Sunday, July 29, 2007
Yes, you read that correctly, there was a time my husband, son and I went camping! This is how it all came about.

When vacation time would approach the men that my husband worked with would talk about their wonderful camping experiences, living the simple life, being in touch with nature and getting down to the basics. They sold him a bill of goods and all he had to do was convince me. Well, I happen to like indoor plumbing and electricity so I was a hard sell.

He talked and talked, I listened and listened. Even though I was not keen on camping he started inquiring about camp sites and what equipment we would need, he was serious, I was not. Nothing about this experience appealed to me but he was gungho.

One area he was looking into happened to be in Jaffrey, N H. The name of the camp grounds in Jaffrey was "Birchtoft." When I was single I went to a lodge by that name. The grounds were beautiful, there was a swimming pool and the meals were great. It turned out that the management closed the resort and changed the grounds into a camp-site!!!

Vacation as a kid

The pool was still there, the lodge served breakfast and there were evening activities in the main house. Once I heard that, it was a go. My husband got busy, bought all the gear we needed for this adventure. Under those conditions it turned out to be a good experience. (you notice I said good, not great)

The following summer the subject came up again, we had all the camping equipment we needed and decided to go camping again. This time we heard about a place on Cape Cod. I love the Cape and was agreeable. This time we were really going to rough it!!

Once we got settled we looked the area over, meet our friendly and experienced neighbors who gave us some helpful camping tips.

We were not to far from Provincetown and decided to explore the area. On our way home the skies opened up, it rained so hard we could not see in front of us and had to pull over and wait it out.

When we got back to the campground the place was FLOODED and so was our tent. Fortunately for us our neighbors where home when the rains came down and saved most of our gear.

We never went camping again! Hallelujah!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007
It's just about ten years since I moved to this complex. Over time the population has changed, the newer residents are younger and many are moving in with children. With time some residents have died, some have moved to assisted living residences and some have relocated to other states to be near their chilldren. For some reason many of new people don't go to the pool, maybe they prefer the beach.

Years ago when I went down to the pool on a Sunday the place was crowded, you were lucky to find an unoccupied lounge. I went down this afternoon and I could sit wherever I chose. If it weren't for a handful of residents the place would be pretty deserted.


There is sun on one side of the pool and shade on the other side so there is a lot of moving around during the day. If you come out of the pool, you sit on the sunny side, then you get hot so off you go to the cool side. The pool is ours.

Oh and by the way the law in this town requires a life guard. Most residents who go into the pool do not swim, they might walk in the pool, but there is no danger of anyone drowning! The life guard's duties are pretty much limited to keeping the pool clean and helping the residents move the chairs around. On a rare occasion there might be a case where a teenager makes a ruckus, that's about it.

Today the conversation was pleasant, as usual - some talk about what we cooked when we had family at home, pot roast, chicken soup, roast chicken, some talk about how little we knew when we first got married. One "girl" told about the time her husband asked her for some hard boiled eggs, she said she thought they were bought that way!!

One of the "girls" told us this joke:

A man was walking in the park and saw an elderly man sitting on a bench crying his heart out. "Why are you crying?"

The old man answered, " I have a wonderful wife, she loves me dearly, does everything for me, she's young and beautiful."

"So, why are you crying".

"I don't remember where I live."

And that was my day at the pool!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007
by Saskia Davis

Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to inner peace and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Field of Yellow

Some signs and symptoms of inner peace:
- A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.

- An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.

- A loss of interest in judging other people.

- A loss of interest in judging self.

- A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.

- A loss of interest in conflict.

- A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)

- Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.

- Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.

- Frequent attacks of smiling.

- An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.

- An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
If you have some or all of the above symptoms, please be advised that your condition of inner peace may be so far advanced as to not be curable. If you are exposed to anyone exhibiting any of these symptoms, remain exposed only at your own risk.

Sunday, July 08, 2007
Yesterday came and went, I had no plans. Saturday is usually "movie day" but there was nothing special I wanted to see.

What to do, I could always go to the supermarket, drug store or make a return that has been sitting waiting patiently in my closet. I didn't feel like doing any of that.

I decided to take advantage of the beautiful sunny day and go down to the pool which is a short walk from my building. Not only would I get off my duff, I could visit with my neighbors, find out what is going on in the community, what's new with them, where the best buys are and tid bits about this and that.

One of the things I heard about was a twin lobster special at a local restaurant - I took immediate action and made a date with one of the girls for one day next week. I am so ready for a lobster dinner!!! When something like this happens I remember one of mothers favorite saying, "if you don't go out, nothing will happen."

Photo by Xosé Castro

The sun was shining, the company was good and the water temperature was perfect. I stayed in so long my fingers got wrinkled. Remember what your mother said," when you get wrinkled, it's time to get out of the water."

I enjoy a day when I have no commitments, I don't have to be some place at a certain time and can come and go as I please. Saturday was that kind of a day!

Sunday, July 01, 2007
Last night my friend and I had a remarkable movie experience. We saw Golden Door. It reopened our thoughts about our parents.

My parents came to this country in their twenties, my friend's parents at a much younger age. What we both have in common is the fact that they never talked to us about what they went through coming to America. My mother and father shared very little of their lives in Europe, let alone about what they went through getting to this country.

The movie takes place in a small village in Sicily at the start of the last century. It's about a small family called the Mancusos. The eldest son has heard the tallest tales of America, that there are rivers of milk, that coins grow on trees and that there are giant man-sized carrots.

In Yiddish, the expression that the Jewish people used was "we are going to the goldena medina." "we are going to the golden land." Another expression is, "going to the land of milk and honey."


The only thing I know about my mother's trip is that she and her sister came from Russia, had to go to a port in London, stayed over night and then went, "steerage." That's for passengers paying the lowest fare. While in London their papers and the few pictures they had were stolen. What wasn't stolen were a pair of candlesticks that my son now has in his dining room.


To quote part of a review of the film by Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe:
"...the filmmakers give us an unseen, but utterly felt storm that leaves people crushed to death beneath their fellow passengers. It evokes both Middle Passage slave-ship woes and certain disaster movies. Watching this sequence, you're forced to think, This is what some ancestors endured to get to the Golden Door of Ellis Island: a trip through hell for the rumor of paradise?"


The family finally arrives at Ellis Island where they endure bizarre medical exams and quizzes meant to determine who is "fit" for citizenship.

There is nothing to laugh about in this film but I did get one chuckle - The family has to spend the night at Ellis Island and in the morning they are served breakfast. The leading character, "Salvatore" bits into a white piece of bread and he says, it tastes like a cloud. It must have been "Wonder Bread."

The only living family member that I have who might be able to tell me about my parents experiences, is a cousin who is in her nineties.

I'll give her a call tonight and hopefully I will learn things about their lives before and after they arrived in America.

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