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The Big C and Me - Part One





Albert Vetere Lannon


 
© Copyright 2019 by Albert Vetere Lannon


Photo of two hands holding on hospital bed.

I am 81 years old, diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable bone plasma cancer, in June 2017, when I sneezed and broke two ribs. I went on a “Chemo Lite” regimen, two sets of pills and a weekly injection. The injection toxins caused neuropathy in my feet and added a rare auditory neuropathy that muffles my hearing, so it was discontinued after a few months. My hearing remains impaired and my feet numb. . . .

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MY FAMILY’S IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE: A DEPRESSION CHRISTMAS




John Cortesi


 
© Copyright 2019 by John Cortesi




1904 photo of the saloon and pool hall in Radiant, Colorado. Four of the men in the picture are great-uncles and cousins.

My father spent the years 1931-32 at his grandparents’ farm in the Wet Mountains range of Colorado. He helped with chores and attended the one-room, first to eighth grade, log cabin schoolhouse. My great-grandparents were immigrants from Italy, Ottilia (Odorizzi) and Enrico Menapace. Before buying the farm they owned and operated a boarding house for Italian miners in Radiant, Colorado. Radiant had 79 houses plus a school, a company store, and the company-owned saloon; the mine employed 125 men. . . .

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A Successful Day





Laura Labno


 

© Copyright 2019 by Laura Labno



Photo of rain on bus window.

In the light of the significance of love every other significance fades away - This thought seemed significant to her.

It was being played out, over and over again – She could hear it in the sound of the Welsh rain hitting the bus windows, it was being sung out by the melancholy of the grey street the bus was drifting through, it was resounding in the sound of the rushing cars. It was being played out by her own breath and by the sound of the bus she was sitting in – Such a particular sound, the kind only buses can give, of course – She laughed. . . .

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West Coast Karma


Elizabeth Lloyd


 
© Copyright 2019 by Elizabeth Lloyd



Photo of Highway 101 near Florence, Oregon.

This is the story of a wish list vacation.  Drive Pacific Coast Highway.  It had been attempted twice before.  Both times it fell apart.  Now on the journey, we would be hit with an unexpected derailment to our plan.  No way to foresee that Florence was quietly waiting with a karmic trap.  Instilling a new found perspective and life long lessons, and possibly a meeting with Santa Claus. . . .

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Dying To Be Cool




Kathryn Lynch



© Copyright 2019 by Kathryn Lynch





Photo of a woman lighting a cigarette.


Both of my parents smoked.

Dad blended well with other men of his times—with a hat on his head and a lighted cigarette between his fingers. Refilling his lighter with fluid became a weekly ceremony during which he could not be interrupted. Delay during this endeavor was akin to a man sitting down on his own hat--unacceptable. There was never any talk or plan in place to reduce the number of his “smokes”, getting rid of his “smokes”, or redirecting what later became known as second hand smoke. . . .

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The Guides



Deon Matzen


 
© Copyright 2019 by Deon Matzen

 

Photo of young people at summer palace.

What could we do when we had guests that wanted to see the sites and we had to work? How would they get around when they didn’t speak Chinese? We didn’t want them to have the tours that regular Americans had when touring in China where they were kept in tow by a “group leader” all wearing yellow or red or blue hats and not allowed to really see Beijing, just the approved locations. We settled on the perfect idea, use our students. . . .

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Food Fight





Kathryn Lynch



© Copyright 2019 by Kathryn Lynch






Photo of a school milk carton.

We imagine a food fight with teenagers slinging food across the room at each other, soiling each others' clothes, decorating the walls and the lights, yelling, screaming, and laughing. This is the true story of a food fight which took place between two adults in a closed office, Not a bite of food changed hands. . . .

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Mikey's Gift



Deon Matzen


 
© Copyright 2019 by Deon Matzen

 

Photo of an old doll house.

Mikey figured he was now pretty grown up. Last year, at Christmas, he had finally figured out that Santa was really Dad and Mom. Now that he knew the truth, he felt he had grown up, no longer a baby. It was OK that it was Mom and Dad, but it did take some of the fun out of the holiday. Now he knew that it was about giving and love, not the big guy who just delivered presents once a year. . . .

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Angela's Children
How the Communist Legacy Turned Against Itself
In a Once-Strong Union





Albert Vetere Lannon


 
© Copyright 2019 by Albert Vetere Lannon


Photo of an outline of a man on the sidewalk.

In May 27, 1981, dozens of General Executive Board members of Warehouse Union Local 6 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union gathered at the union's San Francisco office at 255 Ninth Street for their monthly meeting. Standing in front of the South-of-Market building drinking cans of beer were three Freitas brothers, Al, Sam and Philip. All were members of the union; Al was a close ally of East Bay Business Agent Roberto Flotte and had a history of union tough-guy activity going back to Teamster efforts to intimidate Salinas Valley farm workers in the early 1970s.

A few minutes before 7 o'clock a car found street parking and five Latino men, all Executive Board members, emerged, walking in a group towards the union hall. The Freitas brothers attacked the five. Philip Freitas knocked Lino Corral over a parked motorcycle. Lino Corral pulled a pistol from his pocket and fired three times, hitting Philip Freitas in the face and groin. The thirty-eight-year-old Freitas fell dead, his blood spreading in a widening dark puddle on the sidewalk in front of the union headquarters. . . .

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Shakespeare and the Zulu





Daniel Stantus

 
© Copyright 2019 by Daniel Stantus


 
Photo of Daniel's Nsongweni house.
My house in Nsongweni.

Recently, I was browsing a Peace Corps website about the present living conditions for volunteers in Eswatini a small country in southeastern Africa. It was mainly nostalgia that brought me to this site. I was a PC volunteer in Swaziland (recently renamed Eswatini) from 1970 to 1974. While most volunteers there today could expect to be living in adequate housing with electricity, running water, and indoor plumbing. However, in the more rural areas volunteers could still be expected to live in more primitive conditions without the luxury of these conveniences just as I did 50 years ago. . . .

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The Man On The Train

A True Love Story

   
 

Sarah Byron
 
 

© Copyright 2019 by Sarah Byron    


Photo of a sunset. (c) 2002 by Richard Loller.


This story is by the mother of Valerie Byron, who is a member of our Winners Circle.  Sarah is now deceased but this fine story of her meeting with her true love will live on. . . .

Thug Buster
How An Old Lady Restored
Peace And Quiet To Her Town




Kathryn Lynch




 
© Copyright 2019 by Kathryn Lynch


 

Photo of an old woman with a pistol.

Neighbors were shocked and outraged when someone shot the 82 year old man in the head and left him bleeding to death on the floor of his own home. It was generally believed to be the work of street punks since his TV and music system had gone missing at the same time The old man was well known locally for his family had lived for two or three generations in the town. He had raised two sons and a daughter there, outliving his spouse, growing old exchanging pleasantries with the locals. Friends said that he had no enemies and that he was unlikely to badmouth or speak negatively about anyone. . . .

Hangin'



Carol Arvo 

 

© Copyright 2019 by Carol Arvo 

 

Photo of Carol in a hang glider.


Everyone has a “bucket list,” whether they realize and acknowledge it or not. It might just be a nagging feeling in the subconscious, or it might be right out there for all to see, but it’s there. Mine was right out there for 20 years.  Everyone knew I loved to fly. It was finally time to check this one off of my “bucket list. . . .”

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The Times, They Are A-Changin'




Judith Nakken


 
© Copyright 2019 by Judith Nakken



Photo of a page from a dictionary.

I was unhappy with the change in discounts for seniors, and initially polite as I could be at the Customer Disservice counter. “These new rebates are really niggardly,” I said, and didn’t continue because of the look of shock rapidly turning to hatred on her Caucasian face. “Oh, wait,” I tried to explain since I know too well that today’s under-40’s have little knowledge of the English language. . . .

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Magic Broom





Elizabeth Lloyd


 
© Copyright 2019 by Elizabeth Lloyd



Photo of the moon through a window.

. . .Glancing back at the house, no mother in sight, the rule attempted itself one last time.  Stepping out into the alley, I held my breath and waited for a scolding.  It did not come.  The rule was completely gone now.  Each step toward my destination brought reassurance that, yes, this treasure could indeed be retrieved. . . .

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A Cultural Awakening in Swaziland






Daniel Stantus


 
© Copyright 2019 by Daniel Stantus


 

Photo of a man digging a hole.

I was a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1970 to 1974. It was a dream come true for me ever since my hero John F. Kennedy introduced the program in the early 60’s. The thought of travel to a foreign country, living and working with the people, and raising the standards of living for a third world people was so appealing to me. I came from a family that had barely travelled to the next State, let alone overseas. In fact I had never even been in a plane before. . . .

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The Lady Who Wears Dead Foxes





Kathryn Lynch



© Copyright 2019 by Kathryn Lynch






Photo of a woman wearing a fox fur scarf.

In 1970, I had already been a fourth grade teacher for several years. Armed with a Lifetime Teaching Certificate, I had ­decided on a four year nighttime endeavor, entering the University |of San Francisco School of Law program. I resolved that during the day, my teaching efforts would not be degraded or curtailed because my primary responsibility remained to the 43 fourth graders in my class. This was before Teacher's Aids, teacher prep time or any form of assistance was available. . . .

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Topanga Canyon Fire



Doug Sherr


 
© Copyright 2019 by Doug Sherr




Photo of a helicoptor fighting a fire.

Topanga Canyon connects the Pacific Ocean to the San Fernando Valley, where the Valley Girls roamed. The Santa Monica Mountains rise to the east and hills that stretch to Malibu define the western side. Water trickles down the creek bed providing enough moisture for a variety of mature trees and bushes that keep the canyon cool on desert-hot summer days. In the midst of the urban horror of LA, the canyon is a rural outpost that mixes the best of Appalachia and Carmel: In the early 1970s, impoverished hippie artists of great talent lived in shacks and raised goats next door to famous rock and roll musicians and actors who argued with their agents while drinking goat’s milk. Charlie Manson’s first murder happened on Old Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Will Geer, Grandpa on the Waltons, had an outdoor Shakespearean theater, Theatricum Botanicum, at the other end of the canyon. . . .

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If You Ever Feel Like Giving Up--Keep Going



Kelly Maida



 
© Copyright 2019 by Kelly Maida



Photo of a path into sunrise. {c} 2002 by Richard Loller.

I was inspired to write this because sometimes it seems like there is not a light at the end of a tunnel and that we sometimes quit right before we get to that light! . . .

Apology to a Blog

 

Kay Harper 

 

© Copyright 2019 by Kay Harper 

 
          

 

Photo of Kay in her lecture outfit.

Photo (c) 2019 by Kay Harper.


It's rare, I know, but think I owe my blog an apology. I’ve been so caught up in “Encouragin’ Words,” my daily devotional on Facebook, that I had been ignoring this blog. There appears to be only so much of me to go around, but from now on I plan to carve out time for this “God Is Big” blog, as well for as my other writing. . . .

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A Story for My Father








Eileen W. Fisher



 
© Copyright 2019 by Eileen W. Fisher


 

Photo of Eileen's father.

My father always wanted to be a writer, but that was not practical. By the time I was in fourth grade, I decided that I was going to fulfill his dream.

My mother called him Natie, he called himself Nat; his nickname was Nissel. I called him Daddy. . .

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Summer of David



Elizabeth Lloyd


 
© Copyright 2019 by Elizabeth Lloyd



Photo of a figure in a dark room.

This is a true story.  However when sitting down to write it, the only way to alleviate the writer’s block that was happening was to change the names in the story.  It was easier to write it in the third person rather than insert myself into the story again. . . .

Hunger





Kathryn Lynch



© Copyright 2019 by Kathryn Lynch






Photo of Auschwitz death camp.

This is a story about hunger which is never relieved, never goes away no matter what advantages persons might achieve by the single minded pursuit of the American dream. It is a true story, a sad story, one which made me realize how lucky I was to call this country home. All of the participants in this story have now died except for the author. Let this telling honor them. . .

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Andy Bageson



Kathryn Lynch



© Copyright 2019 by Kathryn Lynch



Stories About My Dad:

The Haircut
Negro Mens' Beach
Andy Bageson
Photo of a woman playing a violin.

This is a story about my Dad and Mom encountering a Jewish person for the first time. In the post Second World War era, Jews were any persons of Jewish ethnicity no matter where they were located, and any persons who espoused the Jewish Faith whether born into it or converted to it.  Andy Bageson may not have been the best example of a Jew, but he was the first Jew I ever knew with all his virtues and all his flaws. . . .

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Illumination





Laura Labno


 

© Copyright 2019 by Laura Labno



Photo of a snail.

Sarah was drawing at her desk when suddenly one thought became very prominent in her mind. An illuminated memory – Snails.

This one day, a large amount of earth circulations ago, in a small poor city, in even smaller and poorer neighbourhood she and her friend were playing. They’ve collected an impressive amount of snails and put them into a box. The idea was to open a Snail School. A Card Box Primary Snail School. . . .

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Advice To My Daughters



Kelly Maida



 
© Copyright 2019 by Kelly Maida



Photo of a path into sunrise. {c} 2002 by Richard Loller.

As a survivor of domestic violence and I have been through both physical and emotional abuse, I would never want anyone to go through what I experienced. If I can help in anyway I would like to try. Today I was sending my daughters a message and It inspired me to write this. . . .


The Saga of Pretty Boy Floyd
 



 

Isabel Bearman Bucher   


 
© Copyright 2019 by Isabel Bearman Bucher 


 

Photo of Isabel's turtle.


My retired husband, Robert, is want to go to garage sales.  Over the years he’s come home with a few treasures, but more often than not, the objects are real pitch-out dogs.  When he’s forgotten about them, I usually toss them into the garbage or the give-away pile.  One year, he came home with Pretty Boy Floyd, an American,  three-toed box turtle, for which he paid the handsome sum of five bucks.  The turtle really was a beauty; ergo his name.   Brilliant orange spots that resembled Halloween candy corn,  flamed up his legs and was matched by clear blazing orange eyes.  Holding him, he let you scratch his head, while his legs went like windmills. A week later, he got sick. . . .

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The Kaiser's Brooch








Helene Munson


 
© Copyright 2019 by Helene Munson


 

Photo of the brooch.
. 

The Kaiser’s Brooch is what I have been told about my great-grandmother Marie Sophie Schmiede by my grandmother, supplemented by my knowledge of German history and carefully researched historical facts (Everything from the name of the Rabbi to the Tzar’s children having measles is true.) My short story is aimed at not just preserving a piece of family history but also giving the reader an understanding of what lead up to Germany’s disastrous 20th century history, weaving it into the story about my great grandmother…and yes… I own the Kaiser’s  Brooch. . . .

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My First Theatre Experience




Albert Vetere Lannon


 
© Copyright 2019 by Albert Vetere Lannon




Photo of a 50's candy store.



I love the theatre. I’ve been able over my eight decades to see lots of plays, from street performers to first-class houses in New York, London, San Francisco, and now, Tucson. I didn’t grow up with theatre in my life. As a street kid on New York’s Lower East Side the thee-A-ter was something uptowners with money did and they did it uptown. We made do with the fourth-run Stuyvesant movie house on Second Avenue, around the corner from twelth Street where I lived and across the street from the corner candy store where we hung out, sipping sodas and playing the jukebox. . . .

Colorado Memoir



Robert Flournoy


 
© Copyright 2019 by Robert Flournoy   
 
Photo of Denver smog.

When I left the army in 1973 I headed to Colorado to see if some dreams could come true.  I had been in love with the mere thought of the Rocky Mountains since boyhood and could not wait to get there.  Colorado Springs was small then, Denver half the size it is today, its yellow dome not yet a significant trade mark.  I bought a home in the shadow of Pike's Peak and could access a dozen pristine trout streams in the foothills close to my house that were full of fish. . . .

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