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When you are "overcoming middle-age" you are entitled to rest on your laurels, eat them or even redecorate them. The point is when we reach "a certain age" we have earned the right to "kick back" a little and we should remember to do that for ourselves.

What were all those things which seemed important, significant or just plan inevitable when we were younger? Chests, confusion, competition, calendars and so forth. So, they may still be lurking around but we probably don't EVER NEED them now actually.

Visitors to the CARYL page are invited to "reflect, relax, laugh and give ourselves some applause!" Each essay at this location will hopefully offer that "thoughtful perspective" we have now earned and present us with an opportunity to laugh a bit.

It you or any neat women you know are interested in guest authoring an essay for this page, please send EVE an E-mail. If there is a particular topic you'd like to find here, let EVE know. Sit back, put your feet up and find a subject you'd like to "mull over" as you're "overcoming middle-age."



We all know the many cliches, which have been around so long and abused to the point of not simply being tired, but thoroughly exhausted! Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you're on your own. Don't cry over spilled milk.

Nobody likes a crybaby. Leslie Gore sang, "It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To," and Frankie Vallie tried to convince us that "Big Girl's Don't Cry." Pundits have longed scoffed that women cry both when we're happy and also when we're sad and that "real men don't cry," a myth that disappeared in the ashes of September 11, 2001.

The inclination to exhibit emotions through tears is not gender specific and has nothing whatsoever to do with a person's religion, national origin, ethnicity or socio-economic status. What moves us to tears cannot be labeled or categorized in a sweeping generalization. Surprisingly, many people who suffer from clinical depression (which is a DISEASE—not merely a state of mind) do not necessarily cry much, if at all.

So, to cry or not to cry, that is the question. We're posing this query but not necessarily going to answer it. That's a highly personal decision, although some people maintain they can't control that sort of thing. For those who cry when they're happy, it's a good feeling of elation, heightened by the tears. And, crying which accompanies sadness, grief, and loss is often cathartic.

If you were born before 1945, you'll remember one of the great "crying" singers of the 50's, Johnnie Ray. He was born in Dallas, Oregon in 1927, was partially deaf from childhood and had to begin wearing a hearing aid at the age of 14. His singing career began in 1951, when with the help of LaVern Baker and her manager Al Green, he signed a contract with Okeh.

That year he recorded two songs, that were produced by Mitch Miller and on which he was backed by the Four Lads: "Cry" and "The Little White Cloud That Cried." The first was a smash hit, reaching number one and staying there for eleven weeks. Both songs served to indicate that the big band era had run it's course, and possibly for that reason a lot of people didn't care for them at all.

Ray had a very emotional delivery when he sang, and it became fodder for comedians and mimics. He was moved to Okeh's parent label, Columbia, where he recorded some good old songs (still backed by the Four Lads) that he turned into hits: "Please, Mr. Sun" was on the reverse side of "Here I Am—Broken-hearted" and both songs made the top ten in 1952, as did "Walkin' My Baby Back Home." Johnnie Ray put 25 hits in the top 30 between 1952 and 1957, however, as the 60's swept the scene with big time rock and roll, Ray faded from popularity in the United States but remained a favorite in the UK.

Johnnie Ray, in his day, became emblematic of the stigma some people associated with crying and public exhibits of emotion. It was just another piece of baggage added to the already overloaded guilt train many women were forced to ride in an era that imposed a vast array of stereotypes on individuals. Moms stayed home and took care of children and household. Dad worked at the same job for 30 years and was given a gold watch upon retirement. Mom changed the cloth diapers and Dad made the money that paid for them. Mom wiped away childish tears and Dad looked away so he did not have to witness such displays of feelings.

Then along came the '70's, blowing through society like a strong fresh breeze or a destructive hurricane, depending on your perspective. Some enthusiastically embraced the fast paced changes as "it's about time" men's and women's roles were redefined and many dismissed everything as a by product of "women's lib" which they were convinced and hoped was a passing fad. One of the barometers of the times was a record album produced by "Marlo Thomas and Friends" titled, "Free To Be You and Me." With appearances by a very young Michael Jackson, Harry Belafonte, and the voices of Thomas herself, plus Carol Channing, Dick Cavett, Alan Alda and Mel Brooks, the songs and stories were intended to dispel the notion that a person's destiny was determined by gender.

One of the most memorable songs was performed by Roosevelt (Rosie) Grier, a linebacker for the New York Giants. A large man with a surprisingly gentle voice, "Rosie" sang "It's All Right to Cry."

It's all right to cry, crying gets the sad out of you
It's all right to cry, it might make you feel better
Raindrops from your eyes, washing all the mad out of you . . .

It's all right to feel things, even though the feelings may be strange
Feelings are such real things and they change and change and change
Sad and grumpy, down in the dumpy, snuggly, cuddly, sloppy, slappy, hoppy, happy - change and change and change
It's all right to know feelings come and feelings go
It's all right to cry, it might make you feel better
It's all right to cry little boy, I know some big boys that cry too.

It is both interesting and curious that in a quick "quotes on crying" search—all we found were men.

"Oh! too convincing -- dangerously dear -- In woman's eye the unanswerable tear!" Lord Byron

"I cry every chance I get." Richard Gere

"Whatever tears one may shed, in the end one always blows one's nose." Heinrich Heine

"Have a good cry, wash out your heart. If you keep it inside it'll tear you apart. Sometimes you lose, but you're gonna win if you just hang in." Dr. Hook

"It is only to the happy that tears are a luxury." Thomas Moore

"Only to have a grief equal to all these tears!" Adrienne Rich

"I have full cause of weeping, but this heart shall break into a hundred thousand flaws or ere I'll weep." William Shakespeare

"Crying is the refuge of plain women but the ruin of pretty ones." Oscar Wilde

What in the world do you think Oscar Wilde meant by that? If you care to give us your opinion and we select it to post on a Today's Treasure page, we'll send you a NEAT WOMEN INC mug and T-shirt In the meantime, woman or man, regardless of age, maybe crying is something we might take another look at and try out when we need a lift….it might make you feel better!

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