Thursday, November 30, 2006


This two generation picture was taken in West Brattleboro, Vt. in 1940. My Mother and Dad were enjoying a rare moment alone with my maternal grandparents.

Our family, by this time, consisted of 5 little girls, of which I was the youngest, and it was rare indeed for us to be separated from Mother & Dad. We were living in Plainfield, NJ at that time but we were able to get to Vermont on a few special occasions. This was quite an ordeal because we didn’t own a car and had to make the journey by train.

My grandparents home was not large and usually my parents would stay there and we five would be parceled out to friends and relatives. I would imagine that we were with our cousins when this picture was taken. They lived nearby in a large farm-type colonial located in the center of West Brattleboro.

I remember that big white house and, in particular, the bedroom where I was to stay for this particular trip. I had been assigned to the lower bunk of a two-tier bed and it was here that I left my little suitcase and my other treasures. I knew they would be safe there.

To be honest I don’t remember much about that trip except for what happened the first night that I slept in that room. Being the youngest of the clan I’m sure that I was the first to be put to bed. I’m also sure I rebelled and I probably tried my darndest to stay awake...but sleep overtook me and I drifted off.

The next thing I remember was being attacked by a wild animal. The room was black as pitch and my screams just made the unknown attacker more frenzied. I was flailing around with my arms and trying to protect my head when my cousin finally turned on the light. She was shaking me and trying to figure out why I was screaming. As I started to calm down I noticed a large cat sitting on the foot of my bed. He seemed to have a sly, “gotcha”, smirk on his feline face and I realized that this was my “wild animal”.

Of course my cousin explained it all. The innocent cat sleeping with her and then jumping down from the top bunk and landing squarely on me, scaring me out of my wits. Did I buy that? Not on your life...that cat was out to get me and his big Cheshire smile proved it!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

LIVE RADIO SHOWS in the 1940’s

In the early 1940’s World War II was raging and the live radio shows of that era provided a much-needed respite for the families waiting at home and for the boys on base. “The Jack Benny Show”, “Edgar Bergan and Charlie McCarthy”, “Burns and Allen” and “The Great Gildersleeve” were only a few of the shows
that brought their home-spun humor into our lives.

I was 9 yrs old in 1942 when my family re-located to Wellesley, Massachusetts. I can remember many a night that we gathered around the big, wooden radio in the living room and laughed until the tears flowed. There were also nights when we cried as we listened to the news of our brave boys so far from home. The radio was our lifeline for good news or bad.

One of our family favorites was “You Bet Your Life” with Groucho Marx. He was just as funny on radio as he later was on his TV show of the same name. (“Say the secret word (pronounced "woid") and a duck will come down and give you fifty dollars”.) His quips were priceless but the one I remember best was his famous: “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy” delivered in his dry monotone.

“The Shadow” was another winner. Remember: “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!” Or, how about “The Aldrich Family”, the story of a bumbling kid growing into adolescence. I will never forget the introduction, with his mother calling, “Hen-reeeeeee! Hen-ree AL-drich!” And also, “Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons”, the show that we so cleverly changed to “Mr. Trace, Keener than Most People”.

By 1946 my taste in radio shows had changed dramatically. I was now a teenager and my “romantic” self couldn’t get enough of “The Lux Radio Theater”. Their format was to air one hour radio versions of motion pictures, often using the same cast as in the movie. (examples of these were: “Jane Eyre”, “I Remember Mama”, and “Miracle of the Bells”.) The only problem was that my bedtime was before the show came on.

Not to worry. We now owned two smaller radios and I, simply, connected a long extension cord to one of them and took the radio to bed with me!

My folks never reprimanded me, or even let me know that they were aware of what I was doing. But, I recall many nights that I fell asleep mid-show and woke the next morning to find the radio miraculously turned off and set on the floor beside the bed.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


In 1974 we were living in upstate New York and it seemed like the winter would never end. A friend in the Travel business recommended a trip to Spanish Wells, a small “out-island” in the Bahamas. He said it was remote and with few amenities, but it was within our budget and would be the perfect place to “veg” for a week and soak up the sun.

We agreed. A week later we flew in to Eleuthra and it was a short boat ride from there to Spanish Wells. We found ourselves in a picturesque fishing village. The people were very friendly and the island was so small that we were able to see it all on the first day.

It just happened that the fishermen were on shore that week so the local “watering hole” was really hopping when we made our appearance. They were thrilled to have a new set of ears to listen to their folklore. We also met the only other visitor to the island. He was a man in his 40’s, dressed in typical beach garb and he seemed to be a regular since everyone knew him.

We found that we had a mutual interest in cards and we spent the night playing penny-ante poker. The next day was more of the same except that Dick was starting to have a very hard time breathing. (He was an asthmatic as well as a diabetic.) Our new friend became quite concerned for him since there were no phones, no doctors and no way to get medications quickly. He told us that he had a good friend, a Scottish doctor, who worked on the Island of Abaco in the resort “Treasure Key”. He said he would make all the arrangements and that we could transfer our next 5 days in Spanish Wells to the resort in Abaco.

He was as good as his word and we soon found ourselves on a small plane leaving Eleuthra. There were 3 other couples on the plane and I overheard them discussing how long they had to wait to get reservations to the resort. When we landed they all rushed for the waiting bus and Dick and I started to follow. Just then a chauffeur stepped forward and, after checking our name, he ushered us into his car and whisked us off to our beach-front cabana at “Treasure Key”.

We were still in shock when Dr. Hameish Fraser arrived. He told us his friend (and ours) had contacted him and that he was at our disposal. It was such a comfort to have this friendly man welcome us and it was just in time. Dick was getting in trouble with his breathing again and the doctor put him to bed and started him on medication. It would be three days before he was able to get up and Dr Fraser visited every day.

During that time I wandered the beach and marveled at the white sand and the teal colored ocean that lapped the shore. It truly is a paradise on earth, I thought, but can we afford it? The day before we left I went to the office to settle our bill. “What bill?”, said the manager. I explained about the transfer of funds from Spanish Wells and she just smiled. It seems that our card-playing friend was a co-owner of “Treasure Key” and both he and Dr. Fraser refused payment.

I have thought of that so often over the years and marveled at their generosity. They were truly our “guardian angels”.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Our friend FILIPPO...the “mad” Scientist/Inventor

“Rumors of my demise were grossly exaggerated”, the young man stated as he caught me in an effusive bear hug. This was my introduction to Filippo, my husband-to-be’s eccentric best friend and ex-roommate

The year was 1958 and we were all living in New York City but Filippo had been “missing in action” for the past four months. He was a scientist/inventor and spent a lot of time out of town researching his projects. I was glad to finally meet him. Now I could put a face to the name that my husband spoke of so frequently.

Filippo was small in stature but his dramatic flair made him a daunting personage. He had been born and bred in NY City and was the prototype of the Italian male with sparkling eyes, a thin pencil mustache and a small, pointed goatee. His voice was his most memorable feature… the feverish cadence being interspersed with his unique giggle. He was (and is) a most delightful person.

One of his passions was the stock market and, shortly after we were married, we received a frantic call from him. He was “out in the hinterlands” and couldn’t get his hands on a “NY Times”. He asked Dick if he could read off the NYSE results for the day.

I started to hand the paper to Dick but he shook his head at me and went on to give Fillipo a list of the reasons why this would be extremely inconvenient...not the least being the fact that he would have to get dressed and go downtown to get the paper! After some further haggling Filippo agreed to buy us each a steak dinner upon his next trip home in return for Dick getting the paper and reading the results to him. He said he’d call back within the hour.

After he hung up the phone I reminded Dick that we had the paper but he just laughed and said, “Oh, I know’s just something we do”, and he sat back to wait for Filippo to call. It was more like 3 hours by the time that he was able to ring us back and when he did I was amazed to hear Dick say; “Well, Chappie, I have bad news. You know that our dog is paper trained and it took you so long to get back to us that I had no choice but to use that paper for Tiger. She’s sitting on it right now, as a matter of fact.” Then he sat back with a big grin and held the phone away from his ear. I could hear Filippo fuming and fussing on the other end and every once in awhile Dick would throw in a sympathetic “Uh, huh” until I finally heard an exasperated sigh and Filippo caved in. “O.k., o.k….I give up“ he said, “ Get your d__n dog off the paper and I’ll buy her a steak dinner too !”

“Score one for us”, said Dick when he got off the phone, and he was right. Filippo was as good as his word, buying steak dinners for all 3 of us. However, this was just the start of a lifetime filled with good-natured bantering between Dick and Filippo. They out-did each other whenever possible but I dare say it was a tie when the final score was tallied.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

MY ‘69 CAMARO….Short-lived glory !

1969 was a pretty good year in the Real Estate business in New York State. My husband made a big sale and surprised me with a brand new Camaro SS coupe. It looked very much like the one in the picture except that it was a gorgeous shade of burnt-orange.

Dick paid cash for the car and as it turned out this was the first and only time that we were able to splurge like this in our married life, but I didn’t know that at the time.

My husband had a Blazer and we decided we’d use that to show property and to chauffer children and animals. The Camaro would be for my use and for special occasions for the two of us. I still remember how I felt the first time that I drove off alone. I was one foxy lady…in my mind, anyway !

I got a lot of attention when I drove that car. I was no longer a dowdy old housewife and I reveled in it. I like to think that I was still a good wife and mother then but I have to admit that I loved the feeling that I still had “it”.

About 3 months later my husband started to expand the building area of his Real Estate business. It meant that he was doing a lot of hauling and he was using his Blazer to the max. I’ll never forget the night that he sat me down and told me that we had a serious thing to talk about.

I think he must have practiced his speech because it was very effective. He explained that we were in desperate need of a truck and that the only way we could afford this would be to sell my car. He never actually said it but I felt that I would be very selfish to keep my frivolous “toy” in the face of this “family emergency”.

So, there you have it. We sold my gorgeous Camaro and bought a dark green flat-bed truck. I’d never thought of my husband as the jealous type and I know the truck was good for business, but I’ve often wondered if he had another motive?

If he did, it worked. I took over the Blazer and went back to hauling kids, groceries and dogs. I never again had so much as an admiring whistle from a stranger.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My Summer with the HIPPIES … 1967

In the Spring of 1967 two young Vassar girls showed up at our Real Estate office in Clinton Corners, NY. They, and 4 others, were looking for a place that they could rent for the summer.

My husband and I liked the girls and I wasn’t surprised when he came up with an idea. He was the buyer for a group of nine investors and they had just bought a 300 acre farm in the next county. The old farmhouse on the property was livable but just barely. It had electricity and running water but that was it.

We knew that the girls were strapped for money so he made this proposal to them. We would take $800 for the 8 weeks rental if they would help with emptying, cleaning & painting the inside of the house while they lived there. I would supervise the project and we would work 6 hours every day with weekends off. At the end of the 8 weeks, if they had lived up to their end of the bargain, we would give them their $800 back.

They were ecstatic and we signed papers that day. I had no idea that this was the first link in a chain of events that would provide me with one of the best summers that I would ever know!

A few weeks later the girls moved in. By Monday they had already planted a small garden in the back yard and had jugs of water sitting in the sun, filled with a variety of exotic tea leaves to make “sun tea”. They had also made “house rules” and one of these was that, during the 6 hour work day, each girl would have an hour to play the music of her choice.

For the rest of the summer whenever we were working we would have music. One girl’s dad was an opera singer and she would play the classics. Then it would be Heavy Metal or Rhythm & Blues or The Beatles, or the new sound of Pink Floyd.

We didn’t only listen to the music. We danced our way through the dullness of washing a floor or stripping wallpaper. We’d sing and mimic the artists and we’d talk, talk, talk. I had been out of college for 13 years and it was exhilarating to be back in that milieu. I felt younger than I had for ages.

A few of the stodgy neighbors complained about our “hippie” farm., but we paid little heed to that. The girls were reliable and fun to be with and they put life back into that old farmhouse. By the end of the summer we hated to see them go.

It’s interesting to note that one year later nearly half a million “real hippies” congregated 30 miles north of the property at the Woodstock Festival. It was touted as “a weekend of music, love and peace“...but I’d had my share of that already !

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Recently a group of my friends and I were comparing memories of our younger days. One of the men recalled this story and I want to share it with you.

He was in his twenties and his wife had left him in charge of their three year old daughter. It was close to Christmas so he thought it would be great fun to go shopping for presents with her. He could just imagine the joy that his little girl would experience when she saw the dolls and other things that he planned to buy.

She was a typically active three year old and his wife had advised him to use the harness if they went out. This was a safety device that fit very much like a vest and had a strong cord attached so that she could wander only as far as he allowed. This proved to be very handy and he was able to let her meander along while he picked out presents.

But the venture wasn’t turning out like he’d imagined. She barely smiled and didn’t seem particularly interested in any of the toys that he chose. He persevered, however, and his cart was almost overflowing with goodies when he checked out. With great care he maneuvered his little girl and the packages out to the car.

As he opened the trunk and was putting the gifts inside he felt a tug on the harness cord. He turned to see that his little child was squatting on the pavement. He hurriedly threw the rest of the packages in the trunk and slammed it shut. Then he bent down to see what she was doing.

She turned to him with a radiant smile, as she pointed to what was fascinating her. It was a single flower pushing it’s way up through a small crack in the pavement... a gift more precious to her than all the ones that he had bought.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

TINY TIM Tiptoes thru our small town BIG TOP, 1985

If you think that Tiny Tim (the musician), with his ukulele and his falsetto singing voice, is a bit bizarre then I’m here to tell you; “you ain’t heard nothin’ yet”.

Tiny Tim enjoyed international stardom in the 60’s after his first big break on the comedy and variety TV show “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in”. Other performances followed on the “Johnny Carson”, “Ed Sullivan” and “Jackie Gleason” shows. He was a novelty, to say the least, and is best remembered today for his signature song, “Tiptoe Thru The Tulips”.

By the 1980’s however, his popularity, his fame and his fortune had dwindled considerably. Therefore I wasn’t too surprised when I read, in 1985, that he was to be the main attraction at a small time circus in my home town to raise money for a local charity.

My little town of Vass, NC, had barely 700 residents back then but people came from near & far for the one-night performance and when Tiny Tim made his appearance the “Big Top” nearly burst at the seams. I was there and enjoying myself but when he finished his last song I rushed home. It was late and I had to be up by 6 AM in the morning to get to my job at the emergency room of our local hospital.

Imagine my surprise the next morning when I saw a familiar looking figure in a dark overcoat and long, stringy black hair. It was Tiny Tim. He had a small paper bag with him and was pleading to have the ER Dr. see him “in private”.

He was refusing to be registered so we called the Supervisor. She finally determined that he was carrying a urine sample that he swore he had obtained from a girl in Vass (!) She, according to Tiny Tim, was accusing him of getting her pregnant and he wanted the Dr. to prove her wrong. Remember, this was back in 1985, long before you could get a pregnancy test kit from a drugstore.

This whole scene was getting more and more bizarre. Both the Dr. and the nursing supervisor tried to tell him that it was way too early to determine anything but Tiny Tim just became more agitated. He started yelling about “my rights as a citizen” and “people taking advantage of me because I’m a star”, and it was at this point that the news photographer arrived.

In retrospect we came to believe that it was all a set-up. Tiny Tim got a big spread in the local paper, as well as those in Raleigh and Fayetteville. The un-named girl from Vass “conveniently” disappeared and Tiny Tim, with a big “gotcha” smile on his face, tiptoed his way out of our lives.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


In 1987 my husband Dick and I lived in Moore County, N. C., approx. an hour south of Raleigh. He had a one-man remodeling business and had just hired Kenny, a 20 year old black youth to help with the heavy stuff. Kenny had no carpentry skills but Dick told him that he would teach him the business if he were reliable and trustworthy. (Kenny proved to be more than that and, after my husband died in 1990, he went on to form his own company in another County and is quite prosperous today.)

Pretty soon the two men had a set routine and that included coming back to the house at noon for a lunch that I would prepare for them. After every meal Kenny would say, “Mizzrus Richard, that was real good” . He had a sharp mind and was quick to learn but his Southern dialect was strong.

Their lunchtimes happened to coincide with the airing, on our local PBS station, of the award winning show, “Eyes On The Prize, America’s Civil Rights Years…1954-1965“. Kenny became very engrossed with the show and he and I would watch it every day while we ate.

It was very interesting, to me, to realize that Kenny knew very little about his own history. He had been born and schooled in North Carolina but he said that he had never been taught anything about the Civil Rights movement.

Kenny and I watched the series day after day and he became more and more agitated. This was completely new to him and he was amazed at what he was seeing. He even began to take notes and would ask me my opinion on what we had seen. The part that affected him the most was when Gov. George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door in Alabama and blocked the entry of the black students.

I could see the conflict of emotions that were roiling inside of him as he watched and suddenly he turned to me and said something that I’ll never forget. He said: “Mzzrus Richard, do you know what? Someday that Governor is going to get real old and used up and he’s going to end his days in a nursing home. And do you know who’s going to take care of him then? We are!”

It wasn’t meant as a threat…he was simply stating a fact…but it gave me a chill. Yes, I thought, the day of reckoning comes to us all. I was glad that I could tell Kenny that Gov. Wallace had a change of heart since those days and had begged forgiveness of the many people with whom he had clashed.

That was almost 20 years ago but Kenny has never forgotten me. He calls to say “hi” at least two or three times a year and always ends the conversation by giving thanks to my late husband, Dick, for the life that he enjoys today.

If you are interested in this post please take a moment to click on the comments. I think they are especially insightful this time. Ginnie

Saturday, November 11, 2006

“MAFFY” advises his Grandma…

Matthew, our second son, was about 4 years old when this picture was taken. He and my mother are obviously engrossed in fixing something. This was a usual thing for them. They were great pals and loved spending time together, especially if it entailed a “mind boggler” that needed to be solved.

A few years later, in 1976, we moved to a different home and our property had a small stream on it. Matt took up the sport of fishing and he couldn’t wait for Grandma to come for a visit so that she could share in his new hobby.

When the time came for that visit we fixed up a nice room in the basement so that mother could have her privacy. It was very cozy and if she wanted to read or take a nap she would just go down to her room. It was also where she would smoke. She knew that neither Dick nor I were smokers and we wouldn’t be too pleased with having the smell in the main house.

She stayed for two weeks and almost every day she and “Maffy” would take off for the stream. They would often take a lunch with them as well as their fishing rods and his little creel box complete with hooks and worms and a special place for Grandma’s cigarettes. I would love to have been privy to their talks. I’m sure they solved many of the problems of his little world, but I had no idea that they were discussing mother’s world, too.

One morning I glanced into Matt’s creel box just before they were to take off for the stream and I realized that mother’s cigarettes were missing. When I asked about it, Matt said, “Oh, didn‘t you know? Grandma doesn’t smoke any more.”

I was absolutely amazed and when I asked mother about it she told me that Matt had tactfully and persistently kept after her until she had no excuses left. She was to live for 20 more years and near the end of her life I asked her if she’d ever smoked again. She seemed shocked at my question. “Of course not,” she said, “I made a promise to Maffy, didn’t I?”

Friday, November 10, 2006

“The World Is Too Much With Us” … WORDSWORTH

Ever since I studied William Wordsworth, (1770-1830), in college I have been haunted by the first 4 lines of this poem written by him in 1807:

“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our Powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours:
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon !”

Wordsworth was 37 when he wrote these lines. He was to become England’s poet laureate in 1843 and is often credited with being the greatest nature poet in the world. It fascinates me that his words ring so true to our world situation today.

This makes me ponder. Should I take a positive or a negative attitude to what he’s written? On the one hand I can say that nothing has changed in the last 200 years and isn’t that a sad state of affairs. That would be the negative view.

However, I could turn that around and feel comforted by the fact that everything remains unchanged & there’s nothing I can do about it. That would be a somewhat positive reaction.

I guess it really doesn’t matter in the long run. For my taste the world IS “too much with us” and I have to fight that every day. I don’t want to “lay waste my Powers” and I need to constantly remind myself that all the “getting and spending” can’t give me what I can acquire for free from a long walk in the woods or along a shore line.

William Wordsworth gave me a gift of this lovely poem. It will be my tribute to him to accept it and live by it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


It was just past 6 AM when I entered the restaurant and I saw that one other customer had been seated before me. He was a nice looking young man and, since we were the only two there, we nodded a silent “good morning” to each other.

I chose this particular restaurant because I like their choice of breakfast items. On this day I opted for a Spanish Omelet and coffee. My friend was equally conservative and ordered 2 eggs, no meat, a biscuit and coffee.

We were just getting down to eating when we heard the loud approach of an 18-wheeler and, a few minutes later, the driver of the truck was being seated. Now there were three of us in the room and once again we nodded to each other pleasantly.

Our new man was very large & I wasn’t surprised when he ordered the equivalent of 3 breakfasts. After he placed his order he sat back, crossed his hands over his protruding tummy and proceeded to rock back and forth in happy anticipation of the feast to come.

It took two waitresses to carry out the large breakfast he’d ordered and it was placed ceremoniously in front of him. He had pancakes, 3 eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits in gravy and a side order of their special hash browns with cheese, not to mention a large Pepsi.

The breakfast seemed to be literally swimming in butter, gravy and syrup but there was an addition to it that caught our eye. A large slice of twisted orange had been placed artistically atop the pancakes. The driver literally reared back when he saw that and then, very carefully with thumb and forefinger, he plucked the orange slice from the stack and, with a sigh of relief, he deposited it in the ash tray.

The stranger and I could only smile and shake our heads as we locked eyes across the room. We didn’t have to hide the look of amusement on our faces. There was no way that the truck driver would have seen us.

Now that he had successfully rid himself of the one healthy element of his meal he was completely and happily engrossed in the orgy of eating.

Monday, November 06, 2006

SINS OF OMISSION…the sneaky foe

I started blogging in July and it’s been relatively easy up to now. I was blessed with a thirst for life and I think you can tell from my articles that I had a wonderful childhood, an exciting school and work record and a good marriage that produced three precious children. It has been a joy to remember and record the events of those days. So far I have posted an eclectic collection of thoughts that have taken me from my birth to about age 40.

Here’s where it gets difficult for me to continue. To capsulate: it is now 1973. I am married with 3 children (2 boys and a girl), ages 14, 13 & 12. Ten years earlier we moved from New York City to a small town in upstate New York. Dick’s health was too rocky for him to continue his life as a traveling photographer and he now is a Real Estate Broker and we run the office out of our home. I sell property also and manage the business end.

We never returned to the heavy socializing that we had done in the city, but we always retained our night-time ritual of cocktails before dinner. Without realizing it this had become of major importance to me. Our life was not easy, especially financially, and I found that a few drinks helped me to cope. I ran the household and our small business, made the meals, attended school functions and did whatever was required of me, but it was always with the aid of the anesthetic called alcohol.

I use the word “anesthetic” because that’s exactly what it did to me…it separated me from reality. I can look at photographs, or talk to my children about that time in our lives and it jolts my memory...but they are usually cloudy and distorted images. This is how alcohol affected me and it was so subtle and cunning that I didn’t even realize what was happening. For the next 16 years I was, as they say in AA, a “functioning alcoholic”.

When I look back upon those years I don’t beat myself up because of what I did. It’s what I DIDN’T DO that saddens me. I didn’t provide my children with emotional security, I didn’t give my husband the love and devotion that he so rightly deserved and I didn’t have the courage to face life head on.

Well, that has all changed. I learned, 17 years ago, that I have a treatable disease and that I can lead a full and rewarding life without the false courage of alcohol. The fog has lifted and I can clearly see the road ahead that beckons.

Friday, November 03, 2006


We all appreciate the good provider who brings home the bacon ... but how often does that same man come home with 600 pounds of premium beef?


It was a typical, crisp October night in 1971. Our little upstate NY town had already rolled up the sidewalks and, in our house at least, we were all tucked in for the night. We had no forewarning that the evening’s calm was about to end.

The barking of our dogs awoke us, but it was the sound that we heard next that was really alarming. It sounded exactly like the rushing waters of a turbulent stream or waterfall. We couldn’t imagine what was happening until our eyes adjusted to the night and we realized that a large herd of cattle was running past our door.

“Oh, no,” yelled my husband. “They’re loose and heading for the Parkway.” and before I knew what he was doing he’d pulled on his boots, grabbed a jacket and was out the door.

Our house was situated very near to the Taconic Parkway and I realized what he meant. If these black animals streamed onto the highway the result could be disastrous. A driver would have a hard time seeing them until it was too late...both for him and the cattle.

Dick jumped on his horse, Thunder, and the two of them took off down the road. By the time the children and I made it to the parkway he had most of the animals corralled in the median but one of them had, indeed, been hit. It was at this point that the owner arrived. He, too, had been asleep but was awaked by a call from a neighbor telling him that his cattle were loose. Needless to say he was very appreciative of Dick.

I took the children home to bed and the owner, Dick and some other good Samaritans worked together and finally got the cattle back where they belonged. It was about 3 AM when Dick came home but he was looking mighty pleased with himself. Evidently the owner had offered to pay him but Dick had declined. The farmer, however, would not take no for an answer and finally persuaded him to accept the animal that had been killed on the highway.

So, there you have it! My hero had indeed brought home the bacon...except in this case it turned out to be 600 lbs of prime beef. We paid $100 to have it cut, packaged and stored and we ate like kings for a long, long time. I’ll let you do the math...but that was a pretty lucrative night’s “work”.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I was uplifted recently to read about my fellow North Carolinians from Henderson County. They decided to honor their World War II veterans. They conducted a campaign that raised enough money to send 220 of them to Washington, DC. They ranged in age from the late 70’s to 102. The group spent the weekend visiting the World War II memorial, laying wreaths at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and visiting other points of interest.

I was amazed at the men’s capacity for recall. They related their war memories as if they had happened yesterday. But I was especially touched by a man who was very reluctant to visit the past. His memories were obviously still raw and he stumbled over his words and had tears in his eyes when he said, “But I know that it’s crucial that we remember those times…”

This brought to mind what I had experienced just a few months ago. I was visiting a friend in New York. She is 87 years old and a victim of the holocaust. Both she and her husband met in a concentration camp during World War II.

My husband and I met them in the late 1960’s. They never referred to the war years at all...except for the first time when they explained where they had met. She was from France and I believe he was from Germany. We became great friends and, although we’ve both lost our husbands, we still keep in touch.

When I was with her a few months ago I could tell that she was agitated and she confided in me that a woman had approached her to write down her remembrances of the war years and her experiences in the concentration camp. She had decided to do it and, when I asked her if it was cathartic, she answered with a very strong “no, and it is tearing me up inside...but it must be done. Pretty soon there will be no one left to record the facts and it’s critical that we don’t forget.”

One of the memories that she shared with me that day was when she was forced into the bus that would take them to the camp. It was difficult to breathe because they were packed in so tight and the Nazi guard let them open the windows. They were still in a city and at one point the bus had to stop on a busy street. A girl suddenly flung her small infant out the window. Someone caught the child and before the Nazi could see what had happened the baby was gone from sight.

Of course she was crying by the time she’d finished her tale and the only response I had was to cry with her. Can things like this happen again? Are they happening? So many few answers.

We need to be told. We need to listen. Lest we forget.