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how ridiculous to think the lovely, miserable music scratching out of this fifty year old Janis Ian lp would somehow lift my sinking, self pitying, weeping- into- my -morning-coffee spirits above perceived injustices and aged indignation, humiliation, worthlessness…

or that reading MIDNIGHT WATCH by David Dyer,  sitting in the anguished heads of those on the Californian thinking they should have, could have done something, anything, to save the Titanic because they saw her rockets, failed to find any bodies,  would inspire me to renew some thirty year old belief that my life would be the one to inspire all of mankind to perfection… not the corrupt, other worldy lives of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump…

or that reviewing all decisions made in my life all these many, many years and believing I made the best decisions to be made, given all the variables, would change the gut slashing pain from your sigh of forced tolerance, your slight roll of your eyes, your barely  hidden disgust when we talk…

you, the one person who hangs my moon…

oh, how my mother disgusted me at one point in my life, with all her cold, deliberate moves away from all of us while never letting go…her looks, her style, her men, her incredible survival tactics… how I cried each time she visited, then left again…Dad died, she left again, and again, trying to keep it together… life is so rude

oh, and my self-assurance that I was so smart, so worldly, so advanced beyond her…that I understood what she did not…I, who am now the disgusting, old,the pain- in- the -neck mother who fucked up royally, but who wants some of your time,  who wants an occasional, spontaneous, surprise visit, an invitation to dinner on your patio with you and the kids, who imagines we have such laughs and  remember such good times… and that you and my grands love being with me…(and who knows by writing this that I come off like some cliched Jewish mother, damn it…)

they weren’t all bad, were they, the days of our lives? or has your  perfect, long suffering mother-in-law convinced you that it would have been better if I had learned to sacrifice, to live with your father no matter how many slaps or put downs?  are her answers better because she stayed with her asshole (I can hear you sigh at that)?  I hated leaving you with him, but how can you know (and I, now, imagine) how cowed I was by him?  I believed I had to leave to save us both… I believed that with all the idiocy of a twenty eight year old battered wife.

is one good memory that makes you smile and glad I was/am your Mom?

Maybe not…not today, anyway, as I wait for you to call to say “let’s go to the fair!” ( you told me Wednesday we would go today, but it’s eleven already).

I s’pose they may come later, the good memories, when I have no more memory, as when my mom had no more memory, and it was up to me to remember the good stuff…

and I did…


and while I was writing this oozing mess, you were texting me to meet you all at 2 PM to see the last big events and awards…and I can’t wait to get there and see you!  and life is good and happy again…and I put on American Woman by the Who loud to celebrate, all the while thinking what a stupid thing to do…HAA


Maxwell Gavin Phinneas John

went to bed with his Nikes on

and his Monsters Inc tee, and his Comicon cap

he set his chess board on his lap

squinted and pondered  and stroked his chin

touched his nose, gave a very wide grin

then made a move ne’er before seen

in any chess game in any known scene

he jumped his knight up two over one

then moved very quickly until he was done

check mating the queen across the board

so smoothly he moved, oh my sweet Lord,

in just two more moves, yes, check mate in three

he threw out his arms and laughed with glee

Max made major history that day weeks ago

and now he is planning another great show

…stay tuned for more from our Max!


Granma  6/22/16







Ryan Elizabeth Abigail Rose

loves dressing up in her fanciest clothes.

Sometimes she chooses a bright sequinned top.

Sometimes she pulls on a hat with a flop.

Shoes made of jelly adorn her cute feet.

Small touches of lace make her look extra sweet.

But no matter what she selects to put on,

our Ryan ‘lizabeth never goes wrong.

She knows what to wear whatever the day

and wherever she goes you will hear people say,

“She is just such a cutie, and very smart, too!

She climbs every mountain in just the right shoe!”


Granma  6/21/16


that would be nothing

we were three,

my sisters and me,

’til Ruth died,

Mag disappeared,

and I was left to be

whatever I am without them


Something good happens
when a celebrity dies,
we all claim a piece
and everyone cries.
We stop and recall,
just for a short while,
where we first heard them
saw friends, families smile.
The thing I remember,
as we salute Prince,
is how hearing his music
made my daughter dance.
Laughing, head bobbing,
she let her freak shine
that New Year’s evening
nineteen ninety nine.
So, before I move on
with my everyday things
I wish Prince good journey
to the heaven of kings.
Not ’cause I knew him,
I hadn’t the chance,
but for how his guitar
made my daughter dance.

ME…a work in progress

My left hand is Swedish.

Great Grandma Clara and Great Grandpa Emil

were both Andersons from Sweden.

They met in the states

among the Mid-Western Swedes.

She was disciplined;

he,  a tinkerer,

like all the Anderson men who


My right brain is Scott-Irish.

My Irish Great Grandfather McDowell

came down through Scotland

from Ireland

during the potato famine.

It was said that his daughter,my

Grandma Gwen,

could stretch a nickle through next Thursday.

She made

lace and was very short,

and very  stern, but funny.

My blue eyes came from Germany,

along with  my Great

Grandfather, Charles Herman, who

arrived late nineteenth century.


LIMERICKS FOR MY BROTHERS…(that includes you, Billy Allen)

There once were two brothers named Herman

who rode crazy bikes that were German

whenever the sun rose

they’d fly off like black crows

and leave normal humans in… (the dust?)

Now Robert rode a silver  Ducati

and with it he acted quite naughty

he winked at the girls

and studied their curls

and laughed when they acted too haughty

Eric’s cool Triumph was blue

He rode it so fast he just flew

down the road to the airport

past Lake WA and its seaport

’til into the hangar he blew

Not to be forgotten is Billy

whose Harley made noise like filly

he’d lay back and cruise

ignoring the news

while  planning a road trip to Philly…


I wrote these thoughts in our discussion section BEFORE reading the textbook to see if any of my remembrances match history as these authors present it.    I have found a number of inaccuracies in our assigned reading, leaving out a phrase or even a word, which gives the authors’ desired slant to history.  Addressing that slant is a project for another day.
My Cold War Memories:

* Dad and his B-52 crew on Alert, living at the Alert Shack two weeks every month – sometimes families were allowed to visit and share a Sunday lunch…not every Sunday though

* Dad and crew flying 24 hour missions to Russia –

* something about a Chrome Dome…something to do with those 24 hour missions and Russia  (Wikipedia explains it so: Bombers loitered near points outside the Soviet Union to provide rapid first strike or retaliation capability in case of nuclear war)  I always imagined it like a cover over the earth, and Dad flew to its edge

* the “red phone”

* Dad’s big flight helmet with a sun shield, and he wore these two little plastic discs around his neck. He told us that Santa could speak to us through them…sometime later someone told me they were radiation detectors, to tell if he’d been contaminated somehow

* Everyone at Mass praying for God to stop the spread of Communism every day before class (2nd grade – 6th grade), and on Sundays

* All the kids at school wearing dog tags with our names and addresses

* People building bomb shelters (we didn’t)

* Being told that if the Russians bombed America, we would be amongst the first to be bombed because there were missile sites all around the base, and the Russians would want to take out the missiles and the B-52s first.  We were proud to be that “important.”

* Practicing for a nuclear blast…all families on base had to have a stockpile of water, canned foods sufficient for at least two weeks; everyone was told to stay inside (though we kids would sneak out after the AP (Air Police) vehicles drove down the block – it was a game to hide from them)


Have you ever seen a fully loaded B-52 fly over with its vast, heavy wings?  Have you ever imagined what it is like for that giant airplane, loaded with nuclear bombs,  to refuel below another giant airplane (tanker), so close that one miscalculation could explode them both.

Once one of the 52s exploded on base (Walker AFB, NM).  The blast blew out all the windows in our base school.  One of the Airmen who was killed had been our Sunday school teacher.  The power of that explosion was stunning.  Imagine the power of a nuclear bomb…

The world knew the destruction of the Atomic Bomb.  There was no reason to believe it could not, would not happen again.  It was, and is, a real threat.
I am curious to see how this textbook presents it.  The very question to describe real vs. perceived threats makes me think the authors are skeptics.  Perception is reality…threat of death by bombs was very real when I was a kid.


Eight bells on the hour
One on the half-
So chimes the clock
On my brother’s mantel.
“I’ve heard this ring every day of my life,”
as he winds it
like his dad before him
like his dad before him.


On the mantel, tall ships with perfect rigging

On the fridge, top grades

In the air, top flight

In the hearts of his girls, no one




Or more easily wrapped around tiny fingers

Semper Fi