Thursday, September 30, 2010

Black & White TV's

Yeahhhh!  My second sale on E-Bay.  I sold my old 1950's Dumont TV.  I bought it years ago at the Hadassah Rummage Sale for a great price.  It was a fun item.  Surely a conversation piece. After I purchased it, a friend gave me a vintage TV Guide featuring Ozzie & Harriet on the cover, which  I displayed on top of the TV.  I considered taking the Dumont to Asheville, but decided NO.  It just won't fit in with the way I envision the new house to look (& feel). 

The photos above are of me, of course - & my brother Michael.  The two of us are in front of our console radio/phonograph; the one of me alone in front of the tv.  I know we got the set when I was 10 years old.  I was actually told it was for my birthday, however, that did not mean that I had first choice to watch whatever I wanted.  The photos were taken in the living room of our apartment on Bristol Street in Brownsville, Brooklyn.  Michael was about 5 in the photos.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

cute little girl me

I've been up to my neck in photos this past week....dug up two of my favorites of Me.  I think they were both taken in the country.  One of the Bungalow Colonies that we went to each Summer. 
Fond memories of family life in the mountains. The movie, "walk on the moon" which I watched again just last week portrays Bungalow Colony community.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The following is from my son, Josh.  I called him needing some attention, commiseration and his sage guidance.  I was upset re an inconsiderate neighbor & didn't want to hold onto the anger I felt. I needed 2 minutes of "letting go of steam" time. I just really wanted to be heard.

 I also felt like I wasn't  accomplishing very much of anything in my preparing to move process.  Every time I picked up something, there were 10 more "somethings" hidden beneath it.  I was overwhelmed & it seemed there was no end in sight. I thought Josh could relate, as he has just moved from his own apt to a shared space.  When I asked how his process was progressing, he basically told me what I have posted below.  I loved it.  It was so visual as he was describing the need to move 3 cartons in order to get the one in the back, in the corner, then having to slide them to different positions to get out of the corner. 

It's a familiar formula, but one that so often slips away from me. I call it my "A B C's".  Ex:  I'm at A.  I want be at C.  I can see the end result.  I actually MUST see it - clearly & in great detail.  The more specific the vision, the more specific the reality will be.  So....what about B?  Don't focus on it.  Don't worry about the "how's".  Let it go, trust, give it to God, whatever.  I will manifest what I focus on.  Simply:  See "C".
"My apartment, like life, is just a puzzle with a solution and if I moved the pieces into the wrong places it's just a matter of repositioning them until they fit. I don't think of it as a cruel joke with no answer created just to frustrate me but rather as a practice in patience with a reward for seeing it through to the end.
we all remember how satisfying it was to finally see the finished picture after all of our hard work and time invested but do we remember that we already knew what it was supposed to look like when we picked up the box it came in?
 Let's keep our sights focused on that beautiful finished picture because this is our guarantee that the universe would never sell us a defective product :)"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bye-Bye letters

When I found the letters in the attic, they were bound with a disintegrating rubber-band.  I believe they are surely ribbon worthy. And so, before I put them in the envelope to mail to Mike, I will tie them with a pretty silk ribbon I was saving for a special package.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Last night I left my message on a machine with a non-human voice recording, so there was no hint if it was the correct phone number, but I did it.  Then I spent the rest of the night gathering, sorting & tossing piles of photos till I was exhausted.  I did, however, read 2 more letters before I fell asleep....I actually read them while I fell asleep, as I would doze, wake up, find a letter in my hand & continue to read.  There was one letter left when I shut off my light.

This morning I had a decision to make....wait to the end of the day to read the last letter & perhaps learn the conclusion of the story and possibly the relationship - or read it then & there.  I had been so cought up in the letters & felt an involvement with this young man I was becoming re-acquainted with, as well as the renewed relationship with the me that I was then.  It truly did feel like the reading of a favorite book.  Yearning to get to the end, but reluctant to say goodbye to the characters that had become so personal to me.  There is always a type of mourning at the end of a book like that. 

At about 8 a.m., after being awake for over an hour, still in my bed, I read it. It offered no answers, no conclusions, not even a hint. I was relieved that it was not a response to a "break-up" letter I may have sent  I still had a vague feeling that it was I that caused the end. I also wondered if there were other letters in another carton somewhere in the attic that would continue the story.  Today was not the day I was going to look for them.

At 8:20, the phone rang, & without my glasses to identify the caller, I heard: "Hi Sue, it's Mike H.....".

OMG, I was so glad that he was alive.  I couldn't believe that he was on the phone.  I don't exactly remember how the conversation started, but after 49 years, I doubt that it was with: "So, what's new?" 

We did speak easily, filled in some details, cought up on present situations. Then I had to ask:  "Mike, how did it end, I have no memory of an ending."  His response was something like....."I loved you very much, but your father loved you even more.  When I came to see you he quickly figured out that I was a troubled drinker and sent me away".  When I told him that I had no hint of this then, and surely his letters never indicated alcohol in any way now, he responded that he was able to hide it from me, but my father knew right away. .

He spoke of how he had starting drinking as a 10 year old alter boy, sampling the ceremonial wine. He used it for effect.  He needed it to "get out there & not be afraid".  He told of rampant alcoholism, a ruined marriage, and finally intervention, rehab & sobriety.  He never picked up a drink again.  He told me he damaged a lot of lives and was always grateful that I had escaped his path of destruction.

Well, what a story.  I havn't quite digested it all yet. So much for my brief excitement that there was a time in my life that I wasn't attracted to or attracting the bad-boy alcoholic.  Dunno, there is a reason for everything....& I'm sure I'll know why this piece of my life has come back to me at this time.
(or I'll never know, & that's ok too)  Perhaps it's because my life is changing so drastically now.  I'm in a peaceful, loving relationship, I'm moving, I'm growing, I'm happy.  Perhaps I needed to finally get what my mother was always trying to tell me..... how much my father loved me. 

I still have a feeling that the end of the relationship wasn't all my fathers' doing.  I have the vaguest, fuzzy memory that I was getting a bit bored.  The Mike that he presented to me was so kind, loving, and straight.  He never cursed, didn't party with his buddies, adored & wanted me.  What was the challenge? If I had really wanted him, I would have lied, snuck around, rebelled against my father, made my mother miserable & perhaps I would have married him. After all, that is just the way it happened a few years later with my husband-to-be.

So - the great "Great Neck Novel".  Where are we now?  Happy to have connected.  I will send him the letters.  For one moment, I felt a bit reluctant to let them go.  They have become so....personal.  When I told him that he said I should keep them.  I said no, if I ever have a need to see them again, he can mail them back to me.  I know I never will have a need for them.

We exchanged phone numbers & addresses (although my address & phone number has been the same for 55 years).  I will mail the letters to him tomorrow.  Perhaps we will stay in touch.  Perhaps not. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I feel like I'm living in a novel, anticipating the ending, but afraid to reach it...and find out what?  AND's my own life that I'm reading about.

In the archeological process of digging through 55 years & 3 generations of accumulation in my home, I found a pack of letters.  There are 20 or more big, fat letters from 1961  I was barely 18 years old, studying for finals in preparation of my high school graduation

Some letters are 12 pages long.  I vaguely knew they they were there.  Living in a house for so long - I rarely felt the pressure to toss out, however now that I'm in the process of moving, I have decisions to make each day.  Sell, keep, toss, donate to thrift stores or give to friends, family, etc. (my family does not want anything)

Back to the letters.  They are from PFC Michael P. H......., US Marine.  At first, I  read 3 or 4 letters in quick succession & tossed them into the bathroom trash.  I felt proud of myself.  Good!  I got rid of something.  Hooray.  But then I got to thinking....he was writing in such depth & detail & he....the marine, the young man on the other side of time and history began to rise up like the image in a photographers pan of chemicals.  Before I left that evening, I went on Facebook.  I thought if I could find him, I would send him the letters.  I thought of it as returning a piece of his life & memories to him....a gift of himself to him.  There was only one FB match that seemed age-appropriate & I sent a note.  No response.

That evening at a wedding showcase, I spoke with Donna re: my emotional process of moving & spoke of the letters...those I threw out & those I had not yet read.  She was so excited about my letters & my relationships that went so far back in my life.  She wanted to hear more - she wanted me to update her.  "Please don't throw them little space they will take up in your new home". We exchanged emails.  Now I couldn't wait to get home & remove those I had read  from the trash.

I re-read them.  Slowly this time.  I re-read them again.  Savoring the details.  The importance of someones life.  The gift I was given with each word & image.  It is 5 days later & I read one or 2 in bed before I fall asleep each night. There was a love story unfolding.  There was history & tragedy.  There was humor & sweetness as he described the soggy details of jumping into the sea to retreive my letter that had blown out of his hand.  "I got it before the glue melted on the stamp."  At times he described how he was the only one choosing to stay on ship as the others were on liberty leave.  He would write to me at 2, 3, or 5 am. 'til he could no longer keep his eyes open.  He counted the days 'til he would hear my voice or return to Great Neck.  He signed his letters "Sayonara, with all my growing love, Mike."  "If I can see you, even if it's for just for a day, Suzi, all the long days and the sleepless nights will have been worth it. But until then, there are 25 days and nights and they'll be the longest days and nights I'll probabally ever see.  I'd gladly go thru the hell of the past 2 months one-hundred times over again and twice as bad, just to hear the sound of your voice right here this minute.  A lot of guys would have made it back if they had someone to live for.  I did.  I realize my being here is because someone wanted me to be here.  I did what you told me to do in your letter.  I "took care of me for you."  If it weren't for you, I know positively I'd be "back there" along with many of my best buddies."

My friend Ellen told me this discovery is more valuable than 20 years of therapy.  I agree.  What a view of myself.  How blessed I was to have such sweetness come into my life.  He described me as I, the 18 year old, could never have seen myself at that time.  This discovery is history-changing for me.  My spirit did attract goodness. 

I have about 5 letters left.  I will read them slowly.  I don't want this story to end.  I don't really remember how it did end.  I hope I was kind.  If, perhaps I was not...I hope to forgive my 18 year old self for any hurt I may have caused.

Speaking with Vicky at a dance Friday night, I spoke of moving (of course, that's what I always speak of these days) & "the Letters".  Another interested party wanting updates.  At Vicky's suggestion - I once again related a version to Caroline who is a genealogist & happened to be at the dance. For some reason, I hesitated to email the data I had garnered from the letters to her...but did 3 days later.  I think I was (am) afraid to know the end of the story?  However, she emailed back within a few hours (last night).  She found an address in Ct & a phone number listed in his brother Joe's name.  How did she do that so fast??  And now I hesitate to call the number or write to the address she has found. 

I think I will wait & read one more letter before I call.  Am I afraid that I will reach him....or that I will not?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

another storm

Tonight I was in Port Jefferson  for a wedding showcase & it began to pour soon after I arrived.  I didn't know that & was feeling so  sorry for myself because I couldn't go to my women's group - which was cancelled because of weather warnings.
People at the showcase were talking about a tornado in Queens & I kept thinking back to June 24 & the tornado that raged through Great Neck.  I listened to the news on the way home & it spoke of  drastic weather conditions in Staten Island, Bklyn & Queens - trees down, no service on  the LIRR & part of the LIE with backed-up traffic due to downed trees.
What a surprise when I drove down Allenwood from the park & saw the streets strewn with branches....really big branches.  More of a surprise when I couldn't pull into my driveway because there was a big piece of tree in it - or walk down my front walk for the same reason, but with a different tree piece.  Can't really see the extent of the damage, but the side fence has the Shmuel's tree in/on/through it.
If I had not gone out, the tree would have been in the exact spot I keep my car.
Poor Lucy was upstairs in the dark....when I went up to get her, she  ran right into the bathroom for me to give her water....& slurped it right up.  She must have been a wreck while the wind & rain were being so noisy.
Once again.  Thank you God.