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January 27, 1996

What does it mean when you dream about katydids or feather? Perhaps you've never experienced either one, but in case it should happen, there's an explanation. Dreaming of feathers means burdens are going to be eased; katydids in your dreams mean misfortune and dependence on others are at hand. Dreaming of lawyers means unfavorable circumstances for change are about to occur. (Some will say that's reality, not dreaming.)

The source of all this interpretation is contained in a little advertising brochure from Plough's Inc., entitled "Black and White Birthday and Dream Book." Lois Moore, a former colleague at The Journal, recently handed me a copy of this piece of literature which she found in going through some of her mother's things. She knew I'd be interested because it came from my dad's City Drug Store, probably back in the mid-1920s

Plough's was the manufacturer of a line of cosmetics which they called Black and White Beauty Creations, and their products are generously described throughout the little book. My dad handled Plough's products at his store on the north side of the square, and his business imprint is on the back cover. (Plough's is still very much in business with a line of health and beauty aids.)

Birthdays also are covered, including general characteristics of those born in any given month. For instance, if your birthday is in January, you love to travel; you're restless and dissatisfied if you stay long in one place. Women born under this sign are inclined to be supersensitive and self-conscious, and lack confidence in their own powers. (The book says this, not I.) In August, my month, folks are said to have a lofty mind, are firm, and have great will power. Men born under this sign are good businessmen and are very proud and somewhat inclined to think too well of themselves and their ability. Hmmm.

Those celebrating September birthdays will reap great honors by reason of their originality and genius. Women born under this sign have a liking for calm and peaceful country life. If you were born in December, you have an honest, generous nature and a kindly heart. Friends and associates should be chosen from among those born in the same month; you probably will marry twice. Your eldest child will be a source of worry.

Astrology is not mentioned anywhere in the little book, but that's what the birthday analyses sound like. The portion on dream interpretations contains some serious, some whimsical, some mind-boggling ideas. Here are a few subjects and what they mean:

Acrobat -- Slander and scandal will be heaped upon you.
Apricot -- Calamity and sad future.
Baby carriage - Pleasant surprise from a friend.
Bachelor-Loss of honor, possibly through a woman.
Bees - Pleasant pastimes (really?).
Camel -- Terrible anguish.
Chicken -- Good news from business and love.
Church -- Domestic quarrels.
Kiss -- Satisfaction; joy;love.
Lemons -- You are jealous of your lover.
Lizard -- Attack by enemies.
Olives -- Delightful surprise.
Perfume -- Pleasure.
Pig -- Success in business affairs.
Quail -- Good omen.
Rhinoceros -- Loss and secret trouble.
Vineyard -- Much love making.
Worms -- Intrigue against you is on foot.
Zebra -- Failure in your enterprise.

Some of the Plough advertisements also are interesting. A tube of their Black and White toothpaste sold for 10 cents and 25 cents. Beauty Bleach (to get rid of freckles and discolorations) was 50 cents a jar. A cake of skin soap was 25 cents. Generous jars of cold cream sold for 50 cents and 25 cents. All these are interesting for one reason or another, and thanks to Lois for letting me see them. Next time I dream about a covey of quail, I'll be waiting for that good omen to appear.

The piece the other day about "What Is a Senior Citizen?" struck a responsive chord in several readers. Since then, I've come across the following piece which relates to the same subject. Here it is:

LIFE BEGINS AT EIGHTY

I have good news for you! The first 80 years are the hardest. Now, everyone wants to help carry your baggage and help you up the steps.

If you forget your name or anybody's name, forget to fulfill an appointment, or promise to be at two or three parties at the same time, or spell words incorrectly, you need only explain that you are EIGHTY. At that age, you can relax with no misgivings. You have a perfect alibi for everything. Nobody expects much of you. If you act silly, it's your second childhood. Everybody is looking for symptoms of softening of the brain.

It is a great deal better than being 65 or 70. At that time they expect you to retire to a house in Palm Springs and become a discontented, grumbling, limping has-been.

But, if you survive until you're 80, everybody is surprised that you're alive - that you can walk - that you can reveal lucid intervals.

At 70, people are mad at you for everything. At 80, they forgive you for anything. If you ask me - life begins at 80.