An American woman's views on current and social topics.
As an average, American born woman I've decided to write and share my thoughts and beliefs in a blog. This blog will be very simple and hopefully click with the rest of the people out there, who feel as I do, but just can't express it with words, on a variety of subjects.
I'm not a researcher. I'm not a scholar. I'm not anything other than an average American who has opinions about a multitude of issues and I'm tired of holding them inside myself and bending the ears of my family and close personal friends. I'm not claiming I'll always get it "right". I'm not claiming any political or religious affiliations. What I am claiming is my privilege as an American to exude free speech. I will be honest, straightforward and probably extremely wordy. At times I may share my own photos or my own recipes or just my own gripes, but most times I will attempt to share how my peers feel about current issues and why my generation of friends and acquaintances can't grasp society's lack of common sense today.
I may unintentionally offend people, I will absolutely make mistakes and errors because I am first and foremost a human being and we all know no one is perfect. I most likely will never have facts and figures and I mean NEVER. This blog will totally express how I see things and I expect there will be plenty of counter opinions and possible argumentative theories about what I will express so I will respect that and accept it as my risk for writing this blog. Just having the option in this great country of ours to create a blog, is to me a privilege I would defend to the end!
What a beautiful morning September 11, 2001 was, the sun was shining, the temperature perfect, the hustle and bustle along all the streets of New York City and all the boroughs were the same as usual. Until around 9am! when that first plane deliberately flew into the first tower and those of us still getting ready for work ….stopped and stared….. into our television screens. Within minutes our hearts split into two, broken down the middle as we watched scene after scene of horror in real time.
Most of us went into immediate shock, saying over and over again, “Is this really happening? What in God’s Name is going on? Was that a second plane?” Oh my God the tower is collapsing, the people are jumping out, falling to their deaths, the second tower is going down, the billowing clouds of grey dust everywhere, people running covered in it, firemen, policemen, ambulances converging through the clouds to get to the panicked masses. Then another plane flies into the Pentagon, and yet another crashes in a Pennsylvania field. The shock, the heartbreaking, the tears are now overwhelming any of us watching those television screens. Such a total feeling of confusion and helplessness as we stand transfixed on what is transpiring in front of us. After a time, our senses and logic return and we start to recall the locations of our friends and relatives, realizing they are in the midst of this horror. We start frantically calling each one, scared to death that if they aren’t answering they may be injured or worse, dead. Little by little as this awful day with the perfect weather unfolds we learn so much more.
We start to get the reports, hearing about all the people including hundreds of firemen and policemen caught with all the people in all the businesses in those towers who are gone forever, and all the ones who search for months to find those bodies. Men and women from across the Nation and across the seas who have come to help search through the tangled steel and rubble in hopes of finding anyone who may have survived and after a time, they begin to find their bodies.
We learn as time goes by, some will never be found and twenty years later we will recall that day as if it happened yesterday. The tears and the heartache still fresh. All the innocent lives lost because a terrorist led group wished to destroy our country financially with their hope of ruling it. As if their own portion of the World wasn’t big enough for them, because they want America to fall and follow their customs and beliefs, they chose to destroy the buildings filled with the innocents and taking the rescuers (while they could) in the same manner.
I often think about this and the reason for it and how they must have studied these buildings for quite a long while to see where to fly those planes to just the right spot that would totally destroy those towers. President Bush declared war after this because no matter the reasons, he knew we had to show a defense against these evil, selfish minded groups who wanted to take America to its knees. He knew that had we not, America as we know it to be, would be no more. He knew that by taking innocent American lives, they were taking away their own. Not everyone wants to understand this because we are “world curious” in these later generations, wanting to be everyone’s friend as long as it doesn’t interfere with our daily wants and needs. Those of us in my generation and older, however understood that without attempting to defend these lost innocent American lives all would have died in vain. Without ever having had a chance to be part of a better world. If anything, America’s strength comes from its’ ability to stand up for its’ inhabitants. To defend its’ right to protect, serve and honor humanity and especially within its’ own borders. The former President, with all his human faults, understood that and made his choice with that sole purpose of mind at least in the beginning.
Now twenty years after that day the war ended in Afghanistan but not with the results we all prayed would happen. We didn’t end the terrorism, torture and hardships of the innocent on their own soil. Not for our lack of trying and certainly not through any lack of bravery from our volunteer military who fought it through with honor and determination just like the firemen and policemen and others in 2001. No we ended it without a plan for the allies there to be safe. We ended with the deaths of 13 of our Military, countless innocent Afghani people and other civilians. The terrorists got their country back along with American weapons and equipment. It was poorly thought out by the current leadership and so the loss is once again ours to bare. Bare we will because we are stronger in spirit despite all those, including some of our own citizens, who wish to see it destroyed. That will never happen. The American spirit lives on in all of us who experienced 9/11/2001. It lives on in our children and grandchildren. So no we will never forget. We will never surrender. For under God we are invincible and we will always believe in the liberty and justice for all. We will follow our Constitution and its’ laws of guidance. We will always strive to be the leader for all humanity where individual freedoms are paramount.
So no never forget how it started, why it started and how it ended. Keep the candles burning for those who lost their lives. Keep the respect and the prayers going for all their families. Remember as long as America’s spirit stays within you, we will always stand no matter how hard we fall.
Today something bothered me that really shouldn’t have, but it did. I try to not let people’s opinions of me affect me in anyway. Usually I succeed. Today though a complete stranger made comments on comments I made to a friend and they did it without knowing the first thing about me, yet they felt free to berate me. Their attitude was one of superiority believing, I surmised, that they knew more than me and that their opinion mattered more than mine.
Needless to say I didn’t respond to the bashing and let my friend handle the situation as she wished since it was a comment conversation between just the two of us. Although that should have been the end of it, it still stuck in my craw all day.
I decided to rid myself of this annoying feeling and decided I needed to write this blog instead. The conversation’s subject was the plight of the recent attacks on Asian people and how these attacks are not widely published nor reported upon as loudly as other folks attacks are. My entire gist of this was empathy on my part and my belief that unity in this nation can only become reality when we truly accept one another.
For me no one race, no one religion is superior to the other for all of our pasts as immigrants have suffered through various atrocities and through the decades our lives have each improved enough to allow the same opportunities for each of us living in America. We may never be able to completely change our circumstances or our class but we all have the same opportunity to be decent and caring. We all don’t have to choose cruelty or criminality toward each other but if we do choose those ways then we risk becoming evil. The objection to my way of thinking was basically because I stated all lives matter, because to me they do. I don’t believe in blm because I don’t believe one race any race should think they are better or less than the other. I have always believed this way and will continue to believe it. The objector called me a hidden racist for this belief.
That person’s attitude toward me was that I was ignorant without empathy and had no right to state my opinion because of my belief. My first reaction was astonishment that someone got all that from something I stated honestly and from my core. I consider myself a strong empath with an open mind. So to see someone disparage my being with his words was truly something I wanted to defend, but out of respect for my friend I didn’t. I have lived my life accepting people for who they are as people, regardless of their mistakes or their background. I have opened my heart, my home, myself to people from around the world and America because it was the right thing for me to do. I would do it again if I was in the same position. I still offer my ear, my shoulders, my heart to people who turn to me in need whether I am able to afford it or not. I do not ask for anything in return. I think respect is earned not given. I believe in law and order. I believe in second chances. I also believe because of my lifelong experiences that evil exists as well as good. For me it takes a constant lifestyle of hurting and harming people to call you evil. For me there is no rhyme or reason for evil to still exist. For me this criminal and cruel behavior toward the innocent is illogical and stems from malice, ignorance, and hate. There is nothing wrong in my thinking for I have seen evil first hand just as I have seen good first hand. There is a distinct difference in the the two.
I also love my country because from what I have seen from places and people the world over, it is this country that gives hope and opportunity to anyone who seeks it. Have some Americans shown an evil side? Absolutely yes and our shame lies in those Americans. Yet I still see the majority of present day Americans who believe the same way I do and carry that hope forward with their strength and beliefs. I am baffled by many as well who think people who still believe in America have something wrong with them. I am confused by the superior attitudes and false ideas that somehow Americans are responsible for all the evil in the world today. If there was any truth to that we would have been destroyed many years ago by a higher power, but we haven’t been and my hope is we will never be for America can be everything it was meant to be by all those who held fast and acted righteously through the decades.
My final thought here is for people in this country to stop judging others without knowing them. Leave the judging out of your lives and instead start giving the benefit of doubt to those who express their thoughts wherever that may be. Don’t harm each other in anyway. Do that and we live to see another day. Be true to yourself but accept the premise courteously that others may not feel the same way. Believe in diversity in America because it is the very bane of our existence. Do not assume anything about anyone for there are generally reasons for the things people say and do, but do not allow that kindness to blind you from the evil that lives along side you. Evil cannot survive as long as goodness does not feed it.
Have you read or heard the lies about Jackson Township New Jersey? Well I am about to dispel those lies with the absolute facts. Before moving to this community after living in Brooklyn for 65 years we looked at other towns in different areas of NJ and about 75 houses online before coming here and physically viewing at least 25 of those homes, but this house we chose was the very first house we ever saw that both of us fell in love with. We were both retired and believed this would be the home we would spend the remainder of our days in.
We looked around the community and saw how diverse it was, very much like the diversity we were used to in Brooklyn. A neighborhood made of all different races, creeds and colors. After 3 years here we really believed we found our haven. But in the past few months we have seen a big change. All of a sudden a number of homes were selling. At first we thought it was all the original owners who became empty nesters and were moving due to retirement or perhaps downsizing. However, what was really happening was a Hasidic real estate company was soliciting and selling the homes to young people looking for a new town outside of Lakewood to create a new Hasidic community town and Jackson Township was their choice. We were not against the idea of change and so waited to meet our new neighbors. However, we soon came to realize our new neighbors didn’t want to meet us. We had been seeing articles in the local newspaper accusing us (meaning folks here for 20 years or so and like us newcomers) of being Anti-Semitic. My husband and I laughed at that since my son converted to Judaism to marry his wife of 15 years and 2 of our grandchildren are being raised in the Jewish faith. So of course as we read more and more and also saw news programs spouting this fake story as well it started to get under our skin, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was when the State Attorney formed a bogus case against the town of Jackson because a few biased individuals started a website. We were insulted and felt we are not being represented by the State we chose as our new home. As I said earlier, we believe in diversity, we believe in individuality and letting people alone to do as they will in their own homes as long as there was no violence or any type of abuse, or hate or anything negative to our American values. And so far, we have never seen anything like that in this community until very recently. We started to notice that the new folks who moved here were not watching their young children when they played in the front of these homes and in the middle of a public street where cars come to pull in driveways, or visitors do, or delivery and mail trucks travel all around at all hours. First thing we thought of was the safety and well being of those young children outside without adult supervision. Nor were they removing strewn about toys and things from their driveways and front lawns, but we kept to ourselves and said nothing.
Just today after yet another home was sold on the court where we reside, a number of small children were riding tricycles and scooters while others were throwing a ball while standing and playing on the public street (gutter in Brooklyn), a very dangerous habit to allow since many trucks and cars make u turns on our court to travel back around the community or to the main thoroughfare right outside it. We are not young anymore and I am disabled so my fear for these children was enhanced. Even when our own grandchildren visit we never allow them to play in the street or even out front because we wish to keep them safe and if they are out there for any reason we are with them every minute. They play in the yard as do many of the long term homeowner’s children and grandchildren do. We think it’s a protective guideline for all the children and peace of mind for us. If they have friends or young relatives over the same guidelines apply… they play together in our backyards.
It seems however that the new group of homeowners are assuming they can do as they may have done in the communities they once lived in and have no interest or regard for those of us who have lived here for years before them. I also noticed on the holy evening they do not attend a nearby temple or synagogue cause there isn’t one near this community so they hold religious services in one of the garages of the newly bought homes. Again, this is America and we value freedom of religion, we just didn’t know a home’s garage classified as a place of worship until recently. Another surprise was the gathering of Hasidic elder gentlemen on the corner of our homes. Something we are not used to seeing because people don’t “hang out” on corners here or at least we never saw that since leaving Brooklyn 3 years ago. I am guessing that’s fine even though it may disturb a neighbor who isn’t part of their religion whose home they are outside of. I just don’t think that is a fair and neighborly thing to do either. I think it would be better to gather inside a common home to have their conversations. I do not consider myself biased or anti-Semitic for wanting the safety of children, respect for community guidelines, or just common courtesy.
I can’t help but feel since all these changes are going on around me everyday that I am being nudged out of our dreamed about haven after just arriving ourselves three short years ago. Or thinking that the new folks want this community to be exclusively theirs and consider us outsiders even after we were here before them. Calling us these awful labels by our own state officials is one of the biggest forms of injustice I have ever come across. I was raised on the belief that politicians such as governors and all official State appointees were to be objective and represent All members of a community regardless of race, religion or color of skin. Not choose to call an entire town biased especially when the bias seems to be coming from those wanting us to leave. I almost forgot this also happened. A young Hasidic couple was driving around our court the other day, stopped one of our neighbors and said to him, “If you know of anyone willing to sell their home here, he is our number please call us and we will make it worth your while.” When I first heard this from the neighbor I was skeptical, but soon realized it was for real! I think this is probably done everywhere, but taking into account all that I have seen happening here, I have come to the conclusion that the new folks want my community to become an exclusive community strictly with only their own religious people in it. How can this be okay?
If Irish, German, Polish, Italian, Russian,Catholic, Protestant, Baptist, or Buddhist, et al were to do this it would be outraged. It would get that awful prejudiced label on them, and be all over media as a biased town. But the Hasidic and Judaism religions are exempt because of their religion? How does this make any sense to anyone? How is this even remotely fair? All of Lakewood has been a religious town for years and years predominantly only all Jewish sects. So has Borough Park and Greenpoint, and half of Crown Heights in Brooklyn been the same. Russian people have done the same with Brighton Beach. Asian people are doing the same in other parts of Brooklyn. No longer do we see Middle class Irish, Italian, or other Christian based people in entire communities but we do see them in diverse communities. Trying to be inclusive; accepting; live and let live people; sharing the same streets, neighborhoods, and communities with peace and kindness toward all their only agendas. Yet we in this small town who want to live with diversity and who did live in diversity are painted as the “bad guys” cause we don’t want only one religion, one culture, one ethnicity to be our neighbors, we want everyone to be our neighbors and to live in peace and harmony by following the rules of the town and guidelines of the community as a whole. Why is that all of a sudden the “wrong” way to live? Guess I am sadder still because I know this won’t matter to anyone but me and maybe a few of my great neighbors and I will have to leave my beloved home because no one cares. It hurts my heart to have to give in to this unfairness and yet I know that day will come much sooner than I ever thought it would. I can only pray the children here now will be safe and protected for they are innocent and they are the future. Not much else matters more than that. My one remaining wish is for our country that it remains free and inclusive to all who love it and come here legally or as true refugees who wish to become Americans. So then maybe one day the diversity I dream about will be the true reality.
! Do NOT order or trust The LAKESIDE COLLECTION COMPANY! . They lie, they cheat, they misrepresent and they try to rob you. On 10/26/20 I placed a large order with them which offered 2 promotions to me. One for $3.99 shipping on total order and a 90 day deferred payment. I ordered with a rep from them on the phone. The rep made an error in my ordered and they cancelled my order without notice. When I went to check on order status this morning I first learned of its being cancelled. When I called to find out why they told me the order was over the limit of $200 I told them that was wrong and anyway my limit was $500. They then told me no it is $200 without any reason why. I said ok it doesn’t matter cause my order is under $200. They then said me to two more reps who proceed to go over my order and are telling me my order is close to $300 which I can not understand because their rep who took my order put it in without issue for 192+ on 10/26. Bottom line after speaking with a supervisor named supposedly Ignacio that he would check the tape of my call on 10/26 and I could call him back at this number 1-847-604-7712 and he would make good on price I was quoted. Problem was they could not guarantee items would all be in stock. I told him he would have to find them because when I ordered on the 26th all but one item was in stock. So I finish that call without accepting the out of stock on certain item story. Rocco and I then recalculate the items and see that the original rep only charged me for 1 item instead of 10. Which I had not realized at the time I placed the order. I try calling Ignacio back at the number he provided me and it is not in service. So I call back the main number intending to forgive the original rep who made the error and place my original order with different quantities. So I start to place the order again with a new rep (5th rep I have spoken to today after 2.5 hours on the phone). My patience is wearing thin about now as he tells me he cannot provide me $3.99 shipping could code expired and that the supervisor Ignacio cannot override to give me free shipping as he said. I said I want the 3.99 shipping promo I was promised on 10/26. A supervisor woman gets on the phone and without caring one iota about the aggravation, lies and misrepresentation from this order that there is nothing she can do and will have to charge me full shipping now! With that I told them to take me off there mailing list and they will not get away with treating a g ood faith customer this way and hung up! I decided to write about what happened to me an innocent customer from this company. I think they may be foreign anyway which I had not realized until speaking to 4 of the 5 reps. 4 of them has heavy accents which may have been From India or another Asian area. One of the reps from credit department was a black woman who sent me on to Ignacio (probably a fake name) with the fake phone number! My advice? Do not be taken advantage of my this Company. Stay clear of Lakeside Collection. They lie and they misrepresent their product and their promotions.
So the latest bit of fluff I am hearing is how Facebook is supposedly forcing right wing ads, news, etc on FB users. This is so far fetched. FACEBOOK began as a ”social” media platform the key word being social. Not a political platform medium. It is the USERS ourselves who CHOOSE what we want to see and interact with. You have full access to deleting or hiding any posts you do not want in your newsfeed. FB’s techs do not stop you …the user …from doing that. So it is BS. They allow politics to expose their views as they do for all users. I object to the forced banning and nonsense jail they are now doing under the guise of spreading false information by people called fact checkers. We do not know anything about these fact checkers or any of their affiliations so they have no right to judge other’s posts. FB has always had rules no violence, abuse or any unlawful acts posted on FB would be allowed. That was more than fair, freer and comforting actually. FB gave millions of people a chance to connect with far and near families, long lost friendship, pet loving connections, etc. THEIR NEWS or Information from their USERS helped others know about traffic, weather, amber alerts, Silver alerts, and other dangerous situations and they are a public service that should be appreciated. All this bashing and changing of FB by politics is ridiculous! I am calling it as I see it. I would go as far to say it infringes upon our freedom of speech and expression without harm. Bottom line is USERS control their feeds these tools were put into place long ago by FaceBook techs. It is up to the USER to utilize these tools. Delete, hide, whatever post you don ‘t want to see or believe. Stop forcing Mr. Zuckerberg who gave us this platform to comply with political force by affiliated groups to change what he generously gave people as a source of communication. This tool that users control and particpate in is truly a gift and it is being damaged by political nonsense! I for one will always be grateful for FB and it’s user oriented platform for giving me a pleasant window to the world and a stronger bond with my family and friends near and far.
My education isn’t that of a scholar, as a matter of fact I never attended college officially. All of my knowledge stems from common sense and experiences. I have personally lived through the unbelievable traumas that most people only hear about. I can not recall a time in my life where it hasn’t been touched in some way by diseases; abuse of all natures; grief; depression; euphoric moments; absolute joy; and/or sadness enhanced by profound hurt.
Unfortunately, in the world we live in, none of that seems to matter without being accompanied by a lettered degree. So whenever I venture outside my comfort zone of silence and give an opinion or an observation it holds no weight. It dies where I placed it. Words are often not given the exalted praise of actions and yet, words are also assigned the title of culprits if others get hurt by them. I have always believed that words were powerful and the actions they start were solely reliant upon the interpretation of their associations. I love writing because it gives me the outlet I personally require to still the thoughts that race through my mind on a daily basis. Writing is my solace. Sharing my writing is the one way I hope will make a difference in this world, giving others an opportunity to see another way of looking at any subject that there is disagreement about. Perhaps I have never stopped being an idealist with pragmatic tendencies. Perhaps I take life too seriously or perhaps not seriously at all. My compulsion to write is unstoppable, I have constrained this impulse many times during my lifetime, however that time always surfaces to force my fingers to write what is heavily upon my thoughts. This again, is one of those times.
Many of my friends and family are different in their thinking. Many are college educated and still many are experience educated. I respect and admire both. Growing up in a blue collar family and working in both white collar jobs and academic jobs has opened my mind to all the infinite possibilities that exist in one’s life. Change is very possible if one truly wants that change before them. That is when it becomes one’s choice, provided their is no mental or physical obstacle that would affect their free choice. I am very grateful, regardless of my life’s traumas, that I chose to develop an open mind. I pride myself on my empathetic abilities and appreciate the wisdom that ability affords me to possess.
Many, who are institutionally educated, mock me, laugh at me, or hold no regard for my observations or opinions because they have a pre-conceived notion that because I hold no degree nor title I cannot possibly understand the mechanics of the way the world works. They actually have shooed me away as inconsequential on many different occasions. I do not let that penetrate the core of why I exist. Sometimes, like every other human being, I am dead wrong. Sometimes, like all others, I am right. I have found that counting the wrongs and the rights in life actually count for nothing in the end. What counts is intention. What counts is compromise. What counts is coming from a place of caring and concern. What matters is the realization that all human beings, regardless of education or not, are basically at their core, identical. That realization is hardly ever acknowledged due to millions of factors that interfere in believing that fact. I am one of the few that have been blessed with being able to see that realization and live my life hoping to give others the opportunity to see that fact as well.
Exposing myself to the probable possibility of more ridicule is a chance I often take knowing full well the consequence of my choice. However, not doing it, for me is worse internally. Many people think I am trying to persuade others to thinking as I do, but they would be wrong. My only intention is to share the way I see things so that perhaps one or two people might decide there is another way to look at things and in doing that change becomes very real for them if not for others. The way the world has developed through the open exchange of information has not only been beneficial, it has also been detrimental. You might ask yourselves, how could I say such a thing, or better yet who do I think I am saying such a thing? I believe in humanity, I also believe humanity is influenced greatly by circumstances, experiences and luck,hence their possibility to choose to do good or choose to do what most consider evil, is a reality that cannot be denied. Interpreting good and evil is once again subjective and relies heavily on the things aforementioned. My point in explaining my view is that judging another human being has no value unless every circumstance and every intention is so proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that a true conclusion can be drawn to force a judgement upon that human being. I have found that some judgements are arrived at too hastily, while others are proven accurate in every sense. I believe the free will we are endowed with at birth gives us the tools we may need later on in life to form such judgements, however their interpretations depend solely on life experiences, common sense and circumstances.
President Trump has been under scrutiny for the past three years. He is not an easy man to understand nor to like. His ways are not accepted by many, many people. Yet he was elected to be the leader of our country and our representative to the world. What he has proven to me is that, no matter what past mistakes he may have or has not made, the last three years he has lived up to the promises he made to the American people and he did so with compromises and above disagreements from the other government representatives. He has shown me over and over again, that despite his ego, he loves this country and appreciates the opportunities this country provided to him and his parents. He sees the same America I do, the American ideals that have shaped me, has also shaped him. Our life paths may be completely different, but our country binds us. The younger people of today have lived through a completely different experience than we have and have a very different set of ideals about America. The sadness I feel is for them. Many cannot see past America’s acknowledged mistakes. Many mock the religions for their atrocities and mistakes, that are in reality often ignored. Many believe capitalism is the evil and socialism is the hope. My worry is that they will never change their minds especially when they are encouraged by the hypocrites that feed their misconceptions about this country. I say this because I can see it and feel it. The very worse thing that could happen is if Americans both young and old continue to be unforgiving of their own country’s errors, America will no longer exist and the world will suffer from its’ demise. I do not need a degree to know this, nor are my eyes closed to the ideals of those who have that educational background. If they think, which of course I do not truly know, that America needs punishment for the involvement and errors that were made, I say we have been already in so many ways. We have had Civil Wars, have been attacked twice, have lost capitalism during the Great Depression, have lost countless men and women in our Military, and suffer everyday in some part of this country with poverty, starvation, homelessness. If we keep giving away what we need to survive to illegal immigrants just to appease our conscious, or continue to ignore Americans in our own country who are suffering in the ways I mentioned. If we continue to let elementary and high schools go without the means to succeed, if we disregard veterans and their families in order to praise those across the globe who are also suffering, we will lose our footing and our ability to help anyone anywhere. For to be truly able to care for others, we must first care for ourselves and that equates to caring for, protecting and respecting America no matter who represents it. President Trump, whether he shows it to all or not, knows this as well as I do. He, in my careful judgement, is doing all he is capable of to ensure that we take care of us so that we can take care of others. I owe him respect for that. I must support him for having these ideals no matter how imperfect he may appear to be. Yes, I am aware of how others judge him and blame him solely for the things they have judged him to have done. I watched, I listened, I read, and while I do not fully agree with his manner at times, I am able to see past the ego, and instead see that he truly believes this country offers everyone who really wants to be here, the opportunity to live in it, work in it, and become part of its citizen population. I also see, that like myself, he cannot bring himself to agree with those who come here to take advantage of the opportunities provided by America, just to continuously remind it of its past errors, hold it solely responsible for all the bad things across the globe, and benefit the country they fled from in the first place. I am not talking about customs and religions that are brought along with people to our shores, but of vile intentions that they wish to spread in the hope of displacing America’s idealism in the world. Especially because in reality America is one of a few nations that still offer its citizens unalienable rights and the pursuit of happiness.
So, yes that is who I am. I am not dumb, I am not blind, I am not a deplorable human being. All of those are facts about me. I like to write, I like to learn new things. I like people. I like animals. I love my family and my friends. I love and respect my country. I stand out of respect for the flag, the symbol of my country. I believe in freedom of choice, speech and expression, and religion. I believe we all need to believe there is something more powerful than ourselves such as God or the Universe, a mechanism for the human trait to be able to hold onto some type of hope when things are at their worse. I welcome compromise, understanding, and mutual admiration for what each of us has to offer the other. I am kind, loving and optimistically inclined. I am glad President Trump was acquitted and exonerated not only because of this call but because I know his intentions are good and his love of America is real.
February 3, 2020 the closing arguments on the floor of the United States Senate are being presented in the trial for Impeachment of the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. I have watched both the hearings and this trial since they began and as a citizen of the United States it is my belief that the media coverage of these historic events have placed me in the role of “juror”, which affords me the right to form an opinion based upon presented evidence and self deliberation in this historic case.
I have witnessed through media coverage the absolute and total partisan presumptions that the sitting President has acted outside the law of the Constitution, in bad faith and abused the powers given to him by the people, for the people with moral intent to harm the country of which he leads. NOTHING and I emphasize, NOTHING has been presented to me as evidence or intent on the part of the President that proved any of these accusations as being anywhere near the truth of his actions. Instead all of the actual evidence actually proves is that he, in his own way, exposed the ongoing issue of the USA that the very countries we aid and support worldwide are often accepting our help in the midst of their own country’s internal corrupted governments and conflicts outside their own borders. In fact, by the very nature of his action in releasing and declassifying transcripts of calls with a foreign power, he has given citizens the very reason why we continue to help these countries in the first place. That shows me that he puts our country first in these worldwide dealings and as its’ leader our country’s well being and interest is of paramount importance in his decisions.
The way in which the Democratic led House of Representatives handled the hearings for the inquiry into Impeachment was in my personal observation biased against the President with true personal malice and a total lack of fairness, due diligence and protections afforded to the President from our very own Constitution. This was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt by the evidence provided by the President’s own legal counsel in these Senate proceedings. The House presented evidence of personal hatred, policy differences, presumptions and assumptions from all its’ witnesses as well as from the House managers themselves against a sitting President. Their own evidence, presented to me through media, could be undenied by me. As a “juror” it is my responsibility to assess all the facts as presented and to form a judgement of another human being with an open mind. I listened closely, I observed well and I waited for everything to be heard before I came to my conclusion that the President did nothing wrong in the explanation of the laws nor was his intent to do harm to our country or any other country that is aligned with our policies and beliefs.
Being a juror is a hefty responsibility. Its’ very description carries with it a heavy burden to be fair, impartial and sincere in deliberating a verdict that will forever imbed itself not only upon the person being accused, but on our very own conscious and soul for years to come. That is why to be a juror our minds must be open, our opinions must be fair and our decision must be based on evidence as well as consideration of intent of the accused. The important title of “juror” is provided by the laws that rule us and should be but often is not, viewed as an honor and a privilege. For me it is. So it is with absolute confidence that on this important day in history, I give my verdict that the President is innocent of the charges made against him and that this impeachment be voted on as unwarranted, vindictive, and unfairly brought to the Senate floor on a partisan political basis and the President should be acquitted without prejudice and this unproven impeachment reasoning be abolished from the history books for all time. The President should not be scarred or marred for doing his job as an elected leader by flawed and unjust impeachment charges. Acquittal without prejudice is the only vote our elected Senators should reach on a bipartisan level.
I have to laugh or cry in today’s world of information. I never was so involved with my own political side until my disability forced me into early retirement eight years ago. Watching a lot of television, reading a lot of books and articles and engaging in social media taught me more about the state of our world than I ever really wanted to know.
Through all of it the free exchange of ideas seems to have turned into a domestic battle field of who is right and who is wrong. True objectivity has vanished from existence. It occurred to me today that everyone journalists, commentators, reporters, producers, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. every single person expresses their facts, thoughts, ideas, opinions, conversations, et al, with one single foundational beginning….experience. Myself included. The way we think, the way we write, the way we study, the way we research, the way we hold a simple conversation all of it comes from what we were taught to do from what we were exposed to in life. That is experience.
Therefore, what we think about the political climate today is greatly influenced by our experiences. It is difficult to be objective in the face of adversity to our own thought process. We all want to convince the other person that they are wrong and we are right. How truly unfair that is in terms of human nature. Most professionals, in particular teachers and journalists believe facts are facts. How they arrive at that conclusion is by being influenced by their own experiences to take a cited article or author at absolute faith. To be convinced it is actual reality because it is backed by statistics and formal data. It gets pushed under the rug when those very same facts that were taught for generations as truths are all of a sudden disproven because some other entity has decided that all the facts that were known to be true when taught were all conspiracy theories to brainwash all children to believe in them. I ask you does that make any more sense than the idea that we now must believe in the “new” facts because someone changed the “old” ones based on their experiences when they did the same research that was previously done? All of a sudden did new information come to light? If it did it was based on the experience of the current person or people now presenting the “new” facts. How you might ask does a fact now change because someone said it is now a different fact? The way people interpret those very facts are the way they will be presented to the world. So in logic are they actually “facts” because someone wrote them down eons ago? Or are they “facts interpreted by people with experiences that influenced their rational for labeling them facts?
Yes, I know deep thought stuff. However deep thought seems to be the only tool left to us that can form any type of common sense out into the open. To base our facts upon theory or hypothetical illusions is nonsense. To take to heart every fact that ever was and yet has been changed through the ages is also nonsense. However, gathering whatever information is out there deciphering it, dissecting it and filtering it through our common sense and experiences is where we will find our truths to live by. Where our own innate understanding will rise to our intellectual capability and allow us to follow a path that in the end will be our “facts”, tempered by our instincts, and emboldened by our experiences, only then will we believe half of what we read and all of what we see. Only then will facts actually become facts because we will have lived them.
forgive ~ to cease to feel resentment against; to give up resentment of or claim to requital; to grant relief from payment of; the act of forgiving ( is defined as forgiveness )
September 11, 2019 Eighteen years since my life and lives of my loved ones changed forever. Finding the words to impress an indelible impact on all Americans is a daunting undertaking, my decision to take it on is a constant insistence from my heart and mind.
Since the day after September 11, 2001 people who survived have been preaching forgiveness and love, looking mostly from fear or empathetic tendencies to find a reason why an extreme group of people chose to kill people, maim people and destroy the American economy. No thought had ever entered the minds of the attackers about the people they were to kill that day or of those who are becoming ill with fatal results from the recovery efforts made that day. They just listened to whatever their leaders were telling them. They were conditioned by the circumstances of their personal surroundings and looked at us as the instigators of their circumstances.
It is easy for anyone to look at America and think spoiled, over indulgent, egotistical human beings living in a country with wealth in nature and personal gain. Those of us born here or who have made their home here know that description is a false front created to make the youngest Nation appear the strongest. Our strength is great, not because we have a capitalist ideology, but because the majority of Americans tend to be tolerant, accepting and compassionate toward all living things. Those are our main sources for survival.
American extremists tend to focus within this country, rarely if ever, venturing outside its borders unless provoked or our compassion or our savior nerves are triggered. Provoked on September 11, 2001 is a huge understatement. We were not ready to forgive and personally, deep down, regardless of my Christian upbringing, I have found it no easier to do so although 18 years has passed. I have struggled throughout my adult life to empathize with those who hate our country and its’ people. I have yet to understand why forgiveness seems necessary when those who attacked us then still hate us the same way today. When we were forced to accept the atrocities that were necessary in World War II both at home and more devastatingly abroad deep down we realized and recognized it was done to stop evil. The people of Japan and Germany and others, who were attacked by us back then have forgiven us, not because they were taught to forgive as a natural way, but because they knew and recognized that what America did was done to stop evil from spreading. Have we completely forgiven ourselves? No. The rebellion in the 1960’s during the Viet Nam war showed us the folly in involving ourselves in another country’s internal strife. We may have helped the people in that region by fighting for them, but we also knew, deep down, it wasn’t necessary. The people of that region also knew that and so it ended on a sour tasting note. The evil there was internal.
Back to the attack on September 11, 2001. The struggles, turmoil and devastation in the Middle East has historically been a constant. Our compassionate nature kept us involved mainly as helping allies and intelligence gathering. Yes, we created weapons that helped our allies in their fight to maintain whatever peace they could. Yes our financial investments in the wealth of resources from the Middle East benefitted the wealthy in all the countries involved, including our own. Was greed morally correct? Absolutely not. However, it was a way of life for all those involved. And answering for morally incorrect actions is a judgement that is answerable only to our own internal moral compass not a judgement to be made by extremists who used a terror attack to somehow punish us for a way of life that allowed us to live in peace accepting our own issues of struggles and dealing one on one within our borders with all or differences and unfair practices. No matter what some choose to believe, spreading evil was never before, nor now, ever a trait of the American people. Evil is something we all abhor and fight against with everything we have.
That day, September 11, 2001, evil formulated by extremists who tried to punish us because they hated our “peaceful” way of life attacked us, killed our people, maimed our people and it continues to kill and maim all those who were at the sites in New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington DC and Virginia.
We have politicians and actors alive today who mock and push aside the attack on this day. We have our own people asking us to forgive the haters who attacked us that day. Our Christian and all other faiths tell us how we must forgive those who hurt us. That to forgive is divine. I will never be divine, for I can not erase what I bore witness to that day eighteen years ago on September 11th, anymore than I could forget or forgive a murderer or rapist. I will never forget nor forgive the haters who tried to cripple our country in every way but most significantly by killing and maiming my own countrymen and countrywomen. It was not necessary and yet they did it anyway. They accomplished nothing of what they originally sought. The evil is still rooted in the haters across the oceans, the Iraq War has yet to truly end, the Middle Eastern countries are still fighting their centuries old wars within their own countries, and the people in every country around the world try to live a peaceful co-existence despite the evil that lurks around them. We didn’t win and they didn’t win. If accepting that is classified as forgiveness then so be it. However, deep down as a witness to evil at play, my heart does neither forgive nor forget and I never will.
Well it happened again. NYC was attacked by a terrorist who associated himself with ISIS. This time a rented vehicle was the weapon of choice. This time 8 people died and 11 or 12 were injured. Yet the democratic and liberal party want to continue to blame America for the terrorist ideologies. This person entered America in 2010 under the lottery policy within the American immigration system. I have no doubt that some “vetting” was done, obviously not enough but some. So I have to give the benefit of the doubt that perhaps this individual came to America without the intent to harm Americans. However, the reason I believe he came to the decision to harm Americans was because he didn’t become American after arriving here and living here. Instead the Sharia Law was still in his life through his faith, his community and in his personal life. Perhaps through using social media and watching videos over the Internet the country he left and obviously missed made a hatred grow inside of him for the country that gave him a new opportunity. Yet this country didn’t actually give him a new way to live. Perhaps if America were no longer afraid and ashamed of itself this immigrant from the Middle East or Asia even, could have had the same chance and opening to come to love and appreciate America as most Americans do.
Our ancestors, some of our parents and grandparents had an entirely different experience when they arrived on our shores through sponsorship. When they came they were encouraged to adapt to America’s ways of life, to speak and write English (the “common” language of this country) in much of the societal places, to keep their religion and languages in their places of worship and their homes and in the similar communities they shopped in. If they responded by learning to respect and honor the new country they came to then in return they would be rewarded through life with privileges and rights not found in their homelands. They would be able to get ahead if they wished to by working hard and earning more. It was their choices to make as an assimilated American. That all changed in the 1960’s. That is when immigration policies under democratic control began to make the changes in policy that still affects the rest of America today. Those are the policies still in place along with others that say,
“Nah, you can live in this country, but don’t worry you don’t have to assimilate, you can bring your culture fully into this land and so what if with so many different cultures we as Americans lose our own culture that was established with the Founding Fathers.”
Which brings us through the years of non-assimilation to yesterday when another terror attack cost people their lives. What is it going to take before the American democrats and liberals realize that non-assimilation leads to isolation for the immigrant that comes here looking for a better life? By isolating immigrants and forcing them to continue believing in the ways that they recently left would be the beginning of the end of American culture. It is the soul of immigrants and their longing for the ideals that the American culture offered to them that made America great. The only way America remains a viable country is if the people who make her a country, assimilate to her laws, customs and practices. The way to keep America safe, prosperous and helping the world is to allow her to teach the immigrants who come here a new way to live. Without giving immigrants that choice all you get are breeding grounds for the evil around the world, and the connection the immigrant longs for is found through terrorists’ ideologies and negative views about their “adopted” country. Why is it so hard for democrats and liberals to see that?
Assimilation creates new communities where diversity can thrive. Where one culture learns about another, where one religion learns about another, where people United by a common language and a common ideal with appreciation and respect can build a better country than the one that existed yesterday. It has been done before with mistakes. So why not try it again without the mistakes this time? Let’s make assimilation the major course in the first step taken toward a better life for every immigrant. Let us stop growing immigrants into becoming terrorists because of loneliness and isolation. Let’s call on our reprentatives in the House and Senate to stand up and allow true assimilation the job it was meant to do — create new Americans.
In my mind there is a vague, foggy image of my Daddy in a hospital bed. It was the last time I ever saw him. He had just had surgery which removed his largnyx from throat cancer. It was sad to see him lying there unable to do what he loved to do best…talk. My father was not the best man. He had a terrible disease it was alcholism along with some mental issues. So most of his life he was pretty unstable and when he was drunk he was downright mean. However, I was the youngest to come into the family of 8 children and so I was the lucky one. He was never mean to me. He taught me all the things I can still recall today. Along with forcing my studies in academia, he also fostered my love of the arts. He taught me about dancing, joking, and singing. He taught me about movies especially the old time musicals. I think to this day my being born somehow allowed him to make up for some of the awful things he did to my mother and my siblings.
He died on May 4, 1969 at the age of 60. Not from the cancer that took away his voice, but from the pneumonia he caught after that surgery. The actual memories are a bit foggy now since it happened 48 years ago today, but the memories of him are deeply imbedded into my subconscious and yes, even in my heart. My brother, Tommy was more like an actual dad to me, moreso after my father passed away. However, I cannot help but recall the many good things my father taught me and the one thing I am certain of is that he genuinely loved me. He always made me feel like I could accomplish anything, be anyone. He emphasized my need to understand what I read, to spell correctly and to do basic math. He showed me fun ways to learn and he taught me a profound lesson in believing that everyone learns something new every single day they are alive. Everytime I solve a jumble of words, it is my father’s face I see urging me to keep trying until I get it. Whenever I see an old time musical film, it is his face and his actions that are sitting right there telling all about the songs, the music, the actors. In my own way, I miss him very much. I don’t like all of the negative things I know about him nor do I ever totally forgive him for some of the things he did, but I now understand that it was not by choice but by his illnesses that caused his behaviour. So yes, I love him as well.
I just didn’t want this day to go by without remembering the man I knew. The one who loved me, taught me so very much and who left an indelible mark upon my soul, my mind and my heart. I truly hope he has found his peace in the afterlife and that after all this time all his trangressions are finally forgiven. One day Daddy, I will write about all your crazy antics and allow that good part of you and the crazy part of you to share the same spotlight.
Being a practical shut in affords me the luxury of being able to take advantage of Television, which in the past three months has become my virtual classroom. This week in particular while watching the House Intelligence Committee and the House Judiciary Committee Hearings I had a chance to see a portion of my government at work. I am at awe, in particular, watching the inquisition of the nominee of Judge Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court of the United States. I have heard a multitude of dissenting opinions from people I respect about their pre-conceived notions of how this man will be a bad pick because President Trump nominated him. They could not be more wrong. This Judge is a Judge of the people. This Judge is a respected scholar who knows the law and the Constitution like his own wife’s name. With the questions before him by the Democratic Party when asked if he feels committed to side with his nominator or the nominating party on three separate questions of this nature this was his consistent responses in his own words, ” No.” “I am my own man.” And “No one is going to capture me.” How can one not consider a man of such outstanding quality? His record speaks for itself. He has no hidden agenda. His love and respect for this Nation is apparent in his composure , his reactions and his responses. This man is an excellent choice for a Supreme Court Justice.
Now for the other part of my Civic 101 lesson. I had always believed that the term “special interest” was referring to corporate over individual or money and might over humanity. Well thanks to these Hearings I have been able to witness first hand how wrong and misguided I have been. Thank you Judge Gorsuch again for going through this grueling process so that I might learn a thing or two. I now realize that it is the democratic/liberal/progressive side of our government that are truly the parties of “special interest”. As I listened and paid close attention to every question, innuendo and clarification presented by the Democratic Senators “special interest” was the premise behind each and every one of them. They “pretended” to be outraged by individuals who were affected by decisions made in Federal courts, but it was clear that it was to denounce the nominee not that they had any in depth knowledge of the people involved, not that they took any responsibility for creating the law in the first place, not any ambition toward changing the laws they claim to be disparaging. Nope none of that. They appear childish, vindictive and without substance in all their presentations during this process. The other side naturally were more “friendly” but that was a given expectation. What I heard from the republican side in discussing the “special interest” view was common sense, a respect for the laws of the land, a willingness to change things that might need changing and a willingness to disagree with the Executive branch of government if needed.
So what did I learn? That 3/4 of Democrats and the like are the party of “special interests”. That about 1/3 of Republicans are for “special interests”. And that both parties have a greater power than the Executive Branch, with few exceptions. That if our Judiciary is made up of Judges like Judge Gorsuch our country has nothing to worry about concerning the proper application of its’ laws. He is a man of integrity who will live by the words of the Constitution all its Articles and Amendments in the pursuit of justice for all mankind. He is someone I am proud to call an American because he personifies the best inside all of us.
Today March 20, 2017 begins the governmental process of hearings designed to learn more about nominees to the Supreme Court of the United States of America. An important position, which keeps the checks and balances needed to maintain our country’s democracy. While this blogpost today is in no way an in depth evaluation of any one issue it is meant as only a very small informative blog post. The reason I found its’ value was the reported facts that Judge Neil Gorsuch wrote during his time in University for the Federalists Papers and based his writings then and in the future on his belief in our Constitution and the values it stands for. In my mind particularly is a ponderous set of thoughts about the security of our Nation in today’s world. So I felt compelled to reprint the following facts in an attempt to enlighten my mind on the deeper thoughts that the current nominee might base his considerations in cases that may come before him, if he is to be the new Justice of the United States. It is my sole opinion that the reprint below lends some insight into the powers bestowed on our representatives in government including the President. I am interested in learning if my initial impression of Judge Gorsuch will remain intact after his testimony to the Senate. When I read some of his decisions and look thoroughly at his face my first reaction is that of a kind man with deep family values. He appears to enjoy nature and has a good understanding of the world as well as his own country. His studies in law seem to have struck him at his core and helped him pursue his calling. I believe the background of his formative family life most likely left him to seek out truth and justice in all areas of life. Without further ado and so that I stop myself from getting ahead of myself, below is the reprint.
And that is The Way I See It her in Brooklyn
In the beginning, there was not much controversy over the power between the Senate and President in treaty making, but there were many differences within the senate because of different political views.There were multiple arguments submitted to the Senate between 1789 and 1815 and there were no rejections. Over time, the checks and balances between the president and senate has affected the country’s ability to successfully make treaties in the best interest of the country. Getting ⅔ of the Senate’s approval became a hard process and it seemed more effective for the Presidents to make executive agreements. The president can act alone and make an executive agreement in relation to foreign policy without the approval of congress. Overtime there is a significant an increase in executive agreements and a decrease in treaty making. 1937 was the last year that there were more treaties made than executive agreements. Between 1789 and 1839, the US State Department reported 60 treaties and 27 executive agreements, but by the 20th century, presidents including McKinley, Taft, and Theodore Roosevelt began using more executive agreements on important foreign situations. Between the Presidencies of Roosevelt(1901-1909) and Bush(2001-2005) the use of executive agreements significantly increased indicating that Presidents would rather avoid political differences with the Senate and make foreign Policy decisions without discussing a possible treaty with the Senate. 1/3 of the treaties that were discussed during the presidencies of Roosevelt and Bush were in the Senate’s power. During President Obama’s first 3 years of office, he used many more executive agreements than treaties. In order to avoid controversy due to politics, President Obama made many executive decisions including, “the use of American military power and solutions to global problems, including nuclear proliferation, a global financial crisis, and climate change”.
^ Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay. “The Federalist Papers Essay 64 Summary and Analysis.” GradeSaver. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 October 2016.
^ How Did John Jay Interpret the Constitution? | The Classroom | Synonym.” How Did John Jay Interpret the Constitution? | The Classroom | Synonym. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 October 2016.
^ a b c “ThisNation.com–The Antifederalist Papers No. 64.” ThisNation.com–The Antifederalist Papers No. 64. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.
^ Holt, Stull (2000). Treaties defeated by the Senate: a study of the struggle between President and Senate over the conduct of foreign relations. pp. 1–205.
^ a b Peake, Jeffery; Krutz, Glen; Hughes, Tyler (2012). “President Obama, The Senate, And The Polarized Politics Of Treaty Making”. Social Science Quarterly (Wiley-Blackwell). 93 (5): 1295–1325.
^ a b Prins, Brandon; Bryan, Marshall (2009). “Senate Influence or Presidential Unilateralism? An Examination of Treaties and Executive Agreements from Theodore Roosevelt and George W. Bush.”. Conflict Management and Peace Science. 26 (2): 191–208.
^ “John Jay and the Constitution”. Columbia Digital Libraries.
As I sit here on a Sunday evening watching television with my spouse, my mind seeks peace. Each day I turn to social media for information, news, connections. More and more I read the hateful comments and posts against the President of the United States. Many from people I love, all from people I like and respect. Many are scholars. Many are family. Many are friends. All are highly intelligent regardless of schooling. All have terrific hearts. From all of these walks of lives I cannot understand how no one talks or gives thought to the duties of any sitting President on a daily basis. Each day the President must have the pressure of the world’s issues and the country’s well being uppermost in his every breathing moment. There is not one among my 400 plus friends on social media that I can honestly say could handle that job for even one day no less everyday. Yet there is a resistance against the man who has taken on the job without any need to have taken on so much. Considering his age as my niece told me a story about a radio talk show host who as the President’s personal friend, asked him point blank, “Donald, why are you doing this? If you have say, ten good summers of your life left, why in the world would you choose to take on the enormous job of President of the United States? That is not something you need to do.” Donald replied, “Look I may not have realized when I got into the race that I would be in this position for real, but I am truly awed and glad I am because, I love this country and it has given me everything. So if this was meant to be my destiny, I am going to give it the best that I have to give.” I believe and always taught my children that you can be the President of the USA one day, if you so choose. I told them they didn’t have to be a politician, that as long as they wanted something bad enough and worked hard for it, they could achieve it. DJT has proven that my words to my children were true.
So Namaste, my friends. And so be it. So it was written, so it shall be done. Let it rest. Let it be. Only time will tell and maybe just maybe it truly was meant to be.
So Obamacare is imploding. The American Care Act is proposed. Insurance companies have obviously secretly paid off the politicians and the Unions. We the patients aged 64 and above are pushed into a hole until we either go bankrupt or die, whichever comes first.
So I worked for more than thirty years. Twenty-one years of my life I worked in a Union owned environment of Higher Education….a University staff member. At the age of 60 I became disabled as a result of years of my body experiencing health issues, body structure breakdown and I suppose lousy genes. Through no fault of my own my body could no longer withstand the simplest of tasks and since I always put my all into my work, I had to retire early at a reduced pension and take my “reduced by age” social security as a disabled American. My spouse still works so my total income was such that any other assistance is not allowed. It didn’t matter that with this scenario our bills stayed the same and we continue to struggle to pay them every month, barely getting by from paycheck to paycheck. We never made enough money to have savings and when I became ill we exhausted our 401 contributions we had made in our jobs for more than twenty years.
We weren’t complaining though because we knew we were doing better than many others. We could keep the roof over our heads and the food on our table. We were able for a time to afford the doctor co-pays and the co-pays of our required medications. That is until the regulations enacted by my health insurance coverage pushed me head first into a giant hole dug by the insurance companies that covered me.
Paying those Union dues every paycheck, contributing to social security for those 30 years and working my butt off all my life only counted for a short period of time. The song by the Beatles that includes the line, “Will you still feed me, will you still need me when I’m 64?” became my mantra since the answers from my insurance coverage to maintain my existence was a loud resounding, no! My prescriptions that keep my body moving to a minimum are no longer affordable since I was pushed into this hole. What once cost me $15 per prescription of three has now risen to $77 per prescription and I am prescribed to take 8 medications daily, some twice a day, others three times a day and others once a day. I never even took the total on the days I could tolerate the pain that is constantly with me. Other medications that assist my movement are not covered anymore since I was pushed into the Medicarerx (part D of Medicare) by the insurance company that made a deal with my Union to give them the cheapest premiums to cover their retirees. As complicated as this sounds the bottom line is the seniors who are not wealthy can now go straight to hell inside the government’s and insurance company’s and Union’s paid for “doughnut hole” or “Drug tier gap” so the Insurance company CEO’s and their government cronies can get richer. The funny part is that I never asked for a hand out ever. Anything I now have is not an entitlement it all was earned by the contribution of my backbone and portions of my salary. Everything I write about this will probably fall on deaf ears anyway cause until you walk in my shoes you will not care, but I am gonna tell it anyway.
I don’t believe in Universal Healthcare. That similar system is run in other countries around the world and from personal accounts from people I know and love, I am told they cannot see a doctor most times for months, their medications are provided sparsely and not conveniently, needed lab tests have waiting periods up to a year. So why would anyone willingly choose that for their lives? Our Medicaid, Medicare, Food Stamp and Prescription Drug programs all seem to be suffering because they are covering far too many people that the economists predicted. The only solution I see for that problem is to remove all undocumented people from receiving the assistance needed by Americans who were either born disabled or worked their whole lives before becoming disabled and give it back to the system that is suffering. Provide that needed revenue and put it into programs that cover health insurance for every Veteran in the USA. If that was done, I would do without to give back to them what they sacrificed for us, but that isn’t what is going on in our country. Instead all of us are suffering and paying for the greed, corruption and mismanagement in the Insurance agencies and in the Obamacare act in our government today.
In a REAL American Health Care Act the following is what it should include:
Total coverage for pre-existing conditions by all health insurance companies
comprehensive, high value long term care coverage for severely ill Americans and American seniors
prescription drug coverage without drug tiers for “common” illnesses as diagnosed and prescribed by physicians
Fair and equitable insurance premiums available to all Americans across every state in the country
Medicaid availability for all poverty level Americans
Medicare for all Social Security American recipients including doctor visits with or without specialties, labs tests, fair priced prescription drugs and long term care for the chronically ill with complete coverage including Nursing care facilities
Preventive medicine and holistic care access for all Americans who choose it (not mandated by insurance companies)
Health Savings Plans accessible to all Americans who want it and can afford it from salary deductions (not mandated by businesses and government)
Available health insurance coverage for the homeless
Health Insurance coverage for all Veterans of the US Military provided outside of the VA hospitals currently run through the government , but not exclusive of
These are the highlights of a Real American Health Care Act. These highlighted proposals are the ones that fulfill the needs of Americans over the needs of the CEOs of the Insurance Companies. These simple, explicit points are what we the people should be sending to our government representatives. This REAL American Health Care Act will take care of the American people far better than the current proposal of the AHCA and far, far better than Obamacare has and would. Let’s talk to the President, the VP, the House and the Congress by copying these points onto a piece of paper and mailing it to each and everyone of them. Let the voices of the American people shout loud and proud that these are these are the things we need and want when we are 64!
I cannot turn on Social Media or the Television without finding a negative expose about our 45th President of the United States of America. My first thought about those statements about him from the Democrats, Liberals, Some Women and Some Young Men is wow they are saying “Pay back is a Bitch”. Only in the very next moment, I think, these poor people have no idea how much harm they are creating in the country that has given them everything they could ever truly want.
All of their protests, name calling, bashing, disrespect, hating won’t really change the world or even so much as make a dent in the corruption of politics nowadays. All it is doing is causing a rift between the people in America who believe in America surviving or America dying. Okay a bit dramatic there, but let me put it another way, America dying the way their parents and grandparents view their country.
I truly feel sorry for all of us. America was not built to be a socialist country no matter how many arguments are out there about Social Security or some other earned credit program. Many times people use that argument, but Social Security is not an entitlement it is saved earnings in every legal citizen’s paycheck. Welfare, food stamps, SSI, medicare, medicaid they are entitlements or benefits if you prefer that word. But, I digress. As I was saying, America was built through the ugliest word in the country today, Capitalism. It is MONEY. Money has driven us from the get go. Whether we didn’t have any, or we had too much. Money in today’s world is a dirty word because not very many people have enough money to live with the rising costs of everything. People have forgotten that values are more important on your death bed. If those you love will miss you is important. America cannot survive without some kind of respect for money. It will not flourish, it will decay and it will become a third world because there is not any idea out there that will take care of all the people that need money and care.
Our 45th President represents “money” and so the hate begins there. Some think he is somewhat “crude” in his speeches. Some think he is getting down to join them. Some think he is brilliant in his idea of being straight forward and not holding back any of the punches to the people he thinks may need them. Some believe he is a racist. (If anyone had the guts to admit it, there isn’t one person in all of the USA who isn’t racist, they are just too afraid to say it to themselves. Most would never act upon that feeling, but everyone feels it and it has been inside of all of us for generations). Some believe he is an ego-maniac out only to benefit himself and his family and friends. Some say he thrives on the power. Some say, no, its the craving for popularity. Some think he hates women. Some think he hates anyone who isn’t a white male. In the whole scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter what anyone thinks because he is sitting in the White House as the 45th President of the United States of America. (It doesn’t but, that sentence alone should make all citizens stand up and take notice). He is a leader in World Powers. What he does affects the country and the world. So far, I would say he hasn’t done anything at all to hurt this country or the World for that matter. He is in office less than 100 days and yet, he has been given no chance whatsoever to show that he is worthy of the responsibility that three million or so Americans gave to him.
Now, I would say what about my fellow Americans? If you don’t want to accept the President and give him the chance he needs and has earned, then what about your neighbor who does, don’t you give a crap about them? What about the Americans who still hold onto the vision of a majestic, beautiful America, don’t they have a right to appreciate their vision of America? What about the Americans who would never harm another soul, but are angry at being harmed by people who come here, hate it, hurt it, or our friends and families, would you rather we condone and give right to terrorists from any country even those indoctrinated Americans? If you are great socialists of the world who hate our President, why are you not caring enough as a “socialist” that you are making enemies of those who don’t hate our President? Do you ever think to give the President a chance to prove what you are claiming is actually true? Maybe he will do all the awful things you claim in your social media posts and television spots. Maybe he will be the worst President ever, (though I doubt that). If he isn’t given a chance to show us exactly the vision and direction he has for America by getting legislation passed and America thriving again, you will have no one but yourselves to blame. It won’t be his fault that you made his legacy by disrupting everything that he attempts to get done. It won’t be his fault if the country dies, it will be yours.
Most Americans believe in America or at least take advantage of all the good that is offered by America. That is a good thing. It is a patriotic attitude. Do you also believe that we live by the laws of America? Because we do, the law and the Constitution show us what is right and just. The laws rule us more than any one man or collection of men and women who represent us, the people. No laws have been broken by the 45th President of the United States nor proven to have been. No laws have been proposed to change anything that each American has rightfully gained through our struggles. We always have a say, if we want one. We write and/or call our representatives and we tell them, “no don’t pass that law, or no, that proposal is not good, please vote it down”. We all have a voice that way. We can do it without bashing each other because we have different feelings about a man. We can all do it without disrupting our streets with meaningless protests. We can all look deep, deep down into our hearts and give the 45th President a chance without using our own perception of what life is supposed to be, but rather how possibly it could be under the leadership of a person, who up to now has never waivered from his love of America. Irregardless of anything he has personally done, he has never, ever said a hateful thing about the United States and since we all share this country and live as neighbors to one another, shouldn’t we at least give him a chance? I know I will and until he proves me wrong, or my perception of him wrong, I will keep that promise to myself because I, too, love my country and would never choose its’ well-being and the well-being of its’ citizens over any other country on earth.
I just cannot understand how the message that President Trump is giving to the country gets so twisted and misunderstood out of pure hatred for the man himself.
Why is it so hard for people to understand how different and changed the world has become since the growth of terrorism worldwide? The threat from people who hate America and want to undermine her economically as well as her ideology is real and is played out the world over.
All immigrants and refugees are welcome to come here after there is proof they want to be here and will assimilate. This policy has been relaxed over the past decade and is the root cause of all the terrible issues and arguments presently being played out in our current political environment. Immigrants and refugees come here and expect consistent hand outs while not having any intention of spending the money they receive in our economy, but instead send our money back to their own country of origin. Those who get jobs do the same thing. Americans are suffering from unemployment, lay offs and no offers of pension options in their own country. More and more illegals and non citizens are getting their jobs because they will work for lower wages and no benefits. This is not the way America will survive. Immigrants and refugees who assimilate and contribute to the American way of life and its’ economy are more than welcome with open arms, an initial helping hand and the red carpet treatment because they will become a fellow American. However, I see more and more non assimilation than ever before in my history in this land. I walk down a Main Avenue in any street in my state of New York and I am lucky to be able to read one name of a store because it is not written in English. When I walk into the store to see what they sell, the people working the store have no idea what I am saying because they don’t understand English and I don’t understand their language because I live here all my life and only understand English. How can this make a better America? How long will it be before so many of these non assimilating, non English speaking neighborhoods totally destroy the common bond that we all need to feel connected under one flag? What happened to the pride we need to have in our country in order to have it prosper?
It is my belief that President Trump recognizes these issues. I believe that he believes America needs to help Americans from whatever country they come from as long as they truly want to be an American. He has enormous responsibilities on his plate as did all former Presidents. He decided that despite his political weaknesses and despite the obstacles he knows exists, he would still take on this important position in order to get America back on course. This is why he said,”Put America First and make her great again”. As an American I cannot understand my fellow Americans in both my circle of family and friends who do not see this very important point. You do not have to like a man in order to respect the office he represents. One thing has nothing to do with the other.
It will take time to reverse the path that was slowly killing America. Much like a debilitating disease that eats away at the body slowly, draining America of all she is, all she has and all she can offer is the same. The current Administration has been challenged with righting the wrong that has been done and it needs the time, the space and the learning (as they go) experience to get it done. This current administration is simply not part of the status quo. They are not fully politically connected nor should they have to be.
The Democratic Party is deliberately hindering the governing of our country out of personal hatred for the current Administration. I do not recall this level of hated disruptions of this caliber when the Republicans who hated President Obama were attending session hearings and voting on an Administrative cabinet. They are doing a horrendous dissservice to the American people. They are adding to the animosity already brewing in our country. They are increasing the bias and hate felt by so many misguided and even evil countrymen. They are fueling a fight that should never be fueled. Instead of putting aside their personal feelings of hate and their sore losing attitudes becausec a democrat did not take President Obama’s place is sickening to watch. All it is doing for me is honing my patriotic heart in favor of a more United, fair, and realistic stance on the future of America. The policies they are protesting and preaching are some of the same ones I myself believe, but they are taking those sane policies and leading them so far left that it is a total distortion of what everyday folks want this country to be and President Trump understands this. He understands that we want inclusion so that every individual American can live as they wish and practice as they wish. He understand that every American needs jobs that are fair and plentiful. He understands that our environment needs to be watched and taken care of so no harm comes to our air, land and water. He understands that people who hate us need to be found out before they come into our country. He understands that women need to have choice in their individual lives, fair pay and equal opportunities. He understands we are a diverse race of people and our diversity needs to be fair equally and without prejudice. He knows our Veterans and law enforcement needs to be honored, respected, supported and protected when injured. He may not have the power to make all these things come to be, but he has the inner will to promote those American ideals. He cannot begin this work to promote and initiate these ideals if the political system he must work with is undermining everything he is attempting to do with political BS. In order to change the way the politicians run in our country he needs to revise, review, research and enact proposals of change. If he is not allowed to do these things by the democratic left America will not survive.
The Congress men and women and the Senators need to be putting their energy, arguments and knowledge to the things that impact the constituents. Environmental protections, health issues, veteran and military protections, jobs, rights of all CITIZENS, and all other legislative actions that will make a beneficial change that is so sorely needed in every aspect. Stop wasting their time in petty arguments to prove they hate the President, they are not paid to do that. Stop fighting for non citizen refugees and undocumented aliens and instead put their work day into proposals, bills and laws that support their arguments to enact these things. Get back to work Representatives on the business at hand : the lives of American Citizens!
Imagine the nerve! The American people went ahead and elected a President who is changing the face of Washington politics! How dare they want a President who tells it like it is for the Baby Boomer Generation! Yep, the rest of the population who went straight to work from High School in both the white and blue-collar sections of the American population. A President who doesn’t speak above us looking down, but to us, on the same level ground, eye to eye. A President who wants English to be the language spoken in America and with the same meaning to the middle class as it has had in all the years prior to the explosion of being politically correct in our manner of speaking. A President whose ideals say the same things our ideals say and that is America is the best country on earth. Oh not perfect. Far from perfect, she has her share of mistakes and guilt, but overall he believes as we do that she is the best country on earth and she was losing her greatness over the direction her past political leaders were taking her. We finally have a President who is saying, stop, look and listen. We must build back our greatness to the world. We must recognize our enemies, fix our internal issues and salvage our broken political system. He is saying we tried it your politically correct way for over a decade and it is not working. He is here to fix those issues and revise the way America has been operating. If some toes get stepped on in the process, well bruised toes like egos can mend, but in order for America to rise to its former status of being Great she has to be politically INcorrect moving forward.
All the protesters are just bucking the establishment without realizing they are the direct cause of the current establishment. They have no idea how much the President represents those of us who love America, love diversity, honor and respect everyone of our immigrants and their historical benefit to the growth of America. He knows like we know that the economy took a nose dive from the September 11th attack on our financial hub, but because we are Americans we didn’t crash we pulled back those controls and soared back up into those blue clouds with the silver linings. This man gathered his courage and bravely set forth to become our politically INCorrect President. Like us he will never reach those Americans who want to stay in the shadows of fear and never face the realities of the dangers in today’s world from every angle you can think of, but he will not stop trying and he will always act within the confines of American laws, obey its constitution as he interprets it and love America and Americans with all his heart.
No one denies or is blind to his ego, no one doesn’t recognize that the words he uses are not the ones the political climate would use. No one isn’t sometimes embarrassed at what he says, but we accept it because we know what is in his heart, his mind, his soul. We know he puts his family high in his priorities, we know he wants to leave them with a good legacy. What is wrong with that? Nothing is wrong with that. He knows, like most of us, that European and other nations have suffered horrific changes and losses throughout their lands from within their immigration and refugee programs. The cities and communities there, instead of seeing assimilation have instead seen an effort of a few turn into separation from that country’s ways. Our President, like us, do not want that to happen in America.
Most of us want America to remain the country where assimilation is not a dirty word but a prideful word. People who come here as a choice should stay here with a willingness to assimilate and mix their cultures and religions with our diversity. If they don’t want that they should choose not to come here especially if they hate us. We see nothing wrong in wanting them to be verified more extensively. That scrutiny will allow those who want to be here and bring their skills and talents to America and share American values and grow our country. Extensive vetting should cause no harm to those who have nothing to hide. It is called self-preservation. Who in their right mind would want people to come here cause they hate us and want us destroyed? It seems to me that a lot of people want to turn the refugees and immigrants who hate us into a giant cult, believing that the kumbiah message will change the hate into love. It is too late to even attempt that when the hate is so prominent and already hypnotically taught by the militant Islamic groups who bring terror everywhere. Let’s open our shores once more to the honest oppressed of the world who wish to create an American home the way Americans have always done. Let’s help those who cannot leave their countries but who are hurt by militant terrorists who surround them by getting their backs when the good people fight back against terrorism. We all, President included want that. We all want a better world, we all want good over evil, and if we don’t we should not stay in the country that had always been the leader in practicing and believing in that ideal….the United States of America.
I remain proudly, politically INcorrect and Mr. President I have your back.
So let me start by asking each of you a question. Remember when you started a new job? Maybe you remember getting laid off from a job and having to start over? Maybe you just made a choice to start over in a brand new field, doing something you have never done before? If you can remember any one of those scenarios, you will understand my reaction to the Senate hearings for the chosen candidates in the President-elect’s cabinet. You know what I hear listening to the politicians questioning the non-polictical candidates? Condescending attitudes screaming at me from their benches. For me all they care about is keeping the status quo. Sure they know all the rules and regulations that have been put into place on the Federal level. Sure they have read everything about those rules, but they also haven’t been doing a very good job of keeping the country in check and balances. Most of them have been doing the same job for years. Many have no idea what their latest constituents think or feel. Everything is beaucratic and red tape for every little dollar spent by the states. The current political system of representatives just keep pushing the paper and expecting the entire nation to follow the rules according to what is already written. Well I think Mr. Trump was elected because he listened to many Americans who are screaming for years that the rules that are written aren’t working!
And so the trouble begins. The current politicians are giving such a hard time to the newcomers. They are putting them on the hot seat during these sessions expecting these entry level candidates to be as well read into the book of rules as they are. Why? Isn’t an entry level position in an Administration just like any other entry level position? With the chosen candidates comes a chance for new ideas, new visions, new revisions. With their entry level positions on the Federal Administration level comes a chance for true change of the current political system and the rule books. With it comes an opportunity for the country to change the status quo and the chance to fix what has been broken in the beaucratic burdens placed on states and institutions for decades. This is the revolution of America and it is being led by a person without a political apron string attached. It is a chance to give people who are innovative, strong and patriotic the opportunity to take on a position, unfamiliar to them and change the way the Federal government has done things.
The current politicians know this very well. They are running scared that perhaps after years of complacency and reading from their rule books they may need to get up and out and fix what they have broken with their “rules set in stone”. I hear it in their voices when they question the candidates, I see it in their faces when they smirk. Should ALL the rules and regulations be changed..HELL NO. There are some great laws in place today that give people the power to choose, the power to be who they are and not be discriminated against. I think that Mr. Trump and the chosen candidates understand that and wouldn’t want to inflict any harm by undoing those great rules. However, there are so many other rules and regulations that have to do with spending, taxes, Education of the masses, and even health that need to be revised. There are rules in place right now about much of what makes it easy for the systems to be cheated and fraudelent. Mr. Trump himself should know that because he was a entrepreneur in business who used many of them, like other folks too, because they were allowed to use them. Morally, he should not have, but legistically they have all done it including those sitting on that bench during the confirmation hearings.
Perhaps these new entry level folks know it, too and that is the very reason they accepted the candidacy from Mr. Trump because they want those rules to change. They want to start over. They want to revise, fix, and inject new ideas and visions into the current rule books. Just like a person either starting out on a new job or perhaps starting over a career in a new job they need to have time to learn what the rules are, what they actually mean and what can be done to them to make them better and perhaps different so they benefit every American from every walk of life in every field. Sitting on a hot seat in a hearing room with condescending attitudes will not make me judge them on their merits or on their knowledge. All it does is infuse my need for revolutionary changes that will make this country better, stronger and prouder. I am banking on the newcomers to do just that. I am hoping they learn, they fix, they revolutionize the way politics work on the Federal level. My hope is on a future for America set into motion by the election of Donald J. Trump and the people he has chosen to help him do just that.
Morning has broken like the first morning Blackbird has spoken like the first bird Praise for the singing Praise for the morning Praise for them springing fresh from the world
Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven Like the first dewfall on the first grass Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden Sprung in completeness where his feet pass
Mine is the sunlight Mine is the morning Born of the one light Eden saw play Praise with elation, praise ev’ry morning God’s recreation of the new day
Morning has broken
Author: Eleanor Farjeon Sung by: Cat Stevens
(Although the hymn is akin with religious beliefs, I see its implication being applied to all those with hope).
Here it is 2016 and another holiday is upon us. The years seem to fly by so quickly now. I can remember when it seemed eons before Christmas came around again. The anticipation of the aroma in the air, the gifts under the tree, the pilgrimage to Church and the family gatherings around delicious food and desserts. The feeling of belonging to a community whether you had family or not was so pronounced at Christmas. It was as if the world stood still while we celebrated. The culmination of it all would happen on New Year’s Eve when everyone celebrated just being alive for at least one more year.
Many people, myself included at times, can become very blue during this season, and I wish that wasn’t so because it is a happy time. A time to celebrate peace, love and joy that is all around us if we just look for it. Just being a part of this great world of ours is a reason to pause and say thank you. Christians, like myself, are happy because of the birth of Jesus Christ. He is our Saviour and our Lord. Many people of other religions celebrate something similar on their Holy Days and that tells me that we are in one way and another all connected. Not only do we share our human similarities, but we also share our faiths, we just acknowledge and practice them in different ways. Even atheists celebrate something probably nature itself if not a God.
So my fervent wish during this holiday season is that every person follow a dream, stop and realize what they do have and not what they don’t. Be glad that they are alive. Be happy that hope is always around the corner and we just have to look there to find it. My wish includes a hope that everyone celebrates and partys with joy in their hearts. Living for the moments we have and sharing that joy with others in anyway possible for them. My wish is that everyone have a MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Whatever way you see it! Whatever political party you associate with. Whatever candidate you relate to. Wherever you have to go….just go and VOTE! It is a right that no one should ever let get away from them. It was a struggle for many to gain this privilege and to have a say, even if only a small one, in who represents our values best! Who do we want to be the Leader of our country, our face in the world, and our representative to the rest of government on our behalves? Whatever your answers are they won’t have a chance unless you go to your designated voting area and VOTE.
ELECTION DAY IS NOVEMBER 8, 2016. VOTE your conscious, vote your convictions, vote your decision..just vote!
It is the weekend of September 11, 2016. Fifteen years since America’s last major attack on one of its’ major cities. So many innocent people died that day. So many innocent people were injured that day. So many innocent people remain ill and many are dying because of that day. Our President elect during that time has been accused of mishandling the action taken to combat the evil that exists in the part of the world that attacked us. I am not among those who would know the truth about the reason he chose the action he did and I try not to judge others, instead choosing to believe in the good of all mankind. Don’t get me wrong, I also see evil in the world and the people who are the epitamy of that evil.
Many people have chosen to see the attack and its aftermath as a devious plot on the American side. They have chosen to blame America for its own attack. Some of these people are my friends, some are strangers to me. Well I don’t believe that conspiracy. In my heart I know it was evil that attacked America that day. I know that they chose the World Trade Center because it was the financial hub of the entire country. We are a capitalist country and those who are evil, the ones who hate our way of life, chose that target with one idea to ruin our country economically. They hoped to destroy us from within by destroying our financial pulse. They knocked us down for a little bit as the following years showed, but they didn’t destroy us nor did they win in any sense of the word. They didn’t think we had the committment to keep our country strong, but they were wrong.
Now I am surround by people who are hurting America from within. They have been blinded either by fear and/or frustration. Once more, they blame America for their personal problems. People are people and given the freedoms they have here to keep their own languages, to keep their own cultures, to keep their own religions they are managing to cause more problems instead of solving the ones we face everyday. The fear and stubborness of so many Americans and the immigrants that live here are at the core of our current issues. We are forgetting that we are ONE COUNTRY, ONE NATION. If one part of us gets hurt we all get hurt, but if we don’t fix those hurts we will destroy the entire body. There is so much more good than bad in America. We are losing sight of that fact. Everyone seems to have gotten the idea that one race is better than the other. That one class of people is better than the other class of people. That isn’t why America was founded. That is so far from what America truly is. Are we fallible? Yes! But only from our own citizens. It is time to put away the hate. It is time to get out of our own selfishness and realize that only UNITED we will face future attacks from evil beings. That all the people who sacrificed in the past for us to have our freedoms believed it was to keep us UNITED. “Biting the hand that feeds you” is detrimental to your own survival. Americans should know this.
Too many since the beginning of our birth have sacrificed to get us through some of the worst times in history. The point is we did get through. The point is we should want to be better by now. I believe with all my being that people who hate America and live in America should leave America. Many of those whom shout the loudest about how awful we are as a country are the ones who have benefitted most from what this wonderful country has offered them. They should really find somewhere else better suited to their ideals because if they all left we would probably have lots more room for the refugees who need a new country, who want a new country, who will become citizens who appreciate their new country as our ancestors did before us.
We are currently in the middle of a Presidential election year. Before us are two people with very different ideas about the direction our country should take. We have to elect one of them to be the face of us, to show their leadership of the greatest country in the world. For me neither one has the qualifications to do this. One is corrupt, the other acts like an idiot. However, no matter what I personally think, one of them is definetely going to be elected. All I can do is pray that the right one gets into office and proves their worth. All I can do is hope they realize what a great country America truly is and how her people, her ideals, her future is worth every effort on their part to protect her. These issues that are within our own borders in today’s world are solvable issues. The issues that face us outside our borders are far less likely to be solved. Whatever the future holds, whatever fate has in store for us, we need to face it together united in the respect of our country, united in the responsibility we each have to make us worthy of being the beacon of light to all those who are persecuted throughout the world. This can only be accomplished if we are united as Americans. The families of the innocent people who died and were injured on September 11, 2001 deserve to know that they didn’t sacrifice for nothing. We owe it to all those from the Revolutionary War to the Iraq War who fought for America that we can keep their legacy alive and keep America beautiful. With this comes the responsibility to keep the evil and the haters out of American borders whether they come from the North, South, East or West. Makes no difference if they hate America they shouldn’t live here. We can only survive as a nation if we have pride in our country. We can only survive as a people if we learn to live together as one people..American people.
So no I won’t apologize for loving this country. I won’t apologize for loving all people of every race and every class. I won’t apologize for loving the animals that roam the earth and the lands that provide us with beauty and survival. I won’t apologize for believing as I do and for stating it for the world to see. I won’t apologize because I have nothing to apologize for being an American. If I have one thing to leave to my chldren and grandchildren I hope I leave them the pride I have in America and the belief that we are privileged to live here.
Maybe I am just one of those unexplained mysteries in life. Maybe because I always wondered about my biological father. Maybe that is why I have been so lucky in my life having two “fathers”.
My sons’ father is the best father and grandfather I have ever seen. His unconditional love, his self-sacrificing dedication and his ability to keep giving and giving can not be denied. I believe that the word, “no” is just not a word to him. He has always said “yes” to the needs of his children, and for that matter to me as well. Fathers like Rocco are rare, but I know there are a few out there. For instance, my son, Rocky is a dad like his father. He has the same inner ability to love his daughter so completely and unconditionally. As she grows, I hope she realizes more and more how very wonderful he is and how dedicated he is to her.
My “dad”and my “brother” raised me to be a person who is true to herself, kind to others, and to care about the world around me. My “dad” passed when I was sixteen years old. My brother is still the one I look to for answers. Whether or not he reaizes it, he is still the one I depend on.
Today I want to tell you about my brother, Tommy.
If one could picture the life of a person when they were a child and to realize that what they have been through is no life for any child, then they would know that the man I know as Tommy, who came out of that life better and stronger, is in itself miraculous. They would know that this wonderful man is the most selfless, loving, hard-working man that was ever born.
It was a tough life when my brother was a small child. His father was an alcholic and the venom from this sickness took its ugly poison out on my brother and his siblings. Without going into too much detail, let me suffice to say Tommy took the brunt of that venom. It became so bad that for a time his mom sent him to live for awhile to her sister so he could escape the onslaught. When I was born Tommy was ten years old.
I turned seven when I first started to notice who it was that was nurturing me and making sure I had everything I needed, like food, clothing and shelter. Tommy was now seventeen and graduated High School. He was also the protector for my “mom” and me. Ever since he was able to work he made sure our mom and me were taken care of.
Life wasn’t all bad. He was also a prankster and a loyal friend. Some of the funniest episodes I ever heard were about the pranks my brother would pull on his family, friends and co-workers. When our sister, Joanie passed away at the age of twenty-nine from complications after brain surgery to remove a tumor, she left two small babies behind. One was two years old and the other was six months. While their dad had to keep working, my mom took them in to live with us in our six room tenement apartment in Park Slope. They spent Monday through Friday with us and their dad took them on the weekends. Tommy immediately took on the role of dad to them during those days and had always taken that role on for me. Yes, our siblings helped as well. There was after all, eight of us altogether. I was the youngest. I recall Tommy taking us to the World’s Fair in Flushing, Delancy Street in Manhattan for clothes, and to the local theatre for movies, etc. If we had any treats or toys it was Tommy who bought them. When the boys turned seven and five, their dad remarried a wonderful woman named Eileen. Together they brought the boys to live with them, of course, leaving us left us with heavy hearts because they were more like brothers and sons to us. Years later we now know that it was best for them to leave and have a life with their own dad and stepmom. However, I was still there and Tommy became more like a dad to me than ever and when “daddy” died, it was Tommy who pulled me through just as he did when we lost “mommy” and then did the same when we lost two more of our sisters and our niece. He pulled me out of so many childhood and young adulthood mistakes. He helped me when sickness befell my baby boy, he helped me when I thought I would sink from financial disaster. I cannot recall one time in life good or bad when Tommy wasn’t right there, or just a phone call away. He is the one constant in my life. The person to whom I owe everything.
By now you must have surmised why I chose to write this Father’s Day tribute to my wonderful brother Tommy. There just isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him or even talk to him. He has always been my confidant, my advisor, my father in every sense of the word. Even though I am a grown woman, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, friend..none of those titles would have been possible without Tommy in my life. He is officially “my brother” but everything he has ever done for me is something a great dad would do. So I want to tell him Happy Father’s Day and that even though he chose not to have children of his own, he has helped raise and has given to all his sisters, nieces and nephews so very much that the title Father belongs to him.
He never truly gets the recognition and appreciation for everything he has always done from his heart, so this small tribute is my way of saying thank you with all my heart for being the best real Dad I never really had.
Awaking on Sunday morning June 12, 2016 I turned on the television as a I normally do to watch Charles Osgood, Early Morning Sunday News on CBS Channel 2 in NYC. Instead there was a special report about a mass shooting that took place in Orlando FL during the hours of my sleep. By the time the day was done I learned that 50 people were dead and 54 were seriously injured by an unbalanced individual who held a rapid repeating gun and shot innocent human beings who had gathered to celebrate in a nightclub called PULSE. Most of the patrons were of the LGBT community. All the gunman’s insane thoughts were to kill as many gay people as he could in the name of his chosen ideology of radical Islam. He lost his own life this day as well, being shot by the brave people of law enforcement, who responded to the call of help from all those who managed to escape the onslaught.
There are thousands of opinions flowing out there over this horrific event, personal, political, religious, et al and we can’t ignore them all, but we can perhaps learn something from each of them. Hopefully, there will be an idea out there that will enact a change in all of us. I feel as if I have been sitting by complacently since the horrific attack on America on September 11, 2001. Just watching my beloved country defending itself against those who wished to harm her and her people. It seems there have been horrific attacks worldwide for many different reasons since that horrible day, but this horrible day has woken me up.
We don’t want this to be a war of religions because that would mean its World War 3 and that is something none of us want to happen nor even fathom. The thought brings with it a meaning that it’s the end of civilization as we have come to know it. Personally, I don’t want there to be war anywhere. I am a peaceful human being who loves all human beings who are not evil. Oh yes, I said that. Evil is out there although I am not a fanatic about it –I know it exists. It exists in everyone who puts their own will above everyone else’s and in order to achieve their own self satisfaction they need to harm or kill others to express that evil of hate and/or violence. Those acts of violence are the epitome of evil to me.
I have heard and listened to the thoughts of well known people such as: celebrities, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert; Internet personality, Tomi Lauren; Muslim leaders, Imam Anjem Choudhry, and CAIR Executive Director, Mihad Awad; world leader, President Obama; political leaders, Hilary Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders; recognized and respected Professor and Author, Dr. George Rodman. I have even listened to one of the Christian leadership ‘s most bigoted personalities (also a Reverend and author) , Pastor Robert Jeffress and the attorney, Eliot Spitzer. I have listened to my family and friends.
All their messages were different, but all told me the same thing. It is time for change in America. It is time that we get out of the problems in the Middle East once and for all. Is it a time when we wake up to realize that money is the reason behind all the arguments. Progress for future generations should be the only motive. It is those who control the events around the world whose only thought is to make a profit off the hardships of others, it is time for that to stop.
We have been trying since the 1960s to make peace the theme of the world. After the postwar of September 11th we are far overdue for this to become a reality. No arguments over guns, politics, religion or greed will ever be solved. Those things are only battles in this current climate. We need to be victorious in bringing about a peaceful and tolerable world and the only way to do that is to live in each country as we did in the past and no longer be involved in trying to bring democracy to any other nation. We have to live by example there is no other solution to end these awful violent acts worldwide. We start here in America with our flag flying high. We start here in America where we all assimilate. We start here in America where the world knows just by our united stance that we will defend our country with all our might just as the other countries will do the same for their own. We will welcome new people to our shores legally all those who wish to come here because they are willing to become Americans and practice their individual languages, cultures and religion in their own homes, mosques, temples, and churches , just as our ancestors have done. Only as a united America renewed in her peaceful meaning and tolerant nature will we accomplish the theme of peace worldwide.
No, I don’t mean that we need to tolerate the acts of the imbalanced individual whose disturbed persona allows the integrated ideology of extremists to penetrate their psyche, no, those who do this, naturally must be punished either through death or incarceration or perhaps reached in time to be helped. Yes, we have to enact new laws that include controlling what guns are permitted to be owned by our citizens. Not banish the 2nd Amendment just tweak it so it truly means what it was supposed to mean before the age of the automatic rifles, grenades, etc. A handgun for personal defense of home and family, a hunting rifle for those who wish to practice this barbaric sport, that should be enough to cover the rights in the 2nd amendment. The NRA only seeks to make a profit, so allow their profits to be made through the military and law enforcement for those are the only avenues that I see a need for automatic weapons. Of course, I don’t believe I need a gun and that is also my right under the Constitution and Declaration of Independence or what I know of them. Help the mentally ill wherever and whenever you encounter these individuals. I believe that intervention for the sole purpose of protecting the mentally disturbed individual so that they do not harm themselves or others has to be a center of study in America today. You cannot get a handle on one without the other.
Take a good hard look at America today and realize that we need to stop, think, and listen. We need to put a serious movement forward which promotes all of the things I mentioned today, but most of all we must see our flag and know the meaning of her is to defend our very own country because we all made her exist. No matter what creed, no matter what race, no matter what color, all of us as human beings seeking to practice our faiths and our beliefs (whatever they may be) in one land have created the America I know and love to this day. To stand strong, proud and tolerant under one flag is the greatest example for anyone who is oppressed and in need to see. We can always be the hope of the world if we want to be, we can always find a way to do exactly what our founding fathers intended us to know and to do, we can change ourselves around by looking back, looking straight ahead and looking forward. Accepting that this is every single American’s responsibility, purpose and belief will lead that theme of peace and it will spread, as surely as I am typing this blog today, it will. It doesn’t much matter who leads the country in today’s world. What matters is its’ people and their desire to change and show their leader how they want their country lead and that the intolerance that has labeled us since September 11th will stop because the event of June 12th was the wake up call that resounded around the globe reminding us all who are privileged to live in this country that peace and tolerance is the only weapon anyone will ever need.
Special is defined in the English dictionary in this way: unusual or better; held in esteem; reserved; made for specific purpose; arranged for specific purpose, etc. In accordance with that definition, my dad was a very “special” person. Today May 4, 2016 is the 47th Anniversary of his death. I was sixteen years old.
Complex; complicated; misunderstood; unstable; loving; self-educated. My dad had a disease known as alcoholism. As mean as he could be when he drank he could be just as kind and nurturing when he didn’t. I often thought of him as two people in one. His need for alcohol was always present, although it lessened in his later years. I came into his life when he was forty-three years old. I like to believe that I made a difference in his life at that point. Members of my family have told me that he was crazy about me at the instant of my birth. My memories begin when I was a small child. Naturally, some of those memories are not good. I would rather focus today on the memories of Dad that have stayed with me my entire life.
The most poignant memories begin with Dad and me watching television in our tenement living room. I would sit on the floor, he in his favorite chair. On the screen before me was always a movie starring either John Wayne, James Cagney, Busby Berkley Musicals or Fred Astaire with Ginger Rogers. My Dad would tell me all about the stars in those movies and we would often sing along if it was a musical. When we weren’t watching television, he would work with me on my homework assignments and every day he would “assign” me the jumble puzzle printed in the Daily News. I was always praised and rewarded if I got the jumble words correct. In those days, many students went home at lunchtime. I was one of them and for lunch my dad would prepare grilled cheese sandwiches cooked in the waffle iron, or heat up Franco American spaghetti for me. On Fridays he would add a fish cake or fist sticks with the Franco American spaghetti as the side. He always tried to make lunchtime fun for me. After school, I would often sit at his feet as he told me stories about his adventures in the military or advised me about the importance of education and the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. I always thought he was truly a smart man. Even when he wasn’t sober, there were things that he said that remain with me. When I first heard the words he said, my thought was that he was a very selfish person, but as I got older I realized the words he used were quite filled with real wisdom. He would always say whether drunk or sober, “Me, Myself and I , first comes me then comes you, capital R capital O capital N.” Today I realize that he was saying a person needs to care first for themselves before they can take care of others. It wasn’t a selfish statement at all, instead it was the most sage advice I ever received.
My Dad as complicated as he was, was truly a special man and if he were here today, I would thank him for all those times he was there for me and for all the times that he made me feel like the “special” one. My hope is that after all this time his spirit is at peace now.
Yes, I know it has been awhile since I have been here. By now I should be filled with words, ideas, opinions. Thoughts that will somehow change a life if not the world. It isn’t as if I don’t have lots to say. There is enough material around to keep me writing for months. 2016 is a busy year. Lots of weddings, parties, doctor visits. It’s an election year as well, and boy is America reeling with opinions and competition!
I should tell you that it has been a slow go since my surgery last November. So many tests to follow up with and new docs to see. For awhile I had thought my back problem improved and my life was gonna change delightedly for the better, but nope right back to square one with no hope in view that I will ever boogie as I once did. There are other productive things though as long as they don’t take standing more than 10 minutes at a time.
My youngest son got engaged last November and life continues once again. Unfortunately, being the mother of the groom there isn’t much to do in terms of planning and such. I love my sons totally, but it’s kinda sad that I’ll never know the joy of having a daughter as well. The mothers of girls seem to have most of the fun sharing, planning, spending time with their daughters more often than the boys do with their mothers. I truly am very grateful for all my sons do for me and with me, guess it’s like they say, “You always want what you can’t have.” It should be a great December wedding though! Christmas in the air and all!
Day to day life for me is truly blasé now that I am retired and without true mobility. Even my wondrous friend, writing, is suffering from the doldrums. Bare with me as I am trying to revive this tired old friend, hoping to bring a fresh new outlook to its soul while keeping its heart beating stronger than ever.
So we are living in an election year. Attempting to elect a new POTUS. The playing field is astounding. We have Bernie Sanders (not the Colonel) and Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side and Ted Cruz and Donald Trump (yea the Millionnaire) on the Republican side. Not a day goes by where I am not either astounded or hysterically laughing. How this isn’t the biggest political fiasco of all time is beyond me. I love America and believe always that it is the greatest country on earth…..but with this election my head is hiding in my elbow 90% of the time!
Hopefully, my thoughts will stop gathering moss and I’ll share my own insights into this year’s election shenanigans very soon.
This past week has placed my mind on a Whirlwind Merry Go Round. This coming week I am headed into a life changing experience that leaves me both exhilarated and terrified at the same time.
My health has deteriorated at a rapid pace these past few months and what I believed for three years to be the sole cause of my circumstances, wound up being a misconception at best by the doctors whose care I was under.
In the last two weeks I have experienced and am still experiencing a pain so profound in my right leg that it can be compared only to that of labor before birth. It seems I have developed an artery disease that rivals those of an octogenarian’s in poor health. Undoubtedly, say the doctors due to smoking all those years. Though one cardiologist agreed with me that is not the only mitigating factor concluding as I do that “genes” is the basic foundation for my current issues. Taking on the responsibility that I am overweight for my height had been another revelation to me since being told for the past three years that exercise was out of the question for me unless it was in water because of the impact on my spine and its condition. A person cannot lose weight if they are unable to move physically over a long period of time. The agility and mobility of the human body ceases when inactive. My recommendation to all is to do everything you can to keep moving and everything else in moderation.
Now getting back to my “whirlwind” of emotions causing me confusion in these past few days. This recently discovered disease within my body has frightened me more than anything I has ever been presented to me or witnessed by me in the past, with exception of any health issues concerning my sons, this is the most terrifying to me. I have been told that there are blockages and blood clots within my system so severe that they are cutting off circulation to my leg. The specialist from NYU Langone Medical Center in NYC, who I met for the first time yesterday seems to be a kind, concerned, experienced physician/surgeon in his field of vascular diseases and their treatments and remedies. To say this disease, though known to me in name only, is one that I have the least past experience with is an understatement. No one knows how another person feels when they learn they have something very serious that could possibly be a life threatening one, so unless one has been through it personally, it is quite overwhelming. I find the hardest emotion to deal with is loss of control, the second is fright of the unknown. I am trying very hard to remain calm and logical. Trying to get those who care for me to understand that this is one area where Mama doesn’t have the answers that would somehow alleviate much of their worry. I am truly hoping for the best outcome and to do my best to believe if I do my part by taking self-responsibility my life will surely improve immensely.
Still waiting on clearance from cardiologist and if it clears him, I will be undergoing the procedure on Wednesday. I want to get better and I want to celebrate all the milestones ahead, so I will keep my faith, calm the “whirlwind” in my mind and if all goes well, I will write again soon. Just keep moving, keep dancing, keep smiling!
Today September 11, 2014 a day to remember our fallen, our injured, our heartbreak seems to be the most poignant day for me to write this blog post. On that beautiful September morning with the sun shining brightly our country was attacked by an enemy. Their purpose was to hurt our financial and military centers and in doing so they killed, hurt and forever injured people and destroyed buildings. They will never succeed though, not as long as we remember that September morning.
Most of us were preparing to begin our day when the phones started ringing and the radios and televisions were turned on. The shock of what was occurring sent daggers of pain through our bodies into our hearts. Here we sat a country at peace being attacked by an enemy filled with hate for what we stand for and how we live. Many of us worried about our friends and family who might be in the vicinity of that attack. Then that day, the days and weeks that followed turned into more pain and more resolve to unite and make our country whole again. That is the feeling that remains with most of us to this day. No one wants war, no one wants to live more in peace that the American people. We strife for that every single day. Most of us choose to love instead of to hate.
If, through life experiences, I have learned anything it is to stop expecting others to feel as I do. I have finally arrived at a place in life where I can love without expecting anything in return. I would like nothing more than to know the people who hate us and to show them that we are all the same…humans. However, the reality is that those who hate us will continue to hate us and I am fine with that as long as their hate stays within the boundaries of their own territories. If they would allow me to love them and trust them and accept their viewpoints, I could do that without hesitation. As an individual, I can do my part on a daily basis, being one with my fellow-man, but on a grand scale will this really work? The political climate as of late has me questioning that possibility. I am consistently getting emails from organizations such as MoveOn, Change.org, etc. that rejoice at the deal currently being offered to the Iranians. Everyday I read in the newspaper or online how another political representative has decided to vote in favor of this deal. The reasoning it appears is to avoid a war. Avoid a war? Only our President can declare war with the backing of our Senators and Congressmen, so if it isn’t declared by them, than there is no war to worry about. This deal, from what I have read of it, offers many concessions to those who call themselves “our enemy”. I can accept that if only the exposed truth is that we are laying flowers of peace at their feet in order that they leave us alone and at peace within our own country. However, the realist in me doesn’t see that. The constant reports through Media is that the terrorists groups within the country of Iran never stop hating us, no matter how many concessions, gifts and or investments we make in their country. Their religious beliefs seem to dictate their actions. No matter how much our instincts are to help the abused, to rescue the weak and poor, those that choose to hate instead of love will continue to do so. Nothing convinced me more than the video I saw portraying an interview with a leader of Iran. That recent video, taped in 2015 was undeniable. The hate for America and Americans is stronger than ever before, yet we are at peace here. We are attempting to offer this country a choice to stop hating and to accept. Do you truly trust people who continue to terrorize others as a people who are willing to abide by that offer? After September 11, 2001, I have lost trust in that belief. No matter how hard I try, the reality of their actions and words cause me continued pain. They have convinced me, a common American citizen, that I can never trust them no matter how much I want to. I cannot expect them to feel as I do just because I care about them unconditionally.
To convince me this deal is a good one and will bring everlasting peace to all nations, I would need to see that our own political representatives are free from financial gains from this deal. I would need to see that the trust we are giving to the Iranian militants and religious factions is truly accepted by them as an olive branch. I, for one, have a hard time believing that I will not be hurt again by the actions of those who choose to hate us no matter how much love I have for my fellow human beings. Why don’t most of you have that same distrust? What proof do you need other than the daily actions of the terrorists within that country? As an American, I have too much pride probably in my country, but I won’t excuse that. I love America and what it stands for. I still believe with all my heart that we are the best chance of refuge for the tired, the poor, the sick and the persecuted. I face the reality that we are imperfect and have made many mistakes as we grow from a teenage country into a full-fledged adult country, after all we are pretty young in comparison to the countries around the world and their histories. Just like I made allowances for my own, and just as I have learned from my mistakes, so do I have faith that my country will as well. So I guess what I am asking you as my representatives is to take a long hard look at this deal and make sure it is not another mistake we may make because we are trying to make “our enemy our friend”, instead of accepting that our enemy may not want to be our friend nor expecting them to want to be our friend. And if you find that this deal isn’t truly the one that will be fair to both America and Iran, if you have the slightest doubt at all, please don’t force us into it. To do that would be no better than when a war was forced upon us because of the actions of those who hate us and the proof of that can be found in the memory of September 11, 2001 when America was at peace and the sun was shining.
I am so excited today! My eldest son, Rocky (Rocco) Napoli has published his first short story today on Amazon.com!
It feels like eons since he first told me about his dream of being a published author. To know Rocky is to love him. He is intelligent, charismatic and possesses a way with words that can transcend your imagination. Sure, people are going to proclaim I say these things cause I am his mother, but that just isn’t the case. As he can tell you himself, I am his biggest critic. Not that I mean to be or that I have malicious intent, no, no far from it! I have always been so very proud of him and feel that I know him well. He has never been ordinary, he has always been extraordinary and has shown his father and I a deep and compassionate soul. His understanding of whatever subject matter was before him consistently astounds us from his unique perspective and profound understanding. He often spoke about publishing a novel and pursuing a career as a writer and now he has set down his foot on that path. While this is just the very beginning with the publication of his first short story, I have no doubt that he has begun a journey of discovery and self-appreciation, which he so aptly deserves.
You can PURCHASE and read his first short story at the following:
(search for The Paper Boat on Amazon.com in books)
I hope you will enjoy this intriguing and mesmerizing short read into the fascinating psyche of a promising author. The Paper Boat is a story that anyone with a good imagination and a wish for acceptance will thoroughly enjoy! Happy reading!
I am proud of my country. I love being an American. I still think of America as a young country in comparison to the world history of other countries throughout our planet. So it’s easy to point out both American ingenuity and error. Especially all its’ mistakes. We have, without a doubt, made our share of human error. Yet, we survive thankfully and in a place that still recognizes independence, freedom of speech and freedom of choice. So yes, a celebration throughout the land is warranted while we try and fix those errors to create a brighter, better future for all Americans.
Americans everywhere will barbecue, go to a park, go to a beach, go to lakes and mountains or just relax in their own backyard on America’s birthday. Some will watch fireworks while others will cower from them, but they will still celebrate in one way or another. To those of you who will take a break from the everyday hustle and bustle this coming weekend, I invite you to read. Reading helps us to escape, to learn, to imagine, to thrive. I have a great recommendation for those who love to relax with a good story. One that is short enough not to be boring, written in such a unique voice as to be enthralling and suspenseful. A short story filled with imaginative thoughts and yet real enough for us to say, “hey that sounds familiar.” A short story that will inspire thinking and discussion. One that calls out for feedback. Best of all, it’s a free gift to Americans everywhere this July 4th weekend through Amazon to download on your Kindle or on any device on the free Kindle app, which is available on Amazon and the Apple App Store. It is a gift to the American public that can be kept, shared or gifted to others. And it is FREE to download starting this weekend! Why not open your gift and than thank the author by giving it your honest review? I have attached the link to this amazing gift and hope that starting July 4th you will enjoy our country’s birthday in a personal way by taking a relaxing hour for yourself and read, The Paper Boat, by Rocky Napoli.
This blog today may turn out to be the length of a book, but there are things about Barbara that I am remembering and some of them need to be told at length. Her personality was so complicated and awesome that to generalize entirely about her now would seem unfitting to her memory. She wasn’t a saint, making her full share of mistakes. She was human just like the rest of us. What sets her apart is what she possessed that few people have or even know about. Her beauty was in her heart and in her inner determination and strength to help others and to love so deeply and so fiercely there was no way to avoid it nor once experienced would you want to. Barbara was and always will be one of a kind.
Twenty-six years ago today, May 8th, my sister, Barbara passed away. Her death was far from “easy”. Her suffering was great. The lung cancer that affected her had been spreading throughout her fragile body and overtook the woman we all knew and loved much too soon. As a mother of five children Barbara was a “force of nature”. Her protectiveness for her “babies” was instinctively inborn in her very persona. It is only fitting that I write about her today for she is missed by all who knew her.
Barbara was born a middle child of eight. She had four older siblings and three younger siblings. We were all born into “poverty” and our parents had their own set of problems. Barbara was a sickly child and had battled and survived pneumonia on five separate occasions. I don’t think she ever weighed more than one hundred pounds even when pregnant on her five foot seven frame. Yet she held a beauty all her own. She was fierce and stubborn, loving and funny all at the same time. Her sense of loyalty was undeniable. She adored her mother and had a closeness with her that most daughters rarely experience. Barbara was on the surface someone we would call “tough” back then. She took no guff from anyone and would defend her family and all those she cared about with every ounce of courage she could muster. It wasn’t till the very end of her life, when I had the privilege along with some of my siblings and her children of caring for her during her illness, that I finally got a glimpse of her true vulnerabilities, fears and passionate heart. I have to be honest and tell you that it was an eye opener for me since she and I practically fought about everything. I am the youngest of those eight siblings and she and I would butt heads about almost everything in life. Barbara was also a religious person and her devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary was unmistakable. To this day, I cannot think about the Blessed Mother without thinking of Barbara as well.
The first inkling I had that my sister, who was eleven years my elder, had more guts than anyone I knew at the time, was when she “borrowed” a friend’s car and took off to elope with her than boyfriend, who shortly after became her husband. I recall waking up in the tenement bed I shared with her and my other sister and hearing my parents frantically making phone calls and having the police come to our door. From the gist of the conversations, I had understood that Barbara ran away and the search was on. They found her though and brought her back home before they actually went through with the elopement. She was almost charged with stealing a car, but thankfully her friend didn’t press charges. Another time I recall her coming to let our mother know that our brother was hanging off the fence in the schoolyard down the street from our tenement and that was why he was late getting home for supper. She had tried to lift him off herself, but I cannot recall whether or not she succeeded. Did I mention how strong she was in spite of her thinness? Well that she was. Strong as an ox and was never afraid to use physical force whenever she deemed it necessary. I was afraid of her for most of our lives together. When I turned eighteen, it was Barbara who took me to the my first bar and bought me my first drink. I recall her telling me that she was doing it herself to warn me and steer me against the pitfalls of alcohol. As it turns out, I was never much of a drinker or even enjoyed liquor until much, much later in life.
Barbara had few very close friends during her life, most of them since she was a young girl. Her loyalty and faithfulness to their closeness remains unparalleled. She loved her close friends almost as much as she loved her family. That love she possessed was strongly felt by all. She often did so much for others, quietly without any of us truly aware of how thin she spread herself and how helpful a person she truly was. It was not until her death that this all came to light for most of us.
Earlier I mentioned about Barbara’s closeness to our mother. She took it upon herself to be my mother’s guardian in every sense of the word. She stuck by her and defended her when our dad would be on a drunken binge and take all his hard luck out on our poor mother’s body. Barbara would fight him every time. I recall many a time, when she would come home and I could hear them arguing in our railroad apartment while I lay two rooms down in bed. It would get quiet and after a while I would sneak a peek from my bed to see Barbara hitting our drunken father over the head with one of his beer bottles. Not hard enough to do any real harm, but hard enough to make him leave our mother alone for a while. Our dad died during my sixteenth year, and Barbara had been married for seven years by then. After his death, Barbara once again became our mother’s caretaker (by appointing herself) and during all our mother’s illnesses it was Barbara who took her to the hospital, knew all her medications, and every illness our mother had ever had. She was our mother’s self-appointed spokesperson. There was a time during Barbara’s marriage that she and her husband and eldest daughter, Barbara moved to Oklahoma for her husband’s job. She gave birth to her second daughter, Chrissy there. It wasn’t long however, until she missed our mother so much that she won over her husband and they moved back to good old Brooklyn. When they moved back here, they moved into an apartment on the second floor of the first house we ever lived in. I believe it was the best time and the worst time for her. She was glad to be so close to our mother again, but she now had a growing family to worry about as well and a husband, who was not quite so happy to live in the same house as his in-laws. Our father had died during this period and after a time, Barbara and her family moved to their own apartment and Barbara now had three girls with her middle one, Kelly having been born.
Overall, it wasn’t easy during those years. Barbara was a full-time mom and her husband provided the only source of income for them. She did the best she could with whatever resources she had. Needless to say she was extremely stressed. There is so much more that I could write about her life and my interactions with her, but it truly will be a book if I do. So instead, I will shorten this somewhat and just tell you a few more memories I have of Barbara.
By the time her sister, Doris, who was seven years her senior, became ill while living in California, Barbara had five children of her own. Four girls and a boy. Karen being her youngest girl and John, Jr. being her only son. I had my son, Rocky by then and we had lost our mother the year before. Barbara and I flew to California together to try to help Doris who by this time was on life support after developing cirrhosis of the liver. The plane ride it self was interesting to me as it was only the second time I had ever been on a plane. Unfortunately, I am one of those people who have a built-in fear of riding in planes or for that matter, anything that takes away my sense of gravity. Barbara on the other hand, hid any fears she had and was a true social butterfly. She would talk with anyone and would wander the plane while I sat petrified and glued to my seat. On this flight to California, Barbara had been off socializing and came back to get me to move to the middle row and watch a movie that was being provided by the airline. She convinced me to go and so there we were sitting in the middle aisle of the plane waiting for the movie to start. Barbara, was talking to some people she had met earlier, who happened to be seated behind us, so her back was partially turned away from the screen. A stewardess was coming toward where we were seated carrying a tray of drinks. She tapped Barbara on the shoulder and as Barbara turned quickly to see who it was, she jumped up, knocking the tray out of the stewardess’ hands, and with drinks flying all over, proceeded to yell, “Oh my God, we’re going to crash!”. Although, I was still afraid and now in complete shock as to what happened, I managed to calm her down and tell her it was just the stewardess with drinks for everyone. I quickly learned that she was so afraid herself that when she saw the stewardess as quickly as she did, she thought it was oxygen and not cups. We laughed about that for years afterward.
When we finally arrived in California, jet lagged and worried, we were met by Doris’ boyfriend and son. They took us to see Doris and together Barbara and I went into shock. Beautiful auburned hair Doris, was now this frail woman with a head of gray hair, lying in this hospital bed hooked up to a respirator and all sorts of machines. She saw us and woke up briefly to whisper something to each of us and then fell back into her coma. It was the strangest and most emotional moment in both of our lives. We stayed in California for five days, and we knew from the doctors that Doris was gone and only being kept alive by a machine. It was a devastating time for us, and for reasons I won’t discuss now, I had the agonizing decision to turn off that machine because Doris was brain-dead. It took me five days to decide what to do and it was Barbara who was my rock. It was Barbara who listened to my agonizing and if it were not for her, I do not honestly know if I would have come through that time completely intact. After that time, Barbara had developed a new-found trust in me and I felt it. She always credited me with being a rock and the strength, when in reality it was her strength that I drew from.
During this period of our lives, my eldest son was going through a horrible disease known as nephrosis, and here again it was Barbara who gave me her quiet shoulder to lean on. It was Barbara who had faith in our decisions about our son and it was Barbara who gave me the inner strength I needed to get through that awful time as well.
If I am to be openly honest, I have to say here that I owed so much to Barbara the sister whose inner strength, abundance of love and true mercy was my silent rock. So when she needed help after developing metastasized cancer, I tried to be there for her. It broke my heart to see her struggling through that illness, how it slowly devour every part of her physical being, but it never destroyed her inner strength, it never touched an ounce of her love for her husband and five children. She fought hard to stay alive for them and for us, but it was not to be. She asked each of her siblings, me included, to watch out for her family. She spoke to me in those last days about each and every one of them and how very well she knew each of them. Her main and only concern was their welfare. There was no one who was with her during that time who could deny the love she carried inside for each of them and the hopes and dreams she so worried would not be fulfilled if she was no longer around to carry through her part in those hopes. I made her a number of promises then, and God only knows if I have fulfilled them all, but I have sincerely tried to live up to the faith she had in me. Miss her? So much more than these words or any words could tell you. Wish she was here during the trying times that have followed since her death? Part of me does and then part of me is grateful she was not alive to see the passing of her eldest daughter, Barbara at the age of forty-five leaving three children and a grandson behind. I miss her strength and her knowing ways, but I am glad that her legacy includes eight grandchildren and a great-grandson, all of which may yet carry through all the hopes and dreams she always had for each of her children.
I have never met another person like my sister Barbara and I reckon to wager I never will. She was the rarest of the rare with a pure and honest inner heart, that perhaps didn’t always have the knowledge or wherewithal to be ideal, but nevertheless, gave it every ounce of strength, love and faith she did possess. She is the person, who will never be forgotten by anyone who has known her. She is the person, who twenty-six years after her death, I still reminisce about and care about as much as ever. She is the person, whose love for her family I still feel this very day. I hope in my idealistic way of thinking sometimes, that she is in a spiritual place with our mother, our two sisters and her daughter and they are laughing their asses off at all the foolish things we still do everyday. I hope, also, that she can feel the love we all still feel for her and that she comforts her spirit like a warm blanket on a cold wintry day with that love. Reminiscing Barbara fills me with strength and hope and a sense of pride that perhaps, after all, we were the closest of sisters that could ever be. Rest in peace, my sister, I love you still.
Shadows of memories tracing empty spaces in my heart
For here lies the key to my home
Brooklyn, oh Brooklyn from you I cannot part
I hope you will forgive me, today I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness from the thoughts that I may soon need to leave the borough of my birth. My present circumstances is making it harder and harder…
I am pleased to announce that my fist published work, a short story, is now available exclusively on Amazon for the Kindle or any device that supports the Kindle app. If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited you can find the story there as well.
Please check out this story of a lost soul who finds a journal in the “Book Nook,” the likes of which will alter his perception of relationships, time, the universe, and the self. This unprecedented journey will make you question the fabric of your existence.
Another year has passed by and I am still feeling the same way I did when I first wrote this piece. I decided to re-post it because it expresses my innermost feelings precisely. Please forgive me for any redundancy.
I fell asleep one night twenty-seven months ago and awoke to a startling change in my life. Back then I never imagined how it would affect me so deeply, so profoundly. Today when I awoke it became very apparent to me that my life would never again be the life I had known for the last twenty years and surprisingly I found I am totally unprepared.
Funny how people take their everyday routines for granted. Some people never give it a thought, while others plan every moment. Some people love their jobs, while others drudge themselves through it. I suppose I had a mix of both ways, but mostly I loved…
It was one year ago today that Joey passed. Another sad day to mark in our memories. Losing our loved ones through death seems to happen sooner and more frequently in this stage of my own life. I still miss the Joey I once knew and the memories of what Alzheimer’s did to him in the end are forever embedded in my mind. Unselfishly I know God was merciful to finally bring him home, but selfishly, I still think about how much he is still needed by so many. Joey will always be missed and we will forever remember him.
I am reposting this blog I wrote about him right before he passed and remembering how fortunate I was to have had him in my life for all those years. Rest in peace Joey.
Last time I wrote about my brother-in-law Joey was July 10, 2013. Today I am very sad because Joey is now at the very end of his life and I will miss him. His struggle with Alzheimer’s has been a long hard road, especially for his wife, daughter and grandchildren. Everyone else who has the privilege of knowing Joey will also feel the pain of his passing because he will no longer be here in any form, so it is for our own feelings of loss that we will share in this sorrow. You see Joey has touched so many people in his lifetime, some he may have known about, while others haven’t realized until now, just how much he gave to them.
Joey was never boisterous or even talkative, but I remember his smiles and his laughter. I can still hear his corny jokes in my head and even though I didn’t want to laugh, I couldn’t help myself. I can see him making faces when my sister would tell one of her “stories” as if we shared our own secret about them. I can remember my own children and some of my nieces and nephews telling me stories about Uncle Joe and the way he either taught them something or shared a trivia knowledge with them which made them appreciate him all the more. I remember him liking sports and family dinners and vacations. I remember how much he liked to laugh.
I know how he adored his daughter and grandchildren and would move mountains if he needed to in order to protect and care for them. I know how much he loved my sister, his wife and would spoil her without hesitation or remorse. I know how kind, generous and solid he was as a man and a person whom anyone would be proud to know and call a friend. I know how the world will miss a soul as good as his.
I have to be honest and tell you that I have prayed for God to take him away from his pain lately. To allow him to leave this earthly life of struggles, misery and anguish in a dignified and peaceful way. I know now that my prayer is being answered and this wonderful human being will go peacefully into the night free from fear and worry. When his spot in heaven is prepared and ready God will finally bring this loving man home. I hope my sister and niece will be able to rejoice in the knowledge that this great man was in their lives for so long and his life was full and all their lives were blessed despite this awful disease that afflicts so many. I know I feel blessed that Joey was in my life and a part of my family. I know I will love him always and never forget his goodness and kindness. I will miss you very much Joey, but I know, I truly know you are going to a better place. I know one day we will meet again and when we do it will be as if you never left.
As I sit here reflecting upon the passing of 2014 my mind is clear and clouded both rendering indistinguishable. I always believed life would get better as a person aged. I am finding that it’s truly all an illusion. Life is really what you make of it.
As the body breaks down and the mind grows wisdom, emotions remain the same. Whether you are blessed with health or devastated by disease you stand the same chance of finding economic concerns, memories of past successes and failures, lives lost, lives saved, loves that have faded with time and love that still fans the flame.
Those losses could be the people, or they could be the jobs one held, the career one had or the possessions once believed to be signficant to your well-being. Perhaps there is a new spiritual connection as one grows older or perhaps it lessons. Whatever applies to an individual the most is what seems to be the driven force within one’s self.
“Make your mistakes, take your chances, look silly, but keep on going. Don’t freeze up.”
― Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again
Although not much has changed for me individually in the past year it has changed for many others I am close to. There have been serious illnesses, weddings, births, graduations, engagements and even deaths. Their changes have added to my wisdom and have taxed my physiological trials to the max. My mind had suffered in a way that is surprising even to one as optimistic as myself. Those days where I was too busy to think, I now find I cannot achieve much more than thinking, rethinking and thinking even more. Can I share those thoughts? Most probably not, and not because I can’t, but because I don’t choose to share most of them as yet. They are still indistinguishable and therefore, not easy to distribute nor select here or anywhere. Insight from them comes to me slowly, yet discernible. Just putting them into action gives them wings so widely stretched that it covers my rationality from end to end. I suppose it is meant to be this way for most of us and so, in reality, they are nothing new.
At this stage of life , as I embrace 2015 my desire is to complete a collection of written work that I will pray gives a message and reveals a hidden truth both for myself and for others. Perhaps I will succeed, or perhaps I will fail, but no matter which way it turns out, I will treasure them, believe in them and hold strongly to them. The illusion I have lived will fade into the past just as 2014 dissolves into oblivion. From what remains, I will gather and keep the wisest and happiest in order to “not freeze up” as Mr. Wolfe suggests.
Attempting to change individual choice is futile because the argument isn’t strong and the mind with its newly constructed paths will adjust because it needs to in order to stay alive. So my life remains as it has with a renewed hope that my words will make a difference to those who may need a rope to cling to or only a hand to hold.
2015 can be whatever we each make it to be. It can revive us or destroy us, give us joy or pain, yet no matter what is to come, those of us who are here in whatever state of our body or mind, we are still here. That realm of existence, within itself, provides the power of hope. Here’s hoping each of us exercise our wills to make our lives better. Ideally to make a difference if not for ourselves, than for others.
Christmas time is one of my favorite times of year. My heart rejoices remembering that once a year a Man was born who influenced millions with His acts of kindness, His teachings of love and peace, the sacrifice He made of His life so that people would believe that His Words were true and that He worshiped God in every way. His birthday allows me, among many others to give gifts and to have hope that peace will spread by remembering this Man’s wondrous life.
It is also a time for joy and laughter. Family and friends who gather together to express their love for one another and to share in the happiness that this season brings. How can one not be joyful? One of my favorite activities is to decorate my home and try to make it welcoming and warm. Of course, I never have enough time or money to make it the way I would truly like it to be, but like so many others, I do the best I can with what I have.
Recently, the news has been filled with acts of violence and hatred, war and strife. It breaks my heart. I believe we have come so far along in our attitudes toward each other and our hope for peace and harmony, yet what I read in the paper or on the Internet or TV, frightens me. It dashes the hope that I had, especially in the year 2014, that people would end their historical biases and replace them with understanding, acceptance and goodwill. Extremists in every walk of life seem to be on the rise and their warped and hateful ideas are influencing people to harm one another. Those of us who believe as I do that the world is not such a bad place need to step up and overtake these extremists by acting with the example that the Man, Jesus Christ left us with. To truly honor His birth we need to spread peace, hope and charity. We need to believe in the goodness of all mankind and accept that people are different only on the outside. Inside we are all human beings who experience the same emotions, the same health issues, and the same inquisitiveness. Only we can change the course of the future. Only we can have the faith in humanity it takes to make that difference. One person at a time, one idea at a time, one act of kindness at a time is all it will take to begin the spread of peace. My remaining hope is that people wake up and realize the power they possess to change the way things are currently. Help yourselves and help the world by remembering that Christmas is a Merry time. Chanukah and Kwanza as well are Merry times. Let’s rejoice in the fact that we are all human beings and celebrate that very miracle. For it truly is a miracle that creates human beings and it bonds us together as nothing else could or would.
It truly doesn’t matter what color your skin is, or what job you hold, or how poor or rich you are those outside appearances are only superficial. What truly matters is how open your heart is, how curious your mind is and how willing you are to have peace and harmony rule your life. Christmas is the perfect time to set these ideas in motion. Spread this joy, this peace, this merriment. Keep the positive side of this humanity alive and I am certain you will find that you have squelched the extremists because of it. Believing in the power of humanity is the only “weapon” any of us will ever need to right the wrongs, gain the strength, and become joyous in every thing we say and do. There is always going to be suffering. People will get sick, people will be poor, people will have violence around them. It is all part of the human condition. There is always hope that a cure will be found, money will be earned, and the violence will end. There is hope because the birth of a Man on Christmas Day gave us that. Remembering the possibility of hope because we are all human is most times all we need. So have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah, a Happy Kwanza and a wonderful, hopeful, peaceful New Year!
People always say you should write about what you know. Maybe so. Lately, however my muse has been missing. For me a muse can be a person, an idea, a feeling. I’ve been stuck in a rut and fighting my way out has been a complete uphill battle. My gut tells me to write everyday, but my physical condition says, “haha” don’t even think about it”. There has been lots of things in the news of late that I could have expressed my opinion about such as the discrimination issues happening in New York lately and then there is the NFL spousal and child abuse issues, and yet again, there is the ISIS/ISIL situation. However, each one of those issues would take pages and pages of this blog and frankly, I believe my followers, though few and far, would be bored to tears. So, Muse, where are you when I need you?
The last few weeks, (I admit) have been topsy-turvy for my family. My brother, Tommy developed some major health issues and was hospitalized for two weeks. The worry about him took its toll on me and I have been filled with stress, which is only now subsiding. He is out of the woods at the moment, but will need further surgery within the next two months. Maybe for most people my attachment to my brother would seem strange (to say the least), but he is the one person who has been there with me my entire life. He is not only a terrific brother, but also a “surrogate” dad to me, and an overall wonderful person. The thought of him suffering or worse is not a thought I can allow to penetrate my mind or my heart. I am very grateful that he has come through as he has from this last episode and I am also grateful that I have the wisdom to know things could be much worse. So yes, the optimistic side of me stays positive and thankful for the little things. Unfortunately, I also have another side, that mostly stays hidden; and every once and while it rears its ugly head trying its’ damnedest to overtake me. That is why I have an inward constant uphill battle these days.
Maybe writing this today will break the ice for me and I will be able to do what my blog song says very soon, but until then, I am still here grasping at the straws being offered by the Universe. I am hoping that soon my very opinionated expressions about life will come about and my Muse will allow my fingers to fly upon the keyboard to talk about life as I see it. If not for any other reason, than to keep me sane!
And that is the The Way I See It, here in Brooklyn.
You cannot run from your past. No matter how deeply your mind’s self-preservation hides those experiences. Doesn’t matter if they are good or bad, happy or sad. Those memories of the past are still there. Every once in a while they get triggered.
A recent family issue has brought one of those memories to the very forefront of my mind. All of the feelings I had arose right along side those memories and they hurt no less today than they did back then. Doris’ birthday is July 7th and there is not a day that goes by that something or other makes me think about her, but none are more conscious than on her birthday. She left this world on February 27, 1982. Five months shy of her 47th birthday. Her death was not an easy one. Her life was not an easy one. Yet, her kindness, her intelligence, her beauty never diminished until the very end.
My sister Barbara and I flew to California that week in February of 1982, trying to prepare for the worst. We received a call from her significant other and her son telling us that she was dying from liver disease and if we wanted to see her we should fly out immediately. It wasn’t until we arrived that I found the real reason for the calls. They needed me to sign off on her death. She was on a ventilator. Her body deteriorating to skin and bones. Her once vivid red auburn hair now a dull grey. Her eyes so full of life and promise now gazing far away as if she could see something none of us could. My heart was so heavy seeing her lying so helplessly in that hospital bed and Barbara, I am sure felt the same.
Here is where my past comes back to haunt me. Since the age of 13 I knew Doris gave birth to me, but I didn’t know her as a mother, only as a sister, but that is another story for another time. It seems that the doctors in California needed consent to turn off the ventilator. They were telling us that her brain was dead and that the machine was breathing for her. I couldn’t bring myself to admit that. She just looked at me. She gestured for me to come down to her mouth so she could say something in my ear. I couldn’t really make out what she was trying to tell me, but I had a deep feeling inside that I knew without the use of comprehensible words. She thought I didn’t know how much she loved me and how she loved her two children just as much. I could see it in her eyes that she didn’t want to go, but had no choice now. Same as most of her life she had no choice but to make the decisions circumstances presented to her. How could I, knowing this turn off a machine that kept her with us? I just couldn’t do it. I had to consult with the rest of the family. We had just lost “our” mother in December of 1979, how could we now be expected to lose Doris as well? It couldn’t be this way. There had to be another answer.
For five brutality hard days we stayed in California. Everyday calling home to Brooklyn to report on any progress she had made, but there wasn’t any. She remained the same and seemed to be melting away before my eyes. She never opened her eyes after that first time when we arrived. She was sleeping I kept telling myself. Just in a deep sleep and soon she would wake up and we would remove that machine then and she would breathe all by herself. The doctors kept bursting that idea everyday. Her significant other and her two children were also of the same consensus. They kept telling me I had to let her go. She was not there, her brain was dead. I had to sign off on papers that would shut off that machine and agree to DNR orders. She had no will so I didn’t know her wishes. All I knew about her was the things she would tell me during our phone calls. She was a drinker so she would call me in the middle of the night and talk to me for hours about her life and dreams and her hopes. She would tell me her concerns about her young daughter and her pride in her son. She would beg me during those calls to watch out for them, to protect them. I could never really make that promise because our lives were so separate, although I have tried in the past to mend those fences, it just was too torn down to salvage. So her wishes for herself never arose in those conversations. She was very unselfish by nature and would never think of herself first in any instance. So those thoughts were with me as my sister and I walked through Doris’ life in those five days.
We met her friends, we saw where she lived. We did things that she would have done on a normal day in her life in California. After a few days, we were able to get a clearer picture of her and how she lived. Her life wasn’t perfect, but then no one’s life is perfect. She was, however, surrounded by love and as far as we could tell she was happy for the most part. I found comfort in knowing that. Finally, the fifth day in California had come and I could no longer delay the decision I knew I had to make. The family back here in Brooklyn didn’t want to give her up, but they couldn’t see her. Back then we didn’t have the same technology we have today. It was my word and Barbara’s word that they had to rely upon. After confirming with doctors one last time, I signed the order to remove the machine and a DNR order. Within an hour she was gone. It was just the machine keeping her alive. It didn’t matter how I felt or anyone felt, her body and mind were finished on this earth. The disease decided for her. I still have no doubt that if she had the choice to live on she would have, even though most of her past was painful. Somehow I know she never really forgot those painful past memories and experiences, but for a short while she found a way to live with them instead of resisting their constant power over her will, hence her drinking problem. I could say “if only” forever, but it won’t change what was or what is. People would say she brought it upon herself. I will tell them they are wrong. Her past brought it on her. Things that she lived through from a very young age haunted her short life and even though she was smarter than most women I know, she just never put herself first and that in the end destroyed any chance she ever had of a full life.
The decision I had to make that day changed my life forever. It placed a crack in my heart that has never healed. She was my invisible support system. Her words of advice no matter how seldom she had a chance to give them to me were chosen wisely and I listened. Her love of life, her passion for new things, her love of people are my legacies from her. How could anyone think the decision that was placed upon my shoulders to shut off the machine that kept her breathing was an easy one for me? Something that profound is never easy on anyone who has the responsibility. The most important part to remember though isn’t what we need or want, it is what the person would want. If Doris would have been a vegetable with the machine, she would have wanted to turn it off and I know that. Her quality of life was gone a while before she wound up in the hospital because the disease was eating her alive. Trying to save her would have been easy, letting her go was the hardest thing I ever had to do.
Today I sit and I watch as another family member is going through a similar heartache. My heart aches for them. I know, I really know that they can’t see beyond the need they have for the person to remain alive and I hope that it will be okay for everyone involved. I hope that the person isn’t suffering as I believe they are and that the person’s family will find the courage and love to let the person go one day soon. It won’t be easy to do and it will hurt beyond recognition. It will, however, also be the most unselfish act they could ever perform. It will also be that memory that stays hidden in the mind, where it resides so that your life can continue and where along with all the other memories it only gets triggered on occasion just so you never really forget or escape from the lesson in life that it taught you. So happy birthday Doris. You are not forgotten. You are forever imbedded in our hearts. Your life was worthwhile and your soul lives on.
It’s amazing how quickly the time flies. A half a year has already gone by and the Fourth of July is upon us once again. Funny, it never seemed to go as quickly when I was younger. I can recall waiting for the holidays and it seemed to take forever before they materialized. I suppose the first holiday of the year that I enjoyed the most was the fourth of July. Not because there were firecrackers and noise, I still can’t stand that part, but I always liked getting to hold the sparklers in the evening outside our tenement. It was the one time I remember my parents being “outside” with me. There we would be standing outside the tenement on seventh avenue in Park Slope, all our neighbors joining in. Some would light the firecrackers in the “gutter” while most of us got to twirl those sparklers as our parents lit them. I can recall making sure to get the “punks” earlier in the day at the neighborhood candy store. The punks (something along the line of incense) would keep the light from one match and light up our sparklers best of all. The only part I didn’t enjoy was when the sparks from the sparklers would throw out the sparks that would land on my hands and arms and cause me to feel a tiny little burning sensation. It was really nothing and never left a mark, but I would fuss because secretly they scared me somewhat. My favorite part was the fourth of July food. We always managed to have hot dogs and corn on the cob and watermelon and italian ices from our local pizza place. All among my favorites as a child.
There was one incident I remember as a very small child where I did something so horrific that when I think about it today, I cringe. After the fourth of July ended, I had to be around seven years old at the time, I found a hidden stash of sparklers in our apartment. So I decided to light one inside the house. I snuck into my brother’s room which was the tiniest room in the apartment and lit a sparkler with my mother’s matchbook. Well it was stinging my hand a lot so I got really frightened and decided to throw the sparkler out the window, thinking to myself that by the time it got to the ground it would die out. You see we lived on the top floor of a tenement above a store on seventh avenue at the time, so it had a long way to fall and blow out. The only problem was that the window in the bedroom was connected by an “airshaft” meaning it was the portion of the tenement where the row of tenements were connected and down below there were papers and other paraphernalia which had been blown there. Well that sparkler did not burn out, instead it caught fire to the papers that were at the bottom of the air shaft. Luckily for me the janitor in the building saw the smoke right away and doused the fire from the sparkler. My Guardian Angel or the Universe or something had to be watching out for me that day because a tragedy was avoided. I did however, get severely punished and rightfully so, when the janitor came banging on our door wanting to know who threw the lit sparkler from the window. I tried to deny it, but I never could keep my face from showing the truth and was found out. From that day till this I have never touched nor lit a sparkler or any firework. As a matter of fact, I truly don’t enjoy any type of fireworks anymore. It just reminds me of a war zone.
As a matter of fact, it does amuse me when I see how excited children and adults get when they see the lights in the sky. I often wonder what the beauty is in them. I have tried to keep an open mind and enjoy the sight, but deep down it just doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest. Perhaps my distaste stems from my associated punishment or from those tiny burning sensations, but whatever the reason, I will just keep “oohing and aching” with the rest of the world at the Fourth of July fireworks and be grateful that I am alive to see another year and another holiday pass by so quickly. Most of all, I will keep looking forward to the current day celebration where there will be hot dogs, watermelon, corn on the cob and maybe even Italian ices to enjoy!
First and foremost, A happy Father’s Day to all the Fathers in my life!
It has been said so many, many times almost any man can be a biological father, but it takes a “special man” to be a true father in every sense of the word. I happen to know a few in both categories. Today I will tell you about those fathers who are worth writing about, those men who show love to their children on a daily basis, those very “special men” who have touched a child’s life in such a profound way that the child grows into a productive, caring adult. These fathers are worth the time and effort every single day!
I never knew my biological father, only his name. I was given an old blurry picture of him once and I still look at it every now and again. To be honest, I don’t even know why I care. He didn’t seem to care about my biological mother nor me. He just let her fend for herself. However, I was one of the lucky ones. I had a couple of “fathers” in my life, so I always had a daddy. One was my grandfather and the other my brother. These very special men taught me values and gave of themselves to me every single day. Their love for me still shines in my heart like a beacon that guides my every step. Their advice resonates within my mind in every decision and/or choice I have to face. It matters not to me what they did in life other than be my guiding lights. I don’t know what would have become of me, if I did not know these special men, if they somehow were not thrown into my path, they took on the responsibility of taking care of me daily. They taught me, they nurtured me, they advised me, they guided me and most of all, they loved me.
Deep down my wish is that every female child born in this world could experience and feel the love that I felt from these special men and from that, love by choice, have a way out of an imperfect life. By far my life has been anything but “perfect” but because of my “fathers”, my life has been worthwhile and basically a fairly happy one. I married a man who is a biological father and he is as good and as solid as the men in my life were and are. He loves his children unconditionally and he is there for them every single day of their lives. He is a true example of the label father. I feel blessed and lucky that the fathers who have been directly involved in my upbringing have been men to admire, love and look up to. These men have surely earned the title of daddy and welcome it wholeheartedly.
I also know many men who are biological fathers, but are not truly fathers. Those men should be ashamed for there is nothing more precious nor sacred in life than the birth of your own child. Yet, those men have made a choice to do little or nothing for their children. They choose to neglect their children instead of nurturing them. I pray that they wake up and realize what a precious responsibility and blessing they have been given. I know men, who by no choice of their own, cannot have children, yet they make a choice to have a child in other ways and those men that I know, who have made this choice, are among the best fathers on the face of this planet. They are more loving, more concerned, and more caring than if the children they father were from their own bodies. Those men are angels sent from above and of that I have no doubt. I know men who are single fathers, who either by divorce, death or separation are the kind of father every child wishes he or she had. These men never relinquish their responsibility. They don’t stop loving the child because the mother is not with them. They don’t neglect their children. I have witnessed all of these men throughout my life. Those experiences have given me an insight into what a father should be and can be. If a man is truly a father their children will know it, remember it and cherish it, even if that man is not their biological father. No matter what mistakes a child makes in life, if they have had a father they will get past those mistakes and they will live a life that is full, a life that gives back, a life that realizes love can be unconditional. To have a father is to have a precious blessing and I truly feel very blessed for all the fathers in my life.
So I wish a very Happy Father’s Day to all those dads who have made a difference. May you all always have the best in life. May you all always feel love, compassion and joy each and every day.
That’s The Way I See It here in Brooklyn.
Say good-bye to not knowing when
The truth in my whole life began
Say good-bye to not knowing how to cry
You taught me that
And I’ll remember the strength that you gave me
Now that I’m standing on my own
I’ll remember the way that you saved me
Inside I was a child
That could not mend a broken wing
Outside I looked for a way
To teach my heart to sing
And I’ll remember the love that you gave me
Now that I’m standing on my own
I’ll remember the way that you changed me
To let go
Of the illusion that we can possess
To let go
I travel in stillness
And I’ll remember
I’ll remember (I’ll remember)
Mmmmm… (I’ll remember)
And I’ll remember the love that you gave me
Now that I’m standing on my own
I’ll remember the way that you changed me
No I’ve never been afraid to cry
Now I finally have a reason why
I’ll remember (I’ll remember)
No I’ve never been afraid to cry
Now I finally have a reason why
I’ll remember (I’ll remember)
No I’ve never been afraid to cry
And I finally have a reason why
I’ll remember (I’ll remember)
No I’ve never been afraid to cry
And I finally have a reason why
I’ll remember (I’ll remember)
Copyright: Webo Girl Publishing Inc., WB Music Corp.
According to the Wikipedia Dictionary the following is the definition of the word assume.
verb [ with obj. ]
1 suppose to be the case, without proof: you’re afraid of what people are going to assume about me | [ with clause ] : it is reasonable to assume that such changes have significant social effects | [ with obj. and infinitive ] : they were assumed to be foreign.
2 take or begin to have (power or responsibility): he assumed full responsibility for all organizational work.
• seize (power or control): the rebels assumed control of the capital.
3 take on (a specified quality, appearance, or extent): militant activity had assumed epidemic proportions.
• take on or adopt (a manner or identity), sometimes falsely: Oliver assumed an expression of penitence | she puts on a disguise, assumes a different persona, and cruises the squalid bars on the bad side of town | (as adj.assumed) : a man living under an assumed name.
assumedly |-midlē| adverb
ORIGIN late Middle English: from Latin assumere, from ad- ‘toward’ + sumere ‘take.’
My definition of assume: Don’t make an ass out of u and me!
Well I have been accused of “assuming” one too many times in my life and it has finally come to a head. Most of my life I have had the uncanny ability to see things that most people don’t see. Particularly when it comes to feelings and the like. My error, however, has been in stating what I see and because I do that people assume that I am assuming! It has happened to me more times than I can count! My other error is that I care about people and their feelings. I am extremely empathic which leads to a complicated string of events that for some reason always seem to turn around and bite me directly in my proverbial ass!
Most people I have observed don’t want to face their own fears nor do they want to face their own true feelings about any given subject. I suppose it is a predominant trait of human nature to be that way. However, I have never shared that particular human trait. I am constantly facing my own inhibitions, fears, feelings, etc., etc. Naturally I don’t like what I face any more than the next guy, but I do face them. The problem comes in when I can see things that others cannot within themselves and trying to be Ms. Nice Guy, I try to help them out by opening a discussion about what I sense are worries and/or problems that they may be facing. Instead of taking my words at face value though, most people see what i say as projection of my own feelings when they are anything but my own feelings. Ninety-nine percent of the time it results in the fact that I was right in what I stated, unfortunately, it does not present that way until much later on in the person’s life. Once it does, they sometimes will admit to me that I was right, but most times they don’t. What I do get when the incidence is happening is a statement that accuses me of being assuming. It not easy being me. Trust me. I swallow this even though I know within myself that this statement about me is totally unjust and unfair. It is rare that I come across a person who takes me at face value and realizes that what I have is insight. That particular person or persons do not realize what a God send they are to me. To acknowledge that I have an uncanny ability to foresee things that they have even yet to realize within themselves brings me total peace and comfort. That is very rare though within my circle.
So I am peeved today. Extremely and utterly peeved. Perhaps I am a rare breed and perhaps most people don’t want to believe that I am any different from they are and I have never really argued the point with anyone. I am however sure that I am not the only person on this earth with this ability nor do I think I will be the last. I do know quite emphatically that it is a fact of life. I sometimes wish I was daft and didn’t possess this insight as I call it. I would be a lot less insulted. A lot less hurt. A more peaceful human being within myself. That just isn’t something I can control at will. When I have this insight it is often spontaneous and I can no more stop it from coming than I could jump over the moon. It’s in my face. It’s in my every word. It’s in my thoughts. To not tell the person I care about that it exists would be like watching them drown and I would do nothing to save them. I couldn’t nor wouldn’t do that. That is why almost every time I swallow the hurt and the pain and the insults so that the person I have tried to help will actually have an opportunity to think about it and with any luck, act on it.
So all I want to say today is always assume I am right because ninety-nine percent of the time I am and that my friends, is no assumption!
A memorial is a word used to denote remembering and honoring those who have gone before us. A memorial for a person is to recall his or her life. At the end of May there is a day designated through the years in modern times to recall the sacrifices made by our military. In remembering their ultimate sacrifice, their lives, we must also remember the sacrifices of the families who have lost their loved ones forever. “Lest We Never Forget” is something engraved forevermore in our minds our hearts. It is truly necessary and valuable for the rest of us to be grateful, it is just as valid and necessary for us to remember. Many of us will be celebrating the unofficial start of summer this weekend with outings and barbecues. It has just evolved into this type of “holiday”. However, we should also pause and recall the lives that were given so that those celebrations could freely take place. So let us honor and appreciate all of these sacrifices by displaying poppy flowers in plain view and casting our American Flag at half-staff as a sign throughout this great land that we do honor and remember. It is only through memorializing we will keep our pride and show our love for one another and for those who have died in our place. God Bless our military past, present and future. Forever will they remain in our hearts and minds.
This Sunday, May 11th is Mother’s Day and as I sit here thinking about that day that is set aside for Moms, I can’t help thinking about the moms I have had and the moms I know. It is such a special event not because the card companies make money as well as all the florists and restaurants, but because it has come to be more than just a commercial gimmick. Because of that commercial gimmick Moms of all walks of life are now recognized, celebrated and hopefully appreciated. For me it has become a day of reflection as well as a day that allows me to sit back and appreciate the love that my children show me when they celebrate this day with me. It’s a day that allows us to be together without thought of any others. We are free to just be. It fills me with tremendous joy to just “be” with my children. It’s better than birthdays. It’s better than any other holiday to me. It is the one day in the whole year when I really feel like I have accomplished something in life. When I look upon my children and see how they have grown into fine human beings and how loving they are toward their own mates and their own offspring; it swells my heart with pride. I know that my job as a mom was the best I could do and my children are a product of that job. They are typical children with typical mischievous histories and typical angelic histories. They are also very special. No matter what has ever transpired in our lives, my children have always been the kind of children everyone wishes they had. I feel loved by my children. I feel respected by my children. Don’t misunderstand me, they can make me cry as quick as they can make me laugh. They can ignore me as much as they can pay avid attention to me, but the one thing they have never done, either of them is disappoint me. I have never been truly disappointed in either of my children and to me that is the ultimate gift that being a mother allows me. If mother’s day celebrates that feeling than I want to be a full participant. I want to bask in the glory of being able to spend a day with my children and enjoy them and love them and get away with all the kissy faces I can manage!
Mother’s Day is also a day for me to reflect on all the women I know in my life who are also mothers. I watch as they dedicate themselves day after day to their children, sacrificing if the need arises, tiring themselves out till they hurt if their children need them, just doing the best they can every single day to let their children know they love them and are there for them. I celebrate these women today as well. I am so glad I know them and so glad they are part of my life in one way or another. Happy Mother’s Day to all my family and all my friends who are moms! I hope this Mother’s Day you will be celebrated loudly and cherished dearly, just as you are cherished quietly each and every day. Mother’s Day cannot pass without my thinking of the women who have been a mom to me. My mom, Helen and my mother-in-law Teresa. Without their love, guidance and strength I’m not so sure I would be as confident or caring as I find I am these days.
My mom was tough and soft; happy and cranky; a very complex and complicated woman to figure out. The life she had growing up was extremely hard and didn’t get much better until later on in life, closer to her passing. She had so few years to experience the luxury of life, though my brother, Tom tried to give it to her. She was cheated out of most of what life had to offer and I always wish that she were here now so I could show her all the things that she missed out on and worship her as she should have been worshipped. I wish I could just sit on her lap one more time and tell her, “I love you, Mommy”, even if she wouldn’t say it back to me. I hope her spirit is now at rest and she feels all the love that she might not have felt during her lifetime. I hope her spirit knows that she lives on in everyone she has left behind. For a part of my mommy will always be a part of me.
My mother-in-law was also a very formidable woman. Her entire life was dedicated to the health and well-being of her children and grandchildren. She was a woman whose strength of convictions I have yet to see matched. She loved fiercely without wavering. She taught me many things in the years she was with us. I don’t think I was ever able to express the depth of respect and love I felt for her, even though I tried in my own way to communicate. We spoke different languages, she Italian and me English, so it was hard most times. She raised her children with such a magnitude of love that they are still to this day the greatest bunch of people you could ever meet. They carry on her legacy with their own children and their own values. They are the ultimate of what a loving family consists of, they are close, they are caring, they are hard-working, they are proud, they are a unit. My mother-in-law did a great job at being a mom and I can only hope that one day someone, somewhere will be able to say the same about me.
Last but far from the least, are my sisters and my niece who are no longer with us, but moms who have also passed. Their spirits live on in their children and their love of family and of life leaves all of us who remain a goal to thrive for. Their lives were very short, but their generous spirits and their love of family and friends was phenomenal. Not a day passes when one of them or all of them doesn’t pass through my thoughts and cause a ripple of pain from missing them through my heart; or bring a smile to my lips just remembering something they said or did to make me laugh. So I hope that everyone will think of Mother’s Day in a new way today. I hope that those of you who read my blog will realize that it wasn’t such a bad idea to commercialize a day for Mom’s as long as the sentiment that goes with it is practiced and remembered.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
PS: Song in this blog is dedicated to my Mom, who loved this song and often said she wished she was named Rosemary.
Another year has passed by and I am still feeling the same way I did when I first wrote this piece. I decided to re-post it because it expresses my innermost feelings precisely. Please forgive me for any redundancy.
I fell asleep one night twenty-seven months ago and awoke to a startling change in my life. Back then I never imagined how it would affect me so deeply, so profoundly. Today when I awoke it became very apparent to me that my life would never again be the life I had known for the last twenty years and surprisingly I found I am totally unprepared.
Funny how people take their everyday routines for granted. Some people never give it a thought, while others plan every moment. Some people love their jobs, while others drudge themselves through it. I suppose I had a mix of both ways, but mostly I loved my job. The people I came to know, the help I was able to give, the feeling of accomplishment I experienced completing a difficult task. All of those experiences gave me purpose. I didn’t really know until today what it meant to know I can never do that job again, never meet new young people, never have a conversation with a scholar that left me breathless and learning something new or even having a debate over our different outlooks on life. It hit me like a ton of bricks today and the sadness of this forced retirement engulfed me beyond my imaginings.
I still feel too young to be retiring, but alas not being able to use my body as I did before that day twenty-seven months ago has changed all my best laid plans. I never would have believed anyone who told me I would be so lost and so sad just from leaving a job, but I am those things and more. Even writing, which I always believed to be my future, has lost its luster and appeal lately. It astounds me thinking that my purpose is now gone. Good advice is ever flowing my way and ideas from others about what to do with my time now, but none unfortunately wear my shoes nor have my personality so all the good intentioned words of wisdom don’t help me at all. I compare it to the loss of someone dear. Everyone at the funeral says they are sorry for your loss and I’m certain they are, but it doesn’t validate what you feel from that loss. Well, when you are forced to give up something you care about, as I was, it is the same as experiencing the death of a beloved friend or family member. There truly is no consoling. As all hurts heal I have no doubt this will also pass in time, I just don’t know how much more time needs to pass until I can feel like my old self again or if in fact, I ever will.
Am I feeling sorry for myself, probably yes. Do I have a right to? Without a doubt. Maybe something will change again in my life one day soon that will allow me the privilege of feeling I have a purpose on a daily basis. Who knows? Change is certainly apparent everywhere for everyone, just do yourselves a favor and don’t take what you have for granted. Appreciate it, go ahead sweat the small stuff cause the small stuff matters as well, savor all of the moments because you may fall asleep one night and awaken to discover your entire world is changed and you can no longer have the purpose you have today.
Everyone wants to be happy. It’s more than an adjective or adverb, noun or verb. It’s an actual feeling. It’s hardest to do when you are a young adult because all of the troubles in the world are on your shoulders. However, if one would learn to push the negative out and allow the positive side in, I am willing to bet that happiness will start to infiltrate the soul and before you know it…you will find yourself …happy! For me, I can jump-start the process of feeling happy by listening to music….happy, uplifting, danceable music! Maybe for others it would be a movie or perhaps a book, or maybe just a smile from a fellow human being. Whatever the start is pay heed to it! Follow it through. Allow yourself the luxury of feeling happy.
I decided to be happy even though another year has gone by and I am no better nor worse than I was a year ago! As I reflect upon my life these days (which I always seem to do around the date of my birth) it becomes more and more apparent that although I have had trials and tribulations, as most of my fellow human beings, for the most part I have had a good life up to now. A GOOD LIFE, now that isn’t something everyone can say. As I think back and see my childhood, my teen years, my young adulthood and now, I have had the support of family and friends always in one form or another. The people I have met have kept my life in perspective. My life is enriched first and foremost by my family. I have a terrific family. Sure we are all a bit nutty here and there, but no more so than most. My life is enriched further by my friends. I have made so many wonderful friends. Sure they are all a bit out there at times, but those are the times that make me laugh the hardest! So I have concluded that people really do create love.
Even though it’s about to be my birthday and people tend to be a bit nicer when it’s one’s birthday, I have to honestly say that most of my birthdays have been memorable and happy. Yep, I said it …happy! It’s actually a euphoric feeling when one decides to be happy. It isn’t the same as when something makes you happy. It isn’t the same when people wish you happiness, either. It’s more of an inner peace. A gift to yourself. Choosing happiness in the face of adversity, choosing happiness in the face of illness, choosing happiness in the face of poverty, is truly a unique and rewarding feeling. Truth be known, only you can do this for yourself. Happiness is the one true choice a person can make for themselves. All it takes is a decision to be happy. To look at the sadness that surrounds you and the awful things in the world that you can only pray will change and decide that you will do your part to better it by first caring about those things and then do something about them with a happy outlook. I decided that I can’t change things as I would like them to be, but I can accept them and I can make a difference with every word I write and every smile I give. That is how I choose to make a difference and give the gift of happiness by being happy. I have heard through the years that when the person in the household who keeps everything together is happy than the whole household is happy. Same applies to the person on the job or anywhere. If that person is happy everyone is happy. I have tried it and I know firsthand that it works. Happiness is infectious! So infect people with happiness wherever you go!
So Happy Trails! Be Happy Together! Smile! Act as if your life depended on it, because actually it does!
All of my life I have been fascinated by love or the idea of love. Is it solely emotion or is it an idea within one’s mind? Or perhaps it is a combination, something I have come to think of as the emotional mind. Growing up my mother always told me, “There is no such thing as love”. As I matured I realized she was caused so much pain from love that she chose to cut it from her life as best she could. As I grow older, I am beginning to understand that statement more and more.
I’m not referring to a parent’s love for a child or vice a versa. Although that can exhibit the same disappointments at times. However, that sort of love doesn’t fade. Painful or not it remains. Joyous or not it remains. It is the only constant I have come to believe in, for not matter how cruel or unmanageable it may be at times, the love we feel for our children is always there; and the love a child may feel, even for an abusive parent, is still intact after all the hurt has been inflicted. It is a true phenomenon in life to me.
I have been romantically in love a few times in my life. All of those times started out euphoric. The feeling was always good and always left a desire for more of the same. Unfortunately, I have also experienced great pain from those very same feelings of love that brought me such pleasure in the beginning. It has baffled me my entire life and has resulted in extreme skepticism about love and what it is and what it may be. Quite a while ago I wrote the poem, What is Love and perhaps it wasn’t considered great by those who viewed it, but for me it spoke of my conflicted beliefs about love and how one can never be certain that it truly exists no matter how wondrous the lovers or spouses seem.
It has been my experience that with great love comes great pain. For to love someone a person must care about everything that involves that person. For if one didn’t care, then how could it be love? For is not love the desire to make the other person happy at all times? For is not love a feeling of empathy for the other? For is not love an expression of complete desire and need of the other? If those things are not felt than I say romantic love is not present. Perhaps the feeling is carried over from that which we felt in childhood. A need to belong, a cure for loneliness, a comforting gesture, and even a dependency. That is the love felt by a child, but surely not romantic love. Romantic love must be a combination of all those things; and above all the absolute wish for the well-being and happiness of the other person. That is so very hard for human beings to do. To be able to sacrifice, for lack of a better word, their own feelings for that of another. My belief is that to love that way is to experience what love is and the trick is to continue to love one own’s self while experiencing it. So technically, it is not a sacrifice at all, but a willingness to commit to a feeling felt so deeply it is unexplainable.
So is love a reality of the heart? Or is it an illusion of a human’s mind? These are age-old questions and I suppose the answer will continue to elude us. I will tell you this, I would choose to experience always the euphoric aura of romantic love, but would forgo it completely if I knew that with it comes the excruciating pain it can bring. Happy Valentine’s Day!
What is love?
Love is a moment, and too often it passes without a second thought. It’s the one moment in your life in which everything is right. Your faults and failures don’t matter. Love is the moment you know why you’re here; it’s the answer you’ve sought. Love is the absence of emptiness. Love is the sole reason you feel emptiness. Love is a changeling.
It is different feelings in different people. Love is a defined human emotion tugging for comprehension within the center of reason. Love is the confidence to be. Love is essence of beauty. Love is felt. Love is neither intelligence nor a theory provoking process. Love is the core of humanity’s beliefs. Love can be paradise. Love can be excruciating pain. Love is a personal expression of inner self. Love is a mystery waiting to be revealed. Love is the driving force in the pursuit of happiness. Love is self-deprivation in a quest toward selfishness of the highest form by creating happiness in another. Love is what you feel it is and not what you think it is. Love is unforgettably embedded in your being once it is truly experienced. Love is a lifelong search.
With those words came a shock of disbelief, until I heard from her sister, Roxanne who confirmed what I was afraid to face, my beloved friend Wanda passed away from a heart attack on January 30, 2014 at the age of 59.
I am still shocked and I feel her gone from this earth and the sadness overcomes me. Never again will I be able to hear her laughing at my shenanigans. Never again will I hear her childlike innocence over a secret I shared with her. It was as if I shocked her with each adventure of mine that I revealed to her. No I haven’t traveled the world or climbed any mountains, but every little thing in my life that happened and I told Wanda about it, I felt like the most well-traveled outrageous woman ever, sort of an Amelia Earhart or an Auntie Mame, and she made me feel so great! When I was troubled or worried it was Wanda who made me laugh with her and all of a sudden everything vanished and it was funny. This blog tonight isn’t about me though, it is meant to be about one of the most amazing women I have ever known.
We met when we were in our twenties. We both worked at New York Life Insurance Company in Manhattan. Never in a million years did either of us think we would wind up as bookends. She a proud African-American woman and me a Caucasian mutt (Irish, English, Scottish and French) woman. Both of us were considered middle class at this stage of our lives, but we knew poverty and were trying to overcome it. Neither of us believing we had so many things in common. We did though, the more we talked the more we knew we were extremely similar in every area, we bonded from those discoveries and we stay bonded throughout our lives. We trusted one another. We never judged one another. We shared all those intimate details without hesitation, laughing through the other’s shock at our behavior at times. We were similar to two of the “Sex and the City” girls. A bit out there, taking risks and trying almost anything at least once. I can only remember two times in over 35 years seeing or hearing Wanda cry. She didn’t cry in front of people, she tried to show toughness, but her niceness always shined through that facade.
Even though there are a dozen of antics I could reveal, I choose not to divulge them, because I know my friend wouldn’t want that and I will respect her. The two of us couldn’t help but hang out together once we realized we were almost the same person only of a different race. Our friendship grew despite the disapproval and jealousies of our other friends. It was our fault though and we knew it, but still couldn’t help just hanging out together every chance we got. We still loved our friends, we just couldn’t share all the things Wanda and I shared with one another without feeling judged. You see Wanda and I just simply accepted each other and neither of us ever judged each other or anyone else. We never talked about others and how they were or what they did. We just simply were friends. We met each other’s families and they became our family. We met each other’s boyfriends and future spouses. We went to each other’s weddings and childbirth. We suffered together through breakups, sicknesses and accomplishments.
As we grew older we stopped seeing each other, each of us involved in our own worlds of marriage and motherhood. However, we never kept out of touch. At least once a year we would talk about what was happening in our lives, we would catch up as if we saw one another yesterday. We would always remember one another’s birthday. The only regret I have is that I was one of three Godmothers to her only daughter, Shanell and I didn’t keep up with Shanell. Not because I didn’t want to, but because my circumstances through much of my life, didn’t give me the privilege of choice. However, I have always been proud of the honor Wanda bestowed on me from the moment she asked me and I still feel that honor. Wanda knew I felt this and always understood why I couldn’t demonstrate it as I wanted to, she never held it against me and always updated me about Shanell. Wanda loves Shanell and her granddaughter, Nekiia with all her heart and of this I am positive. Wanda was always Wanda. She never changed in all the years I knew her.
She was very ill the last few years, but told me recently that she had her numbers under control, except for her sugar. That was always fluctuating because, like me she was addicted to soda. In the last three years, I tapered off the soda and replaced it with bottled water because like her, I developed diabetes as well. She was on medication, I came off medication but still have fluctuating numbers. Wanda couldn’t escape her need of soda, it was just stronger than her willpower. I understood. Now she is gone from a heart attack. I don’t know what happened yet and I’m not sure what led to the attack, but it doesn’t matter. Right now the only thing that matters to me is that I live in a world now without Wanda. My Wanda the funny, bubbling, secretive, caring, genuine, magnificent Wanda. A true friend, a real friend, a best friend a woman with substance, humanity, and heart. She was brave when needed, strong when needed, subdued when needed. She had wisdom beyond her years. She had love as great as Venus and conquered whatever hate she felt long ago. If it seems as if I am exaggerating than you didn’t know her. She was a humanitarian, a wonderful loving grandmother, a loyal and trusting friend. I loved her ever since I got to know her and I love her still. How I will continue in a world without Wanda being in it is beyond my thinking. I cannot imagine it. She kept me grounded. I had no fear, no mistrust, no doubt when I was with her no matter if we were live, online or on the phone. She exuded such a positive, welcoming aura that no secret was too secretive, no wild or risky act was too risqué. She was so accepting of all of it.
She also was fiercely protective of her loved ones and would be stern when she felt it was necessary. She was stubborn and class conscience, she would let you have it if she believed she was right and you were wrong. She was just like every other mom I have ever known, taking care of her family the best way she knew how. She will be missed beyond any of these words, but I needed to write them. I wanted the world to know that Wanda left her mark. That she is still loved beyond words. The world and I lost a precious human the other day and all I hope is that she is in a place where she is pampered, protected and pain-free. Wherever she is they are lucky to have her.
Wanda I love you, I miss you and I wish you rest in a peaceful and comfortable place. You will always be my beloved, trusted friend.