Tag: Memories

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Ave Atque Vale: Frank Zbozny, Rest In Peace

 

My husband, Frank Zbozny (see–I always told you I could win a game of Scrabble in one go, if only proper names were allowed), has died. Many of you know of his decades-long struggle with dementia, and of the cardiac and other physical problems that began to sap his strength in 2012 or thereabouts. But he was himself almost to the end. The last intelligible word he spoke to me was two days ago, after I enabled what I believe was one of his last pleasant physical sensations on this earth (so I did it often), the deployment of a just-warmed-in-the-dryer comforter over the top of him. He smiled. I asked him how that felt. He thought. And over the course of about ten seconds, the courtly and rather old-fashioned gentleman I married, 39 years ago on July 24 of this year (I wrote about that marriage here), managed to get the word out: “Deee–li–cious.”

We started out our married life quite poor, at least in financial terms. I was a Teaching Assistant, and Frank was an Assistant Professor of English, at a time (early 1980s) when a liberal arts career path was beginning to be deprecated in favor of a business education, so he wasn’t terribly well paid. We lived at the very end of a dead-end street, in a run-down little house picturesquely situated just above the exhaust vents of Pittsburgh’s Liberty Tunnels. I was assaulted once, going home after work as I walked up the hill from the streetcar stop. I was fondled by the disgusting creep (kneed him in the crotch), and my purse was stolen. Our house was ransacked one evening when we were out, and the very few items of value, both real and sentimental, that we owned, were taken. (I remember, on both of those occasions, feeling utterly violated. It was three-and-a-half decades before I felt anything else as wrenching, or even remotely comparable in terms of being flayed alive in a public space.) One day, I drove home from work to find gangs of thugs in the middle of the street watching a couple of pit bulls fight in the back of a pickup truck. I had them arrested and carted off to jail. It required a bit more moxie than it might today, as this was well before the days when cell phones were in widespread use. So I parked my car in the middle of the street above them (so they couldn’t leave, because dead-end), walked through and past them, while they jeered and insulted me, walked up the steps of the house, and called the police. Frank’s comment? “You would have made a good United States Marine.” Made me proud then. Almost makes me proud now.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Rainy Day Memory

 

“There are many things I do for amusement, but for happiness I like to gather up my memories and go for a walk in the rain.” – Robert Brault

I have four older sisters. One summer in the mid-’80s, they were working for The Daily Herald, Utah County’s newspaper. They had to deliver the paper to people who hadn’t received theirs. One day, they decided to take me with them. We were riding in a Volkswagen Rabbit, I believe.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Elderly Scottish Woman Suffering from Dementia Climbs UK Music Charts (Video)

 

OK, well, this made me cry. An 83-year-old Scottish woman who suffers from dementia is climbing the UK music download charts, singing a duet with her caregiver of Frank Sinatra’s 1969 hit, “My Way.”

Margaret Mackie and Jamie Lee Morley first performed the song at her nursing home, during last year’s Christmas karaoke party, and subsequently recorded it at Studio Sound, an Ingleton-based music studio. All proceeds from song downloads go to Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia UK. (Video below.)

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Beams of searing light flashed across the landscape, leaving white-hot scars on the mountainside. The Specter stood undeterred. A mind-bending torrent of unlight roared forth from its outstretched hands, while several cyber-knights frantically evaded the attack. Alex felt his legs scream in protest as he leapt to another vantage point. They needed the appropriate banishing […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Memories of 2019

 

I’ve gone through a little exercise, the past several New Year’s Eves, to try to sum up the year that’s passing in twelve words, one for each month. Herewith, my roundup for 2019: Softness, Family, Broken, Celebration, Construction, Sickness, Renovation, Compromise, Stabilization, Justice, Insurance, Acceptance.

In no particular order: Item: Two dear friends with life-threatening illnesses, both diagnosed in the same month. Both my age. Scary. Item–A lovely new sunroom on the Southside of the house (some days, when it’s in the 20s outside, it’s in the 80s in the sunroom. There’s a stand of trees in front of it, and when they’re in full leaf, rather than bare as they are now, it’s shaded in the summer. Item: Some beautiful soft and fluffy snows in January, but other than that, not much of a winter. Item: A bit too much involvement with the criminal justice system, across a couple of months, but ultimately the best outcome we could have hoped for in the trial of my stepson’s murderers. Item: Family celebrations, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and love. Another year older, and signed up for Medicare. At least my monthly health insurance premium went down.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Memories: The Workbench

 

Had a couple of dreams last night. They were the first dreams of or about my father that I’ve had since he died in June. One of them was about his workbench. In the dream, the workbench was different than it was in real life, and of course, there were strange bits of non-history in the dream. That’s just how dreams flow.

When my parents were young and struggling, before I was even born, my father built a couch. It was much cheaper than buying one, and it served their needs for several years. It was a fairly simple affair. It had an L-shaped base made from something that looked like a couple of old solid-wood doors joined together with legs that were perhaps eight inches to a foot high placed around it. That made a flat base. Then there were two large, flat cushions with a sort of plastic cover on the base and two longer wedge-profile cushions that made up the back of the couch. That was it. I wish I could describe the cushion covers better. On the exposed sides, they were a sort of mottled red. On the other sides, it was similarly mottled gray trying to be white or silver. It was the early 1960s and, for a young couple with little boys, it was serviceable.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

White Elephants welcome. Ugly teapots and clay objects of uncertain type encouraged! Really, you want to get in on the December theme, Memories, before your frazzled host does another one of his posts about bears, outhouses, or disco. Hey, wait a minute…I’m sure there is an entire catalog of disco “holiday” albums and worse! Maybe […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Memories: The Engagement Christmas Dinner

 

In the fall of 1976, Janet finally accepted my proposal of marriage. (It was definitely proof of the power of persistence. She simply did not understand why anyone would marry her.) We set a date for the May of the following year, by which time I would have gotten my engineering degree, and we could live happily ever after.

We were the first children in either family to decide to marry. (Her brother has avoided it completely. Mine married in the following decade.) Which meant Christmas was Family Inspection Time. By both families, as both sets of parents lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Not the local relatives. We had been going together for several years already and both of us were known to the other’s family even before we were dating as Janet was the kid sister of one of my close high school friends. Rather, it was the opportunity for out-of-town relatives to inspect the potential new addition to the family.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Memories of Christmas 1956: Pictures of Perfection

 

The film is dark and grainy, and the room is poorly lit. None of the cast is wearing the proper sort of clothes or makeup. And all of them, particularly the father of the little moppet with the starring role, are bursting with their pride in the first member of a new generation in the family. It’s the iconic Christmas of my childhood, my first real memory, one I have been able to call up at a moment’s notice all my life, but which lived only in my heart and in my mind for almost 50 years. Until, that is, a most unexpected gift from Dad gave it back to me “for realz,” as the children say.

Granny and Grandpa’s. 104 Church Lane, Handsworth Wood, Birmingham 20, England, UK. Northern 4749, if you wanted to phone and have a conversation. (This entailed going under the stairs where the telephone was located, and hiding yourself away for the duration, almost as if there was something a bit untoward–nay, rude even–about standing there talking into the air, as if to someone who was actually in the room with you, but, really, wasn’t.)

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Member Post

 

Unlike most unsolicited, intrusive online messages that pop up or appear in e-mail to remind me of some tepid offer when I simply want to be left alone to use a service, I enjoy the Facebook memory feature. It will say something like “7 years ago today,” and then bring up an old post or picture. […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Dead Will Be Remembered

 

He woke up wondering whose dream he had dreamed of. Whose memory was the dream based on? And as he wondered every morning, who was he who dreamed the dreams of others?

In the last dream of the night, he had lived in India in a small town, larger than a village, but not one of the great cities. The details came back to him: his name in the dream, where he had lived, what he had done. He had been an educated man and knew geography, being able to point to his town on a map.

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Member Post

 

The Christmas season is very much a season of joy and a celebration of the advent of Jesus the Messiah here in von Aue household, even more so in my generation of the family than it was when I was a child. My father’s atheism put a damper back then on the reminders of the […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

During the 1980s and 90s I worked as an environmental lawyer in a large company. While occasionally participating in prepping witnesses for trial or deposition testimony it was my own experience as a witness that has made me more hesitant to accuse someone of lying, particularly when it comes to remembering past events, even those […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Taking Memories to the Streets

 

This year marked the 100th anniversary of observing what became Veterans’ Day in America. It was also the 75th anniversary of a series of critical battles and campaigns that sealed the Third Reich’s fate. In June, the western Allies gathered to remember the Normandy invasion. On December 16, there was another major commemoration, although not with all national leaders, remembering the battle that finally broke the Germans, the Battle of the Bulge.

On December 16, 1944, Hitler hurled his last, best troops, those who had survived the Russian meat grinder and the battering, fighting retreat from Normandy since June 1944, back through a weak point in the Allied front. Taking advantage of bad weather, suppressing American air superiority, and employing superior knowledge of local terrain, armored columns thrust deep through the Allies’ lines. Yet, the Allies were not going to break catastrophically and the Wehrmacht lacked the operational and strategic supply support needed to fully exploit any tactical or operational success. Nevertheless, the tactical situation became so desperate that the white Army leaders who had lied through their teeth, after World War I, about black men’s ability to be their peers in the infantry now called forward volunteers out of the support troops, filling in gaping holes with platoons of African American soldiers assigned to formerly all-white companies. Four years later, President Truman rejected “expert” opinion and ordered the complete racial desegregation of the armed forces with Executive Order 9981.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Remembering the Murder of a Convenience Store Clerk

 

One year ago, around midnight, as Saturday turned into Sunday the 16th of December, 2018, a gunman entered a small independent convenience store. The space inside is tight, very close quarters, and the clerk decided to fight for his life and his co-workers, instead of accepting whatever fate the thug decided. The clerk, Jose Alcaraz-Hernandez, lost his life, and a co-worker was seriously wounded. The crime has not been solved in the year since that night.

The large group of prayer candles and flowers gave way in fairly short order to a permanent wooden cross. The hand-painted cross outside the store tells us that Jose Hernandez was born November 18, 1964, and was killed on December 16, 2018. From a photograph put up in the first days, we know him to have been a grandfather. We know nothing of the killer. If the police know more, they are not saying so to the public.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Memorable Interview

 

In the days following Christmas in 2000, I traveled from Montana to California to visit my older sister, who was dying from cancer.

Carol was no longer eating solid food; she had a bag that fed mocha-colored goo into her stomach. Oh, every once in awhile her longing to taste something would overcome her, and she’d eat something, all the while knowing that the consequences would be unpleasant. But her life was circumscribed to a recliner; her life closed in; her passing, imminent. Yet she was still her cheerful, almost ebullient self. We ran through some chitchat, catching up on our families and their activities. That took about an hour.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 100 Years, 3 Wars, 409 Combat Missions: Living Memory

 

On Friday, 6 December, Col. Charles McGee went flying for his 100th birthday. He actually flew the aircraft, with a copilot, and walked on and off the aircraft firm of voice and stride. Colonel McGee started flying in World War II, then stayed in the cockpit for the next thirty years, seeing combat in both Korea and Vietnam. He holds the US Air Force record, to this day, of 409 combat missions. As we commemorate the 75th anniversaries of D-Day at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge this year, we note the number of World War II veterans rapidly falling to the far end of the actuarial tables. Accordingly, each one who remains with us, still of firm mind and voice, becomes more of a treasure.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: So, How Old Is That in Dog Years, Again?

 

This is an update of a post I wrote exactly three years ago, when the answer to the question posed in the title was a mere “42.” I hope my long-time friends will forgive my shortcut here, and that my new friends will find it interesting. I celebrate the memories of all kinds that have formed our Ricochet lives, from the ageless @midge (even older than I am) and infants like @joecombs23 (joined Thursday), to absent friends and loved ones, those who, for one reason or another, are no longer part of the site. Here’s to us all.

Today, December 12, 2019, I’m celebrating my ninth Ricoversary. In dog years, I’m 63, which isn’t exactly my age in human terms, but it’s close enough for government work. Nine years ago today, I squared my shoulders, girded my loins and, for the first, but far from the last, time in my life went to war with the Ricochet subscription and billing apparatus, and its very determined ideas about auto-renewal and subscription status, and I signed up for my first month as a member. There were no levels. No Coolidge, Thatcher, or Reagan. Just a monthly fee, which the site told you far more often than you cared to know, was tied to the cost of a Starbucks latte.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Memories: The Restroom Reader

 

I told Mrs R that if she hadn’t shredded all of our canceled checks and credit card statements, that I’d be able to use them to put dates on some family travels and photos. It would also help me complete a detailed timeline of family history.

The canceled checks are all gone, but a couple of weeks ago she found a stash of credit card statements from the late ’80s that somehow hadn’t been tossed. Those are some of the very years that I wish I remembered better. We had children at home, so those should have been the best years of our lives. Some events stand out, but too much of it went by in a blur.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. December 8: Super Luis Saves the Day

 

The light switch stopped working in my bathroom, right before Thanksgiving. Luis, my super, was off to visit family for the holiday so I rigged up some ad hoc lighting and asked if he could come by the next week to see what the problem was.

Turns out, the problem was my previous super, Carlos, who had “repaired” the same switch about 20 years ago with equal parts electrical tape and hope, both of which had now melted into a molten rubbery substance that had fused all the ancient, shorted-out wiring in my wall together.

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