Thursday, August 4, 2022

Termoli, San Giacomo, Venice and Padua!



 From Rome to Termoli with its view of the Adriatic,


we drove “just over the hill” to San Giacomo degli Schiavoni, the town with the long name and only three streets. The town with a population (today) of less than 1500, where my father lived between the ages of three and eighteen. We went to find the house he built in the Sixties.


Afterward, we drove to Venice. 

I didn't like Venice. I didn't like the canal. It was just body of water, and I'd seen better bodies of water in Paris six years earlier, and in Switzerland as we drove passed the mountain lakes near Luzerne. 

But then we went to the old part of the city, to that part of the city that had no water and no tourists either. To that part of Venice (called Mestre) where I ate smoked salmon and (would you believe) Philadelphia cream cheese on a croissant, and where I bought a blue dress I fell (quite literally, but didn't get hurt!) in love with.

Then we went to Padua because I wanted to pray in the church dedicated to my patron, Saint Anthony. 


And finally, we started the long drive back to Darmstadt!

   

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Arrivederci Roma!



 We have spent our five days in Rome and have just arrived at a seaside city close to the town my father grew up in. It is heavenly here, much nicer than it was in Rome.

Oh, Rome has all the sights, all of what Irving Stone once called “the agony and the ecstasy.” It has the Vatican:


The Trevi Fountain: 


a view from the top of the Spanish Steps:


 And, of course, the Colosseum:



But Rome was hot,  hot, hot - which is why all my photos were taken at night- and this little city, called Termoli, has little more than a beautiful view of the Adriatic, and a delicious sea breeze!     

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Florence!


My pictures say it all! 


Basilica di Santa Croce
(Basilica of the Holy Cross)

 

Michelangelo's Tomb
(inside the Basilica)




The River Arno at night




a typical street




The River Arno again




the view from our front door




a wider street




Dante!



Thursday, July 14, 2022

On the Beach

I’m on a beach. In Delaware. A mini-vacation before the longer one I’ll begin next week. I’m sitting under an umbrella, most of the time with my eyes closed, listening to the voices of strangers while a breeze skips across my skin, moving from one shoulder to the other.

There are people all around me - an older woman with short gray hair sitting alone with a book; an Asian family of three - mother, father and a teenage son who never leaves their side;  a young black man with long thin locks that frame his face majestically; and a man behind me talking incessantly on a cell phone, his voice rising and falling with the cadence of the waves, a voice I’m surprised I miss after he packs up and leaves.

Children screaming. Women laughing. All of it muffled by the mantra of the waves that lull me into bliss, until finally, I pick myself up to head home, to finish packing for a trip across this ocean to Germany and beyond.










Wednesday, July 6, 2022

ELVIS, a Movie Review

 


. I've seen Elvis impersonators before -thin men and fat men, men in white jumpsuits or black leather jackets, and I’ve disliked them all. But Austin Butler’s performance as Elvis in Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 film version of the king is nothing short of electrifying.

The two-hour and thirty-nine-minute movie, which covers every facet of Elvis’ life and career from his birth in Tupelo, Mississippi to his death in Memphis, is narrated by Colonel Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks), Elvis’ manager who tries to convince us that he “is not the villain in his story,” when, in fact, he is.  

But before Colonel Parker, there was Elvis standing on a stage in one of his earliest performances. When the girls begin to scream, Elvis turns to his guitarist, Scotty Moore, and asks “Why are they yelling?” “The wiggle,” Moore answers, and, at that moment, ELVIS was born. And in a scene that is nothing less than genius, we see how and where that wiggle originated.

During most of the movie (to which I took my thirteen-year-old granddaughter Chloe, who loved it. Indeed, when I turned to whisper something to her, she couldn’t take her eyes off the screen), I found it difficult to remember that it was Austin Butler on the screen and not Elvis himself.

Unlike the Beatles, Elvis never made political statements. But when Robert Kennedy was assassinated during rehearsals for the 1968 Comeback Special and, with the memory of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., two months earlier, still fresh in his mind, Elvis sang “If I Can Dream” with a passion and purpose that only Butler could match.  

Throughout the movie, Parker tries to lay the blame for Elvis’ death on anything and anyone except Parker himself   -  Elvis’ heart, his drug use, and even the love Elvis felt coming from his audience,  one that could not sustain him when he wasn’t on stage.

But, if this movie begins with the circus-clown-like antics of Parker, it ends with the real Elvis on stage singing “Unchained Melody” in concert in June of 1977, just weeks before his death. While listening and watching Elvis sing this song, I realized that Elvis’ greatest love was his love for music.  

 Dear Elvis, my memoir of love and loss, is available at amzn.to/2uPSFtE      


Sunday, June 26, 2022

Still Driving After All These Years

 

Back in the late '90's I was living in the mother-in-law suite of my youngest daughter's house. While I lived downstairs, Jessi lived upstairs with her husband and four kids. I had been living there ever since I called her one day and told her how much I hated the job I had, working at a bank.

“Quit,” she said, “and come live with us Instead of working, you can do all the cooking.”

Back then, Jessi was driving a school bus, and for a while, that arrangement was working. Or, at least, I thought it was working until the day she came home and told me the school district was looking for another driver. I told her she was crazy. I told her there was no way I was going to start driving a school bus.

“What? Why? It’s easy,” she said.

“But those buses. They’re so – long.”

“You really don’t have to worry about that,” she said. “You just have to drive the front of the bus. The back always follows the front.”

I laughed at that and told her again she was crazy. But, after thinking about it, I decided to try. And right away I loved it. I loved the hours- the early mornings and late afternoons and having the rest of the day to myself. I loved listening to the sound of children’s voices and sitting up high with the big boys. I also loved the benefits.    

But after twelve years - by which time I was 72, I decided to retire. I put in the paperwork, then changed my mind. Luckily, I was able to find another job in another district. I’ll only work for a year or two, I thought back then.

I just finished my ninth year there. This time I fell in love with my co-workers – all of them. But sometime in the middle of those nine years, I moved with my daughter and son-in law to a house twenty-five miles away, and lately that distance has been getting to me. Not to mention the increase in the price of gas.

Now, I’ve found a job driving for a district whose bus garage is only nine minutes from my home and I’m going to work for a year.

Maybe two.

But, no more.

I think.

  

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Automatic Weapon

 Like almost everyone

I was shocked

after hearing

about the shootings

in Buffalo

and Uvalde.

It made me think  

about a place

I visited not long ago –

a church in Birmingham

where four little girls

were murdered

by men with

guns,

and bombs –

by men with

guns,

and bombs –

and hate.