Sibling eyes

My oldest sister holding me in 1948

You took me in during my divorce
And we sometimes shared the bathroom mirror
Hairstyling and cosmetic transformation
To cover the gray hair and wrinkled faces
You the first born and me the baby sister

Leaning toward the mirror to apply eyeliner
I teased that my blue eyes are still so pretty
Not missing a beat you shot me with a snarky voice
To let me know your brown eyes are beautiful, too
Sibling laughter, sibling eyes in the mirror

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Mother’s Day Memory

Mama and me 1949

Just pick any Mother’s Day in the 1950’s
And you would find me walking beside my mama
Up the dirt road to a paved street with a concrete sidewalk
Trying not to step on a crack that might break my mother’s back

Our spring dresses were starched and ironed
Our patent shoes shining in the sunlight
Pocketbooks swinging on our arms
Clean white gloves on our hands

Going our separate ways to Sunday school
Reuniting for the worship service
Sharing one hymn book and one Bible
Mama holding my hand in prayer

We wore red roses from Daddy’s garden
Above our hearts where mothers live
Telling the world our mothers were loved
Thanks be to God for my mama!

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Cape May memories

A friend gave me the grand tour of Cape May, NJ. He told me it is located in the southern most tip of New Jersey and is the oldest beach town. Here are captioned photos from that Columbus Day weekend trip 2008. Back then I had a Canon PowerShot A590 IS. Nothing fancy, but it did the trick.

Wine festival beside the bay
People kept stopping us to have their picture made
with my friend’s shaggy dog
A Victorian home in Cape May NJ
I think this one was around Washington Street and the pedestrian mall.
Another Victorian beauty in the National Historical District
We went to a mystery dinner theater, and the actress coaxed
my friend to play the role of a victim who dies in the play.
We laughed about it on our walk home.

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The garden bench

My sister’s garden

In the early California morning at my sister’s home
I tiptoed down the winding staircase
Making my way through the hall to the kitchen
And placed a mug below the coffee maker spout

I pressed the button and stood alone watching the dawn
The brewing sound and dark roast aroma waking my senses
Standing every morning in that spot at the window
Pretending Jesus was sitting on the bench in the garden

Coffee and a morning devotional without a single word spoken
Except for Mother Nature who blessed my brief moments there

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Eating Karma

I always looked forward to visiting you
Sunflower drives, violet shopping, and buffalo fries
Solving world economic problems or talking technology
Face to face in bed on Sunday morning

Your health was failing the last ten years
And your home was cluttered and dirty
I disposed of the trash and changed your sheets
And helped you put on your shoes

But in my mind I couldn’t grasp why
You left everything on tables and countertops
Why you spent hours in a recliner watching TV
And why you would rather stayed home

Well here I am finally understanding
Medicine and vitamins in view for me to see
Reminders on my phone for appointments
Trying to remember the food I need to buy

I wanted to be helpful any way I could
And the criticism never left my lips
When I don’t feel well I think of how you were
I’m eating karma each day since you’ve been gone

© 2021 All Rights Reserved
Mama once said to me, “Sheila, someday you will understand.”

HeartSpeak, Journey from Deafness

I didn’t know I was different

11th grade Varsity cheerleader

Until I was twelve I thought I was a normal kid
I skipped rope on the playground counting with friends
Kindergarten … first grade … seventh grade … twelfth grade
And running out of the rope to graduate

I recited poems from memory in class
And listened with eyes closed at the morning prayer
We played post office at an after school party
A little sweet talk and kisses in a dark closet

Mama began to notice sometimes I didn’t hear
Five specialists diagnosed me with nerve deafness
Eventually to need aids with potential deafness ahead
I let the news go in one ear and out the other

I tried out for cheerleading and made it four times
Played clarinet in the school concert band
I was a second soprano in the girls’ choral ensemble
Many fond memories of concerts with the orchestra

My parents were clueless so I didn’t worry about it
Full speed ahead savoring every teenaged moment
Girlfriends, boyfriends, sports, dances, and parties
With nerve damaged hearing misunderstanding some words

On my own I asked for a front seat in each class
My passion was learning and nothing was going to stop me
Telling my teachers was the smart thing to do
By eleventh grade my friends thought I was ignoring them
So one by one I told them I just didn’t hear clearly

Before graduation I asked for hearing aids
And was fitted the day I started my office job after school
I thought my friends would distance themselves
The only hearing impaired person I knew was me

What if I sang out of tune or at the wrong time
Or the girls quit inviting me to slumber parties
Maybe boys wouldn’t want to date me
What if a boy kissed my ear and got a mouthful of hearing aid

But there was no bullying or unfriendliness
They were all truly my friends
This was only the beginning of the big change
By the time I graduated I knew I was different

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Just a bed

An apartment that flooded when it rained
But I had a bed

A house where I washed dishes in the bathtub
But I had a bed

A studio with everything I owned in one room
But I had a bed

A coworker’s house with my food on the floor and clothes in the car trunk
But I had a bed

A friend’s spare room where the cat peed on my clothes
But I had a bed

Mama’s sunroom space with a daybed
But I had a bed

The judge’s basement apartment with a loaned bed
But I had a bed

An apartment I rented from roaches
But I had a bed

A handicapped unit surrounded by nature
Now I can rest in my very own bed

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