October 7, 2014

Traveling on a Greyhound Bus with Children




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


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…)

October 2, 2014

Remembering Ellsworth & Lamoine, Maine



I’ve said this in previous writings: the most common question my husband Monte and I are asked about our autumn trips to New England is: Are you going to leaf peep? Certainly New England puts on a great display of brilliant fall leaves, but I can vouch that the hills of Southwestern Pennsylvania matches their splendor. No, we don’t go to leaf peep. We much prefer ocean viewing.

We were completing our 2013 travel to New England as September rolled over into October. On our return home—driving across New England into New York and south to Pennsylvania—some trees gave us a sneak peak of grandiose leaves, but we were traveling before they peaked. Thus, we enjoyed being inadvertent leaf peepers, viewing what many tourists drive to New England to do: enjoy autumn’s march from summer into winter.


Last year my husband Monte and I were visiting the towns of Ellsworth and Lamoine in Downeast Maine on September 30 and October 1. We stayed several days at SeaCat’s Rest, on the banks of the Jordan River, where our hosts were Bruce Gillett and Kathleen Rybarz and their Maine Coon cat.

131001 IMG_7556EA wall of windows gave us a view of the Jordan River, but wandering to the river’s edge provided great photo opportunities throughout the day and into the evening.

131001 IMG_7519EAs wonderfully calming SeaCat’s Rest was we couldn’t laze around all day.

On Monday, the 30th, we headed to the Ellsworth Public Library, where I had the opportunity to meet with Mark E. Honey. He’s a Maine history buff who has done much writing about Hancock County, which is the setting of my historic romance novel—and some of my ancestors. We’d had occasional contact through the years but had never met. I was amazed at what he had accomplished in spite of the fact that he has a disabling illness chaining him to a wheelchair. We both agreed that Downeast history is fascinating, and that this library has always been helpful and encouraging to those of us interested in researching the area.

Upon our return to SeaCat’s Rest the Jordan River reflected the hues of orange, pink, and gray from a sunset exploding from behind several mountains located on Mt. Desert Island, across the water. Patches of bright blue peeked through the cloud-like sunset. This breathtaking scene is perfect as September rolls into October and my time in Downeast Maine is coming to an end.  130930 IMG_7419 Jordan RiverE

130930 IMG_7422E

On Tuesday we headed to the deeds office at the Hancock County Courthouse. It’s enjoyable to have the freedom to (more…)

June 26, 2014

The Old Stone House Slippery Rock, PA: Part 1



 140621 DSCF5076E

Recently my husband Monte and I found ourselves passing the Old Stone House at the intersection of Routes 8, 173, 528 in Pennsylvania. On previous trips to Slippery Rock the historic site was closed. This time the parking lot was almost full. Since I wanted to take some photos of historic sites in Butler County (for a contest) we stopped.

Monte waited in the car while I walked to the former inn’s entrance. I saw a group of persons gathered around a table in the window by the porch end—obviously, I arrived during a meeting.

A young man left the meeting to greet me. Yes, I could walk through and take pictures.

A man was cooking over an open fire in the fireplace.

140621 DSCF5080E“We have free soup and ham sandwiches,” he said. Of course, I figured it was mainly for the meeting attendees, and after talking to him a minute I continued on.

Upstairs I joined a tour group. I continued taking photos as he described a framed picture made from human hair, probably gathered at funerals or from other places.

140621 DSCF5087EHe pointed out a framed picture of a dog without a leg, and said that owning pictures was for the wealthy, and sometimes persons purchased pictures, no matter what the subject, just to mimic the rich. He also said there was a brief time of prejudice against Germans, during which German guests had to sleep outside. There was a mid-1800s map in the third room.

On the outside upstairs patio I turned my camera on the scene below. The docent—a Slippery Rock University history student—said the Old Stone House activity for this day was building an old fashioned outdoor oven.

140621 DSCF5105EReturning to the grounds I walked over to the construction project.

“Would you like to set a brick?” I was asked.

I said I would, but would return as I turned to go get Monte.

We each (more…)

May 20, 2014

A Dog Biscuit, A Lost Dog, and A Funeral



As my husband Monte shut the door I gave him my typical message: Wait, I’ve forgotten something. Returning to the kitchen I went to a gallon jug on the counter, pulled out a large dog biscuit, and stuck it in my coat pocket. Then we drove to the funeral home to pay our respects to our friend Henry, who had just passed on.

When we arrived I greeted his wife, Margaret, giving her the ritual hug. However, this time I held on tighter and longer than usual, enabling me to whisper softly in her ear: I have something for Henry.

I wasn’t certain how she would take my “bizarre” token to him. “I know what it is,” she responded, smiling. “Place it among his military medals. Henry will love it.” I carefully placed tucked the dog biscuit among his medals. Visitors from that point on wondered about it, but few dared (more…)

March 30, 2014

Whine Away: Singing the Blues (WP prompt for 3/28/2014)



Hugs for Kitty and David


The WordPress weekly writing challenge for March 28, 2014, is: singing the blues: How do you combat the blues? What’s one tip you can share with others that always helps to lift your spirits?

IMG_3643EMy friends rolled their eyes. Good, I thought. I must be whining successfully.

I’ve never been a whiner. It’s a talent I’m just now developing, perhaps six decades too late in life. I limit my practice to a small group, several women from my community who gather most Saturday evenings, a group my husband Monte refers to as the winos, and we refer to as the whiners and winers.

We happened to be together at a local restaurant on a Tuesday evening when I too every opportunity to whine.

“Do we have to listen to much more of this,” I was asked.

“I deserve to whine this week. As such I claim the right to continue to whine until Tuesday or Wednesday.”

IMG_3246EI did have reason to whine. I was sitting with these women when I should have been in Harrisburg, having enjoyed attending the Senate hearing on Pa. House Bill 162: Adult Adoptees Right to Access Original Birth Certificate held this morning.
And there was a lot more I was missing.

Several weeks ago Monte, a retired pastor, was invited to perform a wedding for the daughter of a friend in another community. It was to be on Ocean Beach, New Jersey, on March 22. On the sand. On the Atlantic Ocean shoreline.

I encouraged him: “Say yes, say yes.” He did say yes.

We re-met the bride, met the groom, and counseled them via SKYPE.

“After the wedding let’s visit my sister, Kitty,” I suggested. She lives close enough to Ocean City Beach that we went there when I visited her home a number of years ago.


March 5, 2014

Where I Learned Key Church & Scripture Readings






On Wednesdays during Lent my husband Monte will present a discussion on the Lord’s Prayer—what it means in our lives and some valuable comments about it by theologians of the past.

He will begin by sharing about where he learned about key church and Scripture readings, then continue with A 6-Part Study of The Lord’s Prayer: Part 1.

Hill of Crosses, Lithuania

Hill of Crosses, Lithuania

NOTE: The main photo appearing on each part of this study features the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania. To learn about this spectacular site click on Hill of Crosses in Lithuania

Readers and commenters on the Upper Room on-line devotional site, where there is an active group of readers responding to the daily devotional, are sometimes  exposed to devotionals related to the Lord’s Prayer, which has started some good discussions.

Before beginning my discussion of the Lord’s Prayer I’ll consider and share some of my personal faith journey.

As I think back to my childhood, my family didn’t attend church regularly. Their only church involvement was showing up, maybe once a month.

What are the givens? What are the things that I don’t have to take time to look up? Where did I commit them to my memory base?

Here is a partial list:

  • The Lord’s Prayer: I learned and repeated the Lord’s Prayer in a rather (more…)

January 16, 2014

WP Daily Prompt 1/13/2014: Ice Skating Competition & A Stored Memory



Hugs for my sisters

WP Daily Prompt 1/13/2014:



The WordPress Daily Prompt for January 13, 2014, was Ripped from the Headlines : click over to whatever website you visit most frequently to get news. Find the third headline on the page. Make sure that headline is in your post.

I’m cheating a little bit on this Daily Prompt, as I don’t know if I’m using the third headline on the page. However, I was watching for an article with information on which ice skaters were chosen for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
IMG_6535 140111 E“You missed the first ice dance,” my husband informed me.

d been distracted and missed the dance being aired on NBC on January 11th . The 2014 Prudential U. S. Figure Skating Championships pairs competition, would determine the United States participants in the Sochi Olympics. I expected to view the entire program. Five couples competed for 2 Sochi Olympic spots (it was not official that the top two would be chosen—this will be announced at noon Jan 12).

The first skaters I watched were Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, performing their Pairs Short Program. They were first after the Short Program, with a “record total” of 73.13.

Perhaps I was meant to see them first. She is from Cranston, Rhode Island near where I was born and a site we visited September 2013. He is from Boston, having arrived in Sudbury at age 18 months old. He is Russian and speaks the language. They were skating at the same ice rink where they practiced.

The Boston venue added to my interest in this competition It was happening at perhaps at the same ice rink where I witnessed a skating show in December 1948 when I was 4 years old (just about the time I turned 5…Or perhaps I was 5).

I learned later that the original Boston Garden was (more…)

January 5, 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt for 8/18/2013: Procrastination


Carolyn’s Online Magazine (COMe) in January 2015.

I invite you to visit the new site.

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONSMovicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hug for Joanne


Today’s date: January 5, 2014


 The WordPress daily prompt for August 18, 2013, was procrastination.

I was writing it on November 24, 2013. Today, January 5, 2014, is the day I’m publishing it.

I ask you: Is this procrastination or what?


Question: What have I been putting off doing?

My answer: Responding to this post.

Question: Why was I procrastinating?

Answer: It was filed in an out-of-sight site, which was temporarily abandoned for more recent items that would later receive the same treatment.

Simply put, by filing it out of site I could procrastinate and neglect to follow it through. I do that with many items that cross my desk. In fact, paper items crossing my desk are so prolific it’s easy to procrastinate.

I procrastinate on other things too. For example, bunnies and kittens are adorable. Soft fur, snuggly, good companions. However, their fur contributes to what we, for some reason, we call dust bunnies—or dust kittens. These are not so cuddly as they gather under our couches, along the edges of our floors, under our beds. When I operated a child care home, I found a creative means of dealing with the dust bunnies a. k. a. dust kittens. The children decorated a jar, and every morning they opened it to feed their pet bunny or kitty as many (more…)

December 12, 2013

A 70th Birthday Lunch & St. Joseph Hospital (R. I.) History


Hug for Santa

St. Joseph Hospital History

For days before my three-score and ten birthday my husband Monte kept asking me what I wanted to do.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I just want a quiet day.”
That wasn’t what he wanted to hear. He wanted to do something special.
The day before my decade-turning event he asked me if I wanted to go to a Holiday Luncheon Buffet at the Latrobe Airport branch of DeNunzio’s Restaurant.
“That sounds nice,” I said. “But I’ll only go if we can attend as Santa and Mrs. Claus.”
My daughter and a friend he’d invited couldn’t go with us. The next morning the friend called, asking if she could come over, since she wasn’t going to work because she had to take her car to the garage for emergency repairs.
The three of us took off.
En route, Monte and I had to make several short stops—a grocery store, a pharmacy… Many of the other customers smiled and spoke to us. After all, how often do they meet Santa in these places, even at Christmas time?

IMG_2082 When we arrived at DeNunzio’s the owner asked if he could take our picture.
“Certainly,” we responded at this unexpected request. Later, he said, his photographer was arriving later. “Could he take some pictures?”
I was pleased to be taken to a table with a window view of the runway, although no planes landed or took off within our sight while we were there.
We filled our plates with delicious salads, soup, roast turkey/cranberry sauce, beer battered cod, and more. Their chef attended pasta bar allowed us to create our own pasta dish which the chef cooked on the spot. We downed all this with hot apple cider before approaching the dessert bar.
While we were eating a woman came over to us and asked (more…)

December 10, 2013

Revisiting Providence, R. I., 70 Years After My Birth



Hugs for Darlene and Peter, birthed by my mother 10 and 20 years after me. She had a baby every decade: 1943, 1953, and 1963.



St. Joseph Hospital, now closed

St. Joseph Hospital, now closed

It was a cold and snowy December 9th evening in 1943, when a cab stopped in front of the doors of St. Joseph Hospital. The driver helped a woman, perhaps screaming in pain, up the snowy steps. He probably didn’t know that her water had broken in his cab, ruining her fashionable fur coat. Was this the first time he had transported a pregnant woman to the hospital who was so close to giving birth? Did the severe snowstorm delay his getting her to the hospital? According to the woman she was mighty close to delivering her child in the taxi.

In the excitement and urgency of the moment did she even pay the taxi driver?


Hospital entrance

Hospital entrance


It was 1:15 a. m. on December 10th that Dr. Monroe Rosembloom, in the service of the U. S. Naval Air Station, delivered a 6 pound 12 ½ ounce baby girl whose mother named her Carolyn Virginia Cornell.

Her father, Chief Navy Photographer Robert William Cornell, wasn’t present for the birth of his daughter. It is likely he was on duty somewhere with Navy business. IMG_5396

Fast forward to September 7, 2013, when my husband Monte and I traveled up the New England coast during a 32 day trip.

Two of my goals were to see the hospital where I was born and to locate where my first home, 11 Neville Street, was. We visited the Cranston Library for help.

Monte and librarian Lisa Zavodi studied old and recent maps for (more…)

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