Wednesday, December 29, 2021

December 28, 1975


Forty-six years ago my sister fell down a flight of stairs…


We were on the way to my wedding. Our parents had already made their way out to the car, my sister and I were the last to leave our parents' apartment when she tripped over the gown bag that she was carrying. She laid crumpled at the bottom of the flight of marble steps between the second and third floors in the Bronx apartment house where we were raised. I don't remember if it was my brother-in-law or me that ran to get my dad.


While she laid there in obvious pain, her concern was that she was making me late to my wedding. While my dad and her husband made an assessment about whether she needed to get to the hospital, I ran back into my folks' apartment to use the phone. In the years before the popularity of cell phones, I hoped that someone would answer the phone at the catering hall – no answer and no answering machine to leave a message. I was so frantic that my fiancé wouldn't wait.


Determined not to ruin my wedding my sister argued with my dad and her husband that she just needed help to get to her feet. Leaning on the two of them, she managed to hobble her way down to the car. Fighting traffic all the way, we finally reached the site of the planned wedding and reception out in Queens. I cried in the backseat of my parents' car and kept an eye on my sister, brother-in-law and nephew in their car.


My husband-to-be's younger brother was pacing across the entryway when we got there. I got out and burst into tears telling him what had happened. He ran in to assure my betrothed that I had arrived and told him and explained about the delay. My mom dabbed my eyes with a cold washrag to try to minimize the puffy eyes from my crying and she helped my sister get her gown on before she got herself dressed in a hurry. Finally, we were ready — the next step was our "First Look" and then photos while our guests munched on hor d'oeuvres in the next room.


The ceremony began. My 4-year-old nephew, my sister's son, was our ringbearer… we all laughed when he stopped the ceremony demanding that the Rabbi bless our rings. Then our attendants began their walk down the aisle. My sister, my Matron-of-Honor had a huge smile and looked beautiful as she wore her beautiful gown and a pair of everyday shoes, she couldn't walk in the matching heels she had planned after taking that fall. And Mark and I were married in front of all four parents, our siblings and dearest friends. The reception had its own tsuris (troubles); my mom, a diabetic, had a bad reaction from her worry, refused to go to the hospital and spent most of our reception lying down in the bridal suite.


At the end of the reception, in the middle of a snowstorm, Mark and I finally drove away to begin our new life together. It was 45-miles to our apartment where we decided to spend our first night as a married couple and since we didn't have a phone in the apartment yet, Mark stopped at a pay phone and carried me, in my gown, over a snowbank so that I could call my parents and make sure my mom and my sister were really okay. After being reassured, we finally spent a romantic evening as Mr. and Mrs.


The next morning, we headed off to our honeymoon in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. This wonderful week began our wonderful marriage, still filled with lots of ups and downs. Through the years we shed tears as we buried our parents, celebrated as we bought a home, rejoiced as we raised our remarkable children, a daughter and son, watched nephews and nieces grow, survived health scares, and finally retired.


Life goes on still filled with joys and tears. This past year we sadly buried my sister, and we celebrated as her eldest son, our ringbearer, became a grandfather. Three years ago, we made a move to our "retirement" home, a beautiful house in the great Pocono Mountains — kind of where it all began.


I love you Mark, now and forever.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Reading the Fine Print


Sometimes it seems that "everyone" is trying to coerce you into wrong decisions, scam you out of money, fool you into thinking you have no alternatives… It is TIRING!


Most of us really don't have any major problems with comprehension, and many of us are just looking to be treated fairly, the same way we prefer to treat those around us. (Okay, I admit, some do look to get away with whatever they can, but not most.)


I get calls daily, sometimes more than once a day, telling me that "your car warranty has expired…" Heck, I haven't owned a car in at least eight years! And oh my goodness, heaven help us if we dare to click on a Facebook ad, we'll get put on every possible email list and then some… and too often if you try to make a purchase you either never see the product or it winds up that your charge card is used multiple times WITHOUT your approval.


I realize that there have always been scammers and con artists, but lately it seems to be everywhere you turn. Even sitting at your own computers in your own home is risky — did you ever get one of those authentic looking popups saying your computer is infected and just click here to clean? DON'T! And I can pretty much guarantee that no one in Nigeria is going to offer you millions if you give them your bank account number.


There are so many DON'Ts these days. DON'T push any buttons to remove yourself from a call list! DON'T store your credit card numbers on your computer! DON'T correct the info someone allegedly has and has to verify before sending you that "surprise"! DON'T dial back that phone number from the most recent nuisance call – you'll either negate that Do Not Call rule or you won't even reach the scammer and find they have spoofed some innocent's phone number. And definitely DON'T run to buy that gift card to send so that your phone doesn't get shut off or some such nonsense.


Aren't times tough enough without having to dodge every scam thrown your way? Most people are just trying to survive, pay their bills, stay healthy, and spend time with family. It is downright annoying when you receive an onslaught of email messages from your "favorite" social media site saying that they received "your" request to change your password, and you click each email with "No that wasn't me", and yet they keep on coming. And it is highly unlikely that your local State Police Department is selling you raffle tickets over the phone.


One very, very cruel hoax that is commonly pulled on the elderly is a phone call about a "grandchild" in trouble… car accident, jail, stranded in a strange country. The caller will pull as much information together as possible to totally frighten the loving grandparent and manages to con them into giving financial info over the phone. Meanwhile the grandchild is safe and unaware that dear old Grannie is now shaken to the core and totally ripped off of her savings. How can people be so heartless?


Another popular scam is when you go to sell something online. The potential buyer, usually long distance (allegedly) offers to mail you a check, and they do, but somehow they have included extra so that you can afford the shipping and then you will reimburse the excess. So in good faith you deposit the check, give it a day or so to "clear" and then send the overpayment by Western Union while you wait for delivery instructions. But then, lo and behold, the original check is pulled out of your account! But you are still out of the money you "refunded". Note that your bank will hold a check for so many days before it is permanently deposited in your bank account, find out how long.


Do yourself a favor and learn about Common Scams and ways to protect yourself from sites such as and It can be a cold cruel world out there, arm yourself with knowledge.


And by the way, the IRS is NOT going to call you on the phone about your overdue payment!


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Dream, Dream, Dream…

Do you remember your dreams each night? Do you sometimes wonder if they REALLY were dreams, or perhaps something more ethereal? My husband claims he doesn't dream, I think he just doesn't remember them.


I know I've often dreamt of loved ones who have passed, those are often delightful dreams. It wonderful to have moments where I feel as if I've visited or been visited by people I love who are no longer earthbound. Most times I wake in the morning with a rather nice feeling, so many times I wish the dream had lasted longer. Many have said my dreams are only my memories or imagination and while they may be pleasant, they aren't real — I call these folks cynics.


When my sister and I were little girls we both had dreams of being told bedtime stories by our maternal grandfather, the man had died long before we were even born. Often in the mornings we would tell our mom about the "nice man who told us bedtime stories" (not always together, so we certainly weren't mimicking each other). Curiously she asked us about this "mystery man", we each described him and her eyes widened, and then we told her some of the stories he told us… seems he was telling us some of the same stories he would read to her as a little girl. We agreed, this wasn't any simple dream.


The other night I had a bittersweet and amusing dream. Since we were first married, we've always had multiple cats and since cats have a shorter life expectancy than most humans, we have unfortunately had to bury several. Each one has remained in our hearts. My dream seemed a little odd, my husband and I were both in it… we were visiting "someplace" which I didn't recognize, and we were surrounded by lots of talking and standing-tall cats and dogs, some of whom called us Mom and Dad. In my dream I remember being in awe and saying, "These are cats and they're talking!" Each was excited to talk to us and tell us they were having fun and they were okay.


Then, in my "dream" (shortly before I woke up) we had to leave. We went down a level and I looked up and they were there waving, I asked "Aren't you coming?" and whoever was guiding us towards an elevator said "They have to stay, but you'll see them again." I actually felt a bit happy when I woke, I felt as if I had been visiting them after a long time. Maybe it was a dream, but then again, maybe it was more.


During Friday evening services in our synagogue we sing a song Shalom Aleichem, basically we welcome new angels and say goodbye to others. Depending on the faith you believe in, angels can be messengers, and sometimes they can carry you to visit loved ones, or the other way around, while you sleep. Unfortunately, we can't simply order up a "trip", it just happens, I guess, when it is supposed to. It is a comforting feeling to know that occasionally we are permitted a glimpse of loved ones and perhaps a little conversation. Maybe our loved ones can become our own Guardian Angels.


Maybe it's the angels helping us, or maybe it is really just dreams — what do you think?




Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The Year of Firsts

I posted back in June, my only sister passed away fairly unexpectantly. She was five years older than me and in her early 70s, we had A LOT of time together, I am very blessed for that. It's still a huge change in my life though…


As we are nearing the end of 2021, and with all of the holidays surrounding us, her absence from my life is weighing heavily on my mind. This is what I call the "Year of Firsts" — it's the FIRST time that I am doing things differently, doing things without her presence. Although I will always be sad that she isn't here, the "next time" becomes a little bit more normal.


We lost our parents in 1977 and 1979 and we had each other for support during the years of firsts (and yes, Thank G-d, we also had our husbands who were total rocks for us). As our own young families grew, we spent many, many Thanksgivings together taking family pictures and torturing our kids along the way, lol. As our own children got older and had their own homes, we didn't have the dinners together, but my sis and I often spent A LOT of time on the phone "cooking together"… this year I didn't have that.


I began to think about the upcoming New Year's Eve and how every year we would be on the phone together within minutes of the ball drop in Times Square. That phone call will be missed this year. Her first birthday since she is gone and all the holidays since have been painful reminders that she isn't here, everything was a first. I know that even after the first anniversary of her passing there will still be so many poignant moments, but I will have gotten through it once already.


It's not that I am strong, but I do remember all the wonderful years I had with her and all of our memories. I am in the process of writing MY memories down because with my parents and now my sister gone, I'm the only one with ALL of those memories. (And as my daughter said to me, it's a GREAT opportunity for me to put MY spin on everything!) My memories and my blessings are what will get me through.


I had my sister in my life for 67 years, a lifetime of secrets, laughter, compassion, sharing, joys and just simple talks. I have my brother (in-law), her husband, who has known me since my teen years and has become more of a brother than an in-law. I have my sister's sons and their families in my life. My husband and our children and their mates got to know her. And I have many little tidbits of advice she gave me (she not only loved to tell me what to do, but she was also a psychologist) that will remain with me forever.


While I still shed tears, sometimes more often than I want to admit, I also realize how fortunate I've been to have had ALL the people in my life that have been here — and I am truly so fortunate to have had such a wonderful friendship with my sister.


I am halfway through the "Year of Firsts", I'm going to make it.


Bobi, I will always love you.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

IT'S A SMALL WORLD (after all)

When we were little kids the world seemed so very big and immense. We tried but we couldn't possibly know everyone. But then as the years go by the friends we knew in our "yesterdays" seem to have gone their own way and we don't hear from them much anymore. And yet, so often we find reminders, connections, and sometimes even the people themselves…


In my own life there have been so many coincidences where my "yesterday" becomes part of today. In the past few years my husband and I made a move more than 100 miles away from where I grew up (not far from where he grew up). Since living here I found that among my "new" neighbors was an acquaintance from around the corner in my childhood neighborhood and even more recently I found that one of my NOW neighbors is the nephew of my next door neighbor when I was all of five or six years old. Not quite as close to where I live now, but still quite local, is a woman who lived in the same community that we raised OUR children in.


Although it isn't coincidence at all, it still is sort of mind-boggling to find distant relatives (many you never even knew existed!) after doing a DNA test; I did 23andME. The few I have been in touch with have amazingly similar attitudes and views… so much so that one 2nd cousin who lives more than 2,000 miles away, someone I have never met face-to-face and only learned about recently, agrees with me that it almost sounds as if we grew up together! (Genetic memory?) It is ironic to find these long-lost relatives and find out how much you have in common.


Another amazing small-world connection occurred nearly 50 years ago when my soon-to-be husband and I were planning our wedding. I was getting our important documents together for the marriage license and such when I noticed that we were BOTH born at the same hospital and BOTH delivered by the same obstetrician 16 months apart! — no, our moms did NOT know each other, and our parents did not live in the same neighborhoods.


My husband and I raised our children in a suburban community more than an hour and change from where we were born, so imagine my surprise when I went into a local pharmacy and noticed the pharmacist's name tag, it was the same last name as the obstetrician that had delivered us. I jokingly asked the man if he had any relation to the doctor, and it wound up that the man who delivered me (and my husband) was the uncle of this pharmacist!


Six degrees of separation refers to a theory that all people on Earth are connected to one another by no more than six separate individuals. A theory that parallels the idea that “it’s a small world,” it maintains that, through a series of connections or steps, all people have the potential to know one another on a first name basis through mutual acquaintances. (wisegeek)


You never know where or when the past and present are going to collide. Don't be surprised, it is, after all, really a small world.


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

We Should Have Retired at Twenty-Five!

Now that my husband and I have reached the "golden years of retirement" I've developed the belief that all young couples and young parents should go through retirement when all that free time could be put to better use. Imagine having the time to make last minute decisions to just have fun all day long, to go to the playground with your children, to enjoy relaxing, impromptu dinners out with your spouse, or just to sleep late cuddling your pussycats and each other.


Instead of working 9-to-5, or MUCH longer as many did in order to pay the bills, it would have been nice to have FAMILY TIME, to watch your kids grow close up and to laugh with them every day. Oh of course they would have had to go to school but by 3-0'clock it would have been fun, family time. And bedtimes could have been fudged… now our kids are busy with their own jobs and commitments, busy building towards their own eventual retirements and free time.



My husband and I are enjoying our days together and Thank G-d we do have each other… because that's another thing, there are folks in our age bracket who just aren’t around anymore. So, we got TECHNICALLY old and now we have the time to act on a whim. During the winters and other rough weather while we listen to the weather advisories not to drive, we don't because we don't have to. We hear from our neighbors about how long it took them to get to work because of all the traffic delays… and all we did was stare at the weather out the window and drink a steaming cup of tea.


We are so fortunate that our offspring and their other halves do make time for us, for the old folks, but they have commitments and we have to schedule those precious get-togethers to fit their busy schedules. Meanwhile we can wake up with a last-minute plan for the day, we can decide to be lazy or go for a drive just to see the sights. Don't misunderstand, we stay busy, there is always something to do. But it really would have been nice to have had this much free time when we were younger.


We are enjoying ourselves and I love being able to spend so much time together with the love of my life, but it still takes getting used to. Hopefully we'll get used to the leisure life for a lot more years.


Wednesday, November 17, 2021



As we go through life there are many "ups-and-downs". As for the "downs", most times the effect is momentary, and we just get on with life. Some of the "downs" do stay with us such as the loss of a loved one, but many find HEALTHY coping mechanisms and get back to living their lives — never forgetting but managing to move forward. And then there are those who find that they need help… it is not wrong to need help, it doesn't make anyone "less" or "damaged", it is just sometimes we need something more than what we can muster from within (kind of like needing medicine to get over an ailment).


We can find HEALTHY forms of help all around us. Sometimes we need to speak with a PROFESSIONAL, a counselor or psychiatrist. Sometimes we can speak with a compassionate and well-meaning friend. Sometimes we find the strength we need to move on within a group-support system; as a friend recently said, "who else should I turn to but people who know EXACTLY what I am going through?" So long as you don't balk at the idea that you are, after all, only human and sometimes need help mending after a trauma, it really doesn't matter so long as you don't ignore your pain and let it fester (again, an analogy, letting an infection continue to grow instead of taking medicine will only cause a lot more problems).


We are all different and each one of us, AND ONLY THAT ONE OF US, needs to decide when and how to reach out for help. A method which may work for someone else is not necessarily the right method for all. If you have reached out, whether it is a wise-friend, a PRIVATE support group on social media, an in-person group led by a counselor, or a one-on-one with a Social Worker or Psychiatrist, then it is up to you, AND ONLY YOU, to decide if this is the help you need. If you can feel the healing and strength, then you have probably made the best decision for you. If you aren't feeling some form of relief and mending, then it may be time to move to another step. There is NO weakness in needing AND ACCEPTING help. And again, WHAT WORKS FOR ONE PERSON IS NOT AUTOMATICALLY WHAT EVERYONE ELSE (including you) NEEDS.


If you find yourself struggling, there are resources (here are just a FEW):

Online Therapy Services
Alcoholics Anonymous ~ find help
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  1-800-273-8255
Suicide prevention/Veterans with PTSD  1-800-273-TALK [in the U.S.]
Support for Caregivers
Grieving the Loss of a Child

(no endorsements are implied) 


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Surprise, Not!


Sometimes people surprise you… and not always in a good way. You can go months, even years, thinking that you know someone and that person "has your back". And then hard disappointment sets in as you realize, sometimes like a swift kick in the butt, that you have BEEN HAD.


What is more painful than realizing that you've been lied to is losing the trust that you might have had in this person. It can even make you doubt your own ability to see and assess the truth. What's worse is not always knowing IF the deceitful person was purposely deceiving you, or did they somehow think they had motives or justification for LYING?


You probably thought better of this person, maybe even respected them… perhaps you feel as if you knew better and yet still let them get away with their selfishness and dishonesty. You might even be wondering if you were complicit or encouraged their dishonesty.


Stop playing the self-blame game! If you were lied to, it's simple, YOU were the one who was deceived, your trust was abused, and your view could forever be tainted by duplicity. It is very sad if you are actually giving a liar all of that power over you. Then again should we really feel so betrayed or used?


So what is the difference between a simple "white lie" and a hurtful, deceitful Lie? And how often have each of us uttered a white lie to protect someone else? We tell white lies every time we plan a surprise birthday party and every time we make a big deal over how good someone looks in their favorite sweater or such.


White lies are considered part of the social norm and accepted, even sometimes, expected. Obviously, some lies are "okay"? Maybe we need to examine the intent of each falsehood uttered? Most of us, if not all, have been taught that lying is wrong and yet, how many times we heard known lies coming from the very mouths of those teaching us the value of the truth?


A white lie is often told with the best of intentions, it may be told to spare someone's feelings, it may be told not to destroy a surprise, but it is never told to hurt, harm or bolster our own egos. What may be a harmless white lie, one that has been told to protect feelings, is still a lie. And there are some people who see a white lie, even if it's stated for their benefit, as betrayal and insulting that they cannot handle the truth.


How much honesty do you expect from the people around you? How much honesty come from the words YOU utter? Aside from words with bad intentions, your white lies may be salve to someone's bruised ego. So how do we know how far we need to go to hide the truth, or should we hide it at all.


What are your feelings about lies, is there ever a time it's alright to lie?
 We'd love to hear your take on falsehoods.



Wednesday, November 3, 2021


Well, I hope that you all voted yesterday in your local elections. While I agree your vote is only one of many voices, it is YOUR VOICE. Any politician who wins by less of a margin that he/she thought there would be, will have to rethink priorities and causes, especially if they are planning on another election down the road. And… if YOU voted (I am addressing those of legal age to vote) then YOU have every right to complain or celebrate the election outcome.


What disturbs me every single year during the build-up to the elections are the political ads spread throughout the media — so many of the ads are attacks against the opponents rather than telling potential voters what the candidate himself is bringing to the table. I want to know what YOU (the candidate) bring to the table, what YOU plan to do for me, my town, and whatever level of government you are running for. There is so much misdirection.


Even worse than slamming your opponent(s) are the OBVIOUS ads where soundbites have been twisted and melded to create totally false statements which often show your opponent unfavorably. My husband and I were watching television the other night when a political ad came on – it had nothing to do with our state and we don't have any strong opinions about the candidate. HOWEVER, it was more than obvious that the alleged film clip was pieced together, and not very well done at that (the film "jumped" several times and each time the candidate's pose was slightly different!). The result had this candidate supposedly saying something that was NOT in the best interests of his constituents. Now I don't know if or what this candidate said about the subject, but the very fact that someone (an opponent) was outright lying would certainly have made me question if the opponent should even be running.


I've always made a habit of researching ALL listed candidates, using multiple sources, to learn a little about their history, their affiliations, and their character. I also look to see if the source of information is sponsored by someone with a political stake and therefore may be slanted. And then I go to cast my vote… and hope for the best.


I hope for all of you that the best candidates win. I hope that you will celebrate YOUR choices rather than regret why you voted that way. And mostly, I hope that all the winners will act like true winners and do their absolute best for all of their constituents, and most, if not all, will be satisfied with the results.


Wednesday, October 27, 2021

What does FAMILY mean?


Family is more than just a biological connection. It's love and friendship, it's being there when you are needed… and sometimes when the other person doesn't even realize how much they need your comfort and support.

There's the nuclear family, the one you are born into, usually parents and children. Sometimes you are born into the hearts of your parents (adoption). When you are little, this family seems to be your whole world. If you are lucky there are aunts and uncles, cousins, maybe grandparents… As you grow your family takes on other forms, a marriage, your own children, in-laws, and sometimes close friends.

So how do you cope when the people you count on to be there for you as family turn their backs? How far do you push when the other person has no interest in BEING family? It's never easy to close the door on someone you called family, sometimes though they leave you no other options.

I have friends who have been abandoned by those they thought would be there for them in times of turmoil and it's sad. They've told me stories of being excluded from these people's lives and sometimes even getting arguments because they didn't acknowledge an event that they were never even told about.

Sometimes a person whom you accepted as family (maybe they married in) and continued to think of them that way even after the actual blood connection has been lost, may feel the need to "divorce" themselves from that side of the family. It's heartbreaking to lose yet another family member, but there is really nothing you can do about it.

Cling to those who hold you dear and don't waste time on those who seem to have simply forgotten you. Focus on the people who surround you with love and caring, and who allow you in when they need some love and caring as well. THAT is your family.


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Dealing With Critical People


Let's face it, we all know someone like this, someone who seems to find something wrong with everyone around you and often questions why you even bother with "your friends"… sometimes they might even criticize you.


Why do they do that? Some of these critics are really very nice and intelligent people so is it really their own low self-esteem that makes them this way as was suggested by a few mental health reporters. How do you deal with their constant barrage of insults and complaints?


First LISTEN to what they are saying. I am not saying take it to heart, as a matter of fact you shouldn't take any of their words personally. Some of these people are actually well meaning and seeing the world only they way the want to see it — so they are trying to help, maybe even teach. This doesn't mean you should stay quiet and let their barbs land on you, but don't argue. Tell them calmly that it doesn't make you feel very good when they always criticize you and ask them if they would take the time to explain what they see. Especially if hey are professional in some field that they are referring to  they might actually be helpful.


If however the individual takes this as an invitation to berate you even more, then you know they are just "happier" being miserable. And you don't have to put up with that. Tell them firmly, still not angrily, that you will not accept their insults or condemnations. There is a story about Buddha that you might even take to heart:


Buddha was well known for his ability to respond to evil with good.  There was a man who knew about his reputation, and he traveled miles and miles and miles to test Buddha. When he arrived and stood before Buddha, he verbally abused him constantly; he insulted him; he challenged him; he did everything he could to offend Buddha.

Buddha was unmoved, he simply turned to the man and said, “May I ask you a question?”

The man responded with, “Well, what?”

Buddha said, “If someone offers you a gift and you decline to accept it, to whom then does it belong?”

The man said, “Then it belongs to the person who offered it.”

Buddha smiled, “That is correct.  So if I decline to accept your abuse, does it not then still belong to you?”

The man was speechless and walked away.

If this person is simply being critical with no attempt at helping or teaching you, or if they are generally critical about everyone they speak about, be kind. Yes it sounds more like they are sensitive about their own performance, or the way they are seen be others. Without being effusive or phony, find something encouraging to say about them… admire an achievement, sincerely ask for their help on something, thank them for their suggestion. It's quite possible you might even see a change in their manner of speaking to you. Still though, if you need to, gently remind them that they may have hurt you with the way they've said something.


In the long run you might find even more of a friend than you thought you had before. And, if it doesn't work, then minimize the time you spend alone with this person. It's worth a try.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Giving the World Just a Bit of Yourself

I'm a former (volunteer) EMT and, at least in the state I was certified in, the training for volunteer and career was the same (although the hours were, of course, far different). This was a time of my life that I still take a lot of pride in, almost 30-years' worth of pride. Actually, there were several members of my immediate family who either volunteered or worked in the EMS field. I stopped riding several years before the COVID nightmare and I can't even imagine the stress of the past year-and-a-half; still have active EMS family who did see COVID and its devastation.


My "other" career, far longer than my EMS involvement, has been that of a writer. In part a novelist (spicy romantic suspense) and in part a journalist. I enjoy the times I get to write about EMS and especially when I must learn something new about the field in order to properly present it. I write a monthly column in an EMS trade paper and occasionally get to cover, or report on, education and events in emergency response. I enjoy those times I get to immerse myself in a class or discussion, I love hearing about new techniques, protocols, findings and more. I guess Emergency Medical Services has remained a part of me and something that I will never emotionally leave.


Both by ZOOM (mostly due to the pandemic), I had the wonderful opportunity to sit in on two different and comprehensive EMS Conferences. It was thrilling for me to listen to the newest advancements and to understand the EMS community a little bit more. I loved hearing about Community Paramedicine, record keeping, stress of the job, and even newer equipment to help make the job "easier". It's true that this time in my life has completely changed me forever — I feel pride, accomplishment, understanding, what it means to be a part of a team, and especially about human emotions from birth to death, quite literally.


EMS was not the first community organization that I ever volunteered for, as a young adult I devoted four-and-a-half years with the Auxiliary Police in the city I grew up in. I felt a lot of pride there too, and again I wasn't the only member of my family; I had followed my dad's lead… and as a bonus, that's where my husband and I found each other! Although in this case the training was nowhere as comprehensive and disciplined as the employed law enforcement, it was still pretty thorough for the duties we were trained to assume. It was a very rewarding experience to give back to the community where I grew up.


While I certainly don't expect everyone else to have had the same passions as I did, I do respect EVERYONE who have given, and possibly still do, of themselves and their time to better their communities and help their neighbors. Can you imagine a world where everyone took a part in making it better, safer, happier? Can you imagine the fulfillment those people feel when they see a child that they tutored make Communion or their Bat Mitzvah? Imagine the happiness of seeing a family hug each other after a daring rescue? Or imagine seeing hope on an old woman's face as you take the time to sit with her as she eats her very welcomed dinner?


Everything someone can do for their neighbors, their country, and their world makes such a difference for both the recipients of their kindness and for the giver himself or herself. If we all found SOMETHING to do, to contribute and to feel pride in doing, it is worth more than any dollar figure or bronze statue. Sometimes it doesn't take a whole lot of effort, an extra grocery bag dropped off at a food pantry, a committee member who makes sure that shut-ins know about useful programs, an interested adult who coaches children in softball… so many things we can do for others and, in the long run, for ourselves.


Kudos to ALL the volunteers. THANK YOU!


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Writing Your Story

You live as long as you are remembered.
~ Russian proverb


My mind has "run the gamut" of emotions these past years. With some (extended) family illnesses, and then with my sister (only sibling) passing away, it is hard NOT to think of mortality. What struck me very deeply was that when my sister passed, I became painfully aware that I was the last one left of my nuclear family (our parents died in 1977 and 1979 respectively); every family story, our very own history, it's only mine to tell anymore.


There are so many little snippets of my life, some funny, some sad, that I want to live on even past my own life's run. So, I began to write "The story of Chelle". This is not a memoir, certainly not one meant for public consumption, however it's my sincere hope that each one of my FUTURE family will get to cherish some of these stories and perhaps pass them along to their descendants. It's mere snippets, little memories, that have given me moments to chuckle, to remember, to know how many of these memories have made me who I am today.


It's been said that, just like DNA, all our ancestors live on inside us. I believe that is so true even when we haven't really known the folks who passed some traits down to us. Ironically, I met a distant cousin from a branch of my family I never even knew existed. It all started with a bit of (excuse me) spit… and the results of my DNA turned up a long list of potential relatives. Surely, I wasn't going to explore each one, but one profile popped up that intrigued me.


Turns out this gentleman and I are distant cousins on my paternal grandmother's side of the family. He connected me with another relative (unfortunately the DNA services do NOT share with each other so we may only find relatives through others). My new-found relative, and at this point a very dear friend, is a second cousin. We are quite close in age, and if you didn't know differently you might think that we grew up together because we share so many similar values and traits.


I am not looking for immortality, or maybe in a way I am? I just want some of my memories to live on for my children. As a writer maybe it is not unusual for me to take to writing these thoughts and memories down but considering my ego, I am just recording these memories for my family. When I recently told my daughter about my project, her loving quip was that I had an advantage… I could tell everything from MY personal standpoint since there was no one left to counter. Yep, she's got a point, LOL.


Wednesday, September 29, 2021



In the Hebrew calendar we are celebrating Simchat Torah, the time when public Torah readings in synagogues worldwide is complete. What is important is that we begin again… from the beginning. (The Torah, aka The Pentateuch, are the first five books of the Hebrew bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy).


It is, in its own way, a NEW BEGINNING, and it comes just two weeks after the Hebrew New Year. The significance of this never-ending cycle is a very comforting thought — life continues, it goes on. And the repetitive readings are like watching a favorite movie over again and finding new meanings and seeing something that you missed last time. With each reading comes a new understanding, a new theory, and a new way of looking at things.


It really doesn't matter what faith you are, what you do or don't believe in. Just comfort yourself with continuation. Even in your darkest days, the sun does rise tomorrow (Okay, unless you're in a place where the "Polar Night" lasts all winter, LOL, then you might have to wait several months). Wherever you are in the world, the Earth does revolve and except for the areas close to the Polar caps, we enjoy nearly equal parts of sunlight and darkness. Maybe that is a metaphor for life itself?


Sometimes things change, drastically, and yet while there may be adjustments, you continue. You eat, you sleep, you work, you laugh, and you cry. There is no denying that this never-ending cycle is called life. And even when your own life comes to a close (hopefully not for a while), life still continues for those around you. Maybe they look at life a little differently, but life goes on. And for all around you, there are riches and well as tears, smiles and frowns, and perhaps even a little adventure thrown in that never-ending future.


We have to embrace each day and take from it what will nourish us and enrich us. We have to teach our loved ones to do the same whether or not we share each day with them. Generations of humans have accomplished this, and hopefully many, many future generations will do this as well. Each day is a gift, get excited as you unwrap it. And just like those who start at the "beginning" again, make your own interpretations and get something more out of each reading and experience again.


Grab onto and enjoy each day in this never-ending thing we call life.


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Regrets, I've Had a Few…

I don't believe any one has gone through life who hasn't wished they could change something in their past. For me the most dangerous time to think about the things I WISH I could re-do differently are the quiet hours of the night when I can't sleep and I am alone, IN MY HEAD, to think and dwell… and sometimes cry.

Was I a good daughter? My parents died so early into my adult years that I've had a lot of time to wonder about that one. Every child and parent has squabbles over, what now seems many years later, to have been inconsequential matters, things that have no importance now. I know that as a fully grown adult and a parent myself — and yet, in what I refer to as my "Dark Hours" I keep wondering if I spent enough time with them, made them proud of me. Maybe I shouldn't have waited to help them fulfill a "dream' they both had of a renewal of wedding vows before a Rabbi (they had been married by a Justice of the Peace) – I was waiting for another milestone anniversary, but my dad died before their 32nd anniversary and my mom less than two years later.

Was I a good mom to my own offspring? Could I have set a better example, spent more time with them, helped them with their homework more? I worry, and yet both our daughter and son grew into incredible human beings despite me. Have I been a good wife to my husband? He's been my best friend since our marriage, actually before, almost 46 years ago and we say "I love you" to each other more than once a day. Yes, we've had spats, but… Again, in my "Dark Hours" I fret.

Yet, there is nothing I can do to re-do or un-do my yesterdays. Ironic that the expression some use is "You've made your bed" when that is exactly where I am lying and TRYING to sleep next to my slumbering husband when I have my "Dark Hours". Sometimes I will lie awake for hours just dwelling on all the things I cannot change and all of my uncertainties surface.

In the morning, however, I wake (sometimes after very little sleep) to face a new day and I actually feel ready and capable to tackle it. After all, TODAY is the ONLY day I have some control over. As Mother Theresa said, "Yesterday is gone, tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today, let us begin."

I wish you few "Dark Hours", many restful nights, and the happiness of a promised tomorrow.


Wednesday, September 15, 2021


Several years ago, I had a rather ugly argument (one sided, really, HE was arguing) with someone I once thought rather highly of.


He was a veteran, and I certainly gave him kudos for that, but we were talking of some people we knew who, by choice or providence, did not join the military. This individual was very irate and insulting to some people I knew — in this specific case, a couple of first responders. His attitude was that they had "no value" compared to him and his fellow vets (yes, those were his words). 

I was annoyed and said (not verbatim) that our military defends our shores, but that EMS, firefighters and police were our first defense in our cities.


His statement was ironically that these people wore Halloween costumes to make themselves feel important!


I would never dismiss the heroism and sacrifice of our military members (which I am proud to say I am related to several from past to present). But if these past few years (actually since 2001) haven't proven the value of our EMS, firefighters and police (as well as healthcare and other security details)… Wow! (Ironically the above-mentioned argument took place AFTER 9/11)


Our country lost more than 400 emergency service members at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. In 2005 thousands of first responders went to New Orleans and other areas after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the city. And these past two years our EMS, FD and police forces and hospital workers country wide have worked around the clock to try to save Covid victims, often at great personal risk to themselves, many dying.


Not everyone can save peoples' lives, fight fires, or fight in a war. But EVERYONE can do something to help enrich the lives of the people in this country and the world. Everyone has WORTH in our society when they help others; Sunday school teachers, Meals on Wheels drivers, youth group leaders, volunteers (and employees) at animal shelters, volunteer readers at the library, fundraisers for charities, and more. If you are doing something to help others, 

YOU ARE WORTH SO MUCH TO THE REST OF US. Everybody should do what they are able to for their communities, for our country, and for our world.


Thank you to all who put yourselves out there for others.


Saturday, September 11, 2021


 September 11, 2001, 2996 people lost their lives.
the youngest was only 2 years old,
the oldest was 85.

There have been innumerable losses since due to injuries and exposure to the toxic dust at Ground Zero.

As a former Rockland County NY resident, I have always listed those
local residents that we lost on 9/11/2001

Ø Janet M. Alonso 41 Stony Point NY
Ø Calixto Anaya Jr. 35 Suffern NY
Ø Japhet J. Aryee 49 Spring Valley NY
Ø Richard E. Bosco 34 Suffern NY
Ø Sgt. John Gerard Coughlin 43 Pomona NY
Ø Welles Remy Crowther 24 Upper Nyack NY
Ø John D' Allara 47 Pearl River NY
Ø Bernard D. Favuzza 52 Suffern NY
Ø Thomas Foley 32 West Nyack NY
Ø Andrew Fredericks 40 Suffern NY
Ø Robert Joseph Gschaar 55 Spring Valley NY
Ø Dana Hannon 29 Suffern NY
Ø Capt. Frederick Ill Jr. 49 Pearl River NY
Ø Farah Jeudy 32 Spring Valley NY
Ø Joseph Marchbanks Jr. 47 Nanuet NY
Ø John Marshall 35 Congers NY
Ø Patricia A. McAneney 50 Pomona NY
Ø Robert Garvin McCarthy 33 Stony Point NY
Ø Robert William McPadden 30 Pearl River NY
Ø Luke G. Nee 44 Stony Point NY
Ø Gerald O'Leary 34 Stony Point NY
Ø David Ortiz 37 Nanuet NY
Ø Lt. Vernon Allan Richard 53 Nanuet NY
Ø Thomas G. Schoales 27 Stony Point NY
Ø Mohammed Shajahan 41 Spring Valley NY
Ø Gregory Sikorsky 34 Spring Valley NY
Ø Catherine T. Smith 44 West Haverstraw NY
Ø Robert W. Spear Jr. 30 Valley Cottage NY
Ø Loretta A, Vero 51 Nanuet NY
Ø Benjamin Walker 41 Suffern NY
Ø Weibin Wang 41 Orangeburg NY
Ø Steven Weinberg 41 New City NY
Ø Capt. David T. Wooley 53 Nanuet NY

It is so hard to realize that 20-years have passed since that dreadful day. 

My husband and I were home that day, together, when my sister called me. She had been watching television when the news broadcast came in that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center Towers. Ironically my husband had been working down there the day before on an Audio-Visual event, it was scheduled for 2-days, but one of the presenters had a prior commitment, so it was scheduled for the 10th and the 12th instead.
Two planes had crashed into the North and South towers of the WTC. A third plane crashed into the Pentagon. A fourth plane crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers tried to take the plane back from the terrorists behind this horror. There were 19 terrorists on the 4 planes in this suicide mission.
I remember the panicked calls from my son, in high school at the time, and my daughter, away at college. They wanted to know where their dad was.
Being members of our local ambulance corps in Rockland County NY, we responded to the building. No one knew what to expect next. There had been futile hopes that there would be many survivors who needed medical help and our local ambulance corps made preparations to help unload victims for transport to local hospitals. Sadly, that need never came to be.
Rockland County ambulance corps sent rigs to the scene that evening to try to help. My husband was on one of those rigs. Our son, a youth corps member at the time, helped to stock the truck and watched as his dad and crew drove away. My husband returned home very early the next morning — there had been no survivors to treat or transport. He cried at what he had seen.
Our daughter came home from college to help in the ambulance building. We did have several local residents walking around dazed, some of them were still hoping to hear from loved ones who had been in the buildings. They came in for comfort, for blood-pressure checks, and just to be able to sit and cry.
Rockland County had lost more than 30 souls that day, I knew a few of them, and I knew a few of the families. Some who died had been at jobs, some were passengers on the ill fated flights, others were 1st responders, firefighters, police and EMS, who tried to save as many as possible. Even days later, no one was able to fathom what had just happened. 
Over 40% of those who died that day have yet to be identified even 20 years later. There have been more than 1500 deaths from various cancers among Ground Zero responders and those who lived or worked in the area. Many more are fighting  Certified WTC-related illnesses.
Today, September 11. 2021... the heart still aches for all we lost.

... 20-years later.

9/11 Memorial "Tear Drop"
in Bayonne New Jersey

Pentagon 9/11 Memorial
Arlington Virginia

Flight 93 Memorial
Shanksville Pennsylvania