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








Wednesday, March 9, 2022

O.M.G. ~ 68!



This past Sunday was my dad's heavenly birthday, he was born in 1919 so he would have been 103 years old.


Because my mind was doing the math, I also calculated how old I was going to be LATER this year (don't rush it!); I will be 68, yes SIXTY-EIGHT YEARS OLD! Especially in today's world 68 is no longer considered over the hill. But I have NO idea what 68 is supposed to look like. You see my husband's parents, and mine, all died relatively early, between 55 and 61 years of age.


It's already mind-blowing that both of us have outlived all four parents, but I thought 68 was SUPPOSED to be OLD. True, my maternal grandmother lived well into her 80s, but she was a phenomenon. In the early 1960s, just before my pre-teen era, my grandma taught me HOW to do the Twist. And when I mean taught, she showed me by going all the way down to the floor and back up again… WITHOUT ASSISTANCE! As for me, she had plenty of chuckles when I fell completely on my derriere!!!! So, this lady, in her mid-60s, had more flexibility than I do at (now) 67 and I try to pick up something I've dropped.


If someone were to ask me HOW OLD I FEEL, I would never say in my late 60s. Aside from nagging arthritis and some backaches, I would honestly have to say something like 55. I would admit to being a senior without a doubt, I certainly cannot do some of the things I did in my 30s or even 40s —besides I like to make use of Senior Discounts. Aside from my amazing grandmother, I thought 68 was OLD, and I don't feel that old (most days at least).


My husband and I were born into the Baby Boomer Generation. Our kids were born as Millennials.  People there are already TWO age groups past my kids, Generation Z and Generation Alpha! That means FOUR generations past me!!!!! I AM NOT OLD! I don't want to be THAT "cute old lady" my kids introduce to their friends. (Besides we have cats, so I am already that "Crazy Cat Lady")

  • The Silent Generation: Born 1928-1945 (76-93 years old)
  • Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964 (57-75 years old)
  • Generation X: Born 1965-1980 (41-56 years old)
  • Millennials: Born 1981-1996 (25-40 years old)
  • Generation Z: Born 1997-2012 (9-24 years old)
  • Generation Alpha: Born 2010-2025 (0-11 years old)
                   (according to the PEW Research Center)

The Corporate Finance Institute (CFI) lists some of the common characteristics of the average Baby Boomer… hmm, how accurate is this? Hardworking and Focused??? Personally, I prefer lazy and, as a fiction writer, my mind does tend to wander. Competitive??? I guess I am, I will fight for that last parking spot at the shopping center. Value Relationships??? Definitely, I do. Independent??? I can handle things myself, so long as it's not automotive or electrical. Pursue Excellence and Quality??? So long as I can get a bargain while doing so.


CFI cautions marketing campaigns NOT to use the words OLD or ELDERLY because "baby boomers do not consider themselves old, nor do they feel old"…


Well, I guess they got that right! So come right on in 68!


Wednesday, March 2, 2022


Organization has never been my forte. I sit in awe of people who do their lives on a schedule… a perfect schedule that lets them get all of their things done every day! As for me, I make a list of to-dos for the next day (and so long as I find where I put it, it does help a little) or I ask the Alexa on my desk to remind me of this and that.


Still, my day never seems to go as planned. Okay, in my defense, as a part-time and semi-retired freelance writer, my writing assignments are not on a set schedule (but I do adhere very strictly to writing deadlines, that's kind of one of my pet peeves). And of course, if the day is just lovely and all then hubby and I might take a random drive. So, my schedule could not possibly be set in stone! I guess that's my defense.


I've always been like this, so it isn't just about my semi-retired and retired hubby's time. My mom always said (cliché warning) that I march to my own drum… I have tried for years, and at 67 I do mean YEARS, to get some type of organization to my day, to do things at set times WITHOUT distractions, but it seems I just don't work that way. Still, I usually manage to get the important things done — I just have to be clear about what is important and what is only "it should be done".


As I said, I DON'T miss writing deadlines, I am a stickler about that. I also don't like it when others miss their deadlines, such as promising me some info or keeping an appointment. And I also put the same weight in meeting a PAID deadline as I do a volunteer one; we have a monthly newsletter in my community and invariably someone who is supposed to submit a report or other tidbit will decide to forward it to me A DAY AFTER THE DEADLINE! (grrr…)


My desk is not a shambles, but it could certainly be neater. I do have compartments for certain correspondence, bills, records to file, etc. and I do put everything in its place… but then I seem to forget to empty the old stuff and it sort of overflows. Most times I actually can find what I am looking for! I have a calendar on my desk, a calendar on my phone, a calendar on my laptop and a calendar that hangs in the kitchen, but when I have to check on an upcoming appointment, I have to check EACH calendar because there is no guarantee which one I put the information into.


I don't think I was ever a very good role model for my kids as far as organization goes, but somehow they have managed to do well for themselves with jobs and getting things done. (It has to be in the genes, and the organization-genes definitely skipped me.) By the way, it was my son and daughter-il that gave me my Alexa, I guess they realized I needed someone to remind me to do ordinary things.