Monday, September 23, 2013

Muse Swings - THE BOOK!


I've not been by to update my blog in a few weeks, months, okay, okay, years. Its been a long time! I've missed my bloggy friends, but one day I was sitting at  the computer and I completely ran out of things to say. Plus I found Face Book, and it became easier just to say a few random things throughout the day. I can sit around hitting the LIKE button on other posts, whether I really like them or not. It gives one a false sense of accomplishment while the dishes pile up in the sink.

 I do try to avoid posting my aches and pains on Face Book, and especially stuff like what I'm having for dinner. Unless of course those things are so spectacular that they fall into the "world needs to know category". In these instances, you can bet your bottom they are posted, and with a picture.

I've not been completely idle! After 15 years of saying "I really ought to publish my poetry" to myself and a few chosen others, I've gone and done it! I have a book, and it's available on in paperback and as an e-book.

 The most difficult part of publishing was digging about through odds and ends of old computers, notebooks, award lists, anthologies and this blog and then popping up through the rubble now and again, poem in hand, to add  another to my list of poetry to include in Muse Swings. Once I was satisfied that I had located those worthy of a good read I formatted, spell checked and (patting myself on the back here) created a searchable table of contents I used and to publish the poems. These are self publishing sites, and they are free! If you have been threatening to publish your short stories, poems or novel and just have not gotten around to it, check these sites out. They sell your books on in the US, Europe, Japan, Canada and Mexico, and you earn royalties on your sales.

My main purpose for publishing is to create a legacy. I want my poetry to outlast me. I don't want it to disappear into the atmosphere. As long as its out there somewhere on a dusty bookshelf or a discarded Kindle, it will still exist. I also get a bit of a tingle when I pop over to 15 or 20 times a day, type in my name, and do an Author search.

Check it out! These thin little tomes make great hostess gifts, coasters for your coffee cups and additions to your library.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year - 2012


Happy New Year Dear Bloggyfriends! 
I've chosen this century old card to ring in 2012 AD at 12:00 AM

Irene posted this card  January 1, 1912 to Mrs. Lena Martin in East Providence RI.  A satellite view of the address shows a large piece of property with a rambling house on Watchmoket Cove, an inlet on the Providence River.

The message reads:
"Wish you a Happy New Year. Be sure to come to the initiation Wednesday night won't you.  We have ten young men coming in and not enough girls to march with them.  I want you to be one of the escorts and I'll be sure to pick out a nice looking young fellow for you.  Wear white if convenient. It looks so pretty in line."

This message has put Lena into a fine state. She had planned to have "one of her headaches" Wednesday.  Always an excellent excuse for not attending  Irene's stuffy gatherings. And now, not only must she go, but she will be required to wear the lovely white gown she was saving for Myrna Pindley's Annual Post-New Years Eve Cotillion.  If any of the same people are at both events Lena shall be just mortified to be caught wearing the same frock twice.  Lena feels the beginning of one of her headaches - a real one this time.  But then, while searching for her medicinal powders she considers that a slight change to the gown may allow for two wearings without the gossip.  Lena makes a note to call Lucile, her personal designer, first thing in the morning.

  Design by Lucile c.1912

All is well in the morning! Lucile is so cunning!  She suggests a striking black bodice and train be added for the Cotillion.  Who will ever guess it is a twice worn dress, excepting perhaps Lady Gertrude Winterberry and her spinster daughter. 


 But that was then...


And this is now

Raise your glass high and

Have a spectacular New Year!

Friday, July 22, 2011

PFF and Sepia Saturday - BIG Step For Mankind

Postmarked on the Recovery Ship Hornet CV12 on July 24, 1969

 Our theme for Sepia Saturday is recognition of the amazing work of NASA's Space Program.  The first manned Lunar Landing in 1969 is something I will always remember.  Where I was and what I was doing:  My dad had the old black and white TV on a 40 foot extension cord in the driveway. He was doing an oil change on the giant blue Mercury station wagon and didn't want to miss a minute of Apollo 11and the first moon landing. I was on my way to the mall for some serious shopping - mini skirts and such - but I stopped to see what he was doing. Together we watched the grainy sights and crackling sounds of the landing.  A few days later I received the above envelope - Dad had thoughtfully sent one for each of his 7 children to be postmarked on the U.S. Navy Recovery ship Hornet!

 The Hornet CV-12

The Hornet is a recommissioned and renamed WWII Essex class aircraft carrier, and the eighth Navy ship to be given the distinctive name, Hornet.  She was originally named Kearsarge, but was renamed Hornet in honor of Hornet C8 which was sunk in 1942. 

Hornet CV-12 played a major roll in the Pacific during WWII, earning 9 battle stars.  She also served during during peacetime, the Cold War and Vietnam The Hornet then became the recovery ship for both manned and unmanned Apollo space flights.  This was not her first recovery assignment.  Hornet was part of the Operation Magic Carpet operation which brought hundreds of thousands of soldiers home after WWII ended.

Coming Home!  Operation Magic Carpet 1945/46

Recovered Apollo Space Capsule

The Hornet is now stationed in Alameda California as the USS Hornet Museum.  The exhibit includes the Apollo 11 Space Capsule

First Day of Issue - Man on the Moon
 My father had this First Day of Issue stamp, and postmarks and envelope sent to me in 1969 as well.

Footsteps and our Flag on the Moon

President Nixon greets our Brave Astronauts

Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin were put in quarantine  aboard the Hornet.  NASA wanted to be sure they only came back with Moon rocks.

 Where the Apollo Missions Left Footprints

A Pre-Apollo Space Shot for Postcard Friendship Friday
We've just this week come to the end of a great and exciting era. We'll always remember those brave men and women who traveled into the true unknown to explore and to advance our knowledge of the universe. Some came back,  others did not.
 For more Postcard Friendship Friday travel HERE

Sepia Saturday is a space shot away HERE

Friday, July 15, 2011

PFF And Sepia Saturday: It's in the Cards

 The Sepia Saturday Theme has to do with card games in vintage photos. So, for Postcard Friendship Friday, I chose this old and somewhat flirty postcard.

 It was postmarked June 5, 1911 in Arthur Ontario.  The message to Miss Florence reads:  Received your card some time ago.  Have not had a chance to answer before. Have no views of G.M. (Grand Manan) at present.  Will send one next time.  Come again,
Yours truly.
Turner Ingalls, Jr.
Captain, Little Wood Island Life Saving Station, Grand Manan, New Brunswick. (That's in Canada)

Grand Manan Island

 Grand Manan and all of the surrounding islands are set in treacherous waters filled with rocks and currents. Storms and fog make travel quite dicey.  Many light houses, fog horns, and life saving stations were - and still are -constructed on these islands to assist sailing ships, fishermen and ferry boats.

Web searches turned up quite a bit of information about Turner Ingalls!

Ruthven Deane was taking a count of Snowy Owls in 1906 and included this information in his report:
"Mr. Turner Ingalls, Jr, keeper of Southwest Arbor Light Station, Grand Manan informs me under date of Jan. 20, 1906 that 26 snowy Owls had been seen on the island, and many of these had been seen shot during December 1, 1905.  During the flight of 1901-2 Mr. Turner observed only about half this number."
 TURNER INGALLS was born February 18, 1843 in Grand Manan, N. B. He married Antoinette Foster Parker and they had one son, Page Ingalls who died at age 4. At the time this postcard was written,  Ingalls was 68 years old, had lost his wife, Antoinette and remarried.

He became overseer of this lighthouse in 1901 when his father in law retired after 47 years service. By then, the Marconi telegraph wire was replaced with a telephone.

Southwest Light House as it appeared in about 1899. 

The Ingalls/Mclaughlin family is pictured here. The family added all of the buildings to the original lighthouse tower at their own expense. Upon his retirement, Turner's Father-in-law asked for reimbursement for all of the buildings - to which the Department of Marine replied "No."    
The location of this lighthouse can be seen on the  map posted above. It is off the most Southwest point of the Grand Manan Island.

After Turner Ingalls retired a succession of family members continued to live and work here until it closed in 1987. Turner Ingalls died in 1914.  

For more Friendship Friday Fun go HERE

For Sepia Saturday stop by HERE

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sepia Saturday: Happy Father's Day

 Remembering our Fathers on Father's Day

 Stanislaus Grocholski
 Great Grandfather

 John Ignatius Grocholski
1887 -1978

Joseph Leo Grocholski

I remember past Fathers Days and am thankful for the memories.

Friday, June 3, 2011

PFF and Sepia Saturday: Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor, uhm, Cannon Fire...

WWII Mail From Mom

To which of the 7,500 Pfc. Robert Smith's does this belong????

Soldiers love to get mail.  That's probably what the M in morale stands for - and the Army is always on the move.  Things can get dicey - especially when thousands of soldiers are out in the middle of the forest at Ardennes or some arid atoll in the South Pacific or any of hundreds of places they "visited" during wartime.

That's where the "Six-Triple Eight" comes in!

LTC. Charity Adams, Women's Army Corps led the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion 
"Not only was she the first black woman commissioned as an officer in the Women's Army Corps, Charity Adams also attained the highest rank possible in the Corps below the directorship -- Only one full colonel was permitted in the WAC, and that rank was held only by the Director.  She was also the commanding officer of the first battalion of black service women to serve overseas during WWII.
This unit, the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion (or "Six Triple Eight"), did an extraordinary job of redirecting mail in the European Theater of Operations.  Troops were reassigned quickly, battle casualties were relocated often, and the sheer number of U.S. personnel in the ETO was staggering -- a total of about seven million, with more than 7,500 of them, for instance, having the name of Robert Smith.  But the Six Triple Eight broke all records for redirecting mail.  They knew the importance of their job, in maintaining morale."  (Museum of Black WWII History)

The 6888th marches in the town square at Rouen, France on the feast day of Joan D'Arc.  This is the spot where Joan D'Arc was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431 

These exceptional women were here to do battle of their own - move the mail.

LTC. Charity Adams reviews her unit.

Despite having the same patriotic reasons for serving our Country, African Americans were segregated, given menial jobs, discriminated against and suffered the same inequities as they did at home.  You would think America would be too busy for racial bias in the thick of battle but, of course, ignorance often takes the lead. Go here HERE for more information about this fine officer.

A Pretty French Postcard

Note the "free" postage for servicemen and the Army Examiner stamp in the lower left hand corner.  Sgt. Henry Rabinowicz  posted this card on December 21, 1944 from somewhere in France.  He said:

Dear Lillian, I picked this greeting card especially for you to make double sure, my sentiments are expressed both in English and French.  Goodbye for now.  Affectionately. Henry. It appears from his return address, that Henry was part of the huge Replacement Pool of soldiers that were brought in  late 1944 as replacements for infantry casualties.  Replacement troops did not necessarily receive the same battle training of the infantry they were replacing.  They lacked the cohesion that troops who trained together and fought together had.  The seasoned soldiers would pretty much ignore them - their infantry may have suffered 50 to 70% casualties and here comes new guy with creases in his pants.  "I don't know him, I'm not talking to him, he's just gonna die anyway." was the psychological attitude.

I found Henry's service card at, stamped with the word WOUNDED.  I've not found anything further yet - but will add whatever additional information I can find.
Jewish Servicemen Card For Henry Rabinowicz

Laiterie Cooperative

Sgt. Charles Shenloogian of Company C, 11th Cavalry, who's WWII experiences are chronicled in his oral history interview 2002 HERE, posted this card November 9, 1944.  He said:  Dear Jewel, Just a few words to let you know that I am well.  I picked this card up in my travels (This is the understatement of the century!  His unit was fighting in France in the thick of battle and participated in the Battle of the Bulge in November, 1944 - the unit was out of gas, ammunition and supplies yet ordered by Patton to advance.) Hope everything is O.K.  Don't work too hard.  Seen many good shows? Would like to have been with you.  Love, Charlie.  His homogenized message was reviewed and passed by the Army Examiner.

More links to Postcard Friendship Friday are HERE

Links to Sepia Saturday posts are HERE

Friday, May 27, 2011

Postcard Friendship Friday and Sepia Saturday: Lest We Forget

When this beautiful postcard was mailed, 100 years ago, Memorial Day was called Decoration Day, a day to pause and remember both the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil war.  Today, after many other wars, we remember all of the soldiers who gave their lives for our Country. "Lest We Forget", May 30th (now the last Monday in May" was designated as the day of remembrance.

The card was mailed 8/2/1911 and is postmarked Rome, New York which is in the north central part of the state.  E.W. says "I cannot do as I promised because I have got to go to my cousin's.  He is very ill."  The writing appears to be that of a child.  What do you suppose she promised her friend Henrietta?  Another of life's mysteries.
 William LaKoske 1925 -1994

This is my Uncle, Bill La Koske.  The picture was taken around 1943 while he was in boot camp in Ft. Hood Texas. He is 17 years old.  

I know little about Uncle Bill's time in the service.  We were instructed to never ask him any questions about his experiences during WWII.   I've managed to put a few bits and pieces together though.  
He took his basic training at Ft Hood, Texas, and was still there in October of 1943 when my parents took a train to visit him while on their honeymoon.

I enlarged the patch on his left arm, and I also remembered an ashtray he had with the same insignia.
 It is the insignia of the US Army Tank Destroyer Unit.

At the time, Fort Hood was a training center for the TDU, and I found this on line:
"The mission of the Tank Destroyer Unit Training Center became that of training tank destroyer units to the point of blotting out and erasing any fear of armored forces; establishing superiority in maneuvering and gunfire.

The specialized training program for TDs provided for 19 weeks of training. 6 weeks of basic and 13 weeks technical and tactical training. The basic training was comparable to that of a replacement training center." 

At some point, after the D-Day invasion, and on the heels of the Battle of the Bulge Uncle Bill and his battalion were in France and possibly fought their way as far as Belgium.  His job was manning a machine gun attached to the back of a Jeep. During heavy fighting against the Germans, Uncle Bill and several  other men were forced to take cover inside a barn.  The Germans destroyed the barn with canon fire and a beam fell, pinning Uncle Bill at mid-section to the ground.  The other men were killed.  He remained there for 2 days and was near death by the time he was rescued.  He recuperated in Colorado for about 18 months, was awarded the Purple Heart,  and then returned home.

Mom spoke once of the day the telegram came informing his mother, Julia that Uncle Bill was injured. Other than a short telegram, families had no way of knowing anything further about the fate of their husband, brother or son.  

Today, wars are fought right on television.  Soldiers keep in touch on cellphones and computers. At that time, communication except by the soldier himself, was non existent.  Since Uncle Bill was badly injured, it may have been weeks before they received further word about his condition.  They could only wait for a letter or for another telegram informing them of his death.  Luckily that 2nd telegram never came.

(A very special force of WACS went to France in the heat of battle to make sure mail moved to and from the US.  The Army knew how important communication was for morale here and abroad.  I'll tell you all about them next week.)

Fizsimmons Army Medical Center, Aroura, Colorado
A little more detective work:  The Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center is most likely the hospital where Uncle Bill was treated and rehabilitated. It was built during WWI primarily for soldiers with TB and malaria and has always been considered an excellent hospital. It closed just within the past few years, is being updated and will reopen as a private hospital. 

The only thing Uncle Bill ever mentioned was that he had to eat pureed "baby" food for months and -he never explained this one- he came to despise raisins to the point that he would shiver if he even had to look at one.

Joe and Del and Del's baby brother Bill

Uncle Bill is standing on the steps of my Grandparent's house on Holcomb St. in Detroit in this photo. He is with my parents, Joe and Del. The photo is undated, so I don't know whether he was on leave before going overseas or had just returned from Colorado.  My best guess is that he was given leave after he completed his training. February/March 1944 would make sense - based on the winter coats, and the fact that Mom's coat is unbuttoned as opposed to everyone else's.  Which means she's probably a few months preggers with my brother Joe. 

Uncle Bill was my Godfather and a really wonderful Uncle.  He had a great sense of humor and was the main instigator of fun and frolic among the children at the dinner table.

Although he was fortunate to survive the war he, like most soldiers, suffered memories of the horror of it for the rest of his life.  Along with a strange fear of raisins.

While we enjoy this long Memorial Day weekend, let's take time to remember those who died in and of War.

Those incredibly brave men ... men ... they were, many of them just 17 seeing and doing things that we can only imagine. Tossed off of ships by bombs, thrown out of foreign skies, marched in weather we won't think of going out in. Giving their all for freedom for all. The brave soldiers from WWII in my family are gone now - but they came home, every one of them. They kept their promise to my Grandmother. Many never spoke of it. None could forget it. We'll never forget these brave men.

For more Postcard Friendship Friday go HERE

For more Sepia Saturday stories go HERE