Remembering (or not) D-day

Last night, as perhaps many of you did, too, we watched D Day, which is the impetuous for today’s post.

I was born in 1944, and yes, that’s a few years after D-Day, but is nonetheless, within the span of WW11. This is an obviously old photo of that time. My father, John, mother Jeanette, older sister, Judy, an me, the baby in Mother’s arms.We are on the steps of our house on Bertita Street in San Francisco. I don’t know who took the photo.

While I don’t remember much about that time, I do remember, oddly enough, snapshots of that time. I remember blackout curtains on the inside windows, and I remember two of my mother’s brothers, my uncles Lawrence and Kenny, coming to visit us as they were preparing to ship out, both on Navy vessels. I remember me standing at the edge of my crib, sides pulled up and me reaching out arms for one or the other uncle to pick me up.

I find it odd that now I can barely or rarely remember where I put my glasses, but I remember the uncles and reaching over the crib rail to be picked up.

My father and mother had moved to San Francisco when my older sister was somewhere around a year old. Before that, they had lived on a farm in Kansas but when the oldest child, a son, was killed in an accident, and Mother very pregnant with Judy, I expect they had to get away from that reminder. I know where the accident occurred, a small culvert bridge on the road not far from our current farm, which I’ve written about previously.

My father also wanted to assist in the war effort and tried to enlist in San Francisco, maybe that’s why we moved there, too. But he had flat feet and the Army wouldn’t accept him. And so, he did the next best thing and became a Merchant Marine. I don’t have many memories of that, in fact, none, except he wasn’t home for long stretches of time. I know he got as far as Hawaii because there are some very old letters I’ve found and saved which he’d sent back to Mother.

I don’t know how “celebrating” D Day is exactly a celebration. Hundreds of young men died in the conflict, on all sides. But it is my early history and for whatever reason, I’ve written about that time in other posts. Maybe I’ve even written this one, or at least had the photo in one or another. I remember writing about Mother wheeling me in a baby stroller and Judy running alongside as we climbed a hill to where there was a playground.

And looking at this photo, I wonder how it is that I’ve now reached 77 years of age.

I’m Glad I didn’t

Delete my blog, I mean. Today I’ve had time–after first cleaning the small bathroom which belongs to my husband because younger son who isn’t exactly young as he was born in 1962 is coming from Florida for a visit–to review some of the pieces I’ve written here on my blog. I have enough essays to publish a book of essays!! And may. I had forgotten I had so many. So, no, I’m not deleting my blog.

Now why, one may ask, is someone coming from Florida to Missouri in December? From what I could gather in a phone conversation, Florida is getting too expensive and he and his wife are wondering about other places.

Top on his list? The Kansas farm. Of course his older brother, who already lives with us and teaches Middle School math, has already made dibs on living up there. But thankfully, both brothers like each other so they can work that one out. However, if this happens, it probably means losing MY little house up there, unless, of course, they build another.

The little house is one room with a kitchen in one corner, a bathroom on the west side where a window looks out on the prairie–I like sitting there–and a side extension where the bed sits. And in front of the sofa is a television set, and in front of that a door leading out to the porch where Cliff and I like to sit on summer evenings and watch the sky change. Along with the little house, there’s an old brick garage which is now cleaned out and where Dad had his workbench. It was really thickly covered in decades of greasy dirt. The old garage also comes complete with a lot of spiders in the rafters. Oh, and there’s the old chicken house which is falling in on itself. There’s more of course, but you get the idea and you probably don’t need to know about the grain bins and the lean to sort of barn Dad built after the old real barn burned down decades ago.

At any rate, you sort of get the picture and if you are bored and want to look through old posts there’s some that show the farm or kitchen or whatever.

I also have to clean up my writing room, which is our only guest room. There’s piles of papers all over the floor. After writing and publishing From Ocean to Desert, it was time to start the Mexico book, as it’s been called, for many years. And it still isn’t done. It’s only in piles of stops and starts. The title is now “A Gringa Loose in Mexico.”

It’s been a hard book to write. Not only because it’s in so many piles (well, maybe that too) but because there’s so much. There’s living in New York, and going to Mexico to make a movie, and falling in love with a people and a country, and a curandera, whose name was Gloria, initiated me one night in the desert. She is why I eventually became a healer.

So anyway I’m back and need to return to finding, in this mass of piles, the piece about going to Gloria’s house where I was blessed, again, by a shaman like healer.

But, I’ll be back….and then I’ll figure out how to delete the pesky line below that seems to want to stay.

Now I Remember….

After deciding to delete my blog, I have reconsidered after receiving and reading some of the great posts by other bloggers. But in trying to figure out where I go from here, I understand why I wanted to delete it…the site has become so complicated and I am so old, it’s a job to make sense of. I, on the other hand, remember the days when it was simple and clear.

However, after reconsidering, I’ve decided to go on for a while with it. I’ve really liked the community. I just have to get used to the”new and better” (and way more complicated) WordPress.

However, since I’ve just been called to dinner, I’ll close for now and endeavor to find my way back soon.

Janet

Never One to Dawdle

So along with promoting “From Ocean to Desert”, I have begun the Mexico book as I call it. Actually, the title is “A Gringa Loose in Mexico.” But “starting” is such an inexplicable word. In short, I’ve been trying to write this book for years and have pages and pages of stops and starts. In fact, sitting here on my desk beside my laptop, there is a seven inch stack of starts and stops. It’s been hard to get a handle on. The brief overview is I went to Mexico to make a movie, my hairdresser turned out to be a curandera, and blessed me on a night when the red sky poured blood.

The guys on tall buildings in New York would whistle at me but the guys in Mexico would holler, oye, donde va guera? In English, hey blondie what ya going?

I’ll check in from time to time, at least I hope I will. A seven inch stack of starts and stops is sort of overwhelming! In the meantime, pick up a copy of From Ocean to Desert. You’ll still hear my voice.

It’s Finally Out!!

It’s been a long time coming, but my book is finally out. I think the last time I wrote to you was for a book I was co-writer/editor on, “About Franz.” I’d put aside the below book, mine, because I wanted my 92 year old friend to have hers in her hands. She received it, and then, it was time for mine.

Writing a book always seems like a cool idea. Well, usually it is. But publishing a book is a lot of work. Even when you are acquainted with a publisher. There’s proofs to read and corrections to be made and reviewing, reviewing, reviewing. But if I could do it, so can you. We are all in this together.

So here’s ways you can order From Ocean to Desert: Shanti Arts.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org, and possibly your local bookstore if you ask them to order it for you. You might also be able to simply search the title and find it elsewhere. Christine Cote, my publisher, sends the books she publishes to a wide reach of places.

Writing here, on our blog, has been a great learning experience. Both by reading other’s work and having a place where I could try out mine. I want to thank all of you for following and wandering with me. Writing here also helped me stretch to find other places, small presses, to publish my work, poetry and essays (my life is weird enough so I don’t write fiction lol), and in that way I found other outlets. I think the task is to never give up and keep “honing your craft” as they say, sort of like sharpening a knife. In other words, if I could do it, you can too. I’ll look forward to hearing back from you. And best wishes on your journeys.