Category Archives: Memoir


MY FIFTH GRADE BUDDIES WITH THE CUSTODIAN. People were a study to me from early in my life. Time moved slower then, giving me lots of time to take note, eavesdrop, and think about the people in my life. Being alone a lot fed that too.
I took tap dancing lessons for about 4 months when I was 7 or 8. I could get there because the bus stopped near the front of our house. It was always the same driver. He promised Mom that he would tell me when to get off across the street from Mr. Tucci’s house, wait until I crossed safely and be sure to pick me up a half hour later on his return run. There were five other girls my age in the class in Mr. Tucci’s basement. I was a klutz much better at climbing trees than tap, tap, tapping. I loved the shiny patent leather shoes with the metal tips that held a penny inside. But the dance routine was too boring. I didn’t belong and never got to perform at the end of the year. The tap shoes went into the drawer in the old oak bureau in the attic.
Athletics were much more my style. With two brothers in the house, I brought home the only baseball trophy. At this time, my one-day-to-be-step-father Joe had brought a bat for my brother Bob. I whined that he didn’t bring me anything. I really wanted a set of paints and brushes. He didn’t know anything about paints and brushes so be took me to buy a baseball glove. I couldn’t get to all my games because Mom didn’t drive and I rarely had a way to get there.
When I was 12 Joe took me twice on Friday nights to watch wrestling matches (not anything he enjoyed) that a friend of mine was in. He thought I liked wrestling, but it was the boy I wanted to see. I promised him I would come see him wrestle. Joe was helping me to keep that promise.
On a summer day I rode my bike several blocks to play with Marilyn. She couldn’t come out to play because she suffered from asthma. Sometimes she was okay enough to play board games. This was my first exposure to the Ouija Board. Finding Marilyn healthy enough didn’t happen often enough to make the long trek out to her house more than once a week. Her parents thanked me for coming, telling me that I was important to Marilyn and the only girl who came to play with her.
Within the year she moved across the Delaware River to Yardley, Pennsylvania. Her folks came to pick me up at home to spend a day with her and then brought me home again. That was just a one-time happening. But it took me to see new territory, opened my horizons, let me know there was more than my neighborhood. It also taught me compassion for the restrictive life Marilyn had to live.


Leave a comment

Filed under Memoir, reflection, women, women writers, women's stories


Being different is not the same as not belonging. It may be a cause for not belonging but being different stands alone. I grew up being told I was different, not because of being the only girl in a neighborhood of boys (and I had two brothers, no sisters) but because we were the only family without a father in the house. It was quite unusual in those days and in our neck of the woods.
We weren’t confined to the back yard but allowed to roam as long as we didn’t cross the busy streets that defined the neighborhood. I didn’t have an ounce of shyness in me then, not even internally. That came later when I would have to push myself forward.
A half block up Liberty Street was a neighbor who also lived in a semi-detached house. He owned two lots alongside his house that were planted in vegetables but mostly in flowers. At 7 years old I would stop my bike and talk to him through the fence while he worked. He never encouraged it but he didn’t reject me either. One summer day I asked, “How come I always see you outside working but I have never seen your wife. You have a wife, don’t you? And how about kids. Do you have kids? I’ve never seen any.”
He explained to me that their children were grown up with households of their own and that his wife was very ill and liked to be quiet. I quickly followed up with, “Why did you build a swimming pool if you don’t have kids?”
These were the days when the only swimming pools were community pools that you needed to pay to get in. Woodlawn was the pool we went to once a week in the summer with the school playground program. It was a 2 mile walk, one way.
He patiently explained that he built his pool (a wooden structure 5 feet high, about 10 feet long and 8 feet wide) for exorcise, told me to never come in the yard without his invitation. I think this came after I told him about my climbing adventures on the church fence. He also invited my brother and me to come swim in his pool on a day he selected, with a written consent from my mother. We went two or three times and loved it, respected his rules and never pushed ourselves on his generosity.
His generosity expanded to giving me fresh flowers for my mother on Mother’s Day after I told him that I rode four blocks away to the cemetery to pick some flowers from the gravestones for Mom on Easter. He kindly but firmly explained why I should never, ever do that again, that if I needed flowers to come ask him. I never picked flowers from the cemetery again.


Filed under Memoir, reflection, women, women writers, women's stories, writing


HOMEDELL SCHOOL . . . . now offices

I learned early on about not belonging. It came from the 13 boys in the neighborhood and no girls until I was about 9 or 10. That’s a lot of formative years and trying to fit in. It’s what toughened me up and I learned to work harder, hiding my tears when I was hurt, couldn’t let them show, not in a bunch of boys. They would have shunned me for sure.
It was in kindergarten that I found my first friend who didn’t fit in either. He didn’t because Nathaniel was black. In a school of 7 grades, one being kindergarten, and less than 20 kids per grade, there were only 5 black kids in the school. We also had a couple Jewish families, a Mexican family, a couple Irish families, several Italian families, some Polish families, and a family from down south. A block over from my house was Gail, who was blind but she went to a special school for the blind in Trenton.
Our kindergarten class was scheduled to perform on stage at the end of the school year. We had learned to play instruments like triangles, birds (that had water in them and gave a whistle sound) and jingle bells on a string. We also had to perform a dance at which Nathaniel became my partner. I chose him because he was different. I already knew about not belonging and sensed that he knew it too. We remained friends until he moved to Trenton in the fourth or fifth grade.
Of course I did have classmates that were girlfriends even in kindergarten but they lived blocks away. I didn’t get a 2-wheeled bike until I was in second grade. Then I could ride the whole neighborhood (about 8 blocks long and 4 blocks deep surrounded by major roadways) but by then friendships had already been formed and I was always the third person out. I ventured to ride to Nathaniel’s which was on the far side of the square. He only got to my house once because he didn’t have a bike and it was a long way to walk. I pretty much remained a loner until the fourth or fifth grade when Roberta moved a block away from me.
I learned about belonging or not, about being different early in life and it remained with me until I finally embraced it as a blessing. It gave me leadership opportunities, pushed me with courage and taught me to make my own place.


Filed under Memoir, women, women writers, women's stories, wormen writing


Telling Your Story- Writing memoir is many things to the writer. It’s often a trip down a path that got you to where you are today, showing the result of sometimes funny things that happened to you and sometimes not so funny. You can write parts of that path, starting out at a bend in the road and ending at a bend further down the road. There is no need to try to start at the very beginning. That may overwhelm you, especially if you are older than 30 and have lived a full and varied life. I can promise you that if you write everyday, even if it is only a half hour, you will begin to remember moments you thought you had forgotten forever. It’s true, the more you write, the more you remember without effort. It just comes, sneaking up on you like a kitten trying to get your attention with a soft, tiny paw tapping on your knee.

About a year ago, I began writing about the 15 years of traveling Angelo and I did stopping at horseracing tracks from as far away as Australia, across our country, Canada, and even the Curragh in Ireland. So, look for RUNNING WITH THE HORSES, expected publishing date is August of this year.


Filed under books, horse racing, Ireland, European travel, Australia, Cairns horse racing,, Memoir, reflection, women's stories, wormen writing, writing


At this time of year when angels are adorning the tops of Christmas trees, I remember when an angel saved my life and the lives of my four sons. I was fleeing an abusive marriage, driving south to Florida, hoping to re-locate there. In the middle of a scary night, I nearly drove over the edge of the two-lane road in Georgia. An angel saw things differently and saved us. Read the full story in NOSEGAY OF VIOLETS a writer’s memoir of psychic awakening. The Horseshoe Restaurant on Danville Street in South Hill VA and Oakley Hall in Warrenton NC both have copies of the book available at $15.00. Read the full story of one thankful woman. Me. It makes for a great Christmas gift. Please share.

Leave a comment

Filed under angels, Christmas season, living with ghosts, Memoir, women's stories


It’s finally come to light, the date is October 31. What a date to read Step Outside Your Comfort Zone! You’ll find 101 stories and I hope you will read mine, THE MAKEOVER. In it, you’ll read of my gathering encouragement to change one little thing that changed my whole life, making it better than ever!
If you like it, please write a review on Share in my excitement of being published in this Chicken Soup for the Soul book of uplifting and encouraging stories.
A quote from Amazon: Stepping outside your comfort zone is one of the best ways to feel younger, happier, and more confident. These 101 stories will inspire you to try new things, overcome your fears and broaden your world.

When we try new things, we end up feeling energized and pleased with ourselves. There is tremendous power in saying “yes” to new things, new places, and new experiences. The authors of these stories explain how they did it and how good it made them feel, whether it was something as simple as trying a new food or something as life changing as starting a new career. You’ll be ready to shake up your own life after you read about their experiences.

Leave a comment

Filed under books, Memoir, New book release, women's stories


grandma-danielsa nosegay


As tribal grandmothers and grandfathers gathered the children around the campfire to tell the stories of their existence, how they came to be, the children learned of their heritage. They learned of the struggles and joys of their parents and those who came before. As they grew into adults, the children could lean on those stories when they faced difficulties in their own lives. Stories passed down to them were the rocks they could revisit for answers to their questions.

It is the same with us today. When we tell our stories, and tell them honestly, we not only leave a legacy for those who come after us, but we offer help and information for those who are seeking answers for problems. How many people read the personal stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul and find encouragement, direction, and a way to go forward?

Another important reason for us to tell our stories – it is good for others to know the true us, the us that isn’t always revealed in our daily lives. What we think, how we feel, the difficult times we got through, our misunderstandings that caused family separations, and the joys we celebrated, these are life lessons offered to help any reader. They come from us, the everyday person who is not featured in the headlines in the newspaper or on the Big News feed. Our stories are so important!


1 Comment

Filed under Memoir, reflection, women's stories, wormen writing, writing