SOLC 31 of 31: 372 entries

Today marks the end of 12 years of completing the Slice of Life Writing Challenge. 372 entries (without missing a day) of writing and sharing. Each year, as I write I create a book in Shutterfly that I order as a gift to myself upon completing the challenge. Today I will order volume 12.

Why do I write?

I write to

remember

capture

honor

reflect

process

question

connect.

I write for others, but mostly, I write for myself. 372 entries that capture how my life has changed, how the world has changed, that honor family members and capture what’s on my mind at the time. This challenge is truly a gift to myself. Quiet time each morning to write and post and read and comment. Proud of have completed the challenge for another year and looking forward to ordering my gift and adding volume 12 to my collection. Why do you write?

SOLC 30 of 31: Don’t let them steal your joy

My daughter is wise beyond her years. One day, while perseverating on a difficult issue from work, she said to me, “Mom! Don’t let them steal your joy. You have the power, take it back.” She was right. In difficult moments, I can choose if I’m going to let something ruin my day, night, weekend or if I’m going to decide what’s worth the worry.

Since she gave this advice to me, I have given it to others as well. I’m still trying to practice it myself, but for today, I hope you also remember not to let anyone have the power to steal your joy (or your sleep!). Good advice from a smart young woman!

SOLC 29 of 31: The Little Things

When my family would go away on vacation, my Grandma Janet would always go to the store to buy milk and eggs and some fruit for us to have when we returned. She’d put them in our house or on the counter as a welcome home “gift” that truly made our lives easier so that we didn’t have to run out to the store immediately. Growing up, I’d see my mom do the same for her sisters who lived nearby.

While my parents don’t live close enough to do that regularly, my mom always does things to make my life easier. Recently, she and my dad stayed at our house with our 15 year old while we were away. Upon returning, she left me all of the leftovers from her delicious meals and even left me some uncooked but ready-made meatballs and frozen garlic bread for a spaghetti and meatballs dinner for the upcoming week! It was such a treat to come home and not have to worry about cooking or shopping right away.

It’s the little things (and of course many BIG THINGS) that truly make me appreciate her.

SOLC 28 of 31: Inspired to research (Part 2) – ASK!

Yesterday I wrote that I was inspired to research about my grandfather’s service in World War II after visiting the World War II museum in New Orleans. Following my interview with my dad about his father’s service, I emailed my husband’s aunt to learn more about his grandfather’s service in WWII as well. My husband only knew (or thought he knew) a few facts, so I went to his aunt to learn more.

I’m so glad I did! My husband had the few facts that he thought he “knew” all wrong! With her permission, I’m sharing what she shared with me and what we all learned yesterday.

She wrote, “My father [James Colucci] enlisted and spent 5 years as an Italian interpreter for all the prisoners of war.  He was stationed in Texas at the Alamo. My dad wanted to go overseas, but he had flat feet and had to stay stateside.  He use to tell us how disappointed he was.  Can you imagine if flat feet would keep kept the military from going overseas today? He use to tell us how much he loved being in the army.  As a matter of fact he would say those years were the best of his life. My dad begged my mom to come to Texas to live.  She would not leave her family.  Finally, after she had my sister Diane, she relented and took a train to Texas because my dad wanted to meet his new daughter. Needless to say, she didn’t stay long as she hated all the huge bugs in Texas. Dad finally came home at the end of the war and mom became pregnant with me and I was born in 1947. My dad was so loved and admired that when he got home he was offered the job of running the secretarial department at Fort Dix in New Jersey.  My mom was thrilled because the pay was great and the benefits were amazing.Needless to say, my dad was not happy as he always wanted to run his own business.  The rest us history.  He ran a very successful business and provided well for his family. We wanted for nothing.  He spoiled my mom and his three girls. As the only grandson, my dad truly loved Kevin.”

I’m so glad I asked! What a gift our aunt gave us by sharing that family history. Now we know. I shared both yesterday’s post and that story with my husband and children too. Moral of the story… find out and record your family’s history while you can – just ask!

SOLC 27 of 31: Inspired to Research

This is the type of authentic research that we hope to inspire as teachers and writers. Inspired by my visit to the WWII museum in New Orleans (one of the best museums, if not THE BEST, I’ve ever been to) I interviewed my father this morning about my Grandpa Ira’s role in WWII. When I was growing up, my grandfather spoke very little about his time in the war (as I believe was the case for many men who served). I knew a few snippets here or there, but was inspired to learn more once at the exhibit.

It started with a text to my dad while we were at the museum, “We are at the WWII museum. Wish I knew more about Grandpa Ira’s service. Maybe you can tell us more?” He texts back, “He spent the last 15 months of the war in Europe in the headquarters of General George Patton. If you can follow Patton in the museum, you could get a sense of my dad’s service in the war.” “Remind me of his role,” I text back. He writes, “He was the top non-commissioned officer – essentially the head of Patton’s military office staff in the field.”

Fast forward to this morning when I am home and having breakfast with my parents who had stayed at our house while we were away. I got the chance to interview my dad and learn even more about the missing pieces of Grandpa’s service.

My grandfather, Ira Weisbart, was drafted into the army in 1942. While many were enlisting at the time, he did not. He was 26 and slightly overweight and maybe not the best cadet for battle. However, he was smart. Very smart. With a background in finance and a college degree, he was sent to Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indiana for training. Ft. Benjamin Harrison was the finance capital of the army and they quickly figured out how to use his talents. During his career he was promoted to Sargent Major, which is the highest ranking a non-commissioned officer can be. In Feb. 1944 he was sent to Europe.

In Europe, Patton had to issue orders to other leaders, to Eisenhower and my grandfather was part of the internal office that handled these communications and logistics for coordination. When the concentration camps were liberated, Patton insisted that every military personnel go see the concentration camps for themselves. This included Patton’s office team and my grandfather.

While the war in Europe ended in May of 1945, the war in the Pacific with Japan was still going. The units from Europe were on ships to the Pacific to fight that war when Hiroshima was bombed and Japan surrendered. This allowed the boat that he was on to turn around and go home. He returned home in 1945 to meet his then 9 month old son, my father.

During the war, as many women did, my Grandma Bernice, took over my grandfather’s insurance business. She did so with only a HS degree and no other training. Her attitude was, “I can do it and when I can’t do it, I’ll get help!”

Being at the WWII museum while the war in Ukraine has just begun was surreal in so many ways. It feels like history repeating itself again and there is so much that is hard to take in. But I’m glad that I was there and had the time to reflect on my grandfather’s service and find out just a bit more about it. Now to learn about my husband’s grandfather who also served….

SOLC 26 of 31: Jazz Notes

Boarding just before sunset

sweatshirts in hand

we found the perfect spot

to sit, watch and listen

to the jazz notes

floating through the air

from the boat’s band.

As the horizon became darker

and the wind stronger

we huddled together

letting the notes from

the band

slow us down

and bring us

together.

SOLC 25 of 31: Bourbon Street and Beignets

Strolling down Bourbon Street

on our way to Cafe Beignet

Rhythms pierce the air

from buckets and drumsticks

and saxophones.

Sitting at the cafe

with chocolate drizzled beignets

powdered sugar makes a mess

while the band continues

to play

jazz music that demands

that your body sways

and your toes tap.

SOLC 24 of 31: Trippin’ to Tulane

I sit here in a dark hotel room typing while my family members sleep. We are in New Orleans for an orientation at Tulane for my daughter for next year. WOW! Where did the time go?

For those of you who have already sent their children off to college, you know how momentous this moment feels. While today we will still be “pretending” because it’s still a few months away, the reality of it is here now.

Today, we will learn about how she will spend her fall freshman semester in Rome and then return to campus in January. Today, she will meet in person (they’ve already connected through social media) some other students who will be doing the same. Today, I will get to see the campus for the first time. Today, we will meet up with the daughter of a friend who will also share some insight with us and maybe we will get a peek into a dorm room. Today, I will let my daughter go out with her new acquaintances in a city that I don’t know and I will be nervous. Next fall I will be sending my daughter to a city far away and I will be nervous and excited. Nercited?

Today I am nercited for her. It’s the beginning of a new chapter of her life and ours. We are down in New Orleans with our “original family” (as my friend called it), since my son is back at home. Next year, when she is away, our family will adjust to being without her. But we won’t like it. I’ll miss her. But I’ll be nercited for her all the same.

Here’s to seeing what today will bring for the beginning of this next adventure.

SOLC 23 of 31: The weight of the battle of the weight

Every diet.

All of them, I’ve done.

Every “new way of eating” – I’ve done.

As a Type 2 diabetic, it shouldn’t really be a choice.

Eating should be my medicine and if done well, and done right, I wouldn’t need any medicine.

But I can’t seem to figure it out. I can’t find something that sticks.

I’ve joined FB groups, in-person support groups, 1:1 coaching.

I’ve done pre-fab food and you-make it food. But nothing sticks for long with me.

I’m shocked by it really, that I can’t stick with something. I stick with other things like writing every day for 31 days and exercising 3x a week. It frustrates me. I should be able to do this.

And every few months I find myself trying to start or re-start something again. Trying to get it right this time. Knowing that this isn’t a choice and is important to keeping me healthy.

I know many will understand the weight of the battle of the weight.

SOLC 22 of 31: The Tale of the Tail

Sprawled out on the wood kitchen floors,

it comes to life slowly with a small sway,

“Down here!” it says.

A slow steady swish

as he greets a family member,

“Good morning!” it says.

Upright and still on the front lawn,

“Beware!” it says.

Moving so fast, it creates a breeze,

“I love you!” it says.

The tale of a tail.

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