Fishing

He runs down the sand dune

Slipping sliding down

Flings his fishing line over his head

A school of dolphin near the shore

Dive in and out of the water

I can’t believe it

Father wants to catch

One

 

He runs down the beach

Races with the dolphins

They play with him

Tease him

Never losing pace

His feet

Pound the shoreline

Keeping up

Until

Far down the beach

He loses breath

Falls back

And they swim

Away

 

—1981

(under)Painting by Brian McQueen

All Love for My Hero

MomDadWalkDownAisle

Oh

I remember well

The beautiful young man

Standing in the front room

Of the Rodgers Park Jewish

Community Center

One June morning in

1954

I have come there

To be a counselor

In the Center’s summer day camp

A job I’m not overly excited

About taking

Only here because a college friend

Tells me there’s an opening for a

Girl counselor     and there isn’t any

Other summer jobs I know of

To apply for

Oh yes

I walk in and there he is

Standing right smack in front

Of me

I look up into a pair of very

Blue eyes

In a face smiling down at me

With beautiful     white     even teeth

He wears a white tee shirt

The sleeves rolled up once

His arms tanned     and not bulging

With muscles     just right

I don’t remember anything else of that

Day     our first meeting

Except that first day unbeknownst

To me     is the blessed first day of

Sixty-two wonderful years     sixty of them

In marriage

 

Thank you God     thank you Stephen

And you beloved family

Beloved friends

For blessing us     honoring us

By coming to be with us

As we celebrate our marriage

Of sixty blessed years

 

Thank you     Thank you     Thank you

MomDadVows

Daughter Mine

IMG_0263

Daughter mine

I would walk with you

Again

Hand in hand

Down a Carlsbad Village street

On our way for coffee

And buttermilk biscuits

Stopping to window shop

If there was time

I would walk with you

Again

Daughter mine

 

I would walk with you

Again

My daughter

Along the San Clemente shore

At low tide

Our foot prints following us

In wet sand

The smell of salty sea

Air

Filling our lungs

No words needed

There is beach music

To hear

The sound of the gulls’

High pitched cries

The ocean’s own voice

Its waves rolling in

Rolling out

Rhythms of its

Beating heart

I would walk with you

There

Daughter mine

Again

 

It has come with the years

As you know

Daughter mine

I no longer walk

Down a village street

No longer walk on wet sand

At low tide

For me

There is no pain

In the remembering

The scenes are images imprinted

In my soul

 

Come     daughter mine

Let us gather time

To sit together

Let us drink myriad

Cups of tea

There is so much

We have to share

You and I

The past is gone     gone

My daughter

This is now

Now is our today

 

I love you

 

Rain

1584

*

Rain

I hear tires     swishing

On wet pavement

As rain falls on the street

Below my window

Their gentle sounds soothe me

Into sleep

 

A foghorn calls warnings

From its station on the water

Off a Lake Michigan shoreline

An urgent voice

Repeating     repeating     repeating

Through heavy rains

Through dense fog

This foghorn of my childhood

Whose language

I learned to love early on

Will never forget

 

Rain is on its way

Over a meadow of rocks

Of tall wavy grasses

Across from my cabin

At summer camp

It advances towards me

Like an army

Slow steady relentless

Then pours itself

Onto the cabin roof

A hundred kettle drums

Pound over my head

Reverberating through every bone

In my body

Oh     I long for Mother

I want to go home

 

Drought

Many rains since

Have come     have left their imprints

On my mind

Their sounds     the smell of wet earth

A day with no sun

Only clouds hanging low

Different shades of gray

That change as rain stops

Begins again

Sheets of rain sweeping down a street

Across an empty field

As wind pushes them along

I visualize rain

Dropping on the surface of a pond

A lake     the ocean itself

Hear rain pound against my windows

Pray rain     think rain

Give thanks for rain

Silently call to my friend

The sycamore tree

Call to every living thing

That sustains itself

From the earth

Hang on     Hang on

The rains will come

They will     come

Hang on

Hang on

 

*photo image: gemini

“You are wonderful!”

Fortune Teller MomCropped

This is me, everyone, somewhere in the 1970’s. I have on an outfit that came from India. How or where I obtained it, I have no idea. But it felt just perfect for dressing up as a fortuneteller for a birthday party we were giving for one of our children!

Which one of the four I don’t remember, but am guessing it wasn’t our oldest, Danny. He was a sophisticated seventh or eighth grader. Maybe even a high school freshman. No, it would not have been Danny. Maybe Dina? She was only in third or fourth grade in the early 1970’s, and her girlfriends would have loved having their fortunes told, even by me, pretending to be a mysterious fortuneteller.

But now that I am truly remembering this event, I think it was Andy. His birthday is in October, close to Halloween. Wouldn’t it make sense to have the birthday boy’s mom dress up and pretend to tell the guests their fortunes? Never mind the fortunes would be made up.

I do vividly remember creating great fortunes for each child, boys or girls, maybe both if Andy’s friends or Dina’s friends were included in each others’ birthday celebrations. And here was Ronny, a fifth, sixth, or seventh grader. He loved dress ups. Perhaps it was his birthday in the middle of December. No, it HAD to be Andy’s in October.

Anyway, the fortunetelling place was set up in Steve’s and my bedroom, or was it? I had on a lovely shawl on my head made of the same material the pants and top were made of. Then there was something I am unable to identify on top of the shawl to hold it in place.

So there I was all dressed up ready for business! Well, I knew every child that walked into the bedroom, or rather, the fortuneteller’s room, where I was seated on the floor on a cushion. I knew their family situations. Knew if they were happy or troubled at the time of the party. I knew their personalities. I knew each of them. And so I created the most WONDERFUL fortunes:

“You will have a wonderful life filled with adventure and grand success.”

“You will achieve everything in your life you will want to achieve, and everything you work for will be a great success”

“You will have a most wonderful life. The world is waiting for you and you will have success in everything you set out to do.”

“Do not be fearful; know your future is going to be filled with happiness and success.”

And on and on. I had no idea if any of this would come to pass, but the huge smiles on their faces let me know they’d been happy with their fortunes. And certainly, I believed, giving them happy fortunes to put into their minds, might truly help them as they traveled into their futures.

One other thing: I told every child who came to hear my made up fortunes, You are  wonderful! And they were, so absolutely wonderful.

Big Blue, 1971

1971 No Cal Road Trip

“Big Blue,” summer 1971, somewhere in Northern California

Hello, everyone … I want to introduce to you our wonderful 1964 Buick station wagon, a gift from my mother and grandmother, costing $4,000, a huge sum back then that Steve and I could never have afforded! During the late 1960’s, we took several trips to Dallas, Texas in this Buick, to visit Steve’s mother, oldest brother, and his wife. So we were in practice by August of l970 when we piled into “Big Blue” and began a cross-country drive to our new home in Manhattan Beach, California—stopping in Dallas on the way. Our two dogs flew!

Now, back then there were no such things as seat belts. All four of our young children shared a big picnic basket, filled with cookies, string cheese, peanut butter crackers and other not too healthy items, which sustained them as they rode, untethered, in the back of “Big Blue” whose back two rows of seats had been lowered to accommodate them. There they were, rolling around with no restraints to keep them safe—laughing, squabbling, eating, playing games. I shudder to remember. And I cried most of the way, having left my mother and step-father back in Illinois without their four grandchildren; how could I have been so cruel!

Well, we settled happily in Manhattan Beach, in a house that was an easy walk to a wonderful beach. Then, in August of l971 we were invited to meet Steve’s oldest brother and his family in Yosemite, before moving on to a rented house on Lake Tahoe. We were so excited—Yosemite! Another big trip in “Big Blue” and off we went. Unfortunately, none of us were able to get accommodations on the valley floor; everything had been booked long before we’d decided to go there. Soooo … this meant we had to drive the winding road down to the valley floor from our motel, down and up again, down and up again, the three days we were there.

Yosemite1971

From left: Andy, Uncle Stanley, Dina, Ann, Aunt Margie, Danny, Ronny, Louis, Wendy

Now it happened that two of our little boys were extremely prone to getting carsick , and that is what happened on that winding road going down and then again up, to and from the valley floor. And they didn’t need to stop at the same time; each one got sick at different times so we were stopping and starting to let them out by the side of the winding road at least twice going and coming.

“Daddy, pull over, I have to throw up!”

I felt so sorry for them, having had the same problem when I was their ages, as had their father when he was a little boy. So we were very sympathetic and grateful the other two, their sister and older brother, had not inherited the malady! But we all had a wonderful time on the valley floor, and then at the motel above it.

1971 San Franciso Days

As I gaze at the images of “Big Blue” and my 70’s-clad family posing for a San Francisco moment, I have happy memories. It gives me great joy to recall that August when we drove from Lake Tahoe all the way to San Francisco, and back down the coast to our new home in Manhattan Beach.

Thank you for taking the ride with me down memory lane. I’m having such fun sharing with you here, so thanks for stopping by!

Love … Wendy

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time.” –Maya Angelou

MomBlogAliceArnold50s 1

This photograph is of my beautiful mother, Alice, and my wonderful stepfather, Arnold, just after they were married. The image depicted took place at a club in downtown Chicago. Arnold’s large Stine family, and Alice’s small Wolbach family gathered in this rather fancy city club called the Standard Club to celebrate their marriage. Of course, Stephen, my adored husband, and I were there. None of our children, however, attended; they were too young to be dragged out of Waukegan where we lived, and into Chicago. (Waukegan’s claim to fame: the childhood home of Jack Benny, who had been a friend of Stephen’s family.)

It would have been late in the evening, and it was a forty mile drive, so none of Mama and Arnold’s grandchildren saw their wedding vows and participated in the festivities afterwards. I don’t remember too much, except that I wore a short blue dress. The Standard Club had a tradition when there was a special event to have the waiters march in with the dessert, which for the wedding reception was a flaming baked Alaska. This procedure, which I had witnessed on more than one occasion, always sent me into a paroxysm of giggling, which grew very difficult to suppress as the waiters advanced around the tables.

images

This unfortunately was not the only time or place giggling overtook my composure. One evening in Orchestra Hall, again in downtown Chicago, Stephen and I were with my grandmother and my Aunt Bea in a smaller room, other than the large auditorium. It was a string quartet and one of the selections was a very modern piece–atonal, I called it. Well, the window overlooking Michigan Avenue was open; it must have been a summer night. There was a long note played by the violin held for quite a while, and at the same time–the exact same moment–a taxi horn sounded on the same note the violin was holding. That did it for Stephen and me–we hadn’t liked the music at all, and this taxi horn sounding the same note as the violin was too much to bear. We both went into a paroxysm of repressed giggling, which meant our shoulders began to shake with the effort of holding in our laughter. Aunt Bea gave us several looks of intense disapproval, which only made us shake more violently.

It was embarrassing, I will admit, but there is nothing that can stop a paroxysm of suppressed giggling–it has to subside on its own. Eventually, it did.

Thanks for the memories! This is such fun!

Memory: Date Night, 1967

ModelImage1967

Date Night, 1967

That photo is a riot! I had bought this long pink dress that was on sale at Neiman Marcus in Dallas when Steve and I and our four little kids were visiting Steve’s oldest brother and his wife.

NM

Neiman Marcus, Dallas–present day

I thought it the most gorgeous dress I had ever had. I felt like a queen of something or other and that photo was taken when we were back in Waukegan on our way to some fancy function, tho, we never went to many fancy anythings in Waukegan. Maybe it was a wedding or formal dinner somewhere else. Anyway, I felt like the most fashionable creature. I posed for the photo that Steve took before we left for wherever we were going. I wore gloves, and carried a sequined bag that my mother-in law had given me when Steve and I were married. So elegant. So unlike me. But it was fun. Like dressing up in my mother’s clothes!

AsterPoseW:Purse

Wendy’s granddaughter, Aster, posing with her Nana’s fancy date night purse.

One of Nana's elegant date night clutches Aster adores playing with during dress up time.

One of Wendy’s elegant date night bags that Aster adores playing with.