Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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My Sisters on the Other Side

Yesterday was the birthday of my older sister, Linda. She’s been gone from this world now for almost ten years. Just a year less than Mom. I don’t remember her being in my life when I was very young, but there are pictures that tell a different story.

Infant joanne w Linda and mom

Linda is holding me as Mom plays with her hair.

Little JoAnne and Linda

I remember those wooden shoes hurt my feet. Maybe Linda is trying to comfort me with her hand on my knee.

She was ten years older than me, technically a step sister, but the father who adopted her when he married my mother was much more of a father than the first one.

Linda got married at 16. We saw her now and then, usually during a crisis, like when her son died, then the  few months we stayed with her and her husband and daughter when Dad was in Vietnam, and later when my younger sister died.

After my divorce, Linda and I talked on the phone more. Her love and acceptance reached all the way from California to the Atlantic coast. She was a welcome comfort during that dark time of my life. I kept saying my daughter and I were going to come visit her, but I didn’t realize how sick Linda was, and that sometimes we don’t have as much time as we think we have. Still, I’m grateful beyond words for her love and I know she is in a good place, probably singing hymns with Dad like they did when my parent’s visited her church.

A few days ago, I had all the loose the old family photos laid out on the table so I could add them to the family history album. That’s when I realized how much Linda cared for me when I was young.  I also studied the photos of my younger sister, Mary Kaye.  It’s one thing to die when you’re old – whatever old is… I’m not so sure anymore – But Mary Kaye was young. It was on her 16th birthday, in March of 1975, that Mary Kaye was killed by a drunk driver.

Mary Kaye was not interested in school. She smoked cigarettes and ran away from home once. But she also volunteered with handicapped children and helped with fundraisers for their group home.

Mary Kaye in candy spiper uniform with Lobo

Mary Kaye in her candy striper (volunteer) uniform with Lobo

Mary Kaye at bake sale and with Lobo

Left: MK is putting the hamster on Lobo’s head. Right: she’s wearing the smiley face T shirt and volunteering at the bake sale for the  Carobell children’s home.

We were very different in many ways. She was more of a free spirit. I was more serious about school and had bigger plans for saving the world.  We were just starting to get beyond our sibling rivalry when she died. I often wonder what she would be like today. I wish my kids had been able to know her. These were my thoughts when I started sobbing at the table full of old photos. My husband was there to comfort me and suggested I take a break from the photos since I’d been at it for a while. I picked up my journal and went to the couch to write my feelings. A few minutes later, I felt Mary Kaye’s presence. I have not felt her presence much like I have my parents who died more recently, but it was very much the same feeling of intense JOY. No clear words, like my father gives me, but clear and unmistakable JOY.

dandelion sun through trees (3)

This evening, I stopped writing this to go for a walk with David and Doodle. Breathing in the cool air, I reached out to Linda and felt the gentle joy of her spirit. Then lightening flashed in the distant clouds. Maybe that was Mary Kaye.

If you have sisters or brothers, parents or children, beloved family by blood or by choice, still living in this world, treasure the moments you have with them. And also know this, our loved ones who have passed on are alive in spirit and in love on the other side.


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Freedom and Old Photos

stream-of-consciousness-saturday-2018-19

Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “dom.” We were instructed to “use it as a word, or find a word that starts or ends with it.” and to Have fun!

Ok, I’m going to be honest here and admit that dominatrix came to mind first. One of my earliest creative writing mentors wrote a book about that. A memoir actually. Her name is Shawna Kenney. It’s been a while since I read it, but it seems like it was relatively clean, maybe R rated, but cleaner than you might expect.

But that’s not what I want to write about. No, I don’t need a segue, cause this is the stream of consciousness. Though there might be one to freedom. I suppose a dominatrix would have a lot of freedom…. But that’s not what I want to write about. Why does that keep popping into my head?

Freedom. I have the freedom to make my own schedule in the Great Purge of the house my parents left me. I don’t get bored. No boredom once you get to be my age. I haven’t been bored in years. There’s too much to do and nothing to do would be freedom.

What works best for me is to focus on one task for the day. A primary task planned the day before. For a couple of days it was old photographs. There are, like I’ve mentioned, hundreds. Maybe thousands. I’m tired of that right now, but here’s a treasure I found of my parents on a picnic with me standing by making a face. Yes it’s blurry. It was probably taken around 1961.

Mom Dad and me on picnic closer

Now I want to change my opening to this post, but I can’t because it’s SoCS. Just goes to show you that there’s all kinds of people in the stream. Anything can show up. Aren’t my parents cute?

Yesterday, I worked on my father’s room. The hardest room and the last bastion of the Great Purge. Except for the attic. But let’s not go there. It was hard to put some of his clothes in a bag for donation. Hopefully some one can use them.

The day before yesterday, I ripped that funky 70s contact paper off one wall of the kitchen. It was very satisfying.

contact paper torn away

Now I get to go look at paint samples to get close to the yellow that’s on the other wall. This is fun. Is it a distraction from working on the photos or my dad’s room? Sure, but it’s hopefully going to make the house easier to sell, and to live in while our other house gets a new bathroom. Is fantasizing about buying a mountain home after I sell my parents’ house – the one they don’t need anymore – is that fantasy a distraction or a motivation to complete the Great Purge?  Maybe it’s both and that’s okay.

So as not to leave you with a messy photo, how about some other old family photos I’ve come across in my work.  These are of my dad in Korea I think. Maybe after Korea. Let’s see what I’ve got. Not planning you know.  Nope this one is from Cuba. He was at GTMO after Vietnam. Where are the Korea pics?

Going to the lines at alert

Here are some from Korea. He was at an Able Medical Station after getting wounded. I think it was something like a MASH unit. My dad loved MASH. I found an old copy of the book here at the house and discovered an inscription that I had given it to him for his birthday in 2002. I’ve been reading it. They were crazier than in the TV show. Well, I didn’t mean to run on like this, but I guess I’m really proud of my dad.

Korea Able Medical Station

My dad is in the top left picture  – the tall guy on the right.

Okay, one more. Here’s a favorite. Here he is getting to know Lobo, the dog I adopted while he was in Cuba (after Vietnam) and soon to retire from the Marine Corps. I haven’t gotten to the Vietnam photos yet….

Dad and Lobo 1969

For more Streams of Consciousness, visit Linda’s Blog:

https://lindaghill.com/2018/09/28/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-29-18/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. I will post the prompt here on my blog every Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The,’” or will simply be a single word to get you started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read all of them! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later or go to the previous week by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!