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Amy Ferris, thank you for sharing your words. In Memory of beloved cousin, Stuart Freedman Colby, you were loved by many and recognized for the kind and wonderful individual you were. I think Stuart often and my heart hurts that he had to hide and live without the support of his parents. We all should live our lives to enrich the community we are all part of.
World AIDS Day- Amy Ferris
A day we remember those we loved & lost; friends and family, neighbors and co-workers, lovers and partners.
A day we stand up for and with – alongside – those we love & cherish who are living with HIV/AIDS.
A day we honor all the activists & all the warriors & all the human rights champions – all the extraordinary humans – all the men & women – who fight every single day of their lives against discrimination and the stigma; who showed us and taught us that silence is not golden – to be loud and noisy and to make a fucking ruckus.
What is a podcast? Why Should I list? Why would I want to create one?
A podcast is a digital recording. Here at newclevelandradio.net, we have several podcast hosts who record with us and place their recordings on our site that where it is distributed to various listening platforms such as iHeart, Spotify, Google, Spreaker, etc. Each podcast has a host, and I (Karen Hale) produce, engineer, and develop social media for each program.
Check out https://newclevelandradio.net/podcasting-line-up/
Gary Moss (https://newclevelandradio.net/jftsoi-taking-you-on-a-journey/) suggested to me that this would be an ideal platform for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends to share their legacy/life journey.
When Gary began podcasting with us, he had just started his 77 Sunset Trip, driving cross-country to play Scrabble™, meeting up with friends and family from the past as well as finding new and exciting individuals along the way. One such individual was a mechanic who fixed Gary’s car during his travels for under $5 (who would have thunk?)
This is when our proverbial wheels started to turn. We all have so much to share (not the FAKE NEWS,) but the journeys we have taken in life and our experiences that have helped influence us and others. So with the assistance of Gary in Southern California, and specifically in his Senior Citizen community, we are offering this service to YOU!
What a great holiday gift this is for your family as well as for others.
Too often, we forget that our elders have the wisdom to share by leading us down the path they have traveled. The stories they will bestow will enlighten as they explore their past. The history recorded will allow them to leave behind their thoughts and wishes. A podcast will provide them the venue to remember and share their memories guiding us all through our tomorrows.
Contact email@example.com for more information or firstname.lastname@example.org
A lot of my friends – tons of friends – are alone this year, this Thanksgiving. Many folks are estranged from their families; from friends or from a life they once had & held.
I know this feeling. Estrangement.
And I will tell you that there were many days – many days – more than I care to count – where I’d rewind, replay, re-adjust, re-calibrate, recall, & review all the crazy ass-shit that went down, all the shit that went sideways & just blew up. Imploded. The pain was unbearable. And what I can tell you, what I know – most of the guilt & shame & regret we carry around – schlep around – is not our own. It’s not. We inherited it; a collection – a greatest hits album – an entire lifetime of family history: the anger, the shame, the guilt; years of he said, she said, they said. Fuck you, no, no fuck you. fuck you more. Years of crap. Years of garbage piled on top of more garbage.
Years of mistakes & wrong turns & rebellion that are treated like felonies instead of misdemeanors – without forgiveness, or acceptance. There is nothing worse than having the past thrown up in your face over & over & over again. To be reminded of all the crazy crap you did when you didn’t know better. When all you wanted was to be seen, to be heard, to be held – when all you wanted was to be loved.
And the truth is – the rub is – everyone has their own shit.
Everyone has their own guilt.
Everyone has their own crap that they have dealt out, that they spewed, that they tossed into the heap.
Everyone has stuff that they need/want to hide, keep secret. Everyone has stuff they want hidden deep – way deep – kept in the darkness.
We are all broken. We are all filled with shards and jagged edges and sharp pointy pieces that can hurt like a motherfucker. We are all imperfect creatures. Each & every one of us, and my heart breaks, cracks, for all my friends who will sit alone this year wishing for forgiveness over stuff they said or did when they were younger. Foolish. Over mistakes they made because all they wanted was to be loved or liked, over actions they took, words they said, because they wanted a piece of a memory, a token of a love from someone they once cherished, adored. A reminder to hold. Wishing to hear the words: I’m so sorry. To hear the words: I was wrong. To hear the words: I hurt you, abused you, mistreated you.
We treat our own so unkindly and we wonder why the world is so deeply chaotic, so deeply troubled, so deeply wounded, so deeply steeped in pain & suffering; so unforgiving, so horribly mean-spirited.
So for all my friends and all the folks out there who are deeply, deeply pained, who are sorrowful during the holidays because they have been discarded, dismissed, forgotten, left out – please know this – we get to choose who we wanna share our lives with. We get to choose who we want in our lives. We get to choose the folks who lift us, inspire us, make us feel like we swallowed the sun. We get to choose who we walk side by side with, and stand with. We get to choose who we love. Blood may be thicker than water, but water is so much easier to clean up.
So, please, love yourself.
Please, forgive yourself.
Believe in the greatness of your own life.
Believe in your beauty.
Believe in your own amazing, stunning, messy, complicated, gorgeous life.
And if anyone – one soul – makes you feel that you are not worthy, not enough; if anyone makes you feel small, insignificant, less than – they do not deserve the privilege of you.
I hold you tight.
Ray, thank you for allowing us to post the link to your story https://medium.com/@rayngoldberg/the-three-stories-where-i-have-to-deadname-myself-644985dc26eb
You are an amazing individual that I am proud to call friend, and almost MISPACHA (family.) As we approach 2020 many changes in our world/society are evolving and if we are lucky we can journey in life that makes us feel whole. Too many of us have traveled down many paths taking right turns when we felt the urge to turn left, or going straight when we saw something on the horizon to our right. It takes courage to climb a mountain but when we do and we reach the APEX we can agreed that the sight is beautiful.
I hope your beautiful story will enlighten and encourage others to live life and dance as if no one is watching!
It’s been a long day, filled with some unexpected turns & doctor appointments and here is what I wanna say to each & everyone reading this:
I was in Walmart today, feeling up the fruit in the produce department, when the news came that there was another shooting, more dead – in another Walmart outside Oklahoma – and I was standing next to a woman who stared down at her cell phone and shook her head and said: It scares me to go out. Yes, I said, I know, I know. And with that, she left her cart in the middle of the produce department and ran out of the store.
She ran out of the store.
And please, I do not want any shit about being in a Walmart feeling up some fruit.
This is not how we should be living. In worry and fear and panicking and watching our backs and waiting for our children to return home from school and holding onto our hearts and texting friends and family who live near the shooting and calling our partners’, lovers, husbands, wives, just to hear their voice because … because… you just never know, you just never fucking know, and no one is immune to this god awful horrific shit.
No one is immune.
You just never know.
Another shooting, another day filled with fear & panic and worry, another day with the lying lowlife conman grifter sexist, racist rapist motherfucker living in the White House who doesn’t give a flying fuck that folks are being massacred in this Country.
This is not how we should be living.
To quote Elijah:
We are better than this.
Today I get to read about my mom here at Writers Conference – thank you so much Victoria Zackheim – and I want to share with you how I came to know that I had become the woman she always wanted to be.
It was the last time I saw her. She was in an Assisted Living facility; I now refer to our last visit: Assisted Loving.
I went to spend 10 days with her. I stayed at a hotel nearby, walking distance. Our visit was hard. Some days she was feisty and difficult and irritable, and on others she was tender and frail and gentle. Some days she had no idea who I was, one others I was her Amy; some days she was filled with rage and howling noises, other days she was silent and watching cartoons – her favorite. She wore a soiled nightgown and her hair, once coiffed weekly and curled, was now full on gray and stick straight.
She had once been a beauty – a beauty queen – she was now small and shrinking into her own skin; disappearing physically and emotionally.
I spent time down at the bar at the hotel I was staying at, and went back to my room. Undressed, washed up, got into bed, called Ken and chit-chatted for a while. In the middle of the night I got up to pee. I stopped at the full length mirror, and I looked at myself – full on – naked; and I saw myself: a woman who never had kids, a woman who followed her heart even when her heart was cracked & chipped & yes, broken; a woman who was feisty and crazy-ass and yes, often testy and impatient; a woman who went for her dreams and never gave up even when it felt wholly fucking impossible, a woman who chose a creative path – writing; a woman who chose unconventional and rebellious and shaky as her foundation; and as I stood there looking at my body – a body that was slender but not tight, a body that was strong but not muscular, a body that had so many hidden scars that had turned into stardust, and I knew in that moment, in that hotel, in front of that mirror that I had become the woman my mother always wanted to be.
And in that moment, in that hotel, in front of that mirror I let go of much of the anger & much of the disappointment & much of the bitterness I held onto for so very long and replaced that with a profound appreciation that she – a woman who gave up all of her dreams of being an artist and all of her hopes of living a creative life and her desire to be unconventional – that she brought me into this world.
***Thank you Amy for these beautiful words. They reflect so much that is in my heart about my own momma!”
You will soon get to know Amy Ferris if you don’t know her yet. I am her Goddess Sister, and she is Mine! She posted this on Facebook today and it is a reminder that life has detours, obstacles, and shit along the way but we can survive if we are compassionate, caring, and loving humans!
The Words of Amy Ferris – Please, bear with me.
Today is the anniversary of my dad’s death; 20 years today; November 2.
This is one of my very favorite pieces that I wrote about us, and in honor of him today, I share it again.
Every Saturday we took the Long Island Railroad from Bellmore to Manhattan. New York City. The train ride was about forty-eight minutes, station-to-station. At the candy store in Bellmore, he got a newspaper and a coffee with a little milk; and I would get chocolate milk. On the train, we would find seats – two together, side by side – and we would sip and he would read, and I would stare out the window watching the world swish by.
He had been arrested.
A bribery case – the United States vs… my Dad.
He didn’t expect to be caught. He didn’t expect to be arrested. We didn’t expect life to change. She didn’t expect to pawn all her jewelry. I didn’t expect to be bullied and harassed, and to have imaginary friends. We had never known that kind of fear and sad before, and now they had moved in with us, constant companions, tagging along where ever we went.
You don’t expect that kinda shit when you’re 8 years old.
He needed a job; to feed us, to pay the bills, the mortgage, the car, the clothes.
He got a job working at Melvin’s Frame Shop in the West 30’s. Or maybe it was the West 40’s. We would walk from Penn Station, the LIRR, to the shop. His friend, Murray, got him the job. Melvin was Murray’s cousin. Melvin made frames for Museums, and Art Gallery’s and was pretty well known in that world. Elaborate frames. Fancy frames – gold, and silver, huge frames. My dad was hired to sweep the floors, and clean the place. A janitor. He would sweep, and clean, and label frames, and organize things, and I would sit on the wooden table, my little-girl skinny legs dangling, and I’d watch – mesmerized – as my dad swept the wooden shavings from under the tables with a huge broom and dustpan. And Melvin would berate him, in an accent sprinkled with angry. “Sweep here. HERE. This. This. Here. THIS. This dust, and this sand, and these wood chips… and the mess… sweep, god-damn-it, sweep, you lazy man, can’t you see where you’re sweeping, Goddamnit?” And my dad would shrink right before me – right before my eyes. He would shrink, and disappear, and I was so scared he would disappear forever. He was a tall man – six foot one – but Melvin could make him disappear. Melvin had the same tattoos that Phyllis and Henry had. The same exact tattoos. I called them cartoons. I didn’t know what tattoos were. Numbers – like a telephone number – on their forearm. Melvin had the same tattoo as them. I knew about those numbers. I knew that Phyllis and Henry had lost both sets of parents. All four. They had burned to death in an oven. I knew that story. I had heard that story over family get-togethers, dinners. Incinerated, was the word used. I watched, witnessed, as Melvin spewed at my father. Goddamn you, you lazy man. And I would sit on the wooden worktable, my little skinny legs dangling, and watch my dad lose whatever faith he was clinging to while I was clinging to him. I wasn’t sure why he brought me with him on Saturday’s. Maybe he wanted me to know that he loved me. Maybe he was lonely. Maybe because it was a Saturday, and he never needed to work on Saturday’s, and that was our day. But our days were different before the arrest. They were filled with hope and possibility; museums and plays, and theater, and movies and Aunt Jemina pancakes. Maybe he needed to know that no matter what, no matter fucking what, I would love him. We would leave the Frame Shop right on the dot: Five O’clock, and we would walk down Broadway to Penn Station. Stopping at the automat. He would get a hot steaming cup of coffee, and I would get a milkshake. Chocolate. And we would sit at the counter, and I would watch my dad stare into his coffee, a million miles away. And I would make believe that I was a Princess from the Island of Long, and we were having a day out and no one – no one – could find us. I liked that game. And then, we would stand up, and almost on cue, we would both exhale, and then he would leave a tip, a few coins for the waitress behind the counter, and we would walk to the train station, a few blocks away, and climb down the stairs into the station, and find the track number, and go to the platform, and wait for our train, and the train would swish into the station, loud and steamy, and when the conductor said: all aboard – because back then they did – we stepped in, and found our seats, and I grabbed my dad’s hand and didn’t let go.
I didn’t let go.
And I could feel every bit of his sad and his unhappy and his burden and his disappointment and his humility and his anger and his disgrace and his embarrassment and his shame and his worry and his fear and his doubt entwined in my fingers. Our hands. I could feel it. And when I finally caught his eye – when he finally looked down at me – his little girl, his princess – my eyes were saying, you’re my hero, Daddy, you’re my hero. And I think maybe for a few seconds he believed me, and I think that maybe that gave him just a little more courage. A little more hope. At least enough courage and hope to get us home.
After months – day in, day out, day in – my dad was acquitted on a technicality. And our life came back, piece by broken chipped cracked piece. He stopped working at the frame shop and my mother stopped pawning her jewelry and I stopped having imaginary friends and we never, ever talked about that time.
It was taboo.
That huge, massive cluster of shame was hidden deep, tucked away, because that’s what you did back then – when something bad, awful, horrible happened – and it was swept under the wooden table along with all the wooden chips and all the dust and all the shavings; into corners and crevices and cracks and under rugs – hidden and buried deep.
17 August 1990 at 9:31 am Alex Edwin Hale was born!
Somebody said that it couldn’t be done, but Rich and I didn’t listen!
It took numerous visits to the infertility clinic and many disappointments, including a miscarriage and just days before the invitro, I was molested by a doctor! I almost did not go through the procedure, but with Richard’s support and love and our desire to have a child together, I am so glad I did! The sticky sperm separated enough to fertilize the egg that would develop into Alex, our son.
Today 29 years later, I could not be happier with the young man he is. He too has had his battles from infancy to today, but he continues to get stronger with the adversity of life and is a joy to all who get to know him. Alex continues to amaze me with the knowledge he possesses and the kind heart that is very vulnerable. His talents are remarkable, and yet he does not boast or think he is above or beyond others.
Alex is always the first as well as the last one to care for another, and he lives his life-giving to others, that is his true happiness.
To say I love him to the Moon and Back is not enough to express my mother’s love and respect for him. Join me in wishing Alex (the sports genius with the melodic voice) a H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y!
August 2, 2016, I received a call from my brother Joel. Just shortly before he called me, he learned that our mother had suffered a stroke. That morning still stands out in my mind, as Rich left for work, I went out on our back patio and decided to dig up and transplant a spider plant. The plant was barely growing between two well-thriving hostas. As I freed this struggling plant and replaced it in front of my patio doors, I felt as if I had just completed a decisive action. With a feeling of satisfaction, I smiled, knowing that it was going to be a good day until I received the phone call. That plant today is growing and sprouting new baby shoots each year.
I remember feeling a sense of disbelief; my mom was a strong woman who was 96 ½ years young. My brother had to have his information wrong. However, after promising him, I would get myself together and drive to Michigan to be with mom, I followed up with the hospital to learn her condition was concerning. (Now what does that mean?)
After getting my family situated, Rich, Alex, and I set out for Detroit. All we knew at that time was she had suffered what appeared to be a stroke, was blind, and had no idea what happened, or if anything happened. She had no concept of being blind; she saw what she wanted *in her mind.
Arriving hours later as I approached her hospital room, I feared the worst and hoped for the best. Mom was sleeping, as I slowly approached her and woke her up. She sounded like mom, although a bit confused as she began asking questions about why she was in the hospital. She said she felt fine and wanted to go home. I reassured she would be staying at the hospital for at least the night we had to identify what may have happened. Again, she still had no idea she was blind.
August 2, 2016, took us all on a journey we never expected or planned.
From August 2, through October 11, 2019, I was blessed to spend my mother’s last weeks with her. It was during this time I was able to talk to my mama in a manner I never thought I could. We went from what I depicted as a love/hate mother-daughter relationship to a loving, trusting, mother-daughter experience. I grew up during those weeks, even though I didn’t feel ready for the challenges I faced.
I have not felt the same since the transition from Summer to Fall in 2016. I have held on to the good memories from those weeks, the stories my mama told, some over and over again, while others were in fragments that I may never know the full meaning. During this period, I felt like I was in limbo just as much as my mom. Although there was no hope for her recovery, we also had no time table of her fate. Each day was a blessing and a miracle until she died.
I have been told by the rabbis and the scholarly Jewish community that my mother’s death on the Eve of Yom Kippur, October 11, 2016, was a mitzvah. My mother was absolved of all her sins in 2076, written into the book of life, and with 2077 on the horizon, she would leave this earthly world in the presence and acceptance of G-D. However, ever year, Yom Kippur rolls around as I pray for life,I now remember my mother’s life and the love she shared.
August the 2nd will always remind me of the opportunity I had to care for my mother and create a heartful of loving memories!
This is my opinion – Karen Moss Hale
Last night I had no intention of watching Part 1 of the Democrats Debate. However, I did watch it, and I was amazed at the talent and mostly the compassion in many of these #WANT-2-B-Presidents. I went into this not wanting to like Elizabeth Warren, thinking she had her chance in 2016, but I see a different person in her now. She truly cares; she is the mom, teacher, nurse, doctor, and mentor that we need. Yet I saw the spark in the eyes of others who I felt were also believable. I have trusted Julian Castro since his introduction through Obama years ago. I understood the use of Spanish and English in his remarks last night, however, when my grandparents and yours came here from far-away lands speaking in their tongue, part of becoming a U.S. citizen was learning English and be capable of communicating with all. I am not against having a native language like Spanish, French, Yiddish, etc., but we all must learn to speak in the same language. We are a melting pot, and we must be able to blend together, bringing our strengths to the table and improving upon our weaknesses.
Personally, Cory Booker is another fine politician and human, and he reminds me of President Obama, and for my family and me although we had our own personal struggles during his period in office, we felt safe and optimistic. The stats from last night say Booker and Castro were at odds with each other and this is something that we must overcome. The Democratic System is about choice, freedom, and rights. It is also about collaboration and not compromise. Many of the #WANT-2-B-Presidents said it; it is not about starting a new project; it is about taking what we have and making it better. Whether you agree or not, that is what the Affordable Care Act was about. It was the starting point to help provide that all AMERICANS have affordable care despite their age and or income level! Why should we throw the baby out with the bathwater when we can hold tight to the baby and reconstruct the bath temperature?
Tonight is yet another #WANT-2-B-Presidents debate, and I am sure there will be a lot more rhetoric being spewed, some real and like some else says, some fake! However, we are still living in a free country where we can listen, observe, discuss, and make the right decision.
- Healthcare is a given if we are going to grow and capable of living full lives.
- Education must allow teachers to instruct, guide, and mentor, stop putting handcuffs on them, and education must be equalized for all no matter how economically rich or poor the community is!
- The government must listen to the constituents, hear what they want, need, and require to be leaders in their families, communities, and beyond.
- Stop creating wars, communication with our Ally’s and Enemies must be the focus and not threats that bring on retaliation.
- We MUST face the fact we are killing mother earth, and we have the ability to stop it. New innovations are at our fingertips, and these skills can be taught and change both the political and natural resources climate.
Before my mother died in 2016, I promised her that Donald Trump would not be elected. Sadly, I could not keep my promise. Many people enjoyed his promises about “Making America Great Again,” the problem was, it was already Great, and now it is in pain! We need a new doctor in the house.