Wednesday, June 30, 2010


“Survival Guilt” is the type of remorse felt by people who manage to survive while their friends or loved ones do not. The events that take their lives do not have to be traumatic. They can be the result of a long illness or even old age. The common denominator, however, is that the survivor feels a tremendous guilt at being able to get on with their life. It can be summed up by: “why am I the lucky one?”

When my husband died at the young age of 59 it was the result of a lifelong illness. He was a brittle Type 1 diabetic &, although the death certificate read “congestive heart failure” it was the side effects of the diabetes that killed him. When this happened I felt shock, anger and sorrow, but overriding it all was an ominous feeling of guilt. I kept thinking how unfair it was that I would be here to enjoy all the milestones of the family that we had created...but Dick would not.

I was going through my own adjustments before he died. I had joined Alcoholics Anonymous 15 months earlier and I no longer had the crutch of alcohol to help me forget. This proved to be a blessing in disguise. “Forgetting” would have been the worst thing I could have done.

With the help of my sponsor and the kind people in AA I was able to face the loss and to experience all the emotions but not have them overwhelm me. I still felt that I’d let Dick down however and one night, while sitting at the table in my kitchen, I closed my eyes and “talked” to him. I told him that I loved him and that I hoped he was in a place of peace and finally free of pain and disease. I was going to ask him to forgive me but I was stopped in mid-sentence.

I felt a breeze on the back of my neck and then something brushed by my left shoulder. My eyes flew open and I blurted out, “Dick, is that you?” Of course no one was there but I felt a sense of comfort that I had never felt before and I knew that I had been absolved and that all was right in my world.

This is a true story, exactly as it happened to me. I am not a religious person but I do believe there is a type of higher power out there. It’s way beyond my comprehension but there is no doubt in my mind that it was with me that night in my kitchen.

(This is a repeat blog entry and I apologize to AC, Chancey & Cazzie who commented on the original.)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Living it up at the FERGUSON … 1957

In 1957 I was three years out of college, had worked a variety of jobs and was finally in the “Big Apple”. It had been my dream for years to work in NY City and here I was !

The first thing that I needed was a place to stay however. I had very little in the way of savings and no clear idea as to what job was in the offing. When I heard of the Ferguson Hotel for Girls (billed as a “safe haven for young ladies new to New York”) I was thrilled. It was in a 6-story brownstone and not only was the location great (the upper East side in the 80’s and just minutes from Bloomingdales) but it offered both breakfast and dinner as part of the very affordable weekly charge.

My enthusiasm was dampened a bit when I saw the actual rooms.
There were three of us sharing a small bedroom on the fourth floor; but, it was clean and the other girls were pleasant. The rules were stringent and included… no drinking, no smoking or cooking in our rooms & definitely NO MALES ABOVE THE FIRST FLOOR !

Little did I know that my roomies were out-of-work starlets and they thought nothing of breaking every one of these rules if it could help pay the rent ! I’m not sure how they got everything past the “house warden” but finding a strange male in MY BED was a shock to say the least. Actually it was the last straw and I asked to be transferred to the first single room that came available.

That room and getting hired to work at WABC Radio actually became a reality on the same day. I took that as a good luck sign then: but, looking back at it from the distance of 50 + years I wonder how things would have been if I’d stayed with the starlets. I’ll bet my blogging memories would be a bit spicier!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Vegetarian dinner or a great side dish …

I’m always looking for simple recipes and this one really hit’s the spot. It’s great as a side dish with meats, fish or poultry but can also make a filling and satisfactory lunch without any additions.


1 BUNCH of BROCCOLI (separate flowerets and cut the stems into 1” pieces)


1 stick of BUTTER



Bring 4 quarts of water and 1 tbsp. of salt to a boil. Add the spaghetti … cook 2 minutes.
Add the broccoli to spaghetti and cook 8 minutes more.

Meanwhile mince the garlic and brown in the melted butter.

Drain spaghetti and broccoli and toss well with the garlic-butter mix. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Family portrait…circa 1934

Yep, here we are … all 5 of us. I can’t believe that I was ever that small. I’m the little one in the middle with the straight hair and the leather shoes!

What interests me is that the expressions we had then really reveal the personalities that were to be ours for the rest of our lives. Starting from the top left we have Mary Jane, the oldest and the most “saintly” of us all by far. She was the one that all the husbands gravitated to when they had a problem. She would LISTEN!

Next is Barbara (top right). A female with strong opinions who never failed to let her ideas be known. I’ve found that we can get along just fine if we stay away from politics, religion and AA; but, I have to give her strong points for making sure that the family has kept connected over the years …through thick and thin.

Below her is Nancy, the comedienne of the family. She was the originator of most of the practical jokes that seemed to pop up regularly in our household and was a great favorite with the British sailors that we entertained during World War II.

Bottom left is Peggy Ann…my closest sister. As her expression shows she ponders most situations until they are perfectly clear and then she moves ahead with assurance. She has a warm and loving personality and was probably the most domestic of us all. I envied her cooking ability.

And now it’s been 76 years since that picture was taken and of course time has taken it’s toll. Everyone is still alive but I’m the only one who’s still mobile. My expression??? I guess it’s a cross between “duh” and “are you sure?” !

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A “blogger” date at the NC Museum of Art

For the second time I met up with my blogger friend Judy who lives about an hour north of me. A few years back she and her husband came to Pinehurst and my friend Bud (a blogger for a very short time) treated us all to lunch. This time it was just the girls …Judy, me and my good friend Mara. We met at the Museum of Art in Raleigh.

We toured the new building and it was quite a change from the original. I am still trying to figure out if I like it or if it is a little stark for my taste. Judy was able to take pictures of the inside and she’s posted some here at "Imagine". I was afraid that my flash camera would get me thrown out of the museum so I stuck to taking pictures outside.

Here they are: The “Monet” pond (complete with water lilies, of course ) and the Rodin statue in the background…and two very stylized trees that decorated the grounds. You can see how huge they are.

As Judy mentioned in her blog we were disappointed not to be able to eat lunch at the museum but made up for it at the Italian restaurant, Brio’s. All in all it was a fun day and I loved getting reacquainted with my blogger friend

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


…and you might find (in the end) that a dollar is your very best friend.”

That’s what the song by that title states. I heard it for the first time today being sung on the Garrison Keilor radio show, “News from Lake Woebegon”.

The slow beat and the gravelly voiced singer were reminiscent of the old R&B songs of the 1940’s and, sure enough, when I researched it I found that it was first performed by Roy Milton in 1946. But my interest in the song was mainly centered around the words.

A “dollar in your pocket” doesn’t buy much today; but, the whole idea of putting something aside for a rainy day is as strong now as it was back then. As I listened to the song I was reminded of my acquaintance with Ernest, a 74 year old black man who lived near me and who was being cared for by Hospice.

The year was 1980 and I was a volunteer care giver. Ernest and I became fast friends and one day we were alone, sitting on his front porch, and he told me that he wanted to share a secret. Of course I was intrigued and even more so when he pulled out his wallet.

I thought he was going to show me pictures, or maybe a newspaper clipping. But no … he brought out a crumpled $100 bill. “No one else knows this is here”, he said, “I’ve had it for 20 years and there have been many times when I almost used it … but I never did. Just knowing that it was there brought me lots of comfort.”

I was amazed that he would tell me this and I told him so. He just smiled and said that his family would find out as soon as he was gone but that he wanted to have the fun of sharing it with another person while he still could. He held my hand and after rocking and chuckling for a bit he fell asleep.

Within the month Ernest was gone. I wasn’t close enough to any of the family members to ask if they’d found the $100 dollars but it didn’t really matter. That crumpled bill had done the job for Ernest when he needed it most.

Friday, June 04, 2010


I was reminded recently of a stupid, but well meant, thing that I did to my husband back in 1989. He was a Type 1 diabetic taking at least two insulin injections daily, and besides trying to keep his blood sugar levels under control he was troubled with high cholesterol.

I was excited when I heard a Doctor on TV extol the virtues of Activated Charcoal. He said that one tablet taken after each meal could cut a person’s cholesterol level by 25%. I rushed out and bought some for Dick thinking that a regimen like this could help to clear out his arteries.

Imagine our surprise when, about a week later, Dick started to feel really sick. His blood sugar levels rose drastically and he was getting short of breath. Luckily we decided to check with his Dr. and he asked if there had been any changes since his last visit. When I told him about the Activated Charcoal the good man almost choked. As we should have known charcoal neutralizes all medications in your system ... precisely why it’s used to counteract drug overdoses...and it was negating all the effects of the insulin that Dick was taking.

What I learned from that experience was that the body is a breeding ground for drug interactions and I need to be extremely careful of what I mix. Whether the drug is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication, a prescription drug, a holistic compound, a dietary supplement, a food, or an illegal drug, the potential for interaction exists, said our Doctor ... and then, as if I didn’t feel badly enough, he added, with a smile, “With a wife like you Dick doesn’t need enemies. It‘s lucky we caught it in time !”