Archive for February, 2016

The Aftermath

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

My late husband, Nick, died in August of 1987, three months before my dad was to pass away and a couple of days after my mother had a life-changing stroke.  Those were terrible times for my family and me.  That phase of my life was a nightmare.

But if we rely upon God’s direction, Holy Spirit and mercy, life goes on, and we go along with it.  At that point my whole writing career was still ahead of me.  I was to meet a kind and caring gentleman just a year later, who was to help me fill the remaining years of my life.  I was to marry him a year after meeting him.   His children and the children of his son were to make me feel fulfilled as a step-mother and grandmother, respectively.   These events are chronicled in my non-fiction book, “A Legacy of Love,” which also dealt with my beloved pets and how they enriched my life over the years.

We helped my mom sell her house, a year and a half after my dad died, and she lived with our family:  Manny, his children and me until her death several years later.  Mom felt safer and happier living with us, especially after her home had been broken into while she lived alone.  Thank God, she was not physically hurt, but her home was indeed ransacked!

I was able to work nine more years as an English teacher at a middle school on Long Island and retire early.  Yes, good things were waiting for me if I could pull myself together and continue living each day in hope.  And that is exactly what I did and am continuing to do!  Life has purpose, and I want to fill mine with constructive goals and positive experiences, which will result in God’s approval and Blessings for my family and me.

Nick became a character in many of my books:  Nick Scarnelli in “Son of a Gun and the Evening Star,” and Sean O’Hara in “Beyond the Stars” and “A Time For Peace.”   A lot  of Bruce Donovan in “Just A Kiss” is Nick, too.  You never forget someone you loved so much; he becomes part of your subconscious, and in my case, he appeared as characters in my books.

My husband, Manny, and I have helped each other tremendously over the years and as we grow older, there are new challenges we must overcome or accept in this difficult world.   We both look forward to the Paradise that the Bible promises, where there will be everlasting life, no sickness, an abundance of good things to eat and clean, unpolluted water all around the earth, and so much more!   But until then, we try to find joy in each day and work constructively at our own projects each day while leaving time to read the Bible and strengthen our faith.

Enjoy this beautiful weekend, my friends, and may you, too, find peace and happiness in each day.  Until the next time,

 

Cheryl

 

Another Sweet Memory

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

To me, falling in love is an ongoing process.  ” Love at first sight ” is, to my way of thinking, just physical attraction.  Yes, it could turn into something special, but in itself, it is not.  When I met Nick, I found him attractive and interesting, but that was all.  It would take a long time for feelings of trust, respect and affection to cement that budding relationship and lead it down the road to love.

Back in the 1960s mixed marriages of any type were not accepted for the most part, whether they involved religion, race or any type of ethnic group.   With Nick and me there were many obstacles, but the fact that it was an inter-faith friendship interfered the most with its blossoming into something more.  We dated, we laughed, we talked on the phone for hours and I even spent weekends at his home with his mom and dad as chaperones, but we were always afraid to take the next step.  We knew that neither Nick’s parents nor mine would approve of  our getting married, so after three years of dating and very gradually falling in love, we planned to elope.

The blizzard of 1969 interfered with our plans.  We were supposed to get married during Presidents’ week, although it probably was just called intercession at that time.  Nick and I planned to be married upstate by an old-fashioned Justice of the Peace and then go to a quaint resort for our honeymoon.  But the snow destroyed all our plans.  There was no discernible snow removal by Mayor Lindsey’s administration from the time it started snowing on the 8th or 9th of February until the end of the week.  Nick thought it best to postpone our elopement, but I thought that, if we did that, seeing how our parents objected to our marrying in the first place, we might never go through with it.  So Plan 2 came into place.

Nick’s next-door neighbor, who became a good friend of both of us, arranged for a judge whom he knew personally to marry us at the Criminal Court Building in Kew Gardens.  Then we were to stay overnight at a local hotel.  Our real honeymoon would be during the summer.

I didn’t like the fact that we had to marry in secret without our parents there, but we loved each other and just didn’t want to wait until we might ultimately get our parents’ approval.  Possibly, we realized, we might never have been given their blessing, and, like young people who are too impatient and headstrong, we wanted our own way then and there.

The snow was so difficult to barrel through that afternoon in February of 1969, but we did it without an accident, thank God.  When we arrived at the Criminal Court Building, there was no parking spot, so we parked illegally and left a note saying, “Please no ticket.  We are getting married!”  Some kind official must have had a heart because we didn’t get a ticket after all was said and done.

We were married by the judge who was friends with Nick’s neighbor, and our witnesses were the District Attorney of New York and his assistant.   Afterwards, we called our parents and told them what was, for us, of course, the good news.  They were shocked and disappointed that they weren’t there.  We felt guilty, but being young and in love, we still enjoyed our dinner at our favorite local restaurant and the rest of the day, knowing that we were now actually man and wife.  We never regretted our decision because we knew it was the only way for us!

Tomorrow I will bring closure to Nick’s and my story, a relationship that blossomed into a marriage that lasted eighteen years…until he died suddenly in 1987  of a massive heart attack.  Until tomorrow,

 

Cheryl

 

 

 

 

 

 

FALLING IN LOVE

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Is falling in love like watching a Hallmark movie?  Maybe, that’s a silly question for most people, but as a loyal viewer of the Hallmark channel, I can say that their romances do mirror real life relationships to a great extent.  Life mirrors art and vice versa.  In fact, I think the movies are so popular for that very reason.  But, of course, unlike real life, there is always a happy ending to a Hallmark movie;  yet  all real-life relationships will eventually end in death.  In this system of things, everlasting life does not exist for us mortals.

The growth of the relationship between my late husband, Nicky, and me  followed the sequences of a Hallmark movie to an astonishing extent.  There were humor, pathos, drama and deep love and commitment in our relationship, and there are always those components in the Hallmark movies that I so greatly love.

At the beginning of our relationship there was a deep, trusting and affectionate friendship.  I told Nicky more about my life than a best girlfriend or even my sister or my parents.  I looked forward to hearing from him every night.  Either I would call or he  would.  When we first started dating, I told Nick that I had been seeing someone else, although that relationship was not serious.  I knew it would be the best thing to break up that relationship as soon as possible, and I did.

During our three year courtship, Nick and I went to dinner, movies, a nightclub, get-togethers with parents and friends and quiet evenings in his backyard hammocks.  We never ran out of things to say and actually felt sorry for couples sitting in the restaurants that we frequented,  who looked as though they had nothing to share with one another.  How tragic, we thought, when the excitement of a relationship fizzles out.  We vowed that ours never would, and it didn’t!

Tomorrow, I will have more time to expand upon our friendship and love, followed by a funny but poignant section on our elopement on February 13, 1969, …and why we decided to elope  in the first place.  But tonight I am ready to see, of  all things, a new Hallmark movie.

Please visit my website again tomorrow for the final installment of the love story of  Nicky and me.  Until then watch a Hallmark movie!

 

Cheryl
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Memories…

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Today would have been our 47th wedding anniversary if my late husband, Nicky, had survived…if he hadn’t died of a massive heart attack in 1987.  Since we were supposed to have gotten married on Valentine’s Day, 1969, and today is February 13th, the anniversary of the day that we actually did get married, I thought I would tell you our story in three parts.  Tonight is Part I, and you will have to visit my website tomorrow and Monday  for Part II and Part III.  Part of our story can be found in my book, entitled “A Legacy of Love,” which can be found on the Amazon website.  You can search by my name or the title of the book, and you can look “inside the book” to read a few chapters.

Part One:  How We Met

It happened fifty years ago in 1966.  IT WAS MY FIRST YEAR OF TEACHING English at Lawrence Junior High School.  (At that time it was not yet  a middle school.)  Carrying my “Adventures For Readers” anthology in front of what was then  the Adventurer’s Inn, I knew I was in trouble.  It was a Saturday, and I had an appointment with my new optometrist for contact lenses.  I had gotten off the bus at the right stop, or so I thought, but my optometrist’s office was nowhere to be seen.  I didn’t know what to do.

While I was trying to figure it all out, a black and white station wagon, the one you see on those 1960’s commercials, set in the suburbs,  seemed to come out of nowhere with a young man inside sporting a stylish pair of sunglasses.   He was parked right in front of the entrance to Adventurer’s Inn, where I happened to be standing very conspicuously in my shiny red and white raincoat, which I had just purchased the week before when I had gone shopping with my cousin in Manhattan.   Out of desperation, I got his attention and asked him if he could give me directions to find the optometrist’s address, which I handed him on a piece of paper I was carrying.  He smiled cordially and gave me the simplest instructions he could, but, because I didn’t know the area, it was all Greek to me, as they say.

I started to walk in the wrong direction, near off-parkway traffic, which caused the benevolent young man to jump out of his car and lead me onto the right path.  (He told me later he was afraid I would get hit by a car if he didn’t intervene.)   He asked if he could drive me, but I refused, knowing that would not be the right or safe way to go.  Finally, I found the optometrist’s office and, within an hour, he had seen me and fitted me for the contact lenses, which I would be able to pick up in about a week.

When I looked out the windows, the black and white station wagon was there.  What was this young man doing parking his station wagon right in front of my doctor’s office?  I got a little scared, so I asked the optometrist if I could stay in his office for a while longer.  When I looked out the window again forty-five minutes later, I didn’t see the station wagon.

I walked out and took a sigh of relief because I couldn’t see the car.  But when I walked a few steps, I head a horn blowing and noticed the station wagon parked at the end of the block.  The young man called to me, “I would be glad to give you a lift to the bus stop.”

I was still a little frightened, despite his warm brown eyes and kind expression.  “I just want to help you,” he said compassionately.  “You can trust me.”

“I appreciate your help,” I said, “but no thank you.  I can find my way from here.”

“The bus stop is several blocks from here,” he said.  “You might not be able to find it, now that the sun is starting to set.”

I can think of many options now that I am a mature adult, but then, I didn’t.  He seemed like a nice person, and all he wanted to do was drive me to the bus stop.  I could sit right next to the passenger door and run out if he weren’t the nice gentleman I thought he was.  So I naively said, “Yes, you can drive me to the bus stop.”

We exchanged names, as he drove me to the bus stop.  Nick told me he  owned a small company that did cleaning and shampooing for country clubs and other large establishments, and I told him I was a teacher.  Soon we were at the bus stop for southern Queens.

“It’s  getting late.  Why don’t you let me drive you home?” Nick said after a slightly awkward moment.

“Oh, no,” I replied, nervously.   “I live in Far Rockaway.  It’s a half hour drive and longer with traffic.”

“I don’t mind,” Nick said.  “I already missed my appointment and rescheduled.  We can talk and get to know each other better during the drive.  And I’m really not a stranger anymore,” he added.
He certainly was smooth, I thought, and I was already in the car, and he showed no signs of being anything but nice.  So I did what I knew was not the right thing or even the best or safest thing to do.  I acted upon my instinct and said yes.

We talked non-stop during the trip to my house, and before I knew it, we were there. At first, I nervously held onto the handle of the passenger door, ready to jump out at a moment’s notice, but then I relaxed and sat back, much more relaxed.   Nick asked for my phone number, and since I was changing my number the next day, coincidentally, I gave him the present number.  I thought I would never see him again as I thanked him for the ride and the conversation.

How surprised I was when I got a call from him the next day.  He said that, when he was told by the operator that my number was no longer in service, he remembered the name of our upstairs tenant and got information on their number.  They gave Nick my number.

Wow, I thought.  This is really weird.  When Nick asked me out to go bowling, I said no.  I told him I don’t bowl very well, which was unfortunately very true.

He called again the next week to ask me to play miniature golf.  I told him I didn’t play golf either.  After various sports invitations, which I declined, he finally called a week or two later and asked me out to dinner.   “You do eat,” he said in an amused tone.

I felt I had no way out and agreed to go, despite my trepidation.   And that was only the beginning of a long, romantic,  and very interesting relationship that culminated in a marriage that ended much too soon.  Nick died of a massive heart attack in 1987.

Tomorrow on Valentine’s Day:   another memory!

BY THE WAY memories of how my husband Manny and I met are all in “A Step-mother’s Tale,” which can be purchased on Amazon.  If you are interested, look “inside the book” on the Amazon website,  and you may very well want to read the entire book in paperback or e-book form.

You are always invited to visit my website, but I extend a special invitation to all of you tomorrow and Monday to read Parts II and III.  .  Please leave a comment below or on my website if you would so desire.  ch571324.

 

Have a warm and safe evening!    Be cautious tomorrow if you live in the northeast.  It will be super cold and windy.  Until tomorrow,

 

Cheryl

 

 

 

 

 

BRRRRRRR!

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Good morning, dear friends, relatives and browsers, who, I hope,  will become regular visitors to my website and thereby will become friends, too!

If you reside here in the northeast, yes, it is cold, so please dress appropriately!  We are warned about frostbite, if we do not take the weather seriously.  So if you have to go out, wear many warm layers, boots, a scarf and, yes, a hat, even if it messes up your hair.  You can always fluff it up, if you are a woman.  Men don’t have to worry about things like that.

I have some nice winter stories to tell you later and some more information about my books, but first I am going to take the time to prepare a tasty lunch for my husband.  I am still working on brunch myself. lol

Remember:    Stay warm!  Until later …

 

Cheryl

SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED IN THE LAST 11 DAYS…

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

I resolved not to be away from my blogging for too long in 2016, so here I am…back again!  Yes, so much has happened during the last week or so.

We had a terrible nor’easter, leaving 30 inches of snow around the last time that I blogged.  It was so bad that we couldn’t get out of our house by the front, back or side doors until a friend from my congregation came over and shoveled our steps and the drift right beyond our front door.  Then a neighbor dug us out by the side door…but all that was in my last blog.   Since then we had another snowstorm…a small one in comparison to the first one, with the snow disappearing the same day for the most part.

I made some progress with the annoying aftermath of that terrible cold I had.  I am on an allergy pill and an antibiotic ointment for the inside of my nose.

Yes, I have been catching up  with my reading.  I love mysteries now, and I am getting better at guessing “who done it?”

Also, my publishing company and I have agreed that it would be a good idea to update our strategies for marketing my most recent novel, “Just A Kiss.”  It is a wonderful romance, which most people would enjoy reading if they knew that it existed.  The publicity so far has not produced effective results, and that, of course, troubles me.  And that is not only because of financial consideration;  I truly believe that readers could gain a great deal from reading my book.  It is much more than just a sweet romance.  It deals with all kinds of relationships: between parents and adult children; between girlfriend and boyfriend, and between friends;  career dilemmas in those just starting out, personal problems and so much more!  There is more than one theme to “Just A Kiss,” but it shows us that the path of love is never an easy journey, but if two people really love one another, any problems can be worked out, and the two lovers can find the way to one another.    Following  your heart can be treacherous, the Bible tells us, so we have to use our minds and powers of perception to find the right person for us and to stay on that course, once we know it is the right one.  Of course, we can never downplay the chemistry between a man and a woman, but that is not the most important things in a relationship, as we all know if we are past adolescence.

You can learn more about my novel by “looking inside the book” at www.amazon.com or visiting my publishing company, www.xlibris.com.

I feel a little sentimental about “Just A Kiss” since it is the first year anniversary of the novel.  I feel like giving it an anniversary party, but discussing it in my blog is the next best thing, I guess.

I want to spend time with you again tomorrow before the Super Bowl, discussing many ways that seniors can keep their minds active, even if they are no longer working.  Until tomorrow, enjoy your life…every, every minute!

 

Cheryl