Category Archives: Love

Blue Eyes Crying

We all have them.  All five of us were born with Mom and Dad’s Irish blue eyes. They light up with laughter and mischief.  Especially when we were all together.  The last time all seven of us were together, the jokes ricocheted around the room as if shot from an AK-47.

Eva Cassidy.  Bob gave her to me.

It’s one of my first memories.

We headed up Wells Street.  Bob, my eldest brother who is seven years older than me, was riding me on the bar of his bike.  I was about 3, and I sat happily on the bike, watching the baseball cards that were clothes-pinned to the spokes of the front wheel click.

“Lease,” Bob said, “Make sure to keep your feet out of the spokes!”  He didn’t tell me why.  Maybe he should have.

We turned onto Charles Street, next to St. Pat’s School.  Our brother Fred was standing there on the corner.

“It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen,” Fred has said 3,428 times in the intervening years.

It had never occurred to me before Bob mentioned it, but I was suddenly curious as to what would happen if I DID put one of my feet into the spokes. So I just put one little piece of my sneaker in.

“You guys came around the corner, and all of a sudden, the bike just STOPPED! In slow motion, Bob flew over you and the handlebars, and then you, Lease, flew over too, and landed on top of Bob.  The bike followed, and there was a big pile on the corner,” Fred has said, often.  “I laughed and laughed.”

The lesson I took from that experience was that if somebody tells you not to do something, think about why they are saying that.  They might just be right.  It’s possibly one of the more important life lessons I’ve ever learned.

Of course, he taught me many other things.  Big brothers do that.

Another lesson is that slapstick is hilarious.  Unless you’re the one slapped.

As I write this, my big brother Bob lies in hospice in Florida, dying.  His illness and deterioration happened incredibly quickly, and I can’t get there for a few more days for medical reasons.  Fred is trying to get there to be with him.  Bob is unresponsive, incoherent.  Mentally gone.

As Bob is unmarried and has no kids, the decisions for his care have fallen to me, as I was named his medical proxy, and I’ve shared that responsibility with Fred, just as the three of us shared the burden (along with Beth’s sons) when our sister Beth was in Charon’s boat.

Writing comforts me, and you are all my friends, who have read the stories of my childhood, my family. Bob hasn’t appeared in many of my stories, as he was much older.  He doesn’t fit into the narrative too often.  Moreover, as an adult he has been a difficult guy.  Reculsive, introverted, angry. His has been a difficult life.

But he was also a sensitive man, with a big heart that he kept well hidden.  A writer’s eye for detail, and a love of eclectic movies.  Like the brilliant comedy, What We Did On Our Vacation

Appreciate the folks you have who love you, and whom you love, no matter the differences.  No matter how big a pain in the butt they are.  Because you just never know.

 

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Filed under ; Don't Make Me Feel Perky Tonigh, Adult Traumas, Cool people, Crazy family members, Family, Good Deed Doers, Good Works, Growing up, Hanky Alert, Humor, laughter, Love, Nurses are Wonderful, Sad News, Shit, Taking Care of Each Other

100

“Who’s thaaaat?” I asked with my three-year old heart filling with love.

She laughed.

That’s your father when he was in the Navy!”

“Wow.”

I sat and stared at that picture for the longest time.

My dad was an incredibly handsome man, and I adored him.  I still do.  And he is still the handsomest man I’ve ever known.

Today would have been his 100th Birthday.

mr-whiskers

Dad loved this picture.  Mr. Whiskers.  1917-2000

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Filed under 1917, 2017, Cool people, Crazy family members, Dad, Family, Father-Daughter Relationships, Good Deed Doers, Growing up, Humor, laughter, Love, Missing Folks, Normandy, Taking Care of Each Other, Thanks again

Annual Tune’s Up

It’s that time again.  I’m gonna make you listen to this song:

Yeah, you guessed it.  It’s my birthday.  I am, not surprisingly since I have been blogging under the stupid blog name FiftyFourAndAHalf for 5 and a half years, well, I’m older today.

Old.  Probably older than you; probably shorter than you, too.  Life just ain’t fair.  I’m older and shorter than people I can’t even see…

Today is my 60th birthday.  I’m not a big fan of my birthday, for reasons you can find here:  Still, it’s a day.  A decade.  Something to celebrate with my husband and son and good food and cake.  Gotta have cake.

And it’s something that is way better than the alternative.  Yup.  Way better.

To the handful who have been along with me since I was, actually 54-1/2, thanks for all the times we’ve laughed and cried together.  To my  new blogging buddies, welcome again.  Thank you for stopping by; I hope you stick around.

Blogging has been a wonderfully fun way to spend time over these last 5-1/2 years, and counting, cause I’m not planning to stop.  I see no reason to stop.

Because people my age are getting gross. So what else can we do?  :/

Love you guys!

 

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Filed under 2017, ; Don't Make Me Feel Perky Tonigh, A Little Restraint, Perhaps, Adult Traumas, All The News You Need, All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance, Anniversary, Bat-shit crazy, Birthday, Curses!, Farts, Gross, Health, Heortophobia, Hey Doc?, Holidays, How the Hell Did We GET HERE?, Huh?, Humiliation, Humor, I Can't Get No, laughter, Love, Most Embarassing Moments Evah!, Oh shit, Out of the Pot, Peaceful Protests, Seriously gross, Seriously weird, Shit happens, Wild Beasts, WTF?

Zip Your Lip

To anyone who has said that 2016 can’t get any worse, may I respectfully say

SHUT UP!

debbie-reynolds

 

 

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Filed under 2016, ; Don't Make Me Feel Perky Tonigh, Adult Traumas, Bat-shit crazy, Carrie Fisher, Classic Movies, Clusterfuck, Cool people, Cut it out, 2016!, Debbie Reynolds, Family, Love, Mothers and Daughters, Oh shit, praying, Sad News, Shit, Shit happens, Tom Price

The Beast

Lemme get this straight.

duncan-christmas-2016

Photo Credit:  Jacob

A big fat guy in a red suit

will come down the chimney,

And I’m Supposed to Let Him In?

HO, HO, HO!

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Filed under Bat-shit crazy, Crazy family members, Criminal Activity, Dogs, Duncan, Good Works, Holidays, Huh?, Humor, Love, Oh shit, Peace, Wild Beasts

Home For Christmas Again

She told the story every year with a warm smile on her face.  Sometimes her eyes got a little bit misty.

“It was 1943, and the War was on, and your father was in the Navy, on a ship somewhere in the Pacific.  We never knew where he was.  Like all the other boys I knew, he was in danger every day.  We lived for the mail, we were terrified of unfamiliar visitors in uniform.  A telegram sent us into a panic.  And ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ had just been recorded by Bing Crosby.  It was Number One on the Hit Parade.”

That’s how Mom started the story every time.

Of course I’ll Be Home For Christmas was Number One that year.  Everyone, or just about, was hoping that someone they loved would, in fact, be home for Christmas.  That all the boys would be home for good.  But all too many people were disappointed.  I doubt there were many dry eyes when that song came on the radio that year or for the next few.

Mom and Dad got engaged right around Pearl Harbor Day, but the War lengthened their courtship significantly because Dad enlisted shortly after the attack.  It was to be a long war, and a long engagement.  But Mom was in love with her handsome man.  But Dad was even more so.

Mom, Circa 1943

Mom, Circa 1943

 

My Dad was drop-dead gorgeous, and I have heard that in his single days, he was a bit of a ladies’ man.  Every girl in town, it seemed, had a crush on Dad.

Dad, Circa 1943

Dad, Circa 1943

 

In fact, my Aunt Sally once told me that she had been manning a booth at a church bizarre one Saturday in about 1995, when an elderly woman came up to talk to her.

“Are you Freddie E’s sister?” the woman asked Aunt Sal.

“Yes I am.  Do you know my brother?” Aunt Sal responded.

“I did,she sighed.  “I haven’t seen him since we graduated from high school in 1935.  Sixty years ago.  He was,” she stopped to think of just the right word, “… He was dream-my.”

“He still is,” Sally quipped.

One day not long after after Mom had passed, Dad and I were looking at some pictures I hadn’t seen before.

“Dad,” I told him with wonder looking at a particularly good shot, “You should have gone to Hollywood.  You’d have been a star.”

“Nah,” Dad said.  “Mom would never have gone with me.  And once the war was over, well, I wasn’t going anywhere else without her.”

Dad circa 1935

Dad circa 1935

Dad never quite got over feeling lucky that he had Mom.  And he never stopped loving her.

But back to Mom’s story.

“It was Christmas morning, 1943, and I went over to visit Dad’s mom and dad.  Grammy E’d had symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease for seven or eight years at that point.  She could still move around (she was later, when I knew her, almost completely paralyzed), but she could barely talk.”

Mom continued.  But your Dad’s mom was singing ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas.’  Well, she was trying to sing it, any how. She kept repeating that one line, over and over again.  ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas.’  I thought she was crazy.”

“You see,” Mom would say, “Your father had somehow managed to get Christmas leave – he was coming home!  He wanted to surprise me and wouldn’t let anyone tell me he was coming.  He was expected any minute, and there I was, trying to leave.  But I couldn’t stay.  That song made me cry; Freddie was so far away, and in so much danger.  I couldn’t bear hearing it.”

So Mom left after a while, she had other people and her own family to see.  Later Dad caught up with her and they spent most of Christmas together.  Both of them always smiled at the memory.  Dad was home for Christmas that year, just like in the song.  It was a magical year for them both.

Mom was always touched by Dad’s surprise and by his mother’s loving gesture in fighting back the paralysis that was taking over her body to try to get her son’s girl to stay.  To sing when she could barely speak.

“I’ve always wished I’d stayed.”

We lost Mom on Easter of 1997, and Dad really never got over her passing.

The song and Mom’s story took on an even more poignant meaning in 2000.  Because on Christmas of that year, Dad joined Mom again for the holiday.  He went “home” to Mom for Christmas again, joining her in the afterlife.

Even through the sadness of losing Dad on Christmas, I always have to smile when I hear that song.  Because I can just see the warmth in Mom’s eyes now as she welcomed Dad home.  This time, I’m sure she was waiting for him with open arms.

***

I re-post this story every year, because it makes my heart feel a little bit merrier.

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Christmas Stories, Cool people, Dad, Family, Heortophobia, Holidays, Humor, Love, Missing Folks, Mom, Mom Stories, Peace, Taking Care of Each Other

Eleven/Eleven

Friday, 11/11/16 is a big day in my family.  It’s Adoption Day.  Our 25th.

You see, on November 11, 1991, my husband John and I adopted our son, Jacob.  He was 3-1/2 months old at the time.  Jacob was born in Chile, and John and I literally traveled to the end of the earth to turn a happy couple into a happier three-some.   It was on 11/11 when the Chilean court approved us and said, yes, Elyse and John, “You’re Parents!”

For years, I’ve told Jacob that I knew something was up with that number.  As a teenager, I was fixated on 11:11.  I got a clock radio for my 16th birthday – it was an old-fashioned “digital” clock, with numbers that literally flipped on a carousel.  Every night I waited until 11:11 before I could go to sleep, no matter how tired I was.  I’ve always told Jacob that, even though I didn’t know what it meant then, well, my heart obviously knew that 11:11 meant something.  Something big.

But I didn’t know just how big or just how wonderful.

Because 11/11 = Jacob.  Our son, my baby, our boy, our young man.  Our hilariously funny, nutty, astute guy.  Our pride and joy.   Jacob, you continue to delight, amuse and inspire us.  We love you, Peanut.

And because we all need to laugh, here’s one of Jacob’s favorite Elevens.  And we all need to laugh, don’t we?

*****

And Happy Veterans Day to any/all Veterans.

[This is a re-post.  Updated.  Because I’m busy.  Sheesh.]

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Filed under 2016, Family, History, Holidays, Humor, laughter, Love, Plagarizing myself