Pledging at 44

In 1992, at the wonderful age of 44, I decided to go to college.  I had been deprived of that right by my mother and father.  By my mother, because we didn’t have the money and I had to go to work so we could survive, although no one ever told me about night school.  In school, I had received the highest scores on stenography and typing scores and back then, the Civil Service sought me out immediately for a job.  But that was not to be my destiny.  By my father, I was prohibited from going to college, because by now, he had remarried and had two sons who he did send to college with no thought to my education, since they were boys and I was only a girl and not worthy of a college education.


The years went by and I received my Bachelors and then I decided to go for my Masters.  But something wonderful happened that year.  I had heard that one of the sororities was accepting pledges.  I knew or thought my chances were slim, me being 44 and they were looking most probably for younger students, but I applied anyway.  It was a dream I had never fulfilled, to belong to group of women with a purpose and who were highly respected on campus.  And so, I applied.   Much to my surprise, I was accepted.


Pledging was hard to say the least, but oh so much fun.  One night we had to swallow a goldfish whole.  Another night, we were dropped at a mall which was closed and had to find out way back to the van hidden somewhere around the mall area.


Other nights there were blindfolds and assignments.  And then there were even more frightening things to do.  I began to feel I couldn’t go through with, but the other girls kept my morale up and encouraged me to keep on.  As the oldest pledge they had ever had, I had become something of a mother figure and nobody wanted me to fail.


Then after all that, the final night and ceremony took place and I was in.  I received my paddle, which I still have and cherish, and my lifelong dream of joining a sorority had finally come true.


That was a part of my college experience I will never forget and it continues to bring me warm memories not only of the whole experience but being the mother to all my other pledges and helping them find the courage to keep going.


It was one of the best experiences in my college years and I highly recommend it to others.


Copyright 2012

Almost Dying


Almost Dying Doesn’t Make a Difference

When my husband was first diagnosed with cancer, I thought I was going to die.  I wanted to die.  I wanted to run away from home.  I wanted to quit my job.  I took a week off from work.  I cried every day.  And then, slowly, I realized it wasn’t about me.


Almost dying doesn’t make a difference.  Because until you actually die there is always hope.  Hope for a cure, hope for a reprieve, hope for a miracle.


I began to get creative.  I searched the Internet for any and every herbal remedy even remotely related to curing cancer.  In a few weeks, I had my husband taking approximately 50+ capsules, tablets, herbal formulas, anything I could get my hands on to save his life.  And, almost dying didn’t make a difference.


Hank underwent chemo and radiation for over two years.  I watched as they marked his chest with indelible ink for the radiation.  I waited while they installed the shunt to make his chemo easier to take since his veins were starting to blow.


Each time he was rushed to the hospital, I felt like I was dying a little bit inside.  But it was always him, not really me, not physically anyway.


And instead of the six months the all the doctors gave him, I stretched his life out for another two and a half years.

* * * * * * *

The first thing we did when he was diagnosed was to go to Arizona for two weeks.  I was so crazy, I insisted on getting teaching applications for schools there, and wanted to buy a house and sell everything where we were.  I think I believed we could escape from the cancer.  But my husband, who was oh so wise, said, “When I’m gone, you’ll have no one for support, no friends, no family, and who will take care of  you?”  I still got the job applications.


We went on to take a couple of other trips after that, suddenly trying to buy back time that we didn’t know we had.  They were all memorable because almost dying didn’t make a difference in what a great time we had.


And then, there was the day Hank came home from the hospital after numerous and repeated visits.  I hadn’t even gotten him out of the car yet and he started to complain that he couldn’t breath.  I chided him and then panicked as his lips started to turn blue.  911 had become our mantra.


Back to the hospital he went.  He had a DNR.  But the nurse came out and told me he his heart had stopped and did I want to honor it.  I had to make a split second decision and I did.  I knew in my heart that this was not the way Hank would have wanted to go.  And I told them to revive him.  Even if I only had another five minutes, it would be enough to say goodbye.  But we got lucky.

And then the visits began.  Close friends.  Family.  My daughter was already with us.  His daughter came in from Rhode Island. My son flew in from Italy.  His long lost friends came down from New Jersey.  And now, almost dying was out of the question.


The hardest thing I ever had to do in my life was to turn off the cardiac monitor when Hank flatlined for the last time.  No, almost dying never made a difference, but dying did.


Copyright 2012

To all friends and followers

I thought I was replying to all of your comments, but I think I might be wrong.  When you write me at “gmail” I answer but I don’t think you’re getting my replies.  In order for me to respond to each and every one of you who has taken the time out to send me a comment I am asking you to comment on the blog site and not to “gmail.”  I only noticed yesterday that my “reply” is going to a “do not reply to this address” and so I wouldn’t want any of you to think I don’t value your remarks and I would love the opportunity to respond to each and every one of you.  If  you haven’t heard back from me yet, please forgive me as I have written to each person but maybe  you haven’t received my replies.

I look forward to responding to your comments from the blog where I can better monitor them and reply and know you received it.

Thank you all.


Sticks & Stones -or- Did My Mother Really Love Me

Most people have fond memories of a good, maybe great childhood.  Holidays spent together with family, vacations to God knows where, just happy, happy, happy.  My childhood was quite a bit different.

They say “sticks & stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.”  If you haven’t realized it before, the words are just as bad as the sticks and stones.  But what’s really destructive is when you’re the victim of both.

One of my earliest memories is of me angering my mother so badly that she waited until I was sound asleep, then crept into my room and threw ice cold water over me while I lay sleeping.

I was a child who was (and still am actually) very attached to my collection of stuffed animals.  I even remember going to Alexander’s department store and buying a stuffed animal, a blue bunny, just because his head was sewn on backwards.  I called him “backwards bunny,” and I still have him.  I was a loving child.

But, one day, I made my mother mad and she threw a bunch of my favorite stuffed animals down the incinerator shaft.  I thought I would die of sadness.  She had killed some of my best friends.

Then there were the words that aren’t supposed to hurt, but which, in all actuality, cut like a knife.  There were too many and they were too cruel to mention all of them here, but I’m sure you can use your imagination of the verbal torture a parent can bestow upon a child.

But, as in all abusive relationships, there was the love.  My mother had pet names for me and bought me nice things and toys and presents and yet, I don’t ever remember her telling me she loved me, even though I told it to her often.  I used to buy her small presents all the time with the pittance of an allowance I got (25 cents a week) and I always wrote on cards and letters how much I loved her.  And, I still do.  I forgive her everything even though time and time again  she broke my heart.

Two days before my mother died, I sent her flowers for her birthday.  When I arrived at her house after she had died, the flowers were still in the box, dried up and dead, just like her.

When I think of my mother today, I cry, and I still wonder if she ever did really love me.


Copyright 2012

Don’t Get Me Started :-) -Irksome Irks

Don’t get me started!  (Or Irksome things that drive people nuts!)

I get migraines-and when they come, they come in clusters.  There’s just one immediate problem:  I can’t open the migraine medicine package.

I cut my hand on the stiff plastic package holding a new pair of scissors.

I went to the grocery store early to get in and get out.  The credit card scanner broke and it took 30 minutes to fix it and I couldn’t move to another aisle…oh, and I was forced to buy a pack of gum I didn’t want to make the transaction go through.

I insist my newspaper be put on my porch.  So, instead of just throwing it on my driveway, the delivery person threw it right through my glass door.

Why don’t car manufacturers cut the cost of their vehicles by eliminating turn signals; no one uses them anymore anyway.

Listening to corn fructose commercials which must operate on the principle that consumers are idiots.  They come right out and say “sugar is sugar” but don’t seem to understand that that is exactly the point; we don’t want sugar of “any” kind, so what is their point.

Along those lines, how about “sugar free” items that remove “sugar” but surreptitiously reinstate it in the form of compounds ending in “ose” or ”ol”?

You finally find a certain brand and type of merchandise that you never thought anyone else would think to market except yourself (if you were a millionaire) and when you go back to “stock up,” it has been discontinued.

You’re going to be tested for a sleep disorder…by determining how well you sleep in a hospital bed with a gazillion “leads” attached to you and someone watching you all the time from another room.

Am I the only one who notices that in just about all horror, thriller and a lot of science fiction movies, the characters always use humongous flashlights, instead of just turning on the lights?

Is anyone actually able to sing the “Star Spangled Banner” as it was written?  And then, can they sing it correctly and without all those dips and distortions our present-day artists seem to think enhances it?  Wait, how many singers today can actually sing a song according to a melody (okay, okay, if it actually has one)?

Has everyone forgotten the standard usage rule that “the full name of an acronym is spelled and defined first, then the capitalized abbreviation follows.”  I don’t know about you, but every day in at least one medium, someone writes or says a short-form acronym and then neglects to define what it means.

How about finding out that that fabulous new heart medicine or cholesterol reducer can also cause heart attacks, death, and other such wonderful side effects?  I love the one that may cause you to gamble recklessly; that’s got to be the best.

Okay, I want to see the stats on car robberies of only those cars which use that new-car technology of starting your car with a push of the finger only.

How many of you can read subtitles when you watch a DVD at home and, besides their irritatingly small size, the color of them is almost always not a good enough contrast to read them, no matter what their size might be.

So, do British people know that they have an accent?


Watching a has-been celebrity back an airlift program for veterans, pronouncing it VETRANS.

“Valentimes” Day.

“Commentating” instead of “commenting.”

Watching and listening to the constant degradation of the American language:  “that” has almost completely replaced “who” and “whom” just because no one remembers how to use them.  ‘Who” is for people, “that” is for objects.

I can hardly spell “potentialities” never mind make up its place in the dictionary?  (Ann Curry-Today Show June 27, 2011).

Why do people insist upon using the British usage of such words as “forwards” (forward-American), towards (toward)?

Who can tell me what’s wrong with this one:  “I got the call which every husband dreads at midnight my wife was killed in an accident.” (Local law firm)

Or, how about (same law firm) a client explains how he was hit by a car going over the “medium.”

How about those marketing geniuses who want to make their car clients think they are sooooo cool by misspelling trendy names of cars: Sorento (Sorrento), CRZ for craze,

How about all those famous overweight people who boast of losing so many pounds?  Can anyone say “personal chef,” “personal trainer,” “personal weight room or testimonial gym” or who become celebrity spokespeople for well-known diet programs (where they’re paid and receive all their food for free)?

I personally would like to know what percentage of major network morning show viewers have ever made, or even attempted to make even one dish from those famous chefs we see each morning.  Can anyone say not only “too complicated,” “too many (exotic or expensive) ingredients, but also too much time and money?

How many people “pet” and “fondle” a “service animal” (in our society, they are mostly dogs) when it says right on them not to do so?

And then, there is “anyways” for “anyway.”

How did we get so lost?

Baby Boomer Lingo (how many of you remember these):

How many lumps would you like?



Timothy Leary

Grammar Gafs (Or the impending death of the American language):

“Sprung” instead of “Sprang”

“Sung” instead of “Sang”

“Shrunk” instead of “Shrank” and most of know which movie proudly used that misuse.


Copyright 2012