Monday, February 27, 2012

Class Assignment


 by June T. Bassemir

I am so inspired after listening to the words of our Tuesday night author, that I grabbed a pencil and my big yellow pad as I climbed into bed.  I can’t wait for tomorrow, as I do my most original thinking in bed just before drifting off to sleep ... or just before I am fully aware that it is the start of another day. 

The lights are out.  I am all cozy with my head on the pillow, my right hand resting lightly on the yellow pad.  My hand is holding a number 2 pencil all poised ready to go.  Suddenly the thoughts begin racing around my brain, over my shoulder, down the straight of my arm and out through the graphite pencil point.  I am busy scratching away with a sudden delightful burst of originality, when my husband, who is drifting off to sleep next to me, is awakened.  It seems a #2 pencil is soft but only in the daytime.  At night, it sounds like there are mice in the room.  He sits bolt upright in bed and asks, “What’s that?”   I reply that it is only me doing my creative writing assignment for next week.  “You're nuts”, he says. "Do it tomorrow.” and sinks back into the pillow.  It’s too dark and too late to convince him that this is how I get my inspiration.  So much for my creative writing masterpiece assignment.

JTBassemir  (ca 1956)

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Bear and Eagle Affair.

 by Kevin Schmitt

The Man  From U.N.C.L.E.


Chapter One


The guard observed the approach of the hand pulled cart with his usual lackluster expression. But as its owner-operator passed through the large barbed wire gate, the middle aged sentry’s eyes widened almost as much as they did the day he was forced back into the Wehrmacht. Behind the shabbily dressed peddler was a collection of old musical instruments, including an honest to God sousaphone.

 John “Busty” Brown, scrounger extraordinaire had been given permission to meet with the salesman in front of the delousing station. Many eyes were upon them, but since no one had any pest control issues at the moment, the two men were pretty much alone. Brown briefly examined the rolling stock and then shook his head in disapproval.

 “Everyone of these instruments has at least one sticky valve.”

 “I’ve made arrangements with a fix it shop to deal with those problems one instrument at a time,” said the peddler.

 “Screw that, Wendal. You get your property fixed, then sell it to me.”

 “I don’t have money to spend on repairs, but you do,” countered the peddler.

 “I won’t after I’ve bought this junk,” declared Brown. “I’ll be tapped out for six months at least.”

 “Oh, God you are such a lying sack of excrement. You deserve to be in jail the way you operate,” Wendal said loud enough for the guards and fellow P.O.W.s to hear.

 That line caused some sporadic chuckling.

 “Need I remind you that I am not a criminal,” the Englishman declared with a lofty expression. “I am a non-commissioned officer who was honorably captured while serving King and Country.”

 “Please, Goebells gives us enough of that sort of crap on the radio. But I’ll take the sousaphone back and get that repaired with my own money.”

 Brown picked up a cornet and pretended to point out a defect to the peddler.

 “John Amery is a traitor. I have my suspicions about William Joyce as well.”

 “You’d better have proof,” the man in the baggy suit muttered under his breath. “Those two won’t be easy to convict, and you will not be remembered with great fondness by your associates.”

 “Scroungers are never popular. We’re envied too much.”

 “And seldom seen in a patriotic light,” muttered Wendal.

 “One last thing: I want you to keep an eye on Margery Booth.”

 “The Abwehr has no doubt taken an interest in the fact that you meet with her. I don’t think—“

 “Do it,” snapped Brown, “or your people can write me off as an operative.”

 “You’re a bleeding heart,” muttered the salesman.

 “And you threw yours away,” Brown countered.

 The salesman was not insulted. He understood John Henry Brown very well and appreciated the fact that they were cut from two different bolts of cloth. Brown had started out as a Quartermaster Sergeant in the British Army. Mi5 recruited him for special service because he had been a member of the British Union of Fascists. It was arranged that he be captured at Dunkirk, and from there on he would have to improvise a way to become a traitor to his country.

 This fit very nicely into a program that the Germans had devised to recruit collaborators from the British P.O.W. ranks. A sort of luxury camp was constructed near Berlin and designated Stalag 111d. There, Brown had made friends with the commandant, and a high ranking British traitor who secured him a position as a broadcaster on the German Concordia radio service. He then began to pass on coded information to a willowy opera singer named Margery Booth. He pretended to be infatuated with the lady; wanting to further her career even though she was a virtuous woman who remained loyal to her husband.

 Unfortunately, Adolf Hitler was a real admirer, and that made Booth a person of interest to Heinrich Himmler. The singer didn’t notice for quite some time, but Brown could spot a Gestapo agent in a full scale air raid and he feared for his lovely contact, even though she was tougher than she looked.

 Wendal saw things the same way. The only difference was that spying was his life’s calling, and as a true professional, he was able to view everyone as expendable, including himself. In the world of cloak and dagger, there were no mud filled trenches or gangrene infected wounds like in the first war. A few operatives even enjoyed champagne and chauffer driven limousines. But if you slip up, or Lady Luck steps out of the room----they shoot you. With or without the added discomfort of cigarette burns----they shoot you.

Continued here:

Kevin Schmitt lives in Minnesota and has been a factory worker for thirty-five years. His hobbies are camping, cross country hiking, kayaking, and playing the Boehm type flute (Irish folk music and marches.) When the weather is too God awful for anything else, he writes and practices a bit of Karate kata. He is not a cool person, and he is aging rather quickly.

Monday, February 20, 2012

One Summer

by Bo Drury

The bug moved slowly across the dirt pushing and guiding the perfect ball he had created of manure gathered from the cowshed. Polly watched curiously while lying on her stomach on the splintered porch of the old farm house. Wisps of golden hair flew around her oval face and her brown eyes watched intently as the bug traveled over the uneven ground, his spindly legs working continuously. What was he going to do with it she wondered, where was he going? He will never get there she thought.

Losing interest she rolled over on her back and looked past the cover of the porch to the white billowing clouds gathering on the horizon. They were in constant motion, building and ebbing, rising here and falling there, going nowhere. It was the same with her she thought, going nowhere.

Polly was fifteen years old. School was out. It was summer vacation. Most everyone she knew was gone out of town on a trip and here she was stuck here on the farm with nothing to do for three months. What a bummer for a teenager.

The old farm house, void of paint, was a weathered gray standing just off the old county road. Few cars traveled the road any more as the paved highway north of the wheat field had been completed some months back. A few travelers still came that way when they got lost or missed the turn in the road.

The county road grader crew still stopped to get a drink from the well and if her Dad was around they would sit in the shade of the big elm by the well and visit a spell. Some of them would lay in the shade and take a nap. Her Dad said those county jobs were “gravy” what ever that meant.

She heard them coming down the road, moving slow, stirring up the dirt as they came. This day there was a pickup truck following them. They pulled up in the yard and piled down off the grader and out of the truck and came across the yard.

“Mornin’ Missy.” The man from the truck spoke,”Mind if we get a drink of that good water ya’ll have here?”

Polly sat up and looked them over. They had someone new with them this morning. A young boy.  He was tall, at least a head taller than herself. He had black hair and the bluest eyes she had ever looked into. The dirt on his face did nothing to distract from his good looks. She shook her head not saying anything as they continued on to the barrel of water. The boy hesitated. They looked each other over good. Polly felt herself blush and looked away.

They took down the tin cup that hung on a nail and was for the use of anyone who came by, skimmed the dirt off the water in the barrel and each one drank their fill. Sam, the one who drove the grader took his hat off and poured a dipper of water over his head, cooling down. It was hot and dirty work. Polly was watching.

The man who had spoken earlier smiled, took off his hat, and looking at Polly said,

” This here’s my nephew, Chip, gonna be helping Sam out this summer on the roads. Learning the trade. He will be stopping by from time to time.” Wiping the sweat from his forehead he put his hat back on. “Thanks for the drink, Missy.” and started for the truck.

“My names Polly.” she said, looking at the boy. He nodded and followed his uncle. Sam wiped his face with a big red bandana and smiled at Polly.

“See ya next time, Polly.”

Polly watched them, never moving from her spot on the porch. The boy looked back as they drove away and raised his hand in a wave unseen by the others.

Polly leaned back on the porch and looking up at the clouds smiled. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad summer after all. Remembering the bug Polly sat up and looked to see how far he had traveled. He was almost to the fence. He had gone at least five ft. He might get there after all, where ever that was.

                                                                                           © Bodrury 2007

Bo Drury, born in the Texas Panhandle during ‘the great depression’, had the advantages of growing up in the country and developing a great love and respect for nature and the plains. Listening to the tall tales of her father and hearing the stories of many of her ancestors as they braved the hardships of the new land and were themselves instrumental in taming the Wild West, from her 5th great-grandfather, Daniel Boone, to her paternal grandparents making ‘the run’ for land into the Indian Territory, she has story after story to tell.  With a ranching heritage on one side and a newspaper family on the other, her desire to write started at the age of eleven after reading the story of “Betty Zane” written by Zane Gray. To date she has written several short stories of the west and of the folks who lived during those times.

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's Only A Wrapping

by June T. Bassemir
It was in 1944 and I was visiting my southern cousin in Miami, FL.  We finished our roller skating that night and were headed back to her house by bus.   A small black grandmother got on with her packages and stood in the aisle.  I got up to give her my seat.  Being a teenager from New York, I didn’t know that the South had an unwritten law in those days that blacks could only sit in the back seat of the bus and the back seat was filled.  My cousin said she wouldn’t take the offered seat and… she didn’t.  I felt terrible.
I felt terrible because prior to this, when I was about 8 yrs. old, my older brother (10) and I did a terrible thing. While our mother shopped, we sat in the car in a parking lot in Freeport.  A black man walked by the car and we used the “N” word and then ducked down so as not to be seen.  But he knew the voices were ours and he came to the car.  He scolded us until we were ashamed and that guilt has remained…all this time. I have no idea where we heard that word ….. certainly, not from our parents. 
Now, in 2012, I offer an apology, to that man long gone and to all black people.  I want to be able to see each other as just plain people not as black, tan white or yellow.  It felt so good this past holiday, when on four separate occasions, kind words were spoken to me by men and women of color.  It was so infectious; I found I wanted to do the same thing to the strangers I met.  In other words, the love expressed to me was being passed along to others.  Let’s promise to un-see each other’s skin color.  It’s really only a wrapping of what is underneath. 

copyright June T. Bassemir  2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


by Kelly Reale

Motherhood is the loneliest job I’ve ever had. It requires so much change; so much soul searching. And, these are lonely pursuits.

In the immortalized words of Carly Simon, having children is “…So good on paper, so romantic, so bewildering.”  But as any parent will tell you, it’s also so wonderful.

The birth of my first child was, for me, confirmation once and for all that there really is a God out there somewhere. I’m pretty sure that I don’t believe in the God that I was taught about in any particular brand of church, but I’m dead certain that the miracle of life happens in spite of man’s best intentions and is in no way accidental. The way nature blends resemblances and individuality into an un-repeatable little soul is simply stunning to me.

My firstborn’s arrival heralded a change in my thinking that took me by surprise. Where I had been liberal, I sometimes became suddenly conservative. Where I had previously been certain about how I would raise this child, I quickly learned that it wasn’t completely up to me…this daughter of mine did and still does have a plan all her own. I know now (but sometimes need reminding) that she is her own little self. My second daughter is equally unique and so very opposite. From her I’ve learned that almost nothing I figured out with my first daughter will work on the second.

The questions are un-ending. My oldest asked me last week if God had died. I explained that God did not die; he’s in heaven, looking over us. In the clear logic of a 5-year old, she responded, “But Mommy, everyone goes to heaven when they die - so God must be dead.”  Truly, this is easy stuff compared to the questions I ask myself. How do I get them to try broccoli when I hate it? How do I instill in them a sense that their bodies are beautiful, but keep them from running out the back door naked? How do I encourage them to be free-spirited and find their own path, while at the same time learn what society expects of them – and why that actually matters? And for God’s sake, how do I get them to take a bath without actually drinking the bathwater?

And then, there has been the question of my self-identity. Everything I thought I knew about myself is seen in a new, shifting light. How am I supposed to set an example of the kind of women that I want them to grow up to be when I myself am still “becoming”? How do I make room for all of the parts of me that sometimes compete, along with my kids, for my time and attention? In this aspect I am completely alone. Husbands, girlfriend heart-to-hearts and various support groups play a crucial role, but none of them can replace the voice of my soul. When I listen to it, I sometimes hear that it’s time to take care of myself for a change. Sometimes I heed its advice. And, it often reminds me that I’ve been granted the gift of being a mother to these two little girls. It tells me that I don’t have to be perfect and that I should enjoys these crazy, hectic, wonderful moments.

I doubt my daughters will take the time to notice who their mother is until they are mothers themselves - I surely didn’t. When they get around to it, I hope they see a confident woman who isn’t afraid to take chances. I hope they see a woman who loves to laugh and does so often. I hope they see a mother who did the very best she could for them and who loves them with all her heart and soul. 

Copyright by Kelly Reale 2007

Kelly Reale lives in the Albany, NY area with her husband and two daughters.  She writes occasionally, when the corporate world lets up a bit.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Case For Peace

by June Tuthill Bassemir

This is 2009.  Sixty five years ago in 1944 my brother Bruce W. Tuthill gave “the supreme sacrifice”…his life for his Country in WW2.  It was supposed to be the last war.  We lived for about a month with the “Missing in Action” notice until the final dreaded telegram of “Killed in Action” came.  As hard a blow as it was for us to bear, the taxi man who delivered it had just as hard a time.   He tried for as long as he could to delay the news of the delivery.  Mr. Miller was the husband of Bruce’s first grade teacher and his job was to relay these telegrams as they came in to the parents in our small town.  It was a dark day in November when we received the news.  Its devastation is no less potent today than it was then but there are fewer and fewer folks still living to remember him.  Gone are his Mother, Father, his oldest brother; both Grandmothers; the only Grandfather he knew; Uncles and Aunts…. Gone are his two closest buddies; his first girlfriend and his admiring Floridian cousin who thought so much of him that she even named her son - Bruce.

He was born on April 18th 1924 and died twenty years, four months and eight days later – in 1944.  He was very proud of his birthday and never failed to let people know that it was the date of the ride of Paul Revere – no less a hero.  He graduated from H. S. in 1942 and after working at Grumman Aircraft for a short time, he enlisted in the Army Air Corp in 1943.  His basic training was at Camp Upton, NY and from there he went on to Miami FL; Tulsa OK; Las Vegas NM; and Sheffield, TX.  In Tulsa he met “Billy” Emmons, a nice girl whom I am sure he was planning to come home to.

Finally, he was ready to be shipped out and the Army gave him a “Ten Day Delay en Route” to visit the family in the spring of ’44.  The pictures of that time are curled and yellowed now, but oh how the memory lingers.  All four siblings lined up in profile for that picture – from the tallest and oldest brother; then the second oldest brother, then Bruce; then me his only sister.  That day he showed off his bulky brown shiny flight suit and his khaki uniform with the Staff Sgt. Insignia on the sleeve.  At one point he noticed I was wearing the gold plated locket he sent me.  Someone snapped a picture of us just as he said, “Oh… you’re wearing my locket – and my picture is inside”.   I still have that picture with the locket attached to the outside of the frame. 
I look at it and see two young people unaware of the photographer …absorbed in the joy of the moment.

He loved his family and his home town and wrote frequently from the day he enlisted to the bombing days while stationed in Italy. We didn’t know then where he was but afterward we learned that he was part of the bombing raids that targeted the Polesti Oil fields in Poland.  I became the recipient of all his letters and tried to put them in a book but reading them with his hope of what he wanted to do when he came home expressed in all the letters caused my heart strings to stretch and the tears to flow.  I put them aside thinking that time will ease the sorrow.

My life went on; I married; children were born; houses were built; moves were made – and still the letters followed with me.  Now, my oldest son in his 50’s is interested in his Uncle Bruce that he never met.  I dug out the letters to read and to supply the information my son wanted.  What kind of a plane did he fly; what was his position in the plane; did the plane have a name; what was the number of the Bomb Squadron; how many missions did he fly?  I found that even though tears flowed again, the more I read of Bruce’s familiar hand writing, the closer I felt.  He lived in a tent and frequently he would write his letter as “the candle is getting low” or “I’m writing this by flashlight”.  He had adopted a dog, a mutt really, and the guys called him “Elmer”.  Elmer slept with Bruce on his cot. At one point he and his crew went to the Isle of Capri and he thought it was “the most beautiful place he had ever seen”.  When servicemen wrote home they only had to write “Free” where the stamp would be and V-mail was another method of receiving mail.  One sheet of writing was photographed and sent in a small envelope.  While it was good to receive those letters, it was less intimate than a regular hand written one.  Quite often the letters were censored if something was said that would imperil the safety of the soldiers or give information to the enemy.  He said, “After fifty missions, we get to fly to Miami Beach for a 21 day rest”.  I don’t know if that was a rumor or if it was really true.  Fifty was the magic number. - But he was on his 35th mission when his plane was hit.  All but two of the crew was able to parachute to safety but Bruce was not one of them.  He occupied the Top Turret Gunner position on the B-24, having proven himself to be a good marksman.  One of the crew, who lived in Brooklyn, came to visit us after he was sent home.  He told us more than we wanted to know of that last flight.  Too late to stop him, he said my brother’s chute failed to open.

I have come to the end of this writing… my eyes are swollen again but this time it has been comforting to share my brother’s thoughts and activities with my interested son…. sort of a visit with my brother “Bru” and his Uncle.   Maybe some day wars will cease but I doubt it.  There always seems to be another generation in the wings that has not learned that hatred, revenge, envy, greed and fighting only lead to bloodshed and heartache for those left behind.  Of course, they say that WW2 was “an honorable war” but really in the end “honorable” or not, if you have lost a loved one in any war the sadness never really goes away.

          copyright February, 2009, June Tuthill Bassemir

June Tuthill Bassemir is the widowed mother of four and grandmother of 10.  An artist and writer, she  volunteers as a docent in a 1765 farm house.   June loves old cars and antiques, and has also enjoyed furniture stripping and rug hooking.  "I used to say I was a stripper and hooker.but with so many trips around the sun, no one raises an eyebrow anymore. They only laugh."  June has given up furniture stripping, but is still an avid rug hooker.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The delectable way of life at the Brook Farm

by Nathaniel Hawthone
To Louisa Hawthorne
Brook Farm, West Roxbury
May 3 1841

AS the weather precludes all possibility of ploughing hoeing sowing and other such operations I bethink me that you may have no objections to hear something of my whereabout and whatabout. You are to know then that I took up my abode here on the 12th ultimo in the midst of a snow storm which kept us all idle for a day or two At the first glimpse of fair weather Mr Ripley summoned us into the cow yard and introduced me to an instrument with four prongs commonly entitled a dung fork With this tool I have already assisted to load twenty or thirty carts of manure and shall take part in loading nearly three hundred more.  Besides I have planted potatoes and pease cut straw and hay for the cattle and done various other mighty works.  This very morning I milked three cows and I milk two or three every night and morning.  The weather has been so unfavorable that we have worked comparatively little in the fields but nevertheless I have gained strength, wonderfully grown quite a giant, in fact and can do a day's work without the slightest inconvenience. In short I am transformed into a complete farmer.
This is one of the most beautiful places I ever saw in my life and as secluded as if it were a hundred miles from any city or village. There are woods in which we can ramble all day without meeting anybody or scarcely seeing a house. Our house stands apart from the main road so that we are not troubled even with passengers looking at us. Once in a while we have a transcendental visitor such as Mr Alcott but generally we pass whole days without seeing a single face save those of the brethren. The whole fraternity eat together and such a delectable way of life has never been seen on earth since the days of the early Christians. We get up at half past four, breakfast at half past six, dine at half past twelve and go to bed at nine. The thin frock which you made for me is considered a most splendid article and I should not wonder if it were to become the summer uniform of the Community. I have a thick frock likewise but it is rather deficient in grace though extremely warm and comfortable. I wear a tremendous pair of cowhide boots with soles two inches thick.  Of course when I come to see you I shall wear my farmer's dress.  I would write more but William Allen is going to the village and must have this letter so good by,
Nath Hawthorne

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Injured WWI Soldier
by Mark D. Shulman

Abe, my grandfather, fought for the Germans during the first world war when he was in his twenties. He was a decorated war veteran. He was shot in the face, losing most of his teeth and much of his jaw and was left with a hole in both cheeks through which he could whistle much to the merriment of his many grand children.  Abe was a very short man, a little over five feet, but very strong. He could snap chain links with his bare hands. In a rough and tumble area, with many different peoples, few would try to bully him.  He took his religion seriously and observed the Sabbath. He was a self-made wealthy man in a very poor region where the people lived off the land. He owned much land and livestock in Bukovina and served as a butcher to peasants (gentiles) and Jews of the surrounding area. He was well liked and had many friends, including the local Parish Priest.

Bukovina, part of the Pale, which between 1918 and 1940 was almost entirely in Greater Romania, was the melting pot of eastern Europe, with populations of Romanians, Moldvans, Gypsies, and German/yiddish speaking Jews.  The Prut, or Pruth, in Ukrainian, is a 953 km long river in Eastern Europe, originating, in the Carpathian Mountains in the Ukraine was the largest river in the region and important to its commerce. It flows southeast to join the Danube River near Reni, east of Galati, before entering into the Black Sea. Nowadays it forms the border between Romania and Moldova. The biggest city along its banks was Chernivtsi, now in the Ukraine. Abe would take his family there on special occasions, to visit his brother Joachim, his wife and many children. The river had a special meaning to my Mother, Abe’s third oldest daughter. With the melting of the snow in the Carpathians, the spring flood of the Prut would often coincide with Passover. My mother told me how she wait for her grandmother, who would hike her skirts to ford the flooded river to join the family for the Passover celebration. It was a happy annual ritual.

On another special occasion, while visiting Chernivitsi, my mother told me of joining a group of excited teenagers and younger children surrounding and following a very beautiful woman who was different from anyone ever seen before. She was black! It was the famous singer, Josephine Baker, on tour of Eastern Europe, strolling the streets and enjoying the attention of the young people.

The Jews of the Pale had an uneasy relationship with their neighbors, suffering numerous atrocities over the centuries, but the years following the end of World War One were peaceful. In the mid 1930’s, things began to sour. There were unsettling rumors. The gentile neighbors, friends for years, became strangely distant, not so gentle, and then hostile. Abe could speak many languages but could not read (except for the Torah), but he was in ‘touch’ and knew things were changing quickly. Although Abe was relatively wealthy, his extended family was poor. They would perish at the hands of the Nazi death squads abetted by their covetous neighbors. Simon, Abe’s second son was about to be drafted into the Army that had honored his father. It would have been sure death. Abe helped him flee to Argentina, never again to see his parents.

Abe bribed the local parish priest, once a great friend of his, to prepare baptismal certificates for him and his family.  This allowed the family, now Roman Catholics, to obtain passports and leave for the United States. They traveled comfortably, through Poland, and then from Gdanks sailed on a Cunard Steamship and landed, now destitute (his wealth liquidated), at Ellis Island where they were granted asylum.

Abe and his family settled in the Bronx. As the children grew, married and had children, they remained in the Bronx, in the same neighborhood. I came on the scene at the end of the Great Depression prior to the Second World War. Through the early forties the family  learned of the murder of the family members left behind. First it was Uncle Joachim and his children, then there were the others.

Abe had great respect for FDR and I remember, as a four year old, walking with Abe to the Bronx’s grand Concourse to see the President. I still can see FDR, passing by in an open car, waving to Abe and me among the crowds. Most of the time Abe had no time for parades. Now in his seventies, once a wealthy man, he became a ‘junk’ man. He would march up and down the hills of the Bronx, often with me in tow, pushing a metal cart collecting scraps of metal and anything of value. Some of the other junk men had the advantage of a horse and a cart, Abe had only me.I don’t know what he did with his collected ‘stuff’ but he earned enough to support himself and my grandmother Pearl. He was never a burden to his children. Abe’s most valuable finds would be books, which he would always give to me encouraging me to read. Though illiterate (other than in the the writings of the scripture), and an impoverished old man, Abe placed great value on education and imparted these values to me, those many years ago, for which I continue to remain grateful.

One Shabbat morning, toward the end of the war, in his Bronx Schul on Mt. Eden Avenue, Abe was called to read from the torah. A great honor. He could not.

Mark D. Shulman, is Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University, where he taught and did research as Head and Graduate Program Director of the Meteorology Department. His research led to more than 80 peer reviewed publications. He served as President of the National Weather Service, Associate Editor of several professional journals and as the State Climatologist for New Jersey. He lives in Woodstock on the steep slope of Overlook Mountain where he continues to observe the weather and work in and on the arboretum he built, and in Florida in a home to which he hasn't yet invited me!

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Poore Veteran

(Some punctuation added.)

Wrightsville, York County, Pa.
April 14

(Some time after the Civil War.)

Dr. R. B. Bontecou my dear friend.  i was glad to heare from you  and now i must tell you that i am still a live but sufpher very mutch and if you could see me i know that you would pittey me.  i never can go no plaice but must set in my bed all the time.  i have paide well deare for fighting
for my contary and can never enjoy the fruits of it.  i have not walked for thirteen years and i am nothen but a reck and the poore soldier is forgoting and there is nothen caird about the poore cripple that the war has made up here were i live.   but i am glad that you still think of me.

you asked me to tell you how mutch pension i get.  why i get six hundred dollars a year but that does not keep me as i should be kept for there is many things that i need that i cant get.   for it takes all that money to keep me a home.  There is one hundred dollars Bontey(?) money coming to me yet that i never got and i gess i never will get it either.   government ain't doing  right by the soldiers atall.  you said that you would like to have a large photograph of me but i cannot go out of the house to get it taken.  it would be impossibel for me to go any where atall to get one taken, on less you could have a good man to come to my home to take it, then it could be done easly the way you want it. 

and the neares photographer liven neare me (?) little.  he lives in cloumbia, lancaster county, Pa.   so you can wright to him all about it, but he would have to come over to my home to take one for you.  that is the oanly way that it can be done.  oh i wish that you would take that mutch time to come just wonce to wrightsville to see me for your self.  you would be surprize to see me and why not come.  it would oanly take you too days to come to where i live and i would love to see you wonce more.  So do try and com.

Alexander Rider

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The News From Hortonville

by Delores Miller
The temperature is below freezing and we had a few inches of snow last night and the county snow plow is running up and down the roads.  They have nothing else to do.  It has been a very mild winter, most days above freezing temps and little snow.  No doubt we will pay for it in March when we hope for spring and it is not ready to grace us here in Wisconsin.
Christmas was  over a month ago.  All the children and grandchildren came except Richard in Boston because he won't fly in winter anymore.  Too many hassles on airplanes when weather is bad.  The children and grandchildren like to open lots of gifts under our Christmas tree.  Sometimes it is junk what I wrap up.  They did give us gift certificates for movies, restraurants, and for a new 'grass catcher' for the riding lawn mower.  And then Robin and Keith have to go out for Indian food at least once while they are here.
New Years Eve, we hosted our high school friends, it has been about 57 years we have met that night.  We gossip, play cards and eat, herring, ham, chips, casserole and a mean alcoholic drink called slush.  Needless to say we are all getting old.
We try to go dancing, but it was cancelled because of bad weather.  So we just hunker down and read books at home.  Did read John Grisham's new one 'The Litigators', wasn't as good as his usual one.  Did try to read Robert Massie's book on Catherine the Great of Russia, we always have an interest in that one because Russell's Mother was one of the German Lutherans from Russia.
Trying to work on the income tax, very complicated this year because of the tornado taking the barn, garage and pig coop.  All that insurance money would have to be listed as income, or we would have had to pay a 30% in capital games, that is why he built a 5-stall garage.
Richard's foot ball team, the New England Patriots won most of their games, and the play offs, and now go to the Super Bowl next Sunday in Indianapolis.  If they win, he will get another diamond ring and a big bonus, which he needs because they spend money so foolishly.  The University of Wisconsin - Madison football team played in the Rose Bowl in California and they lost.  They have a big parade which we like to watch on television.
April, 2011 Tornado Destruction at Miller Farm
With one of the gift certificates from Christmas, we went to movies, I saw 'The Iron Lady' with Meryl Streep playing Margaret Thatcher.  Russ went to the Descendants.  Before that he had gone to 'War Horse' and we all went to see The Help'.  Then we went out to eat at the American Legion Club House, Russ had perch and I had the boiled haddock dipped in butter, tarter sauce, baked potato and a glass of Miller Lite Beer.  Very good.
Went to a polka church service and chili luncheon with all the home made pies we could eat.  Was a nice day.  Polka dancing on Sunday afternoon, Tuba Dan was tooting his horn.  Big croud, everyone had cabin fever from being house bound for a couple months.
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Hortonville, Wisconsin