What’s In A Name?

Turns out more than meets the eye.
My Dad’s parents came to the US
from Poland. My Dad researched
his family history in Poland. Or was it Poland?

Immigration papers listed the family
as Austrians. Or were they? Maybe
Prussians , Austrians or Polish? Birth
records were in Radgoszcz, Poland.

Poland emerged as an independent nation
again after WW I. My Dad’s family settled in Western
Massachusetts and considered themselves
Polish. Between 1772-1795 Poland was

partitioned between Russia, Prussia and Austria.
As a Fulbright Teacher to Germany, I was intrigued
when colleagues guessed my name to mean “the
German Girl” which fascinated me since I

had a Ph.D. in German and taught it.
The beginning of my family name meant
a “person who did not speak
the language” which made sense to me. In

border countries, people suddenly had a new
language to learn. Before my Polish grandmother
came to this country in her twenties, she
told us of walking over the border and working

in Germany. Maybe it was Prussia or Austria?
Another colleague in Germany was
convinced that I was German “in my other
life” which confused me. Later I learned that

this individual believed in reincarnation.
My Dad researched family history and
wrote the family genealogy after researching
church records in Radgoszcz, Poland.

Speaking with a former student today, I was
reminded of my family history. As a German
teacher of almost 50 years, I consider my
name to be German or Austrian. Who

knows? My Dad considered it Polish since
he traced and visited several distant relatives
located in Poland. Since borders frequently
changed, so too did countries. And family stories.

Posted in Austria, Niemczura, Polska, Prussia, Radgoszcz | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

A Love Poem

The cards, flowers, chocolates arrive.
All express love upon which I thrive.
Carefully unfold the paper wrappings.
Trim the flowers and other trappings.

Add the plant food as per the card.
Fill the vase with food and water.
Now that wasn’t too hard.
Perhaps I should be a potter.

Find the perfect spot to display
All the beauties. Enjoy and gaze.
Which chocolate to have first?
I think my heart will burst.

To my loved ones I say
thanks for blessing my life.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Today we’ll have no strife.

I found the one
my heart loves.
So perfect for me.
My truelove.

Posted in chocolates, red roses, the colors of love, Valentine cards | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Lessons Learned the Hard Way!

Can we have our cake and eat it too?
Recalling my student days in Heidelberg,
I recall wearing skinny pointy-toed
high heels with my slim pencil skirts.

In the Heidelberg winter months,
I wore rain coats, carried an
umbrella in one hand and leather book
bag in the other as I headed to

university lectures. My journey
involved one bus trip and two trolley
trips followed by a short distance on
foot. Normally bumpy cobblestoned

streets became slippery, wet in rain.
Carrying an umbrella which opened by
simply pushing a button was useless
against the windy, rainy day I faced.

But young folks are invincible, right?
Wrong. I learned my lesson the hard
way on this particular day as I headed to
the university. As I pushed the

button to open it, the umbrella
caught in the wind and turned inside out!
Next lesson learned the hard way:
don’t run for the trolley, ever.

Why? My stylish footwear was
no match for the slippery cobblestones
underfoot. Young, invincible, I ran
anyway with an inside out umbrella.

My mother’s words played in
my head at this moment: remember
to wear sensible shoes! Another lesson
learned the hard way. Mortified,

I leaned over to pull my stylish
high heel from the trolley tracks.
Walking, hobbling with one shoe
on and one foot in stockings,

I gathered myself together
as best I could and hopped
aboard. Red-faced and dripping
wet, I tried not to look at

my mildly amused fellow passengers.
The older women were probably
thinking foolish me for wearing
such impractical shoes.

Lessons learned the hard way
are the ones remembered in
life. My coats have hoods; my leather
gloves are now cashmere-lined.

My footwear now includes snow
sneakers, boots and Birkenstock
sandals. Despite hard-learned lessons,
I recall fondly my student years in Heidelberg.

And the words of a trusted friend:
never run for the trolley. Why?
Another one will be along in
ten minutes. Another lesson learned.


Posted in education, life lessons, trolley, umbrellas | Tagged , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

What’s Out Your Window?

Oh dear, oh my!
Look out the window!
A visitor I spy!
Tricks to my eye?

Oh dear, oh my!
It’s just too funny!
We have company!
Out the window -ho, ho!

Oh dear, oh my!
The dogs skitter
at the new critter.
Visions in my eye?

Oh dear, oh my!
What do I spy?
Reddish brown – a bull!
You must be mistaken.

From my nap awaken!
The sheriff I shall call.
No sir, the beast is not small.
Imposingly massive.

What shall I do?
Grass and clover it chews.
Do not belabor.
Phone the neighbor.

How do I catch a bull?
What? Hire a matador?
Of jokes I’ve had my full.
After my chores,

go to the store.
How do I use a lasso?
I am not a cowboy.
An ATV to the rescue.

Oh dear, oh my.
We can’t catch it.
Still on the loose,
the bull I admit,

is crafty and sly,
I don’t know how
he outsmarts us.
Don’t want to fuss.

In our neck of the woods
we have snakes, squirrels,
rabbits and frogs. Who
would believe it? Few.

The truth I do speak.
What should I seek?
The rodeo cowboy?
He’s the real mccoy.

Oh dear, oh my.
A stranger in danger?
Befuddled but not muddled.
A name for the visitor!

Oh dear, oh my.
This docile creature,
the name I shall feature
is Ferdinand, Jr.

No longer foe but friend.
Ferdinand visits now and then.
So you see, you never know
what’s out your window!


Posted in cowboy, critters, Its name is Ferdinand, massive creature, matador, Texas | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Nana’s Player Piano

Let’s go to Nana’s and play her piano
I said to my two year old sister
in diapers and baby fat.

Down the hill to Main Street in
Monson where the hitching posts
from a bygone era stood at attention.

A Civil War-era cannon stood
guard at the Monson Town Hall.
Looking both ways at intersections,

I picked up my sister and carried
her across streets. Heavy she was
for my four year old arms.

We made the two mile walk
and arrived at Nana’s. She
was surprised to see us

and looked around for our mother
who was still at home up the hill.
We set Nana’s player piano in motion.

And sang tunes we made up.
Had a great time too until our
mother showed up at Nana’s to fetch us.

Much later I was told how I reassured
my mother that I had looked left and
right before carrying my sister across streets.

When I was older, I learned a big word:
precocious. We walked the two miles
back up the hill. Unscathed by the adventure.

When I close my eyes today, I can see
our house on the hill and Monson and where
Nana lived. Those were the good old days!


Posted in Flynt Avenue, Monson, Monson Town hall, Nana & Grandpa Mooney, precocious, Reynolds Avenue | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

Foiled Again! Forsooth!

Try as I may; try as I might,
I simply can’t seem to win the fight.

Tasty morsels for the birds hang
in a fancy house, me to harangue.

Modus operandi: outsmart
up the pole, my course to chart;

grab the delicacies to feast upon.
Oh what brawn.

The detractor lay on the ground.
Won’t the owners now astound?

For they had not factored
that I could bound

from the lower roof and branch.
Surely they will blanch!

Once more I will outsmart
and climb with a fresh start.

But what’s this? I can’t make
the detractor budge. Thwarted.

With reinforcements supported,
the detractor holds firm.

Foiled again. Forsooth! Beware
I will search elsewhere.

There’s no time to mourn.
I’ll just dig up an acorn.

The birds can feast on their food.
I’ll not brood.

No time to complain.
Only have myself to blame.

Posted in bird feeder, birdhouses, squirrel detractors | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Caelestis (Latin for heavenly, divine)

Would that I could find the name
for the newest family member.

Could I name this beauty?
Would it in all likelihood

encompass the elegance
and fragrance so good?

You’d think it an easy task.
That would be a falsehood.

For you see, this beauty,
not to be misunderstood,


this one-of-a-kind piece
of art, comely and divine,

evokes my childhood, and
Dad who worked with wood.

Smiling down from above, he
would say “chip off the old block.”

I shall name this marvel
caelestis, Latin for heavenly.

For you now must wonder
about what I could write?

Imagine if you would,
pine and cedar wood.

Combined it has become
a treasure, our cedar closet.

Would that I could.
Fragrant cedar wood.

Note:  Bob the Builder with our beautiful cedar-lined closet.

Posted in Caelestis, cedar, closet, new family member, pine | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments