Category Archives: family

Thursday’s Doors~ September 10, 2015

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The door today is on a house located on West William Street close to Curtis Street which runs perpendicular to the house. It almost seems like Curtis would run straight into the surrounding wooded area. The house disguised by the woods “hides” the possible past home of a famous Delaware, Ohio family.

The house is currently painted gray, has black details and a Victorian front door. The porch which leads up to the door is decorated with white painted lattice work which I generally say may be found on “gingerbread houses.”

The white door may not be the original door. It has four small windows at the top of this rather tall door. It has three sets of panels with wooden strips framing them, all painted white.

Again, picture a gray house, black outlines and white details. A door which seems looming in size, with more details seen close up than far away.

I wonder if the famous family had a taller male as head of household?

Do Victorian homes tend to have taller doors?

I would need a step stool to decorate around this door with strings of leaves on a vine, which I had done on my last home. I like the idea of getting this house ready for Halloween.
In September, I would hang a grape vine wreath on this door. It would have golden silk sunflowers with a pretty ribbon of fall colors coming to a bow at the bottom.

The door recently seen, has no decoration on it. The large picture window, opening over the porch, has many panes outlined with black painted wood strips. The woodwork has some cracks in the paint once you climb the five steps onto the porch.
The curtains were a deep blue which held anything behind them “hostage” in the hidden recesses.

A closer look shows a small placard with a wooden frame. It reveals the past homeowners. It is not on a historical registry. It was a stop along the road of many stops chosen by a film director who had one singular famous wife and child.

The outstanding porch chandelier which on a snowy night was lit,  had caught my eyes.

It seemed to beckon visitors. It may have meant the house was ready for company. I imagined a long lost family member, errant but expected to return.

It is the crystal chandelier which is the only sign this is a special house. It distinguished the house and set it apart. The door doesn’t have a door knob, it has one of those handles with a curlicue at the base. It looks like it is painted black but this makes me wonder.

Would stripping the black paint off reveal brass?

I was driving past this house often, back in 1991 and 1992. My good friend and fellow single mother, Lori, had 3 children close to the same ages as mine. She lived about ten houses from this lovely, old house.

The house once the light was left on, shone through the bare wooded area surrounding this home set back from a busy road.

Had the light not been shining brightly with the way crystal reflects, especially on snow and icicles hanging from the porch roof . . .

Had one of my children asked me a question, taking my mind off looking at the scenery while driving a slow paced 30 miles per hour down this snow covered familiar road . . .

I may have missed seeing this home. I may have not realized it’s “lineage.” So many times houses are missed due to their location.

The porch has a pair of white worn rocking chairs. They have left grooves on the worn gray painted wooden planks on the porch floor.

* 311 North Washington Street, Delaware, Ohio 43015
has the privelege of being a house on a hill which was designated the inspiration for “Meet Me at St. Louis,” a film Vincente Minnelli directed in 1944.

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When I suggested to my friend, Lori, that we walk down the sidewalk and head west from her house to Trick or Treat, she thought this was a great idea. We usually piled into her van and went to one of the nearby neighborhoods. Houses close by, easier to go up and down short driveways had been our plan a few years in a row. She had moved from a smaller house in one such neighborhood and on this particular long time past Halloween, now lived in an older, bigger place.

We got to the Vincent Minneli house around dark, it had taken us 45 minutes to cover 9 houses. These older homes have gracious hosts with kind offers to sit on edges of porches and eat marshmallow rice krispie squares, caramel apples and frosted cookies. Apple cider, Kool Aid and water pitchers poured into paper cups, to wash down the sugary treats.

When we got to the beautiful Minnelli house, we felt like the driveway was a mile long. I had Felicia up on my shoulders, she had her younger Jacob upon her hip.

The house had the elegant chandelier shining brightly as our feet crunched through the fallen leaves.

We were very excited to read the framed listing of residents:

Mr. and Mrs. Vincente Minnelli

Retired from film making,

Lived within these walls.

Whose first wife was,

Judy Garland,

Whose daughter was

Liza Minneli,

and half-sister

Christiane Minnelli.

I remember reading this aloud to our children while we waited for the people to arrive and answer the door.

There were only two children listed in family members names in Vincente Minneli’s biography, Liza and Christiane.

My son (age 11) said rather amusingly,

“As long as the people don’t have scary flying monkeys we will like this, Mom.”

The elderly couple must have been between 85 and 90. One was a tall, white haired gentleman who leaned on his cane and the other was a stooped, gray haired woman in a dress and apron.
We were not sure how many people had traipsed up this driveway but we were warmly received.

You may be shocked but we were escorted into a kitchen that had a fireplace blazing, treats in brown paper lunch bags with an orange gingham ribbon tying each one.

We will never forget this unusual feature in the kitchen: a dumbwaiter! It worked, too.

Last, but not least, the residents told us they were not relatives of any Minelli family members.

~Written by Robin Oldrieve Cochran

(9/10/15)

This is a part of Norm Frampton’s Thursday’s Doors and you may find his post where links to other blogs with Door posts are displayed through photographs, descriptions and history frequently given at:

http://miscellaneousmusingsofamiddleagedmind.wordpress.com


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This next part was my previously published post:

It was a Character Study of a homeless woman. If you have read it before feel free to skip it.

I decided to have a connection built in this practice in character development with someone famous. . .

When I started to write about characters, I chose to

begin with two homeless men. I mentioned that there

are a few different people who I have seen in

Delaware, through inclement weather and over a year.

The men I gave names to, helping me to become ‘real’

and giving them character traits.

I used my imagination as a ‘springboard’ to create

some depth and authenticity.

After all, when we write, unless we are sticking to the

total truth of our own lives, we need to learn how to

develop characters. I will not be writing a memoir

someday, although many of you are or may.

I think I am destined for writing fiction, using partly

truths based on people I have met, while adding

details to create interest and variety.

These ‘character studies’ have been my way of

practicing and honing my writing skills.

Something important that is easy to accidentally do,

when we start to write, is to make the people in our

books into ‘caricatures.’ One’s aim should be to create

people who are able to ‘walk off the pages of your

book.’ After reading, over the years, a few books on

writing (another post’s focused on the ‘experts’ I have

studied) I did find out when it is considered

acceptable to incorporate some stereotypes.

These times can be when you are going for a broad

comedy, a science fiction or comic book type of style.

When you are creating sy-fy, in most situations you

wish the story to become believable and transport to

the foreign land of the future. It could be a stylistic,

polished picture that you may paint, like a top hat,

black tie book.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, “The Great Gatsby,” comes

to mind where the characters are painted with rather

broad strokes… The character of Daisy’s husband is

abusive but she doesn’t seem to mind. She is

controlled by him, much to her friend, Gatsby’s

dismay. He may not have the appropriate lineage

to fit into the Jazz age, outlandishly extravagant upper

class picture that F.S.F. imparts. But Gatsby is the

most ‘real’ man, in my opinion, other than the narrator,

Nick Carraway.

I feel for both men’s tough situations. Gatsby tried so

hard to fit into society, out of love for Daisy. His

lifestyle, on the surface appears to be wealthy by his

buying a mansion and throwing lavish parties.

My character of “Billie” is a woman who has been

around Delaware,Ohio for over a year. She has been

seen by my youngest daughter and me, on a park

bench in Mingo Park, along the walking trail

between William Street and Winter Street and on the

sidewalk by a plaza on Sandusky Street.

I have noticed this woman’s wavy, sometimes

tangled strawberry blonde hair. It is not a brightly

colored shiny head of hair, but mostly a faded,

tarnished one.

She has a big backpack, which she may store

somewhere in the summertime, hiding it so she

doesn’t have to carry it constantly. It looks heavy.

Since we have seen her, wearing shorts, a tank top

and a sweatshirt wrapped around her waist. There

was no physical evidence, on that occasion, to appear

homeless.

Only once in the half dozen times where I have noted

her appearance, did I see her hair, woven into a loose

braid with a red rubber band at the end of it.

“Billie” makes me think of Pippi Longstocking, a

creation of the author, Astrid Lindgren. I imagine her

to have had a special life, once upon a time, like the

Swedish character.

The books about 9 year old, Pippi, were published

between 1945 and 1948. The chapter books are funny,

unusual and I would hesitate to ever try to imitate the

zaniness of the children’s story lines of those amazing

chapter books.

I can imagine “Billie” as a rebellious and interesting

person, who may have been a “hippie” in the seventies.

I tried to visualize her as an affluent woman, who may

have lost her path in life. I don’t ‘see’ that in her,

if my views on her are at all possibly going to be

realistic, I have to think she made some choices that

took her away from a traditional working life. I have

to hope she doesn’t have children, although her losing

them to foster care, then a financial struggle could

be part of her past.

“Billie” was wearing dirty and raggedy jeans, a khaki

Army jacket, and wore on her back, the brown rolled

sleeping bag peeking out of her knapsack. The last

time I saw her, she was standing out in the rain. She

had one hand in her pocket and the other raised to

push her loose locks back into the hooded gray

sweatshirt that was under her jacket.

The layered look was a necessity because the nights

were ranging in the low 30’s.

Although this Army jacket may seem to give a glimpse

of her Life’s choices and personal history which may

include she may have been enrolled at one time, we

can not be sure of this. The local Salvation Army and

Goodwill stores often have Army jackets, among their

donated coats.

I would like to envision a happier past for “Billie,” one

out in the country. Maybe she was a Girl Scout, a 4-H

member or her family went camping. This would have

taught her the skills to be able to survive all four

seasons here in Delaware.

I could visualize her skipping stones along the creek,

fishing with her father and maybe, if he were an

outdoorsman, going along while he pulled or checked

animal traps.

I wonder if “Billie” has an Army knife?

I wonder if she eats at the three different churches

that serve homeless or ‘down on their luck’ families?

Then, on the last week which is not covered by these

meals, does she go to Andrews House?

Has she ever slept there in one of the bunk beds?

That is the only ‘loft’ for homeless people we have,

usually with a long waiting list.

When I saw her last summer, “Billie” seemed to have a

wistful look in her eyes. She was sitting on a park

bench, watching a group of ducks on the tributary of

the Olentangy River.

She doesn’t have a hardened look, at least through my

eyes. I see her as not dissatisfied with her plight in

life.

Acceptance and courage resonate from her freckled

face to the way she holds herself. That jaunty hand in

the pocket, the once, braided hair. Most of the time,

the tangled mess of hair seems to shout,

“I don’t give a hoot what people think!”

Does she take a knife or scissors to the hair so that

she has less of it in the summer?

Did she ever stop and talk to “Joe,” last summer, the

younger man with his dog? (Who frequented the

library and I had hoped had made it South or out

West.) His tan face and sun-bleached blonde hair, had

given me a ‘surfer’ sort of impression…

I don’t see her liking that ‘cowboy’ or Irish looking

“Brian,” who was straddling the big dumpster. He

seems to be too odd to trust, maybe even a little scary

to the short, 5′ 3″ or so, woman.

I may seem a dreamer, maybe a woman with her ‘rose

colored glasses’ firmly in place, but I think that “Billie”

is not unhappy in this location.

Due to a bit of whimsy attached to that unmanageable

blondish red hair, I guess “Billie” caught my attention.

Once upon a time, Liza Minnelli with her mother, Judy

Garland and grandfather, Vincente Minnelli may have

visited Delaware, Ohio.

After all, Vincente’s paternal grandparents lived in

Delaware, Ohio.

Vincenzo Minnelli, had been a traveling piano

salesman, from Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. He was

working for the Knabe Piano Company, when

Vincenzo met Nina Pinket, his future wife in Delaware,

Ohio.

Although there is no proof in the biographical

information that I found, Vincente’s father, may have

taught music at Ohio Wesleyan University.

I would like to wonder, ponder and imagine that “Billie”

could have some famous roots. It would be interesting

if she had turned up her nose at those in her famous

cousins’ family.

What could the possibilities be for “Billie” were she

sought out by distant cousins, siblings or others,

finding her in this town, not far from where she was

meant to be?

If so, she isn’t in Kansas anymore…

Summertime Serenade

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This poem was written last summer

to celebrate the 2014 season.

It will be my “encore” serenade to you.

~~~~~~~~~~~*x*x*x*~~~~~~~~~~

Let’s hear it for Summer, 2015!

If you are in another season…

Hope it is a wonderful time for you.

~~~~~~~~~~~*x*x*x*~~~~~~~~~~~

Summertime Serenade

by Robin Oldrieve Cochran

Shimmering sun shines through haze,

“Shoo!” to flies, bugs and mosquitoes.

“Sh-h-h” – settling down – naptime now.

Silent respite, serene moments.

Sensation of peace surrounding home.

Skinny-dipping, slippery babies,

Slide smoothly into cool water.

Swing soars high into the sky,

Shoes kicked off, sandals flipped. . .

Splashing sounds, as hands release!

Sprinklers shifting, swishing rhythmically,

Sprays of warm water change.

Shivering, cold droplets follow: “Br-r-r!”

Soaking grateful kids, dogs and grass.

(Cats hiss!)

Shrieks ring out:  joy and sheer delight.

Sensational salads whet appetites.

Sliced fresh vegetable from garden,

Savory spices of basil with sprigs of parsley,

Soaked with slippery vinaigrette dressing poured,

Sizzling barbecue aromas, family gathering,

Should I bring something?

. . . Satisfaction!

June 28, 2014

Light Hearted Easter Egg Moments

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If you don’t celebrate Easter but enjoy learning about other families’

customs this post may still be a good one to read. If you follow a

different religion or you don’t practice any at all, you still could add

something new to this post. Help make it multicultural and allow

us to “cross borders” into friendship together.  Although Easter eggs

were once considered part of pagan Spring festivals, they have

become Christian symbols of new life in recent times.

A cracked open eggshell could represent

and symbolize Jesus’ empty

tomb on Easter morning.

Coloring eggs can be elaborate projects, I have always enjoyed looking

at Ukrainian eggs with their pen and ink display of designs.  Our family

usually just used crayons to make designs on our hard boiled eggs

for Easter. Then, with the pungent smell of vinegar and the Paas egg

coloring dyes, we would put our eggs on wire ‘hoops’ or loops, where

they were  able to hold them while we dipped them in.

Even when I attended a Christian church with my last husband,

where they frowned upon ‘rituals,’ I didn’t give up hiding Easter

eggs, bunnies and baskets.

This was always part of my childhood and my own family’s way

of celebrating Easter.

My argument was:

Shouldn’t we celebrate and rejoice in Christ’s resurrection?

When I got a Christmas card from a relative in December, 2014,

which mentioned the death and resurrection, it took me aback.

I felt this was losing the “True Meaning” of Christ’s birth.

I like to focus on the image of Christ in his manger, his bed

made of harsh wood, with straw and blankets protecting him

from the weather.

Why concentrate on the torture and anguish of the Son of God,

who was made from God and man combined, at Christmas?

When Easter comes, even if I weren’t a Christian,

I would want to celebrate the story of someone,

who came back from the dead,

who rose to sit by his father’s side

and who told this simple message:

“Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

When it comes right down to it,

all religions, faiths, cultures and

people of the world could agree.

If we treated everyone the way

we wished to be treated,

we would not have any wars.

Nor would we have poverty,

unclothed and hungry masses.

I may use plastic eggs to hide,

I may not always follow the rules,

I may not attend church regularly,

but Easter represents a lot to me.

Caroline Rhea says this funny quote:

“I lied on my Weight Watchers list.

I put down that I ate only three eggs. . .

but they were Cadbury chocolate eggs.”

Here is an Easter fact to enjoy:

“Each year, the PAAS Dye, Co. sells more than 10 million egg-coloring kits,

which consumers use to decorate more  than 180 million eggs!”

(Source, wikipedia.)

~**~”I would rather have one rose

and a kind word from a friend

while I’m here, than a

whole truck load when I’m gone.~**~

I truly believe in this.

How many flowers end up at funeral homes and

how many flowers did the person enjoy

while they were alive?

Happiness keeps you Sweet,

Trials keep you Strong,

Sorrows keep you Human,

Failures keep you Humble,

Success keeps you glowing,

But. . .

Friends. . .

Keep you going!”

**~ Author Unknown~**

May you have a blessed Easter.

If you should not happen to follow

this belief, may you have a special

celebration with or without any

faith involved.  Spending time with

loved ones is always  a blessing.

Please share something you enjoy

doing, cooking, decorating or

something you have been doing

in your garden, with Easter or

Spring as your guide.

Questioning My Heartbreak

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The post today would have been on something else.

It would have been articulate and worthy of reading.

It would have been on subjects esoteric or philosophical.

I set the previous subject on the ‘back burner of my mind.’

This is such an ancient topic,

old as the people who first

walked the Earth.

 

Heartbreak.

 

Why, oh why did you have to call?

 

I was so deep in slumber and in a good place.

I have tried to block you from my mind.

When I thought I was so ‘over’ you,

I ‘unblocked’ your cell phone number.

 

Why did I do this?

Because, I would want to know. . .

If something bad happened to you.

 

Do you remember the poem

I had written where I talked

about I would rather do this

or that; than be with you?

 

Could you laugh

as I mentioned

I would rather

be in a cage

with monkeys?

 

Did you get the least bit

teary eyed when you

realized I was serious?

 

Just when my Life is on course.

You know how to turn my heart

topsy-turvy, my world upside down.

 

No, I am not involved with anyone.

But, how dare you think it is okay

to call so early in the

morning!

 

Isn’t it at all possible,

for you to imagine,

I may have

someone

special by now,

sleeping beside me?

 

Isn’t it possible,

that I may have

danced the night away

and needed to sleep

some more?

 

Couldn’t it be,

am out of the country,

with my long lost

soul mate,

on a wonderful

cruise?

 

Traveling

far off countries

mentioned

in my hopes

for us?

 

Might I have not wanted

to stay in my dream land,

content to have warmth

and positive thoughts

to greet my day?

 

Every old love lost

and heartbreak song

was written by someone

who had hopes dashed.

 

I don’t want to have you

lingering on my mind.

 

When I am in a good place,

secure and confident

I will somehow have

a partner to share

our lives together.

 

Tried it a few times,

not desperate yet.

 

Even if she were dead,

you chose to go back

to an ex-girlfriend.

 

Didn’t your family,

my family,

and

I

try to tell you how we fit together?

Better than ‘two peas in a pod?”

 

You may regret,

Never listened.

Never again,

I won’t regret.

 

So, Go!

Please- – Go!

 

Stay out of my phone,

my mind

and

my dreams.

 

I am not channeling Adele or Taylor Swift’s rants.

This is my non-poetic prose. Just trying to let it go.

Trying to keep on my happy path. Shining light on

and soon to be sharing the “Cinderella” story with

my “M & M” granddaughters, ages 4 and 6. Hope

they will not be counting on a fairy tale, but better

yet:  A real and everlasting love. Like my parents

had and my grandparents had. This is my wish.

~Robin Elizabeth Oldrieve Cochran, 3/14/15.

 

P.S. I did not answer his phone call. I deleted his

message. He is not dead; nor in the hospital.

Enough to let me be content.

 

What is your favorite heartbreak song?

I love Neil Diamond’s, “Solitary Man.”

Hospitality

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Hospitality comes in all forms, sometimes simple and warm, other

times it is elaborate and luxurious. There are times in our lives,

each one has its ‘benefits’ and comforts, too.

 

My ex-sister in law, Linda, was such a special woman. She was so

kind and thoughtful. We had her up a few times for holidays, but

as she had invited us numerous times, we felt compelled to go her

direction- to Roanoke, Virginia. We were excited since we had at

the time six children, three of his and three of mine. Yet, we were

given a ‘vacation reprieve,’ while my parents were taking my two

girls and a boy, his other sister and her husband, were taking his

two boys and a girl. They were both heading in different directions

with the children, one to the far western part of Ohio for my parents

to where their ‘home camp site’ part of the Good Sam camping club,

and the other three were heading to a farm out by Johnstown, Ohio.

They were going to help pitch in with pigs and also, dunk in a spring

fed pond to wash the smell and dirt off, enjoying ‘country living.’

 

Linda had sent me a questionnaire; really!  Smiling right now at her

sweet questions, asking me to rate some of her favorite and practiced

dishes, letting her know which ones I would like her to prepare for

our meals. This way, she had thoughtfully and carefully planned all

the meals and had competed her shopping, too. Mike told me he loved

ALL of her home cooking, so not to worry about checking back with

him. She also asked in this fun and interesting quiz, what activities I

liked, what treats I enjoyed snacking on and other hospitable questions.

 

Upon our arrival, we found a lovely fruit basket in her guest room. It

had (at the time, I felt this way) ‘exotic’ fruits like starfruit and kiwi,

along with apples, pears and tangerines. I had told her I didn’t like

bananas, unless they are greenish, never any brown spots on them.

So, Mike who loved his bananas ripened, no such luck for him!

 

We had brought her a stone carved into an angel for her garden.

Linda was so thrilled and we felt we could not have brought her

a better gift. This is how a generous and caring hostess greets her

guests and makes them feel so welcome.

 

On our pillows, I had three Lindt dark chocolate balls. No, at this

time I had never tried them, but when asked which candy I liked in

my Easter basket (yes, this was a true question!) Linda found out I

liked the white chocolate bunnies, the dark chocolate covered coconut

eggs, and the milk chocolate maple eggs. I would switch with my two

brothers until I had the combination I enjoyed most.  (The second

night she put a Heath bar on my pillow and on and on, until we left

after a four day visit. Back to the plain old house, with the bustling

children there. Shoot!)

 

When we went into her newly furnished bathroom, she had placed

the exact color of towels she had seen in our own bathroom. I had

‘assigned’ Mike an olive green and I had lilac or lavender colored

towels at our house together. I had always felt if I ever had more

than one bathroom, I would decorate with a basket of violets and

those colors. Linda had bought a large bath towel, hand towel and

two wash cloths, in the colors from home.

 

As you can guess, we had delicious meals, went to many scenic

places, along with a beautiful mansion to eat our dinner at. It was

set off the road, quite a step back in history to the elegant antebellum

period of time. This is the period between the 1812 war and the Civil

war. I like to think of “Gone with the Wind,” when I reminisce about

this lovely place. The meal was delectable, with our being able to

choose one, two or three meats for our meal. My ex, Mike, being tall

and lanky, able to eat as much as he wanted order the three meats’

meal. Linda ordered pork and I ordered chicken. The other meat

was beef.  We had dressed up, full of expectation, which we were not

disappointed in this at all.

 

When I was growing up, my Grandmother Mattson, liked to make

desserts. Her German heritage helped to prepare yummy breakfasts.

We would usually have a simple meat, vegetable and sometimes a

bread or potato. My Grandfather had changed her into a Swedish

chef, for meals and a gourmet streusel, rum balls, Black Forest cherry

cake or German chocolate cake would be our reward for eating a

well prepared meal, but healthy for our lives. We still don’t prepare

our daily meals with many complicated recipes or sauces.

 

When we would arrive, my Grandmother would be given a gift,

my Mom called it her “hostess gift.” She emphasized respect, love

and never arriving at someone’s house, ’empty handed.’ Often, the

gift was flowers. Sometimes, it was a bouquet, often it was a potted

plant of lilies, tulips, or daffodils in the Spring, burgundy or golden

mums, if it were Autumn. Late summer, my Mom liked to pick out

sunflowers, along with asters. Sometimes, these could be found at

roadside tables, along the country back roads from Cleveland to the

town of Middletown, Ohio.

 

Mom often would give my Grandma a pretty tea towel, candy and

if she had baked cookies, those were stored in a tin for them to open

after we left. Once, my brothers got into that tin and boy! Did they

ever get in trouble!

 

When my parents retired the hospitality became less structured, it

was now Lake Erie casual dining experiences, find your beach towels

on the fence or in the linen closet. When they moved from the suburbs,

the antiques got shipped to an auction house, barely any were saved.

I was asked, but I had decided on Early American or Colonial period

having been raised in a Victorian style home, I was anxious to choose

a different way of decorating. Sometimes, I do wish I had saved some

of the special pieces, but then when I moved to my little apartment,

it would have been bittersweet parting at such a late date from them.

 

When we were on our way to my parents, we would use our landline

phone to call theirs. “Leaving now, see you in about 3 hours.” We were

not ones to carry on much conversation. Even now, when I call my Mom,

she immediately asks, “Is everything all right, Robin?” or “Are you okay,

dear?” (This works for all of us, since she and Dad named us all with “R”

in the beginning, it is quite a silly thing to hear her go through the names,

including my Dad’s, too.)

 

Upon leaving the last highway and getting onto Baumhart Road, our

labrador retriever mutt, Toby, would howl.  He knew the lake was out

there, wanted the window open to snort and sniff. He would walk on

top of people to get to the window, but usually even in the dead of

winter, we would ‘humor’ the good ol’ boy.

 

If it were Summer, my Dad would hear us honk about three times, as

we passed the Showse Park beach area. He would get up off his lounge

chair, go to the back of the house, grab these spongy things called,

“noodles” and usually for fun, had a Life Preserver over his shoulder.

This man was so ecstatic to have company, more than you would ever

know if you had been his friend at work or in the church we went to.

 

Dad would have either croquet set up or the net for badminton or

volleyball. If anyone mentioned a different preference, Dad was on

top of this, so excited to be able to play with the kids. You may have

read awhile back, my Dad gave up his childhood play time pursuits

at age 11, to start working to help pay rent and take care of his own

mother. His father had been in the war, was in Cincinnati Veteran’s

Hospital.  Being retired was like Heaven at the end of years of being

‘on top of things.’

 

The formal ‘bar’ my Dad had had, with all kinds of liquor, the “Old

Mr. Boston’s” book of bartender’s recipes and the side dishes of olives,

onions, cherries and orange slices were gone. The Beach retirement

life style meant you could grab a beer, pop, water or wine cooler from

the three full bags of iced up beverages in the huge coolers kept under

the picnic tables on the carport.

 

Food was sandwiches, available 24/7, with various delicatessen meats,

cheeses and condiments in the drawer of the refrigerator. If anyone

showed up who wished to get a frozen lemonade and make it in a

pitcher or stayed a few days and wished to make some Sun Tea,

all the ‘fixings’ were here. There were steaks, chops, salmon and

hamburgers in the freezer. If my brothers wanted to take the time

to fire up the gas grill and prepare them, all of us were overjoyed.

Otherwise, Mom and I would make potato and macaroni salad in

the early cool hours of the morning and were quite content with

nibbling on snacks, cookies and an occasional piece of meat or

cheese.

 

Relaxed dress code, shirt optional.

Wow, this was the simple and warm hospitality I had mentioned

in that first paragraph.

 

Please share some of your favorite places you have gone, where

hospitality was special to you. Oh, since I didn’t cover the whole

gamut of Southern Hospitality, please pitch in with some details!

 

 

Predicaments

Standard

I have thought for many days about what would I have done

differently in an early February conversation during a break

at work.  So many times during my life I have stood up for a

situation or cause, only to find out later this alienated me from

a friend.

 

I was so excited and passionate about seeing the movie, “Selma.”

I have been taught that by being silent one is quietly accepting

another’s words or choices. This is not a good position to be in

when making friends. I feel that if my friends don’t think along

similar lines, it is not a strong friendship but one of convenience.

Over the past six years, I have built a close-knit group of people

who get along together, joke and lighten each other’s days at work.

 

 

My fellow coworkers, Tammy, Melvin, Felda and Mary Jane are

part of this group. We have enjoyed sharing weekend experiences

and expanding our minds in lively conversations. There are many

fringe friends who join in and stop by our table. I enjoy meeting

such a wide variety of people at my warehouse job. This is one of

the best positive aspects of my work.

 

It is not generally a good idea or tactful while in a work place,

to express controversial opinions. Yet, my table mates and I

have seen eye to eye on the subject of acceptance. Some of us

even voted in elections the same way. We started watching

some of the same t.v. shows to be able to share about these.

 

 

Little did I expect, someone I cared about would be making a

rather outrageous statement in response to a movie review.

Here are some quotations to lend support to my response.

 

 

“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

~Eldridge Cleaver

 

A longer version, expanded from the above thought includes

the following words which are also true:

“. . . but the perpetual human predicament is that the answer

soon poses its own problems.”

~Sydney J. Harris

 

The old Latin rule of the law of acquiescence would apply here,

“Qui tacet consentire videtur” means one who is silent is seen

to have given consent. To acquiesce is to accept or to comply.

 

I was mentioning how many things about the Civil Rights period

despite being raised in a conscientious and active participant

family, I had missed. I was describing one of the early details of

a particularly disturbing scene where children in a church were

killed in a bombing in the film, “Selma.”

 

Out of nowhere, my ‘close’ friend,  Felda said,

 

 

“We, in our country, believe in love and cannot ever understand

people who are raised in a “culture of hate.”

 

I emphatically agreed with this, thinking she was talking about

bigoted people who are ‘taught’ to hate people from another

group from their own. In other words, I was thinking she

meant to be talking about ‘whites’ being part of the ‘haters’

specifically, in the Civil Rights movement.

 

As I nodded and said, “I agree,” I noticed a quiet pause in the

conversation. Tammy (Ohio country girl) and Melvin, (son of

immigrants from an island off of Portugal) did not join in.

 

Felda helped me to realize who she was talking about by adding,

in a most definite direction I would NEVER agree with,

 

“Why do blacks get taught to hate whites in America?  In the

Philippines, everyone loves others. We were ‘slaves’ in our own

history, but we ‘don’t hold it against you.'”

 

Okay, now I knew where silence would not be appropriate. I

had to dig myself out of a hole, so to speak. I said that she did

not understand the trials, tribulations and how people who were

slaves, or had slave ancestors, were affected by their treatment.

They may have possibly been taught to ‘mistrust’ white people.

 

Inside my head for a moment, I thought possibly only coming

here to live in the U.S. (and marrying Jason, an American) in

the 1990’s may have given Felda less understanding of the

long history, prevailing ways and practices which continue

going on from when the Civil War ended in the 1860’s, into

the present. The other two of  her friends have always been

less outspoken and didn’t try to contribute or interpret what

she meant by her hurtful words.

 

I added,  “This is not how this conversation was meant to go.”

 

I had hoped that by talking about “Selma,” to help everyone

at this table understand why fear and distrust could become

part of a familial pattern of handling people. The small town

in Mississippi had many people showing their prejudice against

the blacks. I had especially thought the Filipinos (what they

insist on being called at work) would have empathetic feelings

coming from their own personal experiences of prejudice.

 

I looked at Melvin, who is sophisticated and warm.  He had

served in the Army, traveled Europe and was raised in an open

minded, accepting and loving family. He would give the shirt off

his back and has often been found this brittle cold winter, under

the hood of a fellow employee’s car trying to fix or replace a part.

Actually, the speaker of this unfortunate point of view, had been

‘only charged for car parts’ when she had needed four brakes

replaced by Melvin and other repair assistance.

 

I wondered why Felda had said this about blacks, without any

clarification? Did she intend to hurt Melvin?

The rest of the people at the table were either Filipino or

white.

 

Melvin shrugged. He knew it was pointless to mention that

this person who arrived in America, married an American,

may not completely understand the racial issues, tensions

and dynamics here in the United States.

 

Melvin felt my eyes on him, urging him to ‘speak up.’ Finally,

he responded by saying,

“My people are not nor have ever been descendants of slaves,

but I feel a lot of sympathy for the blacks here. I get the same

kind of attitude from whites as they do, I get followed around

in jewelry stores, I have been shoved while at a peaceful protest

rally by a ‘white supremacist’ cop and have been taken aside to

be shouted at. I would ‘never measure up to the white people’

in my Army experiences. This came from more than one officer

in the Army.”

 

Melvin quietly expressed his thoughts on a tough issue,

“I will share this additional thought: black people raised in the

South are different from black people raised in the North. To

be honest, unfortunately their perspectives are not the same.”

 

I went on a limb and put my thoughts out there for friends

who had included me in christenings, birthday parties and

delicious meals at parties where we sang karaoke together,

 

“I need to study your islands’ history better of what you call

‘slavery.’ I am not sure that slavery there was the same as

slavery here. I have the misunderstanding that your culture

may have a history of servitude.  Sometimes smiling when you

were crying inside, but this is probably inaccurate. Meanwhile,

I would never agree with your statement about the black culture

being raised to hate whites.”

 

As far as research, there are considered to be 130,000 to as

many as 160,000 people in the Philippines who are part of

sex trafficking, indentured servitude and this is from an article

on October 9, 2013 from the newspaper called, “The Manila

Times.”

 

I wished to re-emphasize my opening remarks to them.  I didn’t

realize the total impact on everyday activities of black people from

those who felt ‘superior’ to an entire race until recently. I heard

‘snippets of history’ in school. Like not being allowed to ride in

the middle or front of a bus, Rosa Parks ‘took a stand’ for freedom.

I saw firsthand the water fountains, restaurants and other public

buildings in the 1960’s. They were labeled, “For Colored People.”

I knew this must have been hard or rough on anyone living in

their skin color. We read together my kids and I about the

Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman.

 

I just finished a great book by Tara Conklin, considered historical

fiction called, “The House Girl.” It has the legal aspects of the

reparation act for families of slaves.  Every other chapter is about

a young woman called “Josephine” who worked in a slave owner’s

house. She learned how to paint from her ‘mistress.’ Later, the

‘house girl’s’ art work is given credit to her owner. Learning is

ongoing.

 

I was truly interested and asked,

“How long ago in Philippines’ history were there slaves?”

 

“Selma” brought back memories of partial lessons for me.

It depicted Ku Klux Klan members, cruelty and ‘hate crimes.’

Who could ever wish to bomb churches and not allow people

to gather in protest?

It is hard to imagine but not right to brush uncomfortable

subjects under the table. Seeing these violent acts on film,

brought back how recently this had happened. It made me

wish to promote this movie, as I did last year when I saw the

fine film, ’12 Years a Slave.’

 

Felda, Mary Jane and May have not looked me in the eyes

since this happened. I continue to say, “Good Morning” and

ask how their family members are, ask how their weekends

went, etc. They give me short answers and have been sitting

at their own table, talking in their own language. I don’t regret

my words, but was sincerely meaning to defend Melvin, along

with my own grandchild’s heritage.

 

My oldest daughter’s son, Micah is 1/4 black. His father’s Dad

plays an integral link to his life and comes to family gatherings.

 

Micah has overheard their complaints about prejudice. We

talk openly about how his own father has been pulled aside

roughly by teachers, coaches and strangers. When he shows

his ‘independence’ it is sometimes considered ‘an attitude.’

This happened with my coworker and friend, Cheryl (who

recently lost her grandson to illness). She has been told, she

says that she “has a chip on her shoulder.”

 

Micah was in preschool when a fellow  4 year old asked him,

“Is your Daddy a terrorist?”

 

This fills my eyes with tears, my heart with sadness and my

mind with fear for Micah, too. It is ‘still out there.’ Even in the

minds of immigrants who feel that black culture is ‘filled with

hatred.’

 

Here is an update on getting an ‘excuse’ written for my eyesight

and concerns for safety while driving heavy equipment. My phone

call with my ophthalmologist left me without anything promised

in writing and another appointment made in April.

 

I visited the optometrist who seemed more interested in helping

me. She wrote a well thought out letter, including the reasons I

would not be a safe candidate for ‘heavy bulk’ at the warehouse.

 

She wrote about my lack of depth perception, my monovision

while wearing a close distance contact to read fine print and a

far distant contact to see far away. She mentioned my not being

able to judge distances, especially in the narrow passages while

driving backwards with the double pallet riding equipment.

 

Her professionalism and need to be clear, may have included

details which won’t help my cause:

“Robin’s peripheral vision and depth perception would be

greatly improved by wearing single vision distance only

spectacles instead of contact lenses. Obviously, if the patient

is in a warehouse, she should be wearing safety spectacles.”

 

I have been wearing contact lenses throughout my six years

at Advance Auto Distribution Center. I am most confident

while reading the tiny UPC codes, picking the correct items

to place into bins, hampers or gaylords. (Containers which

are actually huge cardboard boxes for Open Stock and used

in heavy bulk on top of a wooden pallet and plastic pallet.)

 

I won’t change to regular glasses to carry out my job nor to

bifocals. I am not sure I would be as confident in performing

my job with single vision glasses. The reason I chose contacts

was because I used to have to take off my glasses to read the

fine print, use the RF’s (tablet computers) and now, new piece

of equipment,  a Bluetooth computer on my arm.

 

As my good friend, Jenny, honestly suggested work may try

to force me to use glasses and go to work in heavy bulk.

I am ‘screwed.’

 

My ophthalmologist who had told me he could not write a letter

until I came in for another appointment. I will hold out for Hope.

An April letter request will hopefully include all the parts that

Dr. Wagner wrote without the details suggesting I switch to

glasses or ‘safety spectacles.’

 

Thanks for your concern about my work situation with my

vision and cross training into heavy bulk work once again.

When I tried this for eight weeks of a summer, I managed

to run into metal racks, back into a pallet on the shipping

floor knocking the products over and wearing my nerves

into a frazzle.

 

I need to find a way out of this physically demanding area

without leaving my job. I have a much better salary than

other positions listed in the newspaper and have finally

earned three weeks’ vacation this year. If necessary, as many

have mentioned, my being fired for refusing to go to heavy

bulk may be my ‘release’ to a better solution. There were such

great and positive suggestions from all of you. Thank you.

 

 

If you have had a stressful or awkward situation at work

please feel free to comment and add to the conversation.

 

Sunday World Topics of Interest

Standard

When people question faiths, I am sometimes aghast. Families and traditions

are part of heritage from generations back. When someone asked me, of a

different faith, “Who ‘made up’ the idea of Palm Sunday?” I had to think back

upon all of my Bible readings and my childhood lessons.

 

Aha!  In, John 12:12-13

(New Testament, Bible):

“They took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him (Jesus),

shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the

Lord – – the King of Israel!'”

 

No, this does not discuss or dictate a certain day to take palm

branches and walk through town, or in my family’s church’s case,

through church. It does mention this is a celebration and honoring

someone who we may have strong beliefs in.

 

I was especially proud then, to read that the church I attended with

my three children and my ex-husband, First Presbyterian, Delaware,

Ohio, is going to use “Eco-Palms.”

 

This is part of the Presbyterian Earth Care program joining with

the Presbyterian Hunger Project. These are branches which you

may feel are worth celebrating about. Usually palms are harvested

in rainforests where they make needed habitats for migrating birds.

 

Birds are one of my favorite part of the animal kingdom. The more

fronds or palm leaves taken and cut by the harvesters in the

rainforest, the more desperate a situation it becomes.

 

Eco-Palm harvesters, gather only quality palm fronds in a way that

allows the plants to keep growing. This program is considered a

community process and the way they are trained to promote saving

the plants and the homes of the rainforest birds, touched my heart.

 

The marketing program is what helps the Hunger Project, since it is

one where an agent is handling the sales and providing monies to

capture more of the profits to benefit the native population:  for shoes,

school uniforms, food and basic health care.

 

In addition, a portion of the profits is set aside for providing

scholarships, paying teachers and helping elderly members.

This truly is, ‘Cause for Jubilation’ in the highest form.

 

 

Timothy Merrill gives us his perspective on

always having to Wait in,

 

“The Waiting Game

Life involves lots of waiting. We wait in groups, in lines, in cars.

We wait for packages, for the bus, for the sun to rise.

We wait in doctor’s offices, at the post office, at the DMV

(waiting for license or plates renewals.)

Waiting implies we’re at someone else’s mercy.

 

It is also usually linked to Hope.

 

Perhaps that is why Paul Tillich called ‘waiting’ a “metaphor for

faith.”

 

Why would a person wait if there weren’t the firm belief that the

object of one’s wait will eventually materialize?

 

Waiting can be enervating, which is why in the Bible,

Isaiah 40:31 these words are so promising:

“They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.”

 

Yet, waiting is tough if you have nothing to do while waiting.

 

That is why Jesus, when talking about waiting, also talked about

working – – “Work for the night is coming.”

 

Sometimes it is less tiring to work than it is to wait.

 

There’s a lot of waiting during Lent.

You’re waiting for a payoff.

You’re waiting for the Resurrection.

You’re waiting for spiritual growth.

And then you realize this isn’t waiting at all.

It’s Life.

It’s Joy.

It’s Opportunity.

It’s Blessing.”

 

Like John Mayer said but may have expressed more

deeply, “That’s why we’re waiting on the World to change.”

 

 

This one focuses on the enjoyable custom shared at work,

in communities or family gatherings. . .

 

“A Potluck of People”

(Taken from March’s “Spire” church bulletin)

 

“At many gatherings for potluck dinners which are meals largely

unplanned, when people bring food to share, usually the main

dishes, salads and desserts somehow balance out.  The fun is in

the variety and mixing together on a plate and the surprise factor

of what is brought to share and contribute to the Potluck.

 

Groups of peoples, churches, communities, families and workplaces

are all “potlucks” of a sort, too. When groups assemble, each person

contributes something unique and sometimes unexpected. When all

is mixed together, the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

 

A beautiful balance often results:

One is a good singer; the other writes well.

Some are strong leaders; others dependable team members.

Some are traditional; others innovative.

Combined together, it’s ‘delicious.’

 

Potlucks are sometimes called covered-dish dinners or meals.

But don’t keep your gifts ‘covered.’

Share them because you are a valued part of the whole.”

(Author Unknown)

 

We used to call our country a “melting pot,” which describes how we

were going to blend together.

 

I like to think of the World full of diverse cultures, faiths, histories

of countries as part of a “Human Masterpiece.”

(reocochran, 3/15)

 

When I speak of Lent, Jesus, God, the Bible and verses from it, it

is meant to describe and share the belief system I emerged from.

But any time you see a parallel of your faith with mine, I hope you

will feel free to explain how the theme or subject can be applied in

your family, your church or your culture.

 

Bridging gaps is my goal and focus, when I post something about

faith. I hope you never feel excluded or isolated, since this is not

what expressing my belief system wishes me to do.