The Bonding of Women

The overpowering Scent of bordello perfume vanished, extinguished by something more powerful. The home was spiced with the bonding of women—a fragrant bouquet of friendship. It occurred to me then. I had condemned and convicted others without true knowledge. I vowed not to make that mistake again.

Women Often Do in Their Free Time before 1900 (3).jpg

Excerpt from The Last Bordello

photo credit


A Kindle Ad reminder

As a kid, I hated to read. Nothing stuck. Everything around me had more meaning than written words inside a book. Then came To Kill a Mockingbird. At age 14, this was the first book I read cover to cover. “So, some books are good?” I thought. This one was proof.

I always liked writing but, many, many years passed before I became an avid reader. Maybe it’s because my mind could finally focus on words I didn’t write, words that enticed me to enter new worlds such as:

ancient Egypt in River God by Wilbur Smith

1975 India in A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

the Depression-era Ireland in Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

inside the memories of a man from a very dysfunctional family in The Prince of Tide by Pat Conroy

And many more, of course.

Still, I am very selective of the books I read. Many times, a book is over before I finish it. And no, I don’t feel guilty for closing it prematurely as some do. I just grab another and hope others don’t do the same with my novels!  🙂

Read to your child when they are young!

IMG_5220 (1).jpg

Noting a few of our immigrants

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“A nation ringed by walls will only imprison itself.”― Barack Obama

“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations And Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and previleges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.”― George Washington

Just a few of our American immigrants:

Born Desiderio Alberto Arnaz III on March 2, 1917, in Cuba, Desi Arnaz fled Cuba to the United States with his family in 1933.


Chef Wolfgang Puck immigrated to US in 1973 from Austria.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Born in Austria in 1947. Moved to the U.S. in his 20s after winning the body-building title Mr. Universe.

Madeleine Albright, Czechoslovakia: Born in Czechoslovakia in 1937. Immigrated to the U.S. in 1948; studied at Wellesley College and Columbia University. Served as the 64th U.S. secretary of state from 1997 to 2001, and was the first woman to hold the job.

Elie Wiesel, Romania Born in Romania in 1928. Deported by Nazis to Auschwitz in 1944. Placed in a French orphanage after World War II, he later moved to New York as a correspondent for an Israeli newspaper. Author of more than 30 books, many of them dealing with the Holocaust and Judaism. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for his efforts to fight violence and racism.

Bob Hope: Born in England, Hope was one of seven boys. The family immigrated to Cleveland, Ohio and Hope was naturalized at age 17.

Joseph Pulitzer (Journalist & Publisher) 1847-1911 from Hungary. Eldest son of Hungarian Jews, Pulitzer’s father died when Joseph was 11 years old. His mother remarried and Joseph was educated in Budapest. In 1864 he immigrated to the U.S.

Samuel Goldwyn 1882-1974 Poland- Movie producer and Goldwyn-Mayer studios in Hollywood

Angela Lansbury, actress:Lansbury was born to a middle-class family in central London, the daughter of actress Moyna Macgill and politician Edgar Lansbury. To escape the Blitz, in 1940 she moved to the United States with her mother and two younger brothers, and studied acting in New York City.

Yo-Yo Ma, Concert Cellist from France

And, Irving Berlin, from Russia, who wrote:


featured image photo credit



Am I really thanking Trump?

No, but …

We The People had been far too complacent. Most Republicans and Democrats thought he would never win. He did. Snuck right under our noses like a not-so-quiet thief in the night. Then, when we rose, said, “what happened to all our shit?”

Trump has unknowingly forced us to take a hard look at ourselves and, in doing so, we have awoken to reconfirm our beliefs and our rights (or lack there-of).

Now, dialogues are reopened. Millions of people are speaking up, and out, to the masses. We are no longer complacently thinking that things are okay. They are not. And, for the most part, they were. Ten days ago we did not have executive orders that divided us with the rest of the world, executive orders that remain questionable in their constitutional authority.

Yesterday, the DNC tweeted: We want to know what YOU want the future of our party to look like and what you want from our next Chair. Tell us:

Well, they got an ear-full! Here’s one:unspecified.png

Read more here.

Yes, Trump has inadvertently brought us together. Did you see the marchers on January 21st? The women, men and children of all backgrounds including the Black Lives Matter and LBGT community who came together as ONE? Did you see the protesters at JFK airport and learned how it led to a stay in Trump’s order to keep immigrants away? I am SO proud of you!!

We The People, of the United States, in Order to form a perfect Union,” have returned to our moral code and now remember how to march, how to protest, how to voice our frustrations and concerns.

Am I happy he is president? Hell, no. But I’m glad he has, in no accord of his own,  made us remember what is important.


“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”-Gandhi.

“Ask yourself this question: ‘Will this matter a year from now?’ –Richard Carlson, American psychotherapist and author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

When you carry something elephantine for the good of humanity, the feet where you tread will leave a deeper, lasting impression. Carolyn Dennis-Willingham


Two pills and a Bible


It had started off on a bad note or rather a bad sore throat. I guess I’d lived there long enough to pick up Temple germs from the Junior High. My throat hurt something awful and I thought I’d surely come down with Scarlet Fever like Delma had that time.

            A kid in one of my classes told me about a doctor within walking distance from my house that I should go see. He also gave me a bible. “What’s this?”

            “It’s a Bible.”

            “I can see that. Why’re ye handin’ it to me?”

            “Just thought you’d like ta have it, you know to read.”

            “I don’t wanna take yer Bible.”

            “Well, it’s not really mine. I work at the Baptist Church and I can get them anytime I want.”

            “Okay then,” I said, taking the Bible he’d stolen from his church.

            “I’ll pray for your throat, Cono.”

            “OK,” I hoarsed out of my throat, thinking, “Yeah and praise the Lord too.”

         I took him up on his advice and right after school I went straight to that doctor’s office. He told me to come back tomorrow morning and not to eat anything. So that’s what I did.

         The next morning the doctor handed me two little Yellow pills and said, “Here’s your breakfast.” Then he left me in a chair that leaned back. I waited there until my head started to feel fuzzy, like I was sitting at the bottom of a well looking up towards the light of the sky.

            “Cono, are you ready?” I stared up through the well and saw the long-nosed face of the man talking to me, the man in the white coat who made a little loop out of some kind of wire and pulled one, then two tonsils from the back of my throat. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, he decided that my adenoids weren’t doing me any good, so he yanked them out too. Fuzzy or not, I felt every damn bit of it.

            He laid a pack of ice on my neck for a while and told me to go home and get some rest. I did. I rested for a whole week because I got sicker than a dog and not because I forgot to cover up my hiney. I got a bad fever and thought for sure I was gonna die. That’s when I picked up that Bible. I remembered Ma saying, “Cono, thar ain’t nothin’ wrong with readin’ the Bible.” Plus, I thought that if I was about to die, I might as well find out who was going to open up the Pearly Gates to let me in.

            Once I got through all that “beggetting” stuff, it wasn’t a bad read. I didn’t understand much of it since there were so many people to keep up with. I got the gist of most of it though. But I was still trying to figure out why it said “an eye for an eye” one minute and “turn the other cheek” the next.

            During that week, Delma came in once with a pot on her head and stared at me sober as a judge.

            “Delma, ye need te get yerself a better lookin’ hat.” She laughed and left the room probably thinking she made me feel better. I guess in a way she did.

Excerpt from No Hill for a Stepper



A “Repurpose” for a Peculiar Gem

I didn’t know about these gems until I took piano lessons a while back. After my teacher refurbished her piano, she gave me the piano guts she would never need again. But I needed these beautiful wooden treasures that made a piano work. I took an entire box then pondered what to do with them–the action/repetitions inside a piano.

To see them in a cool, animated action watch this.

Anyway, from them, I made “The Painter”



Note: This is why I’m a packrat, damnit, and I’m sticking to it!! 🙂

Conventional Wisdom

Bonnie and Clyde and Amelia Earhart?

            I don’t know why, but it makes me kinda proud that Clyde’s best weapon came from the town where I was born. Bonnie and Clyde entered my life several times one way or the other  before the Texas Rangers finally gunned them down.

          In February 1934, right after we moved to Rotan, Bonnie and Clyde robbed the National Guard Armory in Ranger. The armory was where Clyde got his favorite weapon, an Automatic rifle. He cut off part of the barrel, got three ammo clips and welded them together so it would shoot fifty-six times without reloading. That’s why Clyde called it his scatter-gun.

         Amelia Earhart was another celebrity who came through Ranger. She landed her Autogyro at the Ranger airfield in 1931. It’s a shame that she went missing just six years later and that we still can’t find her.

            But for me, the real celebrities from Ranger are Ma and Pa.

         I close my eyes again but it’s no use. My seat companion says, “You ain’t done yet, Cono.” Again, I give in to the nudge and open up that old cigar box of things I don’t care to see. I picture that tiny little girl sock, the one that used to be in the box of specials, the one that belonged to my kidnapped little sister.

Excerpt from No Hill for a Stepper, a story about my father