Tag Archives: lesson

Telling Perspective

My adopted mother and I were never what one would call, “close,” but, although it would take some time to develop “love” for her, I did respect her. She was fair and I knew she was trying her best, she was well regarded by others, and she was now my mother and I was grateful to her. But, I never felt that I really knew her. Her life growing up was not something she ever shared with me. Maybe since my early years were so different from hers she didn’t feel we could relate to one another. An email I just received from a friend explains so much. I’ve transposed some of these timeline numbers to fit what I wanted to say.

My mother was born in 1904. I spent so many years just trying to survive growing up, it never occurred to me to try to imagine what the world was like for her during her lifetime. That seems so selfish of me, I’m embarrassed to say. But children are like that, aren’t they. On reflection, I’m inclined to feel very, very fortunate, indeed.

Imagine if you had been born in 1904. In your 10th year, World War I starts and ends in your 14th year. An estimated 22 million people perish in that war. Later in that same year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits our Earth and isn’t stamped out until your 16th year. Estimates of 50 million people have died from it in those two years. Some estimates were higher, some lower, but still. That had to be frightening.

In your 25th year, the Great Depression begins and runs until you are 29. The United States’ unemployment rate hits 25%, the World GDP drops 27%, and our country nearly collapses along with the world economy.

In your 35th year, World War II starts. I remember my mother telling me she was in Europe when war was declared and she had to scramble to get home to the U.S. via an ocean liner converted into a troop ship. In her/your 37th year, the United States is fully pulled into WWII. Between your 35th and 41st years, approximately 75 million people perish in that war.

Smallpox was epidemic until you were in your late 30’s and killed some 300 million people during your lifetime.

At the age of 46, the Korean War starts, killing 5 million and all your life, you’ve dealt with fear of Polio epidemics each summer. You experience friends and family contracting polio and being paralyzed and even dying from it. (I remember Uncle Don and Aunt Nell.)

At 51, the Vietnam War begins and during the Cold War, you lived each day with the fear of nuclear annihilation. (I, myself, remember air raid drills in school, and years later, my career military husband going off to war during Vietnam.) In your 58th year, you have the Cuban Missile Crisis which was a tipping point in the Cold War.

To deviate from the timeline I have established here, at the age of 60 my mother found out her mother had breast cancer so, although my grandmother had lived with us before, and had left for a few years to live with her sister, she came back to live with us after her sister passed away so my mom could take care of her. Then at 63 my mother was also diagnosed with the same type of breast cancer. She cared for my grandmother knowing she would die the same way. She never even mentioned this to me. It breaks my heart thinking of this. During her illness, I was married with a family of my own, but I visited as often as I could. My dad was a champion and took wonderful care of her until her death at age 71.

My mother had a PhD, and taught chemistry and home economics at college level and later at a high school level. She also served on several national boards. Serving her community was paramount to her. I can remember her saying how important it was to be someone, meaning someone useful to the world, not just someone taking up space. Many of her choices in life were made because of the serious and spare life she had led and because of her sense of an unsure future. Her calculating mind had come from seeing what a lack of education and poverty could do to people. Traits of hers that I thought of as negative when I was a child suddenly became ones of a plan for her own survival.

I finally feel like I know my mother better now than I ever have; forty-five years after her death. This pandemic has forced me to discover and reevaluate my life, and to see how much others have had to sacrifice and endure during their lifetimes. This telling, perspective lesson has been educating and even sad, but also enlightening for me and I feel I am better for it.

 

Coco Ihle is the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric traditional mystery set mainly in Scotland. Please join her here each 11th of the month.

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Robbed!! — by S.M. Senden

My neighbor called the other day to say he had been robbed.  Just the thought sent a shudder through me.  He told me they had broken into his garage, breaking the door, and into the car, prying open the door and doing so much damage the old car was considered totaled by the insurance company, forcing him to get a new used car.  It seems our neighborhood has been the target for thieves as another neighbor said they took the copper from their AC, causing more damage than the copper ws worth.

One of the worst feelings we can experience is being robbed.  Someone violates our sacred space, our home, and takes away things that do not belong to them.  I have been robbed a number of times of late, and it is a feeling that leaves me looking over my shoulder, and has prompted me to keep a hammer close at hand, in the case I have to confront someone who has broken in.  I do not own a gun, and do not want one.

Though I write about murder, I do not want to kill anyone, not even a robber.  I may want to rearrange their knee caps and have them think twice about coming back here again, but I don’t want to kill them.  However, I do want them to hurt for the violation of my space and safety that they breached.  I do believe in Karma, even if I don’t get to see their payback, I believe it will come their way sooner or later.  Karmic payback can he the worst experience!

A sad note to the first robbery I suffered was that my grumpy, drug abusing neighbor sat and watched making no move to call the cops as they hauled off things from the porches.  Mostly they got old tools and ladders.  The thieves came back a number of times to see if I was stupid enough to replace the items and leave them out in the same places for the burglars to come back and take them again.

When I discovered what had happened, I called the police.  I have become good friends with the police recently.  The police say they can do little about this sort of crime unless they catch someone in the act.  We have a good police presence in the area, and my house is three blocks from the police station, yet, they can not be everywhere at once.

I look for the lesson, and for what I can do with this negative experience to turn it into any sort of positive at all.  It is an experience that I do not want repeated; however it can be put to use as I create characters and situations.  My sense of loss, violation and a lingering fear that I may not be safe in my own home are frustrating feelings that can help me write a better character, add depth to a scene and dialogue.

These robberies have left more than the invisible, psychological scars.  Sadly the damage the thieves leave behind in their wake is a problem that leaves the homeowner having to shell out money to replace and repair what they ruined.  As I cry in my beer about my dilemma, I thought some good comfort food would help get through the conflicting emotions firing inside of me as I write this blog.  Below is a great recipe for a pizza that will do less damage than the thieves.

NO    DOUGH    PIZZA   

Crust
1 (8 oz) package of full fat cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Topping
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
toppings – pepperoni, ham, sausage, mushrooms, peppers
Garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly spay a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. With a handheld mixer, mix cream cheese, eggs, pepper, garlic powder and parmesan cheese until combined. Spread into baking dish. Bake for 12-15 minutes, our until golden brown. Allow crust to cool for 10 minutes.

Spread pizza sauce on crust. Top with cheese and toppings. Sprinkle pizza with garlic powder. Bake 8-10 minutes, until cheese is melted.

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