Wednesday, March 27, 2019

television

Words for Wednesday is a weekly writing prompt that travels around the globe, provided each month by a different blogger. They can be words, phrases, photos, music...just about anything. Anyone can join in. The prompts for March have been provided by Delores at MutedMumblings.Blogspot.com.  The prompt for this week is television.
Tell me a story, Momma, read me a book.
Electricity changed how families interacted.
Listening to the radio,
Everyone gathered round to hear.
Vaudeville moved to the small screen,
Inviting families to laugh and
See things that they had once only
Imagined.  What was meant to bring
Our world closer, at times has torn us apart.
Now tell your children a story, read them a book.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

fresh dreams

Words for Wednesday is a weekly writing prompt that travels around the globe, provided each month by a different blogger. They can be words, phrases, photos, music...just about anything. Anyone can join in. The prompts for March are being provided by Delores at MutedMumblings.Blogspot.com.  They are indicated by bold italics.
     "Damn it!  Where is my blasted pen?" I stood and searched between the sofa cushions for the fourth time.  It never failed.  As soon as I found a pen that I really loved, one that wrote smoothly without hiccups, it managed to grow feet and disappear.  Grabbing the flashlight off the entertainment center, I gingerly eased to my knees to look under the sofa.  Nothing.  As I pulled myself up, I caught sight of my pen under my husband's cigarettes on his side of the ottoman.  Grrrrrr.

     I shot him a look that would have withered him if he'd been awake to see it, but he'd been working too hard lately and fell asleep more often than not while watching tv.  Tonight, a DIY show on HGTV was taking a derelict yard and turning it into a backyard paradise.  One of their ideas just before looking for my missing pen was taking broken terra cotta pots and making garden walkways.

     Slipping my favorite pen into the tin I used as a catch-all, I put my least favorite pen under his cigarettes.  I wondered if there was a way to keep my pen chained to my laptop.

     I always wanted to be a writer.  A journalist.  I worked on the school newspaper in junior high.  Wrote a letter to NASA before the first Space Shuttle took off and volunteered to be the first student journalist in space.  I wrote for my high school newspapers.  When I left home and moved to California, I wrote newsletters for family and submitted stories to magazines about life in the desert.

     We've entered the mud and slush season here in Wisconsin.  The ground is saturated from months and several feet of snow over the winter.  I'm ready for some fresh air, and to see green grass growing.  The trees are slowly coming alive and I can see leaf buds breaking out.  The birds are becoming more active, singing in the trees and flirting with each other.

     There is hope in the air, and my dreams are of writing again.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Medusa

     Words for Wednesday is a moveable feast of participants. Each month the prompts ~ words, pictures, themes, or even phrases are provided by someone new.  The aim of the words is to encourage us to write. A story, a poem, whatever comes to mind. This month the words are supplied by Delores.  This week the words are in bold italics.
I woke with a start and jumped from my bed
Daylight Savings be damned, and I shook out my head
I rushed to the bathroom, to the mirror in despair
Oh my gosh oh my goodness oh my frizzy hair!
No time to shampoo, no time to condition
What I really need is a Fairy Godmother Beautician!
Someone who can do magic with a little gel and hot air
Whose skills with a brush will never impair
My own skills are lacking, I'm ashamed to admit
Beauty routine? None.  At least I shave my armpits!
She needs to have skills and great powers to repair
This wild hair of mine that wants to stand in midair.
I sigh as I look at my reflection aghast
One thing I am sure of, I know this at last,
image source: weheartit.com
With all that I've got
Medusa I'm not!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

time

     Words for Wednesday is a moveable feast of participants. Each month the prompts ~ words, pictures, themes, or even phrases are provided by someone new.  The aim of the words is to encourage us to write. A story, a poem, whatever comes to mind. This month the words are supplied by Delores.  This week the theme is "time."
Image Source: WeHeartIt.com
     Time.  We either have too much or too little.  Weekends are too short, work days too long.  Daylight Savings takes away an hour in the Spring, then gives it back again in the Fall.  When we have a deadline, we feel pushed for time.  The first day of vacation.  The last day.

     But in truth, all we have is this moment in time.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Life changes in an instant.  Blink and it's gone.  When this moment passes, it can't ever be regained.  Even if some future physicist created a time machine to go back in time, you still wouldn't be able to regain the moment that just passed.  The second time around, your thoughts and emotions will be impacted by what you already know.  It will be changed.

     Someone once asked me if I would clone my soul-dog Trooper if given the chance.  As much as I miss him, I wouldn't.  The clone wouldn't be him.  It might look like him, but it wouldn't be him.  He was the most amazing dog because of the experiences he had, we had.  To get the same exact dog, I would have to put him through all of the fearful, painful, difficult times that we experienced together and I would never want to do that to him.

     In the same way, going back in time to regain a moment is like trying to clone time.  You get a do-over, but it will be a new moment in time, not the one you are trying to relive.  

     Time is fleeting.  Precious.  Priceless. Things said or done can never be taken back.  Be careful with your time.  Spend it wisely.  Live it without regrets.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

labels

Here is a scary thought, and why I shouldn’t read labels – or maybe should read them before I eat what they are describing. 
I had some Bottlecaps candies today. I've not had them in forever – at least since I was a kid. 
 I’m sure that when I ate them as a child, I never read the ingredients label.

It was probably a good thing, although 40something years ago, the labels were probably a lot different.

What caught my attention for these was that the flavors are root beer, cola, cherry, grape and orange. The labeling says “no artificial flavors” so I wondered, where exactly does root beer and cola flavors come from and looked at the ingredients. 
 Not only did it leave me still wondering where those flavors came from, it made me wonder where the cherry, grape and orange flavoring came from.
There was no flavoring listed at all, just “colors.” Vegetable juice color. Caramel color. The usual suspects of blue #1 & 2 lake, red 40 lake, and yellow 5 lake. 
 And then something called annatto extract color. So I searched to see what an annatto was.
This is from WebMD which was an unexpected source in my search:
 “Annatto is a plant. The seed and leaf are used to make medicine. People take annatto for diabetes, diarrhea, fevers, fluid retention, heartburn, malaria, and hepatitis. They also use it as an antioxidant and bowel cleanser. Annatto is sometimes put directly on the affected area to treat burns and vaginal infections and to repel insects.”
EWWWWWWW!

What really made me throw up in my mouth was what was next on the ingredients list – AFTER it said it was a product of Mexico: 
“PRODUCED WITH GENETIC ENGINEERING.”

Say what?!?!?!?!?!

I will never eat Bottlecaps again!
But I will start reading more labels before I buy or eat something.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

the avenue

The original Words for Wednesday was begun by Delores and eventually taken over by a moveable feast of participants when Delores had computer troubles. The aim of the words is to encourage us to write. A story, a poem, whatever comes to mind. This month the words are supplied by River and can be found right here.  All of this week's words are in bold italics.

      Ketz’iah pulled out her passport as she walked through the airport terminal towards the customs gate. Posters along the wall advertised the latest movies playing on Delta's international flights. In a glass walled room, several travelers puffed on the first cigarettes they'd been able to have in six or more hours. She shook her head as she passed the room. Ketz'iah would never understand how someone would willingly put toxic gases in their lungs. The memory of her parents crossed her mind once again, and a single tear ran down her face.

     Alvanir stood at the gate outside of customs, scanning the faces for Ketz'i. He hadn't seen her in nearly four years because both their lives were so busy, and he was nervous. He wondered if he had been wrong to ask her to meet him there. But it was time for them to make peace with their past. Time for them to remember and honor who they were.

     When their journey down the Rhine had been complete, they had found themselves alone at the border of Spain. The children's relatives who had promised to meet them to transport Alvanir and Ketz'iah to Morocco had not arrived. Whether they had been found out, or had met another fate, none of them would ever know. In the chaos of the war as country after county chose sides, families were divided and often vanished altogether. Some on their own volition as a way to survive, others the victims of an insane man's attempt to bleach history by any means possible.

     Heinrich and Elise had instead made the long and dangerous journey with them, setting up contacts with the Resistance along the way. When they had arrived in Morocco, they had found a small house on a quiet avenue in El Jabha where the four ... later six ... of them lived quietly until the end of the war. Heinrich found a fishing boat that he would use to secretly transport German, French, and Spanish Jews to safe houses where they could stay for brief periods of time before relocating to other cities or other countries.

Image Source: WeHeartIt.com
     Hannelore had been born not long after they arrived in Morocco. Almost two years later, Karl had been born at the doctor's house when complications nearly killed both Elise and her son. Both Alvanir and Ketz'iah had taken Heinrich's last name to keep from drawing the wrong kind of attention, especially after the Nazi controlled Vichy government tried to sway Sultan Mohammed V to enforce Hitler's antisemitic laws.  Alvanir had also taken the name of Alfred at school and with his friends, and Ketz'iah had chosen to abbreviate her name to Ketz'i.  

     Word had come that their parents had been taken to Auschwitz, along with everyone they had known in their neighborhood.  Elise had insisted that they secretly continue with their Hebrew studies, and whenever there was a Jewish family staying with them, they would honor the Sabbath.  She told them to never forget who they were, because they were survivors.  Above all else, they were survivors and one day their truth would be told.

     As the crowds thinned leaving the customs stations, Alvanir began to worry that his sister had decided not to come after all.  He thought back to their lives in Morocco, and the decision for the six of them to move to France at the end of the war.  Heinrich felt they would be better able to better their lives when they did not look so much like outsiders, and Elise was hoping that some of her own family would still be alive.  While they were not Jewish, the SS did not discriminate in who they persecuted.

     They would move several more times, finally settling in Belgium.  Ketz'iah eventually went to Leiden University in the Netherlands where she mastered in Child and Family Sciences, a field that fascinated her because of her childhood and the love she had felt from Heinrich and Elise.  She worked as a counselor with adoptive and foster parents and children.

     Alvanir had moved to London where he studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science, he had always been curious why a man like Hitler had managed to come into power with such extreme thinking.  He became a professor at the same university, teaching on the impact of wars on the economy, before, during and after, and how survivors of wars came together in recovery, no matter how different their lives had been before.  

     Both Ketz'iah and Alvanir  had gone back to their own last names, although Ketz'iah hyphened hers with Heinrich and Elise's last name to honor the risk they took, and the sacrifices they made for the siblings.  Alvanir had married a young Jewish woman from Morocco who was attending the same university, and the two of them had a daughter they named after Elise.  Ketz'iah had married a young man she met at the Synagogue who had also lost his parents and siblings to the chambers of Auschwitz.  After several miscarriages, they decided instead to adopt, and had a large house with four children, lots of laughter and love, and room for more.

     Karl started his own helicopter repair business in Belgium, which did very well.  He had been fascinated with airplanes, and all things mechanical.  Heinrich teased him at times that he had been born with grease under his nails.  He and his wife had two boys and a girl.   Hannelore had become a nurse working with the elderly at an assisted living complex in Belgium.  When both Heinrich and Elise had become unable to live on their own, they had moved into the same complex where she worked.  She had married, and had twin boys which kept her fairly busy when she wasn't working.

     Five years prior, Alvanir and Ketz'iah had both been called back to Belgium by Hannelore when Heinrich became ill.  When he unexpectedly died, Elise had followed less than a month later, broken hearted.  After being together for more than 60 years, she was lost without him.  While all four of their now adult children missed them deeply, it had been Alvanir and Ketz'iah who had grieved the hardest.  The loss of their foster parents had also allowed them to grieve and sit shiva for their own parents that they had never been able to sit for during their time in Morocco.

     Now, Alvanir had asked Ketz'iah to join him in Germany in the small town of Hattenheim where they had lived for the first nine/ten years of their lives, and where their father had owned his business.  Neither of them had been back there since they had left with Heinrich and Elise so many years before.

     "Why, Alvanir?  Why do you want to go back there after all this time?  Neither of us has set one foot in Germany since we left as children.  What is it you are looking for?  There is nothing there anymore that we will remember."
     "Do you not remember the stories of the Mäuseturm that Mutti told us when we passed it on the barge? Hattenheim was not only where we were born, it was where Mutti and Papa were born. True there is no one alive there now that will remember us, but whether we like it or not, it is a part of who we are. A part of our history and story. Clearly, you don't remember Mutti telling us to never forget who we were and to be proud of our heritage."

     Ketz'iah was silent, remembering Elise and the stories she would tell to keep the memory of where they were born alive in them.
     "Children, always remember the love of your parents, and the great sacrifice it was for them to give you to us for protection. Your parents loved you so very much, and I'm sure it broke their hearts to let you go. Just as it would break my heart to ever have to let baby Hannelore go anywhere without me. But they loved you so much they wanted you to live, even if there was a chance that they would not. So never, ever forget them. One day, all of this foolishness created by a crazy man will be over, and there will be peace and love again in Germany. I want you to go back to where you were born and where you lived before you became a part of my heart, and remember that you were always loved.  Don't let that man win anymore by letting him kill your ability to love and forgive."

     Ketz'iah saw Alvanir before he saw her, and she stood for a moment, seeing the young boy who had once clung to her in fear as their Abba and Imah pushed them towards Heinrich.  He had been right.  It was time.  They had been given so much love in their lives by both sets of their parents.  Love that she had tried to hard to repay by fostering and adopting children.  But she knew that there can be no great love without forgiveness, and it was time she embraced all of her past with love.

     Alvanir ran to her, and the two children once again hugged.  This time with love and forgiveness, and without fear.  The healing had begun.