Part Three-The Lightest Touch …

In case you haven’t noticed, I love presenting ideas in threes … to this end … I will do three times three with my journals and the bits and pieces of Radio before I travel to yet another location in my mind.


When at last she left her beloved Brooklyn for the hills of Northern Manhattan, her babes were at her knees. Each took a hand which became symbolic of their unity and strength. When life hit hard, each held her solid, reminding her  how fragile the connection of their union could be, and how easily it could be severed. But not yet.

All was possible, all waited around the next bend in the road … white lightning and wine filled the new rooms with delightful delirium.


Music has remained the concrete foundation of my life, the muse fills me with joy and sorrow. Rising to the heavens or crashing to the nether regions of hell. All things are possible through the muse.

These three of The Lightest Touch, carried me on the whine of the electric guitar, the low moan of the base guitar, and the amazing voices of the sisters, Ann and Nancy Wilson, who became Heart.

From Ramblings, 1978, the year we left Brooklyn:

 Snow Bird

Snow flakes are falling in the city
What a wonder to see snow falling in the city

Its white perfection lying softly over
Concrete and garbage
Washing away dust and noise
As it quietly blankets the streets
And the cars
The whore-houses and the bars

A little bird is resting upon my fire escape
Flitting along the flakes of white
She has perched herself to rest
And she makes me smile

Then she if off again

Off into the quiet snow fall
Off to swoop over the trees along the avenue
And I marvel at her strength
And her persistence

To be a bird in this funky city
To be a snow bird in this
Funkiest of funky cities

Surely that is a marvel !

A Christmas present to myself

It’s Christmas Eve and the children
Anxious and gay play around
The tree
Waiting for the bottom to fill up

It is a joy to have children
On this night of all

Their eyes shine with
The lights of the tree
Holding the gleam ’till morning

And all the day long we
Baked and fixed and sang
Silly songs

Stuffing me like the
Holiday turkey
Spicy and full of wonder

Oh, what is it that makes
Children tick?

What little mechanism
Twinkles like Christmas stars
Up in their tiny heads?

What red, blue, sun-yellow
Roll inside their bellies?

Oh, what magic could
I steal
Were I to find the secret
Of the grand machinery
Of childhood

Quiet now …

They are up in their beds
Cuddle soft and candy

Crackle fire and
Peppermint spy
Fat ole’ Santa blankets
The bottom of the tree

Leaving behind the gay
Assortment of trinket and doll
And ribbon wrap array

Of little presents to bring
So much pleasure to the
Biggest child



Many things
Of different sorts

Come flashing
Dancing along
The waves of sunshine

One flicker of sun
Told me of you

I returned alone
As I had gone
Yet not as lonely


From a turning point in Radio:

1952, I hate boys  …

It happened the year of my Holy Communion. Time to learn about sin. Pure-snow-white-angels, good girls don’t have to confess anything. 

There was a lady down the street. They called her Crazy Mary.

Hey Crazy Mary, where ya goin’?  
Goin’ to see my boyfriend.

Grin, Crazy Mary. Keep the secret and grin.   

My mom was so lucky ’cause she had two best girlfriends. One of them was my angel and the mother of the only boy I didn’t hate. Her face was round and beautiful and she never yelled or called me names.

The other girlfriend was small and dark and frightened and the mother of the bad boy who made me run home faster than all the rest.

I ran home again. The bad boy pushed me into the alley after school and said bad things. I kicked him and headed home fast as my crooked feet would take me.

She told me not to run up the steps. I didn’t listen. If I didn’t run up the steps one of them might catch me. I never told her the one who caught me all the time was one of us.

The boys wore white too. I hope they confessed their sins. 

Both of my parents had friends they counted as family, friends they cherished like the finest wines. It was a tale told by each of them.

Seven men who came from Carloforte, a small fishing village on the island of San Pietro, seven kilometers off the southwestern coast of Sardinia, left behind their families, went to sea on the tall ships and traveled thousands of miles to find a dream. They fell in love with, and married seven women from Poughkeepsie, the county seat of Dutchess County in the Mid Hudson Valley of New York.

The men spoke a funny language called tabarchin or in Italian, tabarchino, and the women spoke the Italian dialect of Naples. Among them were two brothers who married two sisters. They all brought over cousins and grandmothers, reproduced and multiplied to the tune of fifty-seven varieties to rival Heinz and followed each other from Italy to the Mid Hudson Valley to Brooklyn.

Including the one boy I didn’t hate, the only kids I had to play with came from the same places as my parents and they were all boys. And if they weren’t from the same places as my parents and weren’t all boys, they were sweet little girls who thought I was a freak. 

The two little girls up the block were dark like us and their grandmother couldn’t speak English like Nonna across Fourth Avenue. My middle brother told me they were Armenian and everyone in the entire country had a name that ended with “inian.” They didn’t play with me because I acted like a boy.  

Tom boy, go away. Don’t come again another day.

Aw, who needs you and your “inian?”   

Their crazy grandmother put needles in our Spaldeens but I didn’t care ’cause When I Fall In Love, like Doris Day, it will be forever.

When The Wheel of Fortune didn’t spin out my numbers, I listened to the sounds that soothed me, and escaped with Rosie who could do good things to me ’cause she knew how to belt out the Blues In The Night.


There you have it … the last part of The Lightest Touch.  

What degrees of separation remove you from your fondest dreams?

Your worst moments?

Share a dream or two … better … share two or three with me.

fOIS In The City

All photographs for The Lightest Touch were from my daughter, Jen G, and from the official webpage of Philco Radio.



Filed under Poetry Wednesday, Radio

22 responses to “Part Three-The Lightest Touch …

  1. Lovely ending to The Lightest Touch. Thank you.


  2. Nice, Florence! Thanks!


  3. Love the first paragraph, Florence, especially this line: When life hit hard, each held her solid, reminding her  how fragile the connection of their union could be, and how easily it could be severed.
    And Snowbird, just lovely. Thanks for sharing your writing here.


  4. vicki batman

    As always, Florence, I’m in awe of your writing. And the cardinal in the picture is gorgeous. ox


  5. annerallen

    Oh, what memories your memories trigger in me. I miss snow. Not driving in the slushy icy mess that sits around forever, but that first, white, blanket that seems to purify everything. Love the way your poem captures that.


  6. Beautiful pieces, Florence. I’m loving these glimpses into your life. Coming here and reading them is like reading a new chapter every week and I want to find out more about that woman and child. I guess I’m living my dream now, writing full time. 🙂


  7. Florence,

    I’m particularly partial to cardinals and thus I loved that photo you posted.

    Dreams? I rarely have them or if I do I don’t remember them. I can tell you that I was wakened from sleep where I was dreaming about my son John when he was a small boy. The ringing phone woke me. An ER nurse was on the other end. She asked if I had a son by the name John. “Yes,” I answered.

    She told me he’d just been brought into the ER and I should come immediately. Not to waste any time. I was there in 20 minutes. He was already gone. The date, the dream and the death are indelibly cemented in my heart and memory–12/22/99.


    • You are a strong and loving woman, Casey. Some of those days and “nights” are indellibly etched in our memory. 12/01/72 the day I lost my middle brother … the pain … the pest … he was the right to my left and I will never stop missing him.


  8. Speechless. You finally did it, Florence.

    The poetry! It brought back poignant memories of blankets of pure white snow. I looked out on a different scene — farm country — but, it was nonetheless magical.

    And, Christmas? Since I never had kiddos of my own, I put myself in the role of one of the children on Christmas Eve.

    Thank you. The final piece on your childhood? Priceless. What precious, unique memories.

    I thought about you yesterday morning when I saw the devastation in NYC. Since I don’t know the various parts well enough to know if any of this impacted your “childhood hunting grounds,” consider this the email I failed to send wondering if all was okay in your memory-packed part of New York.


    • I am so grateful for your comments, Gloria. I love that some of my readers enjoyed these small snippets from my journals and the novella. Yes, it matters not where we grew up … city or country … we share a universal experience.

      My heart is broken from all the devastation in my beloved NY. My family and friends are safe … but so many of the places I share in my blog were hard hit. It’s terrible sitting here and watching so much lost.


  9. christicorbett

    Oh how I love the vivid image you evoke of you kicking a rotten boy! Your writing is so lovely and I love when you share your past memories.

    Christi Corbett


  10. Beautiful poem (Snow Bird) and picture. A clear vision with progressive rhythm, it captivated me. Thx!


  11. Love that snippet! I was right there with you the whole time I read it.

    And I can’t wait for Xmas. Your post has gotten me in the mood and we always start the decorations on Thanksgiving night. (my fave day of the year!)


    • PK, I start the Christmas archives right after Thanksgiving. This year I am also using many of my collectibles to create tabletop trees, baskets and wreaths to share the love I have collected in the last (blank) number of years. Thanks for the visit, glad you enjoyed my little snippets 🙂


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