Letters

Papers, letters and cards - fewer each year in my files,  since we began communicating online - fun, but we've lost balance.

So I decided to refresh letter-writing and found  proper Crane stationery;  an American icon founded six years before the Declaration of Independence and first choice for our best letters always.

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So far, the box  sits on a nearby shelf to glance at , from to time,  deciding what I will write and when,  and most importantly,  to whom.  Savoring is important !

The purchase of the papers brought back memories: format, penmanship, spelling and grammar, and much more:

Mother's desk was full of wonderful papers and boxes with the letters she shared with my father - lost now but grand at the time, since they include their love poems.  She was always ready to share. 

Grandmother Smith's pride was her proper "Lady's Writing DesK" - a holy thing since literacy was even a larger issue for women than it is now.   The drop-front would open to reveal a world to thrill a little girl - like a doll's house, the little "rooms" full of letters and family papers and the tiny drawer of stamps - and the exciting Air mail tissue stationery to let it travel as light as the air itself.  

And her Jim "the Chief" presided over the Unofficial summit of the many Irish Uncles, discussing all matters of import, since the last gathering. Being welcome to join with the rest of the women, in the joyful palaver, of praise and reportage - and warnings about no-goods, "wouldn't spend a stamp on him"  - big eyes, small mouth, taking it all in.

On my visits i would run to set mail for pickup and collect the incoming at a run for Gram.   Oh! how she'd smile to see the letters of several pages - enough for a good read and the fine glow from it would last all day and then some.

 I remembered these lessons about letters today, so many years later and wondered. This letter-writing project is getting fun already, maybe thanks to the post office in Southport and Carlson's card shop next door:  we'd shop for cards and stationery, sign and stamp and mail it immediately.  If we were lucky to arrive just then, we'd help with the tall pendulum clock and then scoot out on our way.  My childhood neighborhood was surely designed by Norman Rockwell !  Thank you Angels!

And the box of love letters between my late husband and myself is treasured.  IN WRITING - the promises fulfilled ,from years of dreams and plans and prayers and lessons and wishes and fears and fidgets and longing.      Most of them written in college and Military days to sweethearts , newlywed and then new parents of such a baby boy!  And his sister soon after a promise to never be apart again.   Promises kept till death are as good as promises get.

This is a thing to think about - Letters.  Let's see how this goes.....







Friends - Lantana

BBB’s Lantana photo - she is getting pro with the cameras and is into robotics….birds and flowers!

BBB’s Lantana photo - she is getting pro with the cameras and is into robotics….birds and flowers!


A Facebook friend from Alabama has been a fun friend to me here in Connecticut and shares the bounty of her birds , flowers and property wildlife - today she charmed me again! Lantana - verbena, some call it.

I become elated when I see Lantana - They put on a really special sprightly show - growing tons of the robust florets in many colors on one stem…I’d delight each time they came into view. Like candy on stems, and the name ‘Verbena” rhymed with my Mother’s Albina, and so, special to me.

One would find it just everywhere, in several varieties, but then it seemed to “go somewhere” in the rush of making grownup life. But then Maude Taylor moved in next door at our lovely new home - part of a new thing called condos - really well done ones and every convenience included. Half of us were young families with little ones, our men home from Viet Nam and all of us thrilled to be able to make our lives in pride and peace.

I had done Red Cross work, and Maude was a retired red cross admin, who moved next door to us in NC in 1970-72. Though my temp response work was nothing compared to her lifelong commitment, it was with Medivac at Fort Knox and my first close sight of war, and her appreciation of my life-altering experience of it was vital to my health at that point.

I called her my "In loco parentis" - a redcross term for one who does the job of local parent...I had my college and works in arts for years and first real red cross war work, but I was young and with an infant on each hip, and Mother deaf in CT and no TTD or caption phone for us, I was missing her.

My redcrosslady next door became a really special friend. We traded books, quilt patterns, food things and when I admired her beautiful lantana , she insisted I have some of it for my own place...YES!

The plant burst into life at my place, too, with a really impressive show nearly overnight! and I smile today, still , at how well it thrived! LIFE.

Thank you BBB for the wonderful memory!

Moon Landing ! FIFTY years ago July 20, 1969 10:30 pm UT

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Correct the time for me…..my Father’s hands made the gold foil you see in the photos of that historic moment, but all the research I have been able to find, yields varying data for the exact moment.

We watched live and it was evening - heaven! It felt holy to those of us who had even the most remote connection to the project. Proud of my Father - but not with him that night - he’d recently remarried and was with others. My husband and our toddler son and myself began the evening at the television, waiting…. and siblings and friends dropped in to say hi and share the buffet I prepared, in a maternity hostess gown….our daughter on her way to life….and THE moment.

We were SILENT. I thought we’d cheer and we probably did later…but to get any of us SILENT…well, there’s a thing.


Handy page for reference.
https://history.nasa.gov/ap11ann/FirstLunarLanding/ch-1.html

Every
day we use some bit of tech or other that was discovered and developed for NASA - EVERY day! Details on request - or maybe I will post a list here if there is time - special day is pretty full.

People squelched this program over and over and our sustainability as a species depends on its progress. Living extra terrestrially and space travel and discovery are our future.

MORE: If we had been able to achieve a fraction of the tech advances empowered by the Space Program there would have been no Nineleven - Occupant Safety and Escape Technology would have been brought up to speed so that all could find safe landing in the event of trouble in tall buildings or planes….therefore there would have been NO MOTIVE for targeting it…………And STILL many of the tech miracles today owe their birth to the lunar landing!

Thank you NASA and know you are WORTH IT

Independence Day Blog note 2019

INDEPENDENCE DAY BLOG ENTRY :

Praise for our president - the recent meetings were full of danger for him and his staff and he handled it all so well !

We are very fortunate to have him helping at the White House right now - because, in the long view in the Third Millennium, that's what it is. HELPING !

I will always think well of him because he didn't need it - such a job!

When our leaders find ways on the right side of the law to express their opinions in sessions, they will actually see the lights they need to actually fix a few of our major issues - I sink and sicken at the abuse our leaders dish out and and endure from one another - they do not even bother to include the word, "respectfully" half the time anymore!

IF I ruled, I'd have them all doing powernaps and meditations and prayer for a minute before EVERY single moment of congress, until they act like the amazing people they aim to be! In the Third Millennium, all the ignorant backward rock-throwing is absurd and makes us look awful , worldwide.

There is ia HUGE difference between "Let Freedom Ring ! " and calling "RUMBLE" like the sharks and jets in a gang movie of olden days. The gangs were horribly poor, illiterate (unless you count obscene scrawls on walls) and likely to behave badly. Our leaders spent years studying to bring LIGHT, INTELLECT and POWERS OF THE BEST KIND to the world's issues....but, for awhile now, you’d never know it.

PLEASE let's do better -

AMERICA is a MIRACLE we all agreed in our childhood, but sometimes my Dad would say, "Yes but "Screwing up a miracle is what we DO - we do it every time and we are doing it again !"

THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT TODAY WE HAVE A CHOICE AND IF WE CHOOSE DEATH OVER LIFE, HATE OVER LOVE , POVERTY INSTEAD OF PROSPERITY it is "OUR BAD" .....WE know we can do better ...EASEL-y , says this artist....."Let it begin with me!" ellefagan.com

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Father of The Year - Bob Parr of "The Incredibles 2"

I knowwww…… this is not going to make Apple News. It’s okay. I’m right and I’m right and I know it!

Few Dads face the challenges or reap the rewards of Robert “Bob” Parr, with an entire family of Superheroes to his credit! Wife Helen is “Elastigirl” and outdoes us all in the classic women’s mandate to “Always be flexible” , and followed by daughter Violet, who does protective force fields, Son Robert Dashiel “Dash” Parr, who owns superspeed and super scenario management skills, and the latest , the multi-powered “Jack-Jack”!

The Parrs on Fathers Day - Helen/Elastigirl with Baby Jack-Jack, Dad Robert”Bob” / Mr.Incredible, Robert Dashiel/Dash, and eldest, sister Violet who does protective force fields. Don’t you feel your family is a bit super, too?

The Parrs on Fathers Day - Helen/Elastigirl with Baby Jack-Jack, Dad Robert”Bob” / Mr.Incredible, Robert Dashiel/Dash, and eldest, sister Violet who does protective force fields. Don’t you feel your family is a bit super, too?

A special Dad moment - bizzy day done - peacefully-sleeping super son..for just now…so perfect.

A special Dad moment - bizzy day done - peacefully-sleeping super son..for just now…so perfect.

Every step of the way, so far, he is exemplary, and yet fun and human and passionately devoted to good and to the good of his family. A hundred times he is challenged “above and beyond” and he comes through admirably every time!

He works and loves like a modern Dad and with top guy grace, he runs the world - or a kiosk at the Insurance Company, or an outing to a restaurant or a morning’s breakfast while Mom is doing super rescues.

In “Incredibles 2” his sense of judgement and devotion are tested over and over - even delighting wildly in baby Jack-Jack’s growth showing powers unfathomable, while scrambling wildly to help the baby master them. Yay, Auntie Edna Mode! Her tech support and instant love for Jack-Jack win the day!

In the complexities of Helen / Elastigirl’s part in things, she depends on unconditional love and loyalty of her family circle and , thanks to Dad “Bob” / Mister Incredible, she GETS it and so the team family wins. He refers to this need to do “Team Family” well , in so many words, to his best friend and often ally, Frozone….. “…so we all can win!”

Of course, Jack-Jawk steals the show and our hearts, but no so much as to undo our appreciation for Robert Bob Parr/ Mister Incredible - “Father of the Year”!

Sweethearts - a memory and memorial

The Easter message of Victory over Death is the right note for the passing of these loved ones. Joyful!

The Easter message of Victory over Death is the right note for the passing of these loved ones. Joyful!

I received news recently of  two forever young sweethearts, in-laws, and dear ones,  going to heaven only a few months apart.  

The first time we met, my late husband was showing me off and getting approval  of our marriage from his family and friends.   His five siblings were next for first visits. and though I only had two siblings, my parents were both blessed with 20 altogether , plus spouses and children.   My childhood was alive with many cousins.  We were supers!  Ever-present was the love - a spiritually rich  matrix.

My fiancee said,  three of his siblings are single, but two older sisters married with six and five children, respectively, the latest, twins!  At first visit, across the state,  I thought the eldest sister was a madonna,  something from Mary Cassatt, as she  fed the latest infant!  Ah!  She and her husband are gone for some years, but alive through their work and children.    A few weeks later, we continued with the drive to Rhode Island to the second sister's - it is she  and her husband who have recently passed away, so the memory is crisp and clear. The twins wanted feeding a bit early and everyone was in the kitchen. 

The two eldest, boys, were enjoying a snack, the one lovely daughter was feeling flustered and her Dad, like Mister Incredible, was being her hero, fixing the issue - I will never forget his kind and gentle way with her - he was football and things like diaper duty were  woman's work in the 60s,  but he was ready and there.   Then the main event:  my sister-in-law-to-be  had twin boy babies in infant-seats on the table and at super-speed was delivering baby-spoons of lunch to both !  And yet so calmly and quietly and even with some grace.  

My jaw dropped!  I believed in feeding on demand, but with five babies under the age of six, what happens on the day when they all demand at once?  Tita kept apologizing for the hectic welcome - but I smiled and TOLD her I  LOVED it and I think she saw I meant it.  New Friends.

Many visits followed to our homes in Connecticut , New Jersey and Rhode Island and North Carolina - fine times !    Culture and sports,  good talk and fine food - and our own son and daughter later added to the mix.
Lives were so full of the graces in careers and prosperity and health and joyful living !   Phone chats, holiday cards and gifts at any excuse. Yes !

Then one morning it ended to to my sudden and way-too-soon widowhood, the recession and empty nesting descending - all at once- the curse of Job.  It  was too much of course , but it was not allowed to be too much for me.    I was glad I'd done emergency response and tons of child-related work- it was needed at home from me right now. 

We recovered and  re-designed things and we all did just fine . But since they have all passed away my  hopes for easy reunions are gone. I hope to see them with God one day. What times we'll know again !  

Here on earth, for two decades we knew unbroken bliss !  Not even death can undo us!  New adventures, challenges, and loves!  

elle






Insight ? Jack-Jack's Validity !

Story:

JackJack and Auntie Edna Mode

JackJack and Auntie Edna Mode

Observing the Easter Religious events, I sometimes wonder - the best of the human spirit and integrity and miracle making must be constantly refreshed or it is gone and evil times always follow. How are we doing this today? It is not just religion but every scenario of our lives that teach us and light up our souls for a grand journey…like this:

"Jack-jack's" validity....from the funny family movie "Incredibles2". His Teenaged Sister Violet is very upset - her feelings have been hurt. She is distraught and very noisy, but finally, is spent, and she leaves the room. 

Her father and brother and baby Jack-Jack look at one another in the sudden quiet of her absence and react: 

Father sighs....
brother asks: "Is she having Adolescence?"  
but Jack-Jack, infant at his breakfast Cheerios, does the Sympatico.....lifts the bowl of munchies and smashes them over his face in grief! ....then giggles! 

Valid compassion?  

Exactly so - we miss it! We must be on time for school and work and so we buzz by the moment.

Sympatico! That he does the compassionate action reaction is valid and even logical for a pre-verbal child. ...... but the giggling , which might be not okay for an adult, states the brilliance of the baby mind....."it's all good , his giggling says - we WIN, anyway! - sad or happy...that we do Life together is the thing that remains the happy miracle, even on the bad day!

Jack-Jack's validity. Happy Easter!

Miracles - have some!



Spring! Daffodils and more!
Everyone is quoting Wordsworth’s daffodil poem - a Poet Laureate of England in his day.

AMERICAN Poets of similar credit are my study focus just now, though - it is not really fair, you know - America has only existed for a few centuries and the other lands for a few millennia! They got a head start, if it’s a race. So first we respect and do homage to our elders, but then we must point out our own MOST worthy poets. I found lots on who is best, but these two work for quick reference:

This page quickly and clearly lists the top 100 with links to more:
https://www.ranker.com/list/best-american-poets/ranker-books

This one is at Wikipedia and more comprehensive list in Alphabetical order:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_poets_from_the_United_States


But then I think about poetry: my own first poetic efforts, and my mother’s love poems to our father and my brother’s contemporary poems in his own book “In a Mirrored Room” - I asked the library to stock it and they said “Of course”. Nice.

Then poetry goes on from there - to Saint Patrick and Irish folk with their famous “Gift o’ the Gab” and such a way with words! Irish Gramps love songs to Gram , after 50 years wed.

And the might Celtic Chief Fionn, pronouncing “ The Music of what happens - is the finest music of all!” Poetry is life - if you are feeling “off” - see the Poetry all around you.

Man’s desire for art and order in the midst of chaos lets us navigate it triumphantly.

Andddd.. that is how I got it to this bit of poetry -

the finest poetry I will ever read -

the finest word for a title:

ASYMPTOMATIC

Do you remember when , in “Lord of the Rings” , Frodo complains about the skulking Gollum being allowed to slither here and there threateningly among them? Gandalf sits Frodo down and gives a lesson - wise Wizard - there may be need for things we do not understand at a moment - wait - we may need him yet.

To most who love literature, the pulp rags at the checkouts are the Gollum of Communications….but not to me any longer:

"The Star" saved my son. An uncle liked the junk news at the corner store checkout and brought one home and left it open on the kitchen table. Visiting, I was helping tidy up , as he left the room. Alone, I lady-sneered at the humble newspaper, and paged thru it to close it up- when I stopped COLD at the headline: "Breakthrough to win over Aneurysm" blasted across the page top.


Having lost my late husband to ruptured Berry Aneurysm, I had not realized how frightened I had been for our children, I learned, at least that it was often an inherited tendency. Of course, I’d researched and talked with specialists till they got annoyed with me for pressing, but they told me there was nothing to be done - no test and no treatment for it. I breathed and bore my concern and then got busy making the best days I could for us, and watched. I just used to my own anxiety, I guess. Almost ten years had passed - then this article! WOW!


For me, at that moment, the world was a different place, with the sun coming thru the window in a special way. After reading it twice, I followed the contact leads, and I called in and they said YES the junk article was correct. The university center and doctor heading the work were located only a few miles from my son's college...Dr. Gary Steinberg said ..."Send him in - let's do it - and your daughter, too!"

I framed the letter that arrived after the testing was done - your children are "Asymptomatic" for aneurysm. I felt, inst antly, as though I'd been hitting me on the head with a hammer and suddenly stopped!

LIKE BFG in the movies, getting happily carried away over a grand moment, I could fill a page with similes to describe the joy of the moment and the tangible relief. That was twenty years ago, almost and not a headache among us - none worth mentioning. Left-handed blessing, that our focus in that department made the rest of us conscious of it enough to get into prevention? I knew my late husband loved us and I knew he made medicine but miracles? Possibly.

This Woman in the Arts


  • I was SIX when they called me "Artiska".

  • I was TEN when my first poem was read in public - not just in school.

  • I helped in community and small biz with my parents.

  • I was SIXTEEN at the local Brainstein college helping in arts a "prototype girl" on campus.

  • I was en route to earned top career path, when family crisis crashed it temporarily

  • Local college studies under top mentors - met Jim Albers, NASA’s Phil Stern and a hero

  • Love marriage redcross and military art installations per USACE with husband partner

  • Motherhood and Wellcome Corporate move NY, NC, and back to campus ECU and PCC

  • Pioneer in a Southern Boomtown in fitness, education civil rights.FUN...the fifth freedom!


    Watershed moment I guess: One day it was all gone, the babies off to college, the husband heartbreakingly suddenly and way too soon dead at my feet one morning, and then the recession nearly wiped out all the money just as instantly

  • Faith and experience not enough: the entire path for my work as lost in estate resolutions

  • Restart did not happen till I moved with our gifted teen chlldren, Back to Connecticut roots.

  • Financially blocked , injured, slandered, and overcharged and underserved, WON anyway

  • Children fine, college and career honors, time to go jogging to save me.

  • Reprised old wartime red cross work, rescuing recession-injured to the risk of my own life

  • Work and study in art-related - children and I were jubilant at the emotional victory

  • Injured again. With the good supports I'd earned, I was helped and recovered

  • Resumed prize-winning work - one at the White House this time- it’s a story

  • One for the Church I love - a Blessing - then moved on to a normal living

  • Now? get the art selling again and recover decent money. 

  • …oh, yes…they asked for the book

And here I am today - Who will help? SALES Please of this honored work while the prices are still affordably set.  I will soon have a new dealer and the prices will rise.

All along I have kept nice memberships and I will soon have a new dealer and the prices will rise to reflect his hard-earned commissions and ad costs.  A long night’s journey into day, but - COME to the WEDDING - I can probably promise it, if you buy the art of Ellen May Bernadine Smith Fagan - Ellesmith   at her online home of seventeen years, ellefagan.com

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Gaelic Poem - The Finest Music

THE FINEST MUSIC

Fionn Mac Cumhail was a legendary Irish hero, urbane, cultured and cunning, 
who combined elements of warrior, seer and poet. 
In one story, Fionn sparked a debate when he asked his followers
what they thought was the finest music in the world. 
"Tell us what you think," said Fionn, turning to Oisin. 
"The cuckoo calling from the highest tree in the hedge," cried his jolly son. 
"That is a good sound," said Fionn. "And Oscar," he asked, 
"what do you think is the finest music?" 
"The best music to my ears
is the ring of a spear on a shield," cried the sturdy lad. 
"That is a good sound," said Fionn. 

And the other champions told what
best pleased them: 
the bugling of a stag across water, 
the baying of a melodious pack heard from afar, 
the song of a lark, 
the laughter of a gleeful girl, 
or the whisper of a moved one. 

"Those are all good sounds," said Fionn. 

"Tell us, chief," one ventured, "what do you think?" 
"The music of what happens," said great Fionn, 
"that is the finest music in the world." 

 

- James Stephens, Irish Fairy Stories 

Poetess Susan J. Mardinly Connecticut march 5

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I met Susan at the lovely Ekphrasis event during the Annual Open Studio Hartford a few years ago. What luck! Ekphrasis takes up random bits of visual art and uses it to inspire song and poetry to perform at the event. Really nice - find one in your area and attend. Adds some nice things to a visit to a gallery.

I had not really given a lot of thought to women in poetry until then but I am educated a bit and very impressed now, realizing the Mother was one and I do a bit of it myself - my brother’s book of poems is in the libraries but this is about WOMEN poets today.

Susan J. Mardinly has worked for a long time with the University and shared her gifts to pass on to future generations. She chose one of my paintings in 2016 to extol in verse. Copy of it is pasted here below.

Ekphrasis Prize Poem "In the Woods"

June 30, 2017

Find time this summer for a cool walk in the shade along a stream like this - good for everything!   The painting has a nice story.  Read on.

"Ekphrasis" is an event  of the  Open Studio Hartford annual city-wide presentions.  Ekphrasis extols selected images from its group show in song and dance and poetry.   I am honored to say that Poetess Susan Mardinly made the poem "In the Woods" about my  2016 painting of the same name , shown here.  Comment Welcome.  Thank you at Thanksgiving to Susan and her beautiful verse!  Poetry is her second suit - she is lifetime music with honors in teaching as well. But she has shared here book of poetry here    https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Calls-Susan-J-Mardinly/dp/1494827107           The painting was special to make and it has been really nice to see it win attention - for sale here https://ellefagan.com/fineartstorepage/in-the-woods

 

The painting sold this June!  More like it on request. Thank you to the buyer!

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In the Woods

Light shines upon the forest stream,

facets dancing upon rocks and pebbles,

singing to us, knowing we also are fashioned of light,

magnetic, electric, fused, 

particles, forms, waves, 

of dreams, of unperceived matter,

of fundamental knowing,

but always drawn light unto light.

Prisms of cumulus rainbows, 

flashing through the eye of winter snow,

reflecting upon limbs and branches,

illuminating watery paths above and below,

a recipe made of hydrogen and oxygen,

metamorphosis beyond human ken,

in sound streaming, in heat dancing, 

or scattering in luminescent flow.

 

Far beyond reason or logic,

inspired by these miracles,

we become trained to see with other eyes: 

smaller worlds that dwell enlightened:

tree roots wriggling in shimmering growth,

caravans of ants as they scurry to bring food,

flowers in unencumbered rest far beneath the sparkle,

new life about to emerge from joyful winter dens.

 

Taking this wild journey in the woods,

shimmering insight burns away dross

radiant within the light that imbibes us:

in optical duality, in mirrors upon mirrors 

our inner blaze transforming,

listening to the speed of creations’ flashes,

to the scent of fire’s kindle, the taste of luminous fruit,

of healing love that light sustains.  

 

copyright © 2016 susan j mardinly 








Snowy Day march 4

Lots of variations on this poem - I like this one:

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The North Wind

The north wind doth blow, 
And we shall have snow, 
And what will the robin do then, poor thing? 
He'll hide in the barn, 
To keep himself warm, 
And tuck his head under his wing, poor thing. 

This one verse poem has been around for almost 200 years and has been expanded into a five-stanza extravaganza to March Winds….but they bring Spring in the end!

Just to share the mood of this snowy day in March in Connecticut USA ! Stay safe and have fun!