Who should be celebrated on my birthday?

Dear Readers,

Today is my birthday.  I woke up and realized I was no longer sixty-seven.  I’m sixty-eight.  Officially a grown-up.  Probably a senior citizen?  Happy Birthday to me.

A friend of mine recently said that a birthday should celebrate the mother.  How can you take credit for being born? Your mom carried you and gave birth to you.  Ouch.

One year I did give my mom a card on my birthday and she loved it.  She loved cards.  She loved to receive them and to send them.  I do, too.  A funny kind of legacy.

My mother died on November 2, 2017.  She was ninety-three.  She won’t be here to celebrate.  She loved birthdays.  Especially the ice cream and cake…  Even in her last months of life when she wasn’t doing so well, she loved cake.  Me, too.  Another legacy.

She was an intelligent and feisty woman.  She managed her family, the budget and her house with a no kidding around competence. She had a soft and sentimental side that she tried to keep hidden.  However tough she could be, she was a mush on birthdays.

No matter our financial circumstances, we always had a dinner of our choice, cake and ice cream, a carefully chosen and sentimental card and the best gift possible.  We didn’t do dishes on our birthday.

We always said thank you, too.

I wonder, Mom, maybe you’re celebrating my birthday on a big cloud with Dad?

I hope you’re having a big piece of chocolate cake with chocolate ice cream with Dad.  You couldn’t eat your beloved chocolate when you got older so I hope you’re having a lot of chocolate in heaven.

I know Dad is saying, “Just a little piece of cake.”

You’re saying, “Cut me a big piece.”

Thanks, Mom, today for giving me life.  It’s been a good one so far.

 

 

***Photo         Wildwood, New Jersey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A happy ending to my day

September 6, 2017

Dear Readers,

I started out worrying terribly about people in the wrath of Hurricane Irma.  I forced myself to do something productive.  Set two goals, I told myself.

I’d study German and then I’d sort through a bag of papers.

My German textbook didn’t look inviting so I decided to put on a German-language movie and, at least, listen to the German voices while I sorted.  Since I knew I’d only understand only a dozen words, I would put on the English subtitles.  Netflix offered plenty of movies, but not many looked cheerful enough for this rainy Cramer Hill day.

I spied the 2015 Swiss film version of Heidi, based on the children’s book by Johanna Spryi.  The title brought me back to an illustrated version of the book that I’d loved and read many times as a kid in North Camden.   I remembered Mrs. Helen Faust, John S. Read Elementary, Grade Four,  gave me the sequel, Heidi Grows Up, on the last day of school because I had been the best speller in the class.  I hugged it that hardback book and floated home with it. (Thanks, Mrs. Faust. God bless generous, loving, thoughtful teachers.)

Fifty-seven years later, here I was, still in Camden, although in Cramer Hill, watching feisty Heidi, her aunt, her grandfather, her friends Peter and Klara appear on my TV, so familiar, long lost friends found again.

Amazingly enough, I have visited Switzerland many times because I have good friends there and so I have been blessed enough to have been to the Alps and the beautiful Swiss countryside.  Today I was experiencing Switzerland again.

I had to put down the bag of papers, half-way sorted, and let myself be drawn into the story of an orphaned child who loves the mountains  and those around her.  Those old receipts, ads and catalogs could be sorted tomorrow.

This movie made my day.  And, I even did recognize a dozen words in German.

Much love to all readers,

Marguerite (Wunsch) Ferra, Cramer Hill resident

 

PS  If you like, please follow my blog. Comments are welcome.

A happy ending to my day

September 6, 2017

Dear Readers,

I started out worrying terribly about people in the wrath of Hurricane Irma.  I forced myself to do something productive.  Set two goals, I told myself.

I’d study German and then I’d sort through a bag of papers.

My German textbook didn’t look inviting so I decided to put on a German-language movie and, at least, listen to the German voices while I sorted.  Since I knew I’d only understand only a dozen words, I would put on the English subtitles.  Netflix offered plenty of movies, but not many looked cheerful enough for this rainy Cramer Hill day.

I spied the 2015 Swiss film version of Heidi, based on the children’s book by Johanna Spryi.  The title brought me back to an illustrated version of the book that I’d loved and read many times as a kid in North Camden.   I remembered Mrs. Helen Faust, John S. Read Elementary, Grade Four,  gave me the sequel, Heidi Grows Up, on the last day of school because I had been the best speller in the class.  I hugged it that hardback book and floated home with it. (Thanks, Mrs. Faust. God bless generous, loving, thoughtful teachers.)

Fifty-seven years later, here I was, still in Camden, although in Cramer Hill, watching feisty Heidi, her aunt, her grandfather, her friends Peter and Klara appear on my TV, so familiar, long lost friends found again.

Amazingly enough, I have visited Switzerland many times because I have good friends there and so I have been blessed enough to have been to the Alps and the beautiful Swiss countryside.  Today I was experiencing Switzerland again.

I had to put down the bag of papers, half-way sorted, and let myself be drawn into the story of an orphaned child who loves the mountains  and those around her.  Those old receipts, ads and catalogs could be sorted tomorrow.

This movie made my day.  And, I even did recognize a dozen words in German.

Much love to all readers,

Marguerite (Wunsch) Ferra, Cramer Hill resident

 

PS  If you like, please follow my blog. Comments are welcome.

Donuts, coffee and small thoughts on a Cramer Hill Saturday morning

Dear Readers.

Today I’m at the kitchen table looking at the morning glories on my back fence here in Cramer Hill.  I’m feeling the contentment of a teacher who has been retired for three years.  Retirement is G-O-O-D.

Nothing much beats a cream donut, a jelly donut and a cup of coffee on a Labor Day Saturday morning when YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT GOING BACK TO SCHOOL ON TUESDAY.  You might have to consider your damage to your calorie count, but not much else.

Yesterday I decided to ignore all non-life-threatening chores and to wander around Ollie’s Discount in Cherry Hill.  I didn’t have to buy anything for the classroom…no more poring though pencils, fun erasers, cute notebooks, crayons or glue sticks, no more paging through little books to give as prizes, no more choosing the best stickers and no more piling the cart with boxes of tissue and cleaning wipes.

Although in the throes of retirement joy in the middle of the store, a bit of wistfulness crept in.  I smacked that wistfulness away.  However, I allowed myself think of those first days back to school.  They were filled with anticipation and optimism for the new year, but always tempered with dread that I’d have to go to another school or even another classroom.  English as a Second Language teachers moved around as needs changed.

Retail therapy to the rescue!  I thoroughly retail therapied myself by buying books for my granddaughter…and myself.  Then, I spied a huge Thomas the Train puzzle for my granddaughter. What a big floor puzzle and what a discount, too! Win-win.

I popped into my daughter’s house to give the gifts.  My granddaughter’s sleepy face, just up from a nap, livened when she saw the puzzle box.

“Thomas!” she screamed.

We put the puzzle today, my daughter, my granddaughter and me. All forty pieces!  No, I lie.  Only thirty-nine.  The center piece was missing.  Oh well.   I wasn’t being observed on the activity and I hadn’t had to write plans for it.  I wouldn’t get a low mark for not having put the puzzle together first to make sure all the pieces were there!  We had a good time, Piece #40 missing or not.

Back to my morning coffee.  I have eaten the donuts.  I asked my husband to bring me one, but he brought me two.  Who am I to turn down two?  Would you want me to hurt his feelings?

I’m going to take my coffee to the window, look at my morning glories and contemplate retirement.

Love to all my readers,

Marguerite (Wunsch) Ferra, Cramer Hill resident

P.S.  If you would like to follow my blog, please do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blogging from Cramer Hill because of plums…

Dear Reader,

Plums!  Today I’m back to blogging because of freshly picked South Jersey plums.

The news has been so bad for so long that I couldn’t bear to blog for months.  I didn’t want to contribute to any reader’s distress with one more justified outcry about what is happening in the world.

I’m being a chicken.  I’m not going to comment on the news.  If you know me, you can guess what I’m thinking about what’s going on, so…

This morning in our Cramer Hill kitchen, I filled a bowl with cold plums.  I had to admire them.  These plums are beautiful and delicious. They made me think of a poem of William Carlos Williams.

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/just-say

How blessed I am this morning to have these plums, to have my husband, Carlos, who is holding the bowl, and to have my daughter, Kim, and granddaughter, Nora, and Kim’s in-laws, who picked the plums!  I give thanks to Kim’s mother-in-law who put dozens in a bag and pressed them on me to take home.

Today I’m happy to sit at my kitchen table with toast and tea and sweet, juicy plums.

I’m back to blogging and I’m going to write about loveliness in our often unlovely world.  I’m starting with plums.

Sincerely,

Marguerite (Wunsch) Ferra

Cramer Hill resident

 

 

 

 

 

Years fly by…

Dear Readers,

No… No!  No!! No!!!  I looked at my calendar diary and realized I’ll be sixty-seven TOMORROW.

I thought I had a few more days of being sixty-six.  I mistakenly thought my birthday was this Wednesday and I’d have more time to think about it.  No, it’s tomorrow, Monday.  Sixty-seven?   It’s a bit of a shock.

Believe me, I’m not writing this blog to have dozens of long-stemmed red roses, cases of champagne or gifts of anything delivered to my door.  Please.  Cancel your orders.  I don’t have room for anything.  No kidding.  At my age, I have everything and MORE!

What I’d really like is for you to send me a large, self-addressed, postage prepaid box so I can send YOU some of the excess of my life.  Decorating magazines, anyone? Old clothing?  Pounds?  I have a lot of extra pounds to send you and I’m not talking about the British ones.

I’m grateful for these sixty-six years.  Look at me at this very moment. Right now, I’m lying on a comfy bed with my beloved laptop and my teeny-weeny queenie, torty cat, Reina, is lying on my shoulder purring in my ear.   What a life.  All I need is a box of bonbons.  No, I changed my mind.  No bonbons.  Didn’t I just mention the extra pounds?

Those years sure do fly by fast.  It was only yesterday that I was in John S. Read School in North Camden; Veterans Memorial Junior High in Cramer Hill; Woodrow Wilson High School in East Camden and back to North Camden in Rutgers University.

Decades after college hurtled by at the speed of light and now I’m a wife.  A mother.  A godmother. A mother-in-law.  A grandmother.  A writer. A reader. A dog and cat mommy. And, to my surprise still, a senior.

I’ll return to my diary and write down goals for my sixty-seventh year.  Finish my book–it’s getting there!  Take care of my health.  AND, have a lot of fun at age sixty-seven!  Maybe have a few of those bonbons?

How about you, my reader friend?  Is time flying by for you, too?

Love from

Marguerite (Wunsch) Ferra, Cramer Hill resident