Tag Archives: Memoir

65 Things I Know Now That I’m 65

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65 Things I Know Now That I’m 65

This month I have a milestone birthday. I’ve renewed my driver’s license, enrolled in Medicare (though I’m deferring my Social Security for as long as I can), and I’m beginning to collect my teacher’s pension.

I’ve been around the block a few times in my sixty-five years on earth. I’ve learned a lot of stuff–the hard way, through trial and error. Let me share my accumulated wisdom with you. Indulge me; I’m old. Maybe you’ll learn from me and avoid making the same mistakes I made.

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Photograph by Dark Dwarf

 

  1. I don’t know as much as I used to. I’ve forgotten a lot.
  2. Your life will never be trouble-free.
  3. Be happy for other people’s good fortune. Don’t know how to do that? Smile. Say, “I’m so happy for you!”
  4. No matter how hard circumstances get, they become more bearable with time.
  5. When you screw up, apologize. Without making excuses.
  6. If you make $32,400 per year, you are among the top 1% of wage earners in the world. So stop whining.
  7. If you can’t sleep, get up and clean the house.
  8. After your shower, rub the skin around your fingernails with your towel, and push back your cuticles. If you do this every day while your skin is soft and soggy, you’ll never get hangnails, and those little slivers of loose skin next to your nails will just rub right off without bleeding or hurting.
  9. A couple of drops of argan oil in your hair after washing will make it shine and make your brush glide right through it.
  10. Water is the best thing you can drink. Squeeze some lemon juice into it.
  11. Tell your friends and family that you love them. Every day.
  12. Acknowledge excellence.
  13. Shop the clearance rack.
  14. Donate things you don’t use to charity.
  15. When you bring in the mail, stop at the recycling bin and toss away all the junk.
  16. Before you buy something, ask yourself, “Where am I going to keep this?”
  17. Don’t make a joke at someone else’s expense.
  18. Be polite to everyone, even (especially) when you’re angry.
  19. If you’re learning to play an instrument, practice every day.
  20. Read for enjoyment every day.Boo boo
  21. Borrow books for free from the library.
  22. Read to your kids from the time they’re babies.
  23. Dance regularly. And step it up as you age. Dancing is great exercise for the brain.
  24. Don’t ever use a “recreational” drug. Just don’t.
  25. Never do something you know you shouldn’t.
  26. Wealth comes with complications. Freedom comes with having just enough to share.
  27. Find a cause you believe in and support it as generously as you can.
  28. Who cares if what you have is “dated”? If you like it, it’s perfect.
  29. Most of what’s on television is garbage. (Do I sound like a geezer yet?)
  30. Walking is excellent exercise. Bring your device so you can listen to music or take photos.
  31. Buy a couple of pieces of good-quality, classic clothing every year. Consider it an investment you can wear for a long time.
  32. Save money. Contribute to a 401K or invest in mutual funds or ETFs. Be smart about your future.
  33. Attending college in Europe is less expensive than attending college in the United States.
  34. Be a life-long learner. Pursue topics that interest you.
  35. Cultivate friends who are older than you and ones who are younger than you.
  36. Don’t buy a bigger house than you need.
  37. Don’t buy a lot of stuff. Possessions are overrated.
  38. Learn a second language. It will broaden you, and raise your IQ.
  39. Support public education. Free quality education for every child is the mark of a great nation.
  40. Obey police officers.Favorite mug
  41. When you see car washes put on by kids to raise money for organizations and charities, let them wash your car and donate generously.
  42. Pray every day. Start by thanking God for all His blessings to you. Pray for our president and our country. Pray for people who are suffering.
  43. Check your gas tank every time you get in the car. Fill it as soon as it gets down to the last quarter.
  44. Once a month see that your tires are properly inflated, your oil is clean and topped off, your coolant (or antifreeze) reserve is full, and your windshield washer is topped off.
  45. Call your parents.
  46. Surprise a friend with a card. The kind you mail with a stamp.
  47. Save your receipts until you use what you bought or the return/exchange date has passed (longer if it has a warranty).
  48. When your kid is tall enough to touch the bottom of the inside of the washing machine, he’s old enough to be responsible for his own laundry.
  49. You don’t do your children any favors when you do all the cooking and cleaning. Part of your job is to train your kids in the skills they need for everyday life. Give them chores.
  50. Take care of your health. Do it for yourself. Do it for the people who love you. Or at least do it so you won’t be a burden on society.
  51. If you give raisins to a baby, be sure to cut them first. (I have a not-so-happy story about my first baby and raisins…remind me to tell you about it someday…)
  52. On the back of photographs, be sure to write the names of the people who appear in the pictures. (If you save your photos online, tag the people, or caption the photo.) I don’t care how sure you are that you’ll always remember the significant people in your life; I guarantee when you’re as old as I am, you’ll forget some names. My mother told me to write down names on the back of baby pictures. I was positive I’d remember which one was which. (Mom was right.)
  53. You can’t do every good thing. Be selective about what you commit to.
  54. When you have a long-term project, break it down into manageable steps and schedule a completion date for each step.IMG_0157
  55. Children aren’t born knowing right from wrong. You have to be deliberate about teaching them. Encourage them to consider how their actions affect others. It’s sad when you meet adults who never learned to do this.
  56. New cars are expensive. Preowned cars can often be relative bargains. I’ve had good results buying fairly new cars with low mileage from reputable dealers. Often these are cars that were repossessed because someone couldn’t make payments. It’s ironic that I benefit from someone else living beyond their means.
  57. When someone is grieving, say, “I’m so sorry.” Don’t try to cheer them up–sometimes well-intentioned words just make the hurt deeper. Be present. Listen. Hug. Cry. Send a card. Send flowers or a donation to a charity. Don’t say, “Call me if you need anything”–people don’t like to impose on their friends. Instead, follow up in a few days with a specific offer of help–run an errand, cook a meal, babysit–or ask what you can do.
  58. Don’t use electronic devices after dinner. Either you’ll spend too many hours online and go to bed later than you should, or the light emitted from the screen will interfere with your body’s sleep cues. Either way, you’ll be tired the next day.
  59. Tell your (or your children’s) teachers, pastor, and boss what they’ve done that you especially admire or appreciate.
  60. You can do nearly anything you set your mind on, but it’s going to take a lot of hard work and sacrifice.
  61. Set high standards for yourself, but make them reasonable. Determine a code of ethics. Become a person of integrity.
  62. What will people remember about you when you’re gone? Work toward what you’d like your legacy to be.
  63. Learn the names of the employees at the retail stores you frequent. Greet workers by name, and commend them for good customer service. You’ll make their day, and you’ll be rewarded with continued good service.
  64. Whenever you think of a perfect gift for someone (or for yourself–sometimes people ask what you would like), write it down. It’s good to have a little notebook for this purpose. Flip through it from time to time so you remember–maybe the item will go on sale.
  65. It doesn’t matter how long you live, just how well you live. Work hard, but eliminate unnecessary stress. Find ways to add fun to your life. Smile. Laugh. Use the good china sometimes, even when you’re not having company. Stop and admire beautiful things. Love someone. Learn something new.

Remembering 9/11

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A year ago I shared a journal entry I wrote a few days after the 9/11 attacks.

Today, in honor of the sixteenth anniversary of the tragedy, I’d like to share a few more unedited entries from the following days. Please excuse the ramblings and any inacuracies. And let us never forget.National_Park_Service_9-11_Statue_of_Liberty_and_WTC_fire

Sunday, 09/16/01:

Bill [my brother] says the WTC was designed to withstand the impact of a 727.

He also said that a lot of cars that parked near his house to catch the ferry Tues. morning are still there. [His condo was located in Highlands, NJ, closer to Manhattan over the water than by land.]

I heard a story about a nurse at St. Vincent’s Hospital. Apparently, you can see the WTC [World Trade Center] from there, and her husband worked in WTC. After the first plane hit, he emailed her (the person on TV said email, but I think it could have been IM) to let her know he was okay. They emailed back and forth–she’d go about her duties and come back and check her email, and answer him back, and go do her next thing. They emailed back and forth for almost an hour, and then the emails [from the husband] stopped. She looked out the window and the tower was gone.

Pastor Todd preached out of Luke 13:1-9 which told about two disasters and whether the victims deserved what happened to them.

 

Photo by Robert on Flickr 522px-North_face_south_tower_after_plane_strike_9-11

Photo by Robert on Flickr

 

Friday, 09/21/01:

Donna [a co-worker from New York City] said some of her friends’ bodies have been found. Three ladies were found holding hands. They identified them because they had their handbags. Another woman was identified by her handbag and cell phone, but her head was severed.

Saturday, 10/06/01

My main emotion lately is fear–fear of the future, fear of not knowing, fear of uncertainty. I’m afraid because I can’t look at someone and tell whether they are a hijacker/terrorist. The Arizona Republic published pictures of all the hijackers, and except for a couple (who looked crazy), they all looked like people I pass in my neighborhood. Some people talk about “dead” eyes, but I don’t see anything about them that would tip me off that they would be violent. So I’m afraid of everybody.

People are back to “business as usual”–our duty as Americans.

Here I am at Katie’s first AYS softball game at KMS. There are hundreds of people here. Don’t they know we’re in a state of war? Don’t they know 3 1/2 weeks ago 6,000 people died?

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I don’t know how to make decisions anymore. Should I tell Erin to go to the most prestigious school she can? Or do I tell her to go to ASU? Should we put down hardwood floors in the halls? New wall-to-wall carpeting? Or is that a silly way to spend money when our house might not even be here six months from now?

President [Bush] wants to propose additional tax breaks to stimulate the economy. How is he going to finance the war if he doesn’t raise taxes?

West Wing [TV drama series] made a point to show how far the Islamic radicals are from Islam. Josh asked the Congressional Classroom (group of high-achieving high school juniors and senior who were selected to participate in a special educational trip to Washington, D.C.) to make a correct association: Islamic radicals are to Islam as _____ is to Christianity. Christian fundamentalists? No. Religious right? No. No one could come up with an additional choice. Neither could I. Josh inserted KKK. The KKK twists the Bible to show that God favors their agenda. Yet nearly all Christians would say they are wrong and disassociate themselves from it.

Yet, I am afraid that even if they are a small faction, they are still widespread. When I see footage of anti-US demonstrations on TV, it looks like hundreds or maybe even thousands of people are involved. If there are two billion Muslims in the world and only 1/2 of 1% are radicals, that would be ten million. That’s a lot of enemies.

 

How I Learned to Love Geometry

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How I Learned to Love Geometry

This article appeared on Doing Life Together on May 26, 2017.

I met Deedee in Girl Scouts.

She went to public school, I attended parochial school. Our paths would never have crossed in elementary school were it not for Scouts.

What I remember most about Deedee from those early years is that she loved ballet, and often spent “down” time moving through her positions or practicing her arabesque.

Deedee’s family valued education. Her mom taught high school history; her dad was a Ph.D. who taught at a nearby college.

Her first name was really Cornelia. Her father affectionately called her Corn Doodle. (Back in the day, Corn Doodles were a snack something like Cheetos®.) From there, the nickname morphed into Doodle Deedle, Deedle, and, finally, Deedee. (One of her sisters was named Priscilla, nicknamed Lolly–but that’s another story).

We didn’t become good friends until high school, where we were in chorus together.

I hated math, mostly because I found it tedious and difficult. I had to repeat freshman algebra during the summer.

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But the first day of sophomore year, I discovered Deedee was in my geometry class. We also had lunch together the next period. We chose a table, sat down with our food, and after the first bite, Deedee opened her geometry book to the homework assignment and said, “How will we solve the first problem?”

My reaction was Can’t it wait? Like maybe seven hours or so?

But I didn’t understand something elemental about Deedee. She loved math. To her, problems were puzzles. She couldn’t wait to take them apart and conquer them.

That day set the tone for the whole year. Frequently, we started our homework during lunch. We didn’t necessarily finish it, but talking through the first few examples with Deedee helped me learn strategies for analyzing the problems. When I was stuck, she gently helped me draw figures, or reminded me of applicable theorems.

I did very well in geometry that year. And I actually enjoyed it.

I wish I could say the same for my junior and senior year math courses. Deedee was not in my classes then.

But I still use what I learned in geometry. Sometimes you have to calculate the area of something. Geometry comes in handy for figuring out how much fabric I need to sew curtains or piece a quilt.

Deedee Holt

The last time I saw Deedee was in 2002. My daughter and I were visiting my parents in my childhood home before I took her off to college. Deedee and her son, John, happened to be visiting town at the same time. We met at the Fireman’s Fair in an adjoining town.

Sadly, Deedee passed away ten years ago this month. She’d recently completed her course work toward a certificate to teach music, and was serving as a substitute teacher as she searched for a permanent job. I wanted her to move from Washington state to Arizona so she could teach in my district, but her son had just one more year of high school to go, and she didn’t want to uproot him.

The world is a bleaker place without Deedee. I’ll never forget her.

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Guest Post: Writing a Memoir of Restoration, Renewal, and Rediscovery by Marilyn L. Davis

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Guest Post: Writing a Memoir of Restoration, Renewal, and Rediscovery by Marilyn L. Davis

Thanks to Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog and to Marilyn L. Davis for this insightful article.

Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog

By: Marilyn L. Davis

“It has always been on the written page that the world has come into focus for me. If I can piece all these bits of memory together with the diaries and letters and the scribbled thoughts that clutter my mind and bookshelves, then maybe I can explain what happened. Maybe the worlds I have inhabited for the past seven years will assume order and logic and wholeness on paper. Maybe I can tell my story in a way that is useful to someone else.” ― Nancy Horan, Loving Frank

While Nancy Horan’s book is a novel, this passage helps explain the power of memoir or reflective writing. I’m a huge fan of the genre, in part, because it began my recovery from substance abuse, but more importantly, this type of reflective writing healed me in ways I could not imagine when I first started writing.

Much…

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Fear of Driving

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Fear of Driving

This article was first published on Doing Life Together.

Doing Life Together

I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 19.

I got my first learner’s permit when I was a senior in high school. My dad took me out driving several times in his huge Buick LeSabre. Our sessions usually ended with him red-faced and shouting at me, and me crying. At the time, I didn’t understand why Dad was so frustrated.

The day of my scheduled road test was also the day of the first blizzard of 1970. I had no experience driving in snow. Even though Dad promised the test course would be plowed by the time we got there, this was not the way I’d imagined it. I pictured myself driving us to the Motor Vehicles office on non-scary, dry roads. I didn’t want a last-minute lesson on driving on snow-covered roads. So I refused to go. Dad said I could call and reschedule, but I just…

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The Day Milo Went AWOL . . . by Andrea R Huelsenbeck

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The Day Milo Went AWOL . . . by Andrea R Huelsenbeck

An oldy, but a goody. Un-smiley face graphic by Kaz Vorpal.

Doing Life Together

California King Snake California King Snake

As I was readying to leave for work one day fifteen years ago, my daughter Erin, then fifteen years old and the last of our children to leave for school in the morning, breathlessly announced, “There’s a snake in my pants!”

Now, in some homes, a statement like that might be alarming. However, in our house, it was pretty typical.

Firstly, my kids tended to keep their clothes on the floor. Secondly, although we live in Arizona, we are surrounded on all sides by the greater Phoenix metropolitan area—unlikely a wild reptile wriggled in from the desert. It would probably be one of our resident serpents.

You see, my husband, Greg, an elementary school teacher, collected critters.

So my very logical response to Erin was “Who is it?”

“One of the black and white ones.”

Boy, was I ticked. I had recently flown to New Jersey to…

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Seasons of Christmas

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Seasons of Christmas

When I compare Christmases past to Christmas present (the time frame, not the gift), I’m struck that as we pass through the seasons of life, we experience Christmas differently.

The Elementary Years

When I was a kid, Christmas was all about getting presents. Even though I grew up in a Christian home and loved baby Jesus (what’s not to love about babies?), my main focus in December was toys. I remember my mother sitting me down at the kitchen table with a Sears catalog and a piece of looseleaf paper, telling me to list a few suggestions for Santa. Soon, I’d ask for more paper.

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“Only write down the things you want the most,” my mother instructed.

“I am,” I insisted, “but there’s more.”

“Don’t you want clothes? Maybe some new underwear?”

“No.”

We lived in a town where many people were well-to-do, but my immigrant parents struggled. I was jealous of my friends, who didn’t have just one doll, but doll collections and wardrobes; they had stacks of games, but I only had a few. I didn’t understand why Santa brought them so many toys. I was an angelic child; my friends were naughty. Shouldn’t I be getting at least as much as they? The inequity of Christmas was beyond my understanding.

High School and College

As I got older, the focus shifted away from receiving gifts toward giving them. In elementary school, we generally made gifts for our parents in class. Now I had to think of gifts on my own. I don’t remember what I gave my parents, but I earned a little money babysitting or from part-time jobs, and I budgeted for my family (including my little brother) and my friends (especially boyfriends). Mostly, I gave inexpensive gifts, but for my boyfriends I bought engraved pewter mugs or cufflinks or medallions (hey, this was the late 60s and early 70s).

Parenthood

As much fun as Christmas is with small children, I remember those years as stressful. Though my five kids loved Santa, I tried to redirect them toward the spiritual aspects of Christmas. I read them books about the birth of Christ. They participated in Christmas pageants at church. I helped them make gifts for our neighbors.

It’s hard to provide multiple presents for five kids on one teacher’s salary. I sewed pajamas and clothes and doll quilts for the girls, and made handmade gifts for my friends and parents. Things my children needed were saved until Christmas. And then we scrambled to find at least one special item for each child, usually charged on a credit card, paid off slowly.

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After we moved across the country, my parents started sending us a check in December. They’d always bought gifts for their grandchildren before, but the separation was now too vast to know all their preferences, and shipping presents would have been an extra expense. While I love my parents for their generosity toward us, it also meant we had the extra pressure of shopping for their gifts to the kids as well, or else spending the days after Christmas taking the kids to stores to pick out their gifts (exciting for them but exhausting for us).

And there’s the logistics of wrapping and storing all those presents. I didn’t want to wrap while the kids were up and about and could catch me in the act, which meant I had to wait until they were asleep. I often wrapped presents way into the wee hours of Christmas morning. In the meantime, our closets and dressers and garage and car trunks were stuffed with boxes.

Having five kids in ten years meant that some years we had students in three different schools. Three different schools = separate winter concerts to attend. And I was also in our church choir for five years, and the handbell choir for two. Lots of rehearsals. Lots of performances. Lots of teacher gifts. Lots of running around.

No Snow

Speaking of moving across the country—in Arizona, Christmastime is different than in New Jersey. Our first Christmas here, we were invited to dinner on our neighbor’s patio.

Photo by Kelley Diwan.

Photo by Kelley Diwan.

Greg and the kids profess to miss the snow. I don’t. I happily admire pictures of snowy landscapes, but I prefer weather I don’t have to shovel. From my current window, I can see green trees and turquoise skies. My view in New Jersey Decembers was shades of gray—bare trees, dead grass, dirty snow along the road (if there was any snow, which didn’t always happen at Christmas), and an overcast sky.

Teaching

The eight years I taught in the twenty-first century (as opposed to the four years I taught before I had kids), Christmas at home had to be drastically simplified. Part of that was because I spent long hours working in my classroom after school. Also, as the music teacher, I produced the musical portion of the kindergarten gingerbread house celebration, as well as two assemblies and a winter concert at the State Capitol with my chorus.

Before my return to teaching, I used to send out a newsletter with my Christmas cards, filling everyone in on my entire family’s activities and accomplishments during the year. With teaching duties I barely had time to send cards—and some years I didn’t.

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Retirement

Christmas is so much more relaxed now. With no jobs, we have plenty of unscheduled time to tackle Christmas activities, and time to meditate on the heavenly miracle of God assuming human form to sacrifice himself on our behalf.

With our children grown and living on their own, Greg and I no longer have to hide wrapped packages. Although we don’t have the excitement of kids waking early in the morning to open presents, our four offspring who live nearby come home for dinner or at least dessert, and we exchange our gifts then.

I’ve loved every season of Christmas so far, and I’m very content with our celebration this year. (But I’m looking forward to the season of grandchildren, if God and our children ever bless us with any. Don’t tell my kids—I promised long ago I would never pressure them.)

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How about you? Was there a season when your Christmas was especially magical? What is your favorite way to celebrate? Share in the comments below.

Creative Juice #6

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Creative Juice #6

Some of the most creative articles I found online this week:

 

Review of One Year There: A Soldier’s Year in South Korea in 1968 by Robert Denis Holewinski

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Review of One Year There: A Soldier’s Year in South Korea in 1968 by Robert Denis Holewinski

I met Bob Holewinski at my fortieth high school reunion in 2010; he’s married to my former classmate. When Deb mentioned on Facebook that he’d written a book about his year serving in Korea during the Vietnam era, I bought the Kindle edition. Like Holewinski, my husband also served in Korea (for thirteen months, starting in January 1969). That connection piqued my curiousity about Holewinski’s experience.

Two years passed before I even looked at the book. Why? Because it’s written in free verse. I procrastinated reading the poetic military memoir because I expected it to be an epic like the Iliad, which I suffered through in high school, and remember nothing about. So, I saved it for some undefined future date.

In the meantime, Deb shared on Facebook that Bob had written another book, and a few months ago, mentioned he is a talented artist. I checked out his paintings on the websites that sell them, and they so impressed me that I shared them on ARHtistic License.

Then, I felt guilty that I’d never read Holewinski’s book, and decided to tackle it.

The good news is, it’s a much quicker read than the Iliad (I finished it in two days), and for me, much more engaging.

One Year There

Holewinski says he wrote the book to “purge the phantoms that have been dwelling inside me since living ‘One Year There.’” As it turns out, poetry is the perfect medium for his story. With its lack of paragraphs, punctuation, and capital letters, the poems peel away any artificial barriers that might separate the reader from the raw tension and emotion pouring from Holewinski’s words (my apologies–I don’t know enough coding to make WordPress match the author’s indents):

i run up the long hill
to a dark and damp bunker
half sunk down in the ground
half built up with sandbag walls

covered with a plywood and sandbag roof
there I charge through the narrow entrance
breathing fast heart hard pounding
alone
waiting
looking out through the slit openings
with dripping moisture the bunker smells
of oiled canvas damp earth and i wait
alone
come on
come on
where is everyone already

Stationed at a nuclear missile base in South Korea, a high-priority target of the North Koreans, Holewinski lived with danger unimagined by average citizens stateside, who watched coverage of the Vietnam war on the nightly news. Only the worst Korean incidents garnered any press, such as the capture on January 23, 1968, of the USS Pueblo by the North Koreans. After eleven months of negotiations and a public apology by the United States government, the eighty-three crew members were finally released from their detainment.

When Holewinski’s unit was in training, being prepared for their assigned duty in Vietnam (and being cautioned that they would probably not be coming home alive), the Pueblo’s capture altered their orders to serve in Korea, but the risk of dying in action remained high.

In One Year There: A Soldier’s Year in South Korea in 1968, Holewinski records his memories about the countryside, the locals, and his fellow soldiers. Spoiler alert: if you don’t want some story details, skip these bulletin points:

  • While his unit fills sandbags in an attempt to contain a flooding river, a drunk sergeant falls into the rushing waters. Though clinging to floating debris, when he slams into a log jam at the bridge, he loses his grip and is pulled under the surface. His body is never found.
  • The mayor of Hasangoni, where the military base is located, negotiates deals with the officers to enrich himself and possibly benefit his villagers.
  • While on emergency bivouac, soldiers dressed in their winter gear observe an old papa-san wading through an icy river carrying his bicycle.
  • A soldier from Florida experiences snow for the first time.
  • A village girl who clears tables in the mess hall falls in love with one of the American soldiers. When his tour is over, he returns stateside without even saying goodbye.
  • The murder of Martin Luther King causes a rift between the Black and white soldiers.
  • A busload of Korean orphans visits the camp, accompanied by the nuns who care for them. The children, wearing traditional costumes, sing folk songs and perform ethnic dances for the troops. Then they are treated to a full meal in the mess hall, with the soldiers waiting on them. After that, the kids hunt for Easter candy and receive gifts of clothing, books, and games. This is one of the highlights of Holewinski’s tour.
  • A soldier who’d returned home re-enlists (because he can’t find civilian work back home), and is shunned by the draftees.
  • An imminent attack sparks an evacuation of the camp—including its nine nuclear warheads.
  • A soldier purposely breaks his hand, hoping to get sent home with a medical discharge. Instead, he’s treated in the infirmary.

Robert Holewinski Self-Portrait

In some places, the line breaks seemed wonky to me. I don’t know if it was deliberate on the author’s part, or if the formatting was distorted from viewing it in a large font on my Kindle. (What I use so I don’t have to put on my reading glasses.)

Holewinski successfully captures the tension, danger, and despair endured by military in a combat zone. His poetry flows economically, with the emotion coming through without wordy explanation. As someone who has never experienced military life, I found it illuminating. I suspect that One Year There would especially resonate with anyone in the armed forces.

I is for: In Praise of Afternoons

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I is for: In Praise of Afternoons

First published on Doing Life Together.A2Z-BADGE 2016-smaller_zpslstazvib

Doing Life Together

In response to the The Daily Post prompt: Because the Night.

If you had asked me in my twenties what time of day I did my best work, I would have said, “In the morning.” I married an early bird, and once I adopted his strategy for catching the worm, I was hooked.

Fir0002:Flagstaffotos Fir0002/Flagstaffotos

The strategy worked well during my child-rearing years. When the kids were small, they woke as soon as they heard us stirring, eager to get on with the day, reluctant to miss anything.

Waking early also served me well during my teaching career. Getting to work early gave my brain time to prepare for my students.

But when I left teaching for my new writing life, my brain underwent a paradigm shift.

Firstly, I must explain how physically and emotionally exhausted I was. For more than eight years, I’d worked at a job that was…

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