick!

Dennis/Blackie: Dear Deep-Space Disappointed Dad … I just signed onto my e-mail and discovered I am NOT listed among Dianne’s “SO quick” crowd. Thus, I suggest you follow my twin sister’s notion to call her instead. You may not get the real astronauts (NASA), or even the AstroNots (Mike and Thor), but you will a get a real space cadet (Dianne).

Love from your favorite kid.

Ted/Thor: Actually, it’s AstroNuts.

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Postscript: The preceding thread is for all those grandkids my folks so cherished. For those of you who wonder why my disciplinarian mother – GranJean, the Next Generation’s Guardian of the Galaxy – isn’t mentioned, it’s because she appears here, speaking with my very young daughter, Leah.

GranJean: No swimming now that you’ve just had lunch. Ask again in 30 minutes.

Leah: But I’m hot. Sigh. Will you teeter-totter with me?

GranJean: Have to see if the other kids are safe.

Leah: Push me on a swing?

GranJean: You just heard me say I’m checking your cousins, young lady. Don’t be selfish.

Gran zips away; Leah climbs into the lowest swing’s saddle. Unseen, I draw close to push her but stop when I hear Leah’s brief but mournful song:

Leah: I don’t like GranJean, she’s just real mean/She won’t play but that’s OK/ because GranJean is just so mean.

All those youngsters didn’t understand just how safe your protective love kept them, Mom. Perhaps they now do. Regardless, thanks from all of us for being a Grand Parent.

* * * * *

Space Oddity (“Major Tom”)

How we ADHD Powered-people slice our watermelons

Goodbye, Miss Joan – and thank you for the laughter!