Sunday, May 7, 2017

My Gramma Was A Spy

Florence Finch, a WW2 heroine was born in the Philippines but her father was an American soldier. She married Charles Smith, a Navy man. In 1941 when the Japanese took Manilla, her husband was killed at war.  Florence sought revenge.  She hid her American ethnicity and landed a job writing ration vouchers for supplies to send to the Japanese Army.

Florence managed to divert food, clothing, medicine, and supplies to American prisoners until she was arrested. Thrown into a tiny cell for three years, Florence was tortured and starved. 

When American troops found her in 1945, her 80-pound body was frail but she still found strength to fight for freedom.  She settled in New York and joined the Coast Guard.  In 1947 she was awarded the Medal of Freedom.

Florence re-married, had two kids and lived an everyday life, her heroism a secret to most civilians until 1995.  In honor of her bravery and devotion, the Coast Guard dedicated and named a building after Florence Finch.

She died, not too long ago at 101 years old.

Florence is not my Gramma.  But I wonder who calls her Gramma. What man or woman can say, "My Gramma was a spy."  What young boy or girl can say, 'My Great-Gramma was a hero".

Did she tell her story to her children and grandchildren? How old were they when they heard of her journey for freedom and revenge?

Did they ever comprehend why her passion for duty to America was so great? What if her husband had lived? Would she have traveled the same path with the same devotion?

I'm sure her story impacted her family.  Probably gave them the courage to handle life, and put patriotism in their soul.

My grandmother wasn't a spy, but she also has a story of courage and journeys that compose my heritage.  Stories that mold the family into who we each are.   I pull her stories to my mind when I need some courage or a kick in the butt.

  What's your gramma's story? What's your heritage?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Is everyone crazy?

"I'm the only normal person in this world," my mother used to say about herself with a confidence as sure as water is wet.

Is the world full of crazies and liars or is it just  the people who have lately crossed my path? Maybe I meet too many people, make too many acquaintances. It's what I do. I find people to be entertainingly complex each with a story that unravels their complexity.  I don't watch reality TV.  I watch people.

Just this month, Sam's sister was murdered by a family member, Charlie's brother shot himself. Beth cheated on her husband.  Lisa does not believe in disciplining her children who are out of control and Mick and Terry continue their 15 year marriage in separate rooms, staying married they think for the sake of their kids. And if Kathi lies one more time to cover up all her other lies, I'm going to scream. Ok, I already did that. In front of her but to no avail. Might need an intervention on Dr. Phil for her!

On the other side - when I asked my friend Anne if she could donate maternity clothing from her business for a young pregnant woman in need, a lady I met not long ago, she did not hesitate to help.  Then there is Patty, Angela and Gary and Mari Sheldon who brought groceries all month to a woman in the neighborhood going through a hard time. And now I know to let my neighbors know when I will be out of town so they don't try and break down my door or call the police because they haven't seen me and are worried.

I guess there are a few other "normal" persons out there! It's the ones that  have your back, that you can vent to, that you can agree to disagree and won't be judged.   It's people who let you know there are more good people in the world than bad.  I hope you, the reader are one of those.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Chapter 60

How did I get here?
When did I get here?
A feisty blue bird chases a big beaked orange bird and I watch with amusement, sitting on the lanai this spectacular sunny with a slight breeze day.
They fly away.
The sun starts heating through my pants and my thighs are like burning toast.   I roll up my pants to the knees.
To feel the breeze.
When did my skin get wrinkled and thin?
Where did the bulging calf muscles go?
Vanity conceals reality.
Ailments rob my youth as I slip into Chapter 60 - this birth day
Then fly away.

Monday, January 2, 2017



There are  seven kinds of love; Eros, Philia, Ludus, Pragma, Agape, Philautia and Storge.
I am a lover of Books.

I remember the long trek to the library, walking down the hill to Kingsbridge Road in the Bronx,  and what seemed like endless streets to a 6 year old to get to the doors of the building that held my world.

Only six books were allowed to be taken out. I could never decide which ones to leave behind from my stack of fifteen. "Now remember, you have to carry all those books back up the hill and up the stairs," Mom would warn me. Our apartment building had about 15 stairs to get to the building, then another four flights of stairs to get to the apartment.   The thought of the heavy books only discouraged me for a second. It was worth it. Sometimes, to lighten my load I'd try to get my sister to add to her one or two books she carried. Too bad we didn't have back packs back then.

Kingsbridge Rd, Bronx NY 
The minute I got home, I rushed to decide which book to devour first. You could escape to anywhere you wanted in a book. You could be any person you wanted in a book. You could learn so many things. The words danced in my head, the crisp pages turned with excitement. 

A good story is like sweet wine; soothes the mind and body. I am a lover of books.