MEMORIAL DAY 2011

 

 Thinking back through the years, I recall living at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 1991 for two months.  We had flown there from Bad Kissingen , Germany. I was there because we were trying to find out what was wrong with our four year old son. Our lives were forever changed, however we have come a long way since then. In later years, I recall how our media vilified Walter Reed after veterans started coming home and we did not have enough facilities to care for them. I thought that the medical staff at Walter Reed Army Medical Center was excellent. At the time we were there, we were not at war and there was not a lot of strain on US military medical resources. It happened during every war…. not enough supplies… not enough life boats… not enough of anything and certainly not enough medical care to treat those coming home. Imagine what it was like during WW2 when those lucky enough to come home, thousands upon thousands needing care when they reached our shores again? Imagine those same young men who joined the military to fight a war on two fronts, the European Theatre and the Pacific Theatre ? Many joined because they were hungry and so were their families. They were children of the Great Depression and they never turned back once they left. I have read diaries of Westbrook soldiers who went to Okinawa and know of several Westbrook families who sustained great loss, one family had six sons who served during WW2. Another family had four sons, and two died in Europe. One ordinary man flew 33 missions and came back to work at SD Warren. They just did what was expected of them and they returned men. So when we get upset because our soldiers do not have the best of everything, remember the soldiers before them, in every war. The ultimate sacrifice was paid by many a young man and woman. I know a woman who was a nurse in Vietnam and was part of a surgical team on the aircraft as they brought home young men from Vietnam, and she saw many who did not make the flight. She flew back and forth picking up the wounded and caring for them.  This woman served a very long time and lost 2 husbands who were both pilots. Imagine such a loss… and I will always remember what my friend Phil, who passed away a year ago, once told me. He was a veteran of WW2 and his diary told of his worry and uncertainty of his journey across the Pacific, not knowing his destiny would be Okinawa. He was a born historian and not surprisingly his father also kept a journal of his experiences during WW1 in France. Phil told me that there could not be an Independence Day without a Memorial Day. We cannot celebrate our freedom without the day of rememberance.

Reprint permission with author’s permission @ fiddlinsuz@roadrunner.com

Convenience or Inconvenience

        Today, thinking of both definitions of convenience and inconvenience, I paused to really think what each meant to me. Sometimes they can both be viewed to be a bad thing. Convenience took us away from the hum drum of everyday toil raising our own crops to the modern day grocery store where after 50 years or so, people have no idea how to grow their own food and be self sufficient. Convenience brought us the remote control so now we must no longer get off the couch to turn off the television. Convenience took us away from the dinner table with conversation amongst family to fast food on the way home so we can spend more time with our family. Convenience has made us overweight and unprepared. Our love affair with gadgets from cell phones to Ipods, to computers all with Wifi and 24/7 access to global events is more than we need. This leads me to my next thought about who controls the flow of information? 
         I would have said a few years ago that governments control the flow of information however today I think it is Google who is now in charge. I believe Google is fighting for control of what information we will receive and they are fighting for that title globally. Their name is on my Verizon Droidx phone. In order to make comments on my Youtube account now, I must link to Google and use a password. My thoughts are that Google will be in control of the distribution of information and will share our information with anyone of their choice. Of course these ate my own beliefs.
         Lastly, the word inconvenience is one I have been pondering for the past couple of days. Is a new baby, or a pet an inconvenience, an interruption to our old lives? Taking care of an elderly parent, could possibly be regarded as an inconvenience. Perhaps one day, we will take a moment to pause and think, perhaps these inconveniences or interruptions are somehow meant to humble us for a bit. Caregiving is about putting someone’s needs before your own sometimes, however still trying to take care of yourself in the meantime. I was going to be in a road race this past weekend and was not sure I would make it because my young adult son was sick. Rather than get myself all stressed about it, I focused on what he needed. We got him well enough to take to my parents for a few hours so I could participate in the race. Afterwards, I drove immediately back there and avoided all the free food and accolades. These are the type of concessions we must sometimes make. I have no complaints as I just try to make the most of all we have. It all depends on how we perceive things whether or not something is viewed as an inconvenience or not. Our attitudes have a lot to do with how we view it. 
        Some may think it is an inconvenience to care for an adult son who is completely dependent on me for his daily activities, such as getting dressed, toileting, feeding, grooming. However, I am devoted to care for him because that is my duty and a big part of who I have become. Divine Intervention?  I think that Divine Intervention has occurred quite often in my life. It has saved me from being killed in accidents, avoiding accidents, given me closure when my feelings of a relative at death’s door called me one last time, just in time to say goodbye. These things have happened often. Lastly, I used to feel we were victims of this illness my son has, however now I feel that it was no mistake that life hands us these challenges. I am grateful for both of my sons and they are whom they were meant to be ,even if it may not conveniently fit the norm. For this, I am grateful.

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Christmas 2010

 

                    Christmas then, Christmas now. From our earliest memories of Christmases past spent with siblings, to where we are all today, Christmas is surely to bring with it the many emotions that are within all of us. “He knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sakes!” [1934, Haven Gillespie, J. Fred Coots], must be in the back of everyone’s mind because kindness & patience are in the air at Christmastime.
                     My earliest memory was playing in my room alongside of my brother as we had awoken to find big stuffed stockings on our beds. It seemed we played for hours. I recall my brother had a tin y metal carrier truck with tiny metal cars that fit onto it. Even then, I do not remember what I had except maybe one of those little vinyl purses with a clear front, printed back and a mirror and comb under a snapped opening. I can still smell that new fresh vinyl smell of Christmas morning. Some of my earliest memories were coming down the stairs and seeing sleds for us, which were standing up against the wall, unwrapped… and another year, seeing 3 rocking chairs with our names hand-lettered onto the backs. Our littlest sister didn’t have a rocking chair because that was probably the year she was born just before Christmas in November. How Santa knew all our names and how to spell them was amazing to me. One year we listened to the radio with updates of Santa flying over Maine. We were all sitting around the table with our father. He then told us to look out the window because there was a bright red light in the sky. It was Rudolph’s nose!! Actually, only later did I find out it was the light on one of those radio towers. Then there was the year we got up very early, all four of us. It was about 430AM when the phone rang. It our cousin across the street who told me to get ourselves back to bed because our parents had just gone to bed. I told my siblings that all we had to do was close the shades so our cousin couldn’t see us. The memories are still there 45 years later. I had a wonderful childhood, full of warm memories with my siblings and the life our parents gave to us. Those memories form our Christmas from year to year as we keep adding new memories and traditions.
                     Over the years we have all had losses, and we must carry forward to make the best of what we have. When we lost grandparents, two cousins, and other people who were important to us, finding meaning during the Christmas season sometimes was not easy. Over the years, I have tried to stay in touch with many parents who have kids with Muscular Dystrophy. We can help each other with our knowledge and be supportive and will do whatever we can to help each other. Some have lost their sons and we must keep them close to our hearts. They have a lot to share with the rest of us. Today the community is closer and quicker to get responses because of social network sites like Face book. I was recently looking for information on how to reach a famed muscular dystrophy doctor in New Jersey. Within 5 minutes I had his contact info, including email addresses as parents from all over the world responded to my request. I see this as a valuable tool to give the best care to our children and our adult children. My need to be a part of this social network site is more important than my need to opt out of it, as I did previously. If adding pictures which show why we need a new piece of equipment for a wheelchair helps others in their quest to also get equipment aiding in their child’s independence, then the site is extremely worthwhile. Lastly, parents who have lost their children also need to be able to share their information with the rest of us. It is a win- win situation, but sometimes also bittersweet. Thank goodness for my DMD family. You are always there for me. The social network sites generally bring about a kind of support for each other because we are generally interested in how others are doing.
                     Each Christmas, I think of those who are no longer here and I know in my heart, they would want us to find love and peace each holiday season. They are never forgotten because they have been a large part of our lives and our Christmases past. There are always others we need to focus on throughout the year who may need us, whether it is a neighbor, someone in a nursing home, a parent, a friend, or a Christmas Family for whom the office may be purchasing presents. Christmas is a wonderful time to remind us to think of others throughout the year because we need to think beyond ourselves and our own problems. With this written, I must agree that there really is a Santa Claus. May God bless you all in the New Year. We are all thankful you are part of our lives.
 

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The Death of In Your Facebook

                    Well last night after checking my status on Facebook, I was mortified what I had found. I had previously posted an article which I thought was interesting and somewhat political. It was a story about the think tank Maine Heritage Policy Center. The Center said that Maine was the state with the highest amount of people on welfare, one in three being dependent. My comment was ‘Good article’. One of my friends is very liberal and has quite a following of progressive thinkers who read her blog. Between my relatives who are conservative and her postings, I felt hurt by what I saw posted. By no means do I think I am thin skinned, but I have many people with whom I discuss ideas and in no way have I ever felt I was absolutely right all the time. Also in no way have I ever resorted to name calling. We are supposed to be respectful of others and try to listen to their ideas as well. There was a great deal of attacking going on in the post, so I decided with much regret to post one last comment.
                     “It is with much regret that I am deactivating my Facebook Account. I have enjoyed it as a tool to keep in touch with family across the globe, and friends, some who grew up in Redbank and others who are DMD moms. It was a great way to share. In the meantime, this will free up my time to pursue other things like my blog http://blog.likes2write.com and to reach me by email fiddlinsuz@roadrunner.com .  I also have to work on my ornaments for the upcoming fairs. I love you all and I will miss our daily contact.”
                     So today, Sept 11, 2010 is a day with great importance to the world, especially the American people who felt the pain of that day upon our own soil. Today is my first day without Facebook and I miss it already. However my life will go on, like it did before Facebook. I am hoping the year will be filled with more tolerance between family and friends.
 

 

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Random Thoughts

                    Since I just finished vacation, having spent hours of my day conversing about domestic politics and world affairs, playing dominoes, running, biking, swimming, reading all the local rags, embroidering and visiting; some might wonder if it really was a vacation. I can assure you it was because I spent each day exactly as I wanted. Of course this doesn’t count all the random thoughts that race around our heads.
                     I have a few goals for myself and I think of how I will accomplish the physical challenges of those goals. I plan to run a 5k race on Labor Day. My webpage has been idle for three years, and I need to do something with that. This is the site I want to build so I can sell my ornaments. My fear is that one day I shall wake up and have a million orders. That is probably ridiculous to fear that because it would spell success to others. 
                     With some of the things I want to accomplish, the enemy is time. I am at an age that I feel I have to finish some of these projects, if only I did not have a full time job. I am careful how I choose to spend my time. It is sort of like when one buys a house and you build equity. At some point the value of your house outweighs purchasing another house. It makes no sense to double up on payments after you have owned your house for half the life of the mortgage. It is wiser to use your extra money elsewhere.
                     We all have albatrosses around our necks. Our family has a handicap van which typically costs the price of two vans combined (about 42,000). I have thought often about providing a service to those who need transport and are at the mercy of transportation which needs to be reserved 3 days in advance. The rest of the world does not have to reserve three days ahead of time, so why should the disabled community? The cost of the van is paid for with money my son receives in assistance. We would not need a van for transport if he was not part of our family. Having a family member who is wheelchair bound, requires a lot of money. The van had to be financed for ten years, and of course it will probably not last that long. The funniest letter I received was from the bank upon our purchase of the van. “Congratulations on the purchase of your recreational vehicle.” 
                     There are others struggling to maintain what they have. A local young man who just turned twenty-one and previously received 24/7 care in his home has had his services reduced to three hours per day. The young man has multiple disabilities, is non verbal and non ambulatory, and his parents are working full time. I worry about them and what may happen regarding their son’s care. The current financial crisis in the state of Maine leaves many people at risk in the same predicament. In a time when so many people think everyone deserves some sort of handout, I believe the best helping hand is at the end of your arm.  The wallet is empty.
                     It is good to be back from vacation and back into the work mode, but there is always something to do…..and I love it.

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Conversation, A Lost Art

                    The art of blogging is my way to stay connected and share ideas which I find informative and interesting as well as a way to tell my stories. Sometimes I am not always sure what I will write. I have a folder stuffed with articles I have found interesting and hope to use as part of my blog content.
                     I am particularly interested in communication since time began as well as current affairs, and changes within individual families and how family life has changed over the years before the industrial revolution. These topics are repeated over and over in my blog because I find we need to stay connected to what is important and quite often those are values which have been eroded over time. Of course, this is only my opinion, but my beliefs are deep rooted.
                     Recently I read an article in AARP, dated March/April 2010, written by David Dudley. He is the editor of Urbanite Magazine out of Baltimore. The magazine was in a doctor’s office but I delighted in the very beginning…”We tweet, we text, we e-mail. Everybody’s chatting, but is anybody listening? Why America needs to revive the vanishing art of conversation. We need to talk.”
 He begins his story in the park with his little daughter and as she is talking away, he is answering an e-mail, somewhat out of touch with what she is talking about. He looked up to notice others connected to their iPods, and blackberries. He had a moment of realization.
                     The article mentioned Daniel Menaker (editor of New Yorker and Random House), who writes about  conversation in his book, “A Good Talk: The Story and Skill of Conversation” He says he is worried because he feels that people today may feel obligated to be available in a public space, such as the many social networking online sites. It seems to me that email may be no longer enough. Menaker feels that we may become a country of overly connected hermits. I think Menaker makes a valid point.
Thinking about my own email, it usually consists of comments from Facebook. Whenever our extended family does get together, the younger teens are often unavailable for conversation if they are connected to their technology.
                     The article also mentions a psychiatrist from Harvard, Richard Schwartz, who co-authored with his wife a book entitled , “The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-first Century”. Simultaneous Connection and Isolation are what our lives are about these days. He told of a patient asking if they could do a counseling session over the telephone.
                     According to Menaker, the golden age of conversation was in the pre-industrial era. Ideas came about because dialogue was exchanged. It was a civil society. Menaker spoke of his feelings that there will be a loss of humane regard as digital technology is on the rise. People can post anonymously and write what they wish , oftentimes with no regard to another person’s feelings.
                     Jacqueline Leo, former editor in chief of Readers Digest, writes in her book, “Seven: the number for Happiness, Love and Success”, about the distractions of digital media and the loss of the art of listening. She thinks that because we are addicted to the technology because of our conceit, that we cannot put it down. Technology gives us a feeling of importance.
                     All in all, I must say I am going to try to be more conscious of how I spend my time, but not before I post this to my Facebook. Then I am going to see if I can join Facebook anonymous because I know that I am not the only one!
 
 

 
 

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Okinawa Diary

                Mr Philip LaViolet, of Westbrook, was 18 at the time of the invasion of Okinawa. He passed away last year. Phil wrote “April 10th, 1945- Most of the Boys except a few moved down to our new Bivouac area where our big depot is going to be. As we passed the 96th DIV. cemetery, they were burying our soldiers and there were about 25 crosses. I’ll bet than in a few weeks we won’t be able to count all the crosses in this cemetery.”
                 This excerpt taken from Phil’s diary that he transcribed for the Westbrook Historical Society was quite revealing and poignant. That excerpt was written the first week of the invasion. I knew Phil for a few years and enjoyed talking with him often when he would come up to the historical society to work on his war veteran collection. I still miss his stories and his presence there.
 I knew about Phil’s diary but never read it while he was alive. He wrote with great humor, detail and with great historical references. I believe he was a born historian. After reading his diary, I am convinced of that.
                 He joined the army like so many young men of that generation did. Basic training was at Camp Shelby in Louisiana , with weeks of sleeping on the ground outside in the cow pastures full of manure and mud. There was a comical drawing made by one of his comrades of Bugs, known as Major Pritz. One of the fellows gave him that nickname because he had two front teeth which protruded. In Phil’s descriptions, every time Bugs would shout orders, they all began with, “Damn it!” The writing is very descriptive and it appears that the guys were entertained with Bugs’ charades. In later years, Phil had handwritten an addition to an excerpt explaining that they had the highest respect for Bugs, and the humorous anecdotes were in no way meant to be disrespectful of the man they calls Bugs. Several times in the diary, Phil credits Bugs for turning them all into men, part of a fine unit. He credits Bugs for helping to prepare them for what they were later to experience as the Invasion of Okinawa on April 1st, 1945.
                 One of his fellow friends was named Edward Sestak. I can’t help but wonder if Joe Sestak, veteran and politician, from Pennsylvania may have been a relation, because his family has military ties. It is interesting to read history and find these connections.
                 He wrote about their Sunday services and how they were lucky to have them. Interestingly, he noted that there were many more fellows attending these services than did so while in the States. He wondered if they were afraid, or cowards who wanted to repent. Phil was raised with a strong religious background in the town of Westbrook, Maine. He told me once that since there was no Catholic High School, his mother sent him to Worcester, Massachusetts to attend Assumption College High School to continue his religious education. Jokingly he told me that his mother didn’t think there would be too many girl distractions in Worcester, but Phil said that of course there were girls down there. 
                Once I started reading, I could not put the diary down. It was compelling to read as he wrote with much description. Phil wrote about the huge convoy headed for the Pacific somewhere. As far as he could see, he estimated about five thousand ships, and described destroyers, carriers, tankers, battleships and so on. At some point the convoy became smaller Phil mentioned. He thought it had split. In fact, when they finally found out that they were headed to Okinawa, he wrote about the convoy meeting again for the invasion. His description of the ships all together was most impressive. He felt that the invasion was larger than the one at Normandy.  (Battle of Okinawa was the largest amphibious invasion of the Pacific Campaign , quoted by one Okinawan as “storm of steel”) Quite often in his writing, he reveals his belief that there will be much friction between the European Theatre and the Pacific Theatre. The reasons were that their European counterparts had towns, taverns, women and were basically spoiled in comparison to those serving in the Pacific. The European Theatre also had USO shows. He wrote that this friction that would be ever present.
                 This young man thought and wrote as he journeyed across the ocean unaware of where he was headed or what was in store for him. Their only stop would be in Hawaii for a while. Before they left, Bugs spoke to the men and told them he would not be going with them but would be joining them shortly. Phil wrote how Bugs appeared a little choked up, but assured the men that they would be ok. He mentioned how Bugs probably just told them that to help prepare them all, unsure what their destination held for each of them. It had been 56 days with no mail from home. The moral was not good.
                 Kamikaze planes shot at a few of the allied ships, in all taking out about 34 ships. The Japanese aircraft loss was very significant in the Invasion of Okinawa, almost eight thousand planes.  Upon arrival, amphibious landings proved successful partly due to all the practice landings they had done.  Phil wrote how they heard Tokyo Rose broadcasting and calling men in their unit by name as they were landing. Okinawa was situated about 400 miles south of Japan, proving to be a strategic location to cut off Japanese sea lines of communication and also their supply lines of materials from the south. The Japanese on the island did not choose to fight allies at the beach, but rather waited inland. By nightfall some 60,000 landed on the beach unopposed. Immediately, roads were built, and camps set up trenches and foxholes dug to accommodate all the soldiers. Then nearly every night they were raided by Japanese, either by planes or by snipers, sometimes flying so close to the foxholes, you could light a cigarette, Phil wrote. 
                Communication of world events was significantly far different then in comparison to today. For instance, Phil wrote that they heard had heard of the death of FDR ,however it was two days later when they received the news of their Commander in Chief’s death. They had also heard of Germany’s surrender later.
                About two or three weeks later, “Bugs” Major Pritz joined his troops again. The men were happy to see him, however their experiences had been quite intense since they last saw Bugs. The first day upon Bugs’ arrival, there was an air raid and the men grabbed their helmets and ran for cover, some for the foxholes. Bugs jumped into a foxhole and LaViolet later wrote that Bugs had pissed his pants. It wasn’t long before Bugs was shouting orders and busting people. LaViolet wrote that Bugs should be careful because “over here” someone wouldn’t care and could put a bullet into Bug’s head. This was in May. 
                On June 20th, LaViolet writes about General Bruckner getting killed because he wanted to see what the infantry was up to in Naha, capital of Okinawa and was caught in battle.  Throughout his diary, he writes of the fighting, and death around him as he did in June when he wrote of six Japanese men killed. On July 5th, a dud exploded, killing twenty five Americans. His diary is full of photos of his comrades and places and events. He also attached several articles of historical interest to the campaign and also Japanese customs, though like any soldier did not think kindly of the enemy. Phil wrote of meeting a fellow Westbrook boy named Gerald Fluett in August. On August 10th Phil wrote of the excitement in the use of the A-Bomb to end this war. The following day, August 11th, there was a wild excitement and reckless celebration over the rumor that the Japanese were going to surrender. The reckless behavior continued long after the commanding officer’s shouts to stop the behavior were ignored. Phil and others dove onto the ground with helmets to avoid the gunshots by fellow soldiers. After the ordeal was over, six men had been killed from the wild behavior. Phil wrote that the guys went crazy when they heard rumor of surrender. Once the surrender did take place, Phil and some fellow soldiers went into town to look around. Evidently, they entered a building that had been shelled and they were scavenging. They heard some noises and a group of soldiers found some Japanese soldiers hiding. The Japanese were shot. They could have easily shot the Americans because the Americans were unaware they were so close. 
                 He later wrote of men having accumulated points. The men with the most points, because of being married and/or having children, would be allowed to go home first. It seems there was a lot of bureaucracy in getting the men home and frustrations mounted. At the end, LaViolet was to be part of the Occupied Army and was stationed in Korea after the war. It took some time but he finally got home. 
                I am grateful I finally read of Phil’s experiences. I have always held him in high esteem, a good humble family man whose true gift was his passion for history and his devotion to God and family and friends.

                     I sought permission from one of Phil’s daughters to post this story and she obliged graciously.

Reprint permission with author’s permission @ fiddlinsuz@roadrunner.com

RESPECT

                    A recent trip to Florida, I met a new older woman who I enjoyed conversing with immensely. She was retired as a patient service coordinator, the liaison between patients and doctors and the facilitation of necessary medical services which could help the patient. She loved her job and she was good at it. I had a great sense of that after our day long journey on the water filled with conversation. With the various experiences our family has had with the medical field, I know just how important her job is to patients.
                     She was full of wisdom and that is why I think I have always enjoyed conversing with those who have experienced life longer than me. They have a different perspective on how it all fits together. She said that it all boils down to “A little respect goes a long way” She spoke of how she put up with a lot of things with her first husband that she would never put up with now. She was also working in a funeral business talking with families who had come to make arrangements for their loved ones. She also was very good at that. Sometimes people just need to talk and have someone listen to them.
                     The older I get, the more I seem to understand about certain things. I always  believed in God but was not really sure of what role God played in my particular life. Some of my life experiences, I have consciously reached for help in my distress. I found by doing so that I was able to come to some peace with turmoil I had been experiencing. Anyone who has been married for any length of time could tell you if they chose to share, that it is difficult sometimes to stay together because we all change as time marches on. We handle things differently and it is not always together as a couple. Marriage is different for all of us. I have come to believe that it is our faith that helps us through painful life experiences and for some, to persevere through the bad times as well as the good times. Marriage is not for wimps. Some people just accept their lot in life and try to find meaning in that. Maybe I am way off, but this is what I have come to believe. 
                     Acceptance ….accept ourselves that we could possibly be similar to our parents whom we do not always tolerate…..accept our parents because they did nothing but try their best, with no instructions to raise us into decent human beings, and always loved us unconditionally even when we disappointed them….accept your children the same way your parents accepted you. Life is sometimes sad when we don’t receive what we expected, in the form of perfect children, perfect spouses, and aging parents. Life is about constant change and how we choose to react. Each day is new, and the older we get, we can count our blessings that we saw the sun shine again, or the snow fall. Live life, because it is now. Time wasted is just that. Time wasted. Ask yourselves, what can you do to make things a little nicer for someone else? After all we have to live with our own selves and it is “not all about me”. There is room enough to fill your hearts with love and face the day with a smile knowing that you did your best today.
 

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Acceptance is a Rare Gift

            It has been a long time since I put pen to paper. Now that I am back home, enjoying life in my new kitchen, it is time to start posting some more blogs. You know the older I get, I am so lucky to have a nice family. You can fill your life up with so many distractions… that sometimes we forget what is important. At the end of the day, it is my parent’s  and my sisters whom I call each day, sometimes more than once. I spoke with my sisters about this and one of my sisters feels the same, but the other sister is very independent and knows our parents are always there for her, so she seldom calls, as she is very busy herself. Once I read a newspaper column about a man who was en route to the emergency room, very upset because he had no time for being sick. He filled his life with work… and in the end, at the emergency room as he lay dying, there was nobody with him…..and yes that article bothered me somewhat. It stuck with me.
             Since I am back home, I have been trying to be more tolerant of those who need me a little more than I sometimes wish to spend. It is difficult to be a caregiver but it is not the person’s fault in any way. Sometime’s it is a lesson I need to be taught, for whatever reason. Life is really about acceptance on many different levels. I have a lot to learn because after all, none of us are finished products.
             Sometimes it is about having to let go… letting go of bothersome issues with the past and somehow finding peace with them, letting go of feeling like we are in some sort of control of our young adult children, because they have already learned what you tried to teach them, and letting go of demons from the past. I can say that I believe that women and men of yesteryear, had so many issues as married couples, but they never burdened their kids with them. Sometimes I wonder if it is better that we were left out of the realities of marriage, of parenthood, the realities of childbirth and the realities of being a woman. 
            Today a woman has so many choices but it boils down to one thing. We cannot have it all even though we have been led to believe that we can have it all. Something has to be sacrificed. I do not wish to be a big CEO executive. I want to find balance between being a mom, a wife and something for me. I think most women feel this way, if they are part of a family. I do not want to be identified by my work, even though what I do as a hobby is important to me, more important than my real life profession. 
I think about people I knew and are now long gone…and what I learned from them. I learned from my cousin Marietta about the grace of trying to live as normal a life as she could. She was tough in her own way. She lived before inclusion became a law and never had full independence and she died at the age of thirty-one in a nursing home because her mother died a few years before from cancer. 
            I recall David Roberts, the young man who lived down the street. He just lived his life, and experienced many medical difficulties. He went to dialysis three times per week, but rode a bike often and made puzzles and toys from wood. It is the hope that tomorrow will be a better day and to accept that. That takes a great deal of courage and grace. These people I knew have so much to offer and they think that their lives have nothing to offer…. Though they are rich in the experience and the secret of the happiness to life…because their distractions are prioritized…… if only we could know where our priorities lie… and then we would unlock the secret to the real happiness in our lives. May we all learn acceptance somewhere along the way, and to recognize when it is presented to us.

 

Reprint permission with author’s permission @ fiddlinsuz@roadrunner.com

CURRENT EVENTS EDITORIAL

The current political events of the day, seem to get me wound up on so many levels. I believe that the destruction of the US dollar, our economy and Capitalism are inevitable because the new global economy, and world health system, redistribution of wealth will replace our current government. I believe that Capitalism needs to be destroyed if it is to be replaced by a new global government and currency.  Capitalism is a threat to the new world order, I believe. After all, why would anyone ever want to get ahead? Of course I am being facetious .I think our grandfathers who fought in World War 2 would not recognize what they were fighting for today because today we are becoming more of a communistic society.  Their war would not be won, because of 24/7 newsfeeds. Then everyone was part of the war effort, not like today where America is so far removed from the warfront that they are most likely shopping somewhere. Soldiers and their actions would be scrutized, held to a standard which nobody could attain. This is only my belief. Unfortunately , some news stations warn of the US government straying from the US Constitution. It stirs discontent amongst us, which is good, because we need to be aware. However, the US government has been far removed from the US Constitution since before the Great Depression. People lost everything during the Depression, had land confiscated and generally lost all their properties and basic human rights which were violated. Some were even murdered by their own US soldiers, including a time when Patton, Eisenhower , and other notables took orders from their Commander in Chief (US President) and fired and bayoneted the citizens of the US because the citizens only wanted their Bonuses for serving in WW1 which they had been promised. They had marched on Washington, ten or so years after the war  and after the attack, they left empty handed  with no bonus money. The reason for the Bonus Marchers journey to Washington, was that many were unemployed and had very hungry families at home . Today unemployment in many counties across America is at twenty percent. People who worked on the trains allowed many to ride the rails for free hopping on boxcars all across America to convene in Washington DC to collect their bonus money. It happened then and it can happen again. People were starved and it continued for much longer than needed- all because those in power wanted to keep the average person down. Though President Hoover was pretty much blamed for the Stock Market Crash, it was FDR who was accused of prolonging the Great Depression, a time when people in America actually died from starvation. Many people interviewed in Studs Terkel’s  book, Hard Times, referred to FDR as the Great Destroyer. Knowing the history of our country can help us not to repeat the same mistakes . Today, so many rely on the US  government to solve so many of their problems, and some are seemingly just plain lazy, that we are not so different from our Communist counterparts, waiting for that check to come in so we can buy our food, pay our rent and get whatever it is that we are ‘entitled’. It reminds me of the time I lived In Germany when the wall came down and the feelings the West Germans had for their East German neighbors. Many felt that the East Germans had become lazy over time, waiting for the government to solve their problems and they became infuriated when the East Germans came to West Germany to take jobs and get priority housing and retrieve their government checks at the work station. The East Germans received assistance and discontent grew amongst the West Germans because they subsidized those entitlement checks. We have grown lazy and I wonder why our grandfathers ever fought WW2, because they would not recognize the complacency which has replaced being actively involved in government affairs. Complacent,uninformed,and many uneducated citizens have replaced the last generation. Is it always a good thing to give your children everything, so that they may have a better life than yours? My thoughts are as follows. After reading a lifetime’s worth of diaries from the mid 1800’s of an ancestor, I have found that money was regarded as a highly valued tool. My ancestors did not have their mailboxes filled with catalogs, or a television selling them 24/7 items that they felt they needed, or malls or magazines…or grocery stores They took a  newspaper once a week which had advertisements. My ancestors, bought only what they needed, spent very little on frivolous things, and more importantly had a great deal of money because taxes were not that high .I read about transactions of thousands of dollars, in a time when taxes were 24 dollars per year, including property, and poll taxes. I read most often that money was used as a tool, and when loaning to relatives, the stipulation was to always pay back with interest. Nobody was ‘given’ anything. There were no free rides .It is interesting to compare that time period when prices were tied to the land, for instance the cost of grain compared to today and how the dollar is all afloat, not tied to anything of great value. I have come to believe that were are chained to China and Americans may want to rethink their dependency upon China. Americans should be concerned.

Reprint permission with author’s permission @ fiddlinsuz@roadrunner.com

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