Friday, November 5, 2010

LETTERS - A Great Love Story

Most every night I have had the opportunity, actually a unique opportunity, to be with my parents in a sense who have both passed on.  Mom died April 6, 2003 and my dad followed shortly behind on June 13, 2003.  Those two days are of course embedded into my mind and will follow me when it comes my time to cross over.

So far I have typed into the computer (and saved on a flash drive) 60 letters from my mom to my dad during the period of 1937 thru 1944.  And now I'm doing the same with my dad's letters.  There are more letters from him at least 40 more, in fact last night I typed letter 43.  I will eventually put them into a book format (both ebook and hard bound) for my kids and grandkids.

I do know while reading these letters I am getting glimpses into the man and the woman that I did not know while growing up in their home.  The dad I know worked a lot of hours painting, roofing, and putting on siding.  It was not an easy life for him but I can now see why he needed to be his own boss.  During his service in the military he was not happy with the system.  Probably because he should have been one of the higher ups giving the orders rather than taking them.  My mom on the other hand was quite fragile, and from the bits and pieces of her life she did not have it easy from the time she was four years old up until my dad was finally discharged from the service.

It was not easy for anyone during that period when our country was at war.  Rationing of much of what we take for granted: gas, sugar, flour, oil, etc., was not readily available for the folks on the homefront.  A couple of my dad's letters had him spending Easter, Christmas, and his birthday alone, or in some cold unfriendly barracks, wishing for what he called my mom's "home-mades," namely homemade pasta.  He loved his pasta!

My mom did not work outside the home.  She stayed in a small apartment in Hartford (Albany Avenue) and often would go over to her sisters for both company and meals. Only a month before her death did my sister and I learned that she had spent time in an orphanage.  We knew both of my maternal grandparents died within a year of each other; my grandmother from TB, my grandfather from the 1918 influenza that hit the world hard. We did not know she spent her childhood into adolescence inside that orphanage, explaining so many things to us why she lived in a state of anxiety, depression, and fear through our own formative years. 

Yet from these letters I can see my dad and mom truly wanted to be together.  Yes, there were problems in their relationship, especially after my mom's breakdown when my sister and I were only four.  She disappeared from our own lives for a time and of course that has probably affected our own sense of an abandonment issue where we needed to deal with our own bouts of anxiety, depression, and fears.
But in the whole scheme of things mom and dad truly loved each other.  They were married in 1938 and they passed on in 2003...65 years together.

I call this a true love story.  They had very little while my dad served his country.  Yet in his letters he promised her the house with the white picket fence, and whatever else she wanted.  I remember growing up on the corner of Berkshire Road and Litchfield Place in Rocky Hill, Connecticut inside a small five room yellow ranch house (called tract housing.)   And yes there was a pristine white picket fence that surrounded the small yard.   Also what they called a wooded stockade fence covered in beautiful red roses.

I feel their presence quite strongly at times, and for me it comforts me especially knowing that they are together still.  I'll continue to finish typing all of these letters and as I do they will continue to provide a great love story; a love story that many never get to enjoy because I think many quit on each other too soon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

November Already!

I can't believe October 2010 has passed and I'm wondering where that month went.  These months go by so fast, too darn fast  for my liking.  I was no sooner celebrating the Fourth of July when I find myself this past weekend removing make up after attending a Halloween dance and voila now we're into November 2010.

Now I'm having to think about Thanksgiving, and the rest of the holidays that follow, plus start to worry about the cold weather, and the elements of sleet, snow, and ice that come along with at this time of year.

I've found by taking it one day at a time is probably going to be the best route to take.

Last night I enjoyed a great meal of Baramundie fish, steamed veggies and a nice glass of wine.  Well there were two glasses except the first one found its way on to my hardwood living room floor, the glass breaking into a thousand pieces.  For me it was almost a forewarning of things to come.  Not sure what that's going to be but sooner or later I'm sure I'll find out.  Back problems, an unfocused mind, plus other distractions has prevented me from focusing where I should and want to focus, namely my stories. 

I have this thing about premonitions.  I used to freak out relatives back when I was younger, experiencing dreams or so-called visions stemming form simple thoughts inside my mind that were more or less right on the money.

Sometimes they were good, sometimes there were not so good thoughts.

I picked up the pieces of glass last night and thought this is pretty much what we all find ourselves doing at one time or another, which is picking up the pieces of our lives when at times we don't see too clearly where exactly that life is headed or perhaps more so where we might want that life to go.  It's always a good thing to have a plan, except even with plans in place, things go awry.

One things I've learned over the years especially the past eight years is never to hold high expectations about most things because it prevents experiencing those disappointments when life can suddenly take a different course.

Still, predictability, especially after a certain age is not so bad in the whole scheme of things.  

Predictability, or the certainty of knowing things are okay allows me to focus back on the creative process.  Unpredictability in life distracts me to the point that my mind can't wrap itself around any of my latest projects.

And lately my writing life has left the tracks so to speak.  Plus I haven't been as disciplined in getting my stories written,  stuck somewhere inside my head waiting for their release.

There's always one other more thing to do; cook meals, clean up, walk the dog, attend a dance, spend time with family and friends, make another chiropractor session, etc., etc.  Things that all writers are faced with when making that decision to simply sit in front of a computer and write.

One of the plusses of winter I guess is the weather will keep me indoors more than outdoors.  I don't do well in the cold.  Except for bundling up once a day to take my dog for her walk, I will hopefully find myself sitting here at my computer cranking out the necessary words and pages that eventually comprises my next story.

Meantime, I'm going to go get another Snicker bar from the plastic pumpkin sitting on my dining room table.