Monthly Archives: February 2014

March into Spring

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This is the fastest, it seems, that time has passed to

get to my next monthly post! I found out that this month

is considered National Kidneys Month. If you are over 50,

they suggest to get from now on, an annual urine screening.

A Poem for those worms that will soon be lying around on

sidewalks and parking lots, due to March’s heavy rain:

“Hurt No Living Thing”

by Christina G. Rosetti

“Hurt no living thing.

Ladybird nor butterfly,

Nor moth with dusty wing,

Nor cricket chirping cheerily,

Nor grasshopper so light of leap.

Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat,

Nor harmless worms that creep.”

In that second line, I have always wondered, did

Christina mean a ladybug or a bird that was female?

Certainly, she would be proud of St. Patrick, who

led the snakes out of Ireland, in legendary form,

by playing his pipe.

MARCH

1- New Moon.

Just a sliver…

I am afraid I may have misled you, no one pointed this

next error out in my February post…

2- Texas Independence Day

and… the 86th Academy Awards Show, with Ellen G. as host.

4- Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras time, celebrate since some

will be fasting soon for Lenten Season.

5- Ash Wednesday.

I have, from childhood on, liked the simple act of

receiving ashes on my forehead. Having been raised an

Episcopalian, we still followed the Roman Catholic Lent

period. We ‘gave up meat on Fridays’ and decide which

certain food, chocolate, pizza, fries, donuts or ice

cream… to give up. This was usually whichever was the

biggest ‘sacrifice’ for the days leading up to Easter.

9- Daylight Savings Time begins by setting our clocks

ahead, thus losing one hour of sleep, at midnight.

Also, on this date, fifty years ago, the first Mustang

car rolled off the assembly lines in Dearborn, Michigan.

The Ford Motor Company the debuted Mustang car at the

World’s Fair, 1964. It was forecasted to be only 100,000

needed but in a mere 18 months, they had sold and reached

the 1,000,000 mark! I have to admit, my Mom became a

rather ‘cool’ person in our eyes and her high school

students’ eyes, too. She purchased one of these Mustangs

in what we called “pea green color.” All 3 of us learned

how to drive that car in the mid-seventies, making us

rather ‘groovy!’

15- Andrew Jackson Day, Tennessee.

16- Watch out for Full Worm Moon!

Also, the Jewish faith celebrate Purim after

sundown.

17- St. Patrick’s Day.

Don’t forget to wear Green so you won’t get pinched!

Celebrate by eating corned beef and cabbage, have a hot

coffee laced with Irish Crème, or have a frosty mug of

green ‘brew!’ If you are on the ‘rich side of life,’

purchase some Jameson’s Irish Whiskey!

20- Although we have been hoping this could come

earlier, after our long, extended weather, this

is the First Day of Spring!

When I saw recently a photograph of a windmill and

tulips, it made me think how Holland is represented

in their Springtime with this image. I happen to

also enjoy the cherry blossoms that are photographed

in Washington D.C. Hope all the countries are able

to enjoy a wonderful season, whatever it is in your

area of the world!

I also think about poor elderly Don Quixote, confused

and tilting at windmills… All for the sake of his

deep, abiding love of Dulcinea! I have always liked

that music from “Man of La Mancha.” Miguel de Cervantes

is an author I should have included in my ABC list!

The lesson I learn from Don Q. is that no matter how

old we get, we need to remember, there is no age limits

set for discoveries, learning and facing challenges.

Two more quotations to add to our month of March.

Taken from the book, “Lightposts for Living, The Art of

Choosing a Joyful Life” (2001), by Thomas Kinkade:

“Blocking off space for the important concerns of your

life, will do wonders for your sense of peace and harmony.”

This could have easily joined the suggested renewal of

Spring (and Green post) quotes.

Dorothy L. Sayers,

“We have come to that still centre

Where the spinning world

Sleeps on its axis,

To the heart of rest.”

Final thoughts and interpretations of the messages

shared this month:

“Be calm.

Find your focus.

Follow your heart.

Make time to be refreshed.

In the ‘River of Life,’ which may become high and

full of water,

With our melted snow and continued Spring rain,

Get rested up for soon…

Life will be rushing along into

its most active time of year!”

reocochran 3/1/14

American Idol, my favorite singers

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I have never posted about the “American Idol” television

show before. I have followed it since the first season,

and have usually decided who ‘deserves’ to win by now. I

have some favorites, just in case you have caught this

year’s show.

I would encourage you to drop in when it is down to the

top five singers, because this year has an amazing amount

of talent and interesting characters, too!

My very favorite singer is due to his outward appearance

that is similar to an attractive, younger version of the

famous singer, Meatloaf! Caleb is an outstanding rocker

that has the personality and voice to take him all the

way! His song, last night, “rocked the house,” drawing

a standing ovation and many positive comments from the

judges.

Caleb sang, “Pressure in Time,” which you may or may not

recognize from Rival Sons’ band. The driving beat, great

vocals and no hesitation shown by its performer caused

me to vote for #13.

Majesty Rose is a unique, quirky preschool teacher that

has a sweet look, along with a solid voice. She sang the

song, “Tightrope,” well and her makeup and ‘look’ showed

a ‘total package!’

Malaya is also an individual I enjoy due to her bursts

of enthusiasm and great, positive attitude. I was so

happy that she chose a ‘current’ song, which is also

popular on the radio. Recognition should help her get

some votes! It was Bruno Mars’ song, “Runaway Baby.”

M.K. may be the prettiest woman on the show, who likes

to cover her beauty with a backwards’ ball cap. She

is a very good singer, although she is going for the

androgynous look, which may hurt her in the end. She

sang, “Satisfaction,” not to be mixed up with the

Rolling Stones’ “Ain’t Got No Satisfaction.”

Jena (who pronounces her name similarly to a friend of

mine who spells it “Gena.” Anyway, it is a long ‘e’

sound in the beginning syllable.) She has an eerie,

spine chilling, tingling sound to her voice. I could

not turn my eyes away from her when she sang her song!

She sang one of my favorites of this generation,

“The Scientist,” that Coldplay performs. She was easily

the strongest female contender.

Ben, a red haired young man sang a fantastic version of

“Folsom Prison Blues.” He has a good voice and charisma

but not enough to match some of the other contenders,

I fear. His choosing Johnny Cash, made me pay attention,

though! I have always been a Johnny Cash fan.

I like a ‘nerdy’ guy who tends to not look at the camera

nor the speakers, judges or Ryan Secrest. He has an

excellent talent and knows about eight instruments to

play. His voice is different but in a wonderful way!

Alex Preston may be the next American Idol, (although

I would like to see Caleb and Majesty in the top 5)

due to his incredible ‘takes’ and individuality on

singing songs. He chose, “Beautiful Mess,” by Jason

Mraz. The only negative comment came from the judges

that his song performance was ‘too perfect to be a mess!’

I won’t be giving you updates too frequently, unless a

lot of my fellow bloggers and friends turn out to be

huge Idol fans and we have some fun in our written

exchanges!

I hope you will let me know, if you are a fan of the show,

which ones you are favoring, too!

Character Study #2: A picture of “Brian”

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I have not seen Joe, the first ‘homeless’ man I studied

last Summer. He had been a frequent visitor to the

computer section of the library with his dog. I had

described him, once the chilly days had arrived and

the seasons had changed.

I still hope that Joe and his little buddy are either

out West or living in a warmer climate.

My second ‘homeless’ person, I have known about for

years. Within the last 7 years of living downtown in

Delaware, Ohio, I have seen him much more often.

The first year I moved into my little one bedroom apt.

I was always heading out to walk or hike, once the

weekend came.

I like to walk to the Delaware Community Market and

on my way, stop to see what wares and produce the

downtown Farmer’s Market holds. (Held on sidewalks

on the eastern side of Sandusky Street on Saturdays.)

Sometimes, I was going to the library or post office.

I was entranced with the novelty of not only being

“ecological” by not using my car, but also by seeing

all the people I had not noticed, while living behind

Buehler’s in the Lexington Glen development in what

is considered the ‘suburbs.’

Brian, I will call this second man. He seems like a

Brian (or a Patrick) since he has reddish hair and

scruffy thin face that sometimes sports a scraggly

red beard. I have looked into his blue or green eyes,

depending on what he wears. I think the time that

Brian was ‘most striking,’ and shocked the heck out

of my youngest daughter was while we were briskly

walking the Mingo Park trail from our apartment,

along the tributary of the Olentangy River.

We saw Brian straddling atop one of the walls of a

dumpster, five or six feet above us, gingerly

examining wine and beer bottles that the fishermen

or teens who may have ‘parked’ by the river to

‘make out’ had discarded.

He was putting the bottles along the rim of the

dumpster. His hair was standing straight on end,

like he had been electrocuted. It was stunningly

bright red in the early morning bright light!

Brian wore raggedy jeans and a brown non-descript

t-shirt on his upper body. He appears to be about

5′ 10″ when he is on the same level as I have been,

in other circumstances.

Brian waved at my blonde daughter and me, like he

recognized us. (Who knows? Maybe he had seen us

travel this walking path on other occasions.)

We actually slowed down to say,

“Good Morning!”

We thought we would have beat all the Saturday

morning walking/running ‘traffic’ at 6 a.m.

Little did we expect that the one who has no

home, must wake up at the ‘crack of dawn,’ too!

Brian repeated the greeting, in a jovial tone, back

to us.

His gallivant nature made us think, as we resumed

our quicker pace, that he was reminiscent of a

pirate! His neck had had a red bandana tied in a

cavalier knot, on the side. His black leather boots

were somewhat like a cowboy, but with a tug of one’s

imagination, could have ‘passed’ as a pirate’s.

We thought his pocked face and grin with a few

teeth missing made him likable. His appearance was

similar to one who had been a ‘mate’ on a pirate

ship on the high seas.

As we turned the curve at Mingo to go along

the river path, we saw him turn a green wine

bottle upwards into the air, catching a small

drop or two. This morning ‘juice’ would hold

him until he walked to the recycling place on

London Road, where he may get a few dollars,

enough to get a meal or at least something to

drink. The wine bottle in the tilted fashion he

had held it, finished my thoughts of a pirate,

as if he were drinking a big swig of rum and

releasing a loud, “Arggh!”

In later Fall, 2013 I saw Brian sitting on a

bench in front of Walgreens, smoking a cigarette.

He wore a khaki colored poncho, his hair a wet

mess. His face looked more ruddy and seemed like

he had contracted a rash. Not to be funny, but

it crossed my mind, “hope Brian didn’t sleep

out in poison ivy as it gets really ‘ripe’ in

the late Indian Summer months. He asked me if

I had a dollar, I looked in my pocket where I

put change and had tucked one dollar in with

the quarters.

I told Brian, “I need my quarters for laundry

so here is my only cash.”

He nodded his head and his raspy voice asked

me a question that stopped me in my tracks.

He was holding out the dollar, as if ready

to pass it back to me.

I had not expected him to really listen,

care or respond except for a ‘thank you.’

But Brian asked me,

“Are you sure you have enough for laundry?

You could go across the street over there

and they have a change machine.”

I smiled and answered, “Oh yes, I would have

not offered it to you if I needed it!”

Brian had longer, more stringy hair, the last

time I spied him at McDonald’s with a hot cup

of coffee and a breakfast sandwich. He was

leaning forward, crouching over the Styrofoam

cup, as if putting his hands over a warm fire.

Either he made it to the recycling or a kind

soul had given him a donation to his ‘pantry.’

He had a much warmer coat than the poncho I had

seen him wearing in the Fall. It was a deep blue

with a red plaid cotton lining, which you could

see since it lined his fake fur edged hood. His

face looked chapped and still had the ‘angry’ red

blotches. These kind of look like they may have

an allergic reaction, but more than likely, are

due to his all weather living quarters.

There is one other ‘homeless’ person, a woman,

who will sometime be my subject to practice a

little of character development. I think observing

details, finding and adding quirks and mannerisms

helps round out a person. I have never taken a

‘writing course,’ although we all write our thoughts

down and analyze life, situations and people.

I hope to see the more buoyant and ‘pirate-like’

Brian again this summer…

on the shores of the Olentangy River.

No More Milk Mustaches!

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The Dairy Council has decided their advertising

campaign that includes the words, “Got milk?”

and famous persons with white mustaches is going

in a different direction. Those ‘milk mustaches’

were rather clever, I think. It made me have a

bout of nostalgia and got me reminiscing about

different products and their advertisements or

television commercials.

The background information is that the firm of

Goodby Silverstein and Partners came up with this

catchy slogan and advertising campaign for the

California Milk Processor Board in 1993. When Naomi

Campbell wore the first mustache, this was twenty

years ago in 1994.

The “Milk Life” ads were created to promote milk’s

protein power. The ads that have graced many magazines,

billboards and television commercials have come to an

end, yesterday on February 24, 2014.

The famous people have included a diversity of

subjects wearing that iconic white mustache. Here

are a few samples: Sir Elton John, Mariska Hargitay

and her daughters, Katie Couric and Bill Clinton.

This is not a ‘new’ subject for me. I have had

written before about product placement and t.v.

advertising. This includes different subjects and

my focus on cereal makes sense, due to the recent

‘demise’ of the “Got milk?” ads.

When I think back to when we were children, most of

my early childhood was without a color television.

My memory is of watching commercials in black and

white.

Strangely, I remember only a few actual products

that were in the black and white commercials. I can

think of more cleaning products (like Cheer, Tide and

Windex) than any other ones. Does this say something

about my mindset? Hmmm…By the way, Cheer came about

in 1950, Tide has been around since 1946 and Windex

was created in 1933!

But cleaning products don’t ‘go with milk!’

Mostly, my memories come from early Saturday mornings

watching cartoons like “Mr. Magoo” or the “Roadrunner”

(versus Wily Coyote.) We liked “Yogi Bear” and “Bugs

Bunny,” too at our house.

Those Saturday morning commercials were to get kids

to nag their parents for different and “new” brands

of cereal, juices and during holidays: toys!

My favorite black and white commercial had Tony the

Tiger recommending that we try Kellogg’s Frosted

Flakes.

When you look up the details, I think that you may

be surprised as much as I was, that there are many

family members in Tony’s imaginary “family!”

Tony the Tiger appeared as an advertising action

mascot in 1951. He has become known as a ‘cereal icon’

and has lasted past most of other cereal logos. He had

a son, Tony, Jr. in the 1950’s. He did not get a wife

or mother until the 1970’s!

Mama Tony and Mrs. Tony appeared a long time after

we were used to seeing Tony with his boy tiger. I

have never even heard of Antoinette, who was Tony’s

daughter, who became part of the advertising family.

She also did not appear until the other two lady

tigers’ arrival, in the seventies.

Tony’s expression of “It’s Grrrreat!” was also part

of his special signature. I always liked the frosted

sugary flavor of this brand of cereal and enjoyed

the different sports figures that his animated tiger

would interact with in the television commercials.

Another detail that may, or may not, seem familiar is

that there was another cereal that Tony recommended:

Tony’s Cinnamon Krunchers. Have you ever eaten these?

Another commercial, which I liked was for the Kellogg’s

Rice Krispies with the slogan “Snap, Crackle and Pop!”

Of course, that also included three little elves with

the names of Snap, Crackle and Pop. I loaded on brown

sugar or honey on these, (as I did for Cheerios, too.)

My ‘sweet tooth’ has been a lifelong attribute, now

considered dangerous and ‘bad!’

This cereal came about much earlier than Frosted Flakes’

arrival. It was a simpler cereal, rice, malt barley and

they were made into a shape (they called it “berries”)

that crackled, once its hollowness caved in; when milk

was applied.

Rice Krispies was marketed in 1927, then released in

1928. This forecasting a product before its arrival

in the stores, has become a way to ‘tease’ the public

and build anticipation, along with sales.

A fantastic advertising campaign included in 1963,

The Rolling Stones singing and recording a television

advertisement! Wow! I don’t remember being impressed

back then, at age 8 but now I am!

Rice Krispies is known as “Rice Bubbles,” in Australia

and New Zealand.

Here are the rest of the Rice Krispies cereals, along

with some international names that make me chuckle!

Cocoa Krispies is known as “Coco Pops” in the United

Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Italy, Australia and

New Zealand.

Frosted Rice Krispies is our American name for a

sugar coated RK, while in the UK and Ireland, they

call this cereal, “Ricicles.”

Rice Krispies can be found in Canada, “with Vanilla

Flavour.”

Strawberry Rice Krispies can be found in South Africa.

Since 1993, Rice Krispies Treat Cereal has been around

in the United States.

For a period of time starting in 2007, Chocolate and

Vanilla Rice Krispies existed.

General Mills’ Wheaties has the most amount of famous

sports figures featured in their advertising. This is

due to their iconic slogan, “The Breakfast of Champions.”

I like Wheaties but have been adding raisins and extra

sugar to my cereal bowls all of my life. I am so glad

that they came out with Raisin Bran so I could stop my

having to supplement my cereal with all the ‘work’

of getting the sugar bowl and raisins out!

I was fascinated by the Wheaties creation story. Hope

you won’t mind reading about this, too!

This cereal came about due to an accidental spill

of a wheat bran mixture onto a hot stove by a clinician

in 1922. She worked for the Minnesota located Washburn

Crosby Company. Later, General Mills became the name of

the current company.

The final product (cereal) went through a couple of

years in attempting to strengthen the flakes to

endure packaging. Washburn’s head ‘miller,’ George

Cormack labeled the cereal, “Washburn’s Gold Medal

Whole Wheat Flakes,” in 1924. Later, they held an

employee contest where the name, “Wheaties” won.

While advertising on the radio in Minnesota, where

the company was founded, they had a jingle that

went to the popular tune of “She’s a Jazz Baby.”

The beginning line was, “Have you tried Wheaties?”

The advertising through radio and placement on

billboards at ball fields led to the interest of

athletes in being part of the advertising.

I can think of many Olympic athletes, along with

professional athletes that have been the faces

who were promoting Wheaties to young people.

Hope you enjoyed this ‘walk down nostalgia lane,’

and won’t mind discovering the new commercial logo

that the milk processors and dairy farmers choose.

I will miss the “Got milk?” ads. It’s been around

for the majority of my children’s lives, twenty

years.

Book Review: “Pioneer Girl”

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A woman who wrote a memoir, titled, “Stealing Buddha’s

Dinner,” (2007) has used what is called the ‘working

title’ from “Little House in the Prairie.” Originally,

Laura Ingalls Wilder had written “Pioneer Girl,” on

her rough draft of her first book to be published.

There is a former Purdue professor, Bich Minh Nguyen,

born in Viet Nam and who immigrated to Grand Rapids,

Michigan who has written her second book, this time

a novel inspired by the life of Rose Wilder Lane.

When Ms. Nguyen discovered that Rose had traveled to

Viet Nam on an assignment for a magazine to put a

feminine perspective on the Viet Nam war, she felt

a common bond with Rose. Ms. Nguyen was compelled to

write about a fictionalized part of Rose Wilder Lane’s

life. She incorporated some details, by having the main

character and narrator, named Lee Lien, discover the

common ties between the real journalist named Rose and

the fictional character named Lee.

I found that this book has a fascinating way of drawing

you into Lee’s life. She has completed her education,

but comes home to live with her mother and grandfather.

For the time being, Lee Lien has decided to help run

the fictional Lotus Leaf Café.

This restaurant is an Asian, mixed with fusion, place

in a strip mall in Chicago, Illinois. Lee’s mother is

portrayed as a pushy and domineering woman, while her

grandfather is given a gentle, sympathetic personality.

In an interview, Ms.Nguyen, the author, says that it

was quite a challenge to mesh the real life character

with “an alternative reality.”

I have found myself drawn to immigrants’ stories. I

have shared that my own mother’s parents met in NYC,

one a Swedish immigrant and the other a German one.

The way Ms. Nguyen shares that she never felt very

comfortable in Michigan and always wondered why her

parents stayed there, since they could have sought a

different part of the country. She did finish her own

education in Indiana, part of the Midwest, but has

moved in the past year to the San Francisco Bay area.

Here is a quotation from Ms. Nguyen,

“I’m a Midwesterner. We sort of believe you should

grow where you’re planted. So it was hard to leave.

It took me and my husband a long time to make this

decision.” (She, her husband and two children, ages

two and four years old moved in July, 2013.)

She feels that moving to the West coast is like a

dream and it is more home to her now, too.

I felt that this book would be a great one to share

with people who don’t feel like they belong, if they

were Asian descent, if they were adopted and to help

come to terms with becoming part of American culture.

A great part of researching Rose Wilder Lane, beloved

character and daughter of the “Little House” books

series, was to discover that she became such a

renowned journalist and novelist that her numerous

publications have become enshrined in the Herbert Hoover

Presidential Library!

What a fantastic legacy, as the daughter of Laura Ingalls

Wilder, to become a famous journalist and author, in her

‘own right.’

I think this meant a lot to me, having been such a fan of

L. W. Ingalls’ books, to know what happened to her daughter,

Rose Wilder Lane.

As a last explanation for combining her own roots with the

life of R. W. Lane, author, Bich Minh Nguyen states:

“I was interested in the idea of mythmaking and the idea

of trying to find one’s story.”

As writers, we all try different ways to combine our own

lives, weaving them into our stories, along with wishing

to create ones that are mythical and meaningful.

You may find your “muse” in another person’s life story.

Hope this book will inspire you.

Light Summary of the Olympics’ Closing Ceremony

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As in Olympics’ Closing Ceremonies go, I thought

the country of Russia, did an outstanding job!

The presentations, that were centered on their

heritage and culture, were moving, dynamic and

lovely. I am full of adjectives like “innovative”

and “evocative!”

It was called “A Tribute to the Arts.”

I enjoyed the artistic features of Marc Chagall

as one of the Russian artists.

I almost could not find the spelling of the other

artist who was mentioned, I did not recognize the

name.

It sounded like “Malcheck” or “Malaczech.” Once I

studied the wonderful directory of Russian artists,

I did recognize him to be: Kazimir Malevich. Well,

I was close! (Smile!)

Malevich was an avante garde artist and his paintings

were used for inspiration in the dance performances

and the mural like artwork on the field. He lived from

1878- 1935, as a Polish descendant Russian.

They featured black fish swimming around to form

the classic Olympic circles on the ground, This

glowed like shimmering silver rings. This was

carried out through people moving, carrying fish

fins to create the whole display.

There was some humor in that during the Opening

Ceremony, there was a ‘glitch’ where one of the

circles didn’t light up. I think the inclusion of

this display was to balance out the mistake of

the original ceremony. During this portion of the

Closing Ceremony, they had 62 pianists playing.

The fantastic upside-down village floating above the

field with the bright and lively painted design of

one of Marc Chagall’s pieces was delightful. I have

had some acquaintance with his work, since my parents

usually sent UNICEF cards featuring his designs. His

use of a dove to represent Peace and also, the Holy

Spirit at Christmas, is well known. One of Chagall’s

famous pieces, “I the Village,” shows his child-like

and dreamy artwork. His pieces may bring the observer

to smile, as if it were their own memories of some

imaginary times. We have put together, as a family, a

couple of his pieces into a picture puzzle, over the

years.

Chagall lived from 1887 until 1985. Since he later

moved to France, Chagall is considered a Russian-

French artist.

Someone asked, as a commentator, “Why was the village

upside down?” the answer was seemingly that Chagall

viewed the world as ‘upside down.’

I enjoyed the bold colors, dramatic dancing people

who wore wings, looking like Chagall’s doves or birds.

The ethnic, country Russian music was reminiscent of

the cultural music featured in “Fiddler on the Roof.”

This musical was set in Tsarist Russia, 1905.

There was a dramatic tribute to the Opera and this

utilized the Bolshoi and Kirov ballet dancers. This

was a beautiful exhibition of talent and skill.

There were floating dancers and gymnasts, similar

in the Cirque du Soleil type performances.

I was left with the impression of looking at Life

from a different lens. I am sure that this positive

impression, promoted by the Russian government, was

meant as propaganda.

The image of ‘Freedom of Expression,’ through their

“Tribute to the Arts,” shown during the 2014 Olympics

Closing Ceremonies in Sochi, Russia was simply ironic.

A Special Memorial for Ben

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Ten Years Ago Today

February 24, 2004

Once upon a time there was a boy named Ben. He liked

wild and domestic animals and studied dinosaurs. He

enjoyed information, found in books and on computers.

He was filled with the love of learning and curiosity

about space and limitless galaxies.

When Ben played encyclopedia games on the computer to

learn about wild animals, he would become immersed in

their worlds.

This was the eighties; when his babysitter’s Dad who

loved this scientific aspect of the boy, set up all

kinds of World Book and Discovery programs challenging

Ben’s interests and his need to know.

He didn’t just “play,” he became absorbed and spent

time thinking. Sometimes, his Mom and babysitter would

ponder and worry about Ben, after Lynn Anne’s busy day

of nursing and Robin’s hectic day of being around just

kids. Sharing a cup of coffee, talking about their

children were rare, short moments for the two friends.

Ben’s parents, Lynn Anne and David, were professionals

and admired his intellect. His older brother, Zach,

was not at all into the same things, but loved him

dearly. He included him, if Ben ever wanted to join

him with his friends. Ben’s babysitter and her son,

James, loved him like he were part of the family.

Never was he excluded in their home. At school,

there were times where teachers were intimidated

by his knowledge, children were not interested in

listening to his fascinating and imaginative stories.

This was noticeable, even while in elementary school,

but the problems became more evident, in middle and

high school.

The parents chose to take Ben to a family counselor,

participating in therapy with him sometimes, too.

Ben was the young ‘tag-a-long’ to Zach, Jamie and

Mick. When they were at the movies or pool, all 4

were a ‘team’ within itself. No one could ‘pick

on’ any of their members. They often would play

‘Marco Polo’ and stay in the shallow end of the

pool to include Ben.

Camping and hiking with Ben and Zach’s family was a

wondrous experience for Jamie. He felt comfortable

and included in the male-oriented atmosphere. At home

he had, after all, two sisters, with himself being

‘sandwiched’ in between.

Lynn Anne and David were very open minded, like

the babysitter. There was always the choice to

express oneself, but also the space to be alone.

Ben moved back and forth between these places of

solace and comfort, not ever letting the building

remorseful depression show. He had ‘safe havens’

but they were not always transportable.

The fondness of those three boys will always be

one of the best parts of my son’s memories. Zach

came to my son’s wedding with a female friend,

stayed until the very end. There were no real

expressions (spoken out loud, at least) between

the two older boys, of wishes that Ben were still

here to celebrate James marriage to Trista.

They had needed each other, that was the truth.

Jamie moved off to Dayton, having graduated from

Delaware Hayes High (1999), along with Zach who

graduated a year later (2000). There were not many

moments of looking back at younger Ben.

The older boys were no longer around to be his

‘safety net’ and fierce protectors.

The fateful day came, when Ben was tormented once

again in the cafeteria. Sensing Ben’s ‘weakness’

and gentle soul, a big, tough football player had

been teasing him often, especially with no one

willing to stand up to him.

It was Ben’s ‘last straw.’

Before much thought went though his head, Ben was

rushing out into the briskly cold day, running behind

the frozen high school football stadium.

Ben knew his only option. At least, that is the way

it seemed that day, when he waited to jump in front

of the rushing train that ended his life.

We all loved Ben, we all miss him and he is on my

mind, as I had been his daily caregiver for several

years.

Felicia, my youngest daughter, graduated with the

boy who damaged Ben’s very core, a few months later

in June, 2004. He lives in California now. Not sure

what his conscience is like, now that he may have

grown up enough to face the consequences of his

verbal actions.

The date is indelibly imprinted on my mind.

Wishing we could just rewind his life and make Ben

stay with us and be here today.

In his memory, I suggest you may enjoy listening

to “Across the Universe,” written by John Lennon,

credited as a collaboration of McCartney-Lennon.

This was given as a donation to the charity musical

compilation of “No One’s Gonna Change Our World,”

December, 1969. Later, the Beatles included this

song in their final album, “Let It Be.”

I imagine Ben knowing finally the secrets of the

Universe and smiling.