Sunday, December 25, 2022



At this point, 47 years ago, Mark and I were totally immersed in wedding plans… and trying hard to ignore “certain people” who thought they (even though they were NOT our parents or siblings) had the right to command the way we did things; so much so, that a few nights before our wedding was to happen, my Dad offered to give us money to elope and promised that he would manage to get himself and my Mom and Mark’s parents to whatever chapel we wanted to be married in! It was so tempting (yes, some people were really causing grief), but we decided to stick with our plans and the location we chose.

We spent the balance of the week tracking down RSVPs, adding a few last-minute invites, and making a list of wedding presents so we could send thank-you cards. Our apartment, although we were not yet living together, provided both a place to escape and a place to store some of those previously mentioned wedding gifts. And we had the final fittings for my wedding gown, WHICH MY MOM DESIGNED AND SEWED.

By midweek I had discussed the plans to “kidnap” Mark (masterminds were his brother, brother-in-law, and my brother-in-law. The plan was to kidnap him, put him in handcuffs and take him out for a “adult-only” kind of evening. And that Friday night, dressed in my jeans and a Mickey Mouse T-Shirt (with each Mouse ear conveniently covering each boob, lol), I tricked Mark into going downstairs where he was snatched up. I laughed at the conspiracy, and was surprised when my sister, sister-in-law-to-be, and a friend, also carted me off to dinner, and then to the friend’s house where the guys showed up and we partied till the late hours.

Saturday night, December 27, 1975, Mark and I promised not to see each other and to spend the night before our wedding with our respective parents and siblings.  I was giddy with the anticipation. My poor Mom was still being harangued by “a relative” (who was NOT contributing a cent to the event) telling her all the things we did wrong, who we should have invited, and criticizing (without seeing it) the gown my mother made for me to wear that day! We were all a bit on edge.  I made sure to get to sleep, or at least to bed, nice and early that night so that I could truly enjoy OUR DAY.

Sunday morning, December 28, 1975… it was finally HERE. Mark and I agreed to meet at the catering hall in Queens, get dressed out there, and have a zillion family pictures taken before the actual ceremony. I was excited. My parents left the apartment first, my dad had to help my partially disabled Mom down the three flights of stairs, my 4-year-old nephew and my grandmother went with them. My sister, her husband, and I carried our gowns/clothing in garment bags, locked the apartment door and started downstairs.

My poor sister tripped and fell down an entire flight of hard, marble steps. She was laying crumpled on the landing, conscious, and in tremendous pain. While my brother-in-law tended to her, I ran downstairs to get our dad; my mom, her mom, and my nephew stayed in the car and worried. My first thought was that my sister would have to be taken to the emergency room of the local hospital. My Dad, who was trained in First Aid, checked her out.

Knowing that no matter what we did, I had to reach Mark and let him know what had happened and, possibly, to ask if he would meet us at the hospital. But this was the days before cellphones, and although I tried the office phone at the venue, no one picked up the ringing line. Finally, my sister, being a real trooper, insisted that she was going to walk down the aisle as my Matron-of-Honor even if she had to limp all the way. It took a while for her to get PAINFULLY upright and between my dad and my brother-in-law, they pretty much supported the rest of her journey down the stairs and into the car.

And then traffic was HORRIFIC, and it was not people heading out to watch our nuptials… I cried most of the way from the Bronx to Queens and watched as the time seemed to rush by. Finally, we arrived, and I saw Mark’s brother pacing up and down the sidewalk. I was so afraid that everyone had left, and I burst into uncontrollable tears as I told him what had transpired. He went ahead and told everyone of my arrival.

I was thankful and amazed… THE MAN HAD WAITED FOR ME; Mark and I were going to be married!

My family all got dressed. My Mom helped my sister who bemoaned that she couldn’t wear the beautiful pair of shoes she bought to match her gown and would be walking down the aisle in her sneakers. My Mom’s nerves were totally frazzled… and she still had to put up with the one meddling relative. The service went well, my nephew, our ring bearer, interrupted the Rabbi asking him to please bless our wedding rings, and everyone shouted Mazel Tov at the end.

After posing for less than the zillion photos we planned, we went into the reception hall and danced our first dance as husband and wife to “We’ve Only Just Begun”. Shortly after, my poor Mom, with all the stress she had had over the past weeks and that morning, had a diabetic reaction. She refused to leave the building but did concede to lying down in the bridal suite – where she spent the bulk of our reception. My father-in-law, nerves wracked over my tardiness, imbibed a little too much on an empty stomach and began to serenade our party with a rousing rendition of “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”.

Mommy did rejoin the party close to the end and was there to see us off. We walked out of the venue to a lot of snow! Mark and I had decided to spend the first night of our married life in our Rockland County apartment and head off on our honeymoon the next morning. By the time we got to our apartment complex, there were snowbanks everywhere. I had to call my parents to make sure my mom and my sister were okay, but we didn’t have a phone installed yet. He was still in his tux, and I was still in my gown, when Mark spied a payphone, he lifted me up and carried me through the snow so that I could call home.

The next morning, we woke and headed out through the snow to Mt. Airy Lodge in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. We had the most delightful honeymoon for the rest of that week.

And now, in 2022, 47 years later, we retired and now live in the Pocono Mountains. Mt Airy LODGE closed in the 1990s, now it is a casino, and yes, we’ve visited a few times. We’re older and still head over heels in love.

And we are happy… all because

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Out of Many ... One

E Pluribus Unum 

From grade school and up, we have always been taught that our country, the United States of America, is a diverse country founded on "Freedom of Religion" and "All Men Are Created Equal"; in 1972 an amendment was added calling for "Equal Rights for All" (men and women). And in more recent years, there have been calls and laws for inclusivity: acceptance and tolerance of all genders and personal gender identities, acceptance of ethnicities, and respect for all religious beliefs.

So where have we gone wrong? While racial persecution, religious prejudice, and gender stereotypes have, sadly, existed in our country since its inception, it has become a loud-mouthed blight in more recent years. Instead of the acceptance of our common bonds of being Americans and HUMANS, there has been anger and hatred acted all too often. And in a country invaded and founded by immigrants, too many have forgotten our own past journeys and the ancestors that fought their way to our shores.

In 2022, 245 years after the "Founding Fathers" wrote the United States Declaration of Independence and founded our country, we are still fighting many of the prejudices and injustices that our ancestors fled from. All too often we see reminders that the UNITED States of America is not nearly as "united" as, allegedly, it was intended.

It has been said that those who resent and criticize other religions are insecure in their own. While every faith has zealots that spout hate and evil, those are actually the minority, and often those who have limited knowledge of their teachings. The teachings of almost every deity and higher power espouse love of fellow human beings and kindness to all living beings. Hatred of others does not defend your religious beliefs, more often it ignores those teachings.

In the United States, just in the months between December 2022 and March 2023, just one-third of the year, we (collectively) observe at least 17 religious observances:

Feast of the Immaculate Conception  December 8    Christianity

Bodhi Day/Rohatsu (Japan)       December 8 Buddhism

Our Lady of Guadalupe   December 12           Christianity

Hanukkah     December 19-26*  Judaism

Winter Solstice/Yule   December 21  (northern hemisphere)  Native Americans/Pagan

Christmas     December 25           Christianity

Kwanzaa       December 26–January 1  African American

Feast of the Holy Family December 30           Christianity


Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary January 1     Christianity

Christmas     January 7      Eastern Orthodox Christianity

Lunar New Year     January 22     Confucianism/Taoism/Buddhism

Maha Shivaratri     February 18 Hinduism

Ash Wednesday     February 22 Christianity

Orthodox Great Lent begins       February 27 Eastern Orthodox Christianity

Purim March 7*      Judaism

Holi    March 8        Hinduism

Ramadan begins (30 days) March 23* Islam (dates dependent on the sighting of the new moon crescent)

In America, we have multiple religions and beliefs observed including Agnostic, Atheist, Buddhist, Druid, Hindu, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, Muslim, Eastern Orthodox, Latter-Day Saints, Pagan, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Scientology, Sikh, Taoist, Wiccan, and more. 

Frederick Douglass once said, "Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

Others have said it, simply, "Can't we all just get along?"

Wishing you all a happy and healthy Holiday Season (no matter which way you say it), with warmth, friendship, and love by your side. Here's to hoping for a more unified, peaceful, loving, and accepting 2023... and beyond.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022



“Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.

    Watch a young child play, he/she creates imaginary friends, makes up stories, and plays them out (like a spaceship landing...), and wonders about things beyond the door and out of sight. It is actually marvelous to enjoy that FREEDOM.

    But lately, SOME people seem to seriously want to limit free thought. Censorship is one way and while we all wish we could hide from some ugly facts of life, isn't awareness and the ability to decide things for ourselves more important?

    "Between 2021 and 2022, there were a considerable number of books banned or challenged in the United States. Most of the targeted books have to do with racegender, and sexuality. Unlike most book challenges in the past, whereby parents or other stakeholders in the community would engage teachers and school administrators in a debate over a title, local groups have received support from conservative advocacy organizations working to nationalize the efforts focused on certain subjects. They have also been more likely to involve legal and legislative measures rather than just conversations in local communities. Journalists, academics, librarians, and others commonly link the coordinated, often well-funded book challenges to other reactionary efforts to restrict what students should learn about systemic bias and the history of the United States. Hundreds of books have been challenged, including high-profile examples like Maus by Art Spiegelman and New Kid by Jerry Craft."  (Wikipedia)

    Just today I read about a teacher who was fired for sharing a QR code to a public library! Not only was she fired from that school, but now there is even a movement to remove her teaching license and remove her ability to work in her field! The QR code in question was for the Brooklyn Public Library which did allow students across the country to take out e-books that are not available in their own school district. (This service has since been suspended) All this is because she encouraged her students to learn.


    As a much younger version of myself, I remember the first time I read Ray Bradbury's book FAHRENHEIT 451. It was chilling. The book, written in 1953, depicted an American nation where books were outlawed, burned if found, and freedom of thought was severely discouraged. Even more disturbing than the book's premise is that the picture above (on the left) is NOT from the book — it is from a book burning here in an American town, in February 2022!

    A few Romance Lit titles that have been banned or challenged through the years include works such as Lolita, 50 Shades of Grey, Gone With the Wind, A Farewell to Arms, and more. Some of the reasons that books are challenged, and possibly banned, include sexual content, alternate lifestyles, interracial involvement, and even historical stories that blame racists. 

    Why not take a trip to your local library and find out which books are challenged/banned, and then use your library card to check them out and read. Keep your minds open, read and learn, and learn not to sit idly by while your Freedom of Thought gets "hogtied".

ALA's Top Ten Challenged Books of 2021

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin

Sept. 18 - 24


Wednesday, September 14, 2022

This Time of Year


In Judaism, as in many other religions, there are times to “repent” for our wrongdoings and make SINCERE promises to try to do better in the coming year, months, and days. At the time that you are reading this, we are about twelve days away from the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the 2-day festival of our Hebrew New Year, 5783 (sundown on September 25, 2022)

Just like the “Lord’s Prayer” (forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us), we ask for forgiveness in a prayer called “Avinu Malkeinu” (For our sinful actions which we have committed in Your sight… bring us back to You in perfect Repentance).

Rosh Hashanah is followed by Yom Kippur (25 hours beginning at sundown, October 4, 2022), at which time the “Book of Life” is sealed for the year, and we are judged by G-d based on our intentions, our repentance, and the changes we make inside our hearts to be better, to do better. We ask for forgiveness from those we have hurt, as we forgive those who have hurt us.

Sometimes we cannot physically ask for or give understanding, but it must be in our hearts and minds. The hurts we may have inflicted, if done intentionally, are not forgiven… if accidentally, they can be. That doesn’t mean there is no hope for the future, it means we must try harder.

As in the secular new year, this is a time to look forward, to appreciate what we have, and who we have in our lives, and hopefully be able to start anew with more kindness and understanding. We try, with all our might, to be better people.

To you I say “L’shanah tovah tikateivu v’teichateimu”; A good year, and may you be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life.


Sunday, September 11, 2022

21 years of memories

  On September 11, 2001, 2996 people lost their lives.

the youngest was only 2 years old,
the oldest was 85.

A generation of children grew up without one or more of their parents. Husbands and wives were left to raise their children alone. Parents never got to see their children marry or have children of their own.

There have been many losses and illnesses 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 21 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 in someone's arms.
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, and 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. 
The NYC Medical Examiner's office states that more than 1000 people have yet to be identified and possibly never will be. 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. A few, very lucky ones, received treatment as doctors learned what to look for. 
Today, September 11. 2022... the heart still aches for all that we lost.

... 21-years later.

Rockland County FTC, NY

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

Pentagon 9/11 Memorial
Arlington Virginia

Flight 93 Memorial
Shanksville Pennsylvania

Wednesday, September 7, 2022



Few things scare us more than going to the doctor’s office. And yet, you can’t help but be paranoid about every little ache and bruise you have. Oh my Gawd… why isn’t that bruise gone already? Maybe that ache is more than just a muscle strain? I sneezed three times this morning… how sick am I?

It’s no wonder that some avoid seeing their doctors. We fill ourselves with angst every time we (women) go for breast exams and (men) go for prostrate exams! I’ve heard that SOME high blood pressure has been labeled “White Coat Fever”.

Generally, as we are younger, so many of us tend to erroneously label our friends who have constant doctor appointments as hypochondriacs. Even some folks who have confirmed “invisible diseases” like Epstein Barr, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chron’s Disease, Ehlers Danlow Syndrome, and others are treated rather unfairly and hear comments such as “But you don’t look sick!” all the time.

However, there are so many of us, as we age, who begin to have our own complaints of aches and pains and we begin to demand answers. When you consider how many of us, even with our chronic complaints, are living into older “old age”, of course many other health problems start to haunt us. They say it is common for folks in their 60s and older to develop Atherosclerosis, after all, most of us have been eating the WRONG foods for a lot of years. And just like any FINE machinery, our parts do show their wear!

Sure, sure, we can blame it on the genes and that does affect SOME of it. Our lifestyles may also contribute to our current state of worn-down. And who can really blame us? After all, how many years did we hear that butter was too fatty and margarine was better, and then, then we were told that margarine was no good for our arteries and butter was healthier!!!!! We can’t reverse all of those years that we thought we were doing the right thing.

So instead of complaining and putting it off, make those doctor appointments and start to take care of yourself. If nothing else, think of how you will be able to brag about your “social life” with all those professionals in your old age!


Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Living in 2022?


…and feeling like a Pioneer!

Okay, I am exaggerating. When our well pump “crapped out” on us a couple of days ago, well, it has truly been an experience!

Last week I had a problem with our electric account, and I wanted our meter checked. Unknown beforehand (to me), that meant that a tech had to come out and replace the existing one. While he was here, I talked with him, and he was helpful enough to make some suggestions about what energy we use; he mentioned items that use more than the standard household appliances.

One of the things he mentioned was to have our well pump and septic checked periodically. I looked at him like he had just landed from out-of-space! Until three and a half years ago, we had always lived in places with municipal water supplies and municipal sewage. His response to me was “Well, you’re a country girl now.”

We are connected to a power supply company, obviously we are NOT living “off the grid.” I was told a while ago, by one of my neighbors, to have the septic serviced/emptied periodically, so that was not particularly surprising. I also knew that because we have our own well and the water is conveniently pumped into our home, that if the power went out, so would our water supply. But…

Anyway, my husband quickly called our favorite plumber (this scope of plumbing is one of the few household maintenance projects he would not think of tackling). The plumber came by and told us that the pump was “on its way out” and needed replacing. The repair was scheduled for five days later. Since I already knew about losing water during a power failure, I had prepped a few gallons of water to keep under each sink (we purchase spring water for drinking, our stomachs do not do well with the high mineral count; neither does the cats).

We were not doing anything to tax the system over the weekend… and then WE HAD A POWER FAILURE that affected our area! We have a gas-powered generator, but we figured we would give it a while before revving it up, eventually we had to and used only the absolute necessary appliances (like our freezer and refrigerator). Several hours later the power came back on, and hubs flipped the electrical panel switches to ON; then the power went out again a few hours later. This time though I barely had time to do more than turn on our battery-operated lantern when again the power came on.

But we had a SURPRISE! The well pump NO LONGER WORKED! So, we have NO WATER coming into our home. The stored water is being used sparingly, and, as I said before, we have a supply of spring water for drinking and cooking. As luck worked out, we already had the plumber here and he ordered the part so hopefully, by the time you are reading this, we will be catching up on laundry and dishes (our dishwasher is filling rapidly). I am looking so forward to a hot shower instead of managing with sponge baths from our precious stored water.

A lot of serious preppers would be laughing at us now at how inept we feel without the convenience of tap water. This “Now-Country-Girl” is coping the best she can.

So, folks, even in 2022…




* a quick update... We have a NEW Well Pump!!!!!  Total heaven!

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

An Inhuman World…


My goodness, this automated world is truly unbelievable!

Everything is automated in some form or other… and what is not yet seems to be headed in that direction. From do-it-yourself checkouts to RECORDED customer service assistance! Hey, if I knew what help I needed, I would not be calling customer service!!!!!

I just spent 20-minutes on the phone with my utility company’s automated response system pushing buttons to make selections to try and get some answers about my bill. Some of the questions far into it did accept YES or NO answers. The next message said that if I wanted to wait to speak to a LIVE (maybe?????) customer service rep to press one if I wanted a call back (in 1.5 to 3 hours!) or two if I wanted to wait on the phone (for 1.5 to 3 hours!) … and then the message said, “if you have a rotary phone, please stay on the line and a customer service representative will help you”.

So, yes, I do have a touchtone, which is obviously how I even got to the point I did, but I decided not to push any buttons HOPING for a human voice. Less than 15-seconds later I got the same automated message about pushing one or two! If you wanted a call back, you were told to leave your call back number after the beep. I finally pushed 1 AND I WAS DISCONNECTED! (I did have hope that MAYBE they would use caller ID to get back to me, so here it is 4-hours later and after their business hours and still no response).

I did send an email through their website’s “contact form” – I wonder how many computers it will take to decipher my request?

The other day the hubs and I took a drive to meet up with family at a restaurant and we had a toll bridge to cross. We do have EZ-Pass so, really, no worries there. But as we are nearing the entrance to the bridge, where toll booths once sat, was a big sign reassuring motorists that “If you don’t have EZ-Pass we will just bill you”. NO PEOPLE, just scanners (for the EZ-Pass) and overhead cameras to read your license plates! Aside from the fact that this system has effectively done away with jobs that some once depended on, the thought that your movements are being tracked is a bit upsetting.

Yes, I do have an ALEXA on my desk, which I use to set reminders… and it is very convenient when those reminders pop up on my cell phone or ALEXA’s voice tells me “In person” when I am sitting here. But I will NEVER, EVER put her in my bedroom because SHE LISTENS! And I have found out that she actually “cooperates” with other AI systems. And in ALEXA’s own words, she “is rather partial to all AI systems”. By the way, I also write the reminders on my paper desk calendar!

What a world we are living in where robotic devices are controlling our moves, recording our lives, and replacing human beings who not only did their jobs and got paid for it, but also found time to say a kind word here and there! Just watch any Sci-Fi movie with a plot where there is no more power, or where robots have taken over and it is scary to realize JUST HOW SCREWED WE ALL WOULD BE!

Okay, I have to go now… ALEXA just told me it was time to go fix dinner.


Saturday, April 30, 2022


Hi Everyone!


I just wanted to apologize for my recent absence from my blogs this past month. I've been dealing with an unexpected family medical emergency… things will be okay, but caregiving does require my time.


Please be patient… I will return as soon as I am able.


Many hugs. Wishing all of you happy times, good health, and sunny days. See you SOON!


~ Chelle


Posted to:



Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Forgotten Memories


I was listening to a random conversation the other day where someone commented on the horrendous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911… suddenly I was reminded of a conversation I had (as a teenager) with a young woman whose mother, as a young child, was one of the severely injured survivors ——and it truly bothers me that I cannot remember her name.


How many people have we come across in our lives who made enough impression on us to remember bits and pieces, and yet not all the information? Admittedly, she was only an acquaintance, we hadn't been hard and fast friends, and yet her words about her mother's scarring and terrible ordeal did leave a lasting impression somewhere in the back of my mind. I don't even remember how I met her, just that at one time we "hung out" together and talked… like friends.


I have childhood friends that I remember vividly (or so I believe), most of them are no longer in my life. I often wonder what happened to some. Why is it we seem to remember some people even though we haven't spoken to them in (in some cases) half a century? And why is it we forget others even when something sticks in the back of our minds, just waiting to spring open when we haven't thought of them in years? I am pleased to say that I do have some very long-term friends who are currently in my life and those friendships I will always treasure.


Novelist John Irving said,
"Just when you begin thinking of yourself as memorable,
 you run into someone who can't even remember having met you."


 I apologize to those folks that I don't "remember" — it's terrible to admit someone has been forgotten. (Yes, I am sure that I didn't remain memorable to some folks either.) And yet, do we ever really forget when just a simple, supposedly unrelated, phrase is uttered and suddenly the memories come flooding back, but not quite all the way.


Allegedly the average person meets around 80-thousand people in his lifetime. I guess it would be hard to keep track of all of them.




Wednesday, March 23, 2022

The Peter Pan Story


I was about 5 or 6 years old when my paternal grandfather passed away… he wasn't that old, maybe 58 or 59. I really didn't understand at that time that I would NEVER see Pop again. At his wake (my Dad was Jewish through his mother, not his dad), I had no idea what was going on – and I snuck into the room at my aunt's house where the coffin was, climbed up on a chair, and tried to wake my grandfather. I was shaking him in the open coffin when it was discovered where I was. My aunt scolded me and stopped suddenly; I saw tears in her eyes. My parents took turns holding me and explained that Pop wasn't going to wake up.


I wasn't allowed to go to the funeral, I think a neighbor watched my sister and me. My sister (5 years older) gently tried to explain about death and its finality, I think I began to catch on. But when my parents came home, I saw Daddy crying – I didn't think that fathers ever cried. That's when the explanations my sister tried to tell me really hit me… and I was terrified.


Daddy wiped his tears, held me, and asked why I was so scared. I told him in my own juvenile way that I realized that growing up meant that our parents would die. I knew that my Mom's father had died long before I was born (I'm named for him) and that reinforced my terror. I cried long and hard on my Dad's shoulder while he tried to comfort me. I kept on yelling that I didn't want to ever grow up.


Daddy hugged me, his arms were always so strong and safe, and he asked me if my name was Peter Pan. I stopped crying and looked at him, I had no idea who Peter Pan was. He told me that Peter Pan was the boy who never wanted to grow up. I told Daddy that I agreed. He chuckled.


We sat in his chair, he put me on his lap, and he told me, it's true, as we get older, we often lose those who are older than us. Daddy said that's the way it's supposed to be, and then he told me that even though losing people sometimes hurt, he would never change a thing because growing up also meant that you would meet new people and have families of your own. Daddy said that if he and Mommy hadn't grown up they never would have met, and they never would have had "the most beautiful daughters" in the world. And he told me that even though he and Mommy would one day leave this earth, he knew that we would both find others to love and maybe even have our own beautiful children.


Daddy died a little more than 17-years after he lost his own dad. My sister had already married and had a son, a grandson who was the pride and joy of both of my parents. I had also gotten married to a man I loved so much. Mommy and Daddy were thrilled with both of their daughters and the "sons" we had brought them. During the days after he passed, I heard Daddy's voice, ACTUALLY HEARD IT, telling me that he was glad I had decided not to be Peter Pan and he was excited about the life I would live.


Although my husband and I lost all 4 of our parents just a few years after our marriage, I still feel blessed. Today, more than 46 years after marrying the love of my life, we have two beautiful grown children, a daughter and son, and two wonderful in-law children. We've had adventures and many joys. My sister and her husband had a second son, two daughters-in-law, and 4 grandchildren… and their first GREAT grandchild was born shortly before my sister died.


We grew up, and just as Daddy told me, I wouldn't change a thing. I am so glad I wasn't Peter Pan.


Wednesday, March 16, 2022


We've all experienced it, it's that ache inside your chest that has led to the common and anatomically wrong description of "a broken heart". Your heart may feel like it's breaking over the loss of a parent, a sibling, a pet, or any loved one. Sometimes grief strikes over the ending of a way of life, the loss of a dream, a worrisome medical diagnosis, or the breaking of a cherished object, but there it is.  Grief never leaves, it is just something that you learn to live with.


No one's grief is as intent or paralyzing as another's. No one solution will work for all to put grief away in a tidy little box and only visit it occasionally. A response from someone may seem callous at first… just get over it… it might be that person's inability to process or deal with their own fear of grief. Grief is like a fingerprint and different for each person, and even different for one person dealing with more than one loss. Grief's five letters, like fingers of a hand, will slap you until you can no longer turn away.


The past two years have been tough on so many, Covid deaths and losses, isolation from loved ones, failed businesses, lost income, and so many lost opportunities. Yes, things MAY be easing now, but it's so much time lost, so many changes. So many of us are confused between our anger and our sorrow. So many of us just want to resume our NORMAL lives, but we can't, we can't rewind to a time we felt safer and more connected. So many of us are struggling. So many are mourning losses, time, missed events, missed memories, and now we are just expected to resume our lives as if nothing ever happened.


If you are struggling, there is help

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline


Veterans’ Crisis Line

1-800-273-8255 press 1

National Drug Helpline


Reach out, for yourself and for others