CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

January 4, 2011

Shoplifting in Munich, Germany?

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

SHOPLIFTING IN MUNICH, GERMANY?

    As the Munich, Germany, shopkeeper looked at me with suspicion, I knew he was about to call the police to accuse me of shoplifting.

     We spent two weeks in Munich, Germany, visiting my son when he held a post-doctorate position at the Max Planck Institute. While there, I was almost arrested for shoplifting another local newspaper.

     Early one day my husband and I stopped at the newspaper office, located off the main square. It was a site I wanted to visit, since I’d written for numerous local newspapers—all in rural towns.

     The lobby was akin to those found in large city newspaper offices. There was a manned desk, with a gate preventing entry to the offices to all but those with authorization. 

     “Can I purchase a newspaper?” I asked the woman at the desk, hoping she would understand me, since my grasp of the German language goes no further than “Sprechen die Deutsch?”   

     The woman, in broken English, communicated to us that they didn’t sell newspapers in the lobby.

     “You have to go to the kiosk in the square,” she instructed.

     We left the lobby and stopped at the ticker tape outside the office. I casually leaned against the stand, and held up a copy of the Greensburg (Pennsylvania) Tribune Review (Fay-West section), acting like I was “reading” it. Monte had the camera to take the picture.

     Suddenly, three people ran out of the newspaper office, yelling at us. It stunned me—what were we doing wrong? (more…)

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August 26, 2010

An Awakening on a Beach Walk

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

AWAKENING ON A BEACH WALK

Nancy Briskay Cornell Holland

     The ocean beach scene below could be Wallis Sands Beach in New Hampshire, Lamoine Beach or Old Orchard Beach in Maine, or a Connecticut beach in near one of the communities my late mother spent her childhood.

~~~~~~~~~~~   

     Tentatively reaching out long slender fingers, the newly awakened sun dispelled the remaining wisps of fog rising out of the blue-gray water. Here and there, dotted on the surface of the ocean, reflections of the sun sparkled, winked and disappeared. Soft ripples crossed the calm surface of the water, testifying to the awakening of life below the surface. A foghorn, sounding eerie and remote and somewhat comforting, sang out like a husky tenor, throaty and sad.

     Yielding an imprint of my every step, creating a human pattern along the shore, the sand felt clean and damp under my bare feet. Caressing my skin, a soft breeze held an ever-so-slight promise of delicious warmth. The smell of the sea was in my nostrils. My lips savored the taste of salt.

     As I walked along the beach, a crab scuttled into its hole. Sandpipers, ignoring (more…)

July 31, 2010

The Donut King Restaurant in Ogdensburg, New York

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

THE DONUT KING RESTAURANT IN OGDENSBURG, NEW YORK

      The Donut King restaurant in Ogdensburg, New York, is a favorite dining place for my brother-in-law, Elwin. We ate there several times while visiting Northern New York in the last week of July, 2010. As commonly happens, local eating spots produce many stories.

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STORY ONE: Kim’s Opinion on the Banana Split

     While Kim, a waitress at the Donut King, took our orders, we mentioned that our hometown was near the hometown of Arnold Palmer and Mr. Rogers—Latrobe, Pennyslvania.

    And—“Don’t forget, Joe—what’s his last name? Of the banana split fame?” Monte said. “You know Joe, from the pharmacy where the banana split was invented.”

     Neither of us could pull up Joe’s last name. For the record, it’s Greubel. He is known affectionately as “Ice Cream Joe” in local and far distant areas: I do believe we were first (to produce the banana split),” says Joe Greubel, owner of the Valley Dairy ice cream chain in Latrobe. “I knew Dr. Strickler. And I still regret not having my picture taken with him.* He also owns the Valley Dairy Restaurant in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, where I had the privilege of interviewing him for a newspaper article.

~~~ 

     “Tell him to keep the banana split in Pennsylvania,” Kim retorted.

     This unusual response required an explanation, which I hastily requested.

     “They are (more…)

October 17, 2009

We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 4

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

WE’RE ADOPTING A BABY! Part 4

Conclusion

 Part 4 will conclude the post series, We’re Adopting a Baby! To read Part 1, Part 2 and/or Part 3 of this post, click on: We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 1 & We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 2 & We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 3

     Our own adoption home-study had proven a difficult experience for me. My caseworker didn’t like me very much. I believe she felt threatened by the fact that I was doing adoption home-studies myself, in spite of the fact that she had forty years of experience to my being a newbie. The only saving grace was that she adored Monte. He could, and did, say things that might be prejudicial against our acceptance, with (more…)

October 12, 2009

We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 3

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

WE’RE ADOPTING A BABY! Part 3

To read Part 1 and/or Part 2 of this post, click on: We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 1 & We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 2

Before I accepted my job as home-study caseworker for adoptive families while I myself was in the adoption process, I stipulated two things to my boss, Naomi.

First, I gave my notice. Unlike giving biological birth, adoptive parents have no set (more…)

October 5, 2009

We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 2

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

WE’RE ADOPTING A BABY! Part 2

      To read Part 1 of this post, click on: We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 1

     When I accepted my job, interviewing prospective adoptive couples, I wondered what I would do—how I would feel—when confronted by a couple who might not make the best of parents. This was an experience fate didn’t delay. The case history of the first couple I interviewed was strangely unnerving. All indications pointed to the fact that this couple was unqualified to have a child placed in their care, according to the middle class yardstick by which (more…)

October 3, 2009

We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 1

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

WE’RE ADOPTING A BABY! Part 1

     We’re adopting a baby!

     Oh, it’s not official yet—in fact, we have not even been approved yet. We only just sent in our application. However, we feel confident that we will be found acceptable as adoptive parents. Yet—there is always doubt, a doubt that will (more…)

September 21, 2009

85 Ways to tie a tie—and tying other knots

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

85 WAYS TO TIE A TIE—and TYING OTHER KNOTS

     Shortly after 18-year-old David came to live with us he asked my husband Monte to show him how to tie a tie. Our German exchange student was preparing to attend a formal dance and couldn’t recall the technique.

   Physicists at Cambridge University presented eighty-five different tie knots requiring three to nine moves. They drew their demonstrations from topology, history (ancient Chinese to the present), fashion, examples from the movies and practicality. Of the thirteen knots that survived their aesthetic constraints on symmetry and balance, they suggest the (more…)

August 20, 2009

Vicious dog or man’s best friend?

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

VICIOUS DOG OR MAN’S BEST FRIEND?

      Often dog owners often have a less-than-realistic opinion of their pet’s personalities. An owner’s loyalty to their dog precludes any insight into its degree of viciousness.

     Bob Petrillo, a Jeanette (PA) dog owner, believes authorities “overreacted” when they shot and killed his pet. Rocky was a one hundred fifty pound Rottweiler. Police justified the shooting because, they claim, Rocky (more…)

July 7, 2009

Three Women Wildly Battle With UNO Cards

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

THREE WOMEN WILDLY BATTLE WITH UNO CARDS

The Truno Tribe Members Unabashably Compete

     The post-July 4 weekend found three women—Lousy-Hand Lois, Ardent Arlene and Coy Carolyn, playing animated games of Uno. They decided to call themselves the Truno Tribe—“Tr” for trio, “uno” for Uno. Below is the poem they penned as they played:

All is fair in love and Uno,

          Especially with the players Truno.

Are we true? Definitely no!

          We cheat and bleat and cheat so.

Red, blue, now yellow, now green.  

          All who listen hear us (more…)

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