Tag Archives: love

Never Too Old To Fall In Love

I am going to get really personal here, and I am glad to share. This week has been lonely. The Rocket Scientist has been in Boston all week and spent the weekend in South Florida working on the boat. When you have someone you love in your life every day and that person is gone…well, things seem gloomy.

He makes me laugh every day and sings to me songs he recalls from the seventies and then some. His chronic jokes and puns make me roll my eyes but I giggle inside. He’s quite a comedian. He’s traveled the world and speaks three languages. Reads two or three books a week and works math problems I don’t even understand the symbols for. He loves art and music. A real Renaissance Man.

We have been together for eight years and celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary October 3rd.

It is sometimes difficult for me to recall a life without him. He is sensitive to my needs and the feelings of others, very gregarious, humble and warm.

We talk about everything from spirituality to current events. More than that, we both listen. He’s a great conversationalist. We’ve been from the oceans to the mountains together. I could not imagine life without his support. He encourages my writing and everything it encompasses.

I was twelve years single when we met and fiercely independent. I had made my own way, raised a family, had a professional career, and bought my own home. Marriage was the last thing on my mind. We had both signed onto a dating service, Great Expectations.

We had both had bad experiences with dating services…had ended up spending entire days and evenings with people we just didn’t click with. It broke the boredom of living alone, but got us into awkward situations with others. So we agreed to meet at a coffee shop.

We ended up talking for four hours, about everything. I loved his seafarer’s look with the graying beard and when he said he had a boat I knew we would be great friends. I grew up on the Chattahoochee River and spent the fondest days of my youth on a boat. He loved my snakeskin stilettos and complimented my pretty feet and soulful green eyes.

We fell in love that day.

Then he said, “I’ve enjoyed your company and I would like to go out again on a real date, but I need to be totally honest with you. I am over fifty, bipolar, a recovering alcoholic, and technically still married.” (Seriously? That was enough to scare anyone away, but he was straightforward and honest. I respected that.)

I told him very quickly that I did not date married men. He insisted the marriage was for paper purposes only and they had been legally separated for two years. I wasn’t dealing with it.

I had a rule. I did NOT date married men. After all…he could not possibly have closure on that relationship, nor had he had opportunity to explore others in my mind…he was not ready. (I decided.) He left me his number in case I changed my mind.

He says I broke his heart.

I was upset with the dating service and thought he had lied on his profile where it said “Never Married”, but they assured me that it was their fault, not his. They had recently updated their website. He had originally said “Separated” and someone at the dating service had keyed in “Never Married” by accident.

So I called him.

We gave each other a chance.

No regrets!

The rest is history. And it has been a wonderful history.

We still talk. We still hold hands. We still hug every day and say I love you. Forever and always!

 Happy Anniversary, Honey!

 Gregory Dymas Nicholls

I love you!

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Dear??? Old Dad

I am reading all of these posts about Dear Old Dad, endearing and thoughtful. I have to tell you my dad was a smart ass, a real wise ass having a witty remark for anything anyone ever said to him.

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He started out as a State Park ranger, then a truck driver. After a bad accident, in which he was not hurt, but scared enough to find a new career, he started selling life insurance door to door. He went from a starter position to a district manager and then a regional manager, spending thirty-seven years with the same company.

Then he retired, but could not sit still. He bought his own independent company where he still works today, at seventy six years old.

He was a real sought after guy in high school. All the girls loved him. My mom was the one who captured his heart. They were married when she was sixteen and he was fresh out of high school.

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They lived in a mountain cabin when I was born, then a wooden duplex in the small town of Pine Mountain, then a brick duplex in LaGrange where he went on to build a house. He spent $13,000 to build that first beautiful brick home in an upscale neighborhood of LaGrange in 1968, but my mother never lived there with him. They were divorced when I was seven and we went to live in Atlanta.

After her death, we moved in with my dad and stepmother (s). That is plural for a reason. He was still a ladies’ man and never could stick with just one.

He took us water skiing and we had a cabin on the Chattahoochee River where we spent weekends. Those were real fun times with my siblings recalled; although, he fell into the water a few times unexpectedly, too drunk to stand. Seriously, it is kind of scary to look back on it.

I was a Daddy’s girl. I lived for him to come home every day. I was supposed to have been a boy named Steven. He taught me all about skiing, CB radios, hunting and fishing. He called me his “modern girl” and told me I would be a city slicker like him one day.

He was raised on a farm and was the black sheep of the family for several reasons. He was an atheist.  He left the farm and became a city boy. He drank. He divorced my mother. He had many wives. He was a businessman, not a farmer. He abused and neglected us, despite our fine lifestyle. Socioeconomic status does not alter reality.

He was a mean son-of-a-bitch when he drank. He abused our mother, leaving her battered and bruised. He broke things and trashed the home when he was angry and out of control. He whipped us with belts till we bled. Later, he ignored our pleas regarding our stepmothers’ behaviors. I began to loath him. We became estranged when I reached puberty. We left home, my sisters and I. My older sister got married and my younger sister and I went into foster care. When I had kids of my own, we reconciled. That reconciliation required courage from both of us.

After a few divorces, he married a very nice woman, a Christian woman, whom he is still married to nearly thirty years later. He stopped drinking. I love her dearly. They have no children together but they are very loving and kind to us children, his grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He is also now a Methodist preacher.

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He is still a smart ass. Three or four heart surgeries later. No drinking. No smoking. No philandering. But still with a smart-mouthed comeback for just about everything anyone says to him. Usually, he’s funny. He could have been a comedian.

He has five daughters. His only son died the day after it was born. He never gave me a bloody red penny for school, or helped me in any way raising my own family. But he did teach me many of life’s lessons in his own way. He also taught me not to judge others. You never know what torments another soul carries around with them. I have relearned to love him.

This Fathers Day, I want you to remember one thing:

Forgiveness is a powerful antidote for hate.

Happy Fathers Day!

People CAN change. Well, they can change some things. Once a smart ass, always a smart ass.

I have also learned you can’t help what you inherit.

“Lost and Found : A Mid-life Love Story” Writers’ Group Piece

Our rainbow

The group’s mandatory word prompts are boldfaced, 500 words +/- 50.

My reasons for living had left me. Nothing remained but the sound of the clock ticking on the wall. Silent tears tucked me into bed each night. Fear of being alone in this world woke me up in the morning. He had taken his machete to my heart and mutilated the better part of me. Only a shell of my former self remained. Knowing I was losing all that I loved, I lost my mind, went deep inside myself to the point of no return, or so it seemed. An orchestra played The Horror Anthem in my head.

I lost my home, my family, and all the roles that were me. My job was gone. My profession was at risk. My grandmother’s house belonged to him now. He could pay the mortgage, the power bill, buy the groceries. All those years of listening to the advice of Suze Orman had paid off. I got the retirement savings. I got the serenity of knowing that the good does not last forever, but neither does the bad.

For years, I stumbled in the darkness alone. I could let the darkness suck me up and become a casualty, or I could turn away from the darkness and toward the light. I had that choice. I could trust the light that dances moonlit shadows on the forest floor, pierces the night sky with pin pricks, and sends rays through the clouds to lift the morning fog. I could trust the light that raises the seedling from the earth, warms the landscape, and slants through the window. I could put my faith in the light. I chose to trust the light.

There was not much left. The sun was beginning to set, but still, I could not look up into the sky to see it on the horizon. I walked the sidewalks of the city; head down, to see the dandelion weeds pushing their way through the cracks. My world was black and white fusion without any tone or hue at all. It was a void, numb, gray place. Socializing seemed something reserved for the living. A newspaper blew across the street proclaiming McGillicuddy as Mayor, and I did not care. A cup of coffee at Austin’s and you were there. Our eyes locked. We began to chat. We talked for hours that day.

You were an artist. You stroked skillfully onto the canvas of my soul with all of the primary colors, the palate of autumn sassafras leaves, until I laughed in the yellow, danced in the blue, and felt the passion of the red again, and again. As you painted, the blue and yellow blended into green of new life; the yellow and red mingled into orange zest for living it. A soft purple breath was whispered into the masterpiece with the sweep of your brush. As the days went by I marveled at what we had accomplished together. It was art for art’s sake, and then we signed that painting. Now we have this beautiful rainbow suspended in the spaces around us. It catches the light of a new morning sun.

529 words

Book Review: Dreams of Love: A Poetry Collection by Pamela

Pamela has written a poetry book or two. I haven’t read the second collection she wrote in collaboration with Kirsten, but I have read “Dreams of Love”.

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Pamela’s debut poetry collection is themed around the many facets of love and the intimacies of dreams and longing. You can feel the emotion and tension with each carefully placed syllable. The rhythm and words will make your heart dance with the pleasure and weep with the pain to be found in loving. Some are freehand and some are set in specific styles which she explains. I appreciated all of them, but was particularly fond of “True Love” and “Dreams”. Pamela has bared her soul and exposed to us a deeply loving and caring spirit. I highly recommend this lovely little collection of poems. ~ 5 Stars

You may purchase a copy for 99 cents here on Amazon.

You can find Pamela here at Year ‘Round Thanksgiving Project.

You can find her poetry blog here at Poetry by Pamela. 

No matter how candid or honest we are, we all have an online persona that is somewhat removed from our real life existence. You read the voice in the words I write, but you cannot possibly know my deepest, darkest secrets, my character defects, my many aspirations, or my dreams. Even if I share them with you in my words, you only know what I tell you or show you.

I don’t usually review poetry collections on this blog, as I feel poetry a deeply personal expression and experience, but I made an exception.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with this most special blogger and friend named Pamela while she was on a Florida vacation. I was shy, scared, nervous, embarrassed. With all of my insecurities, I wondered; What if she doesn’t like me? Will she think I’m fat and thus unhealthy? Should I dress up or dress down? Does she care if I am in a dress or pants? Does my hair look okay? Am I wearing too much make up? Not enough? What if I say something stupid? What if she bites? I suffer from anxiety disorder. What else can I say?

It would have probably only mattered had I shown up wearing my pajamas, or naked.

By meeting in person, I felt like I was baring my soul, somehow exposed, in a way that I am protected from online. Much like the poet does when writing. I know it sounds silly, but that’s where I was.

Long story short, she was adorable. She didn’t even bite me. Probably cared less what I looked like. We chatted over lunch. She put my anxieties to rest.  It was fascinating to see an online persona animated and alive, complete with subtle personality nuances, generosity, hugs, a smile and a twinkle in her eyes. She is charming, witty, and loving. (She talks about wine, but I was the one actually drinking it at midday.)

She is a sweetheart. It was a very nice visit, and I wished we had more time together.

Pamela and I at the Dali with our dollies.
Pamela and I at the Dali with our dollies.

Pamela B. and Kirsten A. have teamed up with another poetry collection call “Voices of Nature” which you can purchase here on Amazon.

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Let’s Go Backwards and Criminalize Abortion, Again! My Story: Part Two

My disclaimer:

I know that self-disclosure can be a dangerous thing. With all that is going on in Texas, South Dakota, and other communities across the country, I feel a need to go there with a couple of personal stories. First and foremost, it is not my intent to debate right or wrong. Second, all I can really do is tell you how it was in my life. Third, pray that you don’t have to make the sorts of difficult decisions I have had to make. Finally, wish you the best possible outcome if you have faced or are facing similar circumstances, or know someone in such a situation.

Continuation from Yesterday’s Post:

It was 1978; I was not yet 18 years old, with a son not yet two years, an abusive, estranged husband in Germany, and an abortion two weeks behind me. I had spent the last two weeks sitting in the living room floor with my son in my arms, crying, and listening to Linda Ronstadt albums, over and over. Linda Ronstadt gave way to Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks and slowly I began to feel less sorry for myself.

I still had my job as a nursing assistant at the local hospital, but I had spent most of my money on the abortion. I knew that I could not stay in my apartment, but I had no idea where I could go. My grandparents, a hundred miles away, were clueless to all that was going on with me. I did not feel that I should trouble them.

One night, at the hospital, I met a man, D.H., who was at the hospital because a female friend of his, A.L., had overdosed. On what, I don’t know, probably Quaaludes and Tequila, since that was the passing fancy. The drug culture was not new to me as my husband and his friends were in the thick of it before he joined the Army. It was just not something I personally imbibed, except for an occasional smoke or a very rare snort of a line…which did absolutely nothing for me. It was certainly not something I wanted my son exposed to. Yet, this man made me an offer I could not refuse.

D.H. was of Polk County Pot Plane fame. (I won’t go into the details of that, you can look it up on the web, a “B” movie was made about it [the movie is a joke, not at all how things really happened]). He had led the group who unloaded the plane and had a 75 acre pot farm hidden away in the North Georgia Mountains. D.H. was a Grizzly Adams type of guy, with long, blonde, bushy hair and beard. He ran a hippie commune in the midst of this pot farm where about forty young men and women made their home. They were mostly runaways, remnant draft dodgers, or people over eighteen who had been kicked out of their homes. Four or five of the young women had infants or toddlers. He invited me to relocate there and bring my son. All I had to do was help with the children, gardening, harvesting food and meal preparation. Being a farm girl in my youth, I thought this would work out well. My son would have playmates and I would be living the farm life again, which I had so dearly loved in my childhood.

Meanwhile, back at the apartment, I had a new neighbor, a Greek Adonis, N.K., whose friends and family owned and operated the local pizza parlor. Knowing I would be moving to this farm in the wilderness, I also knew I would have to give up my job at the hospital. I had no transportation, and while a few of the men had vehicles, I could not depend on them for a regular ride to my work. This guy, N.K., promised me a job as a waitress, paid in cash every Friday, plus keeping my tips daily. Most significantly, he would pick me up and drive me to work every day. I would only be working evenings from 4pm until 10 pm Thurs. and Sun. and 4pm to 2am Fri and Sat. I had promise of cash and a ride. I also had built in babysitters for my son.

I acclimated to life on the farm/commune quite well. I would get up and bake biscuits every morning served with grits, eggs, ham and sausage. We had goats, pigs, a couple of cows, and chickens. The vegetable garden was plentiful. We made jellies and jams from wild berries. The kids all stayed together with their toys in a huge playpen we had constructed outside and two smaller ones inside. The women, with flowers in hair, running around in tie-dyed maxi dresses, blue jeans and sandals, attended to each other’s children as needed. We were rainbow colors dancing rings around the sun.

Evenings, all would gather on a huge Asian rug in the living room in a circle on the floor, pass around the pipe, and talk about the day’s events or what was planned for the next day, listening to Marshall Tucker, CSN&Y, Pink Floyd, Bob Seger or whatever tunes we happened across. Fluorescent posters papered the walls of the old farm house, lit by black lights and strobes. We had a pet raccoon, named Rocky, and two flying squirrels that would join us. Though not ideal, I did feel safe. I did not; however, feel that I or my son had any sort of future there.

My new found friend, N.K., would come inside the house with us on those weekend nights that he drove me home from work. He was exotic, tall, dark and handsome, speaking with a thick Greek accent. I was all of 5’ 4 1/2”, 100 pounds soaking wet, had long blonde hair that I sat on, and bright green eyes. I must have seemed exotic to him. My commune friends were suspicious (and perhaps a bit jealous). N.K. drove a black on black, brand new Trans Am. One night, a couple of guys from the commune were busted in the parking lot of the pizza parlor and my friends were sure N.K. had something to do with it, but I doubted it. Needless to say, I was not trusted anymore.

N.K. vehemently denied any involvement, and I believed him. After all, he informed me that he was planning to move to NYC with his partner to open a Greek restaurant in Jamaica Bay. He offered me to join them. I didn’t know, at the time, that he was deeply entrenched with the Greek mafia. That is something I learned a thousand miles from my home and a month later. All I knew at the time is that I was promised a job in the new restaurant. N.K. also assured me that he had connections in NY that could get me a modeling job. With some hope for a future, I left my son in the care of his grandparents, and struck out for NYC.

Friend is a dangerous word in some circles. I won’t go into the details here, but I will say that his plans for me did NOT include a modeling job. At seventeen, I was merely a charm on his arm to various functions and parties in wait of my 18th birthday, which would be November 15th. N.K., and his friends, who were brothers, S.N. and L.N., and their wives, were busy setting up the new restaurant.

N.K. had secured an apartment in what was once an old bank. It was two stories. The upper rooms were stocked with evening gowns, cocktail dresses, shoes, accessories and makeup. There was only one door in or out of the large apartment. N.K. bolted it locked when he left for the restaurant every day. There was a vault in the old building that once housed a safe. The safe was no longer there, but the space had been converted into a well secured closet. The closet housed guns and drugs. My job was to guard these, call N.K. if anything suspicious occurred, and to escort the entourage of beautiful women who came and went to the upper rooms all day and all night to change clothes. These women had keys, and I didn’t. Where they went every evening, I did not ask.

One day about noon, I was sitting in the living room reading a book when I heard scratching at the front door. At first, I thought it was one of the girls who had forgotten her key. Now, it was November and already cold and windy, but there were no tree branches near that door. Then, the scratching again. I was dead bolted inside this apartment with no way out, … or so I thought. Then I heard “Ayuda! Ayuda!” There was a Peurto Rican village on one side of our Greek village and a Mexican village on the other. These were the first words I learned in Spanish, long before I learned to count.

I tried to peer out the barred window, but I could see nothing. Again, I heard, “Ayudame! Ayudame!” louder, pleading, crying. A knock at the door, timid at first, and then forceful.

I put my book down and, on a whim, tried the door. It opened, and into my arms fell a young girl. She had long black hair and large brown eyes. Her eyes were screaming with fear, yet glazed and reddened from crying. Her face was pale and dry, no tears. Unable to hold her, we both went to the ground. Her head lay in my lap. Her lips were blue. She was larger than me, but could have been my age, a young woman, not more than twenty years. She could have been younger. Her blue jeans were wet and black, soaked with blood. A pool of blood at her feet, and a trail behind her to the sidewalk and beyond. Her breath was in gasps. Her pulse was fast and thready. I had to let her go to call for help. Amazingly, people were passing on the sidewalk, and no one bothered to help at all. They glanced in our direction as if to say, “Looks bad, but not my problem,” as they stepped around the bright red sidewalk mess.

I left her there in the doorway. I made a call to the operator and asked for an ambulance. My fear, though not as great as hers, was that the police would come and find the closet. A fleeting, selfish thought. N.K. and I would go to jail. It was not something I could dwell on long. This girl was dying. Already, she slipped out of consciousness, eyes closed, limp as a dishrag. I knelt beside her and held her in my arms, brushing her hair from her face with my face, and begging her to hold on. Her skin was cold against mine. I felt her spirit leave her body. I knew she was not going to make it. She was barely breathing when the medics arrived, along with the police.

They carted her off on a stretcher and into an ambulance. She was somebody’s child, somebody’s sister, she was somebody; perhaps, a mother, like me. The questions from the authorities came like rapid gunfire. Was she alone? Did I see which way she came from? Did she say her name? Had I seen her before? Did I know her? Did she get out of a vehicle? How long had she been there? Did she say anything else at all? They repeated the same questions a dozen times and all I could say was what little I knew. They took photographs. They walked all around the building. Then they left. No one asked to come inside.

I cleaned up the blood all the way to the sidewalk, and followed the trail, as the police had, to the parking lot behind the building, where it disappeared. I called N.K. on the phone and told him what had happened.  He was furious with me that I had opened the door, and more so with himself for having left it unlocked. “She could have died on our doorstep!” I exclaimed.

The next day, N.K. made sure to dead bolt the door. About 10:00 am a couple came to the door, a man and a woman. They identified themselves as detectives from some task force. I could not open the door to let them in, so I spoke to them through the door. They asked me the same questions I had been asked the previous day. They told me the girl had died. She died at 5:00 pm, alone in a hospital, another statistic. Yes, it is always 5:00 somewhere. She had suffered a traumatic botched abortion. They believed by her pimp, or some John. Who knows? It could have been a “friend” trying to help her out of a bad situation. These were common deaths back then, not even noted in the news. She was known in the neighborhood as a street girl, Maria, like so many other Marias. No last name. Maria Doe. Just another whore. Who knows why? Somebody’s child. Perhaps, somebody’s mother.

God only knows why that door wasn’t bolted on this particular day. God only knows what life He saved Maria from, what life Maria saved me from. Or why?

Why did I find that ledger in 1992 stuck between two torn down walls?

This is from where comes some of the passion to tell the story in Red Clay and Roses.

This was 1978, just four years after Roe versus Wade, two years before I started nursing school.

The title of yesterday’s and today’s post is sarcastic. Of course, I can’t possibly imagine criminalizing abortion again. It would not stop the practice. It would only create more criminals, cause more pain and suffering.

I can’t condone abortion used indiscriminately and irresponsibly as contraception. I can support a potential parent’s right to decide and choose if they are ready to be responsible and committed to raising a child. For the child’s sake, if for no other reason.

If you want to know the rest of the story, you will have to wait until I get around to writing the memoir, autobiography, or roman à clef.

Teaser: I spent the latter part of my eighteenth birthday night naked in Central Park, near Fifth Avenue, close to the zoo, hiding behind a trash can and my hair until rescued by a soul man with a huge afro named George, and his woman, Ernestine, in a big, shiny, black Cadillac who took me to K-Mart to buy clothes. I made it back home to LaGrange, Georgia, by way of the Cayman Islands. It’s a long story.

Let’s Go Backwards and Criminalize Abortion, Again! My Story: Part One

I know that self-disclosure can be a dangerous thing. With all that is going on in Texas, South Dakota, and other communities across the country, I feel a need to go there with a couple of personal stories. First and foremost, it is not my intent to debate right or wrong. Second, all I can really do is tell you how it was in my life. Third, pray that you don’t have to make the sorts of difficult decisions I have had to make. Finally, wish you the best possible outcome if you have faced or are facing similar circumstances, or know someone in such a situation.

It was 1975, and I was living in an orphanage, the Ethel Harpst Home, in the North Georgia Mountains. I had been in foster care for several years after a few years with an abusive step-parent on the heels of my mother’s death. I don’t believe, at that time, I knew what love was anymore. I felt love as a child and had loving grandparents, but there had been enormous fear and loneliness. At fifteen, I wanted to know love. I wanted to feel loved.

I met a guy at school. He was popular and his family was prominent. He jumped through hoops at the Harpst Home to be able to date me, meeting with the house parents and the home’s administrator. He wrote letters and his parents wrote letters. I felt immensely desirable. First, house dates for months, then away dates.

Then, on about the third away date, I was date raped…but he “loved” me, and I was just “confused”. Sex was supposed to be fun. It didn’t matter that my faith had indicated to me that I should remain a virgin until marriage. I had been violated, but he “loved” me. He bought me flowers, candy and jewelry. He called me twice a day. We had mutual friends and they were all having sex. It was the sexual revolution. Birth control pills had come out in 1960, so by 1975 everybody was on them, but me. To take birth control pills would mean admitting that I was having sex, and I could not do that. By March of 1976, I was pregnant. The Baptist Church I had been attending closed its doors to me. After all, what a horrible influence I would be to the other young women.

“Free love” was trendy, and casual sex, once forbidden, was becoming commonplace. Roe versus Wade had decriminalized abortion in 1974, and birth control was relatively easy; however, neither was readily accessible.  I did have a Social Worker, Shelia Turner, who spoke to me about options. My boyfriend could be arrested for statutory rape. I could have an abortion, and not leave Harpst Home or disrupt my life in any way. I could go to an unwed mother’s house in Atlanta, give the baby up for adoption and return to the Harpst Home to complete my education. I had a $17,000.00 scholarship to Wesleyan and my teachers were encouraging a career in journalism. The option to have the baby and keep it was not suggested, but it was the option I chose.

My boyfriend was excited to become a father and eagerly offered to marry me. We were wed in the United Methodist Church. I stayed in school, and graduated early in advanced classes. At sixteen, December 20, 1976, I gave birth to a healthy bicentennial baby boy. My nineteen year old husband worked at a meat processing plant and he decided to join the Army as his father had been career military.

He completed his Basic Training and MOS in South Carolina. His first duty call was to Stuttgart, Germany. We could not go, my son and I, because he had not been in the service for two years. Before he left, he beat me severely to let me know that he could kill me if I was unfaithful to him while he was gone. I put him on a plane July 11th, 1978. There were tears in our eyes, and at seventeen years old, I took my eighteen month old son home to Cedartown, to our apartment which had a $300.00/month rent, $100.00/month power bill, and no groceries.

I discovered the rent had not been paid for the two months my husband had been home, nor had the power bill. I pawned my wedding band and engagement ring to pay the bills and buy food. A week later, I discovered I was pregnant despite being on birth control pills. I could not believe it. I also received a letter from my husband telling me simply, “I am tired of being married, so go back to South Georgia, Love Bryan. P.S. Take care of my son.” My son’s family refused me any assistance.  His mother advised me to, “Woman up, like a military wife should!”

I had no car. There was no public transportation in that small town. I worked two jobs while my neighbor babysat raised my son. I worked as a clerk at the drug store from 1:00 pm until 9:00 pm, had two hours to walk home, eat, change clothes, and walk to my second job as a nursing assistant at the local hospital from 11:00 pm until 7:00 am.  Had two hours to walk home, eat, change clothes and be back at the drug store to work from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm…every other day. I had from 2:00 pm until 10:00 pm every other day to be a parent and to sleep. I was earning $2.33 an hour. The clerk job was on a rotating shift and the nursing assistant job was straight nights. I was trying. The bills weren’t getting paid, and we barely had groceries.

The Church, you ask? Turned away.

After a month of these work hours, I went to the health department for assistance and was put on the W.I.C. program. I went to the Department of Family and Children’s service for welfare, but they could not help me because my husband was military. They sent me to the Red Cross.

The Red Cross could not get me food assistance, but they arranged for me to fly to Germany to speak with my husband’s Commanding Officer and tell my husband of my second pregnancy. I left Ft. McClellan, Alabama in a cargo plane alone. My son was with his grandparents.

Once in Stuttgart, I went to the guest house and then to see my husband’s C.O. He told me that Bryan had problems with drugs and alcohol, disobedience, and was heading for a dishonorable discharge if he did not straighten up. He told me that he was supposed to be living on post, but he had been staying off post. He gave me an address.

I took a cab to the address and had it wait, because I did not know what to expect. There was a store with an apartment above where I was to find my husband. I walked up the steps on the side of the building. Once at the top on the landing, I peered through the screen door to see my husband in bed with a woman who could have been my twin. It was a small apartment and the sofa was opened into a bed in the living room. They were sleeping in each other’s arms and appeared to be quite comfortable. I did not wake them. I went back down the stairs, got back into the cab, and went back to see the C.O. I told him what I saw, and that I was pregnant and needed some assistance. He assured me the he would get an allotment check cut out of my husband’s pay. I got back on a cargo plane and came home.

The allotment was $100.00 per month. I quit my job at the drug store. I filed for divorce, and went to the Hillcrest Clinic in Atlanta and had an abortion on August 25, 1978. I could not manage to feed one child alone. I was hopeless and helpless. It was how I chose to help myself and my son. It was my only hope. The divorce took two years. I remarried. My hat is off to women who have been able to raise kids alone. At age fifty-three, I have three grown children, two grandchildren, and retired early from a thirty year career in nursing.

I have no regrets.

You may be wondering why I decided to tell this story. I had an interview published yesterday that made me think about what motivated me to write Red Clay and Roses. Where did the passion come from to tell the stories of Althea, Bonnie Jean, and Sybil? A story that tells of three women with unplanned pregnancies before Roe versus Wade, and before birth control. The secrets they kept. The choices they made. Their consequences. The good doctor and how he illegally served his community. Swamp Witch Wilma and how she did the same. 1954. Do we need to go back there?

Tomorrow I will tell you the rest of the story. Yes, there is more. Tomorrow a young girl dies in my arms.

Warm Fuzzy

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I wish I could have you feel this soft and silky blanket. My daughter bought it for me for Christmas.  My granddaughter, soon to be four, wrapped herself up in it and said, “Grandmother, this feels like love!”

For all my friends in cold places, grab a soft and silky blankie, wrap up in it and feel the love. I wish I could send you the real thing. Better yet, throw one around someone else and share the love.

{{{ WARM FUZZIES}}}

1954

Forbidden. Outlawed.

Unfortunate circumstance.

Yet, you made my heart dance.

Cloud brought down from heaven above

To touch my lips with your love.

Dark and lonely life filled with strife

That you, fair one, cannot begin to understand.

Daring to care and share the joy found in feeling.

“Vulgar,” they would say about the display of our affection.kiss-1

And still you turn to me, and call me your golden apple.

Dropped from a tree with sturdy roots deep in an

Earth you can only wander on with trepidation.

Wrap your ebony branches around my ivory limbs,

You beg, and cover me with your green leaves of envy.

Shield me from that which seeks to separate us.

Bring peace to the minds of those who fail to know

The sweetness of amour in any color of the rainbow.

The livid can die alone and bereft,

Taking their hatred with them.

Freedom forgotten.

Released. Allowed.

~S.K. Nicholls

image: phototbucket

An Unlikely Soldier

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Today is Veteran’s Day in the U.S.A. , when we honor all of those who served.  This is Roseendhar Dasilma, an unlikely war hero, but a woman who put her life on the line many times to insure the freedoms we have, and to assure those civil liberties, those legal and natural inalienable rights, to others.

Rose comes from the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, Haiti.  She lives near Orlando, Florida now and appreciates more than most the freedoms, liberty, and prosperity of this great country.  She cherishes her American citizenship like a jewel, when so many born here take it all for granted, not having a clue how much it means to so many who don’t know the freedom or the prosperity. Roseendhar Dasilma served in the U.S. Army in Iraq.

I could have written about my great forefathers who served in wars over the years of our family’s history in this country. How they served in The Revolutionary War, the two Great World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam.  I could have, and I appreciate them, but I often feel that those who have recently served or who continue to serve today don’t get the recognition they deserve.

Rose worked with me as Nurse.  Sometimes she told us stories of having to stir shit in a bucket that burned over a fire for hours at night, because you couldn’t leave anything behind when you left camp, not even your turds.  She told us of having to move in convoys of tanks that she could see in front of her being picked off by carefully placed roadside bombs, and knowing her tank was the next one in the row to go if her C.O. pressed forward as ordered.

  Knowing that you just might not make it home.

 Knowing that comrades had fallen before you.VeteransDayPoembyjudybonzer

Her family and friends in Haiti will never be forgotten by her, and her family and friends here in America treasure her, and know her to truly be one of a kind.  This is her sister proudly wearing her Operation Iraqi Freedom jacket.1379243_10101024705948137_405266744_n

A B.S.N. prepared Nurse, Rose is working on her Master’s Degree in nursing now.  She is divorced with a lovely young daughter who is the apple of her eye.  She has worked hard to earn her place in our society and I, for one, am happy to have her. Honored to have known her.  Her name is on the back of my paperback so I will never forget it.

  Roseendhar Dasilma loves her country. We love, admire, and respect her!

I am honored to call you, friend.

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Book Review: “Twelve Days: The Beginning” by Jade Reyner

Click here for Amazon link U.S.
Click here for Amazon link U.S.

Click here for Amazon link U.K.

Today is the last day of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the States.  Although there are horrifying statistics relative to domestic violence around the world, they can only begin to show the tip of the iceberg.  Survivors must know that there is support and hope for them. I saved this book review for today as this novel shines a bright light on the abuse which is often tucked away into a dark corner.  I applaud people willing to write on the subject.  Jade Reyner, one of our own WordPress authors, has done just that. It is not my habit to read contemporary romance, but this novel struck a chord with me as a health care provider, because it deals with so many contemporary issues that affect women’s health.   Marriage, romance, desire, love, domestic violence, loss, and hope are explored in a modern day setting.

 

The book is technically sound, well written and well edited.  Some of the characters are deeply developed and some are superficially shallow, and that is how people in the real world strike me socially, so the novel is most realistic.  The main character is challenged as she examines both her heart and her societal commitments.  It is a love story that involves a lot of pain and growth.

From the very beginning, it is evident that domestic violence, including marital rape, would be prominently featured. Reyner did very well throughout her story, to illustrate the excuses and cover ups that women employ to prevent discovery and deal with the shame.  The viciousness of the cycles and the honeymoon phase play a part to some degree, also adding to the realism. There is quite a bit of slapping around and throwing punches in this fast paced novel.  Reyner also does very well to demonstrate the emotional extremes of both men and women. There are a lot of twists and turns making a rather common plot interesting to me.

The romance that the main character develops, while giving her some sense of joy, increases her shame as she struggles to come to terms with what is important to her.  There are several graphic sex scenes; hot, erotic, and steamy. Interesting to me personally, were the British idioms and colloquialisms.  I would highly recommend this read for those who enjoy contemporary romance, and those who may live, or touch the life of one who lives, in the shadows of domestic violence.  The series promises to carry the reader further on this romantic journey of self discovery.  I give this book 4 stars out of 5.