October 19, 2014

Angel Rescues Traveler in Massachusetts



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A Night Time Ride to Safety

Along a Circuitous Path as

Angel Rescues Traveler in Massachusetts

(A Devotion)

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 40:23, 41:9    23. But (even after all that) the chief butler gave no thought to Joseph, but forgot (all about) him. 9. Then the chief butler said to Pharoah, I remember my faults today. (AMP)

Luke 17:18   Was there no one found to return and to recognize and give thanks and praise to God except this alien? (Amp)

Related Scripture:   Luke 17:12-19

REFLECTION:  Gratitude. For major events. And most commonly rudely forgotten.

For Joseph, who interpreted the dream for the chief butler and whose request to be recognized to the Pharaoh was “forgotten.” For Jesus, nine healed lepers neglected to thank him.

I, too, can be ungrateful. I don’t express gratitude often enough.

Sometimes, though, verbal thanks seems insufficient.

I traveled to New England by myself in the spring of 1996, and left Brocton, Massachusetts after 7 p. m., unconcerned about finding a hotel. I would be on a main road. No problem. I’d drive towards Merrimack, New Hampshire and stop along the way.

Wrong! I was traveling through a “bedroom community.” No motels!

At 8:45 p. m. I stopped at a drugstore in a strange town not too far from Framingham. “Are there any motels around?” I asked the pharmacist. Neither he nor the customers knew of any.

One customer said she felt bad. She had a spare room, but she also had company. She knew a place in Framingham but the dark night, the late hour and the heavy construction would create travel difficulties, particularly to a stranger. But she knew of a Bed & Breakfast out in the country. She’d call from her car phone.

A room was available! She drew me a land-marked map, then said (more…)

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…)

November 17, 2013

Wallis Sands Beach, New Hampshire (Sept. 2013)

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS Movicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hugs for Brenda, Maureen, Foster and the Tirrells


SEPTEMBER 24, 2013 IMG_3246E

September 24, 2013, our last day in New Hampshire, began slowly. We packed up the car, not expecting to return to that particular motel since it was time for us to move up the Maine coast.

At 10:40 a. m. we drove down route 1A to Wallis Sands Beach in Rye, New Hampshire. It was a road familiar to me from the days of my childhood when my grandfather, Albert Briskay, drove my sister and me, or my mother, who caught the bus, took my sister and me, to this small beach in Rye.


When we arrived there was an empty bus in the beach parking lot but only two people sitting at the far end of the beach. IMG_3794E

Determining that the tide was coming in and the sand area would disappear quickly I wrote “Goodby Wallis Sands” in the sand. I neglected to photo it.

Then Monte wandered to the southern breakwater rock wall while I shed my red pants to my bathing suit and took off down the beach.

Although the morning was crisp and  cool the sun poured its energy onto the sand and warmed my uplifted face. I walked the beach’s short length, partly on the damp sand, partly in the water. Half-way across were two smartly crafted sand castles, just above the high-tide water line. They reminded me of the temporary art my older sister and I used to create when we were on the beach over fifty years ago. IMG_3643E

At the far end I captured these birds:

IMG_3254EWandering deep into the water I realized I was overloaded with my towel and a small bag, so I walked to the dry sand to set them down. That’s when I noticed the couple sitting by the cement stairway wall.


The man was using a movie camera, and I realized I was probably a star in (more…)

November 7, 2013

Haskell Free Library and Opera House a.k.a. Bibliothèque et salle d’opéra Haskell

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

After reading about Haskel Free Library I invite you to visit the new site.




Hugs for the staff of Haskell Library and Opera House


A. K. A.


Crossing the Canadian-USA Border Without a Passport



Where in the United States is there a library without any books?

Where in the United States is there a theater without a stage?

The tales we heard about these riddles:

You must go to Derby Line, Vermont. It’s the furthest north you can go in the state. There is a library there but be careful. You must enter the correct door. If you don’t, the Border Patrol will get you, since the library there is in two countries—Canada and the United States. A squiggly line, following the actual border, crosses through the library.

The Border Patrol gives you freedom to cross into Canada and back into the United States inside the library. But if you exit the wrong door, watch out.

The tale above, told to us by a guest at a motel, is partly true. There is a library located in Derby Line, Vermont—and in Stanstead, Quebec, straddling the Canadian/United States border. Although the tale is rife with error, the fact that a structure encompasses two countries sounded intriguing to my husband Monte and me.

We were traveling through New England in September, 2013, when we heard about the Haskell Free Library and Opera House. We decided to detour an extra 50 or so miles to visit this library.

We made it to Derby Line on October 3rd and found a road blocked by large flower vases. And signs instructing us NOT to step beyond these floral decorations without going through customs, because the street on the other side of the planters was in Canada.



The building was impressive. Welcome to the Haskell Library and (more…)

October 20, 2013

WP Daily Prompt for October 19, 2013: Home Sweet Home



Hug for Monte




The wordpress daily prompt for October 19, 2013, is Home Sweet Home: When you’re away from home, what person, thing, or place do you miss the most?

Newspaper fetched.
Stereo programmed.
Cats accounted for.
Couch (or porch swing in the summer) cleaned off.
Footstool in place.
Blanket and telephone nearby.

NOW I can wake up.

Not arise from bed, but wake up—something I’m slow in doing, something I take my time doing. I’ve learned that this slow start energizes me for my activities of the day.


In September 2013 my husband Monte and I traveled up the coast of New England starting in Groton, Connecticut and Newport, Rhode Island, then up the coast to East Lamoine, Maine, on Frenchman Bay.
The most difficult part wasn’t living out of the silver/blue tin can (automobile). It wasn’t too much togetherness, since we managed to get through the travel without slaughtering each other (after 47 years of marriage we’ve managed to learn how to negotiate many of the bumps of relationship).

My most difficult adjustment was the disruption of my (more…)

September 17, 2013

Lighthouse Beach in Chatham on Cape Cod, MA



Hug for cousin Bob on Cape Cod



“A white shark was seen just out there in the water,” the woman on the beach told me.


My husband and I stopped at Lighthouse Beach to view the Chatham Lighthouse, and, of course, to immerse my feet in the cool beach sand. I didn’t want my feet in the water because it was too early in the day to have sand stuck to these feet.IMG_9392E

IMG_9397EThere were warning signs everywhere about the danger of entering the water here. One sign warned about sharks: IMG_9399E

Standing at the shoreline I’d watched the two women walked towards me with two small children, fortunately a one-on-one situation. I recalled my beach days as I watched the children, one of whom wanted to (more…)

September 10, 2013

Submarines, the Beatles, Sloops, and Apples



Hugs for Steve and Paul


While in Groton, Connecticut, Monte suggested that we visit the Submarine Force Library & Museum. He was especially interested in touring the  Nautilus (SSN 571), even though he experiences claustrophobia. I still recall touring a submarine at the Portsmouth Navy Base (Kittery, Maine) when I was a child, and had no qualms about walking though another one.


We walked through the museum first.


While viewing the landscape through a glass window a man standing beside me said he had worked as a welder on the hulls of submarines under construction for seven years. Although he had worked on submarines he “would not ride in one.”


Steve Schroeber (spelling perhaps inaccurate) proudly mentioned that he “stood as close to Jackie Kennedy as he was standing by me (about 12 inches)” when she Christened a new submarine. “She was a beautiful girl.”

“They are thinking about shutting down this (Groton, Conn.) Navy base,” he told us.

Steve was an infant when his family moved to Groton. “That was 70 years ago,” he said. “There was nothing here in Groton before the   base.” However, during the cold war the Navy started building 4-5 submarines a year and the base had 18,000 people.”

He left Groton 23 years ago .He lived by the space center in Florida but had no interest in space machines, just in submarines.

After working on submarines Steve went into the housing market, and then entered the antique market. While living in Florida one of his customers (and good friends) was Les Stuart, a member of the original (more…)

August 27, 2013

WordPress Daily Prompt 8/24/2013: These Boots Were Made for Walking…Where???



Hug for David, once our German exchange student



The wordpress daily prompt for August 24, 2013, was These boots were made for walking…


Looking up at the elderly couple I smiled and said “Americana.”

It was the second week of November, 2000. My husband Monte and I were in Germany. On Wahlberg Mountain, to be specific. And I was belly down on the stoned path attempting to photograph the scene far below us—Tegernsee Lake—through the tall grasses at the edge of the path.  

After I snapped a couple of shots I looked up and saw the couple, amusement dancing in their eyes. I had to say something, and my German is pretty well non-existent. So “Americana” was all I could think of saying.


We were in Munich for a two-week visit with my son Nolan, who was studying on a post-doctorate program at Ludwig Maximilians University.

Before we left the states I’d made a list of the things I thought would be interesting to do. Of course, my list is always longer than our time, so we couldn’t do everything.

My list included two items I hated to sacrifice to time:

  • going to the top of one Alp mountain
  • spending the night at a farm.

I chose the farm.

With our son along as a guide, we traveled to the village of Rottach-Egern, which is approximately 35 miles (in a straight line) from Munich. By the time we arrived it was pitch dark, which created much interest as we attempted to find the farm. Finally, success.

The “room” we rented was a mini-apartment on the second floor of the farmhouse. Of course, the couple didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak German, but Nolan managed to get us settled quickly so he could return to Munich.

As we approached the farm I noticed something—a string of lights rising high into the air. What luck. We were about a two-block walk from an Alp—Mt. Wahlberg.

We rose early in the morning and took a cable car almost to the top of the Alp—which rises 1722 meters or 1.07 miles. There was still more mountain when we exited the cable car, and a path that led to different levels.

We explored the area where the cable car stopped. We stopped at the chapel, and walked the path. And I snapped pictures of Tegernsee Lake. I hope that the couple I greeted didn’t end up thinking badly of Americans.


Monte decided he would attempt to climb further up the mountain, but I didn’t (more…)

February 21, 2013

Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania


Cucumber Falls was most likely as equal an attraction to the first known group to inhabit the area as it is for tourists and residents today.

The first known group known to occupy the Ohiopyle region in Pennsylvania the Monongahela, a Native American clan of the Mound Builders. They and other Native American tribes ultimately disappeared from the region following the French and Indian war that ended in 1763.

The name Ohiopyle is derived from the Lenape Indian phrase ahi opihale, meaning it turns very white, a reference to the frothy waters of the nearby Ohiopyle Falls.**

Photo by Monte

Photo by Monte

Cucumber Run is named for the abundance of one species of magnolia tree, the cucumber magnolia (Magnolia acuminate), that still is found in the watershed.** Another explanation for its name came from a friend: (more…)

January 8, 2013

Writing Challenge: Map It Out—Travel With Me Through My Novel-in-Progress

Travel With Me As I Map the Sites in My Novel-in-Progress

The January 7, 2013, WordPress weekly writing challenge, Map It Out, stated: No matter how long you’ve been blogging, there is always more to learn…For this week’s challenge, incorporate our Google Maps embed feature by plotting out some of the favorite places that you’ve been, or the places you want to go.

Since I have been remiss on working on my novel (life happened) and I have plans to return to it in mid-February, I decided to have you Travel With Me Through My Novel-in-Progress.

I’ve already been mapping out the local area of Hancock and Washington counties in Maine, including East Lamoine, Maine, which was a part of the town of Trenton in the 1790s, the era of the novel. But there are many more settings in the novel.

The novel deals with Revolutionary War hero General Henry Knox’s land speculations (with his partner William Duer) in both the Gallipolis (Scioto) region in Ohio and then in Downeast Maine (east of the Union River out of Ellsworth).

This challenge allows me to map out the key geographical areas of my novel (including but not limited to):

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: A group of Revolutionary War military men gathered at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern and determined that land in the xxx, in Ohio, could be used as a way to pay military men for their war service. A group of unidentified men known as the Scioto Associates succeeded in acquiring a sub-grant under the 1987 Ohio Land Grant.

PARIS, FRANCE: The Scioto Associates sent a representative to Paris to meet a commitment to sell part of their newly acquired land in Europe. Joel Barlow was their representative in Paris. Luckily for Barlow the French Revolution created a desire for Frenchmen to leave France and the land sold like hotcakes.

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA: The French who purchased land in Ohio left Le Havre, France and sailed into Alexandria. Many left Alexandria to travel over multiple mountain ranges to (more…)

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