A LETTER TO A GRANDSON

This is from a letter written by my husband. It is my Valentine gift to you.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

My Dear Grandson,

You were born on the 28th of August 2006, just three days ago. You will not read or understand what I am writing for a good number of years. And by the time you read this, I will be buried, having lived a good, rich exciting and satisfying life.

What can I possibly write at this time that will make any sense to you as you begin to read? What would I most want you to understand, realize, inherit, or discover? I have no profound wisdom, though I’ve enjoyed learning all my life.

I also hope that perhaps you will be able some day to read some of my journals, poetry, and essays. I have written much, published little, and never had the discipline to write a book.

I want you to know how important love is in our lives, your life. Know without question that you are loved even before birth. Your parents, my son and his lovely, intelligent, creative wife, your mother, loves you more deeply than can be expressed in these words. And as an old popular song sung by Nat King Cole many years ago, “The Greatest thing you’ll every learn, is just to love and be loved in return.”

So, to love and be fully, unconditionally, continually without having to constantly earn that love, is about as wise as I can because that has been the experience of your father’s parents.

At another time he wrote:

(Parenthetical thoughts)
Monday, February 21, 2011
(I just took a writing break and sat in the other room leafing through some of my writing from past Februaries in the South. I’ve decided to take up brick making. I’ll imprint my words on bricks, fire them, and then bury them in abandoned blue stone quarries and let them be discovered some later centuries by anthropologists seeking evidence of our decline as a world power.)

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A CHRISTIAN ROMANCE

A story of Christian love

and friendship.

Caroline Wallace’s

cocky husband took their savings and

left. Will he return as her children insist?
Is she strong enough to stand on her own?

 

Lakeafton.wordpress.com

 Available Through Amazon.com
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I DON’T GET IT!

I have always been puzzled why the male of our species seemingly feels that they know best for the other half of the species.

Does a man have to change sanitary napkins or use tampons for three days to a week each month? Perhaps to understand the physical part of being a woman, every man should have to put tampons in their body for one week each month for one year. I’m sure after just one year they would have a greater understanding of a woman’s menstrual cycle

How does a man know the sorrow of a woman getting her period when she wants desperately to be pregnant?

What about the woman, who gets pregnant when she doesn’t want to be?

Does the man who got her pregnant throw up every morning for a month or more, or have to carry and bend over an extra twenty pounds in front of him for three or four months?

Is it to men to decide if a woman must have a baby, whether or not she will be able to care for him or her.

Not in my book. I speak from experience. My first pregnancy ended late in the ninth month with a still birth. Two years later I praised God when I gave birth to my son, who was healthy but required to have a blood change in his first five hours of life. A few years later I miscarried. Then once again I carried a baby for nine months. I gave birth to a dead baby. My husband agreed that another pregnancy would do great mental and emotional damage to our family.

We happily adopted our daughter two years later. We were never sorry, only thankful.

 

 

Resolutions: New or Old

Is it too late to come up with New Year’s Resolutions?

Have two.

One, I will blog more consistently. So I’m already behind here. How about twice a month, rather than once a week? Perhaps I can do this. I will try. Sometimes, probably usually, it’s just that I don’t open a new document and type an  idea that’s been floating around in my brain.

Two, I will get my manuscripts out to agents and editors. I find this more difficult than writing the story to begin with. I don’t mind editing and rewriting. I see my manuscripts and writing improving as I do them. But preparing that query, synopsis, cover letter? Those are very difficult.

TODAY

As I contemplated what I’d do today, I studied the photo of my great grandfather Van Steenberg that hangs in my bedroom. He was born in 1849.  His great great grandfather Van Steenbergen was born in New York in 1704.  How different were their lives than mine. How different my great grandchildren’s lives will be. Each generation has its own tale of modernity.

My great grandfather traveled mainly by horse and buggy, although cars were popular when he died in 1935.  In my lifetime local travel has always been driven vehicles and planes for long distance. Now driverless vehicles are new.

Who knows what local travel will be for my great grandchildren. I have long dreamed of travel on a highway in a vehicle that would be primarily on a highway to take you from place to place while as a passenger I read, talk, play a game or nap. Then at my destination, my vehicle would be exited on a ramp where I would take control to go to a particular address. All of this technology is available now. Then again travel might be something yet undreamed.

 

Resolutions: Old or New

Is it too late to come up with New Year’s Resolutions?

Have two.

One, I will blog more consistently. So I’m already behind here. How about twice a month, rather than once a week? Perhaps I can do this. I will try. Sometimes, probably usually, it’s just that I don’t open a new document and type an  idea that’s been floating around in my brain.

Two, I will get my manuscripts out to agents and editors. I find this more difficult than writing the story to begin with. I don’t mind editing and rewriting. I see my manuscripts and writing improving as I do them. But preparing that query, synopsis, cover letter? Those are very difficult.

TODAY

As I contemplated what I’d do today, I studied the photo of my great grandfather Van Steenbergh that hangs in my bedroom. He was born in 1849.  His great great grandfather Van Steenberghen was born in New York in 1704.  How different were their lives than mine. How different my great grandchildren’s lives will be. Each generation has its own tale of modernity.

My great grandfather traveled mainly by horse and buggy, although cars were popular when he died in 1935.  In my lifetime local travel has always been driven vehicles and planes for long distance. Now driverless vehicles are new.

Who knows what local travel will be for my great grandchildren. I have long dreamed of travel on a highway in a vehicle that would be primarily on a highway to take you from place to place while as a passenger I read, talk, play a game or nap. Then at my destination, my vehicle would be exited on a ramp where I would take control to go to a particular address. All of this technology is available now. Then again travel might be something yet undreamed.

 

 

ALONE OR ISOLATED: READ

Today I sat in my warm living room and drank my coffee. Outside the snow had started coming down. My weather radio warned drivers of slippery roads and blowing snow. It also warned of very low temperatures for tomorrow morning that could give frostbite to exposed skin in just ten minutes.

Twice during the day, I put on boots, coat, hat, and mittens. On my small back porch I scraped off the snow, so I could have egress from that end of my house. The front has a large covered porch and is easily accessible.

I contemplated how I would feel if I could not leave my home. How would the warnings and snow make me feel?

Would I simply feel alone or would I feel isolated?

Feeling isolated could be frightening. What could I do to negate the feeling?

I could have turned on the TV and let newscasters or entertainers keep me company. Other than checking on the weather station a couple of times, I didn’t do that.

I decided I needed exercise. I hate doing exercises. So I sat down at the piano and played music I knew and some that I didn’t. I need to practice more.

Finally, I decided I needed another world to inhabit temporarily. How could I do that? Choose a book and  read.  I chose not a great book that I couldn’t put down, but one that answered the temporary need.

So, if you are feeling alone or isolated these are my suggestions.

 

 

MORE ON WARSAW

PHOTO: View of a small museum from our apartment on Observatorow

 

EXCERPTS FROM A LETTER TO FRIENDS DATED DECEMBER 2, 1989

We get mail that comes to us through the American Embassy. If we wait until we’re home (to open it), we make a pot of tea, then sit with our feet up and relish every word.

Our life here can be described as a set of small victories. I have begun to feel as if I’m digging for Herkimer diamonds and find small (and large) perfect jewels. The hall of the opera house is lovely with great crystal chandeliers made in Poland. It has a huge stage canted uphill for a true life-like effect and the possibility of nearly any stage effect including someone jumping from a suspended bridge into the water.

At another concert hall we saw Garrick Olson, an American pianist born in White Plains, New York, who won the Chopin competition here in 1970. He played to a standing room only audience who called him back for encores several times. While I had not heard of him, the Poles certainly had and love him. He was excellent. On December 8 we have tickets to a symphony concert to hear Saint-Saens Organ Symphony, which I’m looking forward to.

I have been teaching English to a group of novitiates of Mother Theresa’s order. I will not go back now until January when I expect here will be a totally new group of girls. They impress me. They thoroughly enjoy life together. Mother Theresa believes in laughter. While these girls are very serious about learning English, they giggle and share silly things that have happened to them.

In addition, I’m singing in a choir led by an American expat. It consists mostly of Poles, so 98 percent of the instruction is in Polish, which I miss. I can understand the letters, so I usually know where we are. We sang Mozart’s Requiem. It was a thrill to be a part of it.

Shopping  produces jewels. I found a lovely plaid skirt, a blouse, and a sweater for 174,500 zlotys, translated is about $25. Clothing appears in strange places as do odds and ends one needs–Crest in local news stand, or slippers in an underground cross walk. I have also been able to get great haircuts just up the hill from our house for the equivalent of 75 cents.

Enough for now, another chapter to come later.