August 11, 2013

WP Challenge: I Remember…the Agony of Appendectomy Stitch Removal



Hugs for Lydia and her husband Benny




The wordpress weekly writing challenge for August 5, 2013, is I Remember—my earliest memory. Capture every detail..


I imagine everyone heard the bloodcurdling shrieks that came from a small white-walled corner room of the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, hospital.

I remember those shrieks well.

They emerged from deep within the well of my body and soul.

The flu hit me hard that year, making me a very sick 7-year-old. I was living with my grandparents at 29 Spring Street in Portsmouth. The second floor of the house had a linen closet off the opening off the 3×3 foot connecting opening that connected two bedrooms. It was there that I lost my cookies during the flu.

Forty-five years later, when the then-owner of the house (I’ll call her Marie) graciously gave me a tour, I told Marie about what happened in that linen closet. By now, it had been closed off, made into a deep closet for one of the bedrooms, the one that was once an upstairs kitchen.

“It was always closed off,” she said.

“No,” I said firmly. “It was not.”

Funny. She was a (more…)

July 11, 2013

WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgic


The July 5, 2013, wordPress Weekly Photo Challenge suggested that Sometimes, we long for the past: for moments we want to remember or recapture. The good times. The golden years. Or perhaps we’re homesick, or longing for something — or someone — that might have been.

As I looked at the faces of my grandchildren Jordan, Vince, and Marcus, on the days of their birth, I recalled two other newborn faces from years past—the faces of my children, Sandra and Nolan.

Pictured below is Sandra on the day of her baptism. An elderly neighbor became a best friend in her early days.


I couldn’t have (more…)

June 2, 2013

June 2013 Welcome Message


May brought unexpected activities.

It began and ended with memorial services A 19-year-old New York woman was T-boned, on the driver side of her car, by a tri-axle truck on the driver side of her car. Needless to say, we went to her memorial service. Our friend Russ died and we attended his memorial service in Jamestown (PA). One was a funeral for extreme sadness—that a young woman with so much to offer had her life cut short. The other was a funeral of remembrance of a long life well lived.

In between the memorial services we checked, repaired, and rented an out-of-town apartment from which we’d evicted a tenant.

On May 21 I did my first book (book-under-construction) reading.

I couldn’t keep up with CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS—I’m several posts behind—but I want to note that my I expect to reach my 1000th post this month. Keep an eye out for it…

We were belated on several regular events—mainly birthdays. So happy birthday to my daughter Sandy, neighbors Molly and Dan, and friend Lois, and anyone else I missed.

At the intersection of May and June my neighbor and I had a yard sales (watch for post), held on two beautiful early summer days. It was hectic preparing for the event. But it was a relaxing time once it began.

June is here. My husband Monte will turn 75 June 12. I hope to do better at using the fitness room and pool at the YMCA and the pool in our local community. And I hope to progress on my novel and other writing.

Have a nice month.

May 31, 2013

Tenant Connects Phone in 10-year-old’s Name




PA…Identity theft suspect used identifying information of a 5-year-old child…to open telephone and Internet service…incurring a bill of $941/32. After suspect was identified by state police, victims declined to prosecute.1    

The report reminded me of former tenants  (I’ll call them Phil and Rose) who rented the efficiency apartment in the basement of our home, which was also rented out. We lived an hour away due to my husband’s work.

We also owned a four-apartment building down the hill from the house.

Almost immediately after they moved in we received complaints about the couple from renters in the house and tenants in the apartment building. Allegedly, the husband had beat the wife, and she ran screaming down the hill to the apartment building  and left bloody handprints on the wall of the inside corridor.

The violence disrupted the lives of the house tenant.  One of them stayed up all night because they had heard threats of arson during the couple’s fighting.

“I’ll burn this house down like (more…)

May 26, 2013

Daily Prompt: A One-Week Journey in May 2013


The WordPress daily prompt for May 26, 2013, was Tell us about a journey—whether a physical trip you took, or an emotional one. Photographers, show us JOURNEY.

How appropriate, since I was already thinking through a journey post.

I invite you to join me in my journey through a week in my life, Sunday, May 19 to Saturday, May 25.


It was a chaotic week having moments of frustration and joy.

I  managed, somehow, to begin each day with what I consider my morning routine—a warm cup of java, my heart meds, and the newspaper (physically in hand, not on a computer screen).

SUNDAY, MAY 19, 2013

Jim Busch

Jim Busch

Your audience wants you to succeed.

Today I enjoyed sitting on my porch swing in my screened in (unheated), fighting off our cat who dove into my newspaper as I read it. I watched the birds feed within arm’s reach, and scared off the squirrels that delight in stealing the bird seed.

Once finished with the newspaper I strolled over to my garden, admiring both the raised one and in-pot ones, which contained salad greens and snow peas. Then I planted a short row of pole beans.

In the afternoon I attended a Ligonier Valley Writers, workshop on How to Perform a Reading of Your Work at St. Michael’s Church in Rector. It was good timing for me because I was scheduled to (more…)

May 14, 2013

May Welcome Message

May Welcome Message

To subscribe to CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS, a multi-genre online magazine, type your e-mail address in the E-mail Subscription box to the right of this post. —>
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It’s May 13, 2013, and I am just now writing my May Welcome Message.

April was spent cleaning out my upstairs. I sorted through preschool toys for clearance from our home—holding onto a few for sentimentality and to have something in the even we have young guests, sorting out games, cleaning out closets and drawers. I still have (more…)

May 12, 2013

WP Daily Prompt: Hi, Mom!


The WordPress daily prompt for May 12, 2012, is Today is Mother’s Day in the United States. Wherever in the world you are, write your mother a letter.
Photographers, share a photo that says mothering.

960422-23 CIRCLE

I cannot think of a better letter to write to my late Mother other than the post I wrote on her 90th birthday, February 12, 2012: My Mother’s Special 90th Birthday Gift

However, I can add the following:

In August 2012 I had the opportunity to meet the first child you released for adoption. We had a delightful couple of hours on my patio. She is a kind, compassionate woman I think you could be proud of.

Thank you for the gift of two sisters whose existence was only confirmed since 2011.


For the photography request I pulled (more…)

May 5, 2013

How to Write About a Mountain Top Experience




Including Schoodic Mountain, Laurel Mountain,

and Stone Mountain

I recently spent a week researching mountaineering and writing about a mountain summit experience.

Not that I plan on becoming a mountaineer. However, a Madame Rosalie de Leval, a character in my novel, climbed Schoodic Mountain in Hancock County, Maine, as a means to view the expanse of land—200,000 acres—she had a tentative contract to purchase from top land speculators in 1791.

The writing will be a chapter in my novel-in-progress, and I wanted to use it at a book reading in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

The ocean at Wallis Sands Beach, Rye, N. H.

The ocean at Wallis Sands Beach, Rye, N. H.

I’ve always been an ocean person who never gave a thought to mountains. Since my husband’s retirement I’ve driven over and through the mountains of the Laurel and Chestnut ridges in  the northern Appalachian mountain chain in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  I even live in a foothill of Laurel Mountain (on the Laurel Ridge). Yet I never considered climbing Laurel Mountain, although Monte did one year with a peace group.

The Laurel Ridge from Kentuck Knob, PA

The Laurel Ridge from Kentuck Knob, PA

We drive through the mountains in New Hampshire, and have driven up Mt. Washington and Cadillac mountains, and by the accident of making a wrong I arrived at the ski slopes at Killington Mountain in Vermont. Our family lived five minutes away from Stone Mountain outside Atlanta, a gigantic rock outcropping that was identified as a mountain. Even having all these experiences I never had an attraction for mountains, and  I never considered becoming a mountaineer.


I finally climbed a mountain—Schoodic Mountain. I did it to (more…)

April 7, 2013

Tree of Hope Angels: Ovarian Cancer



My March tree of hope recognition honors not a tree but Tree of Hope Angels. The hope angels are a project of Hope For Heather, an Ovarian Cancer Awareness not-for-profit New York corporation in Central New York, Syracuse, Liverpool, Baldwinsville, Utica, Oswego, Cortland.

Ovarian cancer has entered my life at least twice.
First, my good friend Shirl Murray died of ovarian cancer.
I met Shirl when we moved to Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, in 1968. She, her husband Wayne, and her two young teens, Mark and Diane, moved into the community at the same time.
Soon she became a sister to me and an aunt to my children, since I had no family in our new community.
If we wanted to go out it didn’t matter if one of us lacked the funds. The other would cover. Hers was the home where my children would go if an emergency occurred, and so she invited them to stay overnight frequently.
We began a small herb and spice business while I was in Atlanta. It was a prelude to my craft business.
I was with Shirl, ushering with at the Alliance Theater, when I fell down the marble steps and broke my leg. She was there when my son Nolan had an emergency appendectomy and Monte was away preaching. It was Shirl who cared for Nolan when he recovered sufficiently for me to travel to Buffalo to attend my niece’s wedding.
When Shirl succumbed quickly to a late diagnosed ovarian cancer I was unable to travel to Atlanta for her funeral. I never had a chance to say a proper farewell to her, so I write this to honor her memory.

My second contact with ovarian cancer occurred through a friend, the late Jane (Penny) Miller, in Connellsville, Pennsylvania.
Penny, diagnosed with and battling ovarian cancer, was award of the benefits of meeting with other ovarian cancer victims. It was difficult for her and others to drive to Pittsburgh to attend a group there, so she asked me to facilitate a local support group. I unenthusiastically agreed.


Hope for Heather was formed in memory of Heather Weeks, who lost her life to cancer at age 24. Heather was an advocate for women’s cancer and committed to raising funds to find a cure. She had a dream: to educate all women on the major symptoms of Ovarian Cancer.
This corporation’s mission is to raise funds to support ovarian cancer research, to promote education and (more…)

April 4, 2013

April Welcome Message

To subscribe to CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS, a multi-genre online magazine, type your e-mail address in the E-mail Subscription box to the right of this post. —>
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Ah, April 4th, 2013. The time of year when March going out like a lamb and hints of warmer weather are expected. But March went out like it came in—like a lion—and so far April has been more lion-like than lamb-like.

My focus in March was writing my novel. I revised the National Novel Writing Month guidelines to fit my needs but kept the free-writing aspect, which is a different type of writing than I usually do. I plan on posting a report on the pluses and minuses of the month, but suffice it to say here that I felt it was a positive experience. I appreciated the several Beanery Writers Group members who joined me, following through on their revised writing contract for the month.

I managed to figure out how to do polls, and have used them in several recent posts.

Easter, being early, occurred the last day of the month. For once I was ready for the holiday.
However, the holiday wasn’t ready for me—my son’s car broke down and he was towed back to his in-laws home, so the grandboys didn’t have their Easter breakfast here. The weather was cool and rainy, so they had their egg-hunt inside the house. The potatoes were rebellious, unwilling to mash smoothly. All in all, the day went well. Guests Lois and Noah/Gary joined us. Church, dinner at daughter Sandy’s house, completion of a 1,000-piece puzzle, and a raucous game of Flip Uno accented the day. The day was a fitting ending to March and initiation into April.

It seems like the posts on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS have had a political twist this year. I’ve written to support rights of adult adoptees to their original birth records; changes in the post office system, and changing the names of mountains so they are “politically correct.” There is at least one more issue I want to check on—prohibiting the use of basket raffles as fundraisers for non-profit agencies.

I’ve also posted children’s activity pages for major holidays, a project that has brought many visitors to my blog.

I want to welcome a number of new subscribers to CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS and to let my other subscribers know how much I appreciate their patronage. I hope that its posts are enjoyed by all.

Hopefully our dreams of warmer weather, accented by blooming daffodils and tulips, will materialize as the month progresses.

Carolyn Cornell Holland

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