A father for Father’s Day

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.

Happy Father’s Day, Tommy.

And that’s the Way I See It, here in Brooklyn.

K

 

 

 

 

Everything Changes

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.

And that’s the “Way I See It” here in Brooklyn.

K

Love: Reality or Illusion?

MC910216986All 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.

                                         ~Kathy Napoli

And that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn.

K

 

My Beloved Wanda

My Goddaughter, Shanell Nekiia stated to me tonight,

“Kathy your girl left this earth yesterday”

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.

And that’s The Way I See It here in Brooklyn.

K

New Year

It’s been quite awhile since I posted anything on my blog. I haven’t had much oomph lately nor much inspiration for my thoughts. I am hoping that in this New Year I will receive insight that will open up avenues that will be of interest to those who follow my thoughts in words on paper.

So much goes on during the holiday season that I get lost in the hoo

pla of it all and my mind is a bevy of ideas and projects. Not that I did very much except gift buying, decorating and bit of baking. All but a fraction of what I used to accomplish. As a matter of fact, the Christmas decorations are still outside my house. It’s been too cold and snowy this January to get them down and put away. Maybe by St. Patrick’s Day!

Just wanted to touch base a bit and let my followers know I’m still alive and kicking.

IMG_2037

As soon as the words come flowing…..this blog of mine will be growing. See you soon.

And that’s the Way I See It, here in Brooklyn!
K

Change is a coming!

It’s amazing to me how I keep hearing how murder in NYC is down each year, yet every time I open up my NY Daily News, my local paper, I see another shooting or knifing. Usually it happens in neighborhood that holds a housing project. Everyday there is an innocent child or adult who gets caught in the crossfire. Yet murder is going down in the City. Aren’t the boroughs considered part of this wonderful city we call the Big Apple?

I turn the pages of the newspaper and see the arguments for and against stop and frisk by the NYC Police Department. I admit I have a mixed reaction to that policy. If it will truly deter crime and catch the idiots who murder or wound innocent human beings — than I am for it. If it is just a numbers game..then forget it. If it means the police can catch terrorists…do it. I’ll waive my Civil Rights if it will help do that. Hah! I can’t believe I just said that, me, of all people! I am such an advocate of Civil Rights and the rights of individuals and totally against any “Big Brother” type monitoring, yet I am also so very saddened and tired of reading and hearing about senseless killings of innocents.

We need a new Mayor that is for sure. If we have the right candidates, I don’t know. I do know as great as the rich Mayor attempted to make the city, and the Police Commissioner protected us, these awful events keep happening. We absolutely need the housing projects in all the boroughs redone. Whatever happens there isn’t right. Hard working, mostly blue-collar or poverty-stricken people reside in them and they deserve to have decent living arrangements and safe, clean properties to enjoy. I believe that with the right Mayor focusing on the housing project problems could be the  most major event to happen to New York City and the Boroughs in ages! If the Mayor elect would make that the first priority I believe this Metropolis would flourish like never before. I believe the senseless killings would end. The gangs would be disbanded and the people who deserve not to be afraid, won’t have to be afraid anymore. Cops can get back to fighting other crime because there will always be other crime to fight, in a City this big there will always be crime.

Maybe I’m all wrong and there is something I’m missing, but I don’t think so. I’m so tired of injustice and senseless killings and all the other bad stuff that goes with it. Maybe I should move. Change my state or something. I don’t want to run away from the city of my birth. Brooklyn has always been my home and I love it. I love its’ diversity, its’ beauty, even its’ ugly side.  It is after all my home.  Quite frankly, though, I have been thinking more and more about finding a different place to settle down and have the things I never could have here, such as my own backyard and porch/deck.  My own driveway and lawn.  A kitchen that has access to the backyard has always been a dream of mine.  Maybe even a pool so I can do a daily swim and get my tone back. Oh so many things I have thought that would mean changing my life, but somehow the pull of Brooklyn, the memories the access to everything keeps me here with my dreams of change, rather than the change itself.

All I really want to change in the immediate future is for me to pick up my Daily paper and not find one story about a senseless killing in a playground or just crossing a street.  That is the change I really want and I hope it’s coming soon.

That’s the Way I See It here in Brooklyn,

K

Down Memory Lane

reminisce~verb~indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events.

Sometimes our memories are best forgotten and sometimes they are all we want to remember.  It”s funny how life works at times.  Back before I made mistakes and regrets, there was a time I had innocence and naiveté.  The latter time is the time I am remembering today.  The different way things smelled back then such as cotton candy or Christmas trees at the street vendors.  The games we played in front of our tenements or homes on the side streets.  The people we knew, the stores we went to, our neighbors, our friends.  Pleasant memories are best remembered and can lift our spirits when we are feeling low.  I never thought I would want to go back in time, my life is good.  I have love in my life everyday.  Yet, there is still a part of me that wishes I could go back to that time of innocence and naiveté when life was simply uncomplicated and the only things that mattered were the things you planned solely for yourself that day.  There were no real thoughts about sickness, or death, poverty or wealth.  The world around us was just there and the opportunities were in front of us.  Sure we were always harassed by our parents and perhaps other siblings, but for the most part we were free and young, ready to skip and jump to our next adventure.  Our friends were our lifeline.  We trusted them and hung with them and always wanted to be a part of them.  Funny how life changes much of that and how we lose sight of our friends for so many different reasons.  I’ve been blessed as of late through the wonder of technology.  I became a member of the social phenomenon known as Facebook.  Through this social media I have found friends I thought I had lost forever and friends have found me.  I have been astonished to learn how much we missed each other even though our contact was absent for so many, many years. I have discovered that I was wrong in thinking they forgot about me or I never really touched their lives.  I had always known how they had touched mine, so it is a pleasant feeling to know that I have also made a small impact on them.  Talking to them brings back happy memories and can almost make me feel that I am young once more in the age of innocence and naiveté.  Not a bad place to be in this crazy world of ours.  Remembering, I have come to realize, doesn’t always need to be bad or sad and for me that is a wondrous emotional discovery.  Going back again is sometimes more of a salvation than a heartache and I am really glad that I took a chance and followed that path.  So in the words of Frank Sinatra, “That’s life….regrets I had a few, but then again too few to mention.”

And that is The Way I See It here in Brooklyn,

K

Uneasiness

As much as I want to believe that I can handle almost anything, my mind and heart remind me that I have an emotional mind. I call it that because no matter the amount of logic that I think I have my emotions rule my logic and cause me turmoil and stress.

There are so many things I want to change in my life, or better said, I wish to be different. I find myself thinking too hard being too self-righteous at times and I don’t know how to turn off that part of me. A sadness overwhelms my usual optimistic outlook on life and changes my behavior and my feelings. I know for certain it is not depression. I had an endocrinologist once who tested the hormones associated with depression and I, thank God, had normal results. So I cannot blame my sadness on hormones. I suppose it may be because I have an inner sense of not being happy with the way things are in my life right now. I am surrounded by sickness within my family and a circle of friends. The things I wish to do with my life I cannot do because of physical restraints nowadays. I’m writing my blog but with a troubled mind. I am not seeking sympathy nor empathy. It has always been easier for me to write rather than speak. The words, most times, come out a bit better when I write them. I suppose what I am looking for is release. A way to express what is deep inside myself, without burdening anyone with worry or stress over me, at least to those who truly care about me.

Maybe my emotional mind started as a child. Perhaps between my dysfunctional childhood mixed with being spoiled, the signals that I am supposed to have got crossed somewhere along the line. Perhaps the maturity level I should possess at this stage of my life hasn’t quite developed and so I am unable to unravel the confusion I feel inside my mind and heart. Life is supposed to be better now. It is supposed to be a time when I have finished with mistakes and learned from them. It is supposed to be a time where I listen more than I speak or express my opinion in a self-righteous way much less often than I have expressed that opinion. I should have learned to temper my anxieties, my anger, my frustrations. It seems though that I haven’t accomplished those yet. I don’t like being sad, I’m sure no one does. Yet, I am sad. I am lost in this world of emotional upheaval. It is usually believed that people can change things with mind over matter. I have tried to do that, but I find that when I truly care about something or someone, I cannot find self-control. This uncontrollable need to express myself overwhelms my logic and impulsively I act rather than sit back and wait for problems to resolve themselves. Most people I speak to appear to have an easier time doing that. They just ignore problems or put them aside. I have a tendency to face them head on. I often find myself analysing things that happen and believe they happen for a reason. My problem comes when I get this urge to seek the reason they happen. I can’t explain why. I can’t understand why. All I know is that I either experience anger or sadness from problems. The logic is there and the understanding of that logic is known to me, yet I cannot stop myself from trying to right what I perceive as the wrong. My perception, logic tells me, is not the perception of others, but my instinct tells me the complete opposite of my logic. It is like a complete ball of confusion that consumes me until peace resumes within myself. I really want to be different. I don’t want to experience life like this anymore. I want to bury my head in the sand and pretend that everything is fine and that life is what it is. All I can do is hope that feeling will come sooner than later and this blog, this great form of expression will lead me to that sense of peace once again.

And that is the Way I See It, here in Brooklyn.
K

Befuddled

 

Hi! I know it has been a while since I wrote on my blog. Lately, life has taken a curve and my thoughts have been preoccupied with family woes. I would much rather be optimistic in my posts and write about happier moments and thoughts than the ones I am experiencing as of late. So for those of you who follow this blog and for those of you who care….I hope to be back soon with some joyful posts, some serious posts and some posts that make you ponder! Meanwhile, happy Labor Day one and all!

And that’s The Way I See It here in Brooklyn,
K20130519-205022.jpg

Happiness is a baby playing!


Wouldn’t it be great if we could recapture the innocence and freedom we had as a baby? just imagine a day without worries or cares! Just enjoying your environment and loving every second. I wish we could all experience this joy just once in a while and perhaps the world would look a bit different. The joy it brings to me watching this video infuses my heart and allows my mind to roam free if even just for seconds.

Happiness is the joy of a child!

And that’s the Way I See It here in Brooklyn.
K

Who doesn’t love ice cream?

Ah summertime! Hot, hazy, sunny skies, beaches, lazy days and ice cream! I can remember waiting impatiently for either the Mister Softee truck or the Good Humor truck to come sauntering down our street  playing their jingles and capturing my kids attention like no other sound! It was those few minutes on those busy days when their excited faces and happy smiles would bring joy to my heart. Choosing what to order usually took more moments than one would want, but hey there was so much to choose from! Ice cream has always been a staple in my family ever since I can remember. Even as a child, my mom and dad and brother would have ice cream from Si’s candy store almost every summer night. I would be sent to Si’s on 7th Avenue to get a pint of cherry vanilla for my dad, either strawberry or butter pecan or peach for my mom, same for my brother. I would always get vanilla fudge. Thinking back I hadn’t realized that Si’s containers were the same containers that they still use in the Chinese restaurants to put “take out” rice in! Funny how seasonal memories stay in one’s mind!

I have loads of memories about ice cream or involving ice cream, but I believe the best one I am ever going to have is the one in my video on this post. I will cherish this memory for as long as I am allowed to remember.

Going away for a few days and won’t be posting for about a week or so, but hope I put a smile on your face and hop in your step! Enjoy!

And that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn!

K

Joey

IMG_0796

My brother-in-law Joey is one of those guys who people can easily label as “one of a Kind”. He is a very special person. I have known him for most of my life and I have never known him to be anything other than kind, caring, helpful, quiet, and born with a true heart of gold.

I first saw Joey when he came to get my sister, Gerrie for a date. It was very late at night and he was in the Navy. He came by our tenement with his friend Roger. I was around 11 or 12 at the time. I recall waking up and seeing him by the door with his friend. Both of them in their sailor suits and as handsome as could be.  As soon as he noticed I woke up (our tenement was a railroad apartment and my bed was in the middle of the apartment (no doors and I slept with two of my sisters) he came over to say hello and to introduce Roger. I remember jumping up and hugging him and then falling back to sleep. I didn’t really know Joey well all I knew was that he was totally and madly in love with my sister and that they would soon marry. Back then Joey was not much different from how he is today. After he married Gerrie he had a job at UPS and would work long hard hours. They have a daughter, Barbie Jo and she is the apple of Joey’s eye. He was always fiercely protective and a loving husband and father. No one could mess with either of his girls or their extended family if Joey had anything to say about it. His presence alone demands respect and his good looks are still with him today. No one, except maybe my mother, could find fault with Joey. Then again, my mother found fault with every single guy her daughters ever went out with. She was a tough bird and took no-nonsense from anyone.

Joey continued to work really hard and long hours providing a great life for Gerrie and Barbie. He extended himself to many members of our family as well. He taught my oldest son, Rocky to drive. He loved baseball and other sports. He hunted a little when he was younger and collected baseball memorabilia and hunting rifles. He took his wife and child on a vacation every single year. It is easy to know that Joey cares about us even if he never utters a word in that direction. I have only seen him angry twice in my entire life and both times in defense of either his wife or daughter. Now that is saying a lot, don’t you think?

Well sadly and heartbreakingly Joey has gotten Alzheimer’s disease and the symptoms started about 16 years ago. For quite a long time Joey held his own and with the help of Gerrie and Barbie and now his two grandchildren, he maintains a pretty “normal” life. Recently, he became physically ill and consequently the dementia worsened. Now he needs additional help from a professional staff at a rehabilitation/nursing facility. It breaks my heart to see this happening to anyone and their immediate family. Alzheimer’s is a horrific disease because it takes away the cognizant portion of your mind. It becomes so debilitating and a person afflicted with it cannot survive without help. More has to be done about this disease. Research must be explored further. A cure or at least a better treatment to delay the onset of this disease must be found and soon. I believe half of the population will develop either dementia or Alzheimer’s at some point and no matter what kind of lifestyle one lives, if it happens it will only be the research for the treatment and hopefully the cure that will help.

So as I sit here reminiscing about my wonderful brother-in-law and knowing that somewhere inside the man I now see is that same man, that same caring, kind, loving man who if he could would still defend and protect his family to the bitter end. His handsome, strong body is deceiving, but I am grateful that he still has those qualities.

I chose to write about Joey today because he is on my mind each and everyday lately. I know I could never repay him for all the kindnesses he bestowed upon me throughout my life and I wanted to pay tribute to a great man who deserves to be happy, loved and taken care of in the best possible way. Joey is “one of a Kind” there is no doubt and I am very glad and grateful that I am privileged to be part of his extended family. I will love him always. Thank you, Joey. I am sorry I never took the time to tell you how I felt long before now and I hope that somehow you know all the lives you have touched, changed and made better just by being, Joey.

The song on this post is for Joey because he loves these types of songs and would often listen to them.

1-15 El Paso 1

And that’s the Way I See It here in Brooklyn.

K

My Baby Boy

My very best friend in the world is my baby boy. He is only seven years old and yet he has the wisdom of a man much older than himself. Each day he gives me unconditional love. Each day he protects me. Each day he cuddles with me. Each day he looks to me for unconditional love. He takes care of me and I take care of him. He can be funny, fresh, fantastic and frisky all at the same time. My baby boy is amazing. He has helped me from becoming lonely these past 19 months that I have been mostly housebound. He lets me know when he wants to eat, go out, play and other similar acts. He understands me better than anyone! He responds to everything I tell him. It is as if he can read my mind some days. It isn’t often that one finds a best friend that is so loyal, dependable, and cute to boot! As much work as baby boy can be, he is worth every extra effort, and every dollar ever spent. I love my baby boy and I am certain he loves me back. I am so grateful that he is in my life now and for however long he wants to stay!

So meet my Baby Boy!  Isn’t he adorable?  When he first came home to us he fit in the palm of my hand.  He was and still is the cutest ever!  Don’t you agree?

647_43982456963_715771963_1336682_4267_n

He doesn’t like to pose for pictures, but once I get his attention when I have the camera at hand, he will coöperate for about thirty seconds! (haha) Image

Image 1

Looking out the Window!  Checking to make sure all is okay on the block!
windowatti.jpeg

attiwindow.jpeg

He loves to sit with me on my front porch!  He will stay on the bench as long as I am touching him.  If not, he just loves to sit at my feet!

IMG_0321

And that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn!

K

Justice

imagesCount me among the naïve in the world because I still believe that the truth is the truth and no matter how one tries to cover it up, make excuses for it, or give that age-old comment that there are two sides to every story and then there is the truth, it is still the truth. For me justice and truth are partners. Married for life. In American society today, and perhaps even in the world, media and communication methods have evolved into a state of exaggeration, exploitation, and injustice and all for the sake of dollars and cents. Everyone seems to have forgotten what morals, honesty and forgiveness means. The media are most guilty of doing this and we as a society have enabled them to succeed by buying into all the sensationalism and thrills that they provide by coloring what is truth and in turn what is actual justice.

It troubles me that we are all forgetting that our country is based on “innocent until proven guilty” in all matters, regardless of circumstances. We are all so ready to be gullible and swallow all the hype without questioning its origins or ulterior motives. Very few of us has the courage anymore to stand fast and loyal to what we have been taught, to what we have experienced and most importantly to what we actually believe in our hearts. I am personally upset by the news all around me. All of the sensationalism has sickened me to the core.

Justice fairly distributed is an American pride. Where is it going? How do we get it back? What has to change in order to feel that pride again? It worries me that the future generations are being swept up in misguided ideals in such a quantity because of modern technology and communication that the very foundation, from which they have come, is so severely cracked that their entire lives will be slowly destroyed if it continues along this path. It has actually upset my balance of self just from watching, reading and listening to all the misguided virtues and untruths being tossed about in order to entice, tempt and devalue all the work that was done to build this country in the first place.  America is nothing more than a rebellious teenager in the history of the world and it is time she grew into the next phase of her existence by remembering her foundation, improving upon them and utilizing her mistakes, experiences and lessons to keep her earned title of the greatest country in the world.

  • America needs to remember the value of family and that today’s family is not the family it once was formed to consist of. Today’s family is any body of people who reside as one unit and take care of one another in whatever way possible. That family is the American family.
  • Our elected officials are elected to represent the consensus of the American people. They are not in those positions to form small dictatorships or private enterprises.  It is society’s responsibility to keep those representatives in compliance with their positions.
  • It is society’s responsibility to uphold the principles of our country’s constitution, including the protection of all people within the boundaries of this country who are participating in this country’s laws and regulations, customs and predominant language.  All American people inclusive of all races, creeds and religions have been given the rights and privileges afforded by that Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
  • Uphold the premise of “innocent until proven guilty” as the ultimate form of justice.  It is that very premise that will set us apart from all other nations and help us to grow and learn from our past indiscretions and outright wrongs.
  • The media are not the law of the land.  Justice, independence and integrity are the laws of this country.  Society controls the perception of these values and to me right now, they are lost in the misguided notion that media and communication are the scripts of the law and justice of America.  This age of technology has given us a great deal, but it has also taken a great deal from us.  The media is a place to report news, to entertain, to share.  It is no more than opinion in any way shape or form.  It is society’s responsibility to know that difference and to subscribe to it with that knowledge.  It is time to stop and take an assessment and realize that our rebellious teen ways must come to an end.

I am at a time in my life when I don’t believe I have that many more years ahead of me as those I have behind me.  My one wish is that I once again am allowed to see the pride in America rise.  That the justice I believe is the cornerstone of our great nation will once again shine as a beacon across the seas and she will hold her head high knowing that she has moved on from the past and has kept her foundation, while reaching the next phase of her existence and is stronger than ever and ready to embrace her future, free and independently as she was born to be.

And that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn,

K

Where My Heart Is

Where My Heart Is

 

BROOKLYN

BROOKLYN, OH BROOKLYN

From the Verrazano to the Brooklyn Bridge

Through the Ridge and up the Slope

Diverse personalities in every nook

Streets of Brooklyn are “off the hook”

From Coney Island to the Navy Yard

Local churches, restaurants and museums

Amazing all people from every scene,

So enticing on the movie screens

Schools,sports and entertainment abound

The people of Brooklyn create and astound

Showing the world its undying glory

Brooklyn, oh Brooklyn, you are my life’s story

Leaving your streets to explore other places

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

~Kathy Napoli

ColorBridge

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 to live here and be financially stable.  Not quite sure about the definite plan as yet, but I know there needs to be one very soon.  How will I ever be able to break my own heart?  Life is not always as we planned nor does change always come with joyful challenges.  For now, though, its just a jumble of thoughts.

And that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn!

K

Reality TV vs Reality Advertising

Reality TV has become the “popular” genre on the television screens across the world. People exposing themselves gives a new meaning to entertainment. Personally, I would rather be entertained by programs such as “VEGAS”, which of course was cancelled for a show exposing the Brooklyn DA’s office! Pathetic! What I want to see is reality in Advertising. You know all those commercials portraying wrinkle reducing or eliminating fine lines and creases creams ads? The ones where there is a photo touched twenty something model applying these “miracle” products! I would just love to see an actual 50-60 year old untouched model applying those creams and actually wait the 8 weeks for them to take affect and re-shoot the commercial showing those results live! Oh yea, now that would make for true reality! Talk about preying on the helpless! Women with limited incomes have been wasting their money for years hoping one of these “creams” would take the place of the plastic surgery they can’t afford. While I’m on the subject, lets take a closer look at another “reality in Advertising” medium that has bugged me for years.
Scan 1

The picture above shows a woman who is obviously not a size 2XL, but if you look closely the small sketch within her photo shoot does. With my idea of reality advertising, that illustrated sketch would be a real untouched photo of a 2XL woman wearing that “miracle” suit and if it did all that it advertises to do for just $20 plus S&H, that designer would make billions in no time! Wahla….Reality Adveristing!

Another pet peeve of mine is the frustration infused upon women above the size of 12 while shopping.  I am sure there are hundreds if not thousands of women who have experienced the hunt for a special occasion outfit, whose soul purpose is to spend money on something they will probably only wear once, but instead of snaring their prey…they wind up wearing something from their closets or settle for less than what they wanted.  This makes for very unhappy and disappointed women worldwide.  With good intentions, we enter the high-end department stores.  There before our eyes are just the dresses and/or outfits we have been searching for, so we walk briskly to that desirous rack.  We find exactly the dress we desired.  We look at the tag and of course, it is a size 8.  We search frantically through the rack only to find that the sizes end at XL or L.  Now, keep in mind every designer seems to have their own vision of what constitutes a size S, M, L and XL.  It is as if those designers have visions so outside the box of reality that it should be deemed true fantasy!   Well back to the desired dress…with true disappointment we leave our gorgeous dress on the rack for the imitated models to find on another day.  As we look through the larger size or “woman’s size” area, all we see are sacks and dresses that even our grandmother’s of 90 wouldn’t wear.  No style, no shape, blah designs with big flowers or some other hideous accessory attached. We are just about to give up when  lo and behold, we spot the desired dress in the women’s section of racks!  (This unnamed high-end department store will remain unnamed to protect the innocent). All the awful thoughts we have been having during this shopping event are disappearing, we rescind our curse upon the designers and the stores.  We can’t believe we see that dress in the size we were looking for.  We (my companion and me)  practically run to that rack, bumping into other shoppers because we can’t get there fast enough!  We grab the dress from the rack and oh no…we have been taken again!  While the dress appeared to be that very same dress that we saw on the size 8 rack, it was anything but! It was the same material, the same color, but the style was completely obliterated!  Why we cry?  Why?  If the designers’ manufacturers can make the dress from size 0 to 12, why in heaven’s name can’t they make the EXACT same style  in size 14 to 22?  In reality, our bodies aren’t shapeless, so why make the dress in the larger size shapeless?  Here was the dress in my hands.  Proof that it was duplicated in color and material.   I walk back to the size 0 to 12 size rack, I pick up the desired dress, I compare it to the larger size duplicate…it is totally not the same styling!  “What in the world is going on?” , my mind shouts!  Somewhere between the designer and the manufacturer or distributor, that dress was REDESIGNED hideously.  It makes no sense at all.  It doesn’t only happen with this dress, it occurs in blouses and skirts and pants as well. We keep asking ourselves, “Do designers actually think that the style can’t be worn by a larger sized woman?” “How discriminating is that?”.  Of course, both dresses get placed back on their prospective racks.  Waiting for just the right person to buy them.  While the reality is that hundreds if not thousands of women would have paid the price for that dress if only it was styled as the original instead of settling for some other cheaper dress or a closet standby.  When will the world of  “reality advertising, marketing, manufacturing and designing” come to pass?  Or, “Will we forever be stuck in this merry-go-round of taboo clothing because we happen to be larger than a size 12? “. What will it take to change this status quo?  I’m thinking perhaps it’s time for the networks to consider a true reality show.  One based on reality advertising, where people are real, not made to look real, but are real.  I can envision an explosion of interest in the less than perfect people out there and an increase in profits for the brave designers and manufacturers  with an abundance of courage ready and willing to expose a false and fake system for all the world to see. I patiently and anxiously wait for someone to realize that the desired dress would look just as great on the body  of a size 14, 16, 18, 1x or 2x woman.  Just as I wait for the discovery of a cream that truly erases the wrinkles of a forty, fifty or sixty year old woman.  Oh if only that day would come!

I am so amazed by all the scientific technology that has come to pass, yet saddened by so much that has not yet been developed.  I am so tired of being entertained (or better yet…curiosity satisfied) by the barrage of reality television programs, but disillusioned by the continued phoniness in advertising and marketing.  I am a hopeful optimist!  An idealist, I suppose, about certain variants in life.  I, also presume,  I’m an average woman who shops, watches television, reads magazines and newspapers, and searches the internet, so shouldn’t I be listened to?  It would seem not.  It seems as if I am invisible in the modern world.  There is no reality in advertising and marketing for people like me because there are no brave souls out there willing to stand up against the status quo and develop or invent a reality that would mirror the reality of my existence, but nevertheless, I will hold onto the dream because after all that IS my reality.

And that is the Way I See It, here Brooklyn,

K

Higher Education CAN take you Higher!

I read an editorial in the NY Daily News today, May 28, 2013,  by Richard Cohen of the Washington Post. (http://www.nydn.com) The editorial struck home with me because I have worked in Higher Education for more than twenty years and what Mr. Cohen portrays is a sentiment that I have held for quite a long time.  Aside from being an administrator in higher ed, I am also a parent and aunt of many who have received a college degree.  The position I held allowed me the very fortunate circumstance to meet with thousands of students from every walk of life.  Being associated with them afforded me the luxury of learning something new each day.  The things that they taught me are still meaningful and have remained with me throughout my career.  It seems to be the appropriate time to write about the things mentioned in the Daily News editorial since in New York it is just about commencement time for most of the Universities.  The editorial was written to portray the value of a college degree in today’s world and whether or not it was worth it.  I have to agree with Mr. Cohen’s belief that it is.  I have heard many students proclaim that they didn’t understand why they needed their degrees and there were some regrets as they were graduating.  However, over time they realize what they didn’t realize right away.  All those classes, the ones that may have had nothing to do with their chosen careers or jobs, are the classes that taught them to broaden their horizons, think outside the box and better themselves in the future.  They come to realize that the information that was given to them as college students was vital to the world around them.  Those wondrous tidbits of facts gave them the tools they needed to make this world of ours a better place.  What they may have learned about physics or classics or aesthetics will serve them well as they travel far and wide to apply their degree in television or radio or teaching or architecture.  Some realize this immediately, while the majority take years to fully appreciate the value of a well-rounded Associate or Bachelor or Graduate degree. There are those who go directly to a job and many may not be designed to attend college, but that is fine as well, because not everyone has to go to college.  However, those that do can come to appreciate the value of the degrees they have earned.  They would serve themselves well to have pride in their accomplishment and to search for their place in this world with the wisdom they have gained through the knowledge they have earned.

I would be remiss, if I didn’t congratulate all these wonderful college graduates.  They are a large part of the future of my world and the world of all those living today.  These graduates will go on to be the next generation of parents, doctors, lawyers, teachers, marketers, financial wizards, creative geniuses, and oh so many more glorious paths in life.   They will be or are parents who will have the insight to raise their children with a thirst for knowledge as well.  This amazing circle of life will continue because thousands of people will have graduated from higher education during the next month or so.  It won’t matter if they need to take jobs at lower pay scales, the knowledge they have attained and the opportunity given to them is something that everyone should have as an opportunity. A chance to broaden one’s mind and expand their own worlds should be everyone’s chance in life.   A higher education has given many people the power to become higher in life because their minds were overloaded and empowered from all those classes that had nothing to do with their chosen fields.  I truly hope they are as proud of themselves as a I am for them, past, present and future.  They are my hope for a better world in the very near future.  CONGRATULATIONS GRADUATES!

That is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn,K

graduationstudents

universitygradmfasmiguel

Summer Dreaming

Summer is quickly approaching. I’ve always loved summer. The smell of the ocean as the breeze warmly caresses your skin on the beach. The view of a lake surrounded by mountain greenery emanating a blissful feeling of peace. I was always certain that God lives in Lake George because I have never felt such a contented, totally peaceful aura as I experienced during my visits to this beautiful lake. When I dream of summer it always includes children playing and laughing, picnics and an overall feeling of complete freedom. I long to take long drives in the summer. Eat lobster on a pier, enjoy Ralph’s ices or Spumoni Gardens’ Spumoni. Eat a fresh slice of New York pizza while strolling down an Avenue. Holding hands while walking along a tree lined path. There are so many visions of summer, too many to list here so I’ve decided try and capture my feelings about summer and share them here with my poetry and random pictures with the hope that my readers’ summer dreaming will bring them as much pleasure as it brings to me.

Happy Dreaming!

photo 3

Lake George
Lake George

BEAUTIFUL SUMMER

Tangerine hue glistening gold upon the subdued foam

Astounding beauty encapsulating the soul

An emotional upheaval entwines from within

Tossed between melancholy and a grin

Past memories and tomorrow

Unable to turn away

What seems a lifetime-reality-a few moments

As the summer sun lights the dawn

Promising laughter, freedom and joy

Its’ summer kiss a promise

Its’ caress enrapturing our mind

Yes, it’s summer once again!

20130519-210026.jpg

And that’s the Way I See It here in Brooklyn

K

The good with the bad

Well Mother’s Day was lovely.  The weather was perfect and the children were wonderful.  We went to Prospect Park after brunch and I had an opportunity to see the beauty of the Park I grew up around.  It has changed somewhat, but remains lovely.  We went by the lake and I was able to sit on a bench and look at the calmness of the water which is home to some ducks, swans and other water fowl.  It was very crowded yet peaceful at the same time.  For the past four days I have been paying the price however.  My body is trying to regain some strength.  Somehow I caught something else to deal with…a sore eye.  I developed some type of sore on the lid and it is affecting the left side of my face. As much as I love and enjoy outings, they don’t return the favor any longer.  Whenever, I venture to go somewhere, the next three to four days I spend recuperating, but I am not complaining, more like venting.  I long for the days when I could walk faster, move faster, get five things done at the same time.  I wish a simple beautiful day such as Mother’s Day didn’t leave me feeling as if every drop of energy was drained from my body.  Now that the nicer weather is upon us, I would love to be outside enjoying nature and people, but I fear I face another summer stuck indoors or only as far outside as my porch.  The few times when I can get out and get a ride in the car is a gift to me these past fifteen months.  I wish I learned to drive all those years ago, but now it is too late for wishes and the reality of my present life looms before me.  I am grateful for so many things and frightened by others.  I suppose one must take the good with the bad.  I try to do that every single day.  Every once in awhile though I do become a bit despondent and long for those days when I didn’t have to think about the good or the bad, they were just there.  Those days when all that occupied my thoughts were the day to day operations of my employment and what was for dinner and if we would watch TV or finish a project for the house, or go out somewhere.  All those day to day things are gone now and one day folds into the other, passing in the same way.  I suppose my limitations are pronounced this week because I fell into the fantasy that perhaps I could be my old own self again.  I woke up though as soon as Monday arrived.  I look around my house and see so many projects that I wish I could do.  I have the itch to garden at this time of year, but I must wait for assistance for all I can do these days is supervise from a chair and even that doesn’t last very long before I tire out. When people see me they tell me “how good I look”, I think that has always been a sort of curse with me, from the outside, one would never know that anything at all was wrong with me.  It is all hidden beneath my skin, this debilitating, life stealing monster that consumes my physical being and zaps my abilities and energy on a daily basis.  I don’t mind most days because I dislike crying about woes in general.  So today seems to be a good day.  At least I can type today and write on my blog.  The weather is nice, the sun is shining and I am basking in its warm through my window.  I am grateful for everyday though one would not think so from today’s post.  I am glad that Mother’s Day and all holidays only come once a year for I fear that anymore than that would make me into a terrible crank who does nothing but vent….and that is not something I want to be.  So I hope you bare with me while I think of inspiration to post about things other than myself and I truly begin again with the cycle of taking the good with the bad.

And that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn,

K

Teachers Appreciation Week

A week to celebrate a worthy profession
A week to celebrate a worthy profession

I have dozens of friends and relatives who are teachers.  I have worked in higher education for over twenty years.  Because of those two facts, I feel qualified to speak about teachers in today’s blog.  So here is the way I see it!

In today’s society it seems so easy to pick out the teachers who are “bad” or who make the wrong choices or who shouldn’t have become teachers to begin with or were turned into monsters from their experiences.  There is always a media hoopla nowadays about the negative aspects in teaching and the education system itself.  I don’t want to talk about what is wrong in today’s education system or about those handful of people who shouldn’t be teachers, but I do want to talk about the changes I have seen through the years in the attitudes toward teachers and about the most unappreciated profession in America today.

Many years ago a teacher was respected, they were the educators of our children.  The people who had the knowledge that we as parents and our parents didn’t have.  It took me years of working within the education system to realize that teachers, as in all other walks of life, are ordinary people with all sorts of different personalities.  However, there is that one element that I recognize in teachers that not everyone possesses and that is a desire to help children and adults alike, to open their minds and experience the power of thinking independently in order to make a difference in both their individual lives and the world in general.  The look I have seen on a teacher’s face when they have reached a person who struggled to learn and then one day that very same child or adult was enlightened is priceless.

Only a person with the calling of a teacher can truly experience such a phenomenal feeling that reaching someone through teaching can give them.  These people, these teachers have earned our respect.  Through their chosen professions these individuals have created a path and an opportunity for our children to progress toward the future and to make a difference in some way, big or small, that will affect the entire world.  These people, these teachers deserve our respect.  Yes, it is harder to be a teacher today because there are so many misunderstandings and misconceptions about teachers in the general society.  Media helps to further that belief by focusing predominantly on the negative teachers and less on the overwhelming majority of positive teachers.  This false sense of knowledge is a portion of why people have lost respect for this great profession and have in many cases passed these negative attitudes along to their children.  Years ago, there was an education system that allowed its’ teachers to be severe disciplinarians, it took a lot of change and lot of maturing to realize that punishment of children in so severe a way is totally unacceptable, unwarranted and has no place in education.  All the teachers I know today agree with that finding and strive everyday to teach undisciplined children and adults alike.  Most of them teach their lessons while children talk out in class, throw things, start fights, or worse.  These teachers hunger for ways to reach these students, but unfortunately, how can they really accomplish that if the system itself strips the teachers of all authority?  In today’s educational environment, teachers have to literally possess the patience of a saint or some other extraordinary being.  They must be politically correct at all times.  They must tolerate being cursed at, verbally abused and sometimes even physically abused.  There is no course of action for teachers today, and yet, there they are everyday in their classrooms willing and ready to try to reach at least one mind if not all.

These are the teachers I write about today.  These are the people I know exist in my family and in my circle of friends.  These are the teachers who are in the majority and these are the people who should be respected more than any other profession.  These are the people who still possess knowledge that most of us will never touch upon.  These are the people with whom we leave our children in the care of day after day.  These are the people who will shape our future world by imparting to our children the knowledge they need to make a difference in this world.  From pre-kindergarten through graduate school, these people work endlessly with one purpose in mind and for that alone they have earned and deserve our respect.  I, for one would love to see the day dawn, when power is given back to the teachers of today.  The ones who know that severe disciplinary actions are unnecessary and are things of the past.  The ones who will use that small dose of authoritative power to have a classroom of people where mutual respect exists.  History has shown us that mutual respect is the key to accomplish many great things, it is up to us as parents and guardians to instill in our children this notion.  It is up to us to impart the truth about teachers and to watch over our children and to be aware of any abuse of such power.  It isn’t the role of our teachers to be the parents or guardians.  The teacher’s role is to teach.  The teachers I know (and there are a lot) want to do just that.  They want to spend their hours in classrooms teaching for it is their calling to do so.  We can help them to do that by doing our part and by teaching respect for those who have been called to this great profession.  We can stop feeding into the belief that we know better than them and dropping the attitudes that are picked up by our children that exude an aura of disrespect and superiority.  We can help teachers to do their jobs, their calling, by supporting our schools and by check-listing the administrators instead of the teachers.  Society today tends to blame the teachers for its failing education system, when in reality it is the think tanks within the administrative side of education that is to blame for our failure in educating our children, but that is a different blog, for a different day.

Today I want to say thank you to every teacher I have ever had and to every teacher I know.  Thank you for choosing to become a teacher.  Thank you for your patience, your fortitude and your understanding.  Thank you for doing the very thing I, and many like me, are incapable of doing–teaching on a professional and disciplined level! Thank you for wanting to do that in the first place!   I hope this week each of you has an opportunity to experience the gratitude you richly deserve and that in some way, big or small, you are celebrated and most of all respected.

That is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn.

K