Author Archives: ramblingsfromtheleft

About ramblingsfromtheleft

I am unpublished and optimistically waiting for that one magic moment.

It’s not a laundry list …

Nope. It’s not your run-of-the-millstone To-Do list either. This is a list one writes with serious intentions, the dead-line not being the end of the week or when you run out of those nifty little squares in your monthly calendar.

This is a list you intend to complete before you buy a ticket to the farm, jump off the mortal coil, meet your maker or … before you kick the bucket.

bucket list

Graphic credit

Do you have a bucket list? Perhaps one you wrote when you were a child, on the occasion of your marriage or first child, upon reaching a certain age you perceived as a benchmark?

Some folks make lists of exotic destinations circling the globe, exciting things they intend to do, such as sky diving, accomplishments they need to see brought to fruition. I imagine that many of my writer-friends might list books they want to finish or start that story they always meant to write.

For the four posts remaining in 2014, I would like to experiment with my own lists, lists that speak to who I am, from whence I came.

bucket list.02

Cartoon credit

Week One List … 

I long to travel across the United States, to ride a paddle boat the length of the Mississippi, bounce down the Colorado River, travel along the West Coast from the Pacific Northwest into Baha. I wish to sail on each of the Great Lakes and island hop on the Atlantic Coast from Maryland to Georgia in a converted tug boat.

My dreams are to have breakfast in tiny villages and hamlets tucked away in little-known towns in Idaho or Nebraska, to drive cross-country along Route 66. Live in a RV for a couple of years with a lap top and a map, parking in each of the lower forty-eight

Of those places outside our borders, my favorite dream is to ride the rails the expanse of Canada from Montreal to Banff and see the high country of the Rocky Mountains, go inland on the railroad to Alaska and travel back to Seattle on a ship.

In far-away lands, I wish to take the Orient Express and visit the tiny village of my father’s birth.

And of the places I love and have lived, I wish to take periodic jaunts to the beaches and parks of New York.

From the docks in Sunset Park to the bike path along Shore Parkway, moving out to Far Rockaway and ending in Long Island, the water fronts and beaches of New York are among the most scenic in the United States.

fire island

Fire Island

 

long beach

Long Beach, New York

 

On one of trips to New York I revisited the neighborhood of my youth, Sunset Park, rediscovered the haunts where I played from childhood through the birth of my own children, walked along the narrow streets of Bush Terminal Factory District, and gazed at the the third floor of a clapboard house, the house where I was born, at the window of my tiny bedroom, the window of my youth.

I drove down to Second Avenue and beyond to the old Brooklyn docks to the location of the trolley terminal, the factory where my dad worked as a candy cook, the luncheonette off Second Avenue where our cousins not only housed the neighborhood “booky,” but where several “stills” cooked up cheap escape for factory workers in small brown bottles.

I drove to each house where I lived with my family, with my husband, and later as a single mother, with my two children.

brooklyn-row-house-004

I haven’t a good picture of that old house, but this one comes very close.

Few of the communities I knew as a child or later as a young adult, still exist. Their homes, residents, landmark restaurants and many of the sights that made them my home are now gone, passed into history.

The words of Thomas Wolfe echo in my brain … you can never go home again. The places you knew change, people get older, houses are replaced, and restaurants change hands.

Yet, I plan to do it all again. Take the same tour, revisit the same locations and connect once more to that window.

I intend to take another ride on the Cyclone roller coaster, eat clams on the half-shell along the Coney Island boardwalk, and memory makes my mouth water for a fish dinner in Sheepshead Bay.

To replay those early years as a young adult and a new mother, I would not hesitate to drive over the Brooklyn Narrow’s Bridge and across Staten Island to the Outerbridge Crossing until I’m on Route 35 in New Jersey …

route 35

Route 35-The Jersey Shore Road

I love the Jersey Shore and love to drive its eastern coast from Asbury Park to Cape May.

Truth be told, I never get tired of beach communities.

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig …

On my new the home front, I never tire of the ride to Key West, driving through each key, along US 1 from Key Largo, over the Seven Mile Bridge and ending at Land’s End in Key West..

florida keys.02

Seven Mile Bridge

With a new grandchild on the scene, I imagine there might be a time I’ll return to Disney and the parks near Orlando and Tampa …

But …

In Florida the places that intrigue me are St. Augustine, Sanibel Island, and the beach communities like Destin along the panhandle.

destin beach

Destin Beach on the Florida Pandhandle

 

Each of us can fill up several life times revisiting those places we have loved or those we wish to see for the first time.

In a scientific sense the brain sends the message to the heart to continue beating until the clock runs down and the beating ceases.

In the ethereal sense, the heart longs and yearns. She beats faster at the possibility of falling in love once more, stops for an instant at the possibility of finding a dream.

Pitter-patter-what-can-matter …she beats out the words that may never find voice. She stops, missing a beat, when she hears your thoughts of far off places and unknown adventure.

How does she know what you never wrote … never spoke?

Because the heart remembers what the brain has long since forgotten.

Tell me if you will. Do you have a bucket list?

Is it more to travel or of things you want to do?

What dream has your heart kept for you?

fOIS In The City

 

bucket list.03

A child might have once written this list. I trust she grew up and checked off all her locations.

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Where to go from here …

RetirementMaxine

Here, being the place where my mind is currently planted. Here and now, the Gestalt of it all, the immediate lesson to learn.

Where does  a rebel, ex-hippie from Brooklyn fit into the mold?

That was a trick question. She doesn’t fit and why should she? Why should you? If you fit into a mold you are like a cookie cutter, banging out the same circle or star cookies every time.

Instead, why not think about those random, disconnected thoughts that occupy the gray matter of your brain, that soft underbelly in your mind which often becomes vulnerable during certain times of the day.

For me that happens between midnight and 3 a.m.

While midnight is commonly known as the witching hour, did you know that 3 a.m. is the most common time of death?

 3 a.m. is also thought to be the time when demons and spirits rise and come to haunt. Boo !!

It was the hour my father rose to go to work. How dandy is it to have a dad, who makes candy? He had to be the first one in the candy factory to fire up the sugar boiler. Of course, this made it hard for his three kids to have conversations, listen to radio or watch television after 8 p.m.

 Three o’clock in the morning was the hour my father escorted my mother and my maternal grandmother home from their first chaperoned date.

They sang the song to each other. Often waltzed around the kitchen. My mother could be heard humming it while folding laundry or stirring a pot. It’s the song they heard that night … the night they knew they would spent the rest of their lives together.

It’s three o’clock in the morning.
We danced the whole night through.
And daylight soon will be dawning.
Just one more Waltz with you.

It’s 3 a.m. and I wanna go to bed.

Office Maxine

 

From childhood, I have been a night owl. Unable to sleep during normal hours and incapable of surrendering to slumber, I revel in the witching hours after midnight.

Not only my dad, but one of my best friends rises at 3am. She feeds her cat, has her own breakfast and prepares the lessons for her college students.

Of course, we don’t converse much around 10pm when her motor is revving down.

Well then … where do we go from here?

Today I attend my monthly book club. Next Wednesday and every Wednesday that follows until I am preparing for my grand baby girl’s first Christmas, we will go to some of my favorite Holiday rituals, haunts, traditions and … okay … we might go to The City to see the lights.

Before we get to the Big Tree or the lights of The Big Apple, we will try to remember Thanksgiving. And since I have so much to be thankful for this special year (like my baby girl had a baby girl) … I will need more than one week to express my thanks and bring you some Holiday cheer.

Baby girl will arrive December 17th … and in preparation for that incredible event … I will take my Christmas blog vacation early.

The last post for 2014 will be on December 10th. I will not return to the blog of it all until two weeks after the New Year.

Get ready to party and then if you will be so kind …

Tell me … what is your favorite time of day?

And with the end of another calendar fast approaching …

Where do you go from here?

fOIS In The City

 

 

thanksgiving-maxine-stuffing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maxine on Thanksgiving

Maxine at work and retired

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Off seasons …

 

mazine at the beach

Maxine link

This story for instance.

Summer rentals are closed, the winds have shifted, and the yearly craze of the Holiday Season is upon us.

Does anyone out there remember the Saturday afternoon movies with the main feature, a dozen cartoons, a travel log, The News of The Day, and for extra added pleasure, a second movie? Mostly they were cowboy movies with the likes of Gene Autry or it might have been a serial?

Yes, the serials where you had to go the next week to find out what happens to the damsel in distress. Does the train run her over or is she saved at the last minute?Will the dastardly villain defeat the hero?

The old cliffhanger, the familiar melodrama … that sense of suspense or what makes the “soaps” so popular.

You really want to know what happens next to our three friends?

Today-Sarah is waiting for Trudy to speak …

The waiter delivered three more martinis.

“Okay, I’ll bite.” I took a sip of my martini. “What is so monumental?”

“Jim’s mother has this thing about closing up the summer house on Fire Island. Has to be the week after Labor Day. What would the neighbors think and wouldn’t it be an eyesore all closed up during season?”

Trudy kept talking. Eileen added exclamations. I zoned out.

The last time we rented a summer house was the summer my ex announced he was leaving me for his latest conquest. And like that damn cat who sat on a hot stove, I had no intention of getting my bottom burned twice.

“I hate summer rentals.” I pushed Eileen’s hand down. “Stop poking me, damn it.”

“It was like what, twenty years ago?”

“This August it will be nineteen years, thank you.”

I looked at Trudy, at her impossible hypnotic blue eyes and her flawless ivory complexion and felt my stomach drop to my feet. “You’re going to tell me you rented a house on Fire Island for the summer.”

“Not a rental and not the whole summer.” She held up her hand. “Just hear me out, Sarah.”

“I hate Fire Island.”

Eileen huffed, “How the hell can you hate an entire island?”

“She doesn’t hate anything. Sarah, just listen for a minute.”

I tried to look away, to keep her from pulling me into her magnetic field. It didn’t work.

She talked faster, “The Weiss’ are traveling the month of August and called Jim to go out on the Friday after Labor Day to winterize the house, since she won’t give the codes and whatnot to the house help and wouldn’t he do this and save them having to go all the way out there when they will be so tired after traveling all month?  The problem is Jim will be gone most of that week.  So—“

“Oh Sarah you’ll love this.” Eileen did a little jig in her seat.

Trudy ignored Eileen and continued. “So, I called mother Weiss and told her we would winterize the house, but wouldn’t it be dangerous to leave the house empty for the whole month of August? And I volunteered us to stay in the house for the month to protect it.” She handed me my martini. “And you’ll have the whole place to yourself for the week of Labor day to close it up for us.”

“Are you deaf or stupid? Didn’t I just say I hate summer rentals and I hate Fire Island?”

“You don’t mean it and James can’t close up the house.”

I was the psychologist at our district high school and tried to use  my job as an excuse. “Are you kidding? I can hear Phil Goldstein now. ‘Sarah you know I need your help.’”

“I don’t get it. What good is being out of the classroom if you can’t take an extra week here and there?”

“Eileen, being out of the classroom means I have more responsibility not less. You two have really thought this out, haven’t you?”

“I’d gladly do it, but I promised Elvin I’d be back Tuesday.” Eileen curled an errant strand of hair behind her ear. “Not to mention he and Geraldine are going to be gone until the middle of that next week and he was already pissed I would be gone for the entire month of August in our busy season.”

“I get it. The deal is that if I close up, we get the place for the entire month? Does your mother-in-law know it will be all of us?”

“No, but they’ll be safely tucked away in a villa somewhere in Italy with his business partner.  And what they don’t know.”

I didn’t want to admit that I really loved summer rentals. They had been a yearly tradition with our three families, interrupted twice by Eileen’s two divorces and ended with mine. I also didn’t like to admit that I loved Fire Island. And after all … it had been almost twenty years.

“Okay, okay.” I sat back smiling, the images of long white beaches and longer afternoons basking in the sun dancing in my head, “Phil might go through the roof. But he can’t fire me. Make me miserable for the first month maybe, but then maybe not. I’ll ask Aunt Mabel to invite him for Labor Day Weekend.”

I held up my drink ceremoniously, “I’ll do it.”

“Well, it’s about time.” Eileen raised her glass, “Here’s to our summer vacation.”

##########

Suspense is built into books, movies, and used effectively in daily and weekly television shows. The popular six to eight week mysteries from the BBC are making a run here in the States. Programs where we wait weeks to learn who killed who, what suspects will be wrongly accused, whose life will be ruined, and will the bad guy (or gal) be brought to justice?

It was a popular weekly event on old radio and followed fans into the boob tube, finds them unaware between the covers of many popular suspense mystery books, and is the main stay of the Donald Maass school of mystery writing … to build excitement, heighten or kick up a notch on the old terror meter, and scare the living daylights out of us for pure fun. To end each chapter in suspense …

suspense

Radio Credits

Not that I want to make you crazy or frightened. In this story I just wanted to make you share the tale of three friends who take a summer rental and find … well what the heck do they find?

The answer to that could take a while. A while to learn what Sarah, Eileen, and Trudy do once they get to Fire Island and will the title of this old story, Jake Darling, ever makes any sense?

Darned if I know. I  found this in a dusty old file and took her out for an airing. There’s no telling what might happen once the cold of the day hits my summer rental.

Tell me true …

do you wait patiently from chapter one to the bitter end?

Or are you one of those that skips to the last chapter 

because you couldn’t stand to wait?

fOIS In The City

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