Wednesday, October 28, 2009


By this time you know that I enjoy reading. One of the authors that mesmerized me is Wayne W. Dyer, and I took the liberty of copying a chapter from his book "Wisdom of the Ages" entitled IMAGINATION. I would like to share it with you by posting snippets of it for you, but for the full text, I am leaving it up to you to follow through. Mr. Dyer quotes a poem and then renders his thoughts: "What if you slept? And what if, in your sleep you dreamed? And what if, in your dream, You went to Heaven ....And there plucked a strange and beautiful flower? And what if, when you awoke, you had the flower in your hand? By Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)."

Mr. Dyer then says:

"The first step in creation, this unifying principle, is imagination. This poignantly simple poem invites you to delve into your imagination and reconsider your agreement with reality. What we know as real has its limits, but imagination is boundless in the dream state. Our agreement with reality invalidates the idea of being able to bring an object from the dream world into the waking world.

Reconsider what you are capable of in your dream state. Sleeping for eight hours each day means you will be in this dream state for thirty years if you live to the age of ninety. That is one-third of your life that you enter a state of awareness in which your agreement with reality is breached and you manifest everything that you need for the dream simply by the power of your thoughts. You have no concept of time, in fact you can go forward or backward in time at will. You talk to and see the dead, fly if you choose, walk through trees and buildings, change your shape instantaneously, become an animal if you so desire, breathe under water, and be in more than one place at the same time.

The most amazing part about all this dream activity is that for the length of the dream you are one hundred percent convinced that all of it is real. Your unlimited imagination is so convincingly powerful that for one-third of your life, you lose your agreement with reality.

When you wake, you say to yourself, this part is real and all that activity in my dream state is unreal. Go back to your dream state. Every character in your dream is YOU assuming those roles with your mind. When you are having a conversation with people in your dream, you are yourself, then at the same instant you are whomever you are talking to as well. You actually do not have conversations with someone else in your dream, you are those characters and yourself all at the same time. Similarly, the flower in your dream is not a flower in the same sense that you experience it while awake. In fact, you are the flower in your dream, and because your imagination shuts down to almost zero when you awaken, you lose the ability to create without limitation as soon as you leave your dream.

It is not absurd to think that it is possible to bring a flower from the imaginary dream state into the level that we agree is waking awareness. Everything you are capable of accomplishing, experiencing, and knowing in one-third of life spent in pure imagination, you can accomplish, experience, and know in the remaining two-thirds. The key is to banish doubts and allow yourself the privilege of flying directly into that ecstatic state while awake. Work at being a waking dreamer by allowing the same kinds of privileges, freedoms, and, yes, powers, that are taken for granted in a dream state.

To me it seems silly to think of being awake and being in the dream state as two distinct experiences of reality. I know that my dreams are not predictors of what is going to happen in my waking life, nor are they symbols that provide clues to the real me. For me this dream state is like an open invitation into the mystical world of imagination. It is my opportunity to explore limitlessness, to know it firsthand, and to become totally convinced beyond all doubt of the realm of imagination. Then while awake I can go into my imagination and use it to travel miles beyond ordinary waking awareness. Then this waking world becomes but a canvas to my imagination.

When you rewrite your agreement with reality, you can use your experience of that one-third of your life while ensconced securely in your imagination to accomplish all that you desire without going to sleep. Imagine yourself able to manifest into your material world whatever you are capable of conceiving in your mind, and let go of any doubts that you may have allowed to creep in.

To apply the power of your creative imagination in your life today, begin by:

* Always keeping in mind that you become what you think about, be very careful about any thoughts you harbor that involve doubt.

* Keep track of your dreams in the sense of remembering those 'unreal' experiences that you were absolutely convinced of while they were occurring. Then work at eliminating your conditioned benefits about their impossibility. You want to eradicate the word 'impossible' from your consciousness. Truly, if you can conceive it, you can create it.

* Literally rewrite your agreement with reality so that it reads, 'Anything I am capable of one-third of my life I can add to the other two-thirds if I so choose'.

* Live more in your imagination. Give yourself the freedom to wander into unfamiliar territory in your mind and to explore new possibilities in your fantasies, excluding nothing. These imaginative meanderings will ultimately become the catalysts for living an unlimited life.

Your imagination, just like your body, grows through exercise. Wake up and hold that flower in your hand."

I hope you enjoyed reading the above taken from Mr. Wayne W. Dyer's book. Goodnight..Elvira

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Cake is still warm

Several days ago,on my TV, I watched intently the saga of a home-made helium balloon flying through space with the assumption that aboard was a six-year old boy. Happily, he was found safe and sound in his own home. It reminded me of an incident that happened to me on Thursday, October 8th, when a group of people joined together to find "Elvira". Angels are not illusionary images; they are real people who give their efforts and sometimes their lives to help and care for their fellowman.

I voluntarily gave up driving my car on April 30th of this year, and since then have been using the wonderful transport services offered to the elderly in Putnam County, N.Y.; namely, The Para Transit, for a minimum fee. The users must call the previous day by 5:00 pm to schedule an appointment. One of my constant appointments is to attend the Golden Age Senior meetings in Patterson, N.Y. on Thursdays. The driver usually picks me up first at 9:00 am, and then travels about 6 miles to pick up Yolanda and her husband Lenny. However, mistakes will happen......and on the morning of October 8th, when the bus arrived to pick up Yolanda, she noticed I was not on board.

Well.....I was quite irritated when I was not picked up after waiting in the lobby of my building until 9:20 am. I returned to my apartment, and after fuming for some time, I decided to forget about it and bake a cake. As I was removing the cake from the oven, I looked at it and said to myself: " What am I going to do with this cake? I have no room in the freezer. I'll call Kitty."
Kitty is a friend of mine, who lives on the same floor, but at the other end of the building. "Kitty", I said, "I was not picked up for my visit to Golden Age...and I was so angry that I decided to bake a cake. Would you share it with me." Kitty said: "I'd love to, Elvira". "Okay, I'll be right over". Kitty enjoyed eating a slice of the warm cake. (By the way, it was a Carrot Cake.) We enjoyed each others company so much that we did not realize several hours had passed by.

About 3:15 pm, I left Kitty to retun to my apartment. I walked just a short distance, when I saw a group of women about 75 -feet away, waving their arms like distressed chickens and babbling "Oh, my God, she's alright"....."Where have you been?"....."We've been looking for you." ....."The bus company said you did not show-up."....."The police were looking for you."etc. etc. etc. I was flabbergasted by all this attention, and after a million hugs, Joanne (my building Manager) surrounded by the residents she had contacted related the following:

That someone from the Golden Age Center called the police and advised them that Elvira was not present that day at the Center. The police contacted Joanne.....Joanne immediately contacted several residents, and when the policeman arrived, they all proceeded to Elvira's apartment. With the door held open by Joanne and the concerned residents, the policeman entered the apartment. From the Living Room, they heard "She's not here:....then from the Bathroom "Not here".....from the Bedroom "no one here". As the policeman was approaching the door to exit from the apartment, he checked the kichen area......and lo and behold, the mystery was almost solved. The Policeman , with a smile on his face, turned to all those standing in the vicinity of the open door, and said, "She must be okay....she must be around here the building.....see---THE CAKE IS STILL WARM."

Who actually called the Police and why?

When Yolanda returned home about 2:15 pm, after the meeting at the Center, she immediately phoned me at home; and when I did not respond, she immediately contacted the bus company, She was very concerned because, she and I, both had difficulty scheduling the previous day. Later, we learned the bus company had trouble with fallen telephone lines. She asked the bus Manager why they had not picked-up Elvira. She (the bus company Manager) told Yolanda that their driver called to say that it was 9:10 and 'no Elvira'.....that she called me and received no she directed the driver to proceed, pick up Yolanda and Lenny. Yolanda continued and said: "Elvira is 99 years old and I'm very concerned." The bus Manager said: "Yes, I am too. I'll call the Police to investigate. Elvira is one of our prompt riders."

The rest is history. Mystery solved: "THE CAKE IS STILL WARM"

The Cake is still warm.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Watermelon Seed


Something a little different today. A day at the Library: Rather than sit alone in my apartment, especially on a dreary, cloudy day, I visit the Kent Library. I sit there sometimes for several hours and just read. I came across this little adage one day, written many years ago , by William Jennings Bryan....and I hope you enjoy reading it, too.

Observe the power of the watermelon seed. It has the power of drawing from the ground and through itself. 200,000 times its weight. When you can tell me how it takes this material and out of it colors an outside surface beyond the imitation of art, and then forms inside of it a white rind and within that again a red heart, thickly inlaid with black seeds, each one of which in turn is capable of drawing through itself 200,000 its weight.......when you can explain the mystery of a watermelon, you can ask me to explain the mystery of God!


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Joy of growing-up Italian - 4

I can still remember my Grandfather telling me how he came to America as a young man "on a boat" which took 30 days to cross the Atlantic Ocean; how the family lived in a rented tenement, and took in boarders in order to make mends meet; how he decided he didn't want his children (four sons and three daughters) to grow up in that environment. All of this, of course, in his own version of Italian/English which I soon learned to understand quite well.

So, when my Grandfather saved enough money to buy a house, and I could never figure out how he bought it, that house served as family headquarters for the next forty years. I remember how he hated to leave it. He would rather sit on the back porch and watch the garden grow. And when he did leave it for some special occasion, he had to return as quickly as possible. After all, "nobody's watching the house". I also remember the Holidays when all the relatives would gather at my Grandfather's house and there'd be tables full of food and home-made wine and music. Women in the kitchen, men in the living room, and everywhere. I must have a half-million cousins: first, second, and some not even related, but that didn't matter. And my Grandfather...his pipe in his mouth and his fine moustache trimmed....would sit in the middle of it all, grinning his mischievous smile, his dark eyes twinkling, surveying his domain, proud of his family, and how well his children had done in life: one was a cop, one a fireman, one had his own trade, and (of course) there was always the rogue. The girls...they had all married well, had fine husbands and healthy children....and, most of all, everyone knew RESPECT. Grandfather had achieved his goal in coming to America, and to New Jersey. Now his children and their children were achieving the same goals that were available to them in this great country, because they were Americans.

When my Grandfather died years ago at the age of 76, things began to change. Slowly at first. But then Uncles and Aunts eventually began to cut down on their visits. Family gatherings were fewer and something seemed to be missing, although when we did get together, usually at my Mother' house now, I always had the feeling he was there somehow. It was understandable, of course. Everyone now had families of their own and grandchildren of their own. Today, they visit once or twice a year. Today, we meet at weddings and wakes.

Lots of other things have changed, too. The old house my Grandfather bought is now covered with aluminum siding, although my Uncle still lives there....and, of course, my Grandfather'sgarden is gone. The last of the home-made wine has long been drunk and, in the Fall, nobody covers the fig tree anymore. For a while, we would make the rounds on the holidays, visiting family. Now, we occasionally visit the cemetery. A lot of them are there: grandfathers, uncles, aunts, even my own Father and Mother.

The Holidays have changed, too. The great quantity of food we once consumed without ill-effects is no good for us anymore....too much starch, too much cholesterol, too much calories. And nobody bothers to bake anymore....too busy, and it's easier to buy it now, and anyway too much is not good for you. We meet at my hose now, at least my family does; but it's not the same.

The differences between US and THEM aren't as easily defined anymore, and I guess that's good. My Grandparents were Italian-Italians, my parents were Italian-Americans, my wife and I are American -Italians, and my children are American-Americans. Oh, I'm an American alright and proud of it, just as my Grandfather would want me to be. We are all Americans now: the Irish, German, Polish, and the Jews....U.S. citizens all. But, somehow, I still feel a little bit Italian. Call it culture, call it tradition, call it roots. I'm really not sure what it is! All I know is that my children have been cheated out of a wonderful piece of heritage. They never knew my GRANDFATHER. (The end)

I hope you enjoy reading this. I'll try posting my last version (2005) soon. Goodnight.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Joy of Growing-up Italian - 3

As I promised you yesterday, the following is the 1978 version (and along with the very similar 1980 version); it was widely distributed throughout the United States by me and my friends. One of the words I changed frequently was finally MERICONS.
The Joy of Growing-up Italian
1978 Version
By Elvira S. Oliver

I was well into adulthood before I realized I was an American. Of course I had been born in America and had lived here all of my life, but somehow it never occurred to me that just being a citizen of the United States meant I was an American. Americans are people who ate peanut butter and jelly on mushy white bread that came in plastic packages. But I was ITALIAN.

For me, as I am sure for most second generation Italian-American children who grew up in the 40's or 50's, there was a definite distinction drawn between US and THEM. We were Italians. Everybody else....the Irish, German, Polish, Jews, they were the "MED-E-GONES". There was no animosity involved in that distinction, no prejudice, no hard-feelings....just, well, we were sure ours was the better way, For instance, we had a bread-man, a coal-man, and ice-man, a fruit and vegetable man, a watermelon man, and a fish-man; we even had a man who sharpened knives and scissors, who came to our homes or at least outside our homes. They were the many peddlers who plied their wares in the Italian neighborhoods. We would wait for their call, their yell, their individual distinctive sound. We knew them all and they knew us. Americans went to the stores for most of their foods. What a waste! Truly I pitied their loss. They never knew the pleasure of waking up every morning to find a hot crispy loaf of bread waiting behind the screen door. And instead of being able to climb up on the back of a peddler's truck a couple of times a week just to hitch a ride, most of the "MED-E-GONE" friend had to be satisfied going to the A&P.

When it came to food, it always amazed me that my American friends and classmates only ate turkey on Thanksgiving or Christmas. Or, rather. that they ONLY ate turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. Now, we Italians....we also had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, but...ONLY after we had finished the antipasto, soup, lasagna, meatballs, salad, and whatever else Mama thought might be appropriate

for that particular holiday. The turkey was usually accompanied by a roast of some kind (just in case somebody walked in who didn't like turkey) and was followed by an assortment of fruits, nuts, pastries, cakes and, of course, homemade cookies and expresso with a bit of lemon or anisette. No holiday was complete without some home baking. None of that store-bought stuff for us. This is where you learned to eat a seven-course meal between noon and four in the afternoon; how to handle hot chestnuts, and put peach wedges in homemade red wine. I truly believe Italians live a romance with food.

Speaking of food. Sunday was truly the big day of the week. That was the day you'd wake up to the smell of garlic and onions frying in olive oil. As you lay in bed, you could hear the hiss as tomatoes were dropped into a pan. On Sunday, we always had gravy. The Medegones called it sauce....and pasta, they called it macaroni. Sunday woud not be Sunday without going to Mass. Of course, you couldn't eat before Mass, because you had to fast before receiving Communion. But the good part was....we knew when we got home, we'd find hot meatballs frying, and nothing tastes better than newly fried meatballs and crisp Italian bread dipped into a pot of gravy.

There was another difference between US and THEM. We had gardens. Not just flower gardens, but huge gardens where we grew tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes. We ate them, cooked them, and jarred them, Of course, we also grew peppers (hot and sweet), basil, parsly, lettuce and zucchini. Everybody had a grapevine and a fig tree....and in the Fall, everyone covered the fig-tree and made home-made wine, lots of it. Of course, those gardens thrived so, because we also had something else our American friends didn't seem to have. We had a GRANDFATHER!! It's not that they didn't have a Grandfather; its just that they didn't live in the same house or on the same block. They VISITED their Grandfathers. We ate with ours...and God forbid, if we did not see them once a day.

To be continued. I'm tired. Goodnight.

The Joy of Growing-up Italian - 3

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Joy of Growing-up Italian - 2

I am not happy to keep harping about my essay, but I find it has created a bombshell among some who claim authorship, that I find it necessary to be assertive and defend what is mine.

When I wrote The Joy of Growing-up Italian in 1968, with some revisions in 1978, it was my memories. But there was , a part of my life, I tried very hard to keep it a secret. I was a divorcee....and it was treated very scandallously and sometimes with dire circumstances; for instance, you could not get employment. Therefore, in order to avoid mention of an ex-husband, I wrote it as if my son wrote it. However, in 2005 (when it seemed as if nothing was considered shameless anymore), I revised it and made it totally my story. The facts, words and phrases are exactly the same, except it is written in the first gender.... and it contains, positively all my experiences. I am going to blog (if blog is the proper expression) both versions: first the 1978 version , which appears many, many times as Author Anonymous with slight variations by the contributors, and, of course, by others who actually claim they are the authors. How could that be?

I am 99 years old. I have no agenda...except to show those who are interested, how a first-generation Italian-American viewed the World in the 20th century....and most importantly, to keep my brain creating for as long as I can.

I'm getting tired now......will catch-up with you tomorrow, or the following day with the 1978 version.