It was a long 2 years without Grandma but she came calling for Granddad in his dreams this week.
He He became deaf, and she turned blind just a few years ago, but they always sat beside one another for 60 years, and when she was gone, he lived in silence beside an empty chair in the den. Click here: Is This The End?
Granddad fell in love with Grandma instantly. She was engaged, but that didn’t deter him. He knew she was his only one and promised to love her till the end of her life. They married and he fulfilled that promise day after day.
He was determined like that. He fibbed about his age to defend his country in World War II saying he was 18 when he was really 16.
He was stationed in France, and worked as a specialist sending morse code messages when his communication’s truck was hit by a mortar and his arm was blown off.
A female physician – rare to have a female doctor in the war zone in France at that time – sewed it back on…it functioned perfectly!
Granddad was sharp as a tack with very dry humor. Once, he was in the hospital for a respiratory illness that required a chest x-ray. The doctor came into his room looking shocked. “I don’t know how to tell you this,” he said, “but you only have 1 lung and it appears where your other lung should be is a black mark that could be a tumor.” “Oh, that other lung shriveled up years ago,” Granddad answered matter-of-factly, “forgot to tell you.”
Grandma & Granddad gave our little one Tidmouth Sheds for her train table. I put a photograph of them next to it so she could link that the gift was from them. I do that with many special presents so the kids know from whom it came.
Our daughter said she will never give up her piano from Granddad even if she plans for a grand piano in her future. “It will go somewhere special in my house and I will keep it forever!”
Just as Granddads do, he was the explainer of all things.
No place was better than on Granddad’s knee…
…& on his back!
Or hanging out grabbing a drink at the pub.
Granddad slowly went deaf in his late years. Soon he could only hear female voices. Later, on the phone, he could only hear mine – high-pitched & loud, I’m told. But then came the day when even my voice was inaudible.
It was crushing for me because I like family to stay connected especially because we are so far away.
Granddad was 88 years old. He wasn’t on a computer. I immediately printed out this website and Phillip had it bound and we sent these 300 pages of family stories and photos to Granddad in book form so he could read them over time at his leisure and keep up with family news he could no longer hear.
He was kind and sweet and dear and loving. He will be deeply missed by the family. But he’s in his beloved’s arms once again and that gives us great solace.
The Bright Spot TM – We did not lose Granddad, for someone is only lost if their memories aren’t kept alive. We’re a picture-snapping, video-taking, storytelling family, so Granddad lives on. Thank you for sharing his story.
“Wow! Wow! & Wow!” our 8-year-old repeatedly exclaimed in-flight.
That perfectly described our wow-tastic foliage tour of NY state & New York City – compliments of Wings Air Helicopters.
This has been a particularly glorious Autumn! Comfortable temperatures, blazing leaves, plenty of sunshine. Phillip & I took these pics from our cell phones.
Our pilot, Brett, flew our family & 2 of our kids’ friends from Westchester airport over the Empire State Building and around Manhattan island.
The George Washington Double-The George Washington Bridge
The Freedom Tower & The Statue of Liberty
Roosevelt Island, the East River along the FDR & the Queensboro Bridge
The 840 acres of beautiful Central Park
……………The curved landscape of New York City along the East River & Ward’s Island Bridge
The Henry Hudson River, West Side Highway & Skateboard Park, Baseball & Soccer Fields
So if you want some bang-waving, ponytail-flying wow! wow! & wow! family fun, take yours on a bird’s-eye tour of Manhattan * 7 days a week * from sunrise to sunset!
The Bright SpotTM - Wings Air (914) 202 – 3440 also offers helicopter charters, flight training, aerial photography & full-service aerial film production!
I answered my cell on a sunny Friday while I was upstate with the kids. “I’m going to marry my sweetheart on Tuesday,” said the voice. “I was wondering if you & your family would come and represent my family since I’m alone here.”
Incredibly touched, I said it would be our honor! And with that, we attended a beautiful wedding 4 days later. Our friend was from Haiti and his family could not fly in for the ceremony.
My husband was father-brother-friend all wrapped into one, our daughter was a flower girl & I took delight in capturing memories on film.
Our friend was marrying into a loving, close-knit family.
His bride was stunning.
His in-laws were welcoming & kind. And we were moved by the warmth & joy that surrounded all of us this beautiful August afternoon. May we all be so blessed to have such an affectionate family.
The Bright SpotTM - Blessings to you, our friend, and your radiant wife. Peace on your journey of life together. b~xoxo
Thrown off a Connecticut beach for wearing a bikini, my Mom still rolls her eyes at that story & declares the beach keeper a crazy man.
Coming from a country where they play volleyball topless on the beach, they were lucky she even wore the bikini!
My parents met one evening at a beach club & married 2 1/2 months later. So it was no shock when I announced I was getting married after 4 days. “You know when you know,” she said. Phillip & I married after only spending 46 days in each other’s company and she was right.
Mom loves to garden, paint, decorate & read, read, read! She’s like a walking encyclopedia.
She’s an incredible photographer, interior designer, writer & artist. I love her drawings, portrait paintings, and my favorite, this ceramic chess set she painted nearly 40 years ago.
Mom’s a fantastic cook and prepared wonderful, healthy meals for me the entire 9 months I was pregnant!! She made sure I had the best foods when I was a baby and did the same for my kids.
Mom & me 1960s Little Petal & me 40 years later
and, of course, she gave me my 1st chocolates & Easter goodies…yum!
Folks who’ve met my Mom totally love her. She’s funny, talks straight and is the life of the party. She smokes, drinks, swears and gambles. She doesn’t apologize for any of it. She lives life to the fullest beating to her own drum.
When she lost my father 15 years ago, it devastated her. Their love and building a life together for their children was unsurpassed. They were a team in everything they did.
My Mom’s parents absolutely adored her.
Those were some smoochable cheeks!!
My mother grew up on the water (the Baltic Sea and with Aunties & her Mom above at their beach guest house in Pommern) and could out row anyone. When she was young, she liked to ice skate, bike, dance and travel.
And she always loved animals!
Mom was always very close with her parents, as were we all.
My mother & father taught me I could be anything I wanted to be. They supported my achievements in school, my activities, my music, my whims & fancies, my travels, my moves around the country for my career, and my exciting year as Miss Connecticut & all the wonderful memories of representing my native state at the Miss America…
…including helping me pack trunks & boxes & shoes and shoes and shoes for the 2 weeks in Atlantic City for Miss America.
My Mom traveled with me to Vancouver to put me on a ship that circumnavigated the globe for 4 months.
Mom – who saves everything – threw away my clothes after a week’s caving trip…they were really dirty for her to have thrown them out!
We traveled around Spain, Gibraltar, Barbados & Germany together & tons of other places. (left with my sister)
Years later, Mom drove with my dog & me across the country & decorated a house I found for cheap…really cheap…only to find out it was a former drug depot…so I left the house a short while later along with all the painting, bordering, curtain-hanging and decorating she had done day & night the week she dropped me off for my new job.
Mom sewed countless costumes (above) for me and for my sister & my sister’s students.
Mom (her passport pic) me (headshot taken by Mom)
She took photographs of my wedding in England when the photographer there slacked off and almost ruined the day. Phillip gave him an earful and my mother took the photographs and she and my sister created a surprise wedding album for me when I returned from England.
My mother also saved hundreds of newspaper clippings, magazine articles and memorabilia from my Miss Connecticut year and painstakingly glued them into several beautiful scrapbooks to cherish always. She did it for a year and I never even knew it. Another wonderful surprise. You can view some of the clippings here: Miss CT in the News.
She’s always there to goof around and she’s there for all the tears like when we just lost my Uncle recently. He is with Daddy now. :( :(
(pregnant with my sister)
Mom has always been great at photography and even gave me her precious long-lens Canon in the 80s on the ship trip. A treasured item, so I was, indeed, very grateful.
She’s developed her own photography and taken headshots for actors & personalities over the years. Definitely helped save a bundle on my own headshots for TV over the years! Here are some snaps from Mom:
Thanks, Mom, for making my life great growing up. Thanks for all you have done for me. I love you!
In tribute to her, I hope I captured my mother’s life in this pictorial. Please say a prayer for her. She had heart fibrillations recently and was rushed to the hospital. It’s been constant testing every day.
Seeing her weak & tired is unnerving. Fragile is not a word I would ever use to describe my mother. Sweet but tough, robust & resilient, soft-hearted but strong-willed.
My mother prides herself on honesty and has never lied a day in her life. She is someone you can trust. She loves her daughters, grandchildren and animals. And we all love her.
The Bright SpotTM - I believe in the power of prayer. Please pray.
Peace, tranquility, a vacation like none other – cliché by no means! Let me explain.
We were looking for a family vacation & what we found was something above & beyond in Runaway Bay, Jamaica.
It wasn’t the cozy sleep on the flight or the magnificent sunsets or the spa on the stone jetty in the <Caribbean Sea. It wasn’t the climb to the awesome 100′ slide or the fire-breathing master.
The FDR resort is an all-inclusive, 78-suite, ultimate family experience consistently rated among the best in the Caribbean. It is Jamaican-owned, Jamaican-operated with Jamaican restaurants so you get the true flavors of this beautiful, tropical island and its people.
It’s not an oversized resort with a Starbucks, Burger King or Payless Shoes. I didn’t leave the States to find a mini-USA.
What took the experience at the FDR resort to the level of “phenomenal” was an intrinsic feeling of being transported back to the days of summer holiday camps like Kellerman’s in Dirty Dancing. Everyone knew everyone at the resort, and if you didn’t, you were welcomed with warm smiles and a handshake.
I was stunned to find that families have been going there for 25 years. Folks e-mail each other dates of when they’re returning. Families plan around other families they don’t otherwise see but once a year. We’ve been e-mailed by guests – now friends – about the next holiday. Unless I’m visiting friends, I never go back to the same places on Earth so I can explore new territory. So I was intrigued when the 1st family I met said they had been coming for the past 10 years. “Why??” “You’ll see,” smiled the father. By week’s end, I was looking forward to re-visiting this very special & unique place.
The owner, Franklyn D. Rance, for whom the FDR resort is named, says he has welcomed repeat international families for 25 years, he has watched couples come when young Moms were pregnant, and then watched their children grow up year after year, and then watched those children marry and come back annually with their own kids. I’d never heard of such a thing; it was fascinating to me.
I felt like I was back in the 60s or 70s ~ where parents of other children cared for, bandaged up, and guided with love the children in their midst. If you’re 40 and over, you’ll know that comforting feeling – a mix of common sense, “old school neighborhood,” and family amongst friends. And all the staff members knew everyone’s name, had fun with the parents, and the lifeguard swam with the kids.
Frank was one of the original 3 partners to found “all-inclusives” 30 years ago. He and his partners built resorts throughout the Caribbean and, now retired, he enjoys his days at the FDR sitting under a palm tree with his advisors. He envisaged a relaxation haven for parents when he created the Personal Vacation Nanny service.
Each family is matched with a specially-trained, private nanny to follow, entertain, swim with, play with, keep safe and care for every need of your child or children so parents can completely relax – body & mind. Your personal nanny takes care of your suite as well, bedding, towels and even brings up platters of evening treats you request.
I wasn’t into it at first. I watch my kids. I play with my kids. This is family time.
Well…guess what…there’s plenty of family time and one can always play and swim with the kids, Nanny is there to assist from 9-4. She will run back to the room if you forget your sunscreen or hat, she’ll get a drink for you at the bar and, once I was completely comfortable and knew how happy my little one was with all her new friends and their nannies, I could actually take a romantic morning walk on the beach with my husband… or a little afternoon siesta…imagine that…on a family vacation!
We loved our nanny so much that we asked she bring her child to work so we could spend time with her 2 year old. We gave her a little dollie and hope she remembers us till we return. We love FDR. It’s not a mega-huge resort. It’s kid-friendly and families are welcomed back year after year with handmade signs on their door.
Another delightful and unusual thing about this trip was that each night dinner was served in a different restaurant, or on the beach or on one of the piers throughout the resort. Location & time were listed on the chalkboard by the pool. We didn’t get that at first and went downstairs when we felt like it for dinner. Everyone was finished and going to the dance floor area for entertainment. Whoa, what happened? Families came up and said, “Hi, we missed you at dinner.”
The next night we came down between the 6:30-9:00 time for cocktails on the pier and dinner. Everyone was there.
Children ran around & played and parents talked about their great day. Amazing! It was so delightful. So friendly. So engaging. So comforting. So not the era we’re all living in now where everyone’s consumed by their handhelds, Facebooking, texting, tweeting, blah, blah, blah. Here everyone was unplugged and relaxed – Eating together. Dancing together. Singing together. And, in Phillip’s case, entertaining us with some funky stick dance on his butt~! LOL!
The trip was simply wonderful, rejuvenating & exciting. We enjoyed the resort’s glass-bottom boat, spa, our private wedding anniversary dinner with our 7 year old on the pier, the children’s talent show, the daily activities, the Rum treasure hunt at the bottom of the pool, board games, water trampoline, swimming with the dolphins & stingrays, snorkeling, diving and all the exciting adventures the Caribbean has to offer.
The Bright SpotTM - It was hard to leave Jamaica but e-mails from other families we met there have been flying in: “When are you going again?” I can tell you it will be very soon. A real pleasure and, indeed, the ultimate family experience!
Daddy left me this note decades ago.
Phillip left this surprise note for our little one yesterday before he headed away for a business trip.
Small gestures, time well spent together, little notes…they all go a long way.
These notes mean something when we find them. They mean a whole lot more when we lose those we love so dearly.
Daddy, I miss you!!!!
I see so much of my father’s tenderness & care in my husband. I don’t take any of these moments for granted.
The Bright SpotTM - Write your kids a little note today. It may be something they cherish for the next 40 years.
Indeed, the cards, poems, drawings, gifts, flowers, those are all very appreciated, loved & cherished on Mother’s Day.
But the best part of the day was not the wonderful breakfast with smoked salmon or our afternoon in New York City, it was watching my children’s silliness & laughter wrapped in hugs & snuggles topped by kite flying with my kids in the early evening.
Running, playing, enjoying a gorgeous Spring day with the family.
The Bright SpotTM – Be present with your kids, they are your future memories, they are what makes Mother’s Day possible, they are the gift. Happy Mother’s Day, Moms~!! :)
Dianthus!! The magical unicorn trapped in the tapestry came to life – not only in the Magic Tree House book, Blizzard of the Blue Moon - but for our young reader on a visit to the Cloisters in New York City where the circa 1495AD woven masterpiece graces the hall today.
Our daughter’s expression cannot deny the power of words coming to life. And no children’s author makes history come more alive than Mary Pope Osborne. She is a literary hero in our home, a master wordsmith, prolific and creative, funny and warm.
Anyone who knows me knows Children & Literacy are paramount: http://www.biancatyler.com/childrenliteracy.htm
Our little one started reading the Magic Tree House books in 1st grade.
For her 7th birthday, my mother gave her the entire set. She was thrilled!
Dad & the Birthday Girl are checking out each book.
Book stands & baskets throughout the house, this series commands a special shelf on her favorite bookcase in her room.
It helped, too, that our daughter was 7 when Jack’s little sister, Annie, was 7 in the series. And when our little one turned 8, Annie was just turning 8!
Annie’s brave and smart, kind and loves animals. She’s a delightful role model for any little girl. Jack is bright and funny, loves to research and jots handy notes in his journal. I have found boys are entertained by the series as much as girls are…and that’s a great first step in fostering a lifelong love of reading.
Every book has been a joy to read. For 1st & 2nd grade, our daughter participated in the Governor’s Challenge reading over 2,000 pages each summer. Much of it, of course, the exciting Magic Tree House stories. And when she had to tell the Governor what her favorite book was it came as no surprise that it was a Magic Tree House story!
It’s been fun taking her to places she’s read about – the Cloisters to see the unicorn tapestry. The 1930s structure resembles medieval abbeys and is situated on the northern tip of Manhattan island. It’s breathtaking views overlooking the Hudson River and the gardens surrounding it make the trip simply wonderful.
The Cloisters house over 5,000 European medieval works of art from the 12th – 15th centuries. It is under the care of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Cloister’s Library contains over 15,000 volumes of books.
Our next trip was to Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts after reading Magic Tree House #27, Thanksgiving on Thursday. The stories of Squanto, Priscilla, Governor Bradford, the pilgrims & the Native Americans came to life through words only Mary Pope Osborne can weave. As we sailed into the harbor, we tried hard to imagine what the pilgrims were thinking in 1620 as they approached land.
Next roadtrip…Valley Forge – Jack & Annie’s story with General George Washington, Revolutionary War on Wednesday, book #22.
And from there, any family trip we can drive to…Gettysburg, Sturbridge, the Titanic exhibit at Mystic.
The Bright SpotTM - If you are looking for a wonderful series for your young reader, I highly recommend the Magic Tree House series. The wind started to blow. The tree house started to spin…
Easter is my favorite holiday.
I love that our daughter was born the day after Easter.
I sometimes call her my Little BunnyChickie.
I love that Spring just started. Everything awakens from Winter’s long freeze & is born anew. The air smells fresh & green baby leaves are
slowly unfurling. I love pussy willows and forsythia, big blossoms and tiny crocuses.
I love the Easter story of Jesus’ Resurrection & I love the trumpets at church that glorious, Holy morning when we all celebrate together in song & praise. I love & appreciate the religious traditions of other folks as I am a member of a very large, close-knit, multicultural, multi-religious, multi-international, multi-lingual family.
I love coloring eggs & decorating them with the kids. I love the little 50-year-old, wooden, hand-painted European Easter decorations from my grandparents. I love to mix those decorations with our little one’s pretty, handmade decorations from preschool. Old & new crafts together.
I love the Easter Bunny, the delicate, ceramic decorations, fragile Easter eggs, egg-citing hunts & yummy candies.
I particularly love pastel M&Ms!! I like all chocolate, but those tiny, pale- colored little chocolate dots of joy always seem to find my lips, hummm… I admit, I will steal bites here & there from my children’s baskets in passing. I’ll pass a lot – cover those baskets!!
I love the Easter egg hunts at farms, in fields, at church & at friends.
Parties, celebrations, the Easter Bunny arriving on the fire truck!
I love Biblical epics on TV at this time of year and was particularly pleased with Mark Burnett’s The Bible miniseries ~ simply outstanding!!
The Bright SpotTM - I love Spring & all the cheeriness of the season!
Today the world celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. I love the festivities, I love being in parades, I love Ireland having studied at Trinity College in Dublin, and I love that even though I’m not Irish, everyone can be Irish for the day. But there is a special reason for a few of us to celebrate: 7 years ago today our son helped save the life of his schoolmate. They were 14 years old.
It had snowed a few days earlier and a bunch of boys went sledding at school. But part of the steep hill had iced over during the night. His friend’s sled flew across the ice and he lost control slamming his head into a brick wall.
The boys didn’t want to get into trouble at school and panicked. They thought it best to get their buddy inside without telling anyone. Our son stood up and said no. He ordered one kid to run and get adult help. He told another to call 911. He ripped off his coat and wrapped it around his friend who was in shock. He told the rest of the boys to not move him at all. His friend received a plate & 37 metal staples in his head. The doctors at the hospital where he was airlifted said had he been moved, he would have died. The immediate actions to get help, warmth and stay calm saved his life.
Our son had learned emergency care in Scouts. He knew it was right to risk reprimand from the school administrators rather than risk someone’s life.
The Bright SpotTM – Both boys are 21 now. We are so proud of them ~ fine young boys grown into fine young men.
More about our son: http://www.theletstalkmom.com/tea-talk-momversations/the-making-of-a-superhero/
Credit: Associated Press
It’s no secret children need their parents’ attention. Unconditional love, devotion, affection, warmth, trust, mutual respect and communication. Put down your handheld and be present when you’re with your kids. Nothing makes me sadder than to see a child at a playground looking longingly at his parent texting hoping the adult will play with him soon. They know you’re really not present. Or when a child bounds out of school with a look of excitement bursting to tell his parent about his day and he’s greeted with an obligatory wave while still looking down texting. How long do you think that excitement is going to last? How long do you think the communication lines will stay open? It can be forever if you always give your child the message “I’m here for you, I’m present.”
Our son so long ago & today,
nothing’s more comforting than just being there…
Hanging out or hanging in…
And our little one…
Teens are notorious for keeping to themselves, mumbling when spoken to, hanging out in their room rather than the den, etc., you know the drill if you have a teen. But if they have that secure feeling that you will give them 100% of your attention when they do open up about their world, their happenings, their loves and their heartaches, what a lucky parent you are! Drop everything and lend your ear and your heart. I never felt my parents didn’t hear me. They not only heard, they listened.
There’s a large, soft, pale green armchair next to my desk. I love when our son slumps into the chair, tossing his legs over the armrest ready to confide in me. Of course, it’s usually when I’m working or on a deadline, but nothing swells my heart more than knowing I’m the one who he chose to speak to at that very moment. I’ll stop anything I’m doing, swivel my chair in his direction and look into his deep, thoughtful eyes.
The Bright SpotTM – The great communicator in my life taught me this line of communication can stay open through all stages of my life and I can pass that gift on to my children. So can you. Click here http://theletstalkmom.com/tea-talk-momversations/daddy/ to read the special Bright SpotTM of that story to see what I mean - the message in that Bright SpotTM is important for ALL parents. So important it’s bold & underlined. It’s a lesson for us all in this modern world!
After you have taken a look at the link in the above paragraph, please read the quote below from the Dalai Lama about “being present:”
When asked, “What thing about Humanity surprises you the most?” the Dalai Lama answered: “Man…because he sacrifices health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future. He lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” – Dalai Lama XIV
Be in a “present” state of mind when you are with your children. They will grow and leave before you know it. And when you are old, what greater gift than for them to be in a “present” state of mind when spending time with you.
You will be leaning on them one day. xo~b