"Bethie's Place"

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Archive for the day “October 2, 2019”

He Called Me By Name

As a thin yellowed pillow is placed beneath my head,  it’s quiet.  Too quiet.  The mattress beneath me is like laying on a concrete slab and the thin yellowed pillow beneath my head is squishy and old.  But this pillow of mine, we’re old friends.  I’ve cried buckets of tears into it; its softness has muffled many screams in the night. Screams of fear and screams of pain. I’m all alone.  It’s been only minutes since someone checked on me, but it feels like hours.  It’s in the quiet that I contemplate why I’ve been allowed to live.  My body’s been battered, broken, and bruised more times than I can count. And yet my life must have a purpose otherwise my heart would have already stopped and I’d be dust blown across this vast landscape surrounding me.

And then it happened. A voice.  Not a person in sight. Just a voice as clear and crisp as a soft  winter wind. I sit up, looking around. This voice has called me by name, and there at my feet stands Jesus. He tells me that He has chosen me and He has a purpose for my life, and that I’m not going to die today, tomorrow, or for many tomorrows in the future.

Matthew 22:14 says that “many are called but few are chosen”. He called his disciples, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, and countless others (by name) who were nameless and faceless to those around them because they were outcasts according to society’s standards.

I have a purpose. You have a purpose, even if you’re unsure what that purpose is. Listen. Feel the stillness. You’re safe.

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“Here’s ‘Something Nice’ “

Having spent nearly the last eighteen months in and out of hospital, and the better part of that time bedridden, I needed to quickly create a “new normal” for myself to get through what has been a long, oftentimes discouraging, and lonely recovery. Part of my “new normal” activities has been watching dvds via my Netflix subscription. Some I’ve watched over the months have been duds, and some have been gems that will stick with me for a long time.

Case in point was a movie I watched yesterday that had been done by HBO called, “The Normal Heart”. It tells the story of the beginning of AIDS, and of a group of gay men in New York who work together to try to get funding for this disease as they watch their partners die without help from the city or federal government. Watching this movie got me thinking about a classmate of mine from 7th-12th grade. To keep his identity private, I’ll refer to him as “Chuckles”, my nickname for him, because of his infectious laughter. “Chuckles” and I were in choir from 7th-12th grade, and I think we laughed every day for those six years. During our last choir class before graduation, our director gave us time to sign each other’s yearbooks.  I tossed my yearbook across the room to him, and said, “Hey, write something nice, will ya?” He returned my yearbook to me, and I didn’t give it another thought, knowing that whatever he’d written  would be found in the article about him featured in the yearbook, predicting that he would be a star on Broadway. That was 1979. Fast forward a couple of years when we met up again at the local junior college. He invited me to join him for coffee one morning, (I drank cocoa), and we had a long chat about a secret he had kept for many years and wanted to share it with me. My dear “Chuckles” revealed that he was gay, which I had pretty much already concluded, and I listened while he poured out his heart to me.  On December 9, 1993, “Chuckles” breathed his last breath, succumbing to AIDS. You’re wondering what he wrote, aren’t you?

He wrote, “Dear Beth, ‘Here’s Something Nice.” Love, Chuckles…..

Why did I choose to share this slice of my life with you tonight? I don’t know except to say that this movie touched me deeply, and I highly recommend it. Between that time when we sat down for coffee and the moment I learned of his death, we had lost contact.  Watching this movie  brought home for me how he must have suffered in the end and it gave me an opportunity to mourn the loss of my friend (which had never really done), and his writing what he did in my yearbook, was his way of shielding me of what was to come for him a decade later.

So dear “Chuckles”, I know every night in heaven has been “another opening, another show” and I can’t wait for a front row seat.

Unexpected Surprise (The Reveal) — Mother’s Day 2015

Since I wanted my mom to be surprised, I enlisted the help of my neighbor, dearest and most special friend, and my sister from another mother. LOL!

I made arrangements for the package to be delivered to her house, and she was going to keep it for me until Mother’s Day. Because my health prevented me from doing my shopping for all items related to wrapping said gift myself, she went above beyond what I could have ever dreamed possible to help me pull off this surprise. She works in a party planning store, and before she clocked into work over several days, she walked around the store taking pictures on her cellphone of wrapping paper, bows, and ribbon. All I had to do, was pick what I wanted, and she handled the rest. Tried to pay her over and over, for all the time she put in helping me, but she wouldn’t take a dime. I love that girl! 😀

First, she sneaked over while my  mom was busy with me, while Dad waited for her in the garage to bring over the big box. Then on Saturday, the eve of Mother’s Day, she brought over the wrapping items while Dad waited for her in the garage.  Sneaky aren’t we? Twenty-four hours until Mother’s Day…..

Mother’s Day morning, Mom and Dad headed to the grocery store, and I wrapped the smaller of two gifts — one of those retractable lawn watering hoses. Didn’t come in a box, and it was really awkward to wrap to say the least. Why did I buy her a watering hose for the yard? Well, the backyard was remodeled earlier this year, taking away the grass, large tree, and replacing it with drought tolerant plants, trees, and shrubs with rock garden in between. It’s very pretty, but harder for her to water because the individual plants, etc., have to be watered by hand. Hence, the gift of the retractable hose.

After their return from the store, and groceries were put away, Dad retired to the garage to wrap the BIG GIFT.

The dinner prepared and cooked by Dad, was cashew chicken, white rice, and Italian squash.

With the table cleared, it was time….Mom opened her card that I designed for her on the computer and opened the first of her two gifts. Getting the hose made her laugh, and she appreciated it.

I told Dad that there was a second gift in the garage that he would have to retrieve. He played dumb really well. LOL!  Mom didn’t have a clue. My plan has worked like clockwork. It wasn’t until she opened the box that she realized what I had done and what she now owned. Mission accomplished! I relayed the story of speaking to the artist on the phone when I placed the order and I think that surprised her even more than the gift itself. As a side note, their anniversary is next week (55 years), and I plan to pay for the framing of the artwork.

All in all, Mother’s Day 2015, was a complete success, and I believe it will probably go down as the most memorable one we’ve shared together.

My Thank You Gift To My Readers

Dear Readers, Followers, and Friends —

On this day of my 54th birthday, I celebrate by thanking you for reading my blog, your comments, and the friendships that I have made since I decided to join the world of blogging on December 20th, 2014. When I shared this idea with you I said that I would write a short story with the sentences and ideas that you sent my way.

As I wrote tonight, I realized that what I have written is not a short story (yes, it’s approximately 250 words), but it grew to have a life of its own, and just might turn itself into a much longer work. Dare I say, that these opening paragraphs are the beginning of that journey I spoke of, of actually writing my first novel? Tell me what you think so far…..don’t be shy! I want feedback. No, scratch that, I NEED feedback! Just so you know, it has no title as of yet. Need to see where I’m headed….So…..are you ready?  Here it comes!

________________________

He had agonized over by which direction to leave the courtyard of the town square, circling away from the bonfire again. He couldn’t bear to catch her eye because if he did, all the courage he had mustered to leave would be gone. He was leaving his lady love knowing full well that without even the slightest of an explanation, he had broken her heart. He only hoped that she would never discover why he had left. The further he walked, his cowboy boots felt like two cement blocks, and the less he could smell the burning bonfire mixed with the sweet smell of her intoxicating perfume. The faintest of its fragrance still on the palm of his hand where he had gently touched her cheek wet with her tears. His pace slowed, remembering her last words to him.

He remembered her looking at him lovingly. “Surprise me,” she said.

He had told her he’d return one day and that when he did they would never be apart again.

I glance at Sharon, who is sitting to my left, and who hasn’t said a word. Surely she knows I’m upset. Has he sworn her to secrecy? I’m stunned that she, the woman I have trusted since we were children with my deepest secrets, hasn’t even made an effort to comfort me.

The bonfire has been doused, so all that is left is return to her cabin and pray that her beloved cowboy would return to her side as he had promised.

An Unexpected Surprise

Mother’s Day is nearly three weeks away, and as usual I’m struggling to decide what gift to buy my mom. If you’ve read “The Broken Energizer Bunny” or read “About Me” and how she’s taken care of me my entire life, and especially over these months since my illness and recovery, you know how important she is to me and how close we are. This year I had to come up with something that she would never ever think that I would buy her and what I bought for her this year, is going to knock her socks off.

Mom loves art — all types from the Masters to the abstract and obscure. She also loves movies — the old ones from the 1940s and 1950s. The gift I have for her this year is a perfect blend of both. Her favorite artist is Gary Saderup who creates beautiful portraits in charcoal of celebrities from all walks of life — movie stars. musicians, and athletes. If you’re not familiar with the name, google it, and you’ll be amazed at the life-like quality of the portraits.

After receiving a catalog via email, I found the perfect portrait, and today I called to place the order. A man answered the phone, and we chatted about my mom’s love for the artist’s work (she’s had a portrait of Charlie Chaplin that she absolutely loves, since the late 70s, which I found out today was his first portrait he’d created). The man took all the necessary information to place my order, guaranteeing that it would be here by the middle of next week. As I was ready to end the call, I remembered some advice that my dad had given me, “Always get the name of the person you’re talking to. It’s good business, and it will help if you need to contact them again”.

So I asked the man’s name, and he replied, “Gary”. My heart began to beat a bit faster.

I asked, “Sir, am I speaking to the artist Gary Saderup?”

He replied, “Yes dear lady, you are!”

I’d definitely call that an unexpected surprise, wouldn’t you?

Can hardly wait until May 10th to be able to relay today’s events to my mom. I’m sure she’ll be just as surprised as I.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MOM! 😀

 

My Love of Music

I love music. I love singing; I love playing music; and I love listening to music. There are so many important songs that reflect different important moments in my life that it’s nearly impossible to narrow it down to three, but I’ll try.

If you’ve read my post “The Tender Troubadour”, you’ll notice that my love for music began at a very young age. A child of the ‘60s, my first music influences came from folk songs.

In the late sixties, I spent many days, sometime months in the hospital, and the nurses’ station always had a radio, and when songs of the Fifth Dimension, the Archies, and many others, (that I can’t recall at the moment) came on the radio, I can remember asking the nurses to turn up the radio, and I would sing at the top of my lungs. It helped get me through the pain.

And I guess that’s what music does for me, it heals the pain, and I’m not just speaking of physical pain, but the pain of loss —  lost opportunities, disappointments, lost loves, and lost loved ones.

As many of you may already know, I was born with a physical disability, but if that physical disability had rendered me either hearing or visually impaired, I would not have the joy and blessing of experiencing music in life.

First Love Meets My Forever Love

If I could zoom through space in the speed of light, I’d run back into the arms of my first love and when we first met.

I met my first love when we were 12 years old. We were both musicians, or at least we were learning to be musicians. He already had a “girlfriend”, but as far as I was concerned the sun rose and set in glorious colors when he was around.

But he didn’t notice me. Not right away anyway.

Then one day, it happened. He walked up to me after music class, and said, “Here. I’d like you to be my girlfriend”. Into my hand he put a small gold-plated pin that resembled a treble clef. I was thrilled. It’s been nearly 42 years since that day, and that pin has been in every purse, backpack, and hospital room ever since.

At our 30th high school reunion (2009) we met up again, and I showed him that I still had the pin, and he was speechless, which he hardly ever was.

As I write this I wonder, when I come to his mind does he still think of me as his first love? I hope so, because in the arms of my first love I felt safe and protected.

On September 29, 2019, two worlds converged and there were “sky rockets in flight”. The first love and the forever love met face to face for the first time, while a group of women worked feverishly to get me ready to meet my forever love as we were joined in the bond of matrimony. 

As I reached the chapel doors, I locked eyes with my first love. Our hands touched and electricity jumpstarted my heart.  He placed my hand in the hand of my forever love. That small gesture will live in my heart forever. 

In Search Of… Intrigued? Read on!!

In search of what? A new book to read? Always, but that’s not what this post is about, even though I have been reading many books about what I’m in search of. A missing piece of clothing? Nope. What I’m in search of is more valuable than an expensive house or car, or more valuable than the most priceless piece of art you can imagine.  What I’m in search of has taken me thus far to Ireland, Poland, Lithuania, Germany, and Holland. Can you venture a guess?  Let me know your guesses.  Until next time, stay tuned!

By now you must have guessed that what I’m in search of is my roots.  No, not the roots of my hair (although DNA is involved). I’m talking about searching from whence I came.  I have been bitten by the genealogy bug! At first, the bug bite didn’t bother me so much, as I had made some interesting discoveries rather quickly.  Then the bug just got annoying. Paths I followed lead no where or lead me to places and people that were not a part of my family’s tree.  Records are hard to wade through. By the way, I’m on this search via the Internet and relatives’ recollections.

Anyone out there on a similar search? I ask only because I’m a newbie to this adventure, so I’m seeking help finding the missing and obscure parts of my family’s tree.  By chance, do you live in Massachusetts, specifically Essex County? Could you be my legs, eyes, and ears to help me with my search? If so, please let me know. I’d hire a professional genealogist, and I’ve researched that as well, but the prices that I’ve been quoted are a small fortune, which is out of my current and future price range.

“Let’s Talk Roots!

Bethie

To Blog or Not to Blog? That IS the Question

Methinks I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, or should that be write? Nevertheless, I press on in hopes of reaching the finish line with more knowledge than I had at the beginning of these adventures. If nothing else comes of it, I will have made some new friends because I am a friendly, caring, and somewhat happy person despite the chaos in my life. I don’t like chaos. As a matter of fact I downright hate it! It gives me headaches, heart palpitations, sweaty palms, and a general feeling of fear. Fear of failure, fear of disapproval, fear of disappointing those who expect much of me. I also hate letting people down. I’ve let a lot of people down in my life, and that disturbs me. It frustrates me and makes me sad. I hate having left things undone or unsaid. Especially things unsaid. That has happened more times than I care to remember. It happened when Tanya died. We’d been estranged for years, probably over something totally juvenile and stupid, but I can’t right the wrong or work things out with her now. A man I love I let slip through my fingers because I wasn’t brave enough to say, “look at me, don’t you know I love you, and don’t want to live my life without you?” Good thing is, we’re still friends, and I know I can call on him if I need him, and he would come running to help me. Or at least I’d like to think that. But maybe it’s all an illusion….maybe I’m just hoping against hope. Maybe I’m too hard on myself and expect too much of myself thinking that’s what others expect of me. Maybe I should say to heck with what everyone else thinks of me and expects of me and just do what I feel is right. But I can’t do that….

Stephen King Quote On Writing

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For those who are new to blogging and creative writing, whether it be poetry, short story, or the Great American Novel, think about this quote and heed Mr. King’s advice…I know I will…. 😀

 

 

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