Category Archives: siblings

Mystery about a Sister

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Be prepared to read about a woman’s story, one which may or may

not have been relevant and meaningful to the musical world. I feel

there is a true basis and possibility that she made a big difference in

how her famous brother became who he was. I have to admit, I was

on my  own personal “movie fest” over the weekend. Originally I was

thinking, I would just post some of my favorites and give short film

critiques.

 

Somehow, this evolved into something ‘bigger’ than I expected. It

was time-consuming and yet, I felt like a private investigator with

her mind open and ready for understanding and analyzing the facts.

I looked up, using different sources, to find out more about this

fascinating woman.

 

Now that I may, or may not, have your attention, I will tell you the

riveting movie that led to my research.

 

MOVIE REVIEW:

“Mozart’s Sister,” a French film which needs you to read the sub-titles.

 

In the movie,  which came out in 2011, Rene Feret is the director

and a young actress who is his daughter, Marie Feret, plays the

sister to her character’s famous younger brother. Historical details

that were  discerned through research shall follow this summary of

this fine movie.

 

First, here are three splendid comments from famous reviewers,

starting with one who’s deceased.  Roger Ebert, “Chicago Sun-Times,”

was always one of my favorite reviewers. He is such a trustworthy

man to recommend movies.

(Of course, many of you will recognize his name and the television

show which I used to enjoy- “Siskel and Ebert at the Movies.”)

 

Here is what Roger Ebert said of, “Mozart’s Sister:”

“Marie Feret is luminous.” (in this role.)

 

David Noh, “Film Journey” says:

“A triumph!”

 

Ronnie Scheib, “Variety” Magazine:

“A treat for classical music lovers and cinephiles alike.”

 

What was a turning point in this movie which motivated me to

investigate and research?

What happened to make me seek the truth?

 

When Leopold Mozart, father of Maria Anna (also referred to as

Marianne and affectionately known as, “Nannerl”) tells his only

daughter when she is interested in writing musical compositions,

“Harmony and counterpoint are not understood by women.”

 

Of course, this caused me to say indignantly to my television screen

which was innocently displaying the film,

“That’s outrageous!”

 

Big sister, “Nannerl,” is helpful to toddler brother, “Wolfie,” and

helps him practice his keyboard lessons on a harpsichord. This

baroque instrument is lovely sounding. The scales and other early

beginning lessons are closely supervised by their father.

 

At age 5 or 6, “Wolfie” is paraded in front of wealthy families and

is also given an audience with royalty. He is a cute boy and shows

great potential and musical aptitude. The film shows Wolfgang

using creative interpretation of the music and dramatic arm

flourishes. He was supposedly beginning to write his own musical

compositions at age 4 or 5.

 

In the beginning of the movie,  their coach’s wheel breaks after

going over a rut in the country road. It is late and the Mozart family

stays in a nearby nunnery. It is interesting to note that there are

two sisters living there. Their story emphasizes the difference in

the way male and female genders were treated in this period of time.

The two girls have been shuffled and taken away from the palace,

being raised by nuns.

 

At one point, there is a name mentioned of the two girls’ brother,

who is being raised to be a ‘Royal.’ The part that Maria Anna plays,

and is asked to carry out a charade, is to transport a letter to their

brother, if the Mozart family should be ever happen to appear at

Court. Anna Maria treasures this new friendship and promises to

keep the letter safe and take it to their estranged brother.

 

This movie would engage someone who has been enjoying the inner

workings of the staff and upper class levels or tiers of British society

on the PBS show, “Downton Abbey.” Although this is a whole other

period of time, there are still the ideas of class structure and family

expectations being expressed. Definitely, it is an eye-opener in both

the film about the late 1700’s and the television series of the 1900’s.

Traditions and historical details about clothing, customs and roles

women and men played also are featured in both of these storylines.

 

At the end of the film, there is not much said about Nannerl’s  being

anything but helpful to her brother.  There are no illusions that she

may have helped Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart compose his greatest

works.

 

In the movie’s middle,  there is a nice romantic interlude, where

Maria Anna disguises herself as a boy, in a white-haired wig, to give

the hand written letter to the young Monarch from his sister. They

use the young man’s title in the film as ‘Louis XV.’ This story becomes

a very sweet part of the movie. I will not tell you about how it unfolds,

hoping you will someday pursue viewing this one. I will say it depicts

Nannerl’s character as having spunk, showing independence and also,

her romantic side.

 

Before the credits roll, there are a few sparse details given. The written

lettering after the movie ends mentions Maria Anna helped to write

some of her own sonatas as a young woman. It mentions she helped

Wolfgang transcribe his first writings, since he scribbled them. There

is a subtle undertone of the possibility that she was his ‘muse.’  As his

sister, she may have written (created) some of his early works.

 

The movie has places that explain traditional upbringing of “fine young

ladies.” The women are encouraged to wait on men, not to further their

education. Maria Anna tries to ‘rock the establishment.’ Her mother has

disappointment and her father shows anger for her independent streak.

She doesn’t wish to follow the social order of the period. I was rooting

for her, all the way!

 

RESEARCH:

If you enjoy history and reading about a famous person’s family,

you may enjoy this part of the post. . .

 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived from January 1756 until December,

1791. There is confusion about why he died at such an early age of 35.

 

He was the son of a musician and teacher of music, Leopold Mozart.

His mother was named Anna. He was born in Salzburg, which later

became part of, or known as,  Austria. Wolgang’s father and mother

had seven children, only two that lived beyond infancy. The oldest

living child was a daughter named Maria Anna, nicknamed, “Nannerl.”

There were four years between the two children, sister and brother.

 

When Wolfgang was 3 years old, his sister was learning her lessons,

which included language, music and reading. She was practicing

with her brother close by her side. Later, she would be by his side,

while he was the one leading the lessons. This relationship lasted

probably all of their childhood. “Wolfie” was her little shadow,

trying to do everything she did.

 

There is a notebook that Leopold made for Maria Anna, which is

known as “Nannerl’s Notenbuch” or also written as, “Notenbuch

fur Nannerl.” In English, this was “Nannerl’s Music Book.” This

amazing composition book demonstrated the first lessons that

Leopold gave to her, along with her brother. It consists of only

(originally) 48 pages, now only 36 pages remain.  This book has

her father’s exercises for her practicing beginner harpsichord

pieces. This also included anonymous minuets and some of her

father’s  original  works.  Two composers,  Carl P. E. Bach and

George C. Wagenseil, had their pieces transcribed as passages

in this musical exercise book.

 

In 1982, a man (just a coincidence) named Wolfgang Plath

studied the handwriting within the Notebook and attributed

the variety to consist of five different handwriting samples

or sources. There are evidences of the collaboration between

Leopold, the father, and his son, “Wolfie.”

 

Leopold took his family touring around countries and the cities

of Vienna, Austria and Paris, France. Maria Anna Mozart was

born in 1751 and lived 78 years, until 1829. When she became a

young lady, it was considered inappropriate for her to continue

to publicly play the harpsichord, piano or sing. Up until she was

18, Maria was part of her musical touring family. A biographer

considered her to be a great singer and an,

“Excellent harpsichord player and fortepiano player.”

 

Sadly, there is no mention about Nannerl being a conduit, or

letter transporter, between the sisters raised in a nunnery and a

member of Louis XV’s “Court” or “Royalty.”  This was the main

part of the plot I enjoyed in the movie I reviewed earlier.

 

At age 18, Maria Anna went home to Salzburg with her mother,

to teach musical lessons and stay at home. The following reason

was mentioned in one source,

“This was due to her being of marriageable age.”

 

Wolfgang and his father both wrote letters to Maria Anna which

some have been saved. Wolfgang during the 1770’s, was touring

in Italy and mentioned Nannerl’s writing musical compositions

and Wolfgang goes so far as to ‘praise her musical works.’

 

There are no references in her multiple letters from her father

to any of her own musical compositions in his correspondence.

 

An interesting note (and slightly salacious fact) is mentioned

in some of the biographers’ notes about Maria Anna’s and

Wolfgang’s close, intimate relationship. When they were young,

they developed a “secret language” and they had an “imaginary

kingdom.” They pretended they were married and carried out

their positions while playing together, as “Queen” and “King.”

 

There are a few indications and there is evidence of Wolfgang’s

using sexual wordplay which he used in other letters to his

lovers or girlfriends. This can be found also in the words he

chose and were included in his writing to his sister. One

historian considers this to be a ‘strange relationship’ for a

sister and a brother.

 

As an aside, my two brothers and I would play ‘house’ but

we would not have myself be the “mother” and one of my

brothers be the “father.” We would instead play that one of

the brothers was the “father” and other brother and I were

his “children.” Like the old television show, “Family Affair,”

where the uncle has “Buffy” and twins “Cissy” and “Jody.”

(I used to love this show, with Sebastian Cabot playing the

butler/nanny and Brian Keith playing the bachelor uncle.

did you know it ran from 1966 until 1971?) Or I would play

the ‘mother’ role and the brothers were my ‘kids.’ We usually

had company or neighbors over.  Once in awhile, they would

‘marry’ one of my girlfriends, or once in awhile, I would ‘marry’

one of their guy friends. I mention this to confirm that I would

also think it strange that the siblings played ‘Queen and King’

together over a Kingdom.

 

A sad note about Maria Anna’s independence shown in the

movie, “Mozart’s Sister.” This is not to be found anywhere in

any biographies or any letters. She is shown to be subservient

to her father, allowing him to forbid her to marry a man named,

“Franz d’Ippold.”  They were both young, he was a Captain and

a private tutor. When he proposed, there is an implication she

would have liked to say, “Yes.”  There is a letter in the family’s

collection where her brother, Wolfgang, tried to persuade her to

stand up to her father. Ultimately, Maria Anna was ‘forced’ to

turn down Captain Franz d’Ippold’s proposal.

 

Years went by, Maria Anna was allowed to marry at age 32, when

asked by a man named Johann Baptist Franzvan Berchtold  “un

Sonnenburg.” They were  married in 1783.  Listen to the “fun” life

Maria Anna participated in:  She became the wife of a widower

with five children she helped to raise. She had three more of her

own children with Johann. When she had her first born son,

she named him Leopold. Her father insisted on taking the her

only son to raise him in Salzburg at his home. The biography

doesn’t mention her mother’s role in this drama. From 1785

until he died in 1787, Leopold Sr. wrote letters and in a journal

telling about his toilet training Jr. and teaching him how to talk.

 

There was no mention of the boy’s illness nor a reason why he

should not have been raised as a baby until age 2 by his own

mother.  There is some speculation for her father’s thinking he

would raise another musical prodigy. Since he felt he was the

reason Wolfgang A. Mozart turned out the way he did.

 

After all, Leopold Mozart, Sr. did write and publish a violin

music textbook.

 

SUMMARY:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was known for his classical

musical compositions, which included over 600 works.

They include symphonies, concertos, operas and choral

music.

 

Beethoven, while young, lived in the shadow of Mozart.

During his early years composing his own original music,

he was constantly compared to Mozart’s body of work.

 

Composer, Joseph Hayden said of Mozart’s legacy:

“Posterity will not see such a talent in another 100 years.”

 

Wolfgang A. Mozart married Constanze and had two sons.

He died at the early age of 35 years old.

His magnificent “Requiem” was never completed.

His music is still revered and considered the best in classical

music.

 

Maria Anna was never given any credit (that I could find out

about) for her influence on her brother’s music nor were any

of her musical compositions published. The book, “Nannerl’s

Notenbuch” is not considered to be anything but her lesson

book to practice and play music using the hand written

exercises.

 

I need to see the movie, “Amadeus,”  (again) to see if there

are any musical or notable references to his sister. If you

have a good memory or recently seen this, let me know in

the comments whether there is mention of Anna Maria

Mozart please.

 

I strongly recommend, “Mozart’s Sister” as a film to savor

and enjoy, while wishing the story line really happened.

 

Truthfully, being an older sister myself, how could “Nannerl”

NOT have had an influence upon her little brother, “Wolfie?”

 

Either way you look at this famous musician’s life,

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart made a huge impact

on the musical world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awards I Missed and Friendships Accidentally “Lost”

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May I use the excuse I swallowed sips out of

Alice’s cups of tea?  The result being a kind

of time-warp or life-changing experience

that happened due to this extremely

odd and strange adventure?

 

May I say that there are far too many friends

out there who are on my “To Do” list? Along

with my adorable six grandchildren who may

resemble the “Munchkins.” Maybe this is really

just my coming back from Oz  via a Tornado or

another exciting, rare weather extravaganza?

 

Oh, dear! I am going to tell you that there

are so many who recognize my apologies,

those who have been stuck in Spam-land,

those who I regularly read and follow, but

sometimes miss and don’t comment to you.

Then, there are the ones who are kind and

generous, who mention my name or blog,

who also give me nominations for fun awards.

 

I have a long list of thank you’s to hand out.

I wish to give a BIG Thank You

to all my followers!

You make me smile,

just by knowing you

are out there.

I love to see the little flags

and countries you all live in.

Along with reading

the comments and

pictures I see of your

faces or the images

you have chosen to

represent yourselves.

 

Thanks to Amanda for her wishing me to

have the “One Lovely Blog Award.”

Thank you for your

nomination for

this sweet and

extra nice

award!

You may know already I will

hand out a few ‘shout outs’

to my newest

friends.

 

Here’s to you Amanda!

Cheers and thanks

for the fun celebration

where she said we could

sip champagne

and glitter

may fall

upon

us.

 

Check Amanda out at:

http://insidethelifeofmoi.wordpress.com

I recommend, “Amanda’s

Best Bits of the Year” post.

 

Also, if you like to look back for the award

post in November when Amanda awarded

me a nomination for “One Lovely Blog Award.”

 

I found a long-lost daughter who is very

creative and could easily fit into my clan.

You ‘had me,’ when you asked me, “Mom?”

Smiles to my new girl!

http://verybangled.com

 

A wonderful friend and very artistic person

who brightens her posts with colorful, bright

and beautiful creations is Pauline King.

When I posted my January calendar

I shared all the activities, events and

holidays, including a few birthdays.

Pauline featured the fact that Rod Stewart’s

and Tom Selleck’s birthdays made her happy,

sending some of her readers to visit my post.

Thank you so much, Pauline! Check her out:

The Contented Crafter

http://paulinekingblog.wordpress.com

 

Brenda just mentioned me on her blog that has

amazing poems, haiku’s with folk and fairy tales.

She uses her own original photographs and lots

of creativity to make her place a warm, inviting

and friendly place to visit. Brenda surprised me

with a nomination for the

“Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.”

Thank you very much, Brenda!

Brenda may be found at:

http://friendlyfairytales.wordpress.com

 

I received a nomination for “The Versatile

Blogger Award,” from my friends Maria and

Doris, who have beautiful and creative posts

 

full of sweet drawings and lovely storytelling.

 

Please check out this amazing combination:

http://mudpilewood.wordpress.com

Also, to see Doris’ ‘Terrains of Symmetry’:

http://miartedoris.wordpress.com

To admire and enjoy Doris’ projects:

http://dorispacheco.wordpress.com

 

Now, I shall think of a few people who may have

never been presented nominations and suggest

each to pick any one of the three special awards:

 

“One Lovely Blog Award,”

“The Versatile Blogger Award,”

“Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.”

 

Each of the above awards has its own special designed

logo or patch to find, which leads me to remind you

to go to those who passed the awards to me, should

you wish to display the special and deluxe emblems.

 

1. Bela is poetic and features photos or artwork

to go with her creative thoughts at:

http://belasbrightideas.wordpress.com

 

2. Funny Eli has his interesting male take

on the world of parenting. Find him at:

http://coachdaddyblog.wordpress.com

 

3. The beauty through words along with their

imagery is shown here. I enjoyed a pet post on:

http://smilecalm.wordpress.com

 

4. Comfort and joy is found at Anneli’s blog:

http://wordsfromanneli.wordpress.com

 

5. Somehow, I feel compelled to share this

man’s thoughtful posts at:

http://yeseventhistoowillpass.wordpress.com

 

6. Linda, who focuses on nature and outdoors.

We both enjoy birds and their songs.

http://naturestoresme.wordpress.com

 

7. Sometimes, you need to go somewhere to relax,

unwind and take in the most breath-taking views.

I have featured Tracy before but it has been ages:

http://tllsci.wordpress.com

 

8. Shel, we are just getting to know each other,

reading blogs and she already seems like a friend:

http://shelharrington.com

 

9. The prolific writer of “tanka’s” gives me quick bits

of “zen”  and sometimes sends my mind soaring at:

http://rainbowsutra.wordpress.com

 

10. Sheila and I have re-connected, so glad we have.

You know what happens, time goes by and suddenly

you miss an old friend? Please check out Sheila at:

http://redsrantsandraves.com

 

11. Somewhere over the rainbow, where

there are homemade colorful lanterns,

 

and markets of special, uniquely

patterned bright fabrics:

http://refreshinglyrandom.wordpress.com

 

Sometimes, in blogging,

we don’t get evidence

we are following

someone

in our Reader.

This is what happens,

I am sticking to this story.

 

 

If you have been on any other list

of previous Award Nominations,

I truly do wish to give you a

Prize

each and every time.

I mean this, in all sincerity.

You

are

a

Prize!

Creek Walk: Blue Limestone Park

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My only three granddaughters and I went on a special Creek Walk at Blue Limestone

Park on Saturday afternoon on June 14, 2014. Why note the date? It is the one where

I truly felt I changed their sweet, little lives. I asked if they would prefer, as we drove

past the beautiful new Big Toy, gym equipment installed at this ‘ancient park’ to play

there?

The unified answer was, “No, Nana!” The M & M girls, who are only 3 and 5 years old,

sang those lovely words out loudly. As they finished, their soon (next week) to be 10

year old sister, said these heart-warming words to this humble, nature-loving ‘hippie’

from the seventies,

“Nana, we look forward every year to being able to explore along the creek, cross over

the rocks and go under the train tunnel!”

Lara made me burst in pride, looking in my rearview mirror at her, my little step-

granddaughter, who is mine as well as others’. I said in reply,

“Thank you, Lara! This means so much to me!”

She came back instantly,

“You are the ONLY one who does this with us!”

Landen had gone off to be with the other two grandsons, Micah and Skyler, into the

land of video games and boys’ interests at my oldest daughter’s house. I was having

a good time, this day, with the ‘promise’ given at the onset to get ice cream cones

for three out of four of us, while Marley, whose ‘tummy hurts’ when she eats dairy

foods, will either choose a sherbet or a cookie, at our local place.

What did we find on our walk?

We found the light shining so brightly through the train trestle that I could not

capture through my camera lens, the brightly lit yellowish green still Spring like

branches and silhouettes up ahead of our journey. I took pictures of Lara, carefully

placing each foot upon the next rock, one by one, telling us behind her, of which

ones were ‘wobbly’ or ‘rocking back and forth.’

I helped my other two, sometimes having to hold their hand, putting my foot in

a simple sneaker, down into the clear and rushing creek water. They were filled

with a different kind of trepidation, I sensed a change in their development from

last year’s walk. They were more aware of the ‘danger’ of falling onto rocks and

the sense of imbalance to the stones. They had had more recent bumps and bruises,

evidenced on Marley’s shin and Makyah’s cheek. Little light bluish bruises, which

each carried their own story.

When we reached the place where they have to lean on the cold, damp wall of the

trestle, built of blue limestone rock, the oldest, Lara, was in the lead. She asked

why there would be mud up here, on the ‘shelf?’

I told her that sometimes the waters must have been higher or the wind roaring

through the tunnel, had brought mud upon the place we were walking. I also

told her the truth,

“Nana doesn’t really know the answer to that question, just a guess!”

When we got to the other side of the tunnel, to me, it is like a ‘fairy land.’ We saw

birds swooping, cheerily greeting our arrival here I saw so many branches of trees

leaning in, roots rising up and then arches created by low slung trees, bent into

bows. When they were under an arch, I asked the trio of girls to turn around.

They immediately did, knowing my camera was ready to capture this moment.

Lara, placing her arms around both the girls, showing the living definition of

‘sisterhood.’ The light filtering through the combination of hues of deep green,

light yellowish green and shadows made an entrancing photograph.

Mentally, I noted, three copies need to be made.

You see, I may not share the photos of my adventures with you, but I make

miniature albums of 36 pictures for each of the six grandchildren. They come

and take one of the recently made ones, sit and look them over. Their parents

make cd’s and videos on their cell phones, while I make the picture books that

let them know what seasonal adventures ensued during the past months.

Once in awhile, lately, the five year old, Marley has been curious about my first

husband, their “Poppi” who they did not realize was married to me, ‘once upon

a time.’ She asks to see photographs of our wedding, our days of young parent-

hood, raising her Daddy and her Aunt Carrie. Marley was thoughtful, again,

yesterday. She asked,

“Did you bring my Daddy here, when he was a little boy?”

I told her,

“Yes! In those days, there were tons of tadpoles or pollywogs, in these little

ponds that are back here, behind the big lake. The kids would bring buckets,

even ones I babysat, and we would all explore this area. Your Daddy, when

he was in 6th grade was allowed to come here on his bicycle and fish in the

Blue Limestone ‘lake’ that really is a ‘quarry.'”

I asked, as we climbed over a fallen tree, the little ones studying a spider,

bright, almost ‘neon’ green moss, and some little toadstools growing on the

side of it:

“Do you want to know what a quarry is?”

They all three listened as I explained how the Ohio Wesleyan University and

other buildings around their hometown had blue limestone that had been

‘mined’ from first the big ‘lake’ and then, later the smaller holes that became

other ‘lakes’ surrounding where we were walking beside.

We reached a ‘break’ in the trees, walked to the edge of the creek, finding in

the dirt, hoof marks of deer and also the smaller prints of raccoons and one

set of bunny tracks. I gathered them together and we all ducked under a low

slung branch, pointing across the creek, the separated undergrowth, the

path where the deer ran through the woods. We also could see, with a little

turn of our head, an opening where you could see the blue-green, almost

turquoise colored water of one of the more shallow quarries. I pointed this

out, saying:

“Your Daddy, Aunts Felicia and Carrie liked to swim in that ‘pond.'”

Oh boy! What a “can of worms” I did not foresee opening, with that remark!

I am sure you can guess, they wanted to go right across that creek and jump

into that smaller quarry!

I reminded them that their parents had bought a YMCA pass to the pools,

both indoors and outdoors. That, in those days, the possibility of algae and

other more dangerous bacteria were not so common. After all, this would

have been over 20 years ago!

They are such respectful children, allowing me to side track them, letting

them to think about taking off their shoes to dangle them in the creek

water.

I had them wipe their faces first, arms next, systematically going from

the top of their bodies to their feet, when we got back to the car. Then,

we carefully placed their special little mementos of their creek walk on

the passenger seat of the car:  wild lilac flower branches, three hickory

nuts that had been cracked open, halved neatly to reveal an inner design

that Lara found fascinating, the other younger ones chiming in that they

also “needed one of those!” and the wild daisies for their mother.

Then, having cleaned up, we ran down or rolled down, depending on

our age, the hill leading to the place where we would cross the parking

lot and play on the Big Toy!

Later, while sitting and savoring our treats, we were gazing, all four of

us, westward. There were first appearing, cotton candy blend of pink

and azure blue billowing clouds, then an orange-ish golden hue, and

finally a fire igniting across the sky.

When we got home, we all looked up at the waning Full Strawberry Moon,

the clear dark sky lit up with its presence. I said out loud, “Thank you,

God for this beautifully perfect day!”

Lara, who attends church more often than not, with her local father’s

mother, (Grandma) exclaimed: (I am not making this up!)

“Amen!!”

 

 

 

Gone AWOL

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Cold and sad moments frozen in time.

Not sure if I am ready to post about

this sad occurrence.

It will be almost two weeks ago, that

a young man of only 35 years old, a

friend of my oldest daughter and a

stepbrother to her significant ‘other,’

chose to end his life.

When they published the obituary, it

included my daughter’s and her Mike’s

names as family members.

I felt so bereft. It’s been awhile since

something has happened like this. It

saddens me more, to know oldest daughter

has lost 2 other friends, same situations.

Son had lost those 2 other pals, too.

Under duress,

Under pressure,

Extreme melancholy…

A Tribute to A Lost Man.

He was loved by his male

partner of over 14 years.

That meant they fell in love

while only 20 and 21 years.

Emotionally fragile,

lifelong tender hearted.

He had helped, while in

middle school, young people

his age with disabilities

and challenges.

Then, during the teen-aged years,

when some girls and boys stop

thinking of others,

he chose to sit with those same

young people in the high school

cafeteria.

He enjoyed helping some to get

through the line while in their

wheelchairs.

Carrie said, “Ron’s face brightened

and his smile shone.”

He had chosen this outlet to get

much needed love and attention,

not given by family nor his peers.

The attention came from appreciative

and lovable ones who needed him.

Also, some acknowledgement and pats

on the back from his teachers, too.

Once an adult, living with his partner,

a family member came to him, asking

for their Grace and Love for four little

ones she did not think she could handle

anymore.

Once again, this fine and sensitive soul

accepted more into his life.

Was it too much extra weight on his

shoulders?

Somehow, someway not really having the

inner strength to keep up the façade.

My Dad used to say, “Batten down the

hatches.” and “Try to soldier through

(tough times).”

One never knows what drives people to

the edge.

Why?

What were the last and final, fleeting

thoughts of this precious, young man’s

life?

It seems, from the outside, looking at

the situation:

“Senseless.”

“Selfish.”

“Sinful.”

(Real comments, while seeking solace

from coworkers.)

Somehow, there were hidden pains, not

to be understood by us at all.

I want to rush and comfort him, but know

that the four children and his partner

returned Ron’s love for them.

How can we judge?

I have to believe,

as I have always felt

this way,

through several losses along my children’s

path in life of special people who chose

to ‘not carry on in this World.’

That, the moment he died—

God forgave Ron…

God wept.

God stretched out His Loving Arms

and Carried Him Home To Heaven.

Where God welcomed him as One of His Own.

Some other recent deaths hold memories:

Nick’s Dad- 51, too young to die.

Andy C.- My high school friend, age 56.

Jean’s Mother- sorely missed by my coworker.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman- a fine but troubled actor.

Coach Cornell (Delaware Hayes football coach)- a

humble usher weekly at my church, a 30 year teaching

career and a ‘force to be reckoned with,’ my friend,

Barney’s Dad.

And two who were too young,

left this earth long ago,

chose to leave,

like Ron:

Benjamin

and

Daniel.

Miss you both so much! xo

Coworkers Share Wisdom

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My silly and crazy friend, Darryl, and I get along famously

with outrageous, loud accusations of, “Did you go out

drinking last night?” or “When we going to rob a bank,

Robin?” (He says I could “get away with murder” with

my innocent and ‘girl next door’ appearance.) I wrote

a few times about Darryl, but he is the one I claimed

‘saved my life’ while I was blue. Also, about meeting

his wife, Samantha, his three boys and precious pink

bundle of joy, Dondria, at our Advance Auto D.C. #23

Children’s Holiday Celebration.

My other loud and yes, they are both African American

friends! They are exuberant and expressive people. I am

blessed that they include me in their lives and conversations.

Cheryl is my good and five year long friend. I wrote her love

story post, about her longtime lover and companion who doesn’t

live in her house; Scott. But, they have been together for

many years. I admire their closeness, their ability to handle

two families while continuing a passionate relationship, too.

We were for once in our times together, sharing a break in

the back part of the building. We were together on December

23rd, Monday, having had a hectic Sunday to ‘earn’ our next

two days, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off. We were somber,

remembering that Cheryl’s mother died before last Christmas

and were talking about our beliefs.

Unusually ‘sober’ and solemn was Darryl. He has family

members who follow the Muslim faith. Darryl has a potent and

very sincere expression of his own faith. I asked him if I

could quote him on this. He had revealed a meaningful and

heartfelt message of a Higher Being in his life and his

family and friends:

Darryl said, (12/23/13)

“I believe that my three boys all view me in a different light.

The oldest son, he believes I am ‘too strict.’ My middle son,

views me with some skeptical feelings, he doesn’t even think

I love him sometimes. My youngest boy, he is a doll and is so

sweet and weirdly funny, he thinks I am a climbing place,

someone to pick him up and throw him down onto a soft bed.

Why, why cannot everyone see that God is like this? He

gave the Ten Commandments through his strict view of our

need to follow the rules. God is also one who wants us to

question our beliefs, challenge ourselves and others. He

is a ‘skeptical’ Being. He would not want us to follow him

blindly, although He needs us to believe in Him. My God has

a sense of humor, too. He has created the strangest creatures,

including mankind. I hope this will be encouraging to those

on your blog, Robin.”

Then, after we all sat in silence, measuring and appreciating

Darryl’s words, Cheryl intoned solemnly,

“Is it okay to quote you or paraphrase you on my Facebook page?”

Cheryl also added that it was ‘beautiful’ and she “could not

believe our joking prankster, Darryl, said those wonderful

words!”

Then, Cheryl told us a simple poem, and I am not able to

memorize poetry. Sorry, I did have to memorize a Spanish

poem about a fig tree, entitled, “La Higuera” and recite it

to a group of judges at the Kent State University Declamation

Contest. I may have attributed it to another author, but one

that did write a poem about the same subject is Juana de

Ibarbourou. I thought it was written by Pablo Neruda.

But, that was over forty years ago!

Cheryl got teary-eyed saying she missed her mother but the

end of the poem went like this,

“So dry that unnecessary and saddened tear,

For I will be celebrating Christmas with Jesus this year.”

We each looked down, both Darryl and I had lost fathers,

he recently had lost his Dad’s brother, his uncle and I also

thought of my daughter in law’s stepmother, Chris. We all

hoped in that moment that there is a Heaven, that pain is

non-existent and that God is like Darryl’s God, embracing

all that enters His Kingdom.

“Mom’s World”

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As we were getting on the elevator, Mom and I met a nice, attractive

elderly resident in the senior apartments. She was wearing a purple

pair of tennis shoes decorated with red flowers on them. She had a

lovely plum colored sweater and hat upon her head. Mom told her

she looked, “quite lovely today.”

The woman responded, “I just came from the Purple Hat Society

meeting down in the Pub.”

Mom smiled and nodded. She really understood that it was a fun

group of women, or seemed to.

Once the woman disembarked from the elevator, Mom turned to me,

in all seriousness,

“Why would someone join a group that only wore purple hats?”

She paused and rethought this question, coming back with another

question,

“Why would I need to belong to a society to wear my purple hat?”

This brought me to the point that I would like to tell you about, my

Mom’s time frame is more aimed towards the past, anything “new”

or more recently happening, is beginning to get lost in her foggy

brain. This was never more evident than after having a delicious and

lively meal with my son, his wife and their kids, my two brothers, my

youngest daughter, Mom and I at the table. We had a wide variety of

pies, thanks to my stopping at Cracker Barrel and purchasing four

delectable pies. I worked there for four years, over eight years ago.

When I could use my 40% discount, I would bring this many and not

even blink an eye at the bill. I have a side comment to the whole Mom

post, these pies had a low “price tag” of $8.49 each!! I ordered an

apple streusel pie, a pumpkin streusel pie, a regular pumpkin and a

pecan pie. All were the same good quality that I had observed being

made in the CB kitchen. (We got spoiled when I had the discount and

I could also, during summer seasons buy the Coca Cola chocolate cake

and the delicious Blackberry or Cherry Cobbler, too.)

Mom ate a slice of the pumpkin and the apple streusel pie, with a big

dollop (served by my son) of vanilla ice cream and a small scoop of

peppermint stick ice cream (served by my brother). She asked for some

whipped cream, too. She told us all,

“I don’t like peppermint stick ice cream but I try it every year, just in

case my taste buds have changed!”

When we got up to leave, shortly after dessert, we had had a lot of

discussions about politics, children (who were a diversion at times),

education (Trista is taking forensic science computer online classes)

and movies recently seen. We had covered a lot of topics, with Mom

putting her “2 cents in,” too.

Mom was able to help carry some leftovers to the car, while holding

her dog’s leash. When we crossed the street, driving in my car, back

to her apartment, only about 45 minutes had elapsed.

Mom, as she was getting out of the car, exclaimed,

“Robin! I am so glad you thought ahead to bringing all those pies to

the dinner, and am especially looking forward to trying some when

we get inside.”

I stopped, looking closely at her face to see if she were ‘pulling my

leg’ but she looked sincere.

I asked her,

“Mom, do you have room for more pie?”

She answered,

“I didn’t have any yet.”

I was saddened by this realization of how her short term memory is

really going fast…

Changing to some funnier things that happened while up at Mom’s.

She had us going to the grocery store, so I checked to see how many

rolls were in her walk-in closet. She had about twenty rolls left, with

her next chance to shop being in five days, with the seniors on the bus,

or with my brother in about 7-8 days.

On her list, she requested me to add ten more packages of four rolls

or the multiple packs with 10 in them, four of those= 40 more rolls

of toilet paper!

She follows me and we both look in the closet and tell her again, there

are 20 rolls left so that should last at least a week.

I give her the straight mathematical solution meaning you could go

through an average of 3 rolls a day!

Mom looks at me askance and says, “Robin, I go through 4 rolls a

day!”

I tell her that she has 64 pads that are needed to do the same job

she is talking about. (Thinking she is wadding the toilet paper into

her underwear, creating her own incontinence pads!)

But, “NO!” She replies back, “I will go through all 64 pads and 40

rolls of toilet paper.”

I stop worrying, thinking that someday my kids may have to be

patient with me. I would not want them giving me their own version

of a “reality check” over and over again. I look at her checkbook,

seeing that she and my brother bought a slew of stuff last week.

She gets a lot of the same items (like a little “hoarder!”)

I had written about the Depression and her favorite Christmas

memory earlier, posted it recently. I felt foolish for making my Mom

think about what she needed when, instead, I could easily treat her

like I used to do with my own children.

You can do this subtly, without the adult (or child) noticing. By

changing the subject while shopping, you can sometimes get the child

(or adult) to quit asking for the treat or toy. Or suggesting an alternative,

like,

“Instead of that toy, how about we buy a pack of bubbles to blow?”

or “Instead of that extra candy, why don’t we get some yogurt to eat?”

Which is how we made it out of the grocery store, without too many

“extra purchases!”

Here are the extras we did get:

We compromised and bought a ten pack of toilet paper.

We bought only a three pack of paper towels.

We bought six bags, combined, of Hershey dark chocolate kisses and

Reese’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups. (You know that the dark

chocolate allows you to eat unlimited amounts by it “cutting all the

cholesterol, fat and calories in 1/2,” Mom boasted.)

We bought a “special offer” double pack of Peanut butter, 16 oz. each.

We bought one box of Special K cereal.

We bought one package of Fig Newtons.

We bought two bottles of Sangria. (“The bus driver complains when

they have to carry heavy glass bottles!” Mom tells me.)

I remind her that my brother may be taking her next week.

Mom replies, (and this should cover all of the above with this blanket

statement!)

“You can never have too much wine!”

 

One Christmas during the Depression

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My Mom was reminiscing about the period of time called the Depression

in the United States. She was remembering with fondness one of her

favorite Christmases. It was not one she received a lot of gifts nor a “big

ticket” item. It was all about how each of her family members worked

very hard to listen to what the others in the family were wishing for

and then, how they tried to make each other’s dreams come true.

My Mom wished for a lovely red velveteen jumper that would be

worn to school and church. She had already a special cream colored

blouse that her mother, my grandmother had stitched lovingly for

her “back to school” outfit. She did not need the black tights nor the

boots to wear with this special outfit that she had seen in a major

department store advertisement.

My Mom heard her younger sister wishing for a special matching

outfit for her doll and she to wear to early elementary school. We

may call it the ‘primary grades’ these days. She wanted to be able to

bring her old doll, all “spruced up” in a green corduroy or (“even

better,” Mom recalls, “a green satin dress with a ruffle attached.”)

My grandmother heard my grandfather wishing to have a nice hearty

meal with a roast of some kind and also, wishing for a cherry flavored

tobacco to put into his pipe.

My grandfather heard my grandmother wishing for a nice tablecloth

and a new apron, that would not be made by herself. She liked to

get dressed for Sunday services and afterwards, head home to wear

a pretty apron over her ‘Sunday best’ clothes.

My aunt heard my Mom’s wish and it was all about hair bows and a nice

mirror and brush set, seen at the Five and Dime Store in Middletown,

Ohio.

When her family awakened on Christmas morning, often the Christmas

tree, while my Mom and her sister were sleeping and young, would be

decorated. This was a tradition that changed when they got older and

what my Mom felt was more responsible and would not break the lovely

glass ornaments nor set the house on fire with the candles that were

placed upon the tree in their holders.

The years they did get to decorate, as older and more careful girls, they

had many glass ornaments, pipe cleaner angels with faces painted on

pink beads and golden or silver pipe cleaner wings and halos. There

were wooden ornaments of snowflakes, sleds and little houses, too.

Mom exclaimed,

“Amy and I were never again to see the candles lit on the tree, once we

became the ‘decorators of the tree.’ Sometime, along the way, my Dad

decided to invest in electrical multi-colored Christmas lights.”

Mom, known as “Rosie,” and her sister, Amelia, known as “Amy” woke

up on one Christmas morning to smell the nice, wafting and intermingling

scents of a braided kuchen with cherry filling and vanilla frosting, the cherry

tobacco smell of their father’s pipe and the smell of strong coffee floating on

the air. I have researched the recipes for kuchen and they often list

peach as the fruit to be found inside this sweet yeast dough coffee cake.

My grandparents grew only a few plants on their property, but there

were several cherry trees to pick and ‘can’ for later use. We often

would have cherry preserve, my brothers and I almost thirty years

after this story is written, on our breakfast toast. We also enjoyed the

treat of fresh out of the oven, German made kuchen.

They ran down their hallway, wearing thick pajamas, robes, socks and

shoes, as they did not have slippers and the floors were not very warm

inside. Amy and Rosie paused to take in the wondrous sight of a fully

decorated and mysteriously “delivered” Christmas tree! It was not until

after they began to doubt in the reality of Santa Claus, that they realized

this was a parental gift to them, as well as the gifts in their stuffed stockings

and few wrapped parcels under the tree.

Mom mentioned while retelling this story to me, that the presents would be

wrapped in fabric scraps from “future items of clothing, so as not to ruin the

surprises inside, tied with ribbons or string. This was also, during this period

of time, another way to save money: very cost effective.”

In the presents, usually in past years of the Depression, there would be

“practical” gifts of sweaters, socks, mittens and other handmade items.

Grandma Mattson could knit, crochet and sew, as many women of these

hard times did, to make things look special. The challenge would be to hide

it in the process of making the items!

Mom said the stockings were stuffed with unshelled nuts, fruits and wax

-wrapped candies and fudge. There would be a pair of socks and a hair

barrette inside, too. She says while recalling the joyous moments, that she

never thought until this moment, while I was asking her for some Christmas

memories, of all the hours her mother must have spent while her sister and

she were at school, making and hiding these ‘treasures.’

All the gifts that were wished for, the wishes were ‘granted’ this year! She

wore her red velveteen dress to school, her sister, Amy, wore her green,

shiny satin dress with the petticoat trimmed in lace underneath it. Mom

remembers her sister twirling and twirling in circles in the excitement of

wearing her brand new (homemade with love) dress. She also, recalls

that the both of them wore these dresses in a photograph, where they

both have black hose on, with big sister Rosie, straddling little sister,

Amy, in front of her. The two of them, wearing the bright dresses now

displayed in the framed black and white photograph on my Mom’s

dresser,  look so completely darling!

The roast for dinner was pork and the after dinner desserts were Spritz

and other sugar cookies served with cocoa and coffee. The lasting effect

of everyone’s wishes coming unexpectedly true was apparent once again,

relived today on my Mom’s glowing face!