Kayaking on the Charles River

July 18th, 2018

I don’t know whether you have ever assembled a kayak yourself and then taken it out in the water. On my own, I would never have done it, of course, but this experience took place a while ago when I was only twenty years old and eager to try new things, especially when it involved the ocean or just about any body of natural water.

I was with a brilliant guy, an electrical engineer, who was also mechanical and daring. I had met him in the summer before my senior year at college when I took two great courses at Harvard. He and I hit it off right away and dated.

So I did very little to make our boat seaworthy that lovely afternoon back in the late 1960’s. I rightfully give all the credit to George, my boyfriend back then so many years ago!

The memory was so absolutely beautiful, lthough, that I incorporated it in my novel, “33’s Theo.” I had my pivotal characters, Ben and Shelly, go out on the Charles River, but, not in a kayak. I had them go out there in a sailboat. I don’t know why I didn’t put them in a kayak, but I must have had my reasons when I wrote the novel. But their reactions were similar to mine and George’s. Therefore, it wasn’t difficult to write the dialogue. Here’s some excerpts from that romantic part of the novel.

“About s half-hour later, once Shelly was with Ben in a small ⛵️ sailbost, the sea breeze gently blowing her hair, and her eyes squinting at the invasion of the sun’s rays, Shelly knew that she had made the right decision. She felt so much at home with this man she had met just a few days ago that, mixed with a wonderful feeling of joy and elation, were deep feelings of guilt as well. How could she feel so good around this man when she had lost her soul-mate just six months ago?”

“Ben must have sensed that something was wrong. He extended his hand to Shelly and whispered to her, ‘No deep thoughts, Shelly. Let’s just enjoy 😊 these moments. I haven’t felt this happy in years. You bring out something in me that I thought had died with Lisa.”

“‘I have no right to feel this happy again. I was considered a clinically depressed person for the last few months, and now I feel like a teen-Agee. I don’t know what is happening. I’m too old for a lack of judgment like this.”

“‘You’re young and healthy in every sense of the word. Age is just a number. Any intelligent person knows that,’ he said, staring at her with intensity. ‘We’re both doing nothing wrong, Shelly. We have a right to happiness, honey. We’re alive and feeling normal emotions. We didn’t ask to meet and experience these emotions, and we’re not acting irresponsibly. We’re simply enjoying each other in ways that are entirely proper and above board.’

“‘It’s the timing of all this that bothers me. If I were to have met you in s couple of years, it would be more acceptable.’

“‘Acceptable to whom, Shelly?’

“She turned away. ‘I don’t know,’ she said, devoid of more arguments to prevent her from feeling what she seemed to have no control over. She could control her actions,but not her feelings, she reflected, and she knew she wouldn’t allow herself to do anything wrong. She wouldn’t betray Jim’s memory.”

They began to talk, but then Shelly stopped him.

“‘You know, Ben, I don’t want to talk about anything right now. I want to close my eyes and feel the sun on my face as I keep holding your hand and trying to tell myself that what I’m feeling and doing is all right.’”

“As Ben squeezed Shelly’s hand and kept it securely in his own, he felt a warmth that had nothing to do with the strength of the sun’s rays that warm August afternoon. When Shelly closed her eyes, Ben enjoyed the relaxing moments while staring at her pretty, ageless face and pondering where their budding relationship would one day lead.”

A Little Bit of Jealousy

July 17th, 2018

Could there be a bit of jealousy on Ben’s part when Shelly tells him about the day she visited Walden Pond many years before with an acquaintance whom she had met while attending a summer at Harvard? Was it adding salt to the wound when this summer friend turned out to be Ben’s father, Teddy?

Does that mean Shelly is much too old to be dating Ben? Not at all. If Teddy were thirteen years older than Shelly, and if Ben, his son, was ten years old the summer that Shelly met his father, then Shelly would be just ten years older than Ben. That would mean that, if Shelly were twenty back then and Ben were ten, at this point, 45 years later, Shelly would be a young 65, and Ben would be a mature 55 and a grandfather to boot! So it is all more than possible that there could be a romance between Shelly and Ben!

Listen in to the conversation between Shelly and Ben as they enjoy 😊 their visit to Walden Pond. Ben realizes that Shelly has been here 45 years ago as a young woman of 20 when she and his father walked hand and hand through the same historic site. Is he a little jealous of his own father? A funny question perhaps or maybe not so funny. Let’s see! If you have a copy of the novel, turn to page 73.

“Walking through the woods and then around the pond, Shelly and Ben had plenty of time to talk and continue that wonderful process of getting to know each other.

“‘Did you visit Walden with Lisa?” Shelly asked Ben during their stroll around the Pond.’

“‘Actually, we never did, Shelly. I don’t think Lisa would have enjoyed this. She wasn’t really an outdoors girl.’

“‘Jim was very outdoorsy. I guess camping and climbing helped to cut down on some of the stress he experienced as a lawyer.’

“‘Was your trip to Walden with my dad much different from our experience today?’

“‘Of course it was. Teddy and you are two different people with two entirely different personalities. He sojourned with nature quietly, as I remember. He hardly said more than a few words, although he did hold my hand as you’re doing now.’ She paused for a moment, as though reading Ben’s thoughts. Then she said, ‘No, we didn’t kiss or hug here. He wasn’t as affectionate as you are, Ben, and I do crave affection.’

“‘I see,’said Ben, smiling with satisfaction. ‘He just didn’t have my outgoing personality,’ Ben finally said. ‘I guess you can’t blame the old codger for that.’ When Shelly looked disapprovingly at him, Ben added, ‘I mean that in s respectful way, Shelly.’

“‘I should hope so, my dear. Teddy was a good man. I learned so much from him about life and trust. We may not have fallen in love with each other, but we became good friends, and that’s important, too.’ She added a moment later, ’Please don’t be jealous of your own father, Ben. There was nothing but friendship between us. Really.’

“‘Of course I’m not jealous of him, Shelly. What kind of man would I be if I were?’

“Changing the subject, Shelly said loudly, ‘it has been awesome coming here today. I feel closer to nature now than I have in years. And,’ she added, ‘I feel closer to you as well. Thank you for bringing me here.’

“A little while later, when they walked back to the car, hand in hand, Shelly and Ben stopped for a few kisses. ‘If we had some champagne,’Ben started, “I’d toast to ‘sojourning with nature and learning more about ourselves.’

“‘Let’s toast anyway without the champagne,’ Shelly said. ‘To nature and to self, And to us, my love.’

“‘To us,’ Ben repeated before he took her in his arms and kissed her once again.’”

All in the name of love! But was Ben really jealous of his own father? I guess the jury is still out on that one! Lol. More highlights in the next post!

A Highlight of “33’s Theo”

July 13th, 2018

In my novel, “33’s Theo,” Shelly and Teddy had been friends at Harvard many years before the novel begins. Their relationship had never been serious, although at times they had thought that there was a possibility that it might escalate into something more. But it hadn’t, and eventually, whatever they once felt had gradually been dissipated once Shelly went back to New York and Teddy remained in Malden, where he remained at his engineering position until he retired, never remarrying.

So when Shelly met Teddy’s son, Ben, so many years later, it was not inconceivable that she could fall in love with him, being that he was only seven years her junior and that the chemistry they shared was strong and undeniable.

I especially like the part on Page 70 when Ben declares his love to Shelly. Anyone could see that it was completely mutual, although Shelly wanted to move slowly with their relationship to be completely sure it was all that they thought it to be!

Let’s listen in to this most relevant conversation between Shelly and Ben at Walden Pond, (I describe Walden Pond exactly as I remember it so many years ago when I visited there with George, the friend of mine, whom Teddy was modeled after.)

“Shelly smiled and watched as Ben parked at the next rest area. Before he took out his map to check the exit to Walden, he took Shelly in his arms and kissed her gently first on her cheek and then, gazing into her eyes, he kissed her passionately on her lips. Shelly returned the kiss, and then they just stared into each other’s eyes for a few moments.

“You know, I’m falling in love with you, Shelly. My father was a fool to let you go. I’m not my father, thank God. I’ll never let you get away.”

“If the last week reflects in any way what our future would be like, I’d never want to get away, Ben, but we have to take things more slowly. I want us to get to know each other better, take more time to fall more and more deeply in love. And, although so want to keep our relationship exciting and joyful, I want to save sex for marriage, if that’s what we want to do someday.”

“Shelly, I want you to know that that my intentions are entirely honorable, and if you want to take things slowly, that’s fine with me, but I have to tell you that I know what I want to fill the void in my life, and that’s you. I know already that I love you, Shelly, and both our lives could fit together, a perfect juxtaposition, in fact.”

“I know that, too, Ben,” she said, “but out of respect for Jim and the wonderful years we had together, I would want to wait more than a year until I remarry. Otherwise, I would feel guilty because I loved Jim very much , and we had a really happy life together as you and Lisa did.”

“ I do understand, Shelly. A year after Lisa died, I was still barely functioning. Time doesn’t exactly heal all things, but it allows you a more realistic perspective, and I do know now that loneliness for the rest of my life is not what anyone intended for me, least of all the God I deeply believe in and my late wife, whom I loved and respected deeply. So we’ll take it slowly, Shelly, but to seal that decision, I want a few more kisses and a promise that we have an understanding about our future together.”

“They kissed and Ben couldn’t help seeing the promise in Shelly’s eyes. Then she rested her head on Ben’s shoulder as they looked at the colorful late summer foliage around them and stared again into each other’s eyes.”

What will happen to Shelly and Ben? Will their love keep growing or will something or someone interfere with the development of that love?

I’ll tell you a little more if you check in with my next post!

In Defense of a Great Children’s Writer!

June 26th, 2018

As an English teacher, a writer and a critical thinker, I was shocked to hear that Laura Ingalls Wilder has been posthumously deprived of a great honor bestowed upon her in 1954. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award has been changed to The Children’s Literature Legacy Award for no justifiable reason! It was said that there were”stereotypical attitudes” in her books.

This famous and beloved author wrote about the world in which she lived. The main characters in her books represented her own family, who treated neighbors of different races with fairness, respect,and often deep friendship and love. In contrast, other characters often represented in their attitudes other facets of the 19th century rural society, in which Mrs. Wilder lived.

We can’t and shouldn’t even try to erase history, but instead, we should try to learn from it! The attitude and actions of people from that time were often at odds with people like the Ingalls, but in writing about a previous era, the one in which Mrs. Wilder lived, the author had to be truthful in depicting the societal attitudes of that time. Then, she could oppose the prejudices, as she did, by contrasting them with the Ingalls family, who fought prejudice in various ways and defended those who were persecuted.

It seems as though those who want to discredit Mrs. Wilder by taking away an honor that she deserves, do not understand what she was trying to express by contrasting the kindness and compassion of the Ingalls towards all people against the backdrop of a society in which there were racism and other types of intolerance. We have moved on as a society since then with attitudes of acceptance, tolerance, respect and love, but that does not give us the right to erase parts of our history.

Let us not erase it but continue to learn from it and never make the same mistakes again in both attitude and actions!

A Heartfelt Synopsis of “33’s Theo”

June 23rd, 2018

I wrote the following synopsis of one of my favorite novels, “33’s Theo,” two years ago on this date. I am reproducing it here because I know you will 😊 enjoy reading it, and it will give you invaluable insight into understanding a little about the plot and theme. Added material can be found in the archives of this website under June 12, 2016.

“I have always loved the wonderful aroma of the salty ocean breeze and the sight of the 🌊 waves billowing with their frothy white foam. Even when those mammoth waves crash upon the shore, unless there is a major storm approaching, I am not afraid. I see the ocean as a magnificent symbol of God’s power and beauty.

“I guess these strong feelings about the ocean influenced my writing “33’s Theo.” I wanted to write a novel with a powerful setting, strong characters and a riveting plot. Yet, I had to include a romantic relationship, too, since love is the common ground of all our lives. It brings us together in the most positive way of all.

“Ben and Shelly, the main characters, meet through a ham radio that Shelly and her friend Susan find in the basement of s home for which they are house-sitting on Cape Cod. (I personally fell in love 😍 with this gorgeous area when I visited Boston, Cambridge and the Cape many years ago.) Shelly remembers that her old college friend, Teddy, (whom she hasn’t seen or heard from since college) had a ham radio, too, and on a whim puts in the code. Voila! Ben, his son, responds, and a friendship/romance is ignited!

Later, when Shelly and Ben visit Harvard, I remember the summer I spent at that unforgettable Mecca of higher learning. When the couple visit Shelly’s room when she spent a summer at Harvard, of course, the room was mine as I remembered it after so many years.

“As Ben and Shelly sail on the Charles River in the kayak that they actually assembled themselves, I remember that summer when George, my friend from the summer at Harvard, and I did the same thing. Like the couple in the novel, we 😊 enjoyed the sun on our faces and that warmth radiating our spirits as we sojourned in that indescribably beautiful setting.

“The characters in the novel had other connections to people in my family and to friends. Yes, the three grandchildren of Ben were modeled after my two 💕 lovely granddaughters and ever-growing grandson.

“Uncle Edward, related to Bem’s adult daughter, Teddy, by marriage, is a memorable character, with his bowler hat and affable disposition. He is the type of person who will always be there for anyone in need, and he does just that for Shelly when she must endure a shocking surprise that leaves her relationship to Ben in great jeopardy.

“Enjoy the characters, the plot, and immerse yourself in this amazingly tantalizing setting as you read “33’s Theo” anywhere, but, most enjoyably, I would say, st the beach.”

Out of print now, but I will try to make it accessible ASAP!

How It All begins! “33’s Theo”

June 14th, 2018

It was all supposed to be a way of distracting Shelly when, after six months, she had made no improvement towards moving on emotionally after the death of Jim, her husband of 45 years. Her dearest friend, Susan, had persuaded Shelly to accompany her on a trip to Martha’s Vineyard to do an old friend the favor of house-sitting while she was away for a short time.

They had happened upon an old ham radio in the basement of that house. On a whim Shelly puts in the code of her old friend, Teddy, who had been a ham radio enthusiast when she had known him at Harvard years ago. Bingo! Someone answered, and it turned out to be his son, Ben, who invited Shelly and Susan to visit him at his home in Malden so that they could get to know each other better and in so doing, Ben could learn more about his own father.

After Shelly and Susan arrive at Ben’s home, she met his adult daughter, Teddi (named after her grandfather) and she invited Shelly to go on a walk with her. She wanted to discuss her father with Shelly. Let’s listen in on their conversation.

“Thank you for agreeing to come chat with me, Shelly. I’ll bet you’re thinking I’m about to give you the third degree, but rest assured, I’m not. I just wanted you to know a few things about my father before we all listen to you and learn things we probably never knew about my grandfather.”

“So you think there may be gaps in what you know about your namesake?”

Teddi laughed. ”You know I probably never told anyone before how proud I am to be named after Grandpa. He was quite a character, but very lovable in his own way.”

“Yes, he was,” Shelly reflected sadly. “I’m so sorry he’s gone. My husband Jim died just six months ago, yet I never expected to hear that Teddy had passed, too. Teddy was the kind of man whom you expected to just keep going.”

“I agree. He seemed impervious to everything, even death, especially death,” Teddi said.

“We’ll talk more about Gramps another time, Shelly, but I want to tell you a few things about my dad first.”

Teddi told Shelly that her dad hadn’t been himself for some time… long before her grandfather died. Teddy said of her dad and grandfather, “they were like two strangers that happened to share some DNA.”

Teddi went on to say that her father and grandfather hardly spoke to each other, except to comment about the time or which of the chores each of them was going to do on a particular day. Teddy said, “I would get really angry sometimes, but I eventually had to accept the fact that, although they didn’t act like a typical father and son, in their own way they loved each other.”

Teddi then says that her dad has changed, and that their once close relationship has grown cold and alienated. She reveals to Shelly that the family hasn’t yet told her brother, Cal, a physician serving in Nigeria in the Peace Corps, that his grandfather has died. She is afraid of the effect it will have on her brother.

Teddi tells Shelly that her visit is a godsend because she can see that her father really is impressed with Shelly. She feels that, if her dad opens up to Shelly, it will help him to accept his father’s death and move on.

What can Shelly do to help Ben, whom she has just met? She hasn’t even seen Teddy, Ben’s dad, since that summer at Harvard 45 years ago? And now he has died like her husband, Jim, and she, depressed herself, is supposed to help Ben open up and confront his problems. Isn’t that asking too much of her?

Where will all this go? Check out the next post on this website!

https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.lodico/posts/1334561713260053 is the day one of my Novels: “33’s Theo”

June 3rd, 2018

As you all know, I love to write! I have written 17 books, only two of which I have not published. But each book is special to me in many ways! Now is my opportunity to tell you about “33’s Theo.”

I wrote this in memory of a special friend whom I met during a summer studying at Harvard, where I took two challenging courses in order to graduate earlier from my own college, Cortland State. During that summer I met a charismatic and handsome electrical engineer at a Harvard mixer. I was only twenty, and he was several years older. But an age difference didn’t bother either of us! After all, four years later, when I married my first husband, Nicky, there was the same thirteen year age difference. I guess that I liked older men! Lol Lol

Anyway, long after the charming engineer, George, and I broke up, I thought about him and his unique qualities: his sharp wit, high intelligence, cute personality, good looks… and the way he frequently talked about his ham radio! He was my first love, and I felt that I had to include him in one of my novels. In my novel, “33’s Theo,” Teddy, the grandfather, is George’s character. He has recently passed in the story, and the main character of the novel is his son, Ben.

But Teddy, the character based upon my old friend, George, has also impacted the other characters to an incredible degree…so he is indispensable to the plot and general dynamics of the book, even though he has died before the novel begins! An interesting idea… right?

And, of course, it all is connected to a ham radio that is in the basement of a house in Martha’s Vineyard that the main female character, Shelly, and her friend, Susan, are 🏠 house-sitting for a friend of Susan’s. I’m not giving away how the ham radio leads Shelly and Susan to Ben and his family. But I will include here a couple of excerpts from the novel, which I entitled “33’s Theo.” “33” refers to 1933 when Teddy first received the ham radio when he was a little boy, and “Theo” is short for Theodore, George’s character in the novel.

Now for the two excerpts:

This first excerpt on page 28 shows how Shelly and Susan first met Teddy’s daughter and her children.

“When the door finally opened, an attractive young woman with reddish-brown hair and large blue eyes smiled and invited the women in.

“I’m Teddi, Ben’s daughter,” she said pleasantly, “and these are my children” she added, pointing first to a handsome little boy, dressed in navy shorts and a bright red ‘Thomas’ shirt, and then to two adorable girls , who were apparently older and identical twins. “This little train enthusiast is Andrew, and the twins are Amanda and Angela. It may seem difficult to tell them apart now, but before long, you won’t have a problem. Angie’s hair is an inch longer, and she can’t stop talking.”

p. 29. This one shows you how Shelly, Susan and Ben first meet.

“Ben smiled. His deep brown eyes strikingly reminded Shelly of the dear friend she had known forty-five years ago when when she was just a young and very naive twenty year-old visiting Harvard for the summer and taking courses in Shakespeare and modern poetry. But the hair was different. Ben’s light brown hair was a little on the long side, while his father’s had been an exceptionally short , dirty-blond crewcut. As she remembered,Teddy was of average height, as opposed toBen, who was at least six feet tall. The mother’s family must have been tall, Shelly reasoned. Shelly continued to reflect that, although Ben was obviously quite different in certain ways from his father, in many other ways, he seemed to remind her of Teddy nevertheless.”

I promise more about the characters and plot in my next post!

Reflections on This Memorial weekend

May 28th, 2018

There is a lot to think about this holiday weekend. On Saturday the weather was near-perfect, especially if we like it hot! And it was just that…nearly 90 degrees!

Yesterday, Sunday, it was raining off and on, damp throughout, and kind of dreary! But I’ve learned that we have to find peace and happiness within ourselves, not be dependent upon outside factors like the weather! Then, we can be secure and content at all times!

Although it is pleasant to spend this holiday, like any other, with friends and/or family, sometimes, that is not possible. So, if you are alone, be good company to yourself! Eat well, go to a special event or even a movie 🍿 that you’ve wanted to see, but previously, did not have the time to see! Try not to confuse loneliness with being alone. Sometimes, we are our own best company. There are those moments when it is even healthy to take a break from others and forge our own way.

Today, Memorial Day, is supposed to start off with clouds, but transition into a beautiful day…perfect for all those outdoor barbecues and family/friends get-togethers. So there is quite a lot to be thankful for, even weather-wise!

But what else is pleasant to reflect upon this weekend? Let’s delve deeply into our hearts and see!

Memorial Day honors those veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. It is a day to reflect upon the sanctity of life and the courage of those who put their life on the line for others.

At this time we also unofficially welcome summer. We look forward to vacations, on which we may be introduced to new people and experiences, warm weather, more participation in sports and getting out more.

Just like all students who tingle with excitement on the last day of school, even as adults, there is something magical about the coming of summer. Adventure, new experiences, delicious foods await us! So many good things are right down the road. Memorial weekend gives us a taste of what is to come, and it is good!

A Wedding To Remember!

May 22nd, 2018

It was wonderful that millions of people the world over could share in the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle! It was a truly magical wedding with all the grandeur of our favorite fairy tale. Elements of it will remain in our memories for a lifetime!

First of all, their union broke so many barriers. Meghan is an American. She was divorced, and her parents were a bi-racial couple. She is a well-known television actress as well! Now, thank goodness, all of these differences, which would have probably prevented their marriage fifty or more years ago, are no longer obstacles to their union. They are accepted and even embraced!

I thought that Meghan, now the Duchess of Sussex, wore a beautiful dress for the ceremony and an equally lovely one to the reception! Excellent taste! The veil, including the flags of all the parts of the British Empire plus the state flower 🌺 of California, was exquisite. It was truly unique!

I enjoyed watching the blissful newly-weds in the open horse-drawn carriage waving to all the people who had been waiting for hours, even days, to get a glimpse of them en route to the first reception, sponsored by the Queen.

The various celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey and the Clooney’s, as well as the various Royals, added even more elegance to the already lovely and stylish 🎩 wedding.

The choir was amazingly good, and the eighteen year- old cellist was beyond words! I enjoyed listening to him play so much!

All in all, watching on television the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, was a unique, exciting and memorable experience! I am looking forward to hearing about all the altruistic, compassionate and charitable ways they contribute together to humanity!

Hoping You Had A Beautiful day!

May 14th, 2018

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