The Middleton High School Class of 1976 cried for a ’40th reunion…’ in January, 2016. Not much time due to Charleston, SC becoming the hot event destination with brides flocking in their bridal gowns like our local egrets. But, as the heirs of the Reunion Committees resigned, we went into War Room mode, rolled up our sleeves, pulled out my weary duct taped folder of years of searching for classmates and met to discuss logistics at Bobby Bernstein’s office.
Strategically, Bobby strolled to the kitchen fridge and brought a cold bottle of Chardonnay and one glass. He sat it in front of me at the head of the table and gave me a healthy pour. What came next befuddled me as we had to choose the date to back into for location, catering, rentals and of course, hunting classmates. We knew it would be sometime near hurricane season. A non-negotiable for a Charleston Fall event. Continue reading →
Only a few more days before Palmetto Oasis Middle Eastern Dance Troupe performs in the North Charleston Performing Arts Festival. Some of the women have marinated and subsequently created dances beginning after the 2015 show. We spend hours on the internet researching costumes and YouTubes. After my son moved out, I converted his bedroom into a small dance room. My husband thinks nothing of several parked cars and entering the house hearing jingling and exotic music. My dog, Chaz, was eager to greet dancers and hang out until he got underfoot. My cat, Hollywood, loves to get under skirts or plop into the center of the room expecting everyone to dance around him. Continue reading →
I’ve started my parenting tale with two US Navy fathers raising four girls… just like a modern tale of Little Women. Although, Louisa May Alcott’s father was kept away because of Civil war injury, my tale is more complex.
Products of the mixed signals between Russia and America who economically survived the Great Wars, Korean and Cold Wars…. we dependents were at the mercy of little disclosure or access to our fathers’ duty stations. They defended treaties with allies and defended the right to use international waters without acts of violence. They were crowded on ships that shared and operated as one under pressure. Obedience to an oath to serve country… or among those who wanted to get out of subscription.
Little did I know how intricate this simple fact was for not only my parents… but those who blazed the trail behind them. Life’s one constant was change, some closer to global evidence of genocides, religious division and political agendas than we’d know as small children.
I was never raised to think color, race, or creed. I lived through and embraced the desegregation during my childhood in the South. I didn’t know how to make sense of assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther or Robert Kennedy. I lived between the fantasy of Disney and ignorance of political corruption. I was not aware of the egotistical agenda of the Berlin Wall. Vietnam was just a place my fathers went to work.
My innocence was cocooned by parents who were far from perfect. They just kept the lines of the messiness of adult life issues from us. Playing Cowboys and Indians in the woods was not offensive. As I used a stethoscope or pretended to give prescriptions to my siblings, no one worried I was headed to substance abuse. Being on the losing team at recess did not crush my self esteem. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win. Pen pals used stationery and postal stamps. I waited and learned patience because there was no instant gratification.
I don’t think there is anything surrounding my five decades of life that is new to mankind. But, I still want to follow in my fathers’ footsteps. Never think the smallest kindness is futile. I don’t want to be discouraged by the magnitude of the descent of a country’s moral compass. I will not be afraid to face mindful weigh ins or challenging offensive lines. I aspire to respect someone’s opinion, hopefully being reciprocated the right to mine.
Change was more subtle during my lifetime. I guess I heard my dad’s Wind of Change subliminally and dreamed away. Looking back, I realize the enormous gift of these great adults. Do we leave that ability to dare to dream?
I can’t. I want to look behind and see my footprint carrying on the torch of hope given to me by a great legacy of ancestors.
In the five decades I have lived and experienced, there is a common question among all generations…. Where were you when….? Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima? I am a baby boomer but I was not alive during the Great Depression or the Great Wars. My first deep childhood memory was the assassination my President, John F. Kennedy.
Looking back from my kindergarten eyes, I didn’t totally understand what had happened when sent home early from our school day. A couple days later, I watched my mother staring at our black and white t.v. in her ironing room as I quietly leaned against the doorway. The sobriety of his casket being pulled by a team of horses was eerily quiet. I’ll always remember where I was on November 23, 1963 and November 25, 1963. Continue reading →
Some of you know, some of you don’t—I’m working on another story. A story inspired from my book coach (Shari Stauch of Where Writers Win) as I plowed through my first novel, Ameera Unveiled. She suggested I consider writing a modern Little Women tale on growing up as baby boomer Navy dependent. Continue reading →
For the past few weeks, there seems to be an employment surge on the corners of major intersections in my city. By no means do I think it is a new concept. But, this group seems to be as organized as the CEO of a van of kids dropped off to canvas neighborhoods selling magazine subscriptions. I don’t see any signs of homeless veterans, but mostly young adults drinking Dunkin’ Doughnuts coffee and changing shifts with another peer sitting under an overpass.
I guess my beef is that I see “Now Hiring” signs in business windows up and down my suburb’s highways. I was not a privileged young adult that was able to go to college. However, the work ethic that my parents raised me with failed to allow myself to indulge in the idea that I would ever get rich quick. I worked fast food, the Piggly Wiggly deli and eventually into law offices to earn the title of Legal Assistant for a prominent attorney.
Yes, I worked for food. I improved my living conditions at a tortoise pace. Nothing happened overnight or was served from a silver spoon. My children didn’t have every gimmick or name brand fashion.
I can’t imagine that choosing to hold a sign at the side of a highway pays more than minimum wage at a department store or restaurant. I am not judging their choice to participate in a group peddling scam, but I guess it plucks a sour note. As the younger son in the Bible’s Prodical Son story, I tend to resent being the dutiful worker bee. The one that sends a check to the government and doesn’t sit and wait for one. As hard as it is to stop from rolling down my window and share the fruits of my labor, I feel I am enabling slothful mentality. As my friend, Jacqueline Gum, says…. Where’s the Justice?
“The fear of change can keep you from walking into some of the greatest things life offers. Don’t be afraid to let go of things and people that aren’t making you a better person. Life is too short!” ― Buky Ojelabi
The above quote is a beautiful capsule of encouragement to embrace personal growth. But for anyone who has made it part of their lifestyle, the ability to see what to let go of is a complicated job.
When I decided to write Ameera Unveiled, I knew it would revolve around my protagonist facing her fear. A fear that eventually revealed underlying prongs of insecurities… prickly fears we universally experience…
We are in the last ten days of Christmas countdown. I see blogs, Facebook posts and other personalized media expressions of Christmas traditions. But to be politically correct (which I resent having to qualify such a simple term), it is understood that it reaches across the lines of many faiths and traditions. I look back into my own Christmas experiences and recall things that saturated my five decades of Christmas. One of my new adult favorites? Taking my Big Ass Santa wine glass off the top shelf!
Last Saturday night, my hubbie declared it Movie Date Night. Don’t get me wrong– I love date night– but he isn’t the best movie picker. We like to go to a locally owned and managed theater. A glass of chardonnay and some popcorn is my idea of an adult snack bar. So, at 9:00 a.m., we got on his Ipad and picked St. Vincent starring Bill Murray. I didn’t really understand the synopsis of the movie but I knew wine would make it all better, whichever way it fell. Continue reading →
I kept the postcard on my desk of this painting by my friend, John Carroll Doyle. It reminded me of the challenges of growing up in a career Navy family. The world lost the presence of John Carroll on November 12, 2014 and his artistic visions. I was not only privileged to be his friend, but he extended many opportunities to drop-in his studio as he painted. Nothing on canvas was placed without conviction and a deeper message. Continue reading →