“Keep The Faith, Baby!”-Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.


“Let my name stand among those who are willing to bear ridicule and reproach for the truth’s sake, and so earn some right to rejoice when the victory is won.”

-Louisa May Alcott

Two Americans who spoke their minds, stood for their ideals and didn’t let ridicule hold them down were born today: Louisa May Alcott of Little Women fame in 1832 and Representative Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. of NY in 1908. Louisa May Alcott had many roles in her lifetime: writer, nurse, abolitionist, suffragette and was constantly working having grown up and known poverty very well. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. had a very good upbringing in NYC where his dad, Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. became the pastor of the world famous Abyssinian Church in Harlem. After Adam, Jr. obtained his MA at Columbia University, he took over the pastorship at Abyssinian. From the pulpit and as a 12-term Representative of his District in Harlem, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. never shied away from controversy or from speaking truth to power. As a child I would see him on TV and enjoy listening to him; he was quite charismatic and quite handsome.

Both individuals should not be forgotten. They spoke from the heart; did what they had to do; toiled hard and aggressively. They gave their best.

Also on this day, in 1933, English rocker/blues musician, John Mayall was born and he is still performing. I remember buying his albums and loved “Room to Move,” with the lyric, “I Can’t Give My Best Unless I Got Room to Move.” Happy 80th John Mayall!

I think Louisa May Alcott and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. made their own room and spread their wings and in their own way told the world to “Watch Out, Here I am!”



“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson


“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”Eckhart Tolle

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! I sat down at the computer with my morning coffee (for which I am thankful for) and just jotted down a few things I feel so grateful for. Here they are:

Thankful to hear my husband’s gentle snore as I rise another Thanksgiving morn.

Thankful for children who for years have been out the door; getting good educations, leading independent lives yet staying close to their grams.

Thankful that this life we’ve put together still stands; this life built on our unity and respect for each other.

Thankful that I had a solid career with a pension that enabled me to retire.

Thankful that I had a job that supported my creativity and gave me the opportunity to touch many, many lives for the better.

Thankful that I am, in my own way, still touching lives.

Thankful that I had parents and grandparents who were my biggest fans.

Thankful that my mom will be 90 next week and lives so close to us.

Thankful that I am still curious and still love learning and reading.

Thankful that I do not know boredom.

Thankful that I can sit still, read, take pleasure in the moment.

Thankful that I can still touch my toes, exercise and stretch my mind.

Thankful that my children have been given roots to do with what they may.

Thankful  for family near and far and memories of get -togethers where love abounded.

There is so much gratitude in my heart and much to be Thankful for…

Thankful my husband and I are in good health and can take care of my mom.

Thankful for THIS life, OUR life!

That’s it for now, Folks. Please enjoy a lovely Thanksgiving Day and know that I am thinking of you and your families!

“No One Who Cooks, Cooks Alone.”-Laurie Colwin

“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.” Laurie Colwin

How true!  This windy, rainy morning, as I sit in my basement typing on my desktop, I can see myself as a young girl in my Bubbie’s (Grandmother’s) kitchen watching her prepare food or helping her. I can see my mom using the meat grinder and helping her prepare chopped liver. We cooks are never alone. Mom, who will be 90 next week, taught me much over the years, she was an excellent cook. From both my mom and bubbie, I learned how to make an excellent dry rub that I use on all meats and poultry; it changes every time, but the basics include paprika, kosher salt, crushed garlic and pepper. In fact, if you just have those 4 ingredients, you’re fine. You can even leave out the garlic and your food will still be delicious. I also learned from the both of them to always, always, season under the skin and years ago I would also place stuffing under the skin. Nowadays, stuffing is made outside of the bird. If I’m in the mood, I place chopped onion and chopped lemon under the skin, I love how lemon tastes after it’s been roasted and has collected the juices of the turkey or chicken. I hope I am not nauseating any vegetarians that may be reading this or perhaps you turned away.

I wish all the bloggers and their families, all over the world, a very Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving whether you celebrate or not, whether you are American or not, whether you acknowledge the holiday or not. We all give thanks in our own way and with our own words. I enjoy reading your blogs, learning from them and I thank you for visiting mine.

“Hold On

 Hold on to what is good,

Even if it’s a handful of earth.

Hold on to what you believe,

Even if it’s a tree that stands by itself.

Hold on to what you must do,

Even if it’s a long way from here.

Hold on to your life,

Even if it’s easier to let go.

Hold on to my hand,

Even if someday I’ll be gone away from you.”

A Pueblo Indian Prayer

“If Ever I Would Leave You…”-Lerner and Loewe


“Everything that has been will be, everything that will be is, everything that will be has been.”-Eugene Ionesco

Several people with voices that were surely heard and will never leave us and continue to be heard, were born today, 11/26. First of all, the great Romanian playwright, Eugene Ionescu was born in Romania in 1909 and is associated with Theatre of the Absurd, which as an undergraduate who minored in Speech and Theatre, I studied. When I went onto grad school and got an MA in Educational Theatre, I once again read Ionescu. I probably read him even before entering college since I’m sure my mom also introduced me to him as she was going to night college as I was growing up for 10 years. Robert Goulet, a great singer and very handsome, whose albums my father loved, played Lancelot in the Broadway show, Camelot, was also born today in 1933. I would swoon when I would see him on TV singing If Ever I Would Leave You from Camelot. Beautiful song, beautiful voice. The ever-great Ms Tina Turner, still around, still kickin’, was born today in either 1938 or 1939, I saw both dates listed at various sites.

All three voices had something to say to us. Robert Goulet sang to our hearts, told us he’d never leave or that On A Clear Day You Can See Forever.  Ionesco’s words spoke of justice and non-conformity and he criticized governments. In his drama Eugène Ionesco focuses on the question of human existence as well as the trivia of everyday life. His most renowned play in Germany “Die Nashörner” (1959) is based on his own experience in Romania. This induced Eugène Ionesco to always oppose conformism, to act against totalitarianism, which changes humans and turns them into “Nashörner”.http://www.ionesco.de/

Tina Turner’s life story spoke of strength and inner strength one gains through difficult times. She once said, “I didn’t have anybody, really, no foundation in life, so I had to make my own way. Always, from the start. I had to go out in the world and become strong, to discover my mission in life.”

Tina Turner, Eugene Ionesco and Robert Goulet all loved their careers and lived for writing, for performing, for reaching out to their audience. As Robert Goulet said, “I like being on this stage because it keeps me thinking.”

I know when I hear Tina singing or listen to an old Goulet LP or read Ionescu, “…it keeps me thinking.”



Couldn’t help myself…cold again this morning, so I came up with this little ditty:


Did I tell you how much I hate the cold?

Who in the World haven’t I told?

As blustery winds do their job and unfold

Did I tell you how much I hate the cold?


Did I show you the blue on my fingertips?

How I shudder and tense as the wind fiercely whips?

And the dryness it leaves on my cracked aging lips?

Did I leave out the part that my bones it does grip?


Did I tell you how much I hate the cold?

Why I detest being in its venomous hold?

As it hurdles such blasts that I can’t control?

Did I tell you how much I hate the cold?

“Those Winter Sundays”-Robert Hayden

 “Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings.”-W.H. Auden

It’s 23 degrees and a cold blustery Sunday on the East Coast. The heat is coming up and I just finished my morning coffee. I revisited Robert Hayden’s poem this morning, Those Winter Sundays, and it brought to mind how we or how I do not say “Thank you” nearly enough to those who have loved us and helped us along the way. You can tell from the poem that Hayden endured a difficult childhood and/or relationship with his father and possibly other family members; yet regrets not expressing appreciation for the little things that his Dad did. I think it’s a beautiful poem. Happy Sunday Dear Readers and I hope you’re warm!

Oh…learned this morning that while Hayden was pursuing his graduate degree, he studied under W.H.Auden, another favorite poet of mine!

 Those Winter Sundays

 Sundays too my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,

then with cracked hands that ached

from labor in the weekday weather made

banked fires blaze.  No one ever thanked him.


I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.

When the rooms were warm, he’d call,

and slowly I would rise and dress,

fearing the chronic angers of that house,


Speaking indifferently to him,

who had driven out the cold

and polished my good shoes as well.

What did I know, what did I know

of love’s austere and lonely offices?

“I Have Arrived Safely in Meridian, Mississippi.”-Andrew Goodman

“I think of Andy in the cold wet clay

Those three are on my mind

With his comrades down beside him

On that brutal day

Those three are on my mind”-Frances Taylor &Pete Seeger

Today we remember the birth in 1943 of a lovely idealistic young man, Andrew Goodman, a Queens College student, who asked his parent’s permission, in 1964, to join the Freedom Summer Project  and go down to Mississippi to help register African Americans so they could vote. A privileged young man from the Upper West Side, how could his parents say no to this request. The Goodmans had brought him up to do good and even though they could’ve imagined the danger of such a mission, they gave their permission to their much-loved son, Andy. I was 11 years old when I heard that James Chaney, Mike Schwerner and Andrew Goodman went missing in Mississippi and was very much aware to the WHY.

When The Goodmans heard their son was missing along with Chaney and Schwerner, they received a postcard on that very same day from Andy: “Dear Mom and Dad:I have arrived safely in Meridian, Mississippi. This is a wonderful  town and the weather is fine. I wish you were here. The people in this city are wonderful and our reception was very good. All my love, Andy.”

Paul Simon, who attended Queens College with Andy, dedicated his song, “He Was My Brother” to Andy and Pete Seeger wrote, “Those Three Are On My Mind.”



“I Have a Rendevous With Death.”-Alan Seeger

Pete Seeger’s uncle, Alan Seeger was an American poet who just so happened to have written one of President JFK’s favorite poems,“I Have a Rendezvous With Death.” When President JFK spoke at Harvard in 1956, he said, “If more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a better place to in which to live.” JFK’s love of poetry was evident at his inauguration when he had Robert Frost recite a poem written for this special occasion, the first time a poet spoke at an inauguration. It has been written that JFK would ask Jackie to read Alan Seeger’s poem to him from time to time. Near the end of the 1956 Harvard Commencement speech, JFK recalled a story of a mom in England:  “…an English mother recently wrote the Provost of Harrow. “Don’t teach my boy poetry; he is going to stand for Parliament.” As we all remember where we were on this tragic day in the Nation’s history and in the lives of the Kennedys, let us remember the poetry:

When Spring comes back with rustling shade

And apple-blossoms fill the air”-Alan Seeger

“Let Us Cultivate Our Garden.”-Voltaire (Candide)


“I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft. I look forward to an America which will steadily raise the standards of artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural opportunities for all of our citizens.”-JFK

In 1974, I saw a revival of Voltaire’s Candide on Broadway. It was interesting to learn that it was the writer/playwright, Lillian Hellman who first adapted Voltaire’s Candide as a play in 1956. Voltaire was born today in 1694 and was a French Enlightenment writer who brought wit to his writings as he observed and criticized the world around him. “The French Enlightenment philosophers became known as the philosophes.  The philosophes used criticism and rejection of the old authority, along with a desire to explain man’s role in the universe, and in society to reshape the world in which they lived.  They attacked many topics like morality, politics, economics and religion to design their new world.  Along with natural law and human reason the philosophes emphasized toleration, especially religious toleration and progress.  There was a great confidence in modern man and his achievements in technology and understanding the natural world.”-gettysburg.edu

As we commemorate 50 years since President JFK was assassinated, let us remember for a moment, that both JFK and Jackie Kennedy promoted the Arts during his short time in The White House. A series of “Concerts for Young People” at The White House was started by The Kennedys in 1961. French writer, Andre Malraux, who was The French Minister of Culture at the time, was hosted by The Kennedys, whose aim was to promote Washington D.C. as a national hub of The Arts. “President Kennedy affirmed that, “creativity is the hardest work there is” and playfully added that the White House “was becoming a sort of eating place for artists. But, they never ask us out.”jfklibrary.org

Less than a month before JFK was assassinated, he spoke at Amherst College in Massachusetts at a gathering honoring American Poet, Robert Frost, whom JFK greatly admired. As you well remember, Robert Frost created a poem for JFK’s inauguration in 1961. This was the very first time a poet, a creative individual, was part of the inauguration ceremony. At this Amherst College event to remember Robert Frost who had died at the beginning of 1963, Kennedy said, “If sometimes our great artists have been the most critical of our society, it is because their sensitivity and their concern for justice, which must motivate any true artist, makes him aware that our Nation falls short of its highest potential. I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist.

If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth. And as Mr. MacLeish once remarked of poets, there is nothing worse for our trade than to be in style. In free society art is not a weapon and it does not belong to the spheres of polemic and ideology. Artists are not engineers of the soul. It may be different elsewhere. But democratic society–in it, the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may. In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation. And the nation which disdains the mission of art invites the fate of Robert Frost’s hired man, the fate of having “nothing to look backward to with pride, and nothing to look forward to with hope.”

As a retired teacher and teacher-researcher, I witnessed how important the Arts were to my students as they tried making sense of this world. The Arts gave a voice to my students from other shores and comforted all of my students as they groped with difficult situations in their lives. It was so important to me that they have The Arts in their lives and I always wrote my own plays that taught them (and their audience) tolerance, social justice, history and used folk songs, union songs and songs to which I set new lyrics that addressed the theme of the various plays. All students participated. It didn’t matter if they didn’t know one word in English. The Arts brought us together. My students were my “garden” and my inspiration to always do better.

Thumbs Up Wednesday

“Kindness in words creates confidence.”-Lao Tzu

First of all, I want to simultaneouslyThank ALL those who have previously nominated me for various awards and Apologize for not following through. It was very nice of you and I am so happy that you have been enjoying my blog which I started this past January. It’s going to be a year soon and I decided not to be lazy, but to finally respond to another blogger who just nominated me forThe Liebster Award, Anne Lawson.

Anne gave me a list of 10 questions and you can glean what they are by my responses:

1.Blogging has given me a creative outlet and also invites me to do research on a superficial level, but just enough to use my brain power and keep fit mentally. I’m a retired teacher and teaching is in my blood.

2.My blogging has evolved into just doing daily postings as opposed to updating the pages that I created. In fact, it will be a year soon since I blogged and I will probably do away with the pages and maybe change the format….not sure yet.

3.My fave time of day is early morning. I’ve always risen very early. I love the solitude and my morning routine.

4.Fave season is spring, not too warm not too hot. I totally detest winter; it makes life so hard!

5.Bob Dylan, for sure, had a huge impact on my life. It’s hackneyed, I know, but to me he is the Poet of My Generation.

6.Dylan took what was going on in the world and voiced it through his music and gave us a voice that we used at rallies, marches, at school, in our homes.

7.A handmade possession that I have is a photo from 1978 of my husband and I where my son added the phrase, “Love Endures All Things” and framed it beautifully. Also my son gave me a beautiful handmade card with a photo of the 2 of us for Mother’s Day. Oh Wait…One More Thing…about a year ago, my son was teaching a class on Speed Reading and he ended the course with telling his adult students about his parent’s upcoming 31st Wedding Anniversary…what he said brought tears to our eyes…and the class waved to us and wished us a Happy Anniversary and my son uploaded it onto YOUTUBE!!!!

8.Never would I want to eat tripe again in my lifetime. Had it once and got a stomach ache.

9.If I could be any bird,I would be a Canadian Goose. I see them everyday in my park where I walk. They’re hearty and very family-oriented.

10.Portugal was one of the most interesting places that I have ever been. I was there in 1974 when the government changed and people were marching in the street. The people were so nice and the country so beautiful.

Here are the 10 Blogs I would nominate for The Liebster Award and why:

Jeff Moore’s My Everyday PowerJeff is a young man (a teacher and motivational coach) who truly wants to help people of all generations envision and fulfill their dreams and goals in life. Very inspirational and motivating blog!

Jeff Nguyen (love the name Jeff!) at Deconstructing MythsJeff is a also another young man (and yes, a teacher!) who has some very strong feelings and concerns about the trajectory our country and other countries and peoples are taking or not taking. He is also an excellent writer.  Very thought provoking! 

StephiaMadelyne and ArtOfTheFamiliar.comOh, I see she’s has already been awarded The Liebster Award…well, maybe there are other bloggers viewing this that have not heard of her yet. Stephia Madelyne is a wonderful photographer who stirs emotions with her subjects and she also has excellent quotes.

Mark’s I’m Gonna Study the RainMark is from Scotland. He writes in various genres, is into music and photography, has a great sense of humor and from our correspondence, seems like a nice guy.

M Holloway of If I Only Had a Time MachineI so enjoy Holloway’s historical, literary, etc.  tidbits for each day of the month!

Ivon Prefontaine of Teacher as TransformerThis blog is so calming, soothing, serene. Ivon is also a teacher and once a teacher always a teacher. He also reblogs very interesting posts.

LL Frederick at Take Heart at http://llfrederick.wordpress.com/  First of all I always receive such warm and insightful responses from this blogger. Her blog is so full of interesting facts in literature, music…she has quotes and recipes…just an enjoyable learning experience each time I visit!

Lynell George of Native to the Place  Lynell is a columnist and writes about a potpourri of subjects and has great, great photos on her blog.  She writes in-depth postings and also enjoys music, politics, poetry and so much more!

Music of Our HeartPreaching to the choir here…I love all the music this blog reports on. It’s also heartwarming that his son is very interested in the same music, too and share’s his dad’s passion.

Paul Mark Sutherland of GYA (Give Yourself Away)This is such an inspirational and motivational blog. Love the quotes, illustrated quotes, and just the fact that he is urging us to give ourselves away and do good!

Questions from IleneOnWords to the 10 Nominees for The Liebster Awards:

1.What was the last enjoyable book that you read and why?

2.What is one of your all time fave poems?

3.Which one song has inspired you and why?

4.How do you start your morning routine?

5.How has your family impacted who you are today?

6.What was the last enjoyable movie that you saw and why?

7.If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would you choose and why?

8.How has blogging changed your life or inspired you?

9.Who are 2-5 inspirational people or role models in your life?

10.What role does good food play in your life?