Tag Archives: family

Togetherness: Special On This Day

Thanksgiving Day is one filled with many emotions by many people and families.  I start to think back (for me, there are many days and years to think back on), remembering those happy days.  Trying hard to pick out one or two, is not easy.  There are so many.


One Thanksgiving Day, I remember, while living in Hicksville LI, NY (there really is a town by that name), we gathered ’round the big pine trestle-style table, held hands, and said a prayer of thanks for having the fortune of being there together that day, and hoping for more happy days of togetherness in the future.

Another Thanksgiving Day I can remember was celebrated right here in South Florida, in my new home that I shared with my late husband, Bob.  Bob did all the cooking.  He was a good cook, and got so much enjoyment when we all found his efforts to be greatly pleasing to the palette (and also to the stomach!).

Today, that trestle table is long gone; several of the people with whom I held hands in Hicksville have passed; and some of those with whom I shared the Thanksgiving meal in South Florida, are not with us anymore, having gone to a better place, also.  But, not all is lost:  I am going to be together with my sister and brother-in-law in their home and we will share a lovely dinner; but, most important, we will be together.

Leaning into my Hypocrisy

Being an autistic, especially an Aspie, can be very frustrating to that person and to all around who are experiencing frustration also. This post gives a little perspective.

Thirty Days of Autism

Leaninginwatermarked.jpgSometimes the things I know to be right and true, the things I aspire to, do not come easily to me in the tired-out end-of-the-day moments.

Those are the times when I may not be at my best: my patience may be worn thin, and I may feel the tempting lure of what seems like a shortcut… one that ends up just making things more complex and unruly.

Tonight was one of those nights.

I was rushing H to get to bed – and he was yelling at me for rushing him. It did not go particularly well…

But H called me on it:

I am trying to advocate for myself here. I need you to listen to me.

I am having a hard time listening because you are yelling at me and I don’t like to be yelled at.

Well, I feel I have to yell because you are…

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You Know Those People That Really Matter to You? Hold on to Them Real Tight.

Hold tight to what matters most.

Kindness Blog

Amy Granberg wrote:

“I took this photo of a father being reunited with his son after his son got lost in Central Park. “

father being reunited with his son after his son got lost

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December 13, 1979 – August 11, 2012

This post is dedicated to my granddaughter, Jessica, who died 2 years ago today.

I hope you are resting comfortably, and in peace, my dear.  Your life was less than peaceful and was tumultuous in many ways.

Your appearance into the world was so exciting and so exhilarating.  You were my first grandchild.  A beautiful baby.  And I was instantly in love with you.

looking grandma in the eyes

No words can express…

Held by your great-grandmother.  How loving is that?

Held by your great-grandmother. How loving is that?


Surrounded by your loving family.

Surrounded by your loving family.

In your loving mother's arms in the flower garden.

In your loving mother’s arms in the flower garden.

First taste of watermelon. I couldn't pull it away.  You held on so tightly.  Loved it.

First taste of watermelon. I couldn’t pull it away. You held on so tightly. Loved it.

A professional photo.  What a smile!

A professional photo. What a smile!

Celebrating the holiday and celebrating your presence in our family.

Celebrating the holiday and celebrating your presence in our family.

You had a sense of humor.  Loved your silly face.

You had a sense of humor. Loved your silly face.

Clowning at grandma's house with that silly hat.

Clowning at grandma’s house with that silly hat.

A bouquet for your first ballet performance.

A bouquet for your first ballet performance.

Visiting grandma and grandpa in Florida.

Visiting grandma and grandpa in Florida.

Years flew by and you and your family finally moved down to Florida, too, and we reconnected as if it were just yesterday since we were together.  The years in Florida were not your best, actually the worst, and there were many problems, but you always knew how to smile in spite of them.

Health problems took over your life, and we watched you with feelings of great helplessness, as you slowly were failing, right in front of our eyes.

Love you, my Jessica.

Love you, my Jessica.


Memories of a Time Past: Part 6

Brooklyn was where I was born and raised, and also where my Mom and Dad were born and raised.  Home was always “Brooklyn.”  I was never a sports fan per se, but the Brooklyn Dodgers was “my” team.


Mom and Dad were married in Brooklyn, and so was I, and also my sister.  When I hear “Brooklyn” mentioned, my ears perk up and I want to know in what context my borough was spoken about.  It’s just the way it is.

I have sweet, loving memories about my Mom’s parents:  Tillie and Louis Blacker.  They were sweet and thoughtful people, and they were always available for family – whatever the reason they were needed, they were there for you.

My Favorite Grandparents

My Favorite Grandparents

Grandma and Grandpa lived in an apartment house on Nostrand Avenue, between Church Avenue and Linden Boulevard.  Third floor walk-up.  Even though I was a young girl (7 or 8), the apartment didn’t feel that large; although there were 3 bedrooms.  When we came into the apartment from the dark, small stair landing, we walked into a narrow hallway.   There was one bath to the left as you walked into the apartment; a tiny kitchen after that, with a very small table pushed up against the wall with 3 chairs (I remember the chairs creaked when you sat down), and a very dark wood, ornate, old cabinet where Grandma kept some groceries.  She always had a box of Cheerios in that cabinet.  She knew I liked Cheerios.  (Yes, there were Cheerios that long ago!!)

There was a nice-sized living room which shared a wall with the kitchen.  And the master bedroom, about the same size, was next to that.  The 2 other bedrooms to the left of the hall were quite small.  No dining room.  They had a narrow table against the shared kitchen wall in the living room, which pulled out to make a long table when the whole family was over for dinner.  I don’t remember having dinners there, but I’m sure there were.

I remember a big, light wood, old radio standing in the living room.  It actually was a lovely piece of furniture, and Grandpa would sit in his chair with his newspaper, and have the radio on at the same time.  He was comfortable in his chair, and I was comfortable in his lap as he tried to read his paper.

old radio

I remember my Great-grandmother (Grandpa’s mother) lived there.  She had the small room to the right of the hallway as you walked into the apartment, and past that, my mother’s youngest sister had her bedroom.  Great-grandmother was a kindly lady.  She was suffering from old age, and couldn’t really leave her room.  My Mom would attend to some of her needs when we visited during the day.  I remember Great-grandmother (I called her Baba) would sit by the window whenever we were there.  She loved my Mom and was so grateful when my Mom tweezed her brows and trimmed her facial hairs.  She died when I was nine years old.

There weren’t any phones in the building at that time.  But, there was a communication system, nonetheless!  There was a candy/luncheonette/newspaper/magazine/cigarettes and cigars store downstairs.  The owner was a very nice man, and he had a public phone booth.  He allowed the tenants in the building to give out the phone number so they could communicate with family.  Whenever a call came for Grandma and Grandpa, he would stand outside under the window, and call, “Mrs. Blacker!”  He must have had a loud voice, because even with the windows closed, he was heard.






A Day For Remembering

Yesterday, I was with my daughter in Kendall FL.  She had a medical appointment, so it was a combo of medical and mother-daughter experience.  Love being with her – she’s a special person.  Everyone who has her acquaintance is aware of how special she is.  In many ways, she takes after her father.

We had an early lunch in the Bahama Breeze restaurant.  It was a lovely, relaxing luncheon.  The menu was varied and eclectic, and we settled on a salmon platter.  Karen, our waitress, made the time a delight, as well as the good food.

bahama breeze front

We wanted to sit on the patio, but roof work was being done, so we had to opt for indoors.

We wanted to sit on the patio, but roof work was being done, so we had to opt for indoors.

Just before leaving to get to the medical appointment, we heard a song being played on their audio system that was very familiar to me (Yellow Bird).  It brought back memories of many years ago – to be exact, a couple of weeks in the summer of 1963, spent in Flemington NJ, when my daughter (almost 3 at the time) and son were very young.

The company that my husband, Danny, worked for, owned a horse farm where standardbred horses were raised for the races.  A free vacation was offered the employees at the ranch.  The accommodations were very comfortable, and we were given a lovely 2-bedroom space (was just like a high-class motel).  Included were meals, a lovely pool, and the ability to make our own entertainment.  There was a stage and all the necessary accoutrements for putting on a show.

There were quaint and popular shops in town, where everyone could meander and buy some glassware and dishes at the Flemington Glass Factory, also referred to as “10-R-10,”

10 r 10flemington glassflemington collect


or buy fur coats and fur jackets at Flemington Furs (this was much before we became aware of the killing of wild animals indiscriminately for their fur and carried on for the greed of poachers due to demand for fur clothing).

flemington furs

Flemington was an historic town, and we enjoyed many hours there, meandering amongst the many shops and little museums.

flemington historic

My son was 6 months old, and one day, at mealtime, he refused his bottle, and only wanted to drink from a cup or glass.  I can picture in my mind:  he was sitting in the stroller next to our lunch table.  I had fed him before we sat down at the table, and saved his milk bottle so he could be occupied with that while the rest of us ate.  He was way ahead of his time!  Must have been something in the country environment – clean air, farm smells and horse odors evidently agreed with him!

One of the husbands (employee) who was also vacationing with his family, sang and played the guitar.  My Danny played the harmonica (he was very talented).  The two of them got together several times, rehearsing a popular tune of the time: “Yellow Bird.”

So, when I heard that song coming over the audio system in the Bahama Breeze restaurant, all those memories came flooding back.

And, it is fitting that I write this post today.  I think of my Danny every day, even though it’s been many years since he died, and I married again and lost my Bob a year and a half ago.  Love never leaves your heart.

It is fitting that I write this post today, because July 17th was Danny’s birthday.  Happy Birthday, love.  Rest in peace.


[images from bingdotcom]



Memories of a Time Past: Part 4

My father’s cousins formed a “family circle” by the name of “Weiser Family Circle.”  It was a cousins club.  All his siblings and cousins and their children, and aunts and uncles were members.  Weiser was his mother’s maiden name, so the club consisted of only family members from her side of the family.  I don’t remember her coming with us.  Anyway, it was just as well she wasn’t there.  She was not a well-liked woman, to put it mildly.

These annual jaunts started when I was a teenager.  We always got a very early start.  It was easy to get together since we all lived in Brooklyn.  We arranged to meet at 6 am at a cafeteria to have early breakfast before getting started on the long trip.  I remember how sleepy everyone was, and a little grumpy – no, a lot grumpy.  No one was used to getting up so early, packing up the picnic baskets and games and charcoal and BBQ paraphernalia, and getting it all into the car.

Packing car[image from bingdotcom]

After coffee and something to eat, everyone felt better and started to get excited about the day ahead.  And the long drive – oh, what people do to have a good time!

Our picnics took place in the Spring and the destination was in upstate NY.  I believe it was in the Saranac Lake area.  We all had to take sweaters and jackets.  It was very chilly in the mornings and as the sun started to go down, it got chilly again – in fact, I remember we were freezing one time, and there was a time when it started to rain.  We all tried to avoid the rain by getting under the picnic tables.  The barbeque fires were in danger, but we couldn’t do anything about that.  That particular time, we just had to pack up as quickly as we could, get things into the cars, and cut the day short.  Oh well.

My friend, Marian came with us one year.

Marian is on the left, and I'm in the middle.  You can see we're wearing jackets.  It was usually pretty chilly, if not downright cold.

Marian is on the left, and I’m in the middle. You can see we’re wearing jackets. It was usually pretty chilly, if not downright cold.

They were good times.

Baby Boomers, Take Note

The National Institutes of Health commissioned the U.S. Census Bureau to report the population trends and other national data about people 65 and older.  The results are presented in a report entitled, 65+ in the United States: 2010.

The report documents aging as quite varied in terms of how long people live, how well they age, their financial and educational status, their medical and long-term care and housing costs, where they live and with whom, and other factors important for aging and health.  Rates of smoking and excessive drinking have declined among older Americans, prevalence of chronic disease has risen, and many older Americans are unprepared to afford the costs of long-term care in a nursing home.

Some good news, and some not so good news.

Aging in America is changing in fundamental ways. The report provides the number of older people and their age, sex, and race; it also tells us about their health, families, communities and future problems with caregiving, vital data to consider as we seek to meet the needs and address concerns of our aging population. The older population today is increasingly diverse, on a number of fronts.

Baby Boomers, take note:  A key aspect of the report is the effect that the aging of the baby boom generation — those born between 1946 and 1964 — will have on the U.S. population and on society in general. Baby boomers began to reach age 65 in 2011; between 2010 and 2020, the older generation is projected to grow more rapidly than in any other decade since 1900.

baby boomers soc sec card

Rates of smoking and excessive alcohol consumption have declined among those 65 and older, as mentioned above, but the percentage of overweight and obese people has increased. Between 2003-2006, 72 percent of older men and 67 percent of older women were overweight or obese. Obesity is associated in increased rates of diabetes, arthritis, and impaired mobility, and in some cases with higher death rates.

Research based on NIA’s (National Institute on Aging) Health and Retirement Study suggests that the prevalence of chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic lung disease, and diabetes, increased among older people between 1998 and 2008. For example, in 2008, 41 percent of the older population had three or more chronic conditions, 51 percent had one or two, and only 8 percent had no chronic conditions.

long term care 2

The cost of long-term care varies by care setting. The average cost of a private room in a nursing home was $229 per day or $83,585 per year in 2010. Less than one-fifth of older people have the personal financial resources to live in a nursing home for more than three years and almost two-thirds cannot afford even one year. Medicare provides coverage in a skilled nursing facility to older and disabled patients for short time periods following hospitalization. Medicaid covers long-term care in certified facilities for qualifying low-income seniors. In 2006, Medicaid paid for 43 percent of long-term care.

Most of the long-term care provided to older people today comes from unpaid family members and friends.

Most of the long-term care provided to older people today comes from unpaid family members and friends.

Baby boomers had far fewer children than their parents. Combined with higher divorce rates and disrupted family structures, this will result in fewer family members to provide long-term care in the future. This will become more serious as people live longer with conditions such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

It is hoped that this report will serve as a useful resource to policymakers, researchers, educators, students and the public at large.

The good news is, if we are aware about possible problems in the coming years, we have a better chance to plan ahead.


[images from bingdotcom]

Memories of a Time Past: Part 2

It’s been a while since I wrote Part 1; many things have got in the way of starting Part 2, but here I am again.  I have to “stoke” the fires of my memory because this one goes back – way back.  Since it’s nearing Memorial Day, my thoughts have turned to wartime, and trying to remember some cloudy sights and sounds.  Bear with me.

It was during World War II.  My earliest recollections as a very young girl are of gathering around a piano.  My parents were very friendly with some couples:  Ruth & Marty and Evelyn & Paul.  I believe my mother’s youngest sister, was there too, since she was married to Ruth’s and Evelyn’s brother and he was away at war.  She was very close with her in-laws.

I remember the Brooklyn apartment that Ruth and Marty lived in.  It was above a “dry goods” store that was owned by Ruth’s and Evelyn’s mom and dad.  They sold “necessities” like underwear, socks, kitchenware, aprons, children’s clothing, shoes, etc.

A typical dry goods store.

A typical dry goods store.

There was a private area at the back of the store where my aunt lived with my uncle until they were able to find an apartment.  They brought their first-born (my cousin) there after he was born.  During and after the war, apartments were a very difficult commodity to find.  So, even though extremely tiny, it was just enough for the time-being.  During war, people “made do.”

Ruth and Marty’s apartment was also small, but they did have a separate bedroom, kitchen and living room.

I had good, happy feelings when we visited Ruth and Marty.  They were a very lively couple, especially Aunt Ruth (I was told to call her that, even though she wasn’t my aunt) – she was extremely outgoing and welcomed everyone with open arms all the time.  Singing was a way to try to put the thoughts of war and our family members fighting in Europe in harm’s way, aside.  I always had a jolly time there, with Ruth’s sing-a-longs.

Piano sing-a-long.

Piano sing-a-long.

The popular song that I remember most was, “Sentimental Journey.”  Aunt Ruth had the sheet music sitting at the piano, and we all gathered ’round and I read the words so I could sing, too.

I remember when there was sirens and a blackout, all the shades and curtains had to be tightly closed so no light would show through to the outside.

Double curtains made sure no light was seen from the outside.

Double curtains made sure no light was seen from the outside.

When those sirens sounded, we left the apartment and climbed a ladder in the hallway which led to the narrow opening onto the roof.  Fortunately, everyone at that time wasn’t overweight, and we all fit through!

There were specific things to do when the sirens sounded during wartime.

There were specific things to do when the sirens sounded during wartime.

The view from the roof was scary to me, I remember.  It was high for a little girl, and the spotlights moving around the sky were frightening.  The night was warm – we didn’t have to put on any coats, as I remember.  It was only a drill, but to me, it was real.  We were there for some time, and then we were able to go back down into the apartment.

Another thing I remember during wartime:  we had a “Victory” garden in our back yard.  Between my father’s and his father’s work, the vegetables were beautiful.

A Victory Garden - very popular during World War II

A Victory Garden – very popular during World War II

Grandfather would chase down after the horses on the main street with his pail and shovel, to scoop up their droppings to use as fertilizer for the veggies.

I also remember that, during the war, my father’s brother’s wife, my Aunt Millie, lived upstairs.  The small bedroom was converted to a kitchen.  My parents gave up their bedroom, and moved downstairs and the living room became their bedroom, and I was relegated to the front “porch” room where there was no radiators.  It was freezing in there during the winter and I remember shivering.  I was still in a crib because there was no room for a bed in there.

My last memory during that time was when the war was declared “OVER.”  I was allowed to stay up late.  Even if I weren’t, I never would have been able to sleep.  The whole neighborhood was whooping and hollering and I remember the banging and clanging of people running out of their houses and banging spoons, and all kinds of things on pots and pans, to show their joy at the war’s end.

World War II is over!

World War II is over!

All my uncles came home in one piece!




Alzheimer’s Patient Can Still Talk to His Dog

This man suffers from Alzheimer’s and has lost almost all of his speech. It’s a tragedy that no family imagines they’ll go through. But there’s one thing that brings back this man’s speech!  Warning!  It can bring tears to your eyes!  Watch this video.