When I was a little girl in the late 50’s and early 60’s growing up in Concord, CA, my dad often fished and hunted and, unfortunately for me, brought his catch home to the dinner table. To this day, I’m convinced the reason I don’t like fish is because of the bottom feeders I was fed at our dinner table – catfish, flounder, bass, etc. We never had salmon and we never even heard of Mahi Mahi.
The worst was when my dad would bring home a duck and we were forced to eat it for dinner. To add insult to injury, Mom would serve it with Brussels sprouts. Dad would say, and I’m not making this up, “Hey kids, enjoy the duck, but watch out for the buck shot.” Besides the gamey taste, I was afraid to eat it because I thought I might bite down on a bullet and I had visions of my head exploding which would make quite a mess at the dinner table.
Apparently, they knew back in 1962 that lead wasn’t good for you, so my dad changed his hunting habits. Instead of lead he started using steel buckshot, just in case we kids swallowed one. My dad would say, “Lead is bad for you, whether you experience it in a blast or swallow it.”
Back in the day we were not allowed to leave the table until we finished our dinner. I didn’t want to hurt my dad’s feelings, but I just couldn’t bring myself to eat his duck, so I found myself sitting at the kitchen table for a very long time. Regrettably, I was a prominent member of the “Clean Plate Club,” constantly reminded of all the starving children in China. Being a good-natured child, I offered to send my duck dinner to a family in China, but my parents didn’t seem to appreciate my generosity.
One of the good things about growing up and becoming an adult is that you get to choose what you want for dinner. Tonight’s meal will be pasta with a side salad, some warm (and buttered) Parmesan & sun-dried tomato focaccia bread and a glass of Chardonnay – with no fear of my head exploding. And if I don’t eat it all, I get dessert anyway.
Written by Susan 6/6/20
One of my big regrets in life is not asking enough questions about my parents’ and grandparents’ ancestry when they were still alive. I didn’t care much about the family tree when I was a kid or even as a young adult. Now they’re gone and their stories died with them. Had I known how much it would mean to me now, I would have asked them to tell me more stories about their lives and the lives of their parents and grandparents.
That’s the bummer about genealogy – it’s fairly easy to get the data, the certificates and the facts, but what’s really missing and what means the most are the stories. Who were these people? What were their beliefs? What hardships did they endure? What brought them joy?
My message to young people out there is this – even though it may seem like a drag now, talk to your parents and your grandparents. Ask them lots of questions and write it all down. It may not seem valuable now, but trust me, a day will come when you’ll be glad you did. There’s an old African proverb that goes something like this – “When an old man dies, a library burns.”
Written by Susan 3/20/19
I live in California and one of my BFFs lives in Pennsylvania, so we talk on the phone every week or so for 1-2 hours. She’s currently pursuing advanced education in geo science and environmental studies and we have some really interesting conversations. A couple of weeks ago we talked about sea sponges and last week we talked at length about rocks. It was fascinating and it really peaked my interest, so I wrote her this letter.
You’re such a jewel. I just want to say you rock my world, I lava you, and I’ll never take you for granite. No fracking way. I really dig you and our phone calls, and I get sedimental when I think of you.
But sometimes life can make us feel like we’re on a ferrous wheel. Schist happens. If you ever hit rock bottom, lose you’re apatite, feel pressured and can’t take the friction, I’m here for you if you want to talc about it.
The world is full of alkynes of people and I certainly have my faults, but I’ll never lucite of how much your friendship means to me. We’ve been through some tuff times together and we’ve seen each other through some personal eruptions too, but nothing will ever erode the bedrock foundation of our friendship.
If you ever need cheering up, my advice is to put on some music – the Rolling Stones, perhaps. Or go shopping and look for a good shale. Maybe a game of golf at Pebble Beach. In no time your confidence will come back and you’ll be feeling boulder.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this letter and that my humor didn’t fluorite over your head. Have a gneiss day and may the quartz be with you.
Written by Susan 3/15/19
[Photo: Agate rock, New Mexico]
It would be the Christmas of 1996 that I remember most, the first Christmas without my mother. She died on November 7th, that same year, after a two-year battle with lung cancer. She had smoked for 52 years when the cancer started in her lung. It eventually spread, eating away at her spine, pelvic bone, sacrum and pancreas. By August that same year, her condition had deteriorated, she was walking with the aid of a cane, and her pain had become fairly intense.
I will never forget the late summer evening that year when I went over to my parents’ house for a visit. After dinner, when her pain was usually at its worst, my mother walked into the kitchen and summoned me to follow. She wanted me to look at the J.C. Penney catalog on the kitchen table. She opened to a particular page, pointed her finger at a certain cappuccino machine, and asked, “Is that the one you want for Christmas?” I was momentarily stunned, wondering how she could think beyond her own pain to concern herself with what I might want for Christmas, especially not knowing if she would even be around to celebrate the holidays. Despite my emotion, I managed a smile for her sake and said, “Yes.”
It wasn’t until after I left my parents’ house that summer night and got to the end of their street that I started crying. While driving home that night, I realized that there is nothing stronger, more beautiful and more determined than a mother’s love for her child.
Eventually the inevitable came and my mother died three months later on November 7, 1996. As my father and I sat together without her on Christmas morning, I wept uncontrollably as I opened my last gift, the cappuccino machine.
Written by Susan
Copyright 1996, All Rights Reserved
Published in the Tahoe Daily Tribune and the Nevada Appeal (Carson City)
In 1970, Carol Bates Brown, a student at Cal State Northridge, started a student group called Voices in Vital America (VIVA), intending to bring attention to the plight of POWs and MIAs in Vietnam so they wouldn’t be forgotten. They sold nickel-plated and copper bracelets with the names of POWs and MIAs inscribed therein, and the recipient vowed to wear it until that POW or MIA soldier came home. The bracelets sold for $2.50 to $3.00, and five million of them were sold.
I was 14 in 1970, and nearly everyone I knew in my Los Angeles-area high school was wearing one, so I spent part of my allowance on a bracelet. My bracelet arrived and the name I got was SFC Carroll Flora. I wore my bracelet every single day, and I slept in it and showered with it. I wore it so much, I actually wore off some of the finish on the inside of the bracelet, as you can see in the photo.
I wondered about him frequently – was he single or married, where was he from, how old was he, did he have kids, was he alive, what was he doing over there, where was he, etc. Finally, in the spring of 1973, he was released as part of “Operation Homecoming,” with the return of 591 American POWs following the Paris Peace Accords. At last I could take off my bracelet, so I stuck it in my jewelry box and didn’t think about it for many years.
When computers and the Internet came to be, I looked him up to see whatever became of him, but I didn’t have any luck. Fast-forward to the passing of John McCain this past August, and I found myself thinking about Sgt. Flora again. This time I found his obituary online and it had the names of his son and daughter and I found them on Facebook. I message them and his daughter responds, so we exchange email addresses and start corresponding. She was very kind and she shared so much information with me that I became overwhelmed with emotion.
At the age of 26, Sgt. Flora went to Vietnam in 1967 as part of the 5thSpecial Forces Group MASC SOG. He and his platoon were on a mission when their helicopter, unknowingly acting on bad intel, dropped them just one mile from the Viet Cong. They radioed for a rescue and waited, as the Vietcong were getting closer.
Because there was no time to land, the rescue helicopter dropped a crude sling into which the soldiers jumped. Flora got all his men into the sling but, as he was jumping in, he got shot in the wrist and the bullet traveled up his arm and out his elbow and then he was hanging on with one arm. As the helicopter flew away, Sgt. Flora fell 120 feet and was knocked unconscious.
He was soon captured by the Viet Cong, and he was beaten and tortured. He escaped once and was beaten and tortured again. While in captivity, he was kept in holes and bamboo cages, and tied to whatever they could tie him to. Ultimately, he was a prisoner for 2,055 days (5.6 years). He came home two inches shorter, 60 pounds lighter and with permanent injuries from the torture and beatings he endured.
Before Sgt. Flora went to Vietnam, his wife was a homemaker, his daughter was eight and his son was a baby, but when he came home in 1973, everything had changed. He came home to an independent, self-sufficient wife, a teenage daughter and a seven-year old. His wife had become an activist and she was President of the Maryland chapter of POWs/MIAs and had traveled to Paris for the peace talks. They tried to make their marriage work, but it only lasted four years and although they divorced, they remained friends for the rest of their lives. He lived out his life in Arizona and died in 2013.
You’d think that would be the end of the story, but I still had the bracelet and I was trying to figure out what to do with it. His daughter said she’d take it for her grandson and keep it with her collection (she has several), but I found another place for it – the Palm Springs Air Museum (PSAM).
I did some online research and, in a chat forum, I found the name of Dave Thompson who is associated with the Palm Springs Air Museum. Dave has created a permanent exhibit for POW/MIA bracelets to honor and thank these Vietnam vets who served their country, but were never properly thanked. Dave told me that deceased Vietnam veterans have their memorial in Washington D.C., but the POWs and MIAs that survived Vietnam never got their own memorial and that’s what motivates him.
He’s collected over 1,000 bracelets so far. What’s remarkable about this exhibit is that he’s combining the story of the POW/MIA with the wearer of the bracelet to include a short bio and photograph of both, which gives the exhibit an added dimension. I didn’t hesitate to send Dave the bracelet, my photo from my sophomore year in high school, and my bio, which says:
“Susan was 14 years old and living in Palos Verdes, California, when she purchased Sgt. Flora’s bracelet with her allowance money in 1970. ‘I wore it every single day for three years – swimming, showering and sleeping with it on my wrist. I frequently wondered who this man was, where he was, how old he was, whether he was married with kids, what he was doing over there and if he was safe. It was surprising that I could care so much about a man I never met and knew nothing about. I never took my bracelet off until he was released and came back home in 1973.’ Susan kept her bracelet for 45 years before kindly donating it to the Palm Springs Air Museum and said, ‘I still hold the memory of this serviceman in my heart.’”
Between connecting with Sgt. Flora’s children, the research I’ve done, and talking with Dave Thompson at the Air Museum, it’s been an emotional journey for me. I’ve got closure now, and I’m especially honored that my bracelet can be part of this important exhibit.
* Of the 2,500 POWs and MIAs, there are still 1,200 whose bodies have never been recovered.
Written by Susan 11/13/18
I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I’ve got to say, I’m tired of being shamed for being a night owl. People look at me sideways when I tell them I don’t want to have to be anywhere before noon. I’m not working anymore, so I go to bed around 2am and sleep until 11am. It’s my body’s circadian rhythm, it’s perfectly natural, and it does not make me a deviant. I’m not lazy and I’m not a freak.
I don’t appreciate how smug some of the early birds can be. They’re up at 6am, they’ve had their coffee and been to the gym by 8am, and they LOVE to brag about it. They also love to give me the third degree when they hear me say, “I don’t do mornings.” They’ll ask personal questions and even raise an eyebrow or contort their face in disapproval and say, “Oh, REALLY,” as if I’m some kind of abhorrent anomaly.
We night owls don’t do that to you early birds. Can you imagine us shaming you for being up at 6am and questioning you about your sleeping habits? I can just hear it, “Oh dear, up at 6am, hmm, I see,” and then we give you that same unaccepting look. Early birds even have their own saying about getting the worm, but what do the night owls get? Nothing.
Night owl shaming has been going on for a long time. Aristotle said, “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth and wisdom.” Ben Franklin had the nerve to say, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” He also said, “The early morning has gold in its mouth.” He was smug.
Whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, you can’t help it. It’s built into your genetic code. We’re all marching to the beat of our own DNA, so stop the early bird propaganda and lose the smug face too, it’s not a good look. No more judgment and no badges of honor. Me and you, we’re like apples and oranges and both are delicious.
Written by Susan Codeglia (at 1am)
When exactly did this morning routine thing happen? It starts innocently enough in your 20’s with the obligatory face wash or shower, brushing your teeth and then grabbing a cup of coffee, but then it starts creeping insidiously into your life and before you know it you’ve got your very own morning routine. By the time you’re 62 and no longer working, you’ve innocently committed to a pattern that you can’t seem to shake and it’s time consuming.
After the face wash and teeth brushing, don’t forget to moisturize. It’s time to head to the kitchen and you’re like Tom Cruise in the movie “Cocktail,” mixing together a double shot of Citrucil and Metamucil. Then a sinus rinse to help your allergies, followed by your morning meds. You even suck on a sugar-free Vitamin C lozenge to keep colds at bay. Finally, you plop into your recliner chair with a little nosh and your iPad to read the morning news to see if you should carry on with your day or if all hell’s breaking loose.
Eventually, you go about your day and you might even be productive. If you’re really crazy you’ll do something unpredictable. The hours go by and then guess what? It’s time for your nightly routine. That’s right. It’s just like the morning routine, only backwards. And so it goes. On and on.
Written by Susan Codeglia 7/9/18
As a kid growing up in the late 50’s and early 60’s, there was no escaping The Clean Plate Club. When I sat at the dinner table for a extraordinarily long time staring down the brussel sprouts, the liver or the lima beans on my plate, my parents were quick to remind me how lucky I was. They’d say, “Think of all the starving children in China.” Once in a while I’d mouth off and say, “Well, then, let’s mail it to them,” but that never really worked in my favor.
Then there was the dreaded bread board. Our house was built in 1956, and the kitchen came with a state-of-the-art feature – a wooden bread board that pulled out from underneath the kitchen counter top. If my brothers or I acted up at the dinner table we were punished by having to finish our dinner alone at the bread board. Mom or dad would pull it out, drag our chair and our plate over there and order us to sit down and finish our dinner. It was pretty humiliating because your back was turned to the rest of the family and you had to eat in silence by yourself. It worked and we didn’t end up there too often, but when we did we really hated it.
The rule in our house was no dessert unless you finished your dinner and, because I was an picky eater, I often found myself alone at the table long after everyone had left. The fact that we didn’t have a dog that I could sneak my brussel sprouts to made it a lot worse. Usually, I just ended up out lasting my mom and she’d let me go, albeit with no dessert.
Nowadays, I don’t have this problem and I have the body to prove it. It’s the best thing, being an adult. I can have ice cream for dinner, I never, ever have to eat anything I don’t like, and I’ll never have to eat alone at the bread board again. Hell, they don’t even make them anymore.
Written by Susan 6/21/18
Every time we took a road trip when I was a kid, my dad was hell bent on making good time. I have no idea what that was about and it remains a mystery to this day. This was before anybody ever heard the saying, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” For my dad it was all about the destination and the faster he could get us there, the better. I think he even kept track of his past records and tried to shatter them every time we hit the road. Whenever he did, he was proud as a peacock.
We never got to stop anywhere, either. Oh, hell no, that was forbidden, like it was against the law or something. One weekend we were driving to my grandparents’ house in the mountains and we passed an A&W Root Beer stand. My brothers and I shouted out in unison, “Dad, can we stop at the A&W, pleeeeze?” Dad said, “No, but we can stop at the G&G.” We gave each other that puzzled look and then asked, “What’s the G&G?” and he said, “Grandma and Grandpa’s.” Oh, you should have heard the groans in the back seat.
Now when I take a road trip, I vacillate between wanting to make good time and enjoying the journey along the way. It’s hard to undo the training I had as a kid, but I’m working on it. Last Fall I took a road trip with a friend and, as we drove toward the mountains, we were trying to figure out where to stop for lunch. I was driving, so she Googled. She found an In & Out Burger (her favorite) near the same exit we were going to take anyway, but it was on the opposite side of the freeway from the exit ramp and out of our way. I paused for a moment and then those memories of my dad flashed through my mind. I had a choice to make and, with a decision that would have troubled my dad, we drove out of the way and stopped at In & Out and had a nice, leisurely lunch. We didn’t make good time, but we enjoyed the journey (and a burger) along the way. I can just hear him saying, “Oh, what a shame, you were making such good time.”
Written by Susan 5/24/18
Years ago when I lived in Dayton, Nevada, I agreed to meet a friend for dinner in Virginia City. We set a plan to meet at the well-known Bucket of Blood Saloon for a drink before dinner. I got there early, found a seat at the corner of the bar and ordered a drink. While I waited for my friend, I noticed that the Native American fellow sitting next to me was pretty drunk.
The band, which was set up on the dance floor next to the window, started playing a patriotic song, and the guy next to me took offense that a cowboy on the dance floor didn’t take off his hat in reverence. At least that was the story I heard after what happened next.
He got up and walked down the bar toward the window to the dance floor and without warning sucker punched the hat-wearing cowboy. In what seemed like a nano-second, five cowboys grabbed the Native American guy, dragged him alongside the bar right in front of my face and threw him outside onto the wooden sidewalk. And just like in the movies, they dusted off their hands, came back inside and that was the end of that.
Written by Susan 5/14/18
As I ran my errands today, I made a quick stop at Ace Hardware to buy some light bulbs. It was anything but quick. As I stood in the two-sided, 50-ft. long light bulb aisle, I had that puzzled look on my face, enough that the Ace Hardware guy came over and asked if he could help.
I soon entered an alternate world, a sort of “Light Bulbs 101,” instruction for dummies like me who haven’t been shopping for light bulbs lately and haven’t a clue about new light bulb technology. Apparently, you have to have a PhD. to understand this stuff.
There’s incandescent, compact fluorescent and LED, oh my. And it helps if you know about watts and lumens, tubes and electrodes, phosphor and diodes, semiconductors, filaments, halogen and HID. And what about the color of your bulb? Do you want soft white, warm, bright or daylight? Oh, and if your bulb is going to be used with a dimmer switch, then you have to take “Dimmer Switch Bulbs 101.” Manufacturers have even created bulbs that turn on and off with voice recognition. Who knew. But I miss the days when a light bulb was just a light bulb.
I’m reminded of the longest burning light bulb in history which is still burning in Fire Station #6 in Livermore. It’s known as the “Centennial Light,” located at 4550 East Avenue, maintained by the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Dept. That bulb has been burning for 117 years and has only been turned off a handful of times. It’s even marked in the Guinness Book of World Records and Ripley’s Believe it or not. Now, that’s a light bulb!
Click here to watch Livermore’s Centennial “Bulb Cam.” http://centennialbulb.org
Written by Susan 5/2/18
A friend just came over for a visit and we decided to go out for lunch, so we walked to my car and got inside. As I was looking behind me and backing out of my carport, she also craned her head to look behind us to make sure it was safe. I said to her, “I don’t know how I’ve been able to drive safely all this time without you.” We both laughed and she apologized, saying it was just habit.
So, I told her my parents’ story. It was the late 1940’s and my parents were newly married and driving over the Bay Bridge into San Francisco. My mom was back seat driving and I guess my dad had enough of that, so he pulled the car over to the right side on the bridge and put it in park with the engine running. He walked around to her side of the car, opened her door and said, “If you think you can do a better job, have at it.” My mom said, “No thank you,” and that was the end of that. They were happily married 49 years before she passed away.
I guess it runs in the family.
Written by Susan 4/25/18
When I did my DNA testing, I found out I was .1% Ashkenazi Jew. It’s not much, but it was enough to get me thinking. I’ve used Yiddish words before, but I wondered exactly how many I knew and understood, so I started counting and I came up with 49 that I recognize. Then I wondered if I could write a blog using some Yiddish words, so I gave it a go.
Shalom! I started my day with a little nosh – a schmear on my bagel. Then, instead of cleaning my house and dusting my tchotchkes, I sat on my tuches and futzed while I tried to write. I ran into some glitches, which made me feel like a literary klutz. I didn’t want it to be a megillah and I didn’t want to kvetch, but I started to feel like a shlump. I began to wonder if I was a meshuggeneh and if this was mishegoss. Then I took a a couple of deep breaths and next thing I knew, I had shpilkes and I was shvitzing as the Yiddish words poured out of me. I don’t want to sound schmaltzy, but I’m proud of myself. Before I knew it, I was feeling verklempt. Oy vey, it wasn’t easy, but I did it. I’m just a shiksa, but I’ve got a lot of chutzpah. My bubbe would be proud of me and think I was a mensch. Mazel Tov!
Written by Susan 4/13/18
This photo is my proudest accomplishment as a photographer, and I have it framed in a bright green frame with a blue mat hanging on my living room wall. I took it back in 2008 during a visit to the Academy of Sciences’ Rainforest Exhibit. If you’ve been there, you know it’s an enclosed 90-ft. dome with a spiral staircase up to the top. I took this photo from the top looking down on the first floor, hand-held with a zoom.
The Blue Morpho butterfly is an interesting creature from the Amazon rainforest, from Mexico to Colombia. It’s not really blue. Its color is caused by light reflecting off microscopic scales on the back of their wings which makes it look iridescent and blue. The underside is camouflaged in brown, black and grey to keep predators away, so when it flies the contrasting bright blue and dull brown colors flash, making it look like it’s appearing and disappearing and that makes it hard for predators to follow. They can also release a strong odor when a predator is near.
It’s one of the largest butterflies in the world with a wingspan of 5-8 inches. They can’t chew, so they use their proboscis as a straw to suck up sweet fluids. The Blue Morpho butterfly only lives four months and they spend most of their lives feeding and reproducing. Traditionally, the native people were superstitious and alternately thought they were either wish granters or evil spirits. Like many Amazon specifies, they’re threatened by deforestation and habitat fragmentation, and also those who collect them for for artistic purposes, like making jewelry out of their wings. I say they’re better left in places like the Academy of Sciences so we can view them through our lenses.
Written by Susan 4/4/18
I took this picture when I was living in Dayton, Nevada. I had been stalking wild horses for a while and had my camera with me, but they seemed to elude me. That is, until one night when I was driving home after work and I saw them off in the distance, thankfully away from the highway. Too often these wild horses are hit by cars, so I was happy to see they were safe.
I parked my car, got out my camera and started walking toward them, approaching slowly so as not to scare them. They noticed me and watched for a few seconds, but then went back to their business. I thought I’d try some humor to get their attention, so I said “Why the long face?” Baddaboom! That’s when I got this shot.
Written by Susan 4/3/18
It’s Easter Sunday 1964 in Concord, California, it’s a beautiful spring day and I’m eight years old. I’m wearing the beautiful, new Easter dress and white shoes my mother bought me, an outfit we really couldn’t afford but one she bought anyway because company was coming. I didn’t particularly like dresses because I was a tomboy, but I posed proudly in this one to make my mother happy.
The grandparents and my aunt and uncle are visiting, the drinks are flowing and the hors d’oeuvres are being gobbled up. Meanwhile, the kids are outside playing and enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. The boys go out back into the huge field behind our house and I follow. They discover the dirt is still soft and wet from last week’s rain storm and the soil is just right. Just right for a dirt clod fight.
We divide up into teams and start hurling dirt clods at each other. All you had to do was grab a handful of the tall grass, twist it and yank it out of the ground, dirt clod attached. One swing over the head and it was ready to fly. Bombs away!
Oh, that was a good time. A good time until I got home. My new, white shoes were ruined and my dress was muddy. My mother scolded me and said, “That’s the last Easter dress you’re ever going to get,” and she held true to her word. She never bought me another Easter dress and she certainly never bought me any white clothes again.
Written by Susan 4/1/18
I live alone and have no kids, cats or dogs, so how is it my stuff goes missing? There’s the time six years ago that I couldn’t find my car keys. It was moving day and the movers were just about finished loading my stuff into their truck, but I couldn’t find my keys. There weren’t many places to look since everything was pretty much packed up. I ended up finding my keys in the refrigerator. I blamed that one on the mover for distracting me when he came into the kitchen to ask me something while I had the refrigerator door open.
Then my $2 drug store readers went missing a few months ago. I didn’t get all riled up about that and just pulled another cheap pair from my glasses’ drawer. Shortly thereafter, a friend came over to visit and spotted them under my recliner chair. But then two two weeks ago my scarf went missing. It’s a very soft, blue scarf that I throw around my neck and wear around the house every day during the winter. One minute I had it around my neck and the next minute it was gone. Missing in action.
I do take it off during the day – every time I have a hot flash – so I knew it hadn’t gone far. I figured it would turn up within the hour, but when there was no sign of it, I started searching. I looked in my scarf drawer. I got down on my cranky old knees and looked under my recliner chair and under the couch. I looked in my bedroom and in my laundry basket. I looked inside the washer and dryer to see if it was in there. Nothing. Nada.
A week later, I pretty much gave up and got another scarf out of my scarf drawer, but that scarf wasn’t as nice because it’s stiff and hasn’t been broken in. Another week goes by and I’m still missing my old blue scarf. Then one day I went into my kitchen and opened the very bottom cabinet to get my vitamins and viola! There it was! My beloved scarf. Go figure.
I’m sure something else will go missing. It’s just a matter of time. I guess I’m just going to have to have two of everything from now on.
Written by Susan 3/26/18
I find it odd that this drawing is making its rounds on social media after Stephen Hawking’s death. Everyone knows he was an atheist and didn’t believe in the after life. Stephen said:
“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail,” he said. “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
He also said:
“I believe the simplest explanation is, there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization that there probably is no heaven and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful.”
I also find it disturbing that the image has him walking and free of his wheelchair. It’s as if to imply that you’re not whole unless you are able-bodied. If anything, Stephen proved to us that it is possible to have a very full, accomplished life without an able body. I don’t think he’d like this image at all and I know I certainly don’t.
Written by Susan 3/14/18
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine told me to “fuck off” publicly on Facebook. I was shocked, to say the least. This was a woman I went to high school with and we kept in touch through Facebook. I live in California and she lives in Maryland, and a week before this incident she had invited me to come visit her. Go figure.
She didn’t like something I posted and, rather than message me privately to discuss it, she let her fingers fly with her crude, knee-jerk response; words she wouldn’t dare say to me in person.
I’m over it now, but it hit me hard at the time. I even cried, because I couldn’t believe how cruel the world’s become. I’m saddened that society’s come to this – apparently, you’re either with us or against us and there’s no room for anything in between. We can’t even have a civil conversation, and it appears we’re not entitled to our opinions anymore either.
Between the divisiveness in this country and the ability to hide behind your remarks on social media, we’re living in a dangerous time. We will not succeed as a country and our relationships will not survive if we continue this way. I miss the old days when you could share your opinion and not be skewered for it. Or better yet, you’d keep your thoughts to yourself and your mouth shut. What a concept.
Written by Susan (3/13/18)