Toby the Beast! by Marty Glaser

 

I used to walk between two houses on my way to school. The house on the left was the Williams house and the house on the right was the Shaidas’s house. There was an alley way between the two that I had to walk down to reach Anna Avenue and Lenox Street to get to Silver Lake School.

The Williams family had a huge beast of a dog they called Toby. Toby would sit out on the front porch behind a plate glass window.  Every time I walked past Toby, I would talk to myself and say,” Nice Toby!  Be a good dog to me!”  I swear he could sense that I was petrified by his presence on his porch. I was afraid to even look at him so I never made eye contact with the beast.

Continue reading

It’s Coming!

Where I Come From, the new collection by members of The Well Done Writers Group will be available soon. Here’s a sneak peek at the cover:

Cover of Where I Come From by The Well Done Writers

Back Cover Text:

The question of where one comes from is not answered simply with the town where we were born or the region where we grew up but by a myriad of places, experiences, and people who conspired to make us who we are.

The original “Where I Come From” poem was written by George Ella Lyon, Kentucky Poet Laureate 2015-2016. The poem and the writing prompt that grew out of it has traveled around the world and has been used in schools and jails and at family reunions – and also in writing groups.

Lori Thatcher brought the prompt to the members of The Well Done Writers, a Greenfield Senior Center Writing Group. This book contains some of the writers’ responses.

Glaser’s Laws of Economics  by Marty Glaser

My mother and father taught me Glaser’s Laws of Economics.  They drummed them into my head and my brother’s head thoroughly.

My folks got married during the Depression and scraped and saved. They never let anything be considered junk; everything was used. When my dad started his dental practice in Athol it took him many years to establish himself and make any money. But they had faith in
G-d’s plan for them, faith in the goodness and honesty of most people, and faith that things would get better.
Continue reading

Some Lines Witten while Sitting in the Atrium at Dartmouth (NH) Medical Center By Estelle Cade

I bought a hat the other day.
It was so cute, it fit so well;
It’s definitely you,
my friends all say. 

I bought some shoes the other day;
bright red, and so in style that
just to look at them
makes me smile.

Dressed up now,
from toes to head –
look at what’s next,
Old Age said.
There is a magic cloak for you
It comes in many colors.
Some will wear it gracefully –
(and then there are the others..) Continue reading

Toe Tapping by Dolly Arsenault

When I was about eight years old, my mother strongly suggested that my sister Terry and I take dancing lessons. A woman in our parish, Miss Sylvia, gave weekly classes in tap and toe. Toe dancing held no interest for me. It looked painful and those pointy pink satin shoes couldn’t be worn for anything other than flitting about in a tutu. Tap shoes, however, could beat out rhythms on wooden floors and also on cement sidewalks. Tap dancing was definitely the one I wanted. Terry shrugged and said she’d take whichever I chose.

And so it was decided that my sister and I would sign up. The beginners tap dance class was held on Mondays after school. Before we left for school the following Monday, our mother gave us each a quarter to pay for the lesson. Continue reading

Remember When? by Estelle Cade

As busy parents it was hard to just get through the days sometimes, let alone take notice of those special “small moments” of tenderness or joy. Yet as we live out our lives, those small moments can pop up seemingly out of the blue, but no doubt just waiting in one’s subconscious to be enjoyed anew.

My daughter, an only child for her first five years, was thrilled to know that right after her 6th birthday she’d have a baby brother or sister. She would put her eye to my stomach and tell us: that’s my baby brother in there” – and she was right! She loved being a “Helper” and would happily bring me a clean shirt or some little item. I’ve never forgotten the day I looked into the baby’s room and saw her standing by the crib, singing “Rock a bye Baby” to her brother, as his blue eyes watched her so intently. A tender moment to cherish. Continue reading

A Minor Triumph by David Bryant

About two months after my uncle’s death, I decided to go back to New Jersey to see how my aunt was doing, since she was now alone in a fairly big house. It was early spring, and I decided to travel by bus.

I didn’t bring any money with me. There was money in my bank account here, and I thought I could just go to a bank in New Jersey as soon as I got there. To my utter surprise, the banks closed at one o’clock on Saturdays in New Jersey. I was sure I could get by until Monday. After all, my aunt had always provided anything a family member needed.

By the time I got to my aunt’s house, I could see she was very upset. I learned that my uncle had left some loose ends after a previous marriage, and this was bothering my aunt. As we sat talking about it, I became very tired, too tired to continue any dialog, and I told that to my aunt. All of a sudden she seemed to snap, and she jumped to her feet shouting in a rage, ”Get out! Get out!” Continue reading

A Time Before GPS by Marty Glaser

I remember long ago learning to study maps when I was planning a trip. After deciding what roads I would drive, I wrote out the directions North and South with the road between arrows. I could quickly glance at my route chart without going back to the map. On the initial and return trips, I employed the same technique, which I found extremely useful.

I was pretty good at getting someplace the first time. I also seemed to be pretty good at getting back home. I utilized the “Take a picture” in my head of locations, buildings, names of stores, etc. Once I had gone some place, I always seemed to be able to return.

This skill was acquired when I was fifteen and a half years old. If my parents allowed me to drive their car, they made sure I drove carefully and with respect, and provided the necessary care for their vehicle. My father taught me to change tires, check the battery, and radiator fluid. Topping off the windshield wiper fluid and checking the windshield wipers for cracks was standard procedure in our family.
Continue reading

Don’t Forget? by Estelle Cade

 

An appointment? A trip to – where?

Did I forget? What day is this?

Don’t forget – forget what?

We live by our calendars – little square by little square.

Pen and paper by the phone always.

“I have sticky notes all over my house,”

a friend confides to me.

“Yet,” she adds, “either I cannot read

what I wrote 

or cannot remember why I wrote it, so

who cares anyway?”

“I forgot” – remember those days?

The basic answer to so many questions

as one child or another stands before you

“Why didn’t you bring home your report card?

Why didn’t you give me the permission slip

last week that you need today?

Why didn’t you tell us that Parent’s Night is tonight –

and that you’d said I’d bake two dozen cupcakes?”

And on and on

Do you remember saying

“What if Dad forgot he had to go to work?

What if I forgot to pick you up after school?

Or conveniently forgot that dinner had to be cooked

tonight  – and every night, for heaven’s sake.”

It seems now that the “I forgot” in youth

somehow morphs into

“I can’t remember anything”

as we age 

and our children find it frustrating perhaps.

Might this be Divine Retribution?

Mom’s Secret by Janet Keyes

When my older children were young I got into a health food kick. I even asked the Easter Bunny to bring no chocolate, just healthy things like nuts and sesame logs. I was not just being mean; a couple of the kids were slightly allergic to chocolate. The children seemed a little less enthusiastic about Easter baskets in those days.

I sometimes made cookies from ingredients bought at the health food store on Miles Street, even including soy flour.  Occasionally the cookies were pretty good.  I also made my own granola, using stone-ground oats, chopped dates, sunflower seeds, organic almonds, and a hint of honey.  Lightly toasted, that granola tasted great.

My cupboards often contained brown paper bags labeled “Stone-ground Bulgar Wheat” and other earthy crunchy things.  My kids were not truly deprived of chocolate, as they could go next door to Grandma Keyes’ house and get a little chocolate almost any time.  They thought I didn’t know, but I could see the little chocolate rash on small buttocks at bath time.

Sometimes I also had a craving for chocolate.  One day I bought a can of Nestle’s Chocolate Quik to have on hand for my little emergencies.  How could I hide it from the kids? Ah, yes.  I cut up a brown paper grocery bag and created a neat wrap for the Quik container.  Then I used a black Flair pen to label it “Stone-Ground Broccoli.”  This was perfect, and I could place it in plain sight on the top shelf of the cupboard.

This ruse worked well for about two years. Then one day I walked into the kitchen and saw a chair next to the counter near that cupboard, and twelve-year-old Julie and seven-year-old Peter standing next to the kitchen table, where the Stone-Ground Broccoli container stood open.  Both the container and the kids looked at me accusingly.

“Mom! How long have you been hiding Quik in this disguise?  This has been on that shelf a long time!”

Busted! My chocolate secret was destroyed, never to be replicated again.