Archive for February, 2017

Love of Family

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Aunt Ethel  and Uncle  Phil were a very special aunt and uncle to me.  I have many beautiful memories associated with them!

When they were married just a short time, they often  visited our family and took my older sister and me to the park.  I was two years old at the time, and my sister was five.

Since it was a long time ago and we were so little, I don’t  remember much, but they took pictures, and my mom included them in our family albums.   Looking at them, I could see how much they enjoyed being with us and practicing their parenting skills before they had a child of their own.  I could even see from the photos how they tried to draw me out since I was rather timid as a small child.  My sister was the  brave, outgoing  one and needed to be entertained more than I did.   They somehow accommodated both of us!

My uncle was a dentist, and for the first few years of our lives, my mom and dad trusted our teeth to his competent care.  What impressed me most about him was his patience when he drilled and filled my  teeth when I had cavities.   I asked him questions about what he was doing much too often because of my curiosity and also since I thought I would slow down the process and the inevitable pain of the drill!  I,  of course,  had some legitimate questions regarding the difference between filling molars vs. the other teeth.  Uncle Phil explained to the best of his ability whatever a child my age  could understand!

But even now, reflecting upon those times in my uncle’s dental office, I can’t believe how he patiently answered my questions.  He was amazing!

There were many other memorable times when my aunt and uncle joined us at the beach.  They always made a picnic out of it with delicious snacks and games.

It is pleasant, too, to recall lovely times when my immediate family and my Uncle  Phil and Aunt Ethel, along with their son, Billy, visited my Aunt Iris and Uncle Allan, whom I mentioned in a previous post.  We had such fun there!  By that time Iris and Allan had two adorable children: Dayna and her younger brother, David.  We all got along so well together on those lovely occasions!

When I grew up,  there was still another wonderful thing that my Uncle Phil and Aunt Ethel  did for me.  When my father died,  my mother was recovering from a stroke and usually needed someone to stay with her.  She could not go to my dad’s funeral, but it was all right for her to stay alone for just a few hours.  The problem was that I didn’t drive and needed a way of going to my dad’s funeral.   My aunt and uncle volunteered to go out of their way to pick me up and drive me home.  I can never forget that!

One more memory!  My aunt was always ready to listen and offer her help when needed.  I shared so much with her for years after my  first husband died, and I remember her love and concern.  At my husband’s funeral, she literally had held me up when I didn’t think I was going to make it!  She was a great listener, and her words were filled with wisdom from a life well spent!

In my next post I will discuss  my Aunt Elayne and Uncle Jerry.  There was one particular incident, which demonstrated especially well their generosity of spirit and love.  I will also reflect upon my grandparents, my step-children, and my three beautiful grandchildren.   Since I could not forget about including an incident or two about my amazing pets (dogs and cats), I will probably have to extend my February love series just a few days!  Writing about God’s love will be the closing post and the most special post of all!

Until my next post,

Cheryl

 

 

 

 

The Academy Awards, the thrills, the excitement and the Glamor

Monday, February 27th, 2017

     The Academy Award presentations have always been the highlight of the world of artistry in all its forms. 

From the miracles of sorts behind the scenes to the actors upfront creating a reality of  their own,  there is a sense of magic about the production of a movie.  It is so huge that you can feel the majesty of it all, even if you are not a part of the creation of the film.  You just have to watch it to be transformed!

I remember how, each year of my life since  I could appreciate the wonder of the film  industry, I looked forward to watching this amazing show.

Like many of you, I enjoy the glamor of Hollywood on this day in all its elements: from the incredible gowns, the interesting hairdos, the jewelry and even the beautiful stilettos!  Every aspect of this show is monumental.

No, the actors are not really icons. They are people like us, but with extraordinary talents that they use most constructively in dazzling us each time we go to the movies.

This night is theirs to be rewarded and awarded for their hard work, their determination and perseverance in utilizing their abilities and making the realization of their own dreams a moment of beauty and great enjoyment for all of us, the viewers!

I am retired now, but when I was teaching and had to get up very early, I still stayed up until the very end of the show.  I remember getting up the next morning totally exhausted but still so glad that I didn’t miss a moment!

Yes, enjoy the evening!  Forgive any political interjections!  ( There weren’t too many so far!)  Forget any problems in your life for at least the length of the show!   Laugh at Jimmy Kimmel’s jokes and be happy in the wonderland of Hollywood and the film industry for a few incredible hours!

Everyone will be talking about the very end of the show when there was a mix-up regarding the winner of best movie!  Warren Beatty  and Faye Dunaway announced that it was “La La Land,” but it was actually “Moonlight.”  Wow!

It was quite a night, my friends!  I’m hoping you saw it yourself!

Back to my February  love series tomorrow!  Only two days left in February, so I guess that means quite a bit of writing for me!

Until my next post,

Cheryl

 

 

 

 

More About Special Aunts and Uncles!

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

When your aunts and uncles take a real interest in you and make you feel connected with them and their immediate families, you can’t help feeling close to them and loved!   I have been fortunate enough to have experienced that kind of relationship with most of my aunts and uncles.

I’ll begin with my beautiful Aunt Claire, my father’s younger sister.  In terms of sweetness, kindness and compassion, she was very much like her mother, Anna, my paternal grandmother.  The mother of four children,  Aunt Claire was an amazing parent!  When she died in 1965, all of the family were crushed, but her husband, my Uncle Archie, and my cousins , her beloved children, had to have taken the loss the hardest.

I remember so many special moments with her, but what comes to mind first is the kindness and love she always showed me.  For example,  in the summers when I was growing up, my family, as well as my aunt and uncle’s, lived in my grandparents’ rooming house in Rockaway Beach, where the cool ocean breezes distracted us from the heat!

At that period in our lives, my cousin, Richard, and I were close friends and often shared some exciting adventures… exciting in the eyes of two children, of course.   Each evening at about 5:30, like clockwork, I would be knocking on the family’s door, eager to pick up my favorite cousin so we could share another adventure.

The only problem was that the family often weren’t finished with dinner yet. In retrospect, I could see how irritating it might be to disturb their dinner, but my aunt was always cordial and loving..,even when the older children sometimes showed some annoyance.  She offered to give me dessert while I waited and made me feel right at home.

I dreamt about my aunt several months after she passed, and I believe my dream  was symbolic.  She was a young woman in the dream, beautiful and angelic.  That picture of her remains in my thoughts whenever I think about her and the time we spent together over the years!

My Uncle  Archie, Aunt Claire’s husband, was a pediatrician, loved by his patients and their parents.  Most of all, he was an amazing father, husband and uncle.  I remember that my mother asked him many questions about our health when my sister and I  were growing up.  He was always calm and encouraging when he answered these questions,  His manner inspired confidence.  Mom said he often gestured to explain and describe what he was saying as he said it.  He once explained that acting out what he was saying often helped overly nervous moms and dads!  I could certainly see what a soothing effect that could have!  My mom greatly appreciated all the advice that he gave her.

During the summers, my uncle was busy with his pediatric practice and could only stay with the family on weekends.  I could only imagine how much my cousins missed him, but with my aunt and so many other family members there every day, my cousins still had great  summers!

More family love in my next post!  You are always welcome on this website!

 

 

Some More Family Memories…say

Monday, February 20th, 2017

In my previous post, I wrote about special memories of my amazing aunt and uncle whose love story is as real today as it was sixty-six years when they were barely twenty years old.  Today I will include two more brief vignettes about them and go on to include memories of other aunts and uncles in future posts.  There  is a unique story of each!

     When we were little, my sister and I often spent time with my Aunt Iris, and, to us, the visits meant more than being with a beloved relative. Our aunt could bake all kinds of cakes and pies… and, to us,  they always looked just as good as they tasted!

     The problem was that Aunt Iris was very particular, and she would throw away whatever she baked if it were not perfect!  But my sister, Stephie, and I were not really interested in perfection.  If it tasted delicious, that was good enough for us!

     So baking times with our aunt were certainly frustrating for us! Our tongues were hanging out as the imperfect but alluring confections rolled off the drawing board into, not our mouths, but the garbage pail.  Would a cake or pie ever be good enough for our aunt to let us eat?

     But I must say that anyone who knows or ever knew my aunt would agree that her baked masterpieces are worth waiting for, despite the frustration and impatience that go with waiting for perfection!  In the end we enjoyed culinary masterpieces that we would never forget!

               The Reluctant Snowman

     My uncle knows much more of the actual facts connected with the story than I remember because I was about fourteen or younger at the time, and I heard this hilarious story secondhand. Hilarious perhaps for us who are reading it, but not so much for my uncle, who had to live through it!

It could have been a catastrophe for Uncle  Al, but, thank God, it wasn’t, and even he would agree that “all’s well that ends well.”

Here’s how it happened …to the best of my memory…back decades ago when I heard the story!

There was a severe snowstorm more than fifty years ago in New York, which impacted all the boroughs, especially Queens.  Naturally, when snow falls, we have to dig our homes and our cars out,  but we don’t expect to have to be dug out ourselves…but let me not get ahead of myself!

Uncle Allan was doing what all drivers do when it snows!  He was digging his car out after a hefty snowstorm.  Little did he know what was coming!

Unbeknownst to him, down the street the snow plow machine was on its way, the driver of which just didn’t happen to see my uncle!

Well, you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to know what happened next! Poor Uncle Al was buried in snow…somewhat like the abominable snowman!

I know he wasn’t buried for too long and was rescued  by a Good Samaritan.  Who it was exactly, only my uncle would know… And I’m sure he remembers because that’s something you just don’t forget!

Yes, Uncle Allan was a reluctant snowman, and I’m sure that he had enough snow that day to last him a lifetime!

so ends my vignettes of two of my favorite aunts and uncles!  God bless Aunt Iris and Uncle Al!

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A Few Selected Memories of Aunt Iris and Uncle Allan

Monday, February 20th, 2017

Ever since I was a little girl, I loved to visit relatives with my parents.  It was such fun for me to see my aunts, uncles, and grandparents!   Dinner with them for special occasions was always a fun-filled experience, but even just spending a few hours with a close relative was a wonderful experience for me!

Some fresh-brewed coffee for the adults and milk for the children with some luscious  cake or cookies …homebaked or store- bought… was  more than enough as far as refreshments for  an impromptu visit.  After all, it’s being with the people you love that counts!

But today I am writing about a very special aunt and uncle!  I always thought of them as my YOUNG aunt and uncle because both of them were only thirteen years my senior.  You see, my mom was twelve years older than her little sister, Iris,   and my mom and I were twenty-five years apart!  So simple math says that I am thirteen years younger than my aunt and uncle!

They met and fell in love at the time of the Korean War.  My uncle was called  to action right after he met my aunt, but fortunately, when asked, my aunt gave him her number.  They continued from there…dated and soon fell in love.

Then came their wedding..,the first one that I ever attended.  Since I was only seven then, at this point I remember only a few things!  The  bride looked gorgeous, and the groom was  exceedingly handsome.   And I can’t help remembering the delicious food and the incredible  flowers!  To a seven-year-old girl like me at that time, the abundance and variety of flowers were more wonderful than anything else!  It became an indelible memory!

There were a couple of other memories that  I had to include!  The first revolves around staying with my grandparents one weekend when my parents were  on vacation somewhere. My aunt, who was a teen-ager  still living at home then, volunteered to take my sister and me to the circus.  It was actually one of only two times that I have ever been to  a circus, so the memory impacted me  greatly!

I remember being so excited with a three-ring circus that I could not decide what to look at first.  I liked the clowns…no phobias there for me…   and the graceful elephants, but, most of all, I loved watching the trapeze artists!  I was so glad that there were nets underneath to prevent a tragedy!  It was always in my mind that, in one of my favorite movies, “The Greatest Show on  Earth,” there was an accident on the high wires, and the trapeze artist, played by Victor Mature, was seriously hurt, actually partially paralyzed!

How could I forget eating hot dogs, popcorn and plenty of cotton candy?  I ate so much that I remember getting sick by the time we  got back to my grandparents’ apartment!   But it didn’t interfere with that lovely day becoming an outstanding memory!

Now there are two more stories that must be told about Aunt Iris and Uncle Allan from my point of view… one of their many nieces.

As a preview, one is about my aunt’s  amazing baking, and the other is about my uncle’s escapade in the snow.  I’ll include as many details as I can remember!

So tune into my very next post!   You’re all invited!

 

 

 


 

Dad to the Rescue!

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

The February love series would never be complete without a story about my dad.  But it was not possible  to write about just one thing that my dad did for me because he did so many amazing things that turned into wonderful memories!

Yes, there are many beautiful memories, but I have room here for just two.  I will start off with one from my early childhood and then describe the most poignant one that occurred years later and actually changed the course of my life!

Here’s memory # 1!

Each summer Dad took my sister, my cousins and me to Playland, probably  the forerunner of all the fantastic theme parks  that we are familiar with today.  It was relatively close to my grandparents’ summer place in the Rockaways, where we all stayed during the long, hot summers.

The cool ocean breezes, the weekly fireworks, which we enjoyed  on the boardwalk, and the adventures that only young, creative children can get involved in were all super, but Playland was the best!

Of course, as a young child, I didn’t realize how much of a responsibility it was for my dad to take sole responsibility for his two daughters, three nephews  and one niece at a crowded amusement park like Playland, the biggest and possibly even the only one in Queens at that time!

So many people, rides, concessions and only my dad to watch us all…six eager, excited and at times mischievous children!  That  was some responsibility he took on!   There were always valid reasons why the other adults in the family could not come along…so, if Dad hadn’t volunteered at least twice each summer, I don’t think we ever would have gone!

The Fun House, Davy Jones’ Locker,  the Ferris Wheel, other rides that I myself would not dare to go on, games of all kinds and candy, franks and cotton candy were all memorable parts of our childhood summers, but Dad actually did something much more memorable for me later in my life.  Let me describe just what that was!

I was ready to graduate from college in January of 1966, but just a couple of months before that… in November of 1965, I suddenly got cold feet!   I guess I was afraid of graduating and becoming a part of the adult world.  I just wanted to go home!

My parents tried all kinds of tactics over the phone to convince me that I was just going through a phase that would soon pass.   My friends at school  promised to help me as much as they could with cooking, laundry and housekeeping if I would just remain at school, focus on my work and graduate!

But I was overwhelmed with everything at that point, and going home seemed the only answer!

So, because my mom was not up to the trip at that time, Dad went upstate alone that November so many years ago.  When he arrived, he was very patient with me, although I knew how frustrated and disappointed he must have been with me!

Since I was already packed, he said, “Let me take the suitcase, and you get into the car.  We’ll have a bite to eat at a diner along the way.  But make no mistakes!  In one week, (which would be the first week in December,) I’m driving you back here!  You are going to finish up and graduate if that’s the last thing we both do!”

The week went by too fast.  My mom, dad, other family members, friends of the family, even our family doctor and Rabbi encouraged me with understanding, compassion and encouragement, even recounting stories from their own youth when they felt like giving up on something really important to them and their future.  I was comforted by their words, but I wasn’t convinced!

Yet, I had no choice!  Dad said I had one week, and one week it was!

I know the negative thoughts going through my own mind, but I can’t imagine my dad’s thoughts!  I guess he was taking the chance that he knew me well enough to put his faith in my finishing up my last few weeks  (I had taken summer courses to graduate one term early).

When I said, “I don’t know whether I can make it even for a week,” Dad said with a somber expression  on his face, “Well, then,  you’ll either come home yourself or stick it out and get that degree you’ve been working so hard for these last three and a half years! ”

“You’re very cruel,” I said as Dad left my suitcase and me in front of my off-campus residence.

Dad looked at me sadly but said nothing as he sped away.  Later, he told me there were tears in his eyes that evening, and he had prayed to God that he had made the right decision!

My friends at college, my teachers and even the Dean were sources of encouragement as I attended the remaining classes and prepared for my finals.

I passed all my courses miraculously that December and graduated a term early, as scheduled.  If it were not for the hard  line that Dad took, I might never have gotten my degree and my teacher’s  certification.

I will always thank my many  friends, relatives and the school  personnel for their kindness, compassion and encouragement!

But, if it weren’t for my dad’s faith, prayers and tough love, I don’t think I would have graduated and become a teacher for the next thirty-one years of my life!

When I meet my dad again in Paradise, I will hug him and thank him again for helping to change the course of my life!  I love you,Dad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Memorable Wedding of Nicky and me: February 13, 1969

Monday, February 13th, 2017

We would have been married 48 years today if my first husband, Nicky, had not died much too young of heart disease nearly thirty years ago!  However, I still think of him every day, just as I always remember my mom and dad, other family members and close friends who have departed and will return only at the Resurrection!  I reflect upon our anniversary every year on February 13th, the day  that we had the most memorable nuptuals  of all!  Let me explain how and why!

It was an incredible, totally unbelievable Presidents’ week 48 years ago, back in 1969!   You see, it all started with a blizzard to end all blizzards the last day of school before Presidents’ week vacation.

The snow drifts were so high that  I could hardly make it  from my middle school on the south shore of  Long Islsnd, where  I taught seventh  and eighth grade English, to the home of my fiancé in Malba,Queens,  where we were to make final preparations for our wedding and honeymoon!    But when I finally reached the house, I never thought that the roads would remain impassable for days and our elopement plans would be compromised!

What were we to do but blame it  all on Mayor Lindsey, who did not have the snow situation under control.  No plows came through, and for days everything but our angry, labored breathing was at a standstill!  But our Mayor just let things follow their natural course, and as a sad result,  Nicky and I had to cancel our wedding plans.

We had arranged to elope on Valentine’s Day because our parents weren’t happy about our marriage since we were of different religions.  After the ceremony, we were to drive to a beautiful resort upstate, where we were to spend our honeymoon.  Now that our special plans were no more, would  we ever get married, I wondered?  That’s when I had a brilliant idea,  which I soon acted upon!

Why not begin by  asking Nicky’s next door neighbor, George, for his advice?  George was a thriving businessman who was in contact with dozens of influential people, and he was a close friend of Nicky’s.

Well, we did ask George, and he did get immediate results!   He knew a judge who could marry us on February 13, 1969,  at the Kew Gardens  court house.  It would be risky to drive there since the snow situation hadn’t improved much, but some snow had melted, and the drifts had gone down a little!  It was possible to make it in one piece, and Nicky would do anything to prevent me from dwelling on the possibility that, if we didn’t get married this week, we might NEVER get married!

So, on Thursday, February 13th, we slowly went forth in Nicky’s station wagon to the court house in Kew Gardens!

There was no legal parking, but Nicky had prepared a sign that said, “Please do not give us a ticket!  We’re  getting married, and we’ll leave right after the ceremony! ” We hoped that the police would be kind enough to honor the sign and us!

All went smoothly after that!  We  met the judge in his chambers, and he welcomed us with kind words.  The District Attorney and his assistant were our witnesses!  Nicky was so nervous that he looked as though he were going to cry, but my “hysteria” came out in giggling like a teen-ager!

When we kissed, I felt as though I were in heaven!  It had finally happened!  I had married my best friend, whom I loved and trusted with all my heart. And we didn’t get a parking ticket!

That evening, we went  out to dinner at our favorite restaurant in Queens and spent the night at a lovely motel.  (We postponed our real honeymoon until July!)

Our  parents eventually forgave us for eloping and even made a beautiful party for us, where close family could celebrate with us!

My wedding day to Nick was one of the most lovely and memorable days of both our lives!   We lived happily together for eighteen years until he died much too soon at the age of only 56!

We often talked about our unusual  wedding but always felt blessed that it had all worked out so well, and we had been granted the blessing of years of happiness with one another!

 

 

 

A Poignant Hello and Good-bye

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

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My Childhood Memories of Mom

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

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Moving On…Part 111

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

It’s not an easy thing to move on, but it is something that we have to do when we experience loss.  If we don’t, we remain stagnant emotionally, mentally depressed and susceptible to a number of  serious illnesses.  We also miss out on any happiness, success and inner peace that we otherwise might have in time!  So we have no choice but to move on!

At the end of “Moving On…Part 11, I was driven home from the CYO dance by a gentleman about my age, and, after we had exchanged contact information, he had actually told me that he would call me on the following Wednesday.

I was wondering the next few days whether he would keep his promise.  I was also unsure of whether I even wanted him to.  After all, Nicky had died nine months before.  Maybe, my depression and loneliness were not good enough reasons to begin a new relationship.

But at 7:30 on Wednesday evening, Manny did call.  He was in a good mood and joked around quite a bit, which I liked.  After all, a man with a good sense of humor who enjoys my cooking has always been a prerequisite for my affection.   If he were also bright and earned a good living, that would be the icing on the cake, so to speak!  So I knew I had to give this guy a chance!

Manny asked me out for the next Saturday.  “How about dinner and a movie?” he asked.

“Sounds good,” I said without hesitating.

“Then I’ll pick you up at 6:00.”

“See you then,” I said.  “Bye for now.”

“Goodbye,” he said.  He added,”I’m looking forward to Saturday,” before hanging up.

We went to see “Colours” with Robert Duvall, but before the movie, we ran into Manny’s fifteen year-old son, Billy, and his girlfriend, who were seeing the same movie in another section, of course.  It was a little uncomfortable for all of us except Manny, who obviously was cool with most situations.

Soon, we were back in our seats and getting involved in the movie.  We met Billy and his date on the way out but let them go their way as we went ours.

After getting to know each other better during dinner, Manny took me home, and I invited him over to my house the next week for  lasagna.  If he were to meet  my Doberman Pinschers and actually get along with them, I knew that our relationship would have a chance! LOL

Well, he passed the Doberman Pinscher test, and our relationship was launched.  He even got along well with my mom, sister and brother-in-law.  Manny was “in” with my family and me.

I had yet  to meet his daughter, mom and an amazing number of other relatives!  But I did finally over the next few weeks, and all went as smooth as silk!

We dated for about a year and decided to have a small but beautiful wedding at a local venue!

Life is a challenge for all of us, but it often is easier if you tackle it with someone you love!  And, I learned, there is enough love in my heart for a second significant person in my life.

We were married in January  of 1989.  I’m glad that I decided to move on!