Tuesday, April 28, 2009


This morning I've been remembering my grandmothers. I had two, like most of us do, and they were very different from one another.

My mother's mother, with whom we lived for a few years, was very quiet. I don't remember here saying very much of anything, nor does my mother. She had the virtue of silence, which I was not blessed with! Grandma L. was never one to voice an opinion or add much to a conversation. She would not strike back with words if there was even a temptation to do so. I think she was a good example of a 'peacemaker'. But, there may have been other reasons that I don't remember her speaking often. She was the victim of a number of 'small' strokes which affected the thought to speech portion of her brain. Sometimes, when she chose to say something, the wrong word would come from her mouth, and it would visibly upset her, as she knew it wasn't what she meant to say.

However, as a child, Grandma's quiet nature didn't bother me, and I'm not sure I even noticed it much back then. We played board games together, checkers, chinese checkers, parchisi. She is the one who taught me how to embroider....lovely stitched pictures on fabric. She patiently sat beside me, instructing me, directing my fingers and the course of the needle. I remember being somewhat slow to learn a French knot, and how she patiently helped until I got the stitch under control. Grandma must have said something during those times, but I don't remember what it might have been.

Most people remember their grandmother's cooking, but I don't. All the while I knew her, there was one of her daughters in residence, caring for her, and it was the younger woman who put the meals on the table. I'm sure that Grandma helped some, but she did not do the majority of the meal.

As was the mode of the day, Grandma would rise. comb her hair and twist it up into a bun. Then she'd put on a housedress with a bib apron that tied at the back. This would be the morning attire, and would be worn until after lunch. She did some housework, dishes, dusting, hanging out the wash while dressed in that outfit. After lunch, Grandma would climb the stairs and lie down for a nap for awhile, and when she came downstairs again, she was dressed up and wearing jewelry. I guess that was in case anyone would stop in for a visit during the afternoon. Tucked in her bosom was the ever-present clean hankie. At night her long hair would be brushed for a good while, sometimes I'd do it for her, and then it would be braided down her back.

It was this Grandma who placed me on her lap and rocked me in the rocker I now own, on that January day when I was eleven years old. As she held me and rocked me, I sobbed my little heart out, grieving the loss of my other grandmother. I do remember Grandma saying, "Oh, poor Lamb" as she tried to soothe me.

My other grandmother was Dad's mom. I knew her quite well, better than my Mom's mother I guess, even though we'd never lived with her. I had many overnights at Grandma and Grandpa B's little home, and Grandma and I spent a good deal of time together. She would read stories to me while I sat on her lap in her big, brown wicker rocker. I remember A.A. Milne's "When We Were Six" and stories of baby Moses in the bullrushes from Sunday school papers she'd saved and bound together with a shoe lace. She was good at sketching and she would make paperdolls for me from cardboard, and we'd paint them with watercolors or colored pencils, and then make clothes from brown paper bags for them. Sometimes we'd take walks in an overgrown nursery across the street from the house, and she'd recite "Starlight, starbright."

Grandma B. also wore housedresses and aprons, but I remember seeing her dressed up only once. That was for my cousin, Barb's, wedding. The dress was silky and navy blue with white dots all over it. Her shoes were black heels and they tied at the instep. I don't remember any jewelry, ever, but a wedding ring. Gram's hair was always short, kept cropped because it was quite curly and I suppose she thought it was easier to manage that way. Every morning she would wet the hair brush and nearly plaster the hair down, tying it back with a narrow ribbon or a long shoe lace.

I do remember this grandmother's cooking...but really, only one meal stands out. It was ham, some sort of green vegetable, and a baked potato with REAL butter. It was so good! We ate margarine at our house, so the butter was a treat to me. The big meal was always eaten at noon in that house, and Grandpa would come home at midday from his job at the dairy , and he'd leave for work again after it was eaten.

Grandmothers come in all sizes and shapes, conditions and ages. When I look at their photos, and think back on my memories of them, now that I'm a grandmother, I see tremendous differences between the elders of their day and those of this present time. One thing that doesn't change, though, is a grandmother's love for her little ones. It's a very special thing to have a grandmother, a double blessing to be able to remember two of them, and a extra measure of blessings to BE a grandmother; I am richly blessed!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

There is nothing like living in the country. When I awoke this morning, a fresh, cool breeze gently tickled the curtains and breathed through the room. The stars were peeking through the clouds and life just felt 'right'.

As I write this, I've just returned from opening the sunroom doors to the kitchen. The windows are all open in the sunroom, and the air is cool in there. I took a moment to stand in one of the windows, looking out into the area surrounding our home. It's still dark, lit only by the few porch lights of some of the neighbors.

It's quiet outside, but for the barnyard that lies behind the nearby woods. My goodness, there's a competition going on among the roosters! It's quite a ruckus. I don't know how a creature, as small as a rooster is, can muster such volume! I noticed again this morning, how each of the fowl has his own distinctive voice, just as each of us has his/her own sound.

There are times when the all the animals in the barnyard 'over yonder' use their sounds at once. We strongly suspect that there's an 'enemy in the camp' when we hear that much noise at one time. Perhaps a fox has come in, or a coyote. Whatever the reason for the cacophony, I wonder sometimes how the farmer's family gets any sleep at all. They get a little noisey around feeding time, too, but you can distinguish between the sound meaning "I'm hungry" and "HELP" after you've heard it a few times.

There are many things about living outside the urban areas that are inviting to me. There are only two things that I can think of that I don't care much for, but also haven't had to deal much with. That is snakes. Our next door neighbor arrived on the doorstep, pale as a ghost, on the morning of July 4, 2007. She was asking for my husband's help. I asked what it was she needed, and she stuttered that there was a big snake on her patio. My husband was 'indisposed' at the moment, and would have been of little help to her anyway, as his greatest fear in life is snakes. She took off running to aleviate the problem on her own. She went to the garage, grabbed her shovel, and promptly chopped the head of the snake. She became my heroine after that! The snake was just a king snake, another version of a black racer, and fortunately, they're the 'good' kind to have, if you must have any. Apparently if there are black snakes in the area, the copperheads will not inhabit the same area.

Friends of ours have 30 acres with a creek that runs through it. They have a number of farm animals. They've seen their share of snakes, and far more than MY share! They tell me that the only snakes on their side of the creek are the non-poisonous black variety, while on the other side of the creek where they hunt turkey and deer, there are copperheads. It seems that snakes have an sense of boundary. I think that's terrific. I'll stay on 'my' side of the line, and hopefully, they will stay on their own side.

I'll save the story of the fireants for another day. Right now I'm going to go watch the sun come up while I drink my coffee.

Monday, April 20, 2009

It Is Spring...

Spring weather is here, weeks after the calendar pages claimed the season had come. We're enjoying warmer temperatures now, more rain, and blossoms are bursting with color. But something is missing in my yard here in SC....Lilacs.

From the time I was a little girl, I've loved Lilacs. My grandmother's yard had a couple of large, old bushes that bore the fragrant purple blooms and another that had white blossoms. The perfume of Lilacs on the Spring breeze is very clear in my memory. As I grew up, I listened again and again to one of my Dad's Harry Belafonte albums which contained a song entitled, "Green Grow the Lilacs". After learning it, it became my Springtime theme song.

Near our house in East Hampton, we'd planted a number of my favorite flowering bushes. We'd sit on the deck off the kitchen, drinking our coffee, and remark at the beauty of the blossoms glistening with dew in the morning sun. We'd pick some of them and take them into the house, placing them in a brown crock, filling the room with their pleasant aroma.

On one Spring morning, Mike had an appointment with a customer and I was invited to go along. On the spur of the moment, I decided to cut a bouquet of Lilacs to take to this woman I'd never met. She was thrilled, telling me that the blossoms were her favorites. She put on a kettle of water for tea, and then set about unwrapping the stems. I listened as she explained why she was crushing the ends of the stem with a hammer. "This will prolong their life in the vase ('vahz') because they will absorb the water better", she said with her British accent.

Beulah was born and bred in Sheffield, England. She'd been in the states for many years, working as an actress. She was the woman I knew from the Polaner Allfruit commercial, the one who fainted at the table when the 'hillbilly guest' requested that someone 'please pass the jelly.' As we sat at the table with our English Breakfast Tea, we had a delightful visit. I listened as she told me of her growing up and her family in England. We talked about gardens, she an experienced gardener, I the novice. She was wonderful company, and I wish we'd had an opportunity to visit more in the following years. Things didn't work out that way, however. I believe they moved from East Hampton before we did, and once, when I found a card with a lilac on it, I wanted to send it to her. Every search I've done for her and her husband's address have turned up empty. I don't even know if Beulah is still living.

Again this year, I hear myself singing, "Each time I see Lilacs, my heart breaks in two, because Springtime is here, and it's here without you." Every Spring when the Lilacs bloom, I reflect upon that carefree visit. I hope that, if she's still able to smell the flowers, Beulah remembers that day in her kitchen when we, two strangers, shared our stories, enveloped in the sweet perfume of Lilacs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In These Moments....

She said, "Life sure is a rollercoaster ride." Indeed it is. When we wake up each morning, we never know what will occur within the next 24 hours of our lives. Yet, we go about the days making our plans, thinking of what we can do in our off hours, what we will do in our working ones.

She is in the midst of a serious health issue and yesterday, she was told that she must have chemotherapy treatments. That was not the news she'd hoped to hear, but it is now something that she must face. She has a positive attitude, and that's a good weapon in the fight, but still, the thought of the journey before her has left her reeling.

It's so easy for us, who stand on the outside watching, to say the encouraging words. It's easy for us to believe, too, that our prayers will help. We are not the ones who bear this burden, as she does, but we want to share the burden because she is our friend, our sister, our comrade in womanhood. We know we would want and need that support, if this was our own issue, rather than hers.

She said that's important for us to take care of ourselves. She is right. We cannot know what lies within the hours, days, months, years that are before us, but we can prepare ourselves by caring for ourselves. If and when a health issue occurs, early detection is a very good indication of a good prognosis. If and when that news is given to us, it is imperative to stand against it, to fight with every ounce of strength within us, and to call upon others for support in the fight. We cannot turn tail and run, but rather look the enemy in the eye, and go, full speed ahead in battle.

She said that it'll all be alright no matter which way it goes. That was her faith speaking. She is right about that too. It will be alright. However, since we cannot see beyond the end of our noses, we must try not to project ourselves into the future. There is so much to do here and now.
There is work to be done, love to share, encouragement to offer. These are ours to give. These are the moments we have in which to give these things. Let us use our moments to think good thoughts, do good works, support one another. Let our moments count for something.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April Showers...

If the old adage about April showers bringing May flowers is true, I'm at the point where I'm believing that our ENTIRE state will be a wonderful world of colorful blossoms. We've had so much rain in the past few weeks, that our lake level has returned to normal after two years of extreme drought.

Mind you, I am not complaining! We did need all this rain to fill our reservoirs and to reduce the thirst the earth has known for too long. My plants are healthier due to the natural water fall, and it certainly means great reduction in our monthly water bill. No, I'm not complaining at all.

We have guests coming this weekend, and after all this rain, our Connecticut friends will be introduced to our red clay mud, which is similar, in my opinion, to walking into a deep area of drying cement. The mud takes your foot and sucks hard, so that when you attempt to pull your foot up, it's comes out with difficulty, and usually without a shoe. Oh, and that brings up the subject of that your shoe will look like for all eternity after a stroll in our mud. It will forever be that lovely shade of rusty red, no matter what the color started out to be. And, you can consider that the pair of shoes will now be repurposed to gardening wear.
Sometimes April brings more than showers, as it has this year. It's brought a barrage of severe thunderstorms. Even at this time of writing, thunder is rumbling and booming all around us. The rain is falling hard over our heads, but the noise is coming across the miles from our southeast. That area is often the victim of our most severe weather. However, on the evening of Good Friday, while my neighbor and I were attending a terrific passion play at a church in a nearby
community, six tornados touched down around the state, one only fifteen or sixteen miles from our house. Fortunately, the twister did little damage as it was only a category one. Since I'm not a huge fan of tornados, the thought of one of any magnitude at all being that close to home is frightening. Often I tell myself, "there hasn't been a tornado here in thirty years, you're quite safe." Now Mother Nature has changed that, just to let me know that she's still around. Ok, lady...I believe you're here. Now, how about going elsewhere to prove yourself? At other times, when we hear of severe storms expected, I am perfectly calm, thinking that there's really not ONE thing I can do to prevent it. Then I plan where we can hide in our house (the 1/2 bath is our best bet) should we get a tornado warning, as was the case on Friday night. At those times, my biggest fear is how to get my mother to safety here, or if there would even be time to do that.

The truth of the matter is that April brings its weather, and no matter what it is she brings: sun, showers, or storms, we are at the mercy of God in it all, as we are in all things every day. There is really nothing we can do but be prepared and pray fervently, while hoping for the best.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Friends come in different sizes, shapes, and personalities. They come in different ways, and they leave for a variety of reasons.

I'm one of those people who doesn't like to lose friends, but to maintain friendships for as long as possible, hopefully, a lifetime. It doesn't always happen that way and you can't always prevent a friend from drifting away. Sometimes it's a disconnection due to a move, or life choices, or because of a misunderstanding (or an outright war.) I don't like wars or ugly disagreements, and fortunately haven't lost many friends to such a situation.

Recently I joined one of those on-line network sites, and have reconnected with another member with whom I became friends 50 years ago. Even though we attended different schools until high school, we spent quite a bit of time together on weekends and after school. We always had such fun, giggling and being silly, like most grade school girls do. When we went to high school, we had different friends and activities, and our paths diverged. She became a cheerleader and had other interests. I was not very outgoing and spent much of my time working as a babysitter.

We both married and had children in the same classes in their schools. Even though we lived in the same town, we ran into each other very infrequently. It was always pleasant to see her, but we made no effort to get together socially. Life took each of us on our own routes, until we found each other again at the age of sixty on a social network website. We've really 'clicked' with the tapping of the keyboard through the site pages and private emails. How ironic this seems to me.
After all those years in the same town with very little connection, we have discovered a strong friendship on the internet.

I am both grateful and delighted to have found her again. She says that ours is a 'golden' friendship. Funny she should use that word, as one motto I adhere to is this, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other, gold." Both are precious.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


The other day one of my friends told me that she could never feel the same intensity of love for her grandchilden that she felt for her children. I don't know about that, as I have no concept of measuring love.

I remember when I gave birth to my first child, I thought I could never love that hard again. It seemed impossible. When I had my second child, I discovered that I was wrong, for love flooded me when I looked into my tiny son's face. When I had my third child, concerned that there wasn't enough love to go around, my little son asked me if I still loved him. My answer was "Of course I do! Mommy's heart is full of love, but the best thing is, when a new person comes into our lives, it's almost as if God builds another room love on to my heart and He fills that one up with love too. There's lots of love for everybody!" It seemed to relieve his worries.

When my first grandchild arrived, I was so proud, so happy, and so washed over with a new love. I felt the same way with the arrival of each one of them. I have learned that there is no worry about a quenching of love, or of having to divide it up between the children. There's no way to know if my love for my children was/is greater than that for my grandchildren. They have all been special!

I will say that I enjoy the company of my grandchildren, en mass or individually. Sometimes they tire me, but that's because my energy level is far less than it used to be. They don't seem to mind, and I don't mind that they have more energy than any three people my age! They are children, and they need to expend their energies in constructive and child-like ways. They are such fun to watch, and I spend a good deal of time using my smiling muscles.

People have said that they're happy to see 'the last hiney go out the door' after a visit. I admit that I'm usually ready to put my feet up and relax, but I also miss the sound of little voices and the stories and laughter they bring. It takes me a little while to get used to them not being here.
I miss them when they're gone.

Fortunately, four of my own seven grandchildren live within two hours of us, and we see them fairly often, either at our home or theirs. Two others live 900 miles from us, and they come each summer for a month or more. They are enormous fun and very independent little ladies. They're helpful and do their chores without complaint. One is very much a mini-me, loving to craft with me and to talk. The younger one is more active, more of an outside-lover and is her Papa's little helper in the garden. My other grandson is a teenager, has lived in a variety of places since his Dad is in the military, and we have not spent much time together since he left the East Coast. It saddens me because I hardly know what to say to him, not knowing him well at all. I love this young man, but he is not a good correspondent, nor are his parents.

I do not spend time comparing the feelings I have for my children vs my grandchildren and weighing and measuring the love for each. All in all, I believe that love comes exactly when you need it and in exactly the correct measurements.

Monday, April 6, 2009


When Spring comes, I always say that it's my favorite season. But, when other seasons make their way across the calendar, I've been known to say the same thing.

I love the weather in Springtime. I don't even mind the rain. The dampness softens the thirsty earth and washes everything that it touches. Everything smells so fresh. When I discover a new green shoot poking through the ground, I find a renewed spirit. There's just something about watching Nature in the warming weather that refreshes me. Seeing the budding trees and the blossoming plants is like watching the world around me awakening for a long, winter's nap.

When I was a teenager, I was living in a small town where nothing really happened until the summer visitors arrived in June. Springtime always signaled the feeling that boredom would soon end. I remember feeling a wanderlust in Spring when I was a bit older. I believe it was just because I was being energized, and didn't know how to channel that into something productive at that time.

Now, in these years of late middle age, when the weather, rather than the calendar, indicates that it's truly Spring, I want to get the shovels, the rakes, the wheelbarrows and get to work in the yard. I don't call it "yardwork." If I did, I'd slack off. I call it 'gardening'. Somehow that term is much more attractive. I like to plant, to 'decorate' the yard with color and shapes and different sizes of plant material. I am a rather haphazard gardener, however. I just plunk things in holes and hope for the best. My garden has been called a 'country' garden by my friend because of the lack of organization in it. I tend to use plants that I like and pray that they will be happy and thrive where I put them. Most of the time it worked in the garden I had in NY. Here in SC, though, I'm having to learn new plants and their habits. The sun is very hot in summer, and we have very little shade. Plants that like full sun are not always lovers of high heat. I'm learning to be more selective when buying plants, choosing hardy varieties and doing my best to see what their best habitat is.

Spring is here now and I'm raring to go. However, my mind is faster than my body is, and it is capable of doing far more than my body can endure in a day. Yesterday's lifting and raking and moving and pre-planting clean-up proved that. My muscles are sore, so today's endeavors will be lighter. That last sentence translates to 'today I'm going to sit on the front porch with my library of gardening magazines and investigate the possibilities'.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Amazing Women

There are women in this world who have done such extraordinary things that they deserve to be recognized. Mother Theresa comes to mind immediately, but there are many, many others who have changed the world in some remarkable way.

But what about the women we come into contact with every day? They may not have turned the world upside down, but chances are good that they've done something worthy of mention, and have never been recognized for it. Think about your own mother. It's no easy task to raise one child, let alone a family of them, and to have those children become decent citizens. When I was growing up, most mothers were stay at home moms, with their husbands as the bread winners and support in child rearing. These days, most mothers are working Moms...and a good many of them are caring for their children with no husband present. That is no small feat.

Mothering, in general, is worth notation. Even with the healthiest of children, how often has a mother given up her night of sleep to tend to a fretful child or one who catches the latest round of virus? Amazingly she rises to the task, as well as rising to the next morning to meet head-on the things her day will bring. What about the mothers who have a child with special needs or lingering illness? Super strength fortifies her, without her giving it a second thought. She's THERE, and will be, 'til the end.

Some of us are single women, some of us are wives, housewives, mothers. Some of us are doctors, nurses, politicians, scientists, ministers or missionaries. Some of us are retired, some of us are students. Some are 'just friends' to others. Whatever we are, whatever we do, there are always places in our lives where we have exhibited a super-woman attitude. We are an amazing species, and we all need to recognize that in each other and ourselves.

Thoughts of "Home"

"Home is where love lives" is what the sign read. If that's so, than I am truly at home, in this house, in this new area of the world, with these new friends and neighbors. I really do feel that way...at home. I'm content and I'm 'comfortable in my own skin.'

Growing up on eastern Long Island in what was then a small town atmosphere, I knew that everyone knew who I was, who I belonged to. There wasn't the option of doing anything 'against the rules' because you knew the word would make it to your house before you did. The stores were owned and operated by local people, most of whom went to school with Mom and Dad. The prices were within reason, and you knew that if you needed a new shirt, you could go to the LouAnn shop or to Brill's and you'd find just what you wanted.

There was the sound of cows lowing in the pasture at Gould's dairy farm near my grandmother's house where we lived. There was the dust of potato fields being plowed on our window sills, and the sight of black-skinned strangers dressed in shabby clothes who were covered with the same dust. The worst of all traffic problems was getting behind a slow-moving farm tractor on his way to the next field. Today both the migrant workers and the cows are gone. The pasture is full with a condominium complex. The train station, which was once manned by a man behind a caged ticket booth, now has a machine to which you pay your fare. The roses that once lined the split rail fence there on the station grounds have been removed, as has the fence. Even the passenger train, with it's mournful whistle, has been exchanged for a fast-moving, double-decker with a horn, and the freight trains are no longer in evidence.

I am grateful that the people who govern the Village of East Hampton have worked hard to retain the beauty of the place. The architecture is, with a few exceptions, fitting for the Main Street of a historic town. The beaches are clean and neat, but for the myriad of signs that tell a soul what he cannot do while on the sandy shore. Common sense should tell you those things, without the aid of posted reminders, but I guess some common sense was not shown somewhere along the line, and thus the many signs.

Regulations are abundant in my old stomping grounds. Zoning boards meet almost around the clock, it seems, to grant or deny permits, or to come up with some new idea for regulating something. Personally, I am one who believes there are far too many rules and regulations now, but I also believe there are far too many people present in that beautiful town.

Sometimes I get homesick...but it isn't for the East Hampton I left. It is for the East Hampton I was born into, the one I grew up in. The one I left was so changed, that I no longer knew it as "Home." I didn't know the faces on the street any longer. There were no friendly smiles, no cheery 'good mornings' . Once I felt that I was stepping in the very footprints of my ancestors on those streets. But I grew to feel as if I was walking the streets of a strange sea-side town geared for tourists, almost as if I was a tourist there myself. I grew tired of hearing rude comments from non-natives about locals shopping in Waldbaums at other times of the day, so that the visitors might have the place to themselves. It became increasingly stressful to me to attempt to find a place to park in order to run the slightest of errands. It became unbearable to sit on the deck behind our house and try to have a conversation at a normal decibal level. It became time to leave.

Now we are somewhat established in our new place. We live in a quiet neighborhood in the country, but within 12 miles of the county seat. The city is about the size of Riverhead and offers everything one could possibly need. We have fit in nicely, I think, with the people here. They seem not to have any animosity toward these northerners who have transplanted themselves. You see, when we came here, we vowed we would not try to change anything about anything here, the way things were done back home. We would not get on school boards or town boards or write letters to suggest things were not being done right. We are the strangers here, but we are respectful of what has always been done here and did not come to change things.

We are still learning about our new area, there's so much to learn! But we're finding caring and helpful people who aid us in any way they can. Old East Hampton will always be my hometown, but these days, SC is my home. I guess it's true. Home IS where the love lives.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Hero Comes Home

He's home from Iraq. He arrived at the local airport today, with family, friends, neighbors and strangers he'd never met awaiting his arrival. Each of them had come to show their support and their appreciation to this soldier for his duty served in the on-going war.

He joined the US Army because he had the same patriotism shared by his brother, his grandfather and his great-grandfather. He wanted to protect and preserve our country's rights and freedoms. His mother is proud of her sons' decisions.

This scene might have been different. The soldier might have marched proudly off the plane wearing his decorated uniform. He might have held his chin high as he stood at attention or smiled and waved at the crowd. He might have run across the airfield to lift his little son high in the air and hug his mother. But, he was carried off the plane and escorted by an honor guard. He was lying prone, his bed a casket, his blanket the flag of the United States. Not only is he a patriotic military man, he is now a statistic, another casualty of war.

My heart goes out to a woman who lives in the same little town I do. We've never met. That may change, for I feel a connection with her. I have a son in the military too. I know the worries she must have felt when her son was in a danger zone. I ache for her, knowing the agony I have felt when I've dared let myself think that my son might sometime be in a combat area. So far, that has not been our case, but when your son is a member of the US military, you know it's always a possibility.

A soldier has come back to his own homeland. This young man will be honored with special services and laid to rest on Saturday. His mother will know no rest for many days and nights in the future. She will remember her son's days at home with her as a little boy. She will think of the good times they shared while he was growing up, and she will teach her little grandson about
the father he is too young to remember. She will wonder what might have been. She will not forget for a single moment that her son is one of the many soldiers lost, but a very special one. She will be proud of her boy, but she will wish things could have been different. She will pray, with all of her heart, that God will spare her other son from such a fate. I will pray with her, for her, and for all the other mothers of sons who might find themselves in fear of such a heartbreaking return.


Although I don't consider my handwriting anything special, other people apparently do. I'm often complimented on my neat and 'fancy' script. Recently one counter clerk who took my check stood there looking at it and tell me she just liked 'looking at it'.

It all started back in grade school, I guess, when I learned to form the cursive letters. Miss Bird, I remember, told me that I had good formation, but she said I could improve my handwriting if I slanted all the letters in the same direction. She told me to practice, practice and practice and she thought I'd have lovely handwriting. I took her advice. I guess it paid off, as in high school I was invited to hand write the menus for an upscale restaurant (The Hedges Inn) and was paid for doing so.

After my children were born, I had to sit quietly while breast-feeding one or another of them. I used that time to practice calligraphy or write letters to friends. The more practice you have, the better you get, and that works for anything you sent your mind to, I imagine.

I've been known to let things get sloppy when I'm in a hurry, but I don't like to do that. I enjoy knowing that my script looks nothing like a doctor's perscription. People have remarked that their own handwriting is terrible, and that they can't do anything to change it. I don't believe that is true. Today, a clerk who took my check, told me that she hardly writes with a pen anymore...she texts.

It seems to me that we've gotten lazy in the age of computers. We don't write letters by hand any more, we email. I hadn't thought about the texting idea in regard to handwriting until the clerk mentioned it. Isn't it sad? I think so...and yet, it's not surprising. We are all so busy, so anxious to have everything done immediately, it makes perfect sense.

The future tumbles toward us furiously. We no longer do figures in our heads, or with scribbled numbers on paper or count on our fingers. Adding machines do it for us. I can only hope that someone will remember how to write with their hand, as we 'progress' with all these machines.

Before long, I fear that Robots will be doing our thinking for us. What will be left for us other than to turn into huge vegetables which will be able to speak words to a machine, and have it written? I don't want to see that.

I think I'll go write a letter....with a pen.