Saturday is for Sharing: Jo Elizabeth Pinto

Post #172

Saturday is for Sharing

February 23, 2019

 

Good morning to our Readers

SCAN-a-BLOG

Author’s Interview with

Lynda and Miss Opal

  We  are so delighted to welcome a fellow writer and author

 ~ Jo Elizabeth Pinto ~

 

Jo Elizabeth Pinto ~

LYNDA_ WELCOME To  RIVER ROAD STUDIO,  IN THE RURAL VILLAGE OF Wurtemburg.

 Early this morning. Lynda & Miss  Opal watched from the kitchen  window as Jo Elizabeth Pinto  walked down the long sidewalk  and stepped up onto the wraparound porch of their century-old home in The Village of Wurtemburg, in rural western Pennsylvania.

Jo arrived after a long trip from her home in Colorado. Miss Opal, the curious feline writing assistant to Lynda, was at the door, waiting to greet our long-expected guest.

Lynda_ Good Morning, Jo.  As  you see, my assistant,  Miss Opal, is here to welcome  you. She is such a help and comfort to us and we also have her sister-cat, Miss Bessie. But that isn’t all.  As you can see,  the 2 dogs, who just greeted you as you came into the kitchen, are Miss Dixie Tulip and Miss Mitchell.  The little brown Doxi-mix is our Miss Dixie Tulip,  and Miss Mitchell is  the taller one with brindle spots.  Miss Mitchell  is the  one who barked at you from the window. She gets very excited for she is a terrier.

Before you arrived  this morning, we were wondering if you have a favorite animal in your life? Do you have a bird, or a favorite wild animal that is really an important part of your life? Sometimes, we know that people have a totem animal or other sort of special creature. And, if you do, when did you become aware of that?

 Jo_At age eight, I began attending a camp for people with disabilities in the Colorado mountains. There were hummingbirds everywhere, hovering and sipping nectar from the flowers and hanging feeders. I loved hearing their high-pitched calls and rapidly beating wings.

Some years later, I was  a young woman at the same camp. I m happy to say that  the man who would become my first husband showed me a tiny nest of hummingbird eggs, no bigger than miniature jellybeans. I once freed a hummingbird trapped on a high window ledge. Before I released the exquisite creature, I relished for a moment the touch of its soft feathers and slender beak against my fingertips, its delicate feet on my palm, its vibrating heartbeat in my cupped hands.

Lynda_ Did those earlier encounters with the tiny birds give you a better or deeper understanding of nature?

Jo_ I eventually researched hummingbirds on the Internet. I was awestruck by the way the virtually weightless little birds fly nearly 450 miles, or up to twenty hours against the wind, over the Gulf of Mexico without stopping to rest, to reach their wintering grounds. I started to feel a deep kinship with the hummingbird. Both of us may seem fragile to the world, but we are amazingly strong and free. I got a tattoo of a hummingbird with flowers on each shoulder. I love my tattoos; I can cover them most of the time and show them off when I choose to.

Lynda_ Well, I have to say, I also have 2 tattoos.  They are both images of a griffin. I have always been interested in Greek Mythology and the creatures I’ve read about in those ancient writings. Sometimes, they come into my poems, too.

Miss Opal_  When  we talk about animals, I have to admit that I like to watch birds from our windows, Jo. I am really very shy, so I am contented just to see them from a distance. I would not want to touch one of them, as you did with the little hummingbird.

Are you shy, too, Jo? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? I like all people, but, I am a little bit shy around them sometimes. My sister, Bessie, always hides from people.

Lynda_  What makes you think you belong to a certain  group of people?

Jo_ I’m definitely an introvert. That doesn’t mean I don’t love people, and it doesn’t mean I’m shy around them. Neither is true, although I do prefer small groups and intimate settings to large crowds. I’ve never been afraid of public speaking, and I enjoy good conversation and an active social life. Still, I draw my energy from taking some time to myself every day. If I don’t get a bit of solitude at least several times a week, I feel overwhelmed and out-of-sorts. Introverts and extroverts may both care equally about people. But introverts refuel by taking time alone, while extroverts recharge by seeking interactions with others.

Lynda_ What do you think about your name? Do you use your own name for your professional work?

 

Jo_ Most of my family calls me Jo Elizabeth, which I’ve always loved. Friends usually shorten my name to Jo for convenience. That exasperates me a little, but I’ve gotten used to it. When I published my novel, I decided to use my initials, J. E., because I wrote the book from the point of view of a teenage male protagonist. Jo Elizabeth sounds like the name of a young woman in a romance novel, not a scrappy teenager from the projects.

 

Lynda_ Before you have to leave, would you tell  us about your AWARD-WINNING  book?

 Miss Opal_ Can you tell us about how you began to write that book?

Jo_ My novel, “The Bright Side of Darkness”, began as a short story assignment for a high school English class. I fell in love with the hard-pressed, loyal, smart-mouthed teenagers who became as real as my own friends while I wrote about them. I couldn’t quite put the story out of my mind even after I tucked the assignment away in a scrapbook and moved on with my life.

I never forgot those characters. In my twenties, in order to learn how to use a word processor, I dragged out that old short story and typed it into my first computer—a DOS machine with 5-inch floppy disks and no Internet. The writing needed a lot of work, but the characters still captivated me. I added to the story, changed and deleted weak parts and moved paragraphs and chapters around. I picked the project up and laid it down many times over the next twenty-some years as life happened. In June of 2015, I finally published my book.

Lynda_ Please, j:ust give us one page from that book – we want to  hear more!

Book Excerpt

 

                “Would you like to know why I came here today?”

                I nodded. “You were the last person I expected to see.”

                “I saw your suicide attempt in the paper when I was glancing through the police reports. I spotted a lot of potential behind your smart mouth when you came through my chambers, and it would have been a terrible shame if you’d bled to death on the floor of an isolation room at a state detention center. You deserve more out of life than that.”

                “You sound like my folks.” I picked up the picture and traced my finger over the smiling faces. “They told me over pizza once that I was going to do great things some day.”

                “You can’t let them down.” The judge read Daisy’s note again. “You have your life ahead of you. Live it for me and the rest who believed in you. Daisy was a smart girl.”

                “Yeah, she was.” I glanced around the dreary little room. “I guess she wouldn’t be too impressed with how far I’ve come.”

                “Are you ready to do something about it?”

                I stood up and washed the blood and tears off my face. It looked like whether I wanted it or not, I had a life to live–for the people who had believed in me.

                The judge pushed to his feet and strode toward the door. “That’s a good start. Now we better find you some real clothes. That outfit you’re wearing doesn’t leave much to the imagination.”

 

Reflection – About the Book

Jo_  I chose this excerpt from Chapter 8 of my novel, “The Bright Side of Darkness,” because it takes place at a pivotal moment where mentoring makes a crucial difference in the life of the protagonist. The overarching theme of the book is that all of us, wherever we are, have the potential to reach out to others in big and small ways that can change the world one person at a time.

 

 

Lynda_ When you say, “All’s well,” what do you really mean?

Jo_ “All’s well” refers to an abiding peace that runs deeper than the situation at hand, a contentment not based on anything happening in the outside world or ruled by passing emotions or temporary doubts. I’ve pretty much gotten to the point in my journey where I’m comfortable in my own skin and satisfied with my place in the world. It takes a lot to shake my faith. I don’t have to be happy with everything that occurs each moment to be pleased with life overall.

Lynda_  Please give our readers some additional information for your book.

Maybe you can share a couple of internet Links?

Jo_ “The Bright Side of Darkness” Is my award-winning novel, Available in Kindle, audio, and paperback formats.

http://www.amazon.com/author/jepinto

Jo_ I want to invite your readers to please visit my author page on Facebook:

Just  click Here.

Lynda_ Where can we find your book for sale, jo?

Jo_ Yes.  Thanks for asking. Please  find the paperback edition of my novel at Barnes & Noble online here:  Read it here!

Lynda_ Could our readers find your book on GOODREADS?

Jo_ Anyone can  see my Goodreads blog, “Looking on the Bright Side,” here: Read it.

And the final one I can share is this one:

To read my guest posts about parenting in the dark, please click here:

https://blindmotherhood.com/?s=Jo+Pinto

To read my guest posts on a variety of topics, please click here:

https://campbellsworld.wordpress.com/

Lynda_ Thank you, Jo, for coming to visit us today. I am glad we had a nice break in the wintry weather so that your trip was enjoyable.  I know you have a number of other places you will be visiting on the East Coast on this book tour you are doing and we are so happy you fit in a bit of time with all of us.

Miss Opal_ Yes, Jo, we all say to you, “All’s Well!”

About the Book

   

 

  –  

Dear Reader: Would you like to be  one of our  GUEST AUTHORS?

If you are a published author, please look at our INVITATION to be our GUEST. Information is available:  Here’s the LINK to Information.

About Lynda McKinney Lambert

This Special Feature interview is courtesy of Pennsylvania author, Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright: February 23, 2019..   All rights reserved.

Lynda’s Author Page – Click Here!

Read this article about Lynda on Campbell’s World – Click here!

Saturday is for Sharing is a Special Feature Article, coordinated by Lynda and Miss Opal, her feline writing partner. Lynda and Miss Opal live in rural western Pennsylvania in The Village of Wurtemburg.

Lynda is the author of 4 books:

Her first book is: Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, Kota Press, 2002.

Her second book is:  Walking by Inner vision: Stories & Poems, DLD Books, 2017.

Lynda’s 3rd book: Star Signs: New & Selected Poems – 60 poems.

Her FIRST CHAPBOOK  – first snow –  16 Poems with a Wintry Theme.

Both new books are now available for publication.

Thank you for visiting with us today. Miss Opal and Lynda McKinney Lambert  

Please SHARE:  We LOVE YOU FOR THAT!

Please include copyright information with article. Thanks so much.

 

The Connie

The Connie

by Lynda McKinney Lambert

July 9, 2016

 

 

 

High humidity and stifling heat on this July afternoon begins to urge me to dream of the month ahead. I admit it! I love late August days even more because they signify the approaching end of summer.

When nights become cooler I’ll begin to forget the predictable, unrelenting steamy days and nights of July. Temperature readings by mid-August will drop down into the 50s. I’ll open the windows; feel the cool breeze move through the familiar old house. July’s humidity and stuffiness will be swept away from the house and my thoughts when I begin to sense the shift of a quickly approaching change of seasons. My senses begin to stir my imagination today. There is something brewing in the atmosphere as I stand in the mid-day sunshine and look at the landscape all around me. I see every imaginable hue of green. Is it a sort of nervousness and anticipation for…what? I cannot readily say. But I get excited and anxious for the coming of August every year.

Last night I lay in my bed, listening to the soothing insect sounds drifting upwards to my open window. Unseen creatures sounded like the tuxedo-clad musicians I have listened to as they tuned their instruments before the concert began to play. Right now, it is night songs that I hear coming from below the window. The sounds blend into a nocturnal symphony, a cacophony of a summer serenade. In my meandering thoughts, I wonder if perhaps it was on a night like this one that Mozart had the first inklings of a tune that would become “Eine Kleine Nauchtmusik.” I paused for a moment and shifted my thoughts to the sounds of that familiar music.

Our century-old home is located on a ridge overlooking an ancient, winding creek that meanders for fifty miles through western Pennsylvania. People from this area call it “The Connie.” Its actual   name is the Connoquenessing creek. The arrival of people, who settled eventually in the Village of Wurtemburg, began arriving in America in the early 1700s. That is the time period when settlers from this area traveled to Germanic lands to recruit artisans to come to America and settle here. They needed skilled workers for the settlements and for over one-hundred years Germans were recruited to come to Pennsylvania. Skilled crafts and tradesmen were necessary for the survival of the settlements. My own ancestors were recruited during that one-hundred year period and arrived on ships that landed in Philadelphia. When descendants of the first Germanic people begin to do research they are often quite surprised to discover some of their ancestors married Indians who were already living in this area during the 18th Century. The Connie has been an axis of our own community history for generations. As is true for all people, we are forever tinged with history and that history is a part of our present day lives. The Connie is part of our shared communal memoir.

 

 

Photo16_TheConnie_1In the summer time, the Connie comes alive with the voices and sounds of the local “Crick Culture.” That’s what Western Pennsylvania people call it. We find that different activities take place during each season along The Connie. And here is where my own life story converges with the flowing waters of The Connie.

Kayaking begins in earnest in late winter as soon as the ice begins to dissipate. Hearty enthusiasts will continue to ride the rapids through the summer days in into the fall season. The Connie’s whitewater rapids provide the perfect setting for a swift course for kayakers to perfect their skills. Often, a slollum line will be threaded back and forth across the creek and the brave kayakers will spend the weekend honing skills when the water is high and fast.  Here is where they can learn how to avoid rocks and dangerous areas to complete the course. Later, they will move on to the most dangerous waters of West Virginia.

On summer nights I can hear people laughing from down below the ridge. People arrive at the “crick” in the late evening, in the twilight, just before it gets dark. They park their cars or trucks   under the old trees. Generations of local people come to spend the night fishing. I often watch as they pull out their gear. They bring coolers and jugs, flashlights, buckets of worms, fishing poles, nets, and blankets. Most of them wear baseball caps. One by one, they quietly scramble down the steep, rocky path that leads to the deep water below.  This is the place where another creek, the Slippery Rock Creek, converges with The Connie. We local folks refer to this part of the creek as, “the point.” Many myths are perpetuated about the depth of the waters at the Point, and the terrible whirlpools that lie hidden beneath the placid surface. It is here at the Point, where the night time fishermen like to come to spend the night in hopes of taking home fresh fish for breakfast.  On a still night, I hear them talking softly off in the distance. Their voices merge with the insect concert.

In childhood memories my father and I are in the back yard behind our home in the foothills. I still live in the valley between the steep hills.  Like most of the steelworkers in our village, my father loved to go fishing in the Connie. In the darkness of a sweltering summer night, I helped him find earth worms.  His steelworker’s helmet had a strange yellow light on the front of it.  I smelled the acrid smoke, heard it sizzle and sputter as we bent over the dark ground.  We poured mustard water down into the little tunnels where the earthworms lived.  In just a few seconds, a worm came to the surface seeking fresh air and we grabbed that earthworm, dipped it into a bucket of clean, warm water to rinse the mustard off of it.  Finally, we put our captured worms into Dad’s metal pail with the holes in the sides. He had put dirt into the pail before we went searching for the worms. We turned over rocks and found creepy creatures hiding under them. Dad called them helgramites and they made me shiver when I looked at them.

Throughout my childhood, The Connie was the place where we went swimming as soon as spring arrived. But, The Connie can be treacherous after a day of rainfall. On such a spring day in early May, I ventured into the raging water in a swimming place called, “Mitchell’s.” I only had to take a couple of strokes to reach the big rock and that was my intention when I plunged into the water. Instantly, I was swept away from the big rock. An older boy was at the creek swimming that day and he was a lifeguard. Somehow, he grabbed my hair and pulled me to the rocky shore. There is no doubt in my mind that my life would have ended in The Connie that day if the other swimmer had not been there. I, too, would have been one of the unfortunate victims of The Connie. While The Connie is beautiful and refreshing, she is also vicious and raging at times.

 

Nearly every summer there have been accidents on the banks of the Connie near my home. We know when we hear the ambulance arriving in this area, they are most likely going to find that someone has drowned in The Connie, or at least been injured. I often wonder how many people have lost their lives in The Connie and I say a prayer of “thanks” for my own rescue when I was fifteen years old. Photo15_Connie1_March25_2015

 

Our children grew up beside The Connie, too.  In their adult years they often relate stories of their own experiences and mishaps and they usually have many tales to reminisce about their childhood swimming and floating excursions in inner tubes down the creek on hot days.

 

Not only was The Connie my favorite place to explore in warm weather, it was also my first encounter with ice skating. We carried a broom to the creek and swept off a large area to remove the snow from the icy surface. Even with such careful preparations, it was a rough and uneven place to skate. That never mattered though, and there were many winter days when we walked on the ice for miles. The Connie snapped and crackled as we walked on her surface but we never even considered that we might fall into the water or even something worse.

By the end of June, the banks along The Connie are changing rapidly in their appearance. Early July is when the foliage looks soft and fragile looking with the first blooms of the Queen Anne’s lace and some varieties of sweetly scented bushes with tender little white flowers.Photo16_QueenAnneLace_The Connie July 9

 

I stop to take a deep breath, smell those flowers, and watch the tiny bees gathering all around them. It’s like looking at a whole world of mysteries, to look into those delicate flowers. The most elegant flower gardens in this world are the ones planted by the birds and bees, and growing wild and free along the roadsides and meadows. Here is where we find the glory of nature. This, surely, is what the first inhabitants in the Garden of Eden must have experienced. Breathtaking beauty!

M y favorite sight in August is the Queen Ann Lace mingled with the periwinkle blue flowers of Chicory. The two wild flowers grow together along all the roads in early August.  I take my camera outside so I can capture the beauty of these disorderly flowers.  I remember the fields of these uncultivated flowers long after they disappear for the winter.

 

Oh, I should let you know, Queen Ann Lace is my favorite flower because of the delicate tiny flowers clustered on thin, celadon green stems. The flowers seem to float in space and ride the soft wafts of the August breeze.  Fragile lace blossoms dance in the fragrant afternoon air.  The white blossoms of the Queen Ann Lace contrast with the sturdier chicory flowers.  Chicory resembles a daisy with petals branching outward from around, dark, center.  Each Chicory bloom has little oval petals that come to a tip that looks like someone snipped it off, flat, with zig-zag pinking shears.   The brilliant blue color of the Chicory seems to pop out from among the white Queen Ann Lace in full bloom side by side with Chicory. When I see the Chicory begin to bloom, I know that the season will soon be changing to autumn.

And, it always seems that it won’t be long before I’ll be shuffling my feet through the colored leaves on my daily walks through the woods, along the Connie. My thoughts drift to the stories my father told me about his Indian grandmother. I stop and look around through the woods, and down to the white-water creek. Some days my spirit calls out to her as I look around in this same rural world that she lived in, too. Often, I have a keen insight while walking along The Connie. I step slowly over layers and generations of my family members. I ask myself, “Am I an overlay from past generations of people who lived in this place?” I realize their presence because they surround me. I can feel them. Today, I asked my grandmother, “Did your feet walk on this path, too?”

Copyright, July 9, 2016. Lynda McKinney Lambert. All rights reserved.

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Lynda’s Bio:

Lynda McKinney Lambert is a Christian author, blogger, visual artist. She is the author of the book of essays and poetry, “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage”  by Kota Press. She is a  retired Professor of Fine Arts and Humanities from Geneva College, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

Lynda earned  BFA and  MFA degrees  in Fine Arts;  MA in English Literature. She has traveled and taught courses in writing and art, internationally.

Lynda specializes in writing poetry and creative non-fiction. Currently she has three books in development for publication in late-2016 and 2017. Her stories, essays and poems appear in many anthologies and literary magazines.

Photo16_Bio_Portrait in Red and Orange

 

Lynda’s 2 blogs:

“Walking by Inner Vision” Link:  Walking by Inner Vision Blog
“SCANdalous – Recollections” Link:  SCANdalous – Recollections Blog
Contact Lynda:  riverwoman@zoominternet.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Symbol of Advent – The Angel Candle

Symbols of Advent

Part 4- Week 4

The Angel Candle is purple!

Also known as  the Candle of Love

by Lynda McKinney Lambert

 

GET READY!

LIGHT the 3rd  candle of ADVENT

A miraculous world-changing event will take place.

For a Christmas delight, click on the link:  Angels we have heard on high

 

I Believe in Angels!

 It is nearly Christmas once again.

I am listening to Christmas music as I write. I love to listen to the great songs  that are  a celebration of a miraculous event – the birth of Jesus.

 

Christmas celebrations of past years linger in little snippets, layered  and overlapped  like  Christmas melodies playing one by one.  Each Christmas carol I listen to brings forth more memories and more pictures of a family member, friends, and neighbors.  It also brings forth memories and pictures of our walk with the Lord over the years. The miracle of his coming into our own hearts as we turned around one day, and answered his call to “come.”  I answered that call to come, forty-two years ago.  My life turned around, never to be the same again.  How about you?

Matthew 11:28-29New American Standard Bible (NASB)

28 “Come to Me, all [a]who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Blog_2014_IBelieve_Angel_PHOTO

“I Believe in Angels”

 

Folks often say Christmas is for children,

skating on ice, building  castles of snow.

Oh, I believe Christmas is a holy birthday!

a time to sit by a warm fire, sing holiday songs.

I believe in shepherds!  and angels!

and Three Kings who delivered priceless gifts.

 

It’s a joy to be with friends, to give  gifts.

Adults once again become like children,

who look out  the window to see the first snow.

The Ancients anticipated this birthday

the celebration that  began with heavenly songs

when the birth of Messiah was announced by angels.

 

The holy birth was shared with shepherds and angels,

long before mass marketing, tinsel, and glitzy gifts,

The promised Child would heal earth’s children.

Perhaps the plains were deep with snow

on the night of His miraculous birth.

Yes, I believe in angel songs!

 

In the darkest winter night, listen for the songs

sung by a choir of angels.

The greatest heavenly gift

came  to walk with earth’s children.

As I light the Advent wreath I look out at falling snow-

and remember the reason behind this ancient birthday.

 

On bleak December days, consider His birthday.

Listen in the quiet night for angel songs.

The birth of Messiah, announced by the angels,

is the reason for exchanging gifts.

I believe Christ’s birthday is truly for children

like me and you who walk in a world of wintry snow.

 

Every child knows the delight of playing in snow

the joy of receiving gifts in celebration of a birthday-

I believe in birthday songs!

I’m a  child once again as I listen for angels

songs and remember the wise men who brought gifts.

the Anointed Gift from God – I believe in children!

 

*** by Lynda McKinney Lambert.  Copyright 1991, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

 

Blog_2014_Ibelieve_AngelStarSkyPHOTO

I wrote the poem, “I Believe in Angels” during a difficult  time in my life.  I wrote it as a Christmas message and sent it out to friends and family. Even in the darkest moments of our life,  when we seem to be alone, lost, or confused, Jesus is with us.  I can tell you that for sure because I made a decision to follow Jesus in October 1973.  I’ve had a lifetime of encounters with the Divine since that day.

 

May you find the truth of the Angels announcement in your own life.

Luke 2:10-11King James Version (KJV)

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

 

Fear Not!  

 
Lynda McKinney Lambert is the author of “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage” published by  Kota Press. She authors two blogs on writing, the humanities, arts, and faith.  She is a freelance writer and her poetry and essays appear in numerous books and literary journals.  She is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities and she exhibits her fiber arts in exhibitions worldwide.
 Currently, she has two books in development for publication in 2016.
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You can read my three previous articles on the Symbols of Advent by clicking on the links below;

 

*** Link to Week 1 – The Candle of Hope at this link:

Go To Week 1 – the Candle of HOPE

*** Link to Week 2 – The Candle of Preparation (The Bethlehem Candle)

The Candle of Preparation (Bethlehem candle)

*** Lind to Week 3 – The Candle of Joy, or the Shepherd’s CandleWeek 2:
*** Link to my story, “A Western Pennsylvania Christmas”

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Lynda’s 2 blogs:

“Walking by Inner Vision” Link:  Walking by Inner Vision Blog
“SCANdalous – Recollections” Link:  SCANdalous – Recollections Blog
Contact Lynda:  riverwoman@zoominternet.net
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Lynda’s Bio

Lynda McKinney Lambert is the author of “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage” published by  Kota Press. She authors two blogs on writing, the humanities, arts, and faith.  She is a freelance writer and her poetry and essays appear in numerous books and literary journals.  She is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities and she exhibits her fiber arts in exhibitions worldwide.
 Currently, she has two books in development for publication in 2016.

Skip to Walking by Inner Vision Journal:

In 2015,  Lynda wrote  30 Writing Assignments and Lessons to help you begin to write your own life sotry.

Remembering Grandma Farm

 

NOTE:  With many thanks to my creative friend Lynda Lambert for asking me to be one of her “guest bloggers,” I happily share with you a post from my Word walk blog.  The following memoir and poem comprised a Word walk post on May 14, 2014.  The accompanying photos of my grandmother’s lace pieces were taken this summer by my sister, Mary Elizabeth Fanyo, of Colorado.  As you enjoy looking at the photos, remember that my grandmother never crocheted from a pattern–except the patterns that were in her artistic mind.

 Blog15_SCAN_Massa_LacePiece5

Remembering Grandma Farm on the 122nd Anniversary of Her Birth:

 May 17, 1892-February 27, 1988

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

Photography by Mary Fanyo

 

 

At times when I am walking home from Metro Market with a bag full of groceries in my right arm, other groceries in my backpack, and my left hand on my Leader Dog’s harness handle—I  think of my paternal grandmother, Elizabeth (Liza) Massa, who too frequently walked the three miles from Klondyke, Indiana, to the nearest town of Clinton to purchase groceries.  While I am walking just a few blocks home, I ponder the load my grandmother carried for a few miles.  Since she lived on the small farm at the curve in the gravel road in Klondyke, so many of us called this remarkably strong woman “Grandma Farm.”

 

Born in Levone, Italy, on May 17, 1892, my grandmother quickly matured into a very young woman whose dreams looked toward a new life in the United States of America.  Having had a not too easy life in Northern Italy where she was raised by her peddler father and an unkind stepmother, Liza worked for a ship captain and his family before she and her dreams set sail.  In 1910, my grandmother took the SS La Savoie from La Havre, France, to New York.  The story is that aboard this ship, she danced across the Atlantic Ocean.  At Ellis Island, Liza became “Elizabeth.”  My grandmother ventured onward to the Midwest; soon after arriving in Indiana, Elizabeth kept her promise and married a tall, thin coal miner (who was also from Levone) on June 29, 1910.  James and Elizabeth Massa had six children.  After the arrival of sons Charles (Charlie) in 1911, James (Jimmy, my father) in 1913, and John (Johnny) in 1916—my grandmother gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Rosemary in 1925; but sadly, Aunt Rosemary died in infancy.  Then, my grandmother had two more children—Jules in 1926 and Katherine Mae in 1937.  Besides raising her five surviving children, cooking, gardening, working on the farm, keeping a meticulously clean farmhouse and outhouse—my grandmother learned English and loved to talk with family and her many friends.  Both of my grandparents were truly proud to become citizens of the United States.

 

Blog15_SCAN_Massa_Lace4The period which demonstrated her greatest strength and her greatest worries was during World War II when four blue stars were proudly displayed on a window of the farmhouse.  Yes, all four of my grandmother’s sons served in the United States Army, in Europe, during WW II.  Throughout those long years, I cannot begin to imagine how many prayers and rosaries my grandmother must have said nor how many tears she must have shed.  Most fortunately, all four of her sons returned safely home after serving their country.  Soon after the homecomings, the years of enjoying grandchildren—ten of us–ensued.

 

I can still picture my grandmother wearing her dark royal blue and white dress and donning a hat for her daughter’s wedding on June 16, 1956.  A few years later, in 1960, what a celebration our family had for my grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary!  Grandma even wore a corsage for the dinner at Binole’s Restaurant, followed by a reception at Aunt Kathy’s house.

 

When I was in high school, my grandparents left the farm with its grape arbor and front-porch swing to move to a nice house with indoor plumbing—a house just across the very small town of Blanford where my parents, my sister, and I lived.

 

Whether in Klondyke playing cards with her good friends Julia and Dominic or in Blanford visiting with relatives at a family reunion, Grandma Farm knew how to have a good and happy time with company around her.  Although life was not always easy for my grandmother, she had a way of finding and sharing good cheer and keeping up with modern times.  When her beloved daughter Kathy and her family moved to New Jersey, my grandmother—with Italian salami and brick cheese in her train case—flew in a jet to the East Coast to visit her daughter, son-in-law, and the three grandchildren—as well as visit our nation’s capital.  When my sister was married in 1975, my grandmother attended her first wedding reception at a hotel.  Throughout the years, Grandma Farm wrote a letter each week to her son Jules who still lives in California.  Watching the news on television, reading The Daily Clintonian newspaper, talking with her friends and family at her home or on the telephone—Grandma kept in touch.  Besides her ready laugh, she had a forceful voice and was not at all hesitant about giving advice.  Although Grandma continued to speak Italian at times, she was perfectly adept at speaking English, with a little Italian accent.  Not even once did I hear her talk about returning to the “Old Country”—her family, friends, and home were in America, the country of which she was a proud citizen.

 

Although I most remember my grandmother’s apple pies, apple turnovers, and yellow cake—I am gratefully surrounded by her artistry.  When she came to the United States from Northern Italy, my grandmother brought with her—only in her mind—the skills and patterns for remarkable crocheting.  Not only did Grandma Farm crochet afghans for all her children and their spouses, grandchildren, and others—Grandma crocheted from thread exquisite lace pieces.  Called “doilies” by some, my grandmother’s lace pieces numbered into the hundreds and were of many patterns and sizes.  Her lace pieces would rank her as a textile artist today.  Although the majority of the lace pieces were white or ecru, some thread which she worked into her patterns were pink, blue, and green.  Even though the lace pieces were traditionally starched, I still use her lace pieces, but do not starch them.  Her lace pieces of varying shapes were made to adorn the tops of tables, end tables, bookcases, and my piano.  While many of her designs are floral patterns, others are geometric patterns.  Having these treasured lace pieces in various rooms of my townhouse allows me to keep warm memories of my very artistic grandmother who—despite her arthritis—could crochet with yarn or thread faster and more precisely than you could ever imagine.

 

One day, a number of years ago, after the death of my grandmother at almost 96 years, I began pondering the lace pieces that were around me and thought of the following poem as a tribute to her textile artistry.  Blog15_SCAN_Massa_Lace2

At a local copy shop, I had note cards made with this poem on the front of the  card and gave sets of these cards to relatives.  This poem has special meaning for me, and I reprise it here to honor the 122nd anniversary of Elizabeth Massa’s birth.

 

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Lace Pieces

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

More than just dust-catchers,

 

these snowflake look-alikes—

 

lace pieces from the Old Country—

 

become starched artistic monuments

 

which once could have dressed angels

 

at the Sistine Chapel,

 

now rest pristine on tables

 

to gather soft memories of

 

hands that crocheted them,

 

hands that starched them,

 

piece by piece—

 

not for famous chapels,

 

but for family hope chests.

 

 

God bless all on our Massa Family Tree and all on your family tree, too!

Alice

 

May 14, 2014, Wednesday—the eleventh month birthday

of Grandma Farm’s great-great-granddaughter Lanie

 

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Biography:  Alice Jane-Marie Massa

After earning two master’s degrees and teaching for 25 years, Alice Jane-Marie Massa retired from teaching writing and public speaking at a technical college.

Alice invites you to visit her blog:  http://alice13wordwalk.wordpress.com, where she posts her poetry, essays, short stories, recipes, or memoirs each Wednesday.  Her writings on Wordwalk frequently focus on her guide dogs, her rural hometown, her Italian family heritage, and holidays.  Being the current president of Behind Our Eyes also fills hours of her retirement.  Away from her desk, Alice most enjoys long walks with her third Leader Dog (Zoe), container gardening, and the television program Jeopardy.

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Copyright 2015.  Featured  GUEST BLOGGER on

SCANdalous-Recollections Blog

28 November 2015 – by Lynda McKinney Lambert.

All rights reserved by the author, Alice Jane-Marie Massa.