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Charlotte Lyons is an author, teacher, and artist based in southwestern Vermont. House Wren Studio is her creative home and a resource for makers and crafters around the world.

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Troy Louise

Charlotte: Thanks for the memories. I just got a Starbuck's gift card for my b-day & have hesitated going because I too don't know all the coffee lingo! Sheesh, at our young age, who really cares & yes, our generation definitely had the best music. Thanks for your beautiful & inspirational work & words. TLS


I wore my plaid kilts with knee socks and penny loafers. Monogramed wool sweater and an oxford button-down. I liked Joni Mitchell, but loved Carol King. Tapestry. I am out of place at Starbucks, unless I'm with my 21 year old daughter. I was never a snappy trendy young mom...maybe we will be snappy and trendy grandmoms someday? Thank you for making me feel at home today!


You struck a chord with this post, Charlotte! I often stand at Starbucks trying to decipher what it is I have in mind and usually, like you, it's just a small regular coffee.
Can you believe that I saw the Beatles in Boston when I was in 8th grade and the tickets were $6.00?!


Putting on “Ladies of the Canyon” for background . :) And the seasons, they go round and round.

I’m so sorry to have added to your difficult day Charlotte. :( Raising my hand to join the club ‘cause I’m right there with you. (I think we’re nearly the same age – I was 16 in 1970.)

I feel your pain, I'm lost at Starbucks too - I only know Tall Mocha - chocolate is all that I need to know teehee.

Trendy young things can be so smug and dismissive of others. Well, someday, they will be on the other side of the age divide - hopefully they will gain some wisdom before then. Sending you big hugs.

I do get a kick out of my 21 year old niece's wardrobe, complete rehashes of what we used to wear.

Remember embroidering your jeans and chambray shirts? And making love bead necklaces teehee. We wore a lot of vintage clothes from the 30’s/40’s too – I had this enormous old fur coat that was fun.

A few years ago I found a ticket stub to a Doors concert – my mom knew the lady at the box office and I got front row seats – they were FOUR DOLLARS each. Jim Morrison lighting my fire from literally a few feet away.

OH! I just remembered hot pants, now that was a fashion blunder! I had a mauve suede pair, which I wore with matching embroidered suede lace up boots. Ye gods! YIKES! (May this sad confession of mine restore your smile hehehe!)

Well, putting aside hot pants, I truly think those were special days.

jenny b harris

Joni Mitchell was one of the icons of my youth, too. Heck, I wanted to BE her! I loved that she painted the art for her album covers, what an amazing talent. I was in tears watching that video. Aw heck, now I have to go have a good cry... those were some amazing times, and it is too easy to forget. Thanks, sweetie for sharing it, I think I needed that today.


I'm 38, and I must say, I am not your typical "Starbucks Mom". Don't know where I get it from, but I feel like an older soul, and I get your post. I have such huge respect for music from the 60's and 70's, and yes you are right, your generation was the first. Nice reading....


It's a "tall, house blend, black". Took me two years to figure it out.....and I am a young'ish trendy'ish mom, but I would never be snippy to you, you are super-cool, you go thrifting with your daughter at The Salvation Army.

Sharon at American Harvest

Hi Charlotte,
Thank you for the wonderful link to hear Joni Mitchell again! Her music is pure and beautiful, no need to have a galaxy of back-up dancers, no small head microphones, no synthisized guitars, no large screen monitors....just perfect music, where the message is the important factor. Thank you!


Nothing takes you back to the memories and feeling of times past like music. Sometimes its so strong you can even smell your parents home where you grew up and listened to music in your bedroom while they yelled for you to turn it down:)


i always had music on when i was painting or drawing. i can look back at paintings i did years ago and the album pops right into my head. joni plays on in alot of my artwork. i think i listened to court and spark till the needle wore through the album! thanks for the smile!

suzi finer

When you come out here, I'll take you to dinner over at Cravings on Sunset Plaza, where that gifted doyenne of dines on a regular basis.


"the sun poured in like butterscotch & stuck to all my senses"

...those were the days...i saw her in concert in 1972 in philly...tears pouring down my face the entire time!!! LOL

Mockingbird Hill

Joni Mitchell is part of the soundtrack of my life! Just a couple of years ago a very charming movie, "Love Actually" featured her, as she is today, in their soundtrack. Singing "Both Sides Now' with the heart, soul and voice of a woman who has experienced so much was really touching. If you haven't heard it, search it out...if you have, you know what I am talking about. Thanks for a wonderful post of memories!


melissa @ the inspired room

Charlotte, this is just what I love about you. I am perhaps just a tad younger, but nevertheless, I often feel the same way in Starbucks when I run in behind the stylish cuties with my sensible shoes and figure hiding (ok, who am I kidding) jeans.

They've got nothing on you, dear Charlotte. You've got true class! You are tres chic according to my definition!



Take heart! Joni was recently lured out of retirement by her concern for the planet and just released a new album called, "SHINE" and it's amazing!

What a great post, I admire your honesty. We all get hit with those melancholy moments at our age. But in my opinion, Starbucks is over-rated, AND I wouldn't trade what-I-know-now for fleeting "youthful trendiness" any day.


I love this photograph, Charlotte. The old peeling lends character to what would have been, just another pretty picture. I think it's beautiful.

I've been feeling much the same way, and thinking similar thoughts this week. I loved getting into my car recently and finding a CD that my 20 yr. old son had left for me to listen to, because he thought I'd enjoy it. I sat and watched baseball with him yesterday, and we listened to another new CD, John Mayer's Continuum, and I thought about Joan Baez's song, Honest Lullaby, and about how I tried to sing my own to him. He and friends are always borrowing our old music to listen to, and I've heard him tell his friends, his mom and dad are pretty cool. I like how our friends are his friends too. He loves hearing our stories,and has a sense of history. He cares.
Ours was a time of courage. Peace was a spoken word. People stood up, when others sat down. I keep thinking of all the ones we lost in Viet Nam, and of 2 Kennedys and Rev. King....and of the men who walked on the moon. I wouldn't change who I am, because of this history, for all the lattes and designer things in the world.
You've got soul, my friend, and you wear it well.


Greeting Charlotte! Tomorrow is my 55th bithday, so your post hit a big time chord with me. Time seems to have gone by so quickly.There are times when I feel "ancient". I was never into Joni Mitchell (I did like some of her lyrics though). I was more into Moody Blues. I was always drawing their lyrics or the lyrics of Donovan. I don't drink coffee, but my 22 year old daughter does and I've been with her when she's ordered whatever fancy coffee of the moment she prefers.I used to listen to my records constantly wearing out countless needles on the stereo. Last year, my kids decided to get me a new stereo that plays LPs and the old albums of the Moodies that had gotten lost over countless of moves over the years.What a wonderful gift..that my kids were so thoughtful and that it was my fave band of all time! There is a movie out now, or going to be out soon that kind of sums up those years we've grown up through.Looking back and thinking about it now though,does make me realize I wouldn't trade it for anything.Thanks for posting this.

carol wingert

I am just cracking up about your Starbucks experience. I tell myself that someday they too will be 50, will have a double chin, and will no longer a stylish, chic coffee diva...and, they'll have huge wrinkles cuz they didn't take the time to smile!

nita  from red tin heart

I am 41 and my older brother and sister loved Joni Mitcell. After my brother died I bought Hits. I love that cd so much, it comforts me. I love her totally unique voice. It isn't perfect and that is why I like it. One of my favorite songs on that cd is, Come In From The Cold. You have a lot of insight on things and I like that. xoxo Nita


I think you've just come up with the next big slogan, "I'm not old, just authentic"! It's great how music touches our lives and puts our memories to melodies.


Oh Charlotte, does this mean I have to stop thinking of you as super cool and someone to aspire to? Never! You are still and always cool to those of us who admire your work and your gifts. In some ways it's gratifying to me (and I am about your age) that you have the same feelings I do, but trust me, you've got nothing to worry about! I'll take wisdom over coffee-jargon any day.

carol eldridge

Oh Charlotte,

You are sounding like the older generation did when Elvis and the Beatles came into popularity.... how completely awful they thought their music there was no one like Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett...
time moves on, we grow we change, we take it all in stride, each generation adds something to the fashion, new music, new styles, new hairdos, even new ways of ordering coffee...

Remember "Flower Power" and "Peace and Love Baby" and "The Age of Aquarius"....imagine what are grandparents thought of all that...

I take my little munchkins to Starbucks all the time and they love it and I am older than you are. I first discovered coffee shops like this in Italy when I was in college and I loved the concept of taking a break from your busy day and sitting down, enjoying a cappuccino and watching the world go by...learning the lingo is not hard, sort of fun and what is happening.
I think the secret to aging gracefully is embracing the new while remembering the old....but not dwelling on Mother just turned 85 and she also enjoys a nice grande non-fat Chai at time you are in Boston I will take you out for coffee or tea, my treat, and I will help you decipher the coffee talk....and then those huffy mothers won't give you the "attitude"

do cheer up...age is simply a doesn't reflect your style or attitude..."Peace and Love"



I love your taste in music, your style, Art and even your coffee choice.
Speaking from my own journey I believe With Age comes wisdom,
one can only hope those coffee people would ever even come close to having your grace and wisdom.
I think you're perfect just the way you are.


The River by Joni Mitchell brings me to tears whenever I hear it. *Love* that tune. And hey, I'll take you to Starbucks my friend, and find you a signature drink that suits you just right. :) But just black coffee is fine, too. It's classic and classic is good.


Joni is one of my personal favorites - I grew up listening to her, and just adore her. My parents even had the good fortune to meet her and James Taylor at a cafe late one night right after they were first married... Anyway, good taste never goes out of style and neither will you!

Angel Jem

Have you seen 'Love Actually'? That has Joni Mitchell's songs as a vital part of the story & it always makes me cry. I watched it for the first time this year last week & it made me think (as it always does) that I should look out for a Joni Mitchell cd...
at the right price, of course.


we so did invent music...if it hadn't been for us...i the of my fsavorite instruments to play...sweetest sound...i still wear knee socks and loafers...and always are not alone..or old...or out of are oe of us...blessings, rebecca

Mary Beth Hunt

When did I get this old? When did I start looking like my mother instead of like myself?

I don't go to Starbucks. I make my own because it's better.
I wore a plaid kilt skirt, monogrammed sweater and loafers with knee socks to COLLEGE. Loved it.
I don't download music. I turn on the RADIO or play my own music from the 70's.
I believe women should dress more modest than they do now and men should be more chilvarous (sp?).

I'm sad my children don't really have good old fashioned memories like we did. I loved my childhood.

And I'm still hoping for the grace and wisdom to kick in.
In the meantime, I'm with ya!!!

mb in nebraska....waiting for Silver Bella!


I can really relate to what you are saying. I loved Joni Mitchell when I was young. I learned to play the piano and played "Both Sides, Now" continually. I am 50 and my daughter and her friends are big Starbucks fans so I listen to what she says is good when I go there. She is 24. I do feel out of place when ordering there too.



Saw her in 1977 with Tom Scott.
So many Joni Mitchell moments in my life, too.

Too much bad retro 1970s fashions these days--it was NEVER a good decade for style.

Remember, age and wisdom always triumph over youth and inexperience.


I'm a teen of the '80s and I feel the same way about the music I listened to, although perhaps Duran Duran doesn't have the same credentials as Joni Mitchell!

As for Starbucks? There is better coffee to be had in nicer places than that, where you don't have to know the lingo or put up with snobby people who don't know good coffee or how to see through marketing hype. ;)

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