Posts tagged Daily Post

Apathy- Haibun Challenge

I lost a precious, healthy 15-year-old while he was playing ball seven years ago. At first there were the disgusting “grief addicts” who actually came to my door and introduced themselves, all to give their “condolences”. I got critically ill because of his death, and felt that everyone was already “over” feeling sorry for my family. Life went on for everyone but me, even in my family, and I understand, I really do, but it still hurt-it hurts today when no one remembers the day and I feel like I am dying.

Some of my kids had just married, some married soon after, I’m now expecting my 7th grandchild when I had none when I lost my son. I lived, after finally convincing doctors that it wasn’t “just grief” (grief is a “JUST??”By that time, they told me I had three weeks to live. I have continued to be ill, Suffer from the results of misdiagnosis, (which, along with inadequate slow medical care, cost my son his life).

I live in pain, physical and emotional. Apathy is real, but I am afraid it is true that we cannot bear the burden for everyone-perhaps a select few. The agony of it would kill us. Even temporary condolence, even an occasional, “I remember” is nice. I suppose that is all we can expect.

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Speed-Memories from Long Ago

“Summer breeze makes me feel fine, blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind.” Those words come from the song, “Summer Breeze’, written by Seals and Croft in 1972. I can’t help but smile when I hear the words of that song, even now. I was 16 in 1972. Everything seemed so good, so full of hope. Life, at that moment was simple, all of my dreams seemed possible.

I think of days at the local swimming pool, flirting with my boyfriend, shaking my long, curly hair at him, droplets of cold water running down his chest and me laughing as he tried to splash me in retaliation. That place is no longer there. It was a motel on the main road through our part of town. There were areas around it that were considered to be rather “wild”, so we felt cool hanging out there. Actually, the motel was owned by the parents of a good friend. We would see the curtain blowing in the breeze, just like the song said, but there was nothing romantic about it. Behind the curtain was the face of our friends mother looking out for us.

 20510397The song brings back memories from later years as well. The excitement of trips with friends to new and exciting places. Somehow, the words put a sense of magic into the air, whether I was looking out over the ocean or sitting on a mountainside watching the lights of Los Angeles glimmer like the stars that they belonged to. Even now, as I watch my grandchildren scream as they squirt each other with the swirls of cold water from a snake-like green water hose, I hear the words and smile…”Summer breeze makes me feel fine, flowing through the jasmine in my mind.”

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The Art of Writing will Survive!

Throughout the summer, my friends and I have been lamenting the loss of real communication that has taken place within on the past fifteen years or so, when everyone, it seems, had email. One day, a group of relatives decided to have a lunch at my aunts home, with the theme of bringing along their favorite letter from the days when people actually wrote to each other, placed a stamp in the corner and mailed it.

 On that lovely spring day, we gathered at my aunts home, which our family had owned for five generations. We had a simple lunch of finer sandwiches, chips and home-made brownies, all of us anxious to bring out the letters we had brought.

 My aunt, being the hostess, got to show her keepsake first. She pulled out an old letter from her cousin, telling of her vacation to the Grand canyon. The letter was two folded, yellowed pages, filled with eloquently written descriptions of the places they had stopped and taken photographs. She promised to show her friend the pictures she had taken after she had sent them off to be developed.

 An elderly cousin pulled a postcard out of her purse she said had been handed down for generations. It has a ripped edge surrounding a matte-type photo of the Empire State Building. On the back was a description of the Empire State Buildings location and its history in tiny scripted type. To the left was a short note saying simply, “Having a marvelous time. I’ve never seen such tall buildings. Wish you were here!” It was signed, “Your cousin, Edith” and held a faded one cent stamp at its top edge.

 I believe the letter I brought was the favorite. My great-great grandfather had written it to his wife when he was a prisoner-of-war. It was dated November 20, 1963. He was a Captain in the North Carolina 62nd Battalion of Confederate Troop  and was being held at the Officers prison in Sandusky Bay, Ohio. I had been given the letter by a cousin when he found out I was majoring in History in college.

 The script was even and neatly written, The ink had faded to a pale brown. His grammar and writing skill were amazing. I never realized that men were taught to write with such style. It was difficult to fight the tears when he asked about a baby he had never met, mentioned to his “most loving and patient wife” to be sure and tell her sister that “no one else had died since he had last written.”. Everyone took a deep breath as I read the line where he said, with hope, “that they had heard negotiations had been going well and that with luck, the war be over soon and he and the other prisoners could return home” His writing became a big smaller as he said he was limited to one page.

 If we had not already been silenced by his words, the salutation would have done the job. “All of my love from an absent husband.” It said, with initials and last name ending the letter.

 “That was more than two and a half years before he was released.” I reminded my relatives. I brought out a photograph of he and his wife in their later years and passed it around.

 One of my aunts sighed as she said, “It’s shame that writing letters has gone out of style. I can imagine how tasteless and tacky a e-mail would have been.”

 A cousin laughed and reminded us that it might have been a month before the letter made it through enemy territory and miraculously got home to the mountains of North Carolina.

One of the older ladies at our dinner held the photograph in her hand. “My mother told me he had to walk a lot of the way home. There weren’t many trains in the rural south in those days.”

 I was surprised to hear one of the younger cousins speak up. She was holding a baby and was on maternity leave from her teaching job at the local high school. “I don’t think letter writing will ever go out of style.” she said. We heard last week that children are once again being made to know how to write in cursive by fourth grade and that they would be required to write an essay in longhand in middle school.”

 My aunt, who had hosted the event smiled. “Imagine,” she said, “what might have happened to our constitution, to the letters and speeches of Abraham Lincoln, or the hymns sung in churches a hundred and fifty years ago if the equipment to play them had become outdated, or the writers had felt that their words would never be lost on such modern equipment as the internet!”

 Another lady laughed, “My whole hard drive burned out last week, I lost every document I had not printed or saved on some other kind of contraption.”

 “I have an idea!” my aunt sang out, nearly jumping from her chair. “Let’s start a letter writing society.” “When we go on a trip or vacation, attend a special event or reunion, we have to write a real letter to at least one of the people in our group!”

 At first everyone looked around, a little dread in their eyes. Then the young teacher pulled out a tablet and said, “Let’s start collecting names right now. Every body here should try to add three people to our list, and for heaven’s sake, don’t forget to try to get men on the list.” Whoever gets the most new members will be honorary guest at our next meeting!”

 “Next meeting?” I said, “When is our next meeting?”

 “How about the last Thursday in each month?” said my aunt. We can take turns being hostesses and everyone can bring a favorite dish.”

 “I feel like I have woken up in the 1950’s.”smiled my elderly cousin. I can’t wait to go home and write my first letter-it will be about this wonderful meeting!”

 “You know,” I though to myself as I put my album and letters in the car. “People like to communicate, to tell the stories of their lives, see the lovely script of a handwritten letter.” “Having a “like” on your blog will never have the same feeling as writing a letter to someone we actually know about an even that really matters to the reader.

 With all my heart I believe the art of writing a letter will not only come back, it will thrive as we tire of hurried, impersonal and lonely lives that computers have brought us to. It may have a slow start, bu I imagine getting a handwritten letter out of the mailbox on a cold winter day will hold the same joy to my great-grandchild as it did to my great-grandmother!

https://beebeesworld.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/rhe-art-of-writing-will-survive/

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Stones and Flowers (a poem)

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A few weeks ago I put the audio of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence” on my blog. Today, thought the title is much the same, the topic is very different. This one is personal. I hope it touches you as s much as it did me. I wrote it with my father standing with me as we cleaned the kitchen after our big Sunday dinner. To me, the meaning is so prophetic. I was fighting tears as I tried to read it to my dad, who doesn’t hear well. To those who Know: I hope this means something to you. To those who do ot,I hope you never have to understand what each Sunday feels like to me.

The Sound AND Silence

In the sun upon the hill,

among the stones, among the flowers.

There upon a towel, soft,

I will sleep with him for hours.

Gone now, is that Sunday morn,

I wash and cook and clean so long.

Four generations eat with me,

I find my strength is simply gone.

I hear grandchildren laugh and play

by then my body’s racked with pain.

I feel so thankful that they’re here.

I swear that I’ll do it again.

They wave goodbye, and turn from me,

As I close that old back door.

I find that I can hardly see,

Tears are puddling on my floor.

I know inside, that he should be,

Here with us, but soon, I’ll be,

Back to those flowers and the stones

And lay to rest, just him and me.

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The Ballerina Clock

The Ballerina Clock

I don’t usually go in for garage sales, but something about the hand painted sign attracted me. I pulled into the long dirt drive lined with cars, and headed toward the door of the 1960’s rancher,wondering what was drawing me to this house.

At first, it was just the usual, nick-naks, old clothes, furniture, books, a few silver vases, photographs. Then I saw it! A ballerina clock, like my aunt had once had. It was beautiful. I had missed it at my aunts sale when I had to go change a diaper. I know she would have wanted me to have it-I should have just taken it at the family preview, but I didn’t.

The clock was about 15 inches high. It had a windup on the bottom and played “Fur Elise”. I had wanted it for my daughters so badly! A ballerina came out a door and danced to the song when the clock was wound up. I truly thought it was one of a kind.

Of course, I will never know if this ballerina clock was my aunts, I doubt it. But it was now mine!

I carefully placed the clock, wrapped in old newspapers into a cardboard box and sat it gently in my car’s trunk. I couldn’t wait to finally give it to my daughter!

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Inspirational Qoute prompt

Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.
Richard L. Evans

Although I missed the” Saturday” prompt, my last effort to write was deleted by my computer after much work.  I felt discouragement was a good topic to think on.

I thought of all the hard times I have been through, some my own doing, some unthinkably cruel and it made me realize that despite the difficulties that life had thrown at me, I am still, still fighting, even smiling once in a while.

I think of all that would not have been accomplished if I had given up the first time life knocked me down and realized that even having survived the loss of my child, my health, losing so many friends and family members, I still have things to rejoice. I have six beautiful grandchildren, a teen who is my heart and soul, a dad who has struggled, like me through the worst of times and is still her. a family who has always been there for each other.

Life is short, we do not always reach all of our goals, but each life we touch, each tear we dry, each person that decided to give it one more try, is a small victory. We often overestimate what we are capable of doing and underestimate the true effect we have on the lives of others.

Today, I will celebrate the meal I cooked, the baby I fed, the kid I took home in the pouring rain.  Today, I will be glad my dad looked up and smiled at me at the exact time I did, took my daughter and her family breakfast, hugged my teen.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I accomplished more today than I imagined that i would. I didn’t let the hurt of all the yesterdays stop me from making someone smile today.

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Earth Day, 1969-2013

I remember the first Earth Day. I was in Junior High, in the downtown area of my city for the first time, my generations first step away from our neighborhood elementary schools. It was the year schools were integrated in my town. How excited we were, to be part of this first Earth Day, we were the “babies” of the “hippie” culture and were anxious to be considered part of the idea behind Earth Day-cleaning up the environment, getting back to home gardens and self-sustaining ideas. Of course at our age, our ideas were limited, as the concept of waste and growing up in a throw away society was our world.

We had just begun to think like adults, have our own ideas and concepts. This is one of the very first days I remember with my mind in an “adult” format. I will never forget it. In celebration of Earth Day, our art class went out and sat on a grassy bank in front of our school and were told to draw pictures of what downtown looked like. I am sure there were kids who were just glad to be outside, but for me, sitting on that hill drawing a picture my perception of the small city was eye-opening. I had lived there all my life, but for the first time, I REALLY looked at my city. I noticed the huge church next door with the domed roof, I looked out at the dogwood trees blooming on down the hill on our school grounds I looked back at the small chipped-rock playground where “recess” and P.E. were held.

Suddenly” my city” became more than simply “my neighborhood. There were still rows of 20’s era building lining the streets beyond the school. There were woods and grassy areas behind the area where the old brick school building set. A red brick wall divided our school grounds from the street below. s I took this all in, the world seemed like a much larger place for the first time in my 14 years of life. i noticed a possibly homeless man wandering the sidewalk beyond the school. His clothes were old and tattered and he appeared to be rather unaware of where he was or in what direction he was going. Having grown up a protected only child who spent her time shopping uptown with my mother, I had given little though to life outside my safe urban world. There were no real “malls” in my town, a few “shopping centers”. No drunks staggered down the streets where I lived. Being “Homeless” was something that happened “somewhere else”, not in my town.

We had a speaker on that first “Earth Day” that introduced us to the concepts of taking care of the world we lived in. In 1969, the world was beginning to seem much smaller and it was happening very quickly. I could not imagine, at that time, how quickly those changes would take place. There were three black and white channels on TV, huge, unsightly receptor antennas stood on top of our homes to bring them to us. Telephones had dials and curly cords. No one that I knew had a microwave, although, I imagine some of the “rich” kids” did. Most moms didn’t work unless they “had to” or at least until their kids were old enough to get off the bus and stay home alone until she got there. Now, letting even a 14 year-old come home to an empty house gives moms an uneasy feeling. I lived in a very innocent world.

There were many more Earth day celebrations in my future, all in an increasingly frightening, yet more aware world. We planted trees, cleaned up river banks, volunteered in homeless shelters. We became aware of the world around us. Sadly, the opening of the door to the fact that we MUST start taking care of our world, was the beginning of the end of the innocent world I grew up in. The old brick Junior High was torn down the next year. The hill was leveled, along with the woods and playground. An interstate now “by-passes” the tunnel through the mountain, which long separated my side of town just as the high bridge across the river separated us from the other side of town.

Integration was the rule and we were at its inception. The concept of Middle School replaced Junior High. There were several big race” riots in the remaining years old my secondary education. Surprisingly, I don’t remember having problems with people with different colored skin. I do, however, remember that though we went to “same” schools, we rarely did things with children who were of a different color form u, or from a different part of town. Earth Day songs played by John Denver Appeared. The whole concept of saving our world from pollution and saving our poor from deprivation became a project for various civic groups.

Earth Day, in 2013 is very different from the first Earth Day. The focus, has ironically returned to its roots, but it is now organized, with special events, a more modern focus. As I talk to my grandchildren, who are still young, and to my teen, who is the age I was at earth Days inception, their world is already a much bigger place. News spreads fast, violence is everywhere, most moms have to work, cable TV, cell phones, technology in general are a part of their world from the time of their birth.

Still, I feel something very important is missing from their more protected, more violent, more technological world. There is an expectation of “things”, there are less moms fixing dinner for the family as they talk about how their day went. The is a lack of innocence, a lack of closeness and dependence among each other in families that to me is simply sad. Everyone is in their room playing with their ipods, ipads, computer games or watching recorded programs from Cable TV. They are not together, not reading books to the little ones at bedtime, not growing up appreciating the bonds of family or the importance of relationships with real people.

I would like to see Earth Day become part of a new trend towards family, community, doing things because they are right or good, rather that to get extra credit in school or bragging rights at the office. I would love to spend a day, heck a lifetime with my children and grandchildren able to savor the simple things in life, like sitting on a hillside drawing pictures with a pencil and table. My daughter, now the mother of two, won a regional prize or a report with the topic, “We must learn to ‘baby’ “Mother Earth”.

Today, I feel a good topic would be, “We must learn that ‘family life’ exists beyond electronics”.

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