CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

December 27, 2014

Warmth on New England Beaches

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

WARMTH ON NEW ENGLAND BEACHES

As the holidays end, and the cold of winter sets in, dreams of the warmth of summers past on the beaches of the New England coast begin floating, like kites in the wind, through my head.

The WordPress photo prompt for December 26 is warm: show us your take on warmth. And so, I go to New England pictures of past summers on the beach.

Someone came along to snap this photo of me at Wallis Sands Beach in Rye, New Hampshire

Someone came along to snap this photo of me at Wallis Sands Beach in Rye, New Hampshire

It can't be that cold...jackets????

It can’t be that cold…jackets????

Nantasket Beach, Massachusetts

Nantasket Beach, Massachusetts

(more…)

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December 9, 2014

International Friends Share Our Life Journey — Part 2

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDS SHARE OUR LIFE JOURNEY

Part 2

The following piece was written between July 1985 and summer 1988. It has been updated from then to include relationships to the present date.

During our children’s growing up years they met special people from foreign countries, people who joined their life journey to ours. This is Part 2 of their stories. Read Part 1 at

germany-map-travel_2

David, an 18-year-old exchange student from Germany. We co-hosted him with our then neighbors Rhonda and Tom—we had the sleeping space, they did the high school activities with their children and they cooked dinner regularly. David learned a lot during his stay with us—how to do his laundry, how to iron, how to tie a tie. He was great at skateboarding. But most of all, he held a baby, my great-niece Haleigh, for the first time. He returned to Germany at the end of the school year.

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Another good friend came from my paternal grandmother’s country, Sweden. We met Roy through a fellow writer, the late Diane Potter. On each of his visits we hung the Swedish flag, which delighted him. He often told the story about dynamite being invented in Sweden, and went with us to a St. Lucia program at the Church of the Savior in Cleveland Heights, Ohio (my son’s church). Read about it at  Sancta Lucia: Swedish Christmas Tradition with Italian Roots

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In recent years I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Holocaust survivors Bob Mendler and Janet Singer, perhaps the only two child survivors of (more…)

December 6, 2014

Gone Off My Christmas Card List—But Not Forgotten

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

“GONE” OFF MY CHRISTMAS CARD LIST“BUT NOT FORGOTTEN”

Note: This article is a cheat, as it combines two 2014 WordPress challenges:

listing, and gone but not forgotten.

‘Tis the season for suspense-building lists, the December 2 daily challenge began. Everybody loves (or at least loves to hate) a list…I invite you to breathe new life into the established genre of the end-of-year countdown list.

Then on December 5, before I tackled the above challenge, the WordPress weekly photo challenge asked writers to show us what “gone, but not forgotten” means to you.

Hmmm, I thought. I’m just about to tackle my Christmas card list. Over the years many persons have been “gone” off this list—persons who have died, but are not forgotten. I decided to make a list of these persons, with some photographs, and to write one sentence about them. The first ones will include photographs: gone but not forgotten.

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Albert and May Isabelle Briskay, my grandparents, who cared for my older sister and I until we were about 7 and 9 years old; I recall his sitting in a chair smoking cigars and her making me stand on a stool while she pinned the hem of a dress she was making me.

BRISKAY, MAE ISABELLE WALKER

Albert Adam Briskay (Borinsky)

Albert Adam Briskay (Borinsky)

Nancy Lipsius, my mother, died too early, since she was just beginning to share her life stories with me—it had been a slow journey getting her to talk about her life.

My mother, Nancy Briskay Cornell Lipsius

My mother, Nancy Briskay Cornell Lipsius

Robert Cornell, Chief Photographer in the Navy, my father—whom I only met twice and not until I passed age 30—is remembered for his tremendous photography.

Chief Navy Photographer Robert William Cornell

Chief Navy Photographer Robert William Cornell

Photo by Chief Navy Photographer Robert W. Cornell

Photo by Chief Navy Photographer Robert W. Cornell

(more…)

November 18, 2014

International Friends Share Our Life Journey — Part 1

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDS SHARE OUR LIFE JOURNEY

Part 1

The following piece was written between July 1985 and summer 1988. It has been updated from then to include relationships to the present date.

During our children’s growing up years they met special people from foreign countries, people who joined their life journey to ours. Below are some of their stories.

singapore_sm_2014

One such person was Hung Pheng Tan, a graduate student at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where my husband Monte taught. We were his American host family, and when we relocated from SUNY@Buffalo to Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania, he visited our new community. He was the first international person our daughter Sandy met—although I’m certain she doesn’t recall knowing him back then, as she was only a few months old. Hung Pheng was present at her baptism. She remet him (and his wife) when the couple visited us in 1988, and my son Nolan met him for the first time.

Whether from Singapore or America, we all feel joy

Whether from Singapore or America, we all feel joy

When they visited us in July 2014 Sandy could introduce him, his wife, and his college-age son to her daughter, a sweet sixteen.

map-of-cameroon

Joseph, a Cameroon (Africa) native, lodged with us for a short time while studying at Slippery Rock University. He needed work and we needed help in our country-style life—especially with planting trees. When he moved on he left behind a young boy—our son—who, for almost two years, rejected the use of silverware in favor of fingers.  This was the result of the effects of an African dish meant to be eaten with the fingers, a technique Nolan applied to almost all foods.

When Joseph’s wife Susanne came to the United States to join him and to study here, she left their son in their native country. While here she also became a special friend. Susanne became pregnant just before we left for Atlanta, Georgia, where my husband Monte studied for the ministry. Understandably they lacked many needed items. Our family prepared a pond-side baby shower for Susanne, complete with a warm-weather swim to cool off. In attendance were several elderly neighbors as well as younger folk, all of whom were exposed to her Cameroon culture. Her son arrived a month later while we were in Atlanta.

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During our three-year sojourn in Atlanta Samir and Farial, from Egypt, joined our life journey. We met through a program that connected foreign visitors with (more…)

November 13, 2014

My Sister & I: Like Oil and Water

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS is now located at Carolyn’s Online Magazine.

After reading about the sisters I invite you to visit the new site.

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

MY SISTER AND I:

LIKE OIL AND WATER

Lee

Lee

 Carolyn

Carolyn

If we had met as teenagers or later in life I doubt we’d have the strong relationship we have today. After all, my older sister Lee and I are very different—we’re like oil meeting water. Perhaps it can be said we are polar opposites.

The few outsiders who have been guests in our respective homes observe one polar difference between us. You enter her home and it is so neat and orderly. You enter my home and…well, I must remove the clutter from the chairs so you have a place to sit…I have to pile up the papers etc. on my table in order to serve you tea. You can read a more detailed comparison between a near neatnik and an almost hoarder by clicking on My Sister and I: Cluttered Versus Neat Home .

Then there is our workplace demeanor. My sister would never walk into her workplace office wearing a fuzzy maroon bathrobe, matching fuzzy maroon sneakers, no makeup, and unkempt hair—looking for all the world like she just rolled out of bed. And yes, I did just that. It was justified, if I say so myself. It was in retaliation for my boss challenging me to (more…)

October 7, 2014

Traveling on a Greyhound Bus with Children

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

TRAVELING CROSS COUNTRY ON A GREYHOUND BUS

(WITH TWO SMALL CHILDREN)

Our trip of a lifetime almost didn’t happen. You’ll understand after reading about its first two laps.

1974-0801

In 1974 my husband Monte received a grant to attend an energy conference in Berkeley, California. Our children, Sandy 4 and Nolan 2, stayed in Slippery Rock with me for the first five weeks. In the sixth week we traveled to California, from where the four of us would travel back to Slippery Rock.

Our mode of transportation — Greyhound bus, which offered a 30-day Ameripass ticket for $50, entitling purchasers to unlimited riding to any destination served by the company.

Shirl, Diane, Nolan & Sandy (l-r)

Shirl, Diane, Nolan & Sandy (l-r)

Our good friend Shirl Murray drove us from our Slippery Rock home to the bus station , which was an hour away in Youngstown, Ohio. We made it with time to spare. The kids waited anxiously for “their” bus to arrive, then waited in line to board. A youngish man wearing the Greyhound uniform punched our ticket.

It was a cross country bus, so we settled in for our long journey. The passengers were a mix of humanity. A young couple and an elderly man seated themselves up front. Several teenagers seated themselves in the back of the bus. A frail woman sat in the middle. Most of the seats were filled with passengers boarding in towns the bus drove through en route from New York City to Youngstown.

The driver boarded, set his briefcase on the floor, situated himself in the driver’s seat, and shut the door. Suddenly the bus engine purred and he skillfully backed out of the parking place. All was well in the small community encased in what only can be described as an oversized tuna can.

The kids occupied themselves watching the Ohio country speed by while I arranged their things so they could entertain themselves when they tired of the scenery.

I sat back in my seat and pulled out a magazine, hoping I could finish an article before the kids needed me. The animated conversation interspersed with laughter coming from the young girls provided a pleasant backdrop.

At first I didn’t notice the frail woman, several rows down, but gradually her under-breath muttering pierced (more…)

July 20, 2014

7/20/1969 Singapore Guest Revisits 7/19/2014

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

SINGAPORE GUEST

1969: WATCHES MOON LANDING

2014: VISITS FLIGHT 93 CRASH SITE

 On July 20, 1969, my husband Monte and I hosted a back-yard picnic at our then home at 69 Clarence Avenue in Buffalo, New York. Our black and white television was outside on a table across from the food.

During the evening, while the late evening temperature descended from the day’s high of 84.9F to a low of 62.1F*, all eyes were on the primitive pictures—made as good as could be by rabbit ears. We were waiting for the pivotal moments of the evening:

  • 4:17 pm EDT – The (lunar module) Eagle lands (on the moon).
  • 4:18 pm EDT – “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed,” Armstrong reports as the lunar module lands on the moon’s surface at the Sea of Tranquility. The module has only enough fuel to run for 40 more seconds.
  • 10:56 pm EDT – Armstrong says, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” as he becomes the first human to set foot on the moon.
  • 11:15 pm EDT (approx.) – Buzz Aldrin joins Armstrong on the moon. The men read from a plaque signed by the three crew members and the president, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”**

We were reminded of that evening 45 years ago by our recent house guest, Singapore resident Hung Pheng. He, his wife Bee Oon, and their son CZ, visited us in Laurel Mountain Borough between July 15 and July 19, 2014.

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In 1968 Monte taught physics at the State University of New York at Buffalo. That same year we became Hung Pheng’s university host family. The math department graduate student didn’t live with us, but we opened our home to him for visits, meals, and events.

Although Monte and I moved to Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, (he accepted a job there as physics department chairman) in August, 1969, our relationship with Hung Pheng continued. The student visited us numerous times during the remaining time of his five-year stay.

While acting as his host family we took Hung Pheng and a friend of his to New England. While camping at a York, Maine, beach,  the two Asian students went to the shoreline and dug clams, which they cooked for their breakfast. I’m certain they were amused that they had to share car space with the two pet cats we took with us.

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We again hosted Hung Pheng in 1988 while living in New Castle, Pennsylvania, where Monte was pastor of Emmanuel United Methodist Church. This time we met Bee Oon. One day we visited Slippery Rock. There they found a pine seedling deep in the woods, and they planted the tiny seedling beside the pond near the house we were planning to retire to.

The tree grew large through the years, and we tried to send pictures so they could see its growth.

Pine tree blends in with other greenery,,,

Pine tree blends in with other greenery,,,

Fast forward to 2014. Hung Pheng and Bee Oon were back in the United States, this time accompanied by their college age son, CZ.  We met them in Buffalo, New York, on our way back to Laurel Mountain Borough after attending Monte’s family reunion in DeKalb Junction, New York. En route we stopped at a wharf (on Rt. 20) on Lake Erie in Erie, visited an Amish quilt store and an Amish wheelmaker shop (and were shown a century old wagon being restored); shopped at the outlet stores in (more…)

November 12, 2013

Hairific

Filed under: MEMOIRS — carolyncholland @ 3:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

Movicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hug to Sandy

HAIRIFIC

A fine head of hair adds beauty to a good face, and terror to an ugly one.  ~Lycurgus

While I was writing Farewell to Polamalu’s Golden Locks I read the following in the November 7, 2013, issue of the Ligonier Echo (item published Oct. 29, 1913):

  • How often you see an otherwise lovely face spoiled by homely hair—a face that would be most charmingly beautiful if she only had prettier hair. What a pity. And how foolish. Because that ugly hair, stringy, dull, lifeless-looking though it may be, can be made as glossy, soft, silky and beautiful as the heart could desire if only taken proper care of.

The piece took me back to the crossover time between the 1950s and 1960s when I worked very diligently to achieve the “do” of the day. I slept with varying sizes of rollers in my hair, styled my baby-thin hair strands into the stylish pageboy of the day, then doused it with excessive hairspray—and less than 5 minutes later my hair wimped out on me. I might as well not have bothered; I might as well have spent my time on something more productive. But I relentlessly kept trying.

  • Hair: we want it; we don’t want it. We try to grow it; we try to remove it. It is despised; it is sacred. It is our ‘look,” though we cannot ever actually see most of our own. But this paradox is an old one. We have been fussing with our hair for centuries.**

Years later I was the mother of a daughter, Sandy. She was luckier than I was. She had a thick head of naturally curly hair that everyone admired.

“It’s in the genes,” I’d explain.

I call the time she spent mucho time achieving the right (more…)

September 16, 2012

Questions to Ask Before Resolving to Lose Weight

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE RESOLVING TO LOSE WEIGHT

Summer is easing into autumn. The season change encourages changes in lifestyle—hopefully, changes for the best.

While sorting papers I came across an article on questions Weight Watchers advises a person to ask before resolving to lose weight, before making a commitment, in order to come to a realistic goal.

Do you realize that you must make long-term, not temporary, changes?

  • If I’m only losing weight to fit into my wedding dress for my forty-seventh anniversary, and am not concerned about after the event, I don’t have to be concerned about making permanent changes. However, if I want permanent weight loss, I need to make permanent changes.  I aim for permanent weight control.

Do you realize that you must make long-term, not temporary, changes in the way you eat?

  • There are not too many changes I need to make in my basic diet, but snacking…cutting      down on popcorn…and taking smaller portions of food are points to work on. I’m cognizant that Moderation, not deprivation, is the key.

Do you realize that you must make long-term, not temporary, changes in how active you are?

  • As for being active…I’m basically a sedentary person who must work (more…)

September 15, 2012

Nancy’s 70th Birthday: 9/15/2012

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

NANCYS 70th BIRTHDAY: 9/15/2012

Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time. —Jean Paul Richter
 You can only perceive real beauty in a person as they get older. —Anouk Aimee

So you think seventy is old?

How would it feel to be 25,567?

How would it feel to be 613,608?

How would it feel to be (more…)

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