There was a greenhouse…

There was a greenhouse across the road
today it is gone
devoured by a hungry back-hoe
and maybe a bulldozer

There was a greenhouse across the road
for years,
its always been there
in my recollection
and for long, long years past

There was a greenhouse across the road
which provided a home
for flowers without number
lighted, and heated
to foster life and procreation

There was a greenhouse across the road
that just last autumn
was bustling and singing
with joyful voices and brilliant colors
as plants moved on to new gardens

There is no longer a greenhouse across the road
the metal and glass and plastic
are gone away, and perhaps
soon will be forgotten
except for a few sad reminders.

© Sometimes, 2017

a walk in the park… a wordle poem

As we walk along the darkened trail
pine needles crunch beneath our boots
giving pungent aroma into the night.
Lanterns glow beyond curtained mist
we laugh as  an owl a “good evening” hoots.

We take the trail to the river edge
where trim gardens hide their colors
as they gather rest for tomorrow’s sunlight.
The moon parts clouds to reveal the bridge,
silhouetted demurely against midnight sky.

The horn of a passing ship on a mystery trip
captures our fancy as we breezily speculate
on excursions we still might have taken—
these are the things…  a sigh, a kiss…
form memories that linger in clear view forever.

© Sometimes, 2017


As all two of you know, I LOVE Wordles!     Wordles is a feature of MindLoveMisery, and I enjoy doing them.  I search for them on the MLM site, and write the word list in my working notebook, and work on them when I have a chance.   Sometimes it is an extra challenge to make a story or poem using all of the twelve words given.


Wordle #269, originally published on Sunday Whirl, hosted by Brenda Warren




never say never

One of my favorite places where  I’ve never been
on the deck of a sailing ship, out on the ocean.
The boards are thick and smell of pine,
as a ballroom floor with satiny  shine…
o’er looking green hills that slope to the sea.
Where sweet maidens whirl in fine silk dresses
in powdered faces and warm shining  eyes,
dancing in time with the orchestra’s strains.

Back on my ship with the music still dancing
and humming gay tunes that remember …
my heart yearns for places that might have been;
for the deck boards of pine that echo sweet tunes
wafting o’er the salt-tinged breezes of  memories…
or dreams…of nights that might have existed
in one of my favorite places where I’ve never been.

© Sometimes, 2016

childhood memories of war

Perhaps the most vivid memories of nursery tales were not of bunnies or bantering fairies…but of War and its aftermath.     We here in the United States did not suffer the horrors that children in other countries did, the bombings and air raids and worse.   But such accounts were very much vicariously present.    And directly following the Hot War followed the Cold War, with its insidious psychological terror.

I was eleven when World War II ended in 1945.    What I write here are my impressions as a child.

Here in the Cleveland, Ohio area we had three major daily newspapers in Cleveland,
in the 1940s-1950s.    Subtlety was not a virtue to our dueling newspapers, bent on gathering new and worse  predictions and statistics to entertain and scare the heck out of the readership.     Everyone read the papers…there was no television in the vast majority  of our homes, and except for newsreel productions in the movie theaters,  the newspapers were the major source for information about the “doomsday bullseye” which so impressed us as kids!   We lay on the floor with the front page of the paper spread out before us,   especially the issues with the giant bulleye dominating the front page…we traced the maps and figured out the implications for us personally…we lived  roughly 30 miles from the epicenter, which was presumeably down-town Cleveland.      In those days the  Cleveland area was a major producer of steel and—I was very proud to say—the twelfth largest city in the United States.

…tales of missile silos that later became parks
where ducks paddled in glistening ponds
surrounded by Lilies and Begonias
casting their colors in pinwheel flashes

This  was all a  grim and grotesque point of pride for me (for many of us kids) in the knowledge of having—within our own perimeter—huge metal monsters capable of unspeakable destruction.   This perverse, but prevailing situation had the effect of providing bragging points in discussing the relative extent of our living areas from the Bullseye Center at the heart of the city.   The really spooky thing is that my peers and I understood (mostly) the implications.  We discussed it in school, and excitedly and conspiratorially mapped our own possible destruction and theoretical  survival rather matter-of-factly, if not with particular sophistication.

The encouraging news—such as it was— lay in the conjecture that relative safety
existed outside of a radius of thirty miles… outside of the “immediate blast” area.
After that was a series of concentric rings, inside of which various stages of non-annihilation “might” exist.   This included various degrees of exposure to radiation,
and theoretical projected life-expectancy.

But comfort came in the form of experts’ advice on preparing our underground shelters and keeping them stocked with water and food… supplies sufficient for about two years.    Then came the horror of realization of implications that under the category of “supplies” would have to come stores of ammunition to arm the guns that would be necessary to guard our family stores  against neighbors and friends—and planning for continued survival AFTER the theoretical “all-clear” sirens sounded and we could come out of our shelters and return to — What?

Even us children understood that if the GOOD news was that survival from an atomic blast would (or might) be possible—this was also the BAD news.





mundane memories, my personal day of horror September 11, 2001

Great events of all magnitude—those days that remain in our memories as vignettes of personal recollection—return almost as re-runs of popular experience. Everyone has his or her own version of what happened to them, or relative to them on that day…some, actually “most,” I should say, are pretty mundane. Perhaps the vivid memories of irrelevant, impersonal  details of a monumentous happening, is what keeps us sane when the world around us is in turmoil.

Here’s what my day—September 11, 2001—was like.

At a few minutes before 9:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time, I pulled into the parking lot of the bank. The car radio was tuned to NPR (National Public Radio) as usual, and there and there had just moments before been a news flash, cutting into the programming, announcing that “an airplane” had flown into one of the Twin Towers in New York City. Details were sketchy.

The first person I encountered was a U.S. Postal Worker, a mailman, who had parked his little vehicle next to mine. I said “did you hear about the 757 jetliner hitting the trade center tower in New York?” He replied that he had not had the radio on since he had begun his route.

“No,” he said… “but it could not have been a 757…maybe a 737.” I often wonder if, when he realized that I was right, he remembers saying that.

My next stop on my day’s itinerary was Target. The check-out clerk had not heard the news about the incident in New York…nor had any of the customers standing in line. There was some discussion about the crash being an accident; the plane in question having been a small commuter jet aircraft; and general disbelief that such a thing could happen in the United States!

During the day the radio continued to report the progress of the unfolding drama in New York, and when I got back home the television news was all over the story…and that Boeing 757 crashed into that building over and over and over again as they re-ran the film footage. Then the second plane hit the other tower, with black smoke billowing into the skies.

My granddaughter was coming back to Cleveland after a stay in California. Flying on the red-eye from Los Angeles, the flight was on time and nearing Cleveland. Her mother, and uncle, were waiting at the airport, approaching the security check-in place, where they were stopped by security guards. They were told they could not go beyond the security point. (At that time visitors or meet-and-greeters were normally permitted to progress to the loading gates to meet arriving passengers.)

My son, who is dark complected and has a beard, was getting more attention from the security people than usual, questioning him about where he was going and who he was. He and his sister were told to wait where they were, which they did. The security guards seemed agitated, and there was more hustle and bustle around the area than was normal at that time in 2001.

Soon, passengers came hurrying down the passage and toward the baggage claim area, and a brief wait, my granddaughter appeared walking down from the arrival gates. The airport staff directed her and the others to leave the area, and on to where her luggage was sitting off to one side…the attendant told them to hurry, that the airport was closing…to get the baggage and…get out! (She didn’t say why, probably not sure of the reasons herself.)

A call from my son in Minnesota, asking if she got in all right, was the first actual knowledge they got about what was happening in New York.

By this time (shortly after 9:00 a.m.) all of the airports in the United States had been put on alert and were closing down completely to any air traffic except flights that were imminently landing at various airports. All flights were diverted to Canada. Apparently, our girl got in on the last flight into Cleveland.

Later that day my ex-husband, the father of those I mentioned here, was taken to the hospital (in Michigan, I think) and was in critical condition. He understood what was happening on the television, but he was in very grave condition…and sometime after midnight on the next day, September 12, he died.
During the night, after the infamous 9-11 day, I remember getting up out of bed more than once to turn on the television to determine if I had dreamed the whole thing…but every time I tuned in the channel that plane was crashing into that tower. No dream…a nightmare, but not personal. This event has affected everyone in the world and created many personal memories.

How terrible must be the actual memories of those first responders, and people who were rescued before the destruction was complete…and relatives and friends of those who were killed during the tragedy.

Caves of Memories

Back in my Cave…cave…cave…cave…
Safe and sound and daring to breathe..
Here the sounds reverberate from walls,
deep inside the endless complex of caverns….
meandering through tunnels  far from reality.

Here is where My Life lives, a collection of times,
past loves, beautiful memories, painful losses.
All of the things I have learned…and forgotten…
the songs of my life, the cast of characters once known—
both real and imagined.

Strains of music, whispers of love…tender and urgent,
snippets of verse penned in neat finished hand,
ragged untidy stacks of paper—or still in thought forms
of reason and nonsense, within the echoing silence
in the mine of the untapped Memory Lode.


Echo of Chardonnay WORDLE Special Edition “SOUND”

Sound Wordle

Sounds remain in memory banks to fill a silent void.
As the blind hear what they cannot see,
the Deafened have memories of sounds
in silence echo sonorous nocturnal interludes…
a rustle of taffeta nearby…
the gurgle of the newly uncorked vessel,
with its cheery “pop!” of releasing Chardonnay.

Somewhere a whistle escapes a kettle’s steam
with a strident “woosh!” a steam engine slows.
The crackle of a welcoming  fire,  a heat current conveys
with soft vibrations, the percussive beat of distant drums;
the buzz of a harmless insect seeking aimlessly,
bare tree branches scratching at a window pane…
a thready sigh escapes a whisper of Death.



Endless chatter can be good…

The thought occurs often, as my fingers move on to the right keys and begin a new post—“hello?  Is anyone there?”    The latest of writings (should it be “typings?) might be about anything.  (Well, almost anything…even I have limits.)    Sometimes a little nagging whisper asks “who really reads this stuff?”   Since my newspaper writer days, occasional  comments or letters-to-the-editor, or angry phone calls have provided answers to my idle questions.

Once a student handed me a copy of a newspaper article about typewriters.  “Our instructor gave us this to read…I thought you might like it.”    Indeed—I was the author of the piece, several years previously.   Instead of being insulted at the preproduction of my original work, I took the incident in a positive light.   The by-line on the article was my former name, before I re-married.

In those days of writing features about all sorts of subjects—from Jim Beam bottle collections, to travel articles, on to stuff about the County Health Department and the “float” of written paper checks as they were flown by airplane between bank transactions (known fondly as “beating the check to the bank”…a time-honored practice which was ended by electronic systems.)

In the early days of my newspaper career my  position was as a Correspondent.  As such I did everything that I would later do as a salaried full-time Reporter. I duly collected and saved every news clippings of everything I wrote in those days…but modesty dictates that the reason for such paperwork was not vanity at all, but was actually for the purpose of getting paid.   Feature articles were worth a few dollars, photographs and news reports of meetings or traffic accidents…announcements of Girl Scout bake sales brought varying per-item pay.    As for preserving that body of writing over a period of eighteen years…I hasten to add that only Feature stories of some lasting interest were retained in my folders.

It is difficult for me to analyze my blog readership.     The WordPress stats page does a good job of keeping track of posts and statistics, although at times the numbers mysteriously change.    My readership was greater and more wide-spread in the day, what with city council meetings, school board meetings, township trustee meetings, and feature stories from all over the area as an all-purpose staff reporter.     News accounts tend to be more thoroughly scrutinized for details, correctly spelled names, and quotations….or more accurately mis-quotations.

Writing a blog post is less demanding, to me anyway, because most readers either like it, don’t like it, or ignore it.



My favorite all-time book: Snow Treasure

When I was about eight years old, our teacher read a book to us in class.   Teachers did that often in those days, and I suppose they still do.  I hope so!    The book was Snow Treasure: A story of courage and adventure, written by Marie McSwigan, published in 1942.     Here’s the back cover blurb:

Now every sled ride was a matter of life and death

Peter Lundstrom never thought he would become a hero.   But that bleak winter of 1940 was like no other.   Nazi troops parachuted into Peter’s tiny village and held it captive.  Nobody thought they could be defeated—until Uncle Victor told Peter how the children of the village could fool the enemy.

It was a dangerous plan.   Peter and his friends had to slip past Nazi guards with nine million dollars in gold hidden on their sleds.  It meant risking their country’s treasure—and their lives.

This book was the ONE thing I wanted for Christmas that year.   My mother, broke as a churchmouse, but determined to do what she could to make our holiday wishes.     There was a small stack under the tree…some undies, and socks, maybe some school supplies like pencils or notebooks…and I opened all of the packages as politely as possible, all the time anticipating the gift that I really wanted.    Finally there was one present left for me, and when I opened it, I found a box of TIDE soap powder.   My poor little heart sank until I realized that the package was not what it appeared to be.  My book!   My book!

Throughout the decades Snow Treasure has been my favorite book.  Until about ten years ago it was only a memory…and I found a copy at a used book sale at the library.  Actually the book has an ISBN number, so apparently it is still available, though no longer in print.     The copy I have was published in the 1980s.

At the time that I was eight years old, World War II was very prominent in our lives, and indeed influences everything, everywhere, for every one.  I have written other blog accounts about the War and my personal experiences as a school child living in Cleveland, Ohio.

I always believed that the story of Snow Treasure was true.  The preface of the copy of the book that I have, published by Scholastic, Inc a couple of decades ago, qualifies the story with details that I presume are true.       To paraphrase:  On June 28, 1940, the Norwegian freighter Bomma arrived in Baltimore with about nine million dollars in gold bullion.    According to the story, the gold “had been slipped past Nazi sentries by Norwegian boys and girls!  Under the very eyes of the enemy, the story went, these children had pulled the gold on their sleds to a freighter hidden in a fiord off Norway’s coast.”      There is no proof, of course….I still believe that the tale is at least possible, but I am a dreamer and believer in all sorts of things.   To me veracity of any given account or story depends not only on proving something happened…but also proving that it did not happen.

*0590425374     There are several editions of this book on Amazon, and on other book seller sites.  The book has been published periodically in paper and hardback  for years.   I’m glad to know that, its like finding an old friend still alive!

Soundtrack of my Life…revisite

(I wrote this piece a couple of years ago, and since I am at this moment moved by a swoony version of Eric Satie’s Gnossienne No 1… very very swoony in any of its versions.    In fact I just this morning found a great version of the tune in a Buddha Bar version…   erik satie gnossienne no.1 (buddha bar remix) I’m not sure if that’s the right link.)


If there were a movie about my life, there would be a certain song or instrumental for each segment.
Childhood: Itty Bitty Fishie in the Itty Bitty Pool
Mares Eat Oats and Does Eat Oats, and Little Lambs Eat Ivy

Teen: Vaughan Monroe, Ghost Riders in the Sky
Bill Haley and the Comets, Thirteen Women…on the flip side of Rock Around the Clock.
Third Man Theme
Peg O’My Heart

Work Era: Bizet, Carmen
Mario Lanza, Song Angels Sing
Be My Love
David Carroll’s band, In a Persian Market
I Love Paris
Song of India

CCR, Heard it on the Grapevine
CCR, Bad Moon Rising
CCR, Green River

Stevie Nicks, Edge of 17
Knights in White Satin long version

Roberta Flack, Sometimes…all I need is the air that I breathe and to love you

I Think I love you

Juke Box Hero

Neil Diamond, Holly Holy

I’m Saving my money to Buy You a rainbow

Johnny Horton, Battle of New Orleans

Beatles Yellow Submarine, Eleanor Rigsby

Rock Music…come by that obsession honestly, the Beatles hit the stage in 19whatever along with Elvis Presley. Then the kids came along and when they were teenagers (in the 1970s and 1980s the house and car were filled with pop music of those years.

Sing, Sing, sing (Jimmy Dorsey, I think)


These are some of the songs and instrumentals that I love. Some, like Grapevine and Knights in White Satin, the long instrumentals that I would sit in the car listening in rapture until the song ended. That was in the days when the car radio was the only portable music maker we had, and unless we had the music on a record (45 rpm, or 33 rpm) at home, and a phonograph, that was about it.

That list dates me, I suppose. But this is my list of favorite music.