Tag Archives: memories

I Was A Homeless Person

…for three days in 1990!

Today (September 28th, 2016) is the 26th anniversary of my official residency as a Floridian.  Three days before, on September 25th, 1990, I gave up my citizenship as a legal resident of the State of New York, as I signed on the dotted line to sell my house.

It was a big, new adventure; one which held an unknown future for my then husband, Dan, myself and his Mom.  That’s what I called it, as we drove into Delaware on US I-95.  “A new adventure,” I announced to Mom.  I felt excited and positive.  Little did I know, as we settled into our first motel stay and I got my first mosquito bites which were of major proportions, what was in store for our future.

We were a caravan of two cars and were “attached” by a CB system that Dan rigged up.  It was very basic, but served the purpose in notifying when we intended to stop at a service area.  Dan led the way in his car.

I followed, with Mom in my back seat.  She was 86, full of trepidation; full of trepidation, because we couldn’t leave her in Long Beach.  She had no one there on whom she could depend if she needed help.  Friends had moved away to be near their kids, or died.  Nothing was left there for her.  She really didn’t want to leave, but there was no other choice.

Mom was very comfortable what with pillows and blanket to insure her comfort. She was of small stature and she fit right in on the bench seat of my 1986 Ford Granada – turbo engine, of course.  Ha ha.

We were making very good time.  I had arranged for motel stops and the next one was located in Georgia.  When we got there, it was only  3:00pm, and we decided that it was too early and had the manager call ahead to another one in St. Augustine, Florida.

We lost all the time we made before that motel stop in Georgia.  We got caught up in the Jacksonville rush hour traffic.  What a bummer!

Mom was very tired after the two days’ travel, so she just wanted to rest when we arrived in St. Augustine.  We decided that we would bring her back some food, which we did after enjoying our supper in a casual restaurant.

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We had visited that city previously, some years before, and found ourselves wandering about, and visited some of our favorite places.  It is such a quaint, old city, and it was a pleasure to stretch our legs and feet over cobble stones!

After an exhausted sleep in St. Augustine, and after five more hours of driving, we finally arrived at our first destination at Forest Trace in Broward county.  It had opened only a year before; it was beautiful (we had visited it a couple of months earlier).  Mom was settled in at her apartment:  she was warmly welcomed by the staff, and made to feel at ease.  Her rented furniture was in place, so she was able to rest after the long trip.

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At the same time we had made arrangements for Mom’s apartment, we made arrangements for an apartment in a nearby apartment complex for ourselves.  Our rented furniture had been delivered in our apartment, overseen by the complex office manager.

All our furniture and Mom’s were sold in New York.  This was really a new start for us all!

It was an odd feeling I had, knowing I didn’t have a place where I could call “home.”  I had a destination, but those three days had me feeling “displaced.”  And, in another way, it was a free feeling because during those days, I had no responsibilities.  No tethers.  It was peculiar, but, yes, exciting.

Everything went smoothly.  That was a good feeling.  The next day, we went to the court house, and signed a “Declaration of Domicile.”  We were no longer HOMELESS!

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Personal Memories: Looking Back At the Early ’40s

 

My parents struggled in the early and middle ‘4os, and my Dad worked very hard to support his family.

No summer vacations until my Dad was able to save up enough to send my Mom and me to the Catskills for a month at a cheap rooming house.  He wanted us to get out of the hot city (Brooklyn) for a while.  I remember him boasting that he went without lunches in order to do that.

Dad also worked part time at the post office to earn extra money, in addition to his day job.  Since he and many others were not accepted into the service due to medical reasons, and job openings occurred in post offices and other private and government offices due to the lack of enough employable people because of serving in the war, it was a natural way to earn extra income.

WW 2My Mom did all she could to help with the “war effort.”  She saved aluminum foil and tinfoil (chewing gum had wrappers made of tinfoil) by rolling it all into a big ball she kept in a special closet built into the wall near the kitchen table nook.  That was a very big ball, and when my Mom couldn’t fit any more on it, my Dad would bring it to some station where it was collected along with all the contributions of citizens who felt so patriotic.  These types of collections were commonplace, along with any unwanted, broken things made of metal.

ww 2 4I spent much of my time sitting at a big desk in the basement of the house my Dad’s father owned; writing, pasting, and sending hand-made crossword puzzle books to the Red Cross to be distributed to the wounded soldiers. I felt great pleasure in doing that. I remember how excited I became when my Dad showed me a postcard that came from the Red Cross, thanking me for helping the soldiers who were in the hospital, recuperating.  My very first mail!

We had a victory garden in the backyard.  My grandfather and Dad attended to it.  Most of our neighbors grew their own veggies.  The whole war effort was based on saving everything we had, re-using and re-purposing what we could, and repairing instead of buying new; anyway, most people couldn’t afford to buy new.

ww 2 2Mom sent me to school with a lunchbox that contained a sandwich (don’t remember what kind of sandwich – probably peanut butter) that was wrapped in last week’s bread’s waxed paper wrapping.  (No such thing as plastic bags.)  This was re-used for the entire week or until it was too messy to be cleaned again.  I recall the name of “Silvercup” bread.  Does that ring a bell with anyone reading this post?

School was a great enjoyment.  I remember it was challenging:  I loved to learn and absorbed like a sponge, all that there was to take in, those many years ago.  Now, I call it learning by “osmosis,” because I felt such great pleasure in the learning.  I still do.  At that time in the past, there was no such word as “nerd.”  I’ve said many times in the recent past, that I was born too soon, because I love this technological world in which I now live, and I wish I could live longer so that I could enjoy all the progress and innovations yet to come.

 

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[War efforts images from bingdotcom]

 

On The Way To Papa’s Tapas

 

I participate in a small group of senior ladies, numbering between 5 and 8, depending on who can make it.  We make a concerted effort to get together the last Thursday evening of the month to go out to dinner.  Yesterday, our designated driver picked up 4 ladies (including myself) in her SUV.

Now, we are not your “everyday-type” of senior ladies.  We are all special in our own ways, and stand out because of our very personal individual characteristics.  We treasure each other because of, and in spite of, these.  A sense of humor is most important!

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One lady sits in the back and must get in on the driver’s side where she finds it easier to enter; another must sit in the front passenger seat; the thinnest of the group sits in the middle so she can get the full brunt of the a/c vent, and then I’m left to sit behind the front passenger seat.  Throw in aching, painful back problems, difficulty in walking, difficulty in getting in and exiting the car, and with three of us using canes to assist in walking, we were a fine, healthy bunch of women.  Toss in young at heart and a keen sense of humor, and you have the makings of a great pot of senior ladies’ soup.

Oh yes, we mustn’t forget about Ms. Driver.  We are aware of her strong driving personality.  We all brace ourselves by holding on to the handles above the doors; grasping the door wherever we can find a finger-hold; and not to mention gripping the backs of the front seats to steady ourselves – particularly when going over bumps, train tracks and most importantly, getting ready to stop at a traffic light or stop sign.

driver 2

Ms. Driver is a very thoughtful woman and has a heart of gold; however, when she’s behind the wheel, we all hold our breath.  We take it all in stride.  Even though some teeth-mashing occurs, we always seem to arrive safely and in one piece.

This evening, we weren’t so sure about arriving at the restaurant in one piece, due to an incident that occurred when we were only one block from our destination.

We had to slow down because a man was walking a motorcycle in the middle of the road.  He didn’t seem to notice the sound of the car’s motor, and had no awareness about our wanting to continue down the street.  So, Ms. Driver blasted the horn.

The man turned, looked very upset, and left his motorcycle where it was, came over to the side of our vehicle with an angry face, yelled something unintelligible and threw his fist at the car.  It landed on the post between the front and back windows.  Hard!  We thought he must have broken his hand, or at least, dented the car.

Properly frightened, we sure were. What if he had a weapon in addition to his fist?

Ms. Driver was able to scoot around his motorcycle.  We kept watch, looking  back, worrying that he might get on the motorcycle and do something dangerous and irrational which would cause us harm.

We finally drove into the lot in front of the restaurant, parked, and Ms. Driver had her finger over her phone, ready to call the police. We continued keeping an eye out for that crazy guy, exited the car and hurried in.  We didn’t take our eyes off that guy.  We could see that he was looking up and down the street, obviously searching to see where we went.  He evidently didn’t see that we pulled into the lot.  Finally, we saw him walking his motorcycle down the street.  He passed us by.

Don’t you think we kept looking outside while in the restaurant, to see if he would come back?  Of course.

It was an exciting evening in more ways than expected; one, I believe, we will be talking about for a long time.

 

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[Images from bingdotcom]

 

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Memories of the Snowstorm – Winter 1956-1957

 

My Mom and sister had gone on ahead with some friends earlier in the day, and my Dad waited for me to finish my classes on Friday, at Kings County Hospital School of Nursing.

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It had started to lightly snow in Brooklyn when I got into the car on that cold, blustery early evening.  We had a long trip ahead of us, and Dad told me that he was glad that Mom and Merry went on ahead, because he was a little uneasy about what was expected along the way, weather-wise.  But, he was confident that we would make it.  I think back now about that remark, because I’m not sure if he said it to reassure me or to reassure himself.

We were headed into the Catskills.  There was a place that we had gone to before, so Dad knew the way.  Good thing.

Of course, we were caught in the Friday evening traffic – although, it was lighter than it would have been; probably due to the weather forecast.  But, we got onto the highway after going through Manhattan, and we were on our way for an enjoyable weekend outing!

As soon as we got onto the mountain roads, things changed.  The snow was coming down very heavily, and the wind was pushing it at the windshield.  The wipers couldn’t go fast enough, and I don’t know about Dad, but I was very nervous.  He was quiet, so I guess he was feeling the same way.  We could hardly see.  We were blindfolded.

snowstorm 1

 

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Fortunately, there was no problem with the car itself – Dad believed in taking good care of the quality engines for his vehicles; however, it was too bad that the weather didn’t believe in good quality, human-friendly weather at that time.  We forgot to put in our reservation for that.

We had some breath-holding moments, for sure, but after about 3 hours, we finally arrived safely, if not very tired, at our destination:  Rosenberg’s Hotel.

snowstorm 3

The cheapest one around:  only $5 per person, including clean rooms, clean toilets, and brunch and dinner each day.  We all had a ball!

[Images from bingdotcom]

[ Header image from http://www.freewebheaders.com ]

 

 

Fireworks At Walt Disney World

 

It was years ago that I used to travel to Orlando FL with my daughter, granddaughter, and sister to feel like a kid again.

No matter what your age, when you’re at that magical place, you let go of all your inhibitions, do lots of smiling and laughing, (and walking for many miles) and enjoy every minute.  I recommend it very highly.

We were lucky enough, one night, to have a good viewing spot to watch some fireworks (which are a nightly extravaganza), and here are some photo results:

Disney 2

Disney 3

Disney 4

Disney 5

Here is another photo, showing the entrance.

Disney 1

 

A Little 1950’s Nostalgia: The Diamonds

In my humble opinion, the 50s music was the best!!  I came across two videos of this most popular group singing, “Little Darlin’.”

The first shows the guys performing in 1957:

The following video shows them performing in 2004 in Atlantic City for the “Magic Moments – the Best of 50s Pop.”

I enjoy walking down “memory lane” on occasion.  I hope you enjoyed this little stroll, too.

Memories Of My Past: Mr. Turner

 

My earliest memories of Mr. Turner go back to 1950.  I had just moved with my family from E. 42nd St. in Brooklyn to E. 51st St.  Our new house was a “row” house:  one story brick; with a small front porch outside and connected on both sides with other “row” houses.  It came with a garage out back, but in order for Dad to bring our car into the garage, he had to drive down a steep, common driveway that was accessible only between two of the houses.

Moving to E. 51st St. was a welcome change for the whole family.  We were not happy in the E. 42nd St. house (a long story, perhaps told at another time).

I was in the 7th grade and transferred from P. S. 135 to P. S. 203, which was a very good thing for me.  My walk was so much shorter and more pleasant than walking to P. S. 135.

Mr. Turner’s house was on the way to school.  He and his wife lived in a “wooden” house.  All our neighbors differentiated the houses on the block by calling them “row” houses or “wooden” houses.  “Wooden” houses, of course, were constructed of wooden frames as opposed to the brick-constructed “row” houses.  All the homes were not large and it was a very friendly block:  all the neighbors knew each other and were friendly and many became very good, close friends.

I believe the Turners were original owners; one of two of the original houses built many years before builders came along and built the brick houses.

Mr. Turner

Mr. and Mrs. Turner were definitely from a time that preceded my grandparents.  Mr. Turner was always in the garden, wearing his hat, tending to his plants, vegetables and flowers.  The Turners had a “double lot” which gave them the extra space where Mr. Turner happily puttered most of the day, weather permitting.

The Turners were quite elderly; at least he was, to me.  Mrs. Turner was starting to fail in health, and Mr. Turner was very solicitous where his wife was concerned.  It was evident that he cared for her deeply.  Even I, as a young girl, was impressed by the care and love he showered upon her.  When he spoke of her, it was with an obviously loving tone in his voice.

As a child, I was invited into their home on more than one occasion, where I would be treated to a cookie that Mrs. Turner baked.  She was a great baker:  Mr. Turner was very appreciative of his wife’s baking, and spoke of her in warm, loving terms whenever we spoke.

Years went by; I married, had my daughter, and moved back onto E. 51st St., halfway down the street from my parents’ house.

Mr. Turner was still going strong:  tending to his garden and taking care of his house.  It was with tears in his eyes that he told me of his sweet wife’s passing.

I also found that Mr. Turner had become the block’s “handyman” while I was living elsewhere.  He welcomed the extra income, and besides, as he put it, “It keeps me busy.”

We purchased the house we lived in from Dan’s parents (they lived in another state at the time), and it was after that that Mr. Turner approached us about the brick facade of the house.  He said it needed “pointing.”  What was that?  The mortar between the bricks needed to be filled in due to age, and the elements.  We agreed to have Mr. Turner do the work.  His rate was quite reasonable.

It was almost a ridiculous site to see this wiry, white-haired old man (he was in his 80s), in his farmer’s overalls, carrying his long ladder down the street, with pail in the other hand, ready for a day’s work.  And a day’s work it was – several days, actually.  He worked slowly, but steadily and with careful attention to his task.

It was a few years later, that I heard he had also passed, and joined his beloved wife in their afterlife together.  My memories of Mr. Turner – farmer, patriot (flag flew from his flagpole every day), good neighbor, talented “handyman,” friendly gentleman, and devoted husband – are still vivid.

 

Forgiveness Is Not An Easy Virtue

 

Wikipedia defines “virtue” as:

Virtue (Latin: virtus, Ancient Greek: ἀρετήarete“) is moralexcellence. A virtue is a positive trait or quality deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being.

Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting collective and individual greatness. The opposite of virtue is vice.

A new year; a new vision.  Can “forgiveness” be one of my new year resolutions?  Or, maybe my only new year resolution?  Am I ready for being virtuous when it comes to forgiveness?

Over these many years – maybe 50 or more – I have not had the moral strength to forgive two very important people in my life, now deceased.  What makes a person important to someone?  Having a great impact on someone’s life, whether positive or negative, is what makes that person(s) important.

My first husband, Danny, was a smoker.  I hated the smoking; everything else about him, I loved – deeply.  He promised he would quit smoking after we were married.  I believed him, and in my innocence of not having any idea what it meant to quit smoking, I agreed to marry him.

I held onto my anger and resentment all through the marriage; however, trying very hard to not let them come to the surface and take over the wonderful aspects of our relationship.  I know I succeeded in keeping those negative feelings below the surface and I allowed myself to enjoy and bask in his love.  But, he knew the truth.  And, looking back now, I believe he felt guilty every time he lit up, especially when we spent time together.

Shortly before Danny died, he apologized and said to me, “I know the cigarettes did me in.”  I didn’t forgive him then, but I did tell him I loved him – which was the truth, of course.

Danny, I forgive you now, love.  You couldn’t stop smoking, even though you tried several times.

Jerry was my father.  He was born in Manhattan and brought up in Brooklyn, in the early part of the 20th century.  His parents had several children – he was sort of in the middle – and he was a tough, bully of a kid, as I was told.

The household was quite a dysfunctional one.  There was no warmth and love between his parents; nor for the children.  Mother and father separated after the kids came along.

Mom and Dad met in the sand on a Brooklyn beach, due to mistaken identity.  Mom wasn’t wearing her glasses, and, coming back from the concession stand,  thought Dad was one of those in her crowd.  She called his name (the same name as one of the guys in her crowd), and Dad, who was strumming a ukelele while entertaining the group he was with, turned and immediately fell in love.

Long story short, living with Dad was not easy.  He had a terrible temper when he didn’t get his way, and showed it in ways that weren’t so nice.  He was a blot on my mother’s family, who were genteel, respectful and warm and loving.  Try as they might, even to the extent of throwing him out of their home (didn’t want their daughter marrying him), they tried to discourage their daughter from seeing him.  It didn’t work.

After Mom died, his behavior didn’t improve towards his daughters, and there were some spats, to put it mildly – at one point, we estranged ourselves.

Dad, I forgive you now.  You never understood and were not given the tools you needed, in order to understand.

My inspiration for this post came from “Psychologistmimi.”

 

 

On Another Note

 

I’ve always loved dancing.  Enjoyed it especially when my first husband, Danny, was alive and well.  We heated up lots of dance floors.  Latino music and dancing was our passion.  It was exciting, lively, and sensual.  We were as one being, moving in sync.  The rest of the world was dimmed:  we were the only ones alive.

The following music and dancing video brought back some of that; although, the video isn’t about the music and dance of the 60’s and 70’s.  It is about feeling alive!  Enjoy!!

 

Robin Williams – “Seize the Day”

I was always a great fan of Robin Williams’; still am. This musical tribute is outstanding. And I am sharing it at a particular remembrance day for me personally. My Bob’s anniversary of his departure from the physical world is today; he was also a devoted fan of Robin Williams. This is for you, Bob, as it is also for me.

Thanks to “A Curious Mind” for making me aware of this beautiful video.