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

Worth…

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.


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Saturday, September 11, 2021

2996 HUMAN BEINGS

 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











Wednesday, September 8, 2021

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

Recently a question was asked on Facebook, "What do YOU remember from your childhood that children today would not?"

 

It was very interesting to see some of the answers, which included: The Flintstones TV Show; Lite-Brite; 45rpm records inside books; rotary telephones; The Andy Griffith Show; Howdy-Doody; Captain Kangaroo; Tinker Toys; Slinky; and several more.

 

I remember the metal TV Dinner trays (this was WELL BEFORE microwave ovens). In my house my parents would allow us to pick our favorites and once a week or so we were allowed to eat our TV dinners in front of the television (well, they WERE TV dinners!). My mom called it our "Dining at the Movies Night". My dad's favorite was either the meatloaf or turkey and stuffing, mommy liked the Southern Fried Chicken. My sister and I always tried to choose something "exotic and different" than our normal fare… after all, it was like a night of dining out and watching (mostly) comedies. Nowadays there are so many choices of quick, easy, pop-in-the-microwave meals, it has lost its novelty.

 

Drive-in movies! Yes, that was always special — especially since my folks rarely got babysitters even when they wanted to go out. My dad would put a board across the back seat and pad it with a big sleeping bag, then my sister and I would bring our pillows, blankets and favorite stuffed animal and we would go to sleep in the back while our parents had their "date night". (I got into trouble when my mom found out I was often peeking at the big screen instead of actually sleeping, LOL). I remember the particular drive-in theatre my folks went to the most, there was a playground and my folks always managed to buy us hot dogs for dinner and then let us play on the swing sets until we changed into our PJs and bunked down in the back seat.

 

My dad worked hard to make a living and when they could afford it, we always went to a motel called the Jolly Roger outside of Atlantic City, LONG BEFORE it was a casino mecca. His vacation was always the last two weeks of August and I remember many, many summers where we spent a week meeting the same group of friends and going to the boardwalk, swimming in the ocean and playing at the motel's mini-playground and pool. That was where I learned to swim, it was unintentional… I FELL into the pool. My dad had been relaxing on a lounger and my sister and I weren't allowed in the water without him, I still used a swimming tube. But I saw him peeking at us as we played, and I decided to tease him by running to the diving board and jumping on it. He sternly told me to get off and I realized he was serious, but when I jumped off the board I tripped and fell into the deep end of the pool. Desperately trying not to sink, I managed to swim underwater towards the nearest ladder. My dad was pretty quick, he was in the pool and swimming towards me and pulled me up just before I actually reached the ladder — he was both relieved and angry. I was just happy to hold onto him.

 

What are the things you remember from your childhood? When I spoke to my own offspring about some of my memories, they had NO IDEA what I was talking about. Maybe one day they'll get the same quizzical looks from their own offspring when they talk about their recollections.






Wednesday, September 1, 2021

OMIGOSH… SUMMER IS ALMOST (OFFICIALLY) OVER!!!!

 

Okay, it's official, three more weeks until Autumn begins. Where has the summer gone?

 

Sunrise, sunset,
Sunrise, sunset,

Swiftly flow the days.

Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as we gaze.

Sunrise, sunset,
Sunrise, sunset,

Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears.

 

This song (from Fiddler on the Roof) is often sung at weddings when parents marvel at how fast their children have grown. But these specific lyrics keep running through my head as I look back on how fast the seasons change.

 

Okay to be honest my summer was a bit of a bummer anyway, starting with my sister's passing and then my recuperating from a nasty cold and cough (yes, I am vaccinated and still took a Covid test — negative thank goodness!). For both reasons I never even got to go swimming this year  😢 (yes, all things considered, that is a minor loss).

 

It seems like soooooo loooong ago that we were all carefree WITHOUT the need of masks or vaccinations; and while 2020 certainly did drag on unbearably I look at all my loved ones and see how many years have passed so quickly.

 

In my mind I can still see my children as adorable babies who clung to me and begged to be carried everywhere. And now I look at my fully grown ADULT offspring and see them as wise and decent human beings with responsible jobs, loving life partners, capable of taking care of themselves and others, and sometimes even taking care of their OLD parents. They grew up so fast!

 

The seasons just keep rushing by!

Next week is Rosh Hashanah… it is so early this year (in the Gregorian calendar). Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, it is time to reflect on all that has gone before and all that we look forward to. It is a time for all of us to reflect on WHO we are and WHAT we have done, apologize (SINCERELY!) to those we have wronged, and forgive those who have wronged us. It is a new beginning, in a way. But even with a new beginning, there is no way to go back and steal some yesterdays to relive.


In such a period when we are encouraged to examine what we have done and possibly change what we should do, it is even more obvious how time has flown by.

 

It is just three weeks until the official end of summer




 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

FACTS AND MORE FACTS

As a journalist I depend on others to fill in facts and figures; fiction is so much easier, it just has to SOUND right! (just kidding)

 

That's why I will often send queries to actual, formal Press Offices, because I want to know that what I am writing is accurate. I don't know why but especially in the more recent years I find that Press Offices don't always bother to return a response. I would even appreciate a "Sorry, we can't release that information…" or "We don't have the answers you are looking for…". It's frustrating to wait on an article simply because the experts you went to have decided to remain quiet.

 

Yeah, I am complaining. With all of the misinformation that gets spread around lately, I really would like to know that what I am typing at least borders on the truth. I never quote a particular source unless I receive permission to do so — so there shouldn't be a reason to be afraid to answer. I just want to be sure that if I am, let's say, giving a step-by-step of auto repair, that I am actually getting it right. (I would hate to refer to "the thig-a-ma-jig" just to find out that the car doesn't even have one!)

 

We all, myself included, have complained about journalists who can't seem to get their facts straight. Well maybe this is part of the problem, the folks we turn to for information are not at all forthcoming. Now I won't tell exactly which sources haven't bothered to respond, but I will say that at least some of them actually have the words "PRESS OFFICE" in their titles. It would seem to me that if a reporter needs information, a Press Office should be a good place to start.

 

Okay, enough complaining… I have to start writing an article on very little confirmed information. I will do my best to research other sources and will strategically use terms such as "it appears to be" or "a few sources intimated that it was". I will do my best to inform as honestly as possible.



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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!

 

All the junk e-mail we get sometimes crosses the line of ridiculous offers. It is a well-known fact that SOME of the links we get in junk e-mail might be dangerous – possibly to malware or even just getting your name/e-mail on yet another junk mail list. And yes, it is very annoying.

 

But then… then you have the totally obscene junk e-mail with, of course, links to click on. These are the ones that are peppered with 4-letter profanities in the heading, or vulgar description of body parts and what "someone" would like to do with said body parts. Or there will be an offer to help make your "appendage" sooo much bigger!

 

Call me naïve but I don't see the point in many of these emails. And even if I weren't already wary of clicking on unknown links, I would NEVER, EVER click on links in one of these uninvited and unwelcome solicitations — and I am sure that I am far from the only person wary of such unknown links.

 

So, what is the purpose, really, of these e-mails? Is someone somehow getting their jollies from sending such obvious filth to unsuspecting individuals. I'm not stupid enough to believe these are offensive to everyone or gullible enough to think that NO ONE ever clicks on these, but I honestly can't see how anyone can truly expect a high rate of success with such emails?

 

By the way, if you hover your cursor (on your computer) over these links you will often see the places you would be sent to — just DON'T click on it. Many of the alleged emails are disguised to bring you to unsavory URLs. So even IF they seem to have authentic and recognizable logos, chances are the sites are as phony as that 15-inch long ### they are promising you!

 

Even if you get a sudden e-mail about winning a contest you've never entered, be very wary. Don't click on links. Don't fill in your personal information. Don't download mysterious offers. Just delete, delete, delete if you don't recognize the sender, if you find a phony link, if it's smut, or if you have to download your "offer" just to find out what it is.

 

It's sad, but it is so much better to be cynical and protect yourself and your computer.