While I was brainstorming, trying to think of something I could write for today’s assignment. That something was to include mining a nugget in your old posts, your tweets, your Facebook site and on and on.

Well, I just had a sparkling thought after seeing this picture of myself several years ago as I was standing outside of the apartment complex by the beach. I was Assistant Manager at the complex and it was only myself or the manager in the office at any given time.

It was a one person office if you will. We, along with a maintenance man, had to handle everything that happened for the day. Could be people coming in to look for an apartment, a complaint by a tenant, or tenants coming in to pay rent or writing a lease agreement.

Of course many other things happened during the day, a flood in an apartment from a toilet overflowing to a sink in the kitchen blocked to someone screaming at you because you had their car towed for being in the wrong parking place.

One day as I was speaking to someone who had come into the office to look at an apartment, the phone rang. Now, at that time I was new to the office, having just started working a few months before. I did not know a lot of the tenants as there was thirty-four apartments and most units had at least two people or more. We had one and two bedroom apartments. There was quite a few people to get to know and they were coming and going on a fairly regular basis.

I picked up the phone and the woman identified herself as a tenant. She went on to tell me about her problem, which I was only half listening to because I had a person in front of me who was anxious to look at an apartment. The conversation on the phone went something like this:
“Hello,” the caller said.
After identifying myself, I said, “How can I help you?”
“Where’s Marlene?” caller.
“She is off today, can I help you with anything?”
The caller went on and on about some perceived problem, which I knew I was not going to be able to do anything about.
The person in front of me was getting antsy and I held my finger up in the ‘wait a moment’ signal.
The caller was still going on when I finally said, “Do you want to bottom line it for me.”
Now unbeknownst to me the caller was a long time resident at the apartments.  She was ninety-five years old, and her name was Mary. The manager had always treated Mary with the utmost respect, even driving her to the bank, and the grocery store on occasion.
“The bottom line is,” the caller went on without losing a beat. She told me her problem in a few short words and I told her what I could do to help.
I also took care of the person in front of me and all was well.

After that day though, whenever Mary, who I’d told to “bottom line” it, would, when she came into the office, say to me, “You are not Marlene!”
Whereupon, I would retort, “Very perceptive of you Mary.”  She always got a laugh out of that.
She had a good sense of humor and we went on to become, if not friends, then friendly.

Both she and her husband, who lived to be over a hundred years old, lived in the beachfront apartments until the end of both of their lives.  It had been their dream, they said to live at the beachfront until the end.


The Christmas Kitty
The Christmas Kitty


My Aunt Wynne was a real dilly! There are other words that spring to mind but they are better left unsaid. My mother and Wynne were sisters and she would come to visit quite frequently. We kids ranged in ages from twelve down to five. There were four of us in all.  We all liked Wynne mostly because she was a lot of fun and she always had a joke or story to tell us. A lot of which was something we should not be hearing, like swear words or sometimes titillating subjects, usually when my Mother was not around.

My Mother would chastise Wynne sometimes but it never bothered her and she would keep doing it and we would keep listening to her. Wynne didn’t listen very well especially when someone told her she could not do something. She was a flapper in the days when it was popular to be one. One time, she tried to teach us the Charleston but we never seemed to catch on. Occasionally, she would bring her current boyfriend and they usually brought goodies then, like ice cream or candy. That’s one of the reasons we liked her so much.

Wynne had a new boyfriend and she brought him to our house one time.  He was a big, boisterous, Polish gentleman.  His favorite food was potato pancakes which he would proceed to make whenever he came.  They were one of the most delicious things I had ever tasted.  Even today, I can make them without a recipe almost as good as he did.

He really made an impression on us kids and we looked forward to his visits.  But alas, Wynne dropped him after going out for quite a while, much to our chagrin.

One Christmas which was particularly hard for us as Father had left us to go and stay with his Mother, leaving us in the lurch with no food or means to buy any. This seemed to be happening on a fairly regular basis. Since he had lost his job as a teacher and didn’t plan on looking for another job, we were pretty destitute.  I suppose the responsibility was too great for him, supporting his family. So Mother was our only means of support and she had to take care of us kids.

Aunt Wynne, knowing that Mother was not going to be able to get us much or anything for Christmas, thought she was helping by telling us this story. It was only a few days before Christmas and like all kids we were expecting at least one present each.

So Wynne gathered us all around and began:

“You know kids, something bad has happened to Santa this year.  The Police spotted him speeding in his car and they arrested him. So he is cooling his heels in jail right now and probably will be there through Christmas.

So sorry to say but Santa will not be able to deliver your presents this year.”

Tears started rolling down our faces, except twelve-year-old Anna, as she didn’t believe anymore. I was ten and beginning to waver but I still thought there may be a chance, so I was as devastated as the younger kids.

Just then mother came into the room and caught Wynne in the act and said to us, “Aunt Wynne was just kidding, Santa is not really in jail and you will still be getting a few presents although not many.”

We went to bed happy then and Aunt Wynne was banished from our house for a time. But over the years Aunt Wynne continued with her shenanigans and stories and while we never quite believed her anymore, it didn’t keep her from trying.

A Christmas Poem

Mother at Christmas at my sister's house
Mother at Christmas at my sister’s house


A Christmas Poem

Lattes and cookies and kitties with whiskers

Shopping for new clothes all a twitter

When the snow falls, when the cats meow

Brings a smile to my face somehow

When the wind blows and the rain falls

I  find myself shopping at malls.


Cheeks are red and noses like cherries

Sweets are abundant, including the berries

The bears and cubs are now hibernating

As the world is slowly vibrating

Christmas season has passed and then

Another year will begin again.







Elegy For My Sister




She was the youngest of us

Together we numbered four

She had a smile for everyone

Her endearing ways I remember

In fact, I will never forget

The times gone by and the times we had

We never will see again

Her body is gone but her spirit lives on

To keep us in good cheer

I’ll never forget what joy she brought

To those of us who knew her

All the time she was here.


This Elegy is for my sister, who passed on in October of this year.  She will be missed.