Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives- #Family – The Funny Thing about Dyslexia by Jen Moore


This is the second post from the archives of Jen Moore who has been blogging about life with chickens, cats and children for five years. This week Jen shares the adventures of her adorable son, who has a unique perspective on life and who with his family handles the challenge of dyslexia with determination and humour.

The funny thing about dyslexia

Life with a dyslexic child is never dull. Our Son no 2 is sporty, clever, full of fun… and dyslexic. Moderately so, according to the experts. Rather than fret about it, we chose to embrace Son no 2’s differences, giving lots of support where needed but dealing with much of it through humour. For instance, in our house we don’t have left and right: we have left, and ‘the other left’.

Our boy gets many words muddled. Imagine the embarrassment when, at a charity fete one summer, he announced in a VERY loud voice, “Oooh I want a go on that stall – I love cocaine!” He was in fact pointing at the Coconut Shy and wanted to win a coconut, not score a line of cocaine. It wasn’t that kind of fete.

Or what about the time he desperately wanted a DVD of a film that he insisted was called ‘Meet Steve’. I searched high and low for this DVD, in shops and on the internet, all to no avail. After quite some time I did find a DVD entitled ‘Meet Dave’. “Oh yes, that’s the one!” he exclaimed cheerfully when I mentioned it.

Then there was the time we went to a neighbours’ bonfire party and he asked, again in a LOUD voice in front of a whole heap of people, “Will we be burning Ray Mears on the bonfire?” As everyone turned to look at him in bemusement, it was left to me to correct him: “Guy Fawkes. You mean Guy Fawkes.” “Yes, that’s the one!” he chuckled. To this day he still wants to burn Ray Mears on the bonfire every year. Poor chap, I have no idea what he’s done to deserve that.

As for games, Scrabble is never a good idea to play with Son no 2. Unless you change the game to ‘make as many rude words as you can with the letters you have’. You see, for some reason he can spell rude words reasonably accurately. Maybe that’s a boy thing. Then there’s I-Spy: a game particularly difficult to play with a child who often confuses the beginning sounds of words. You need to spend several hours guessing, plus ask for copious amounts of clues, to have any chance of even getting close to an answer. You might as well just guess any random words that come into your head. Or there’s Hangman of course. We can never win a game of Hangman with Son no 2. He adds spare letters in the middle of words with out realising, which might be useful if you’re playing in Czechoslovakian of course, but not in English.

Short-term memory is another strange area. We have a boy who can think several moves ahead in Chess or in a Magic the Gathering card game… yet give him a 2 step request (ie ‘do this, then do that’) and he is completely flummoxed. For many years, he failed to recall the days of the week in order, yet he could recite all the rules and regulations on how to play Warhammer. He struggles to read fluently, yet can accurately work out complex Chemistry formulae (which is more than I can do!).

School has been a bit hit and miss. Give Son no 2 a ball or a bat, or a running track… in fact anything to do with sports, and he will excel himself. Yet give him a book to read or a sheet of paper to fill with words, and he will struggle. There are times when we struggle too. One day he came home from school with some English homework written in his exercise book. He told me that he’d copied it off a board at school. At the top of the page he’d written: ‘The Sobodret Cluce’. Apparently he needed to find out what that was for his next lesson. We were completely baffled. Once again, I trawled the ever-faithful internet but came up with a total blank. It was only after emailing the English teacher in a panic that we learnt what he actually needed to research: ‘The Subordinate Clause’. Shame neither of his parents had heard of that either.

In History he had been learning about the outbreak of World War 2. I had to raise an eyebrow when, leafing through his exercise book, I saw he’d written an essay on ‘Hitler and the Nancies’. I think that might have changed the entire course of history.

Or how about the Geography homework he had to complete, the title of which he’d written in his book as ‘Latitud and Longaturd’. My, how things have moved on since I studied at school.

Cookery lessons have been something of an experiment to Son no 2. He’s never brought anything edible home. Most dishes have been dropped on the way back from school or knocked off the work surface in the lesson… that’s if they weren’t burnt, squashed or exploded in the oven. Once he baked something and apparently forgot to add any sugar. He didn’t know where the sugar had gone, only that he hadn’t put any in. Or how about the time he made Apple Turnovers? Easy enough, so you would think. Unless you forget to cut holes in the pastry of each one, so that they explode in the oven before you even take them out. I’m sure his Cookery teacher must have had a breakdown by the end of the year. Only once did he bring home some delicious buns: spongy, moist and baked to perfection. When I congratulated him he admitted with a grin, “Oh I didn’t bake them. I swapped mine with the girl next to me as mine were awful and she felt sorry for me.” That’s our boy, resourceful as ever.

I have to admit it seems that baking disasters run in the family. When son no 1 had to take Cookery at school, with relatively more success than his brother I might add, he once muddled up teaspoons with tablespoons when adding baking powder to muffins. Yes, you guessed it: they exploded in the oven too.

Science is one of son no 2’s favourite lessons. He asks his teacher the most interesting questions, such as, “If someone farts on your pillow at night, will you wake up with pink eye in the morning?” Or “If you split an atom and put it inside your head, would you have a head left?” Recently, he came home from school most chuffed with himself, having found out the answer to a question that had been puzzling him for a while: “Why does it make a noise when you fart?” The reply, according to his long-suffering Science teacher is “because your bum cheeks rattle when the wind passes through.” Not sure if that question will be on the GCSE paper, but Son no 2 was most enlightened.

Parents’ Evenings are a total joy to experience when you have a dyslexic child. “So how is my boy doing?” I asked his Maths teacher at the last such event. “Good, now that we’ve passed his Origami phase,” she replied patiently, “although I’ve still got one paper swan on my desk.” ??

Picking which subjects to study for GCSEs has been something of a challenge recently. Pondering which options to take, Son no 2 came up with quite a random question: “Mum, if you take Biology do you also have to take Textiles?” “Erm no love,” I replied somewhat confused. “What makes you ask that?” “Well,” he replied seriously, “if you cut someone open on the operating table, you’ve also got to be able to stitch them up again.” Fair point.

You see, our boy looks at things differently to most people. He has diverse views, which when questioned, make total sense. You just need to open your mind. He is a very capable boy with, according to one of his old sports coaches, ‘the heart of a lion’. His humour is delightfully daft, and his ability to laugh at mistakes that he makes has made him a much stronger person. Far from defining him, his dyslexia is just a small part of who he is and how he functions. We wouldn’t change him for the world. Besides, when given the choice, who wants to be the same as everyone else?

The final say should maybe rest with the teacher of a Business Studies class, with whom we spoke at a careers evening held at Son no 2’s school. As we discussed the merits of the subject and whether or not it would play to our boy’s strengths, the teacher exclaimed brightly, “Oh I know your son, I see him walking to school each morning. I love the way his hair bounces as he walks!” So if the GCSEs don’t pan out very well, maybe we’ll just sign him up for the next Timotei advert instead.

©Jen Moore

About Jennifer Moore

Jen is a Sword fighter, wrestler, referee & chef to 4 boys (big and small), staff for the infamous chuffin cat & perturbed chooks. Aspiring writer, compulsive giggler. Jen has been blogging about the funny side of life with cats, chickens and children for five years.

Connect to Jennifer

Blog: https://chuffincat.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chuffincat/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chuffintweet

My thanks to Jen for sharing this with us. Clearly humour is ever present in this family and their approach to dyslexia as something to be embraced is inspiring.. I see great things ahead of Son No 2.. he sounds like a bit of a genius.

You can read Jen’s other post on her original Chuffin Cat.. here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/26/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-the-futility-of-a-feline-rooftop-protest-by-jen-moore/

 

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family – #Poetry – My Michael by Robbie Cheadle


Welcome to another post from the archives of children’s/YA author Robbie Cheadle. This week a poem for her youngest son, and co-author for the Sir Chocolate series, Michael Cheadle.

My Michael by Robbie Cheadle.

I love my little Michael,
He is the sweetest boy;
I often give him cuddles,
And buy him a nice new toy.

We read our favourite stories,
About dragons and brave knights;
He thoroughly enjoys them,
Then, out go all the lights.

From closed cupboards and doors,
Lurking monsters stealthily creep;
And my poor little lad,
Can’t get an wink of sleep.

Into the marital bed,
My boy quietly slides;
And between his loving parents,
From night time horrors hides.

Mom and dad lie, awake,
While Mikey kicks and dreams;
Unable to get any rest,
Counting sheep won’t work, it seems.

©Robbie Cheadle

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.

Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.

Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books.

A selection of books by Robbie Cheadle

One of the recent reviews for While the Bombs Fell

What a lovely, poignant book! It’s the only one I’ve read that describes what life was like for very young children growing up during World War Two. There is also quite a bit of English history included, which I found quite interesting. The wartime recipes are a nice touch.

It’s told from the perspective of a girl aged 4-6 years old, and focuses mainly on the daily life of kids living through horrendous times, without truly understanding what was going on in the adult world. Many of the stories told reminded me of my Dutch father-in-law’s descriptions of growing up during WWII in the Netherlands.

It’s appropriate for young children as well as young readers. Fascinating read.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Connect to Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/
Website: https://bakeandwrite.co.za/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SirChocolateBooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

If you would like to share your stories about family, including our fur babies.. then please take a look at the details.

Posts from Your Archives and the theme this time is all about family.

  1. Personal memories of childhood or teens that are still fresh in your mind.
  2. Family history, stories of your parents, grandparents and further back if you can.
  3. Fur family past and present.
  4. Favourite recipes.
  5. Memorable holidays.
  6. Places you have lived.
  7. Memorable homes you have lived in.
  8. Grandchildren tales.
  9. Any family related post – education, health, teen years, elderly care, lifestyle.
  10. Please remember that there are some younger readers who visit.

I think you get the idea.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog from the day you started up to December 2018, and you simply send the link to those blogs to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 700 posts from 200 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.

Previous participants are more than welcome

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#Family – My Mother’s Fairy Tales by Jennie Fitzkee


This is the second post from the archives of Jennie Fitzkee, who with a career as a pre-school teacher for over thirty years, has some inspiring posts that reinforce that the ability to read and books are two of the best gifts we can give our children. On her blog she also shares wonderful posts about her family and will be sharing four of those with us in the coming weeks.

My Mother’s Fairy Tales by Jennie Fitzkee

My mother gave me her childhood book of fairy tales when my children were young. This wasn’t a book she had ever shown me, or my brother and sisters. I think it was my teaching and my newfound love of children’s literature that prompted her to give me the book.

I was thrilled and excited. I read many of the fairy tales, especially the ones I knew. I remember calling Mother and the conversation we had on the phone. It went something like this:

Me: “Mother, these fairy tales are terrible.”

Mother: “What do you mean?”

Me: “They’re violent.”

The silence was deafening. I could see the stiffening and the tension, and I wasn’t even there. I could see the eyes tightening and the chin rising, even though I wasn’t there.

My mother was a no-nonsense, tough woman. She always idolized her grandfather who was a coal miner from Wales. He came to America, made a fortune in mining in Pennsylvania, lost everything in the depression, and then built his fortune once again. It wasn’t the money, it was the grit her grandfather had that my mother admired.

Mother’s father, her beloved grandfather’s only son, was killed in a mining accident when he was in his 30’s. Mother’s mother (Lulu to me) practically fell apart and spent a year in Paris with her children to recover. That year, 1928, they lived in the same apartment building as the famous singer Maurice Chevalier, who often sang to my mother. She was eight years old.

A fortune was spent in only a year. My mother watched her mother in weakness. After that, my mother became a very strong woman. When my father, her husband, died as a young man, my mother was able to manage her four children with a positive presence and a stiff upper lip.

And that is why she bristled when I told her that her Grimm’s Fairy Tales were violent.

Cinderella. Well, in the original Grimm’s story, there is no Fairy Godmother. Instead there is a weeping willow tree by her mother’s grave, and birds. The birds get her the dress for the ball…which lasts for three days. They also pick out the lentils from the ashes for Cinderella so she can go to the ball.

The glass slipper. OMG. The evil stepmother tells the first daughter to chop off her toe, and the second daughter to cut off her heel in order to make the glass slipper fit. Of course the blood sends the Prince back to the house each time. When the Prince and Cinderella marry, the birds peck out the stepsisters’ eyeballs. Really.

Do you recognize many of these titles? “Little Red Cap” is the original “Little Red Riding Hood.” It has two different endings. I read this to the children at school last week.

Popular fairy tales are popular to their readers. In the days of the Brothers Grimm, children died, life was hard, disease and terrible working conditions were common. Hot water and a big meal was a luxury. Therefore, those stories were not scary or violent to their readers. Even into the early 1900’s.

Today, people think Disney movie adaptations are violent. If my children called me to tell me how violent Disney movies were, I would have been just like my mother; shocked and defensive, and bristling. Shielding children from what happens in life is not the way to go. Storytelling and books and fairy tales are a good thing.

I’m my mother’s daughter.

©Jennie Fitzkee

About Jennie Fitzkee

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That’s what I write about.

I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook” because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.

Connect to Jennie

Blog: https://jenniefitzkee.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennie.fitzkee
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jlfatgcs

My thanks to Jennie for sharing this post from her archives… I remember reading the Little Match Girl and weeping buckets aged 7 … those fairy tales are not all Happy Ever After…..

What was the fairy story that you remember most?

If you would like to share your stories about family, including our fur babies.. then please take a look at the details.

Posts from Your Archives and the theme this time is all about family.

  1. Personal memories of childhood or teens that are still fresh in your mind.
  2. Family history, stories of your parents, grandparents and further back if you can.
  3. Fur family past and present.
  4. Favourite recipes.
  5. Memorable holidays.
  6. Places you have lived.
  7. Memorable homes you have lived in.
  8. Grandchildren tales.
  9. Any family related post – education, health, teen years, elderly care, lifestyle.
  10. Please remember that there are some younger readers who visit.

I think you get the idea.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog from the day you started up to December 2018, and you simply send the link to those blogs to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 700 posts from 200 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.

The only issue is the number of photographs and if there are more than five photographs in the post I will do a reblog rather than a separate post. (Media space)

Previous participants are more than welcome

If you are an author who would like to share book reviews and interviews on Facebook then please click on the Literary Diva’s Library image

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family -#Poetry – Our Mother by Robbie Cheadle


Please welcome children’s/YA author and poet Robbie Cheadle to the series with four of her posts from the archives. Apart from her creative writing, Robbie is also a fabulous baker and you will enjoy visiting her online bakery For her first post Robbie shares a poem that she wrote at Christmas.

img_0485

Our Mother by Robbie Cheadle

This time of the year is all about family. In keeping with the spirit of Christmas, I decided to post this short poem which I wrote as a tribute to my Mother. My Mother is a most amazing woman. My Father died when I was three months old and my Mother decided she needed a change. She packed up her belongings and her tiny child and set sail for South Africa. In South Africa she met and married my stepfather and established a lovely home. All four of her daughters adore her, are close to her, and have grown up to lead successful lives with their own homes, careers and families. We love you Mom.

Our Mother

There she sits, small, and yet so tough;
Always ready to tell us when enough is enough;
Our number one fan when things go well;
Always there to help us up, when down we fell;
Her home cooked meals are a delightful thought;
As are the important messages which, to us, she taught;
The best ways to get a cake to rise;
Never to tell our friends or family lies;
How to eat nicely with a fork and knife;
How a little kindness goes a long way in life;
Amazing mom, we are blessed to have you near;
As you are the person we hold most dear.

©Robbie Cheadle

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.

Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.

Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books.

A selection of books by Robbie Cheadle

One of the recent reviews for While the Bombs Fell

What a lovely, poignant book! It’s the only one I’ve read that describes what life was like for very young children growing up during World War Two. There is also quite a bit of English history included, which I found quite interesting. The wartime recipes are a nice touch.

It’s told from the perspective of a girl aged 4-6 years old, and focuses mainly on the daily life of kids living through horrendous times, without truly understanding what was going on in the adult world. Many of the stories told reminded me of my Dutch father-in-law’s descriptions of growing up during WWII in the Netherlands.

It’s appropriate for young children as well as young readers. Fascinating read.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Connect to Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/
Website: https://bakeandwrite.co.za/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SirChocolateBooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

Thank you to Robbie for this lovely post from her archives and if you would like to share your stories about family, including our fur babies.. then please take a look at the details.

Posts from Your Archives and the theme this time is all about family.

  1. Personal memories of childhood or teens that are still fresh in your mind.
  2. Family history, stories of your parents, grandparents and further back if you can.
  3. Fur family past and present.
  4. Favourite recipes.
  5. Memorable holidays.
  6. Places you have lived.
  7. Memorable homes you have lived in.
  8. Grandchildren tales.
  9. Any family related post – education, health, teen years, elderly care, lifestyle.
  10. Please remember that there are some younger readers who visit.

I think you get the idea.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog from the day you started up to December 2018, and you simply send the link to those blogs to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 700 posts from 200 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.

The only issue is the number of photographs and if there are more than five photographs in the post I will do a reblog rather than a separate post. (Media space)

Previous participants are more than welcome

If you are an author who would like to share book reviews and interviews on Facebook then please click on the Literary Diva’s Library image

Smorgasbord Blog Posts from your Archives #Family – Walls Do Respond To Emotional Attachments – Home Is Where The Heart Is! by Balroop Singh


Delighted to welcome poet Balroop Singh back with more posts from her archives, and this series, on the subject of family.

Walls Do Respond To Emotional Attachments – Home Is Where The Heart Is! by Balroop Singh

It is quite natural to get attached to homes if we have invested our hearts into them. Even the walls of such homes become receptive.

Recently I happened to read an article, which stirred my emotions intensely and took me down the memory lane.

My dear friend  Lisa Thomson says, “A house has no feelings or attachments. It doesn’t love us back. Walls really don’t talk, and that’s probably a good thing.”

We convert a house into a home when we get emotionally attached to it.

HOME THAT NURTURED ME:

The home in which I grew up is still very much a part of my ardent memories as this was the place that nurtured me from the age that was most impressionable.

The excitement of an eight-year-old child is still very fresh in my mind. I can smell the fragrance of new paint and wood even now. Whenever I go down the memory lane, I can experience the friendship of all the nooks and crannies that I explored the very first day I stepped into this house our father got designed for us.

This house cherished my dreams, cushioned my lonely moments, provided solace to my disappointments, gave shape to my adventures and inspired me to aspire high.

Every wall was a supporting shelter, how much I could share my thoughts with them, silently!

The walls of my room empathized with me when I didn’t sleep well due to examination fever. They rejoiced with me when I turned up the volume of my radio, to celebrate my little moments of joy. They resounded with my giggles in the afternoons.

As I grew up, every brick seemed so precious, every tree of the little garden I loved seemed to cherish my thoughts and provide solace to my distressing hours.

Then came the time to leave my treasured surroundings, my home.

I can still feel the tears of poignant parting on my cheeks.

I hate this age-old tradition of some countries – to leave your maternal home after marriage. The one who created this tradition must be a man for according to this orthodox convention, he doesn’t leave his home; he has the choice to continue living in it or sell it.

I thought I would keep coming back to my home whenever I wanted and I did during the initial years of setting up my new home.

It remains the epicenter of my dreams even now. All family get-togethers are hosted in this home even now… but in dreams.

I can no longer visit it in real life because it was sold…and that is another story!

love for home

HOME THAT DEFINED ME:

Despite all those attachments I had with that home, which remains the backdrop of all my dreams, I was pleased to find a new one that anchored me and promised myself to make it more loving than the one that had raised me.

A home cannot be built in a day…it encompasses in itself the dreams and the aspirations we hold close to our heart, the hopes that we gather with each passing day, the goals that we achieve together.

A home lounges on the care and affection we shower on each other, the time we offer to understand the needs and desires of a family, to live through the difficult times together and to support each other despite minor differences.

This home I acquired became my treasure house, a nest, which was filled with the babble of my little children and the love of my hubby. It accumulated and absorbed all the memories, all the celebrations and the moments of intense joy, of raising my kids and exult at their little achievements.

I have no doubt that even the walls around me shared my elation.

Time just whizzed by and before I could realize its pace, my kids grew up into fine individuals, ready to soar!

Now I could grasp the truth of this statement and what my friend Lisa has articulated: “Home is people. Not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there any more.” – Robin Hobb

THE VOID:

Though my work kept me very busy and the walls of my home as welcoming as ever but time stood still.

A part of me seemed to have walked away with my grown up children.

Now I just clung to my home and the loving memories that were attached to them. I tried to make it warmer with more pictures of my family.

I have been trying to understand the ironies of this life, which provides natural attachments.

I have been trying to  detach from all those people and homes, which hold us to ransom, extracting all our emotions.

I have moved once again from my home, into which I had put my heart and soul to be near my children.

Now I have double memories and none of my dearest homes – one got sold and the second lies locked with all those treasures I had amassed!

Do you have any such memories and attachments? Do they haunt you?

If you have liked this article, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable comments, they are much appreciated.

©Balroop Singh.

Here is Balroop’s  latest release Timeless Echoes, Poetry for young adults and teens.

About Timeless Echoes

Certain desires and thoughts remain within our heart, we can’t express them, we wait for the right time, which never comes till they make inroads out of our most guarded fortresses to spill on to the pages of our choice. This collection is an echo of that love, which remained obscure, those yearnings that were suppressed, the regrets that we refuse to acknowledge. Many poems seem personal because they are written in first person but they have been inspired from the people around me – friends and acquaintances who shared their stories with me.

Some secrets have to remain buried because they are ours
We do share them but only with the stars
The tears that guarded them were as precious as flowers
Soothing like balm on festering scars.

While there are no boxes for grief and joy, some persons in our life are more closely associated with these emotions. Their separation shatters us, their memories echo, we grieve but life does not stagnate for anyone…it is more like a river that flows despite the boulders. When imagination and inspiration try to offer solace, poetry that you are about to read springs forth.

One of the reviews for the collection

Bette A. Stevens 5.0 out of 5 stars Wise & Wistful October 14, 2018

In “Timeless Echoes,” the author searches within to share the trials and tribulations of life in unique poetic imagery that delves deeply into the human spirit echoing within each of us. Love of nature, love of family, grace and forgiveness are among the themes encompassed in Singh’s timeless collection.

Head over and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Timeless-Echoes-Balroop-Singh-ebook/dp/B07F1VVJK7/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Timeless-Echoes-Balroop-Singh-ebook/dp/B07F1VVJK7/

Also by Balroop Singh

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7340810.Balroop_Singh

About Balroop Singh

Balroop Singh, a former teacher, an educationalist, a blogger, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart.

She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in Danville, California.

Connect to Balroop Singh.

Blog: http://balroop2013.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BalroopShado
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Emotional-Shadows/151387075057971
Pinteresthttps://www.pinterest.com/balroops/

My thanks to Balroop for sharing this love family post from her archives, please share your thoughts with us. Thanks Sally.

Posts from Your Archives and the theme this time is all about family.

  1. Personal memories of childhood or teens that are still fresh in your mind.
  2. Family history, stories of your parents, grandparents and further back if you can.
  3. Fur family past and present.
  4. Favourite recipes.
  5. Memorable holidays.
  6. Places you have lived.
  7. Memorable homes you have lived in.
  8. Grandchildren tales.
  9. Any family related post – pets, education, health, teen years, elderly care, lifestyle.
  10. Please remember that there are some younger readers who visit.

I think you get the idea.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog from the day you started up to December 2018, and you simply send the link to those blogs to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 700 posts from 200 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.

The only issue is the number of photographs and if there are more than five photographs in the post I will do a reblog rather than a separate post. (Media space)

Previous participants are more than welcome

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family – Thanksgiving 2017 by Miriam Hurdle.


Time for a new series of Posts from Your Archives and the theme this time is all about family. We have all written posts that are now languishing in our archives and this is an opportunity to share them again to a new audience…mine. At the end of the post you will find out more on how to submit your favourites. It is also an opportunity to promote your work.

My guest today is poet Miriam Hurdle who wrote a post in 2017 at Thanksgiving. It was an eventful time with Miriam in recovery from an operation for cancer and her daughter about to give birth.

Thanksgiving 2017 by Miriam Hurdle.

Thanksgiving 2017 had come and gone. This is a little recap of the detail. It has something to do with decorating the Christmas tree. I’ll get to it toward the end of the post.

I was hosting the Thanksgiving dinner this year. The previous time I hosted it was in 2009. That was the year I received the chemotherapy and radiation for my melanoma cancer from January to July. I know, I was so brave to host the dinner for 28 people four months after the cancer treatment. With the limited energy, I took two months to get the house ready, cleaning the house one room at a time. On the day of Thanksgiving, my daughter Mercy helped me do most of the cooking, I had written the schedule of the day from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. when the family would arrive. She followed the schedule to put the turkey in the over, cook other dishes and set up the hors d’oeuvre and dessert tables. She did such a good job that all I did was get myself ready for the family dinner.

Well, for this year, I couldn’t plan too far in advance. I went to Portland, Oregon on two different trips when Mercy gave birth to her first baby. I went on the first trip in mid-September by myself when Mercy was due. Her baby was overdue, and I had to come back to California to take care of my After-school Care business.

My husband went with me on the second trip scheduled on September 28. The night before the trip, my son-in-law, Will called, and said Mercy was in labored and admitted to the hospital. I prayed every minute from the time he called to the time we arrived Portland the next day afternoon. We took a taxi from the airport straight to the hospital. Mercy was in pain but was not ready to deliver. By 10:00 p.m., Will asked us to go back to the house and will call to give us the update.

We went back to Mercy’s house, but I wasn’t able to sleep. I set the phone to the lowest ringtone because my husband went to sleep. I looked at the phone every five minutes, making sure I didn’t miss a call. By 4:00 a.m., Will called and said Mercy had delivered the baby through C-section. It was too much to coordinate by the time the doctor decided to have C-section, so he didn’t call earlier. After the delivery the doctor said Mercy could have visitors and that was when Will called me. We rushed to the hospital and were so happy to see our first granddaughter.

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My husband went back to California after a week and I stayed for six weeks. I helped to take care of the cooking, doing laundry and other chores. I took the first “shift” at night to watch Autumn so Mercy and Will could rest a little. Mercy had to feed Autumn every two hours and Will tried to help. Being new parents were quite a learning experience to Mercy and Will. Mercy tried holding Autumn in different positions for feeding but there was a latching problem. Will went back to work after two weeks of paternity leave. He continues to help when Autumn wakes up during the night for feeding.

When I came home a week before Thanksgiving, I rushed to the stores to get fall season decoration. I stopped by many stores, all I saw was Christmas items. So, I had to use Christmas decoration. Why not? Mercy, Will, and Autumn came to spend Thanksgiving with us this year. We had a houseful of family again this year and had a great gathering.

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Our old, artificial Christmas tree was all worn out, and we bought a new one – white color. Throughout the years when I decorated the Christmas tree, I cramped the tree with several strings of lights, many strands of garlands, and years of collections of ornaments. This year, after I assembled the tree, Mercy helped to decorate it. She only used two strings of lights, one strand of the garland, and twenty ornaments. She liked the simple look. You know what? I like it. I like the peaceful and quiet look of a simple tree.

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By the way, Autumn is two months and four days old. She had her first immunization. Mercy said Autumn handled the shots well. “Good girl, Autumn!”

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©Miriam Hurdle 2017

About Miriam Hurdle

Miriam Hurdle is a multi-genre writer. She writes poetry, flash fiction, and short stories. Her poems are included in Letters to Gaia, Whispers and Echoes Issue 2, Whispers and Echoes Issue 3, and Outcast and More Words.

Music has rooted in her life. Being a soloist as a teenager led her to taking voice lessons and to have ongoing singing engagements. She continues to sing soprano in choral groups. Lyrics have a major influence in the natural flow of her melodic writing. She writes memoir in the form of poetry.

Along with her brother, she took photos when the films were black and white. Photography is still her enjoyable hobby. Drawing and painting were fun activities as a child. Her favorite was to draw a Japanese girl with big eyes, long hair, small lips and chin. She resumed drawing and watercolor painting several years ago. In her poetry collection, photos and paintings are included to illustrate the poems.

She earned a Doctorate of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California.

About  Songs of Heartstrings

Human being has the willpower to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

This poetic memoir comprises themes ranging from the suffering through an undesirable relationship, surviving an aggressive cancer, to the happiness in true love, the joy of parenthood, and gratefulness toward the Maker. Hurdle reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She illustrates the poems with her beautiful photos and paintings.

One of the recent reviews

“Songs of Heartstrings – Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude” is a most enjoyable book of poetry. Told in the first person, Miriam Hurdle takes you along on her many journeys, in the ups and downs, of life. I particularly enjoyed the photos, placed before many of the poems. It brought me closer to what Miriam was relaying in her words.

My favorite poem is “Life’s Currents”. Here, the author reminds us we are never alone, no matter the hardships we might face in our time here on Earth. There is no doubt Miriam has a strong faith and relies on it for many of life’s obstacles.

The book is broken up into eight different sections, making it a very pleasant read. Miriam uses different styles of poetry, so you’re never just reading. She easily gets and keeps your attention throughout. If you are looking for a poetry book filled with inspiration, and thought provoking passages, this is the book for you. I highly recommend this to any and every one, as I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Songs of Heartstrings – Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude”.

Connect to Miriam

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Miriam-Hurdle/e/B07K2MCSVW
Website and blog: https://theshowersofblessings.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/miriam.hurdle.1
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mhurdle112

Posts from your Archives – All about the family.

  1. Personal memories of childhood or teens that are still fresh in your mind.
  2. Family history, stories of your parents, grandparents and further back if you can.
  3. Fur family past and present.
  4. Favourite recipes.
  5. Memorable holidays.
  6. Places you have lived.
  7. Memorable homes you have lived in.
  8. Grandchildren tales.
  9. Any family related post – education, health, teen years, elderly care, lifestyle.
  10. Please remember that there are some younger readers who visit.

I think you get the idea.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog from the day you started up to December 2018, and you simply send the link to those blogs to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 700 posts from 200 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.

The only issue is the number of photographs and if there are more than five photographs in the post I will do a reblog rather than a separate post. (Media space)

Previous participants are more than welcome

Thanks for dropping in today and I am sure Miriam would love your feedback. thanks Sally.

Something to Think About – The R’s of Life – Relations – Survival in a Modern Society by Sally Cronin


The title for this series came about as I dipped into a Thesaurus to find some words for a poem I was writing. I noticed that a great many words that reflected (see what I mean) key elements in our lives began with the letter ‘R’. In the original series there was an introduction, but I am skipping that to dive straight into what I believe is becoming extinct in many areas of our world and our own lives…..

Relations

In this chapter I am going to explore our relations, not to be confused with relationships; which is a whole different world of complications.

Over the years, I have talked about family issues with friends, colleagues and those I have counselled and I don’t think that I have met anyone who can honestly say they had a completely idyllic childhood. Some in fact felt that they had a dreadful time and were only too glad to leave home. Others remember the good times and put the challenges down to part of life.

Everyone has their own story about those years between birth and heading out into the world and each of us has to come to terms with those years in one way or another.

Certainly, as I have mentioned before, I do not believe in a perfect relationship of any kind. I do think that relationships should be two-sided and that they take a great deal of work to develop and sustain. Unfortunately, our relationship with our parents is largely one-sided until we reach a certain age and learn to communicate. Even then it can be a case of ‘their house, their rules‘. Whilst we might resent this at the time, especially as we move into our teen years, it is actually part of the socialisation process, preparing us to work within different relationship structures as adults. However, some children grow up in a very different environment which is harsh and restrictive. Not all children survive that experience with a balanced view of the world and that is tragic.

The teen years, from my own personal experience, and I suspect a fair number of you, were punctuated with minor conflicts. In a close knit family, most of these issues are resolved, in a large part down to a solid background of love and trust that has been established over the years. But there is no doubt that once a child reaches puberty things change.

I cannot speak for those who have had appalling childhoods and can only sympathise. I can only speak to mine with any authority and pass comment on the experiences of those I have come into contact with. I know that I was very lucky in that I enjoyed nearly all  of the fundamental needs of a growing child such as security, a roof over my head, plenty of food, a good education and health care. I also recognise that most issues that arose, were because I liked to push boundaries, even as a young child.  What  I do appreciate about coming from a healthy family environment is that when the going got tough, there was always at least one member to turn to for help and support. Although not necessarily the case for everyone; for most of us there is an enduring sense of connection that lasts through our lifetimes.

The Relations.

The family group that comprises our relations falls into a number of categories. There is the relationship with our parents, which is a subject that has filled the bank accounts of psychiatrists for the last hundred years or so! Then there is where we stand in the pecking order of our siblings; which can result in interesting relationship dynamics as we grow up.

Also, we have the extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. If you are lucky many will be close enough to be in touch regularly and form an important support system. However, this is an area of family that has changed greatly in the last 50 years as people began to move out from home towns for work, emigrated or through marriage. We also have some variations in the family structure that bring new challenges and interesting developments. For example our definition of family is also dependent on the method of conception.

So let’s start with our parents.

Throughout the evolution of humans, biologically, conception required a male and female to be present. However, since 1978 this has not been essential.  You can now take sperm and an egg and bring them together in a laboratory before an embryo is implanted into a womb. This of course is a wonderful medical advance for those couples who cannot conceive in the normal way.

This procedure also means that the embryo does not have to be implanted in your own womb, as you can employ the services of a surrogate, who will carry your biological foetus to full term and give birth for you. For example in the case of same sex male partnerships where one of the partners will supply the sperm so that children carry the genes of at least one of the parents.

In some cases single women who wish for a child and are not in a relationship can select a suitable sperm donor from a clinic, and after their donated egg is fertilised, have the embryo implanted into their own womb and give birth themselves.

The other option which has brought family together is through adoption although numbers have dropped considerably in the last few years with only around 5,000 a year in the UK and approximately 110,000 in the USA. One of the reasons is that there are now so many other options for couples who are looking to either conceive naturally or assisted either with egg or sperm donation, or surrogacy.

So, what used to be a fairly straightforward process just fifty years ago now has become a great deal more complex.

Is this important or not?

I don’t think that the process of how and why a child is born is actually critical. In the vast majority of cases, the moment a child, who has just been born or adopted, is placed in its mother’s arms a bond is formed which continues to develop over a lifetime. Sometimes that bond is never formed; but that can happen in any of the circumstances that a child comes into the world or family.

There are some who believe that having a child is ‘a right‘. I disagree with that concept. I certainly see it as a child’s ‘right’ to be born into a loving family that can support, feed, educate and provide security for it until it is able to look after itself. I appreciate the fact that in many countries that is not the case and that children are born into extreme poverty. And,  in far too many cases, into incredibly dangerous environments. But that is usually because culturally there has not been a shift in the education of the parents for generations, and many women still do not have a choice in the matter.

We in the western world, in the majority of cases, do have a choice. However, it would still seem that some women will choose to have children despite them not being able to provide for them adequately without external support. I may well be going to cause some controversy with some at this point, because I do not believe that the welfare state was created to enable people to have children deliberately, without the ability to provide for them. It was created to provide for those who through no fault of their own find themselves in dire straits and require help to provide a decent quality of life for themselves and their families.

Tragically it is not just unplanned or planned pregnancies that create single parents. The death of a parent, or contention about custody following a divorce, can also place men and women in a situation where they find themselves as the sole parent. Whilst in many countries there is a welfare state to step in if needed, it is the practical issues that are daunting. Whilst money helps with some of those issues, it does not necessarily provide a sense of security or provide the extra hours needed in the day to look after a baby or young child alone. It does not provide the back up to provide a safe and loving home should there be an emergency, and it was never intended to take the place of an extended family.

This brings up an issue that I feel is going to be an interesting and possibly difficult parenting issue in just a few years. That is when a single mother has chosen to conceive by sperm donation. Whilst the mother might have an extended family on her own side and a support system in place, the child as it grows, will know nothing of its father’s history or in some cases genetic background.

However, in the UK a law was enacted in 2006, and any child conceived through sperm donation can apply at age 16 to find out certain details about their biological father. In 2022 the children born after 1st April 2005, if they have been informed of their method of conception, can request the background and health information about the sperm donor and also the identity of any other children that they might have fathered.  A letter will be sent to the father and any other children and it is their right to refuse contact, but it does open up a huge and possibly devastating situation. Particularly if a child being contacted did not know that he or she was conceived by sperm donation.

As a result of this removal of right to anonymity, there has been a significant drop in the number of sperm donors in the UK concerned that they might well become liable for child support for several offspring. However, it would seem that women are turning to overseas clinics where anonymity is still guaranteed. This means that children who are born from overseas sperm donation will not know of any genetic problems that might have been passed on or that might impact their own children’s health in generations to come.

Parenting

Whatever the method of reproduction, the moment that baby is born, or enters a family, the real job of parenting begins. Bonding between a child and a parent has been the subject of years of intense research and there are hundreds of books on the subject. There are all sorts of complexes and syndromes associated with this critical relationship, and there is no doubt the long-term effects of a breakdown in that bond can be devastating.

It used to be considered very unacceptable to talk about your parents in a derogatory manner. However, many people of my age group, in their 60s, are now sharing their experiences, and it would seem that for many, childhood years were not happy ones.

What this does illustrate to me, is that modern parenting in its various forms, is probably neither better nor worse than it was 40 years ago, when babies were born into what is referred to as a traditional family.

I have not been a parent and that for some time was a cause of sadness. I lost a child late in pregnancy when I was 21 years old and did not find out until I was 39 that there had been more damage than identified at the time, and I could not have more. By that time we were considered too old to adopt and the other options so readily available today were in not common. So consequently I will not attempt to tell anyone how to be a parent.

What I can do though is draw on my experience of being a child and whilst overall that experience was by no means unhappy, I do wish that I had been able to enjoy the following:

Grandparents.

I envied my friends at school who had grand-parents who looked after them from time to time, took them on holiday or for days out at the seaside and gave them their time without the  constraints faced by parents. As I got older, I wished that I could have found out more about the history of our family from those who had lived it, especially as they had all been born in the 1890s. Sadly both my grand-fathers and one grandmother died before I was born and one grandmother and aunt died in a car accident when I was only three.

A father.

I wish my father who was serving in the Royal Navy had been around more when I was a young child. I don’t really remember him from before the age of five when I discovered him bed with my mother one morning and screamed the house down. I had not seen him for two years and he looked nothing like his photograph at the side of my mother’s bed.

I know that I felt safer when he was home, that my mother was happier and therefore more tolerant of our childish behaviour. I realise now as an adult that she was very lonely when he was away for two years at a time. She was effectively a single mother; with no parents of her own nor supportive in-laws. I now appreciate how tough that must have been. Including during the war years when my father was at sea for most of the time from 1940 to 1946. He was obviously on leave from time to time, so my mother had two small children under three years old by the end of the war. He continued to be absent for extended periods of time until I was about seven years old.  I only really understood the impact that had on their relationship, and mine with my mother. when I was very much older.

I missed not having my father there when he was away for long periods of time. He was quite capable of putting the fear of god into us when he was home, and being a bit of a wild child, I was always getting into trouble. But I needed boundaries and I am not sure how I might have developed without his guiding hand in my life.  Luckily, we did get to travel with him on his later overseas postings and I definitely know the difference in atmosphere, security and level of harmony, when there were two parents to share the parenting rather than just one.

Sisters.

I also wish that I had not taken so much for granted the influence my two elder sisters had on my childhood, and the fact, that in many ways they were my surrogate mothers. When they came home from school in Sri Lanka, where we lived from when I was 18 months old for two years, my amah would hand me over to them and everywhere they went, I went too. This must have been very restrictive on them as they were only eleven and twelve at the time. But they taught me to swim, kept me safe in an environment with dangers including snakes and other jungle wildlife, made me smocked dresses and allowed me to tag along after them.

I am glad that my sisters and I can still have fun when we meet up. It is when we are together that you really notice that we look quite similar, sound alike and have the same mannerisms, reinforced by a lifetime of contact. We can say things to each other that you would not say to even a close friend; you can even disagree from time to time without it becoming a major issue. You also have a shared heritage and memories of events that friends cannot share with you. Much of this also applies to friends of mine who were adopted, even down to the characteristics such as speech and mannerisms.

The extended family.

This brings me onto the importance of having an extended family in a child’s life. Life has challenges and even with loving parents and siblings, there are times when we need additional support and a place to go to, a person we trust to speak to and a feeling of belonging to something much bigger and stronger than the world at large. It can make an enormous difference to a child, and its development to be exposed to the influence of an extended family. That influence is not just evident in childhood but also as we develop adult relationships and become parents ourselves.

Apart from the benefits that I mentioned earlier there is no doubt in my mind that a sense of belonging to a ‘clan’ rather than a small family unit, is such an advantage of a child growing up in today’s world. This is even more important for single parents who are struggling to fulfil the role of both parents.

A large percentage of grandparents are now providing childcare so that their sons and daughters can work. The average cost of childcare per week for children under school age in the UK is £125. That is £6,500 per year multiplied by the number of children that you have under 5 years old.  With more and more grandparents stepping in to take over that care, it is obviously  a huge benefit to a young family. There are other things to consider as well. Grandparents who have been entrusted with the care of a child, are likely to have been good parents themselves and they bring this wealth of experience to the equation.

There is no doubt that both mothers and fathers anticipate the arrival of a new baby with great joy. But it has been, and always will be, a very tough job. It is 24 hours a day, seven days a week for at least eighteen years.  However, according to my mother the concern of a parent goes on for the lifetime of the relationship, even when you child is in her 60s!

Our relations, across the board, are connected in so many ways other than our DNA. As we go through life, a family that is close and has a strong bond can make all the difference as we forge our own path. We should not take that for granted and even if we drift apart at times and lose regular contact, it is one of those bonds that is rarely completely broken.

I am not the poster child for family relations or relationships in general, but I do know that I am one of the lucky ones, and that I was given a childhood that provided me with the more than the fundamental needs that every child has a right to. I also recognise that I am the person I am today, in part to those formative years

As I mentioned earlier in the chapter, we all have our own version of what family means to us. Whatever our experiences, there is a physical and genetic link to all those who went before us, and, if we are lucky, there is also a wonderfully sustaining emotional and mental bond.

©Sally Cronin 2019

Images: Pixabay.com

You can find other posts in the Something to Think About series as well as previous chapters of The R’s of Life: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/something-to-think-about/

As always I love to receive your comments and experiences.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Short Stories – What’s in a Name – Queenie – Coming to life again by Sally Cronin


Welcome to the first of the short stories this weekend from volume two of What’s in a Name.  Meet Queenie who finds new purpose in her life following the death of her husband.

Queenie – Coming to Life again

Queenie Denton contemplated the crumbs on the plate in front of her. She barely remembered eating the toast and marmalade and wondered if she was losing her marbles.

It was six weeks since her husband of fifty-five years, Donald, had died peacefully clasping the silver cross he had bought at a charity shop in the high street the month before. He was not a religious man, but he had worked for an insurance company as man and boy, and she supposed he thought it prudent at eighty years old to cover his bets. She on the other hand went to church every Sunday and was a member of the church ladies group that arranged the flowers and kept the place spotless between services.

They called themselves the Holy Dusters, and she realised with a pang that she missed seeing her friends every few days. They had been marvellous of course, bringing around Victoria sponges and sitting with her in the first few weeks, but she had then begun to ignore the doorbell; sitting in solitude in Donald’s recliner.

She must make the effort and get back to normal. She could just imagine what her husband would have to say about the state of the house, and the fact that she had not put her make-up on for weeks.

There were a few other things she had neglected since Donald had suddenly collapsed and been rushed into hospital. She had cancelled her regular Wednesday morning hair appointment and she could see that her normally pristine and beautifully manicured nails needed immediate attention.

She picked up her plate, cup and saucer and popped them into the kitchen sink before reaching for the telephone on the wall.

Two days later, looking and feeling more like herself; Queenie put the telephone down from talking to Mavis who was in charge of the dusting rota. She would be starting back next Tuesday; giving her time to get her own house in order. But, with Donald gone and nobody to fuss over, she needed a project and immediately her mind veered to thoughts of her as yet single granddaughter Penny. Now there was a challenge if ever there was one.

Penny was a brilliant psychiatrist who worked at the local hospital. Tall and rather striking, she had never married, and at thirty-five didn’t seem to have any interest in doing so. Queenie loved her dearly, but having set her heart on being a great grandmother before she followed Donald into the great beyond, she felt it was time for an intervention.

The following Saturday with her house back to spick and span order, Queenie piled a tray with cups, coffee pot and red velvet cupcakes and carried it into the living room where Penny was removing her coat and scarf.

‘Here we are darling,’ Queenie smiled warmly at her granddaughter, who came over and took the heavy tray from her.

‘Those cupcakes look delicious Nana. Are you back to baking again?’ Penny placed the tray on the coffee table and sat in the chair next to her grandmother.

‘No dear, I must be honest, I bought them from the new bakery next to my hairdressers and I must admit to trying one or two already.’

Niceties out of the way, Queenie decided to get a few details ironed out before she outlined her project for her granddaughter.

‘Penny,’ she started hesitantly. ‘I hope you don’t mind me being a little indelicate, but are you in the wardrobe?’

Penny cocked her head to one side and contemplated her grandmother, barely able to contain her laughter.

‘Whatever do you mean Nana,’ she composed herself.

‘Well I was in the hairdressers the other day, reading a magazine where a young woman about your age said that she had recently come out of the wardrobe to her parents, and they had not been very understanding.’

‘Ah… I get it now Nana; actually it is usually referred to as being in the closet, and do you know why she might have been in the closet?’

‘Of course darling, I am not that old fashioned, and in fact when I was a young woman it was quite common for two maiden ladies to move in together and not to marry. It was understood that there was an arrangement and nobody really thought anything about it. Of course it was much more difficult when two young men moved in together; which never seemed fair to me.’

Penny was relieved to hear that her grandmother understood the situation so well, but felt that she ought to put her grandmother straight on her own state of affairs.

‘Nana I’m not gay and I wondered why you should think that?’ She looked at Queenie in amusement.

‘Well, you have often said that you have no intention of marrying or having children, and I just feel that it is such a shame to go through life alone.’ Queenie paused for a moment and gathered her thoughts.

‘Marriage is not always perfect, and goodness knows I drove your poor grandfather to distraction with my little foibles. Not to say that he didn’t have his own, although it was difficult to get him to admit it. But, our love was strong enough to weather any storm and I just wish that you could experience that for yourself.’

Penny looked down at her ringless hands and tried to forget that she was a psychiatrist for a moment, and just a granddaughter who was about to share her very private thoughts for the first time.

‘Nana,’ she began quietly. ‘When I was at university I fell in love with another student. He was two years ahead of me studying medicine, and when we met at one of the dances we clicked immediately.’

Queenie leant forward in her chair watching her normally composed granddaughter struggle to tell this story.

‘Go on darling,’ she encouraged smiling across the space between them.

‘His name was Aaron Bernstein and came from Israel. We moved in to a flat together a year before he finished his degree, and he was planning on doing his hospital rotations here in England until I finished my own. However his parents came over to visit shortly before he graduated, and told him in no uncertain terms, that they would disown him if he chose to marry someone not of their faith.’

Tears rolled down Penny’s cheeks and she took a tissue out of her handbag.

Queenie was speechless, she had not heard this story before and she was angry that her son, Penny’s father, had kept it from her.

‘Did your parents know about this Penny?’ She tried not to sound hurt and angry.

‘No, Nana, I told no-one, especially when Aaron felt that he could not go against his parents and disappoint them. He returned to Israel straight after graduation and I haven’t heard from him since.’ She paused and looked at her grandmother’s expression of dismay.

‘I did try to find him by searching online for a number of years but I eventually gave up and tried to put him out of my mind.’

This was a bombshell indeed and Queenie felt herself getting very angry at this dreadful slight against her only granddaughter.

‘I’m so sorry darling,’ she reached across and held Penny’s hand. ‘Haven’t you been out with anyone else in the last ten years that you might have had feelings for?’

Penny smiled at her grandmother’s concerned face. ‘I have dated quite a bit Nana, but never met anyone like Aaron. He was simply my soul mate and I don’t want to settle for less.’

This disturbing conversation replayed over and over in Queenie’s mind in the next few days and after her next visit to the hairdressers, and after reading a very interesting article, she contacted her friend Doris.

The next day she arrived at her friend’s house looking immaculate in her a new emerald green jacket and her pearls. She was not going to make her debut on the international worldwide webby thing looking anything but her best.

Doris led her into her dining room where the two of them sat side by side in front of a computer screen.

‘Now Queenie, you said that you wanted to find your granddaughter a soul mate online so I have got the links for some recommended dating sites we can try.’ She looked over to her friend to see if they were on the same page.

‘Actually Doris, I have something else in mind after reading an article in a magazine yesterday.

She slipped a piece of paper across the table to Doris who picked it up to study.

‘Okay, that is an interesting approach,’ and with that she typed in the link onto the screen.

Two weeks later Penny was surprised to get a phone call from her grandmother at nearly midnight, and was immediately concerned that Queenie was unwell.

She assured her granddaughter that all was fine, but she needed to see her on Saturday morning urgently. Queenie uttered a quick ‘love you’ and put the phone down.

Penny duly arrived at ten in the morning and was relieved to see that Queenie was resplendent in pink jacket and beautifully presented as normal. Her only concern was that she looked slightly flushed and over excited, and she wanted to get to the bottom of it right away.

‘Okay Nana, I’m here so what is so urgent?’

Queenie placed her hand on her heart and took a deep breath.

‘Darling, I know that you feel that there could never be another soul mate for you and I do understand that,’ she paused before continuing in a rush ‘I hope you don’t mind but I have done something rather serious.’

‘What have you done Nana?’ Penny was not sure where this was leading but she had a suspicion that she was not going to enjoy it.

‘Well darling, you said that it was several years since you last checked online to find Aaron, so I thought that I would give it a shot, and Doris and I have been investigating. Penny who had no idea that her grandmother even knew how to switch on a computer was stunned at this surprising development.

Seeing the bemused look on Penny’s face, Queenie took her by the hand and led her into the living room where she pulled her down to sit beside her on the sofa.

‘Darling, I found him, I found your Aaron.’ Penny put a trembling hand over her mouth and stared at Queenie completely speechless.’

Queenie excitedly continued. ‘I found him on this place called LinkedIn and it has to be the right one. He served in the Israeli army for ten years before going to America where he is a top heart surgeon at a large hospital in New York.’

‘Oh my God Nana, I don’t believe it.’ Penny stared at her grandmother as if she had never seen her before.

‘And that’s not all,’ Queenie continued. ‘Doris is on LinkedIn too because of the fancy job that she had so she was able to send him a message thingy, asking him if he was the one who trained in England and knew a girl called Penny.’

Completely mortified Penny stood up and walked to the window. Her heart was thumping madly in her chest and she could barely breathe. She couldn’t bring herself to believe that this would lead anywhere; after all he was probably married with children by now.

At that moment she saw a black taxi pull up outside the house and the back door open. A tall man with slightly greying hair got out and leant through the front window as he paid the driver. He turned and opened the gate, walking briskly to the front door. He turned as he caught a movement in the bay window and after a moment of simply staring at each other, he smiled, his eyes crinkling in a very familiar way.

She heard Queenie walking down the hall to open the door and then footsteps across the parquet flooring.

Penny held her breath with her eyes closed as she felt his presence behind her and then his two hands gently resting on her shoulders.

He pulled her back in to him and whispered in her ear.

‘I am sorry I was not brave enough then. Please forgive me and tell me it is not too late.’

They did not hear the front door close or see Queenie as she walked down the path and disappeared from view.

She was smiling as she made her way to Doris’s house; eager to get cracking on their next adventure online which was to sign up for one of those Mediterranean cruises in the Spring. She was sure Donald would not approve, but as Doris reminded her, you are only young once.

©Sally Cronin

My latest book, Tales from the Irish Garden, has received some recent reviews

About Tales from the Irish Garden

The queen of Magia and her court have fled their sun filled Spanish homeland and the palace beneath the magnolia tree. Arriving on the backs of geese and swans, they seek sanctuary in the magic garden of The Storyteller who welcomes them to the Emerald Island, a place where rain is almost a daily feature.

Grateful for their safe haven and the generosity of their host, the queen and her courtiers embrace their new surroundings with delight. As the seasons change throughout the year, they come into contact with many of the human and animal inhabitants of the garden and the surrounding forest, all of whom have a story to tell.

This is a magical fairy story infused with fantasy and romance, as well as opportunities for mischief in the company of goblins, witches and Lerpersians. Suitable for ages 10 to 100 years old…..

One of the recent reviews for the book

Tales from the Irish Garden is a wonderful book. It has the magic of the Narnia Chronicles, the mystery of The Secret Garden and the delight of Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland.

As I read this book I became completely immersed in the world of Fairy Queen Filigree and her court. I shared her anxiety as she searched for a new home where her people and bees could be safe and participated in her delight when the perfect spot is found on the faraway Emerald Island.

It is not an easy task to undertake such a big move but the fairies managed it admirably with the help of some of their friends. The Storyteller, a delightful elderly man, is a wonderful new character you will meet and get to know and he proves himself to be kind, thoughtful and understanding. In no time at all the fairies are settled into their new home, kitted out in clothing more suitable for the colder, damper weather and even aided in meeting new friends.

Of course, life is never straightforward and Queen Filigree and the fairies experience their ups and downs, losses, romances and worries as they adapt to their new environment. There are plenty of celebrations and happy moments to smooth the way and it all makes for a very entertaining read.

The illustrations in this book are deserve a mention as they are amazing. They are the creations of talented illustrator Donata Zawadzka.

Read the reviews and buy the book Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Irish-Garden-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B07HMXTFKG

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Irish-Garden-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B07HMXTFKG

Here is a selection of my other books… an amazing gif designed by Paul Andruss… thanks Paul

You can find details of all my books in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you enjoyed this short story… always enjoy your feedback Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Linda Bethea – The Letter #Family #Humour


Time for another of Linda Bethea’s humour filled and heartfelt posts about family life. This week having a mother-in-law stay can be an adventure…. You can find Linda’s other posts Here

The Letter

Illustration by Kathleen Holdaway Swain

Grandma Holdaway came from Texas to spend a couple of weeks two or three times a year.

On arrival, Grandma was always in high spirits, delighted to see her youngest daughter and grandchildren after a long absence. She arrived, laden with gifts for us all, even including a pair of socks, ashtray, or coffee cup for Daddy. It was always clear she and Daddy were trying to get along for Mother’s sake, a woman they both loved. Their efforts wore thin as the days wore on, particularly on his days off when he couldn’t escape her questions about his personal business and his extended family. None of this endeared her to Daddy, an impatient man. Had he been an animal, he’d have made a fine bear. The grouchier he got, the moodier Grandma got. It must have been wonderful for Mother, being caught between them.

To start with, Grandma was clannish. She had no real use for those outside her own family. Accustomed to running her own family’s activities, she suffered in a situation she couldn’t tightly control. So did everyone else. Any or all of Daddy’s six fertile siblings were ever present on weekends. Visits were bedlam, with kids running wild, screaming, banging doors, and knocking little ones about, should a Mother be so careless as not to keep them in a defensible distance. Daddy’s Mother, Mamaw, was usually there, too, unless she lost her nerve and needed a sanity break. For some reason, if Grandma was there, Mamaw almost always came. In theory, they were friends, though sometimes they could have passed for sparring partners.

Grandma loved to go to town. She was always the first to the car, despite having mobility problems after a stroke in her sixties. She balanced her gait by carrying a huge black purse on her affected side. She said it kept her straight. Grandma got through a hellish Sunday with family by looking forward to a trip to town on Monday. All she had to do was somehow keep her sanity.

Late, Sunday evening, Grandma got the news she wouldn’t be going to town with Mother on Monday. Mother had to take a neighbor and wouldn’t have room for her. Not only that, Grandma had already been visiting two weeks and was descending into gloom by the time she got a call from her son. She had expected him to pick her up in a day or so, but he post-poned his trip for another two weeks. It didn’t make her or my dad happy to know they had another two weeks to spend together. My dad was on strike at the time, throwing them together, even more. His family’s visit that weekend enhanced an already perfect storm. I expected them to kill each other!

I will transcribe for you.

Dear BL, Just time for word. Hope all are getting along all right. Sure hope your daddys neck is feeling better I don’t feel too good Such a crowd here last night Bonnie, Edward, their 3 kids & Geneva came Ester, Junie, and their 5 hienas. Cat Young & her bunch of Angel then 2 bunches of neighbors & their familys & it was so quiet it hurts my ears til yet. running & slamming doors. I thought they would never leave. Kack(my mother)is fixing to take Cat Young to Springhill she has to go to the bank on business & Arnold had to go help Edward finish his filling station today & use his car& he ask her to take her to the bank. I intended to go & found out Kack was going to take all her kids. I better close. O I talked to John yest he ask me if I’de mind staying here two weeks longer til schools out that he hated to come one day & go back the next.so I told him I’de wait they are beginning to make a little progress in their talks about settling the strike they are all hoping the mill will open after July the 4th Bill got to work 2 days for another construction job, he had to walk the picket line last night for an hour for two must close Kacks ready to start tell your daddy Bill is wanting to give away their big collie does he want him to go with Blue. Must stop now. Please write soon. Love to all Grandma

I had forgotten until I reread this letter that Grandma didn’t bother with punctuation, though she had been a teacher.

©Linda Bethea 2018

Linda Bethea brings humour to her stories that are usually set in what was a dire time in American history in the great depression. There is no doubt in my mind that Southerners are tough, resilient and have an amazing sense of fun.

win_20160620_13_24_45_proHere is Linda with a little bit about herself.

Now that I’m done with the bothersome business of workday world, I am free to pursue my passion, capturing the stories I’ve loved all my life. The ones you’ll read on my blog are good old Southern stories, a real pleasure to relay. Here in the South, we are proud of our wacky folks. I’ve preyed shamelessly on my family, living and dead, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, often changing the names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

My mother illustrates my blog. I come from a rollicking family of nuts, hence the name of the blog Nutsrok Enjoy.

Linda has captured the essence of her family history in her book Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad

51qb8fm4dql-_uy250_About Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad by Linda Swain Bethea (Author) with Kathleen Holdaway Swain (Collaborator & Illustrator)

Born to a struggling farm family in the deepest of The Great Depression, Kathleen enjoys a colorful childhood, enhanced by her imagination, love of life, and the encouragement of her family.

She’s determined to build a better life for herself, getting herself into hilarious situations all along the way. Distinguishing herself in school and the community, she never takes her eyes off her goal.

Just as she’s about to get started, she meets Bill, the man who is going to help her on her way. Everything changes. And then changes again. The true story of a remarkable woman who will inspire you, make you laugh, and see life from a new perspective.

One of the many excellent reviews for the book.

………...as you fall in love with Kathleen’s family.

Bethea’s style of writing as she recounts her mother’s memories has made her one of my favorite authors, and I couldn’t put this book down once I started it.

Kathleen (Kitten) takes us through her childhood growing up during the Great Depression by sharing her memories, and we find ourselves cheering for the little girl and her family while we get to know them. Vivid descriptions about unwanted house-guest’s habits are hilarious, while stories of sacrifices made by the family for each other brings tears to the reader’s eyes. We find ourselves cherishing the favorite stories Kitten hears from her Mama and Daddy while she snuggles next to them much as she did at the time of their telling. As Kathleen recounts the difficulties she faced as a young adult, we too want to return home to her parents’ warm home, full pantry, and open arms.

Read the reviews and BUY the book: https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ/

Also by Linda Bethea

About the book

WOMEN OF STRENGTH, FORTITUDE, AND BRAVERY

In this collection of six serials, Linda Swain Bethea weaves narratives of women through several centuries. The stories span from 1643 to 1957. Beginning in England in 1643, a young couple travels to Jamestown, Virginia, to begin a new life in the American frontier. The rest of the stories travel from West Texas to North Louisiana to the Texas Panhandle to East Texas.

Disease, death, starvation, and prison are faced with stoicism and common sense, and always, with a sense of humor.

The women in each tale stand tall and possess the wisdom and tenacity to hold families together under the worst conditions. Through it all, they persevere, and Linda Swain Bethea’s storytelling is a testament to the legacy they left.

Conversational and homey, you’ll fall in love with the women of Just Women Getting By – Leaving a Legacy of Strength, which celebrates the courage of those women who had no choice but to survive.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

Connect to Linda

Blog: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nutsrok1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.bethea.50

My thanks to Linda for sharing her story and she would love your feedback. Thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Life with the Lennicks by Jason Lennick


Please welcome freelance writer, designer and social media specialist, Jason Lennick to the blog, with a witty and entertaining look at being part of the Lennick family.

Life with the Lennicks by Jason Lennick

I was brought into this world by two kind and decent people who wanted nothing but the best for me. Sadly they fell upon hard times and were forced to sell me to Joy and Eric Lennick for ten shillings and a packet of Hobnobs. And things deteriorated further when my brother Damon arrived on the scene some year and a half later, to steal my thunder (and my peace and quiet).

Younger brother Robert completed the picture, a beautiful child with angelic features and a winning smile that would one day conquer the nightclubs of Romford like Attila the Hun, but with better teeth.

Childhood was a confusing time and never more so than when Dad would randomly refer to us as Fred, Bill or George. But he was a kind man and worked hard to ensure our fridge was always filled with at least seven kinds of pickles. My beloved Mother Joy, when not scribbling poetry, could often be found in the kitchen, toiling for hours over vast cauldrons of soup, or exotic delicacies of Welsh-Jewish-fusion cuisine. Dad would torture/regale us over dinner with devastating puns and tales of his life in the army post WW2, and we would bicker and gulp down our food greedily like the little ingrates we were. Children are monsters.

All families have their quarrels and siblings inevitably squabble and scrap at times. Of course not all families deal with it in the same way, and perhaps the full-size boxing ring, complete with seating and judges was a little unconventional. I sometimes like to think I coulda’ been a contender.

My memory is a little hazy now, but I can still recall my parents taking us on long trips in the car: to the coast or the dark woods, far from our semi-civilized Essex home town. And yet somehow we always managed to find our way back, much to their chagrin.

Despite all the rivalry, the tantrums and the tears of family life, we made it to adulthood relatively sane and with most of our teeth. And there were so many happy moments to treasure: watching favourite TV shows together on our eight inch, steam-powered black and white television set; Christmas parties with beloved aunts and uncles and my first taste of alcohol; visits to our kind and loving grandparents; the smell of those roast dinners drifting up the stairs on a Sunday; football in the park and swimming at the Lido; riding our bikes for hours, on those crazy, hazy days of Summer. Where did the years go?

Now, each day, as I kneel before a vast golden altar to the gods of Monty Python, I recite a little prayer: “Dearest Mum and Dad (and the other two), may the gods smile upon you all and keep you safe and well. And may all Dad’s puns be forgiven. Amen, Shalom, Ni!” And somewhere, far off in some exotic distant corner of the globe (actually Alicante, Spain), I can almost hear someone say: “Ni!” right back.

Some might doubt whether my account of life with the Lennick’s is entirely true, or if perhaps a pinch (or a large sack) of salt might be in order. One thing that I can tell you in absolute honesty is this: my parents gave us a wonderfully warm, loving and supportive upbringing. The New Year’s Honours list doesn’t include a category for good parenting, but if it did they’d be a shoo-in.

Joy and Eric Lennick

©Jason Lennick 2018
Jason is halfbananas

About Jason Lennick

It’s tough growing up in the bug and ‘gator infested swamp-lands of Louisiana. So it was just as well that I was born and raised in the relatively ‘gator-free south of England.

When I reached the tender age of forty, my parents callously abandoned me, seeking a life of sunshine and sangria on the Costa Blanca in Spain. Luckily I was able to survive by using my finely-honed skills as a ninja assassin and snake-charmer.

I now have the good fortune to be residing in wonderful Copenhagen, with my long-suffering partner Ann, and a cute but very annoying old cat called Minnie, who seems to believe she is Empress of the universe. Who are we to disagree?

When not blogging, instagramming or comically mangling the unpronounceable Danish language, I can often be found arguing with strangers in Facebook groups, or creeping silently across rooftops in the dead of night with a deadly cobra in my backpack.

Connect to Jason

Freelance Designer, writer: https://www.behance.net/jasonlennick
Blog: https://halfbananas.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jasonlennick/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jasonlennick

My thanks to Jason for sharing his memories of his life as a Lennick… most of you are already very fond of Joy and her poetry and stories. It clearly runs in the family.  Sally.