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My Brother Paul

I miss my brother more than words can say. He made my life better. He knew how much Dan and I had lost. He wanted me to know I was loved and that he too had lost a great deal with the passing of my daughter and then my mother. We were important to each other.

He  said that there was no stronger relationship than that of siblings –
shared blood, shared experience,  shared memories. He was about making memories. That was about doing things together – vacations, holidays, birthdays, casino weekends and Broadway shows . Paul  included me in all of these.

My brother loved me and I loved him.

Forever Friends

Ours is an easy friendship built on memories spanning almost thirty years. When  first we met I was a thirtyish married woman with a young daughter, settled in an Allentown row home.
My long-time friend Wayne Writer, owner of The Scoop ice cream parlor/ sandwich shop employed me to provide The Scoop with Cowboy Cookies and Carrot Cakes. For a time I also worked two nights a week in the shop. One evening I came in and there was Karen, a Muhlenberg College student. In hind sight we figured we were both there for the express purpose of meeting. We had much to talk about as I was coming in and she was leaving. Soon our acquaintance made way to one more familiar.
The dynamics of our little family welcomed her, all she was and would become.
Karen was optimistic and lovely, open and friendly from the start. We enjoyed mutual understanding allowing in-depth conversation and joyous laughter. Our age difference seemed inconsequential.

This last Summer we managed to squeeze in one last revel. Our day was beautiful! Ocean City, NJ is an old and charming town. An easy walk gave us entrance to the beach. We carried our lunch and chairs. Soon we had staked out a bit of sand with a blanket.
The girl who once wore a bikini and the young mother once comfortable in a tank suit, now more modestly clothed in the unfashionably forward swim dress!
This day rewarded us with restorative powers of  bright sunshine.
Being knocked over by a wave, not able to right myself is now my great fear. I could not allow this opportunity, to swim in the mighty ocean escape me. We were fearless upon entering The Great Atlantic, Karen held my hand, as one would a  child  or as  Victorian  ladies commonly strolled along together, hand-in-hand. We were porpoises frolicking in the “Briny Deep”.  We sculled to keep within flagged limits,  remembering  who The Master really is . We rested with toes in the sand and sun on our backs.
At day’s end , the beach population thinning, gave us tranquility. The Atlantic Ocean meeting the sky on the horizon. Oh, the deep beauty of the sea.!
Lest I forget…  In the end we celebrated the day with fish sandwiches at The Chatterbox.
Forever Friends are made of these days.

My Hands

Oma’s Hands

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Oma and Opa lived in near-by Riveredge. We went to their apartment every week to have Sunday.
Oma was small in stature. I refer to this beautifully kind uncomplicated woman with reverence,  a dumpling.
In their tiny abode we sat around the table almost the entire day. If we weren’t eating we were playing this German board game called Mensch Ager Dich Nicht!, cards (mostly Five-hundred Rummy), or listen to the many stories told, always auf Deutsch!, or watch television.  Meet The Press, Face The Nation and Ed Sullivan were the big draws on Sunday nights in those days.
During these many hours over my entire childhood I had the opportunity to observe physical attributes as-well-as the personalities of my family.
I can look at myself and see, in me, a bit of all the most important people in my life.
Oma’s name was Erna Lucke- Jarchow.  I remember Erna’s small, round face with broken capillaries on her fair-skinned cheeks, clear blue-gray eyes, a small nose and short gray hair. Her clothes plain, a cotton house dress, an apron, hose and black shoes complete the portrait.
Erna was quiet her joy most evident when she worked all morning to put a wonderful German meal on the table. When her daughter, also Erna, Paul, Lori and Paulie were there with her and Opa life was as good as it would get.
Because we always sat next to each other, I would look at Oma’s hands. They were little but not bony as most older women’s hands become. They were plain; no nail polish here. Oma always had one or two rings on her fingers. There was the plain gold band. The one I most remember was a pink- almost -lilac colored gem.
As I look at my hands I can’t forget my Oma had the most beautiful hands. They worked, cooked, hand-sewed, played cards and rested on the table beside me so I could look at her pretty rings.

Today I begin… many stories and snap-shots are stored. Maybe I can be a visual artist as I recall my history.

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