Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Poetess

As I have mentioned in a previous post, from time to time, I would like to honor friends that have enriched my life, each one in his or her inimatable way.

Danita is a lovely lady, who as a child grew up in Texas. Today, she is a Mother, Grandmother and a vivacious Realtor in Putnam County, New York...and one of my colleauges and an alumni of the Life-Bio Class under the supervision of Mary Andriola. Danita has been able to over-ride the many trials and tribulations which enter one's life, by remembering that she is still THAT little girl in Texas who was fazed by nothing.

Danita is our Poetess and writes in prose. Her subjects are usually enriched with the splendor of Nature. Here is one of my favorites........

TIME by Danita Mancini

Is it your time or my time
Even though we live
In the same Universe
I can tell you
We look at it QUITE differently
Have to be before time
I am that person
Who is waiting for you
Because you are NEVER ON TIME
You say you never have enough time
Time is just the spaces between events
How we use that is what makes the difference
What do you mean you never have time?
Did someone steal it?
Does it mean you waste time
Dream time away
Do you think
There is a third
Dimension your not privy to
Or are you unrealistic on
What you can do with time?
Does it mean you let other people
Tie you to their thoughts
Fleeting your time away
I have always run everywhere
And often wondered how
People can pass snail paced through
Do they daydream more than me?
Have more pleasure than me
Or smell the roses more?
Let me tell you
I can smell those roses
And I can observe it all
To this day I bless my Mother who
In her infinite wisdom
Didn't think I ever moved fast enough.



A full moon always rises at sunset.

The side of a hammer is called a cheek.

About 33,000,000 Americans do crosswords in newspapers, journals, and paperback books.

Ostriches stick their heads in the sand to look for water.

The forest of the Canadian Lake District is so dense that during Winter snow stays on top of the trees and the forest floor stays bare.

Hope you enjoy..........Elvira

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Joe, the Shoemaker and Salvatore

It is the perception...that as one becomes older, the brain loses the capacity to retain the visions of the Present. Somehow, I think it is false and I may be completely off base. But at this moment, I care to believe it. I know almost nothing about computer technology or its language, but did I read or comprehend correctly, that one can retrieve anything you have discarded into the 'trash-bin' of the computer? Goodness gracious! If that is so, then why can't you retrieve from the tired brain, the thoughts that the Present environment deemed unimportant, and quickly discarded them into its trash-bin. I think that all the tired brain needs is stimulation,,,,a trigger of something similarly long past, to bring it back to the present. Let me try to explain what I mean......

On intermittent Wednesdays, the alumni class of Life-Bio meets. And on several occasions of late, one of the members, if she thinks she's late, has rushed into the room, apologizes, and Mary assures her that she is not late. Somehow, on these occasions, I would feel a slight breeze flow past me, but the sensation quickly disappears. It never happened when the other "young ladies' entered the room and calmly sat down with a 'good morning'.

Then just a few days ago, as I was sitting quietly in my chair reading the local newspaper, I dozed off and dreamed. Into my day-dream appears Danita (yep, that's her name), rushes into the kitchen, and exclaims 'Oh, am I late, am I late?' Father gently says 'slow down, slow down. No, you,re not late for dinner.'......and suddenly I awakened by the noise of a para-transit bus backing up.

That was it for me! I really believe that on the few occasions when it seemed I felt the slight breeze at the time of Danita's 'rushed' entrance, that it was the Present trying to connect to a similar 'rushing' pattern in the Past....and when the Present was unable to trigger my memory in the waking state, it endeavored to reach me in the imaginative state...in the day-dream.

To those who have been reading my posts:: Remember when I posted excerpts from Wayne Dyer's IMAGINATION, wherein he mentions that YOU are all the characters in your dreams, whomever or whatever it may be. I believe this to be true. The Danita in the dream was ME...and my Father's 'slow down, slow down' was a way of of reminding me of his conversation with Joe, the Shoemaker.

And here is the reason that I place so much emphasis 'on the slight breeze I felt and caused by Danita's rushed entrance': It is a very fond memory of my dear Father in 1949, a year before he passed away.............

One day my Father came home for dinner after spending a few hours in the afternoon chi-chatting with Joe, the Shoemaker. In those times, to be a shoemaker was considered quite a meaningful profession. Shoes were not easily discarded after the soles were worn out. They were usually half-soled once or twice before the upper leather of the shoe became useless. Joe's store was at the corner of our long block, St. Johns Place, just two doors in from the corner, before it intersected with Nostrand Avenue, which became one of the great shopping avenues in Brooklyn.

Ernie, who never married, lived with my parents in the six-family apartment house they owned. They lived in one of the apartments on the second floor, and I rented from them the apartment directly underneath. I heard three bangs from the pipe in the dumbwaiter shaft; it was the signal that someone upstairs was trying to contact me. I responded, and my Father said: "Elvira, if you have not had your dinner as yet, come up and join us. Ernesto is home too, I have something funny to tell you."

Although many years had passed, we still abided by some of the old traditions. One of them was Mange e Cheto (Eat and Be Quiet) and the other was consuming the usual Thursday dinner which consisted of freshly cooked pasta and last-Sunday's leftovers, including the meatballs and bracioli. Ernie and I were like small children, waiting patiently, and then Ernie: "Come on Pa, what's funny?" Sitting back in his chair and grinning broadly, he said: "Joe asked me a pecular question today. He wanted to know, Elvira, if you had a physical ailment." He stopped because I had a look on my face, my mouth wide open. Still grinning, he continued: "Joe said, you know, Salvatore, your daughter does not walk properly; she runs. She goes past my store , waves to me, and before I can wave back, she's gone. Is there something wrong with her?" At this point, we just could not stop laughing. "And what did you say", Mom asked....and Ernie and I followed with the same question. I said to Joe: "Elvira has been like that since her very young days when she was her Mother's assistant in a grocery store. At about four o'clock each day, the customers would line up in the store to buy food for the evening meal, and it seemed like every customer was in a hurry." And I told Joe: "In order to serve each customer quickly, she hurried from one shelf to another, from bin to bin, from one area of the store to another, to fill the orders and keep the customers satisfied. She's in the same fix today; she goes from one job to another. We are so used to her pace, we don't notice it as different from the norm....and I guess its a habit she will not outgrow until she is an old lady." Turning to me, my Father said: "Joe was greatly impressed today...but we here, Elvira, want you to know that we have been impressed by you since you were a little girl. Haven't we, Arcangela? Now give me a hug and go home." Filled with this display of love and affection from my family, what more could anyone want!

For the young who read this, you may wonder why the customers waited until late in the afternoon to buy food for the evening meal. You are lucky to be born during the last fifty or sixty years. Because, in my time, to buy food in advance presented a major problem. To preserve food for future use, refrigeration is required, and the only accommodation in the 1920's and 1930's was an ice-box, which did not have the capacity to store much food. Several times a week (perhaps it was more frequently; I do not remember) ....an ice man, with a block of ice held together with a pincer and slung over his protected shoulder, would patiently climb two, three and four flights of stairs, to deliver ice for only ten or fifteen cents, depending on the size of the block. He would place the ice in the upper part of the box, In the inside rear was a pipe which fed the water from the melting ice into a pan under the ice box. Every evening before bedtime and every morning, it was necessary to empty the pan under the ice-box to avoid the spillage of water on to the floor.

- - - - - - - - -- - -

I would like to post a tribute to my friend Danita, whose mere 'rush' into a room, triggered a fond memory of my dear Father, as noted above. I'm a bit tired now, but I'll be back after a few restful days. Until then......Goodnight.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

What is my Name?

March 21, 2010

The other day when I posted "School Days - Chapter I", I stated that the reason I remembered those thoughts was because someone addressed me as Elvera, but what I forgot to tell you was that for the first time, with determinaton but politely, I corrected the lady and asked her to please pronounce my name Elvira (with the long 'i'). At home that evening, I recalled the incident and was angry with myself for being so arrogant. However, I pacified myself by saying:
"I don't care; I've been Elvira for 62 years and I'm not going back there any more".

I also forgot to mention that the name Concetta was one that I have had to acknowledge twice during my life, due to necessity, Once in 1964 and again in 1984, each time when I applied for a passport. In 1964, I obtained an application, filled in the information required, with my signature as Elvira S. Oliver. Lo and Behold! The passport was declined because the government agent could not identify me as a citizen of the United States.. I readily submitted a copy of my birth certificate....and now with the passport in hand, I spent two weeks exploring Tahiti and New Zealand.

Tahiti was absolutely a new and beautiful world. One of my highlights there was seeing Marlon Brando, the Hollywood heart-throb. He was basking in the sunshine on the beach in front of his home, with his beautiful Tahitian wife.

I fell in love with New Zealand, especially Christ Church, even though I had two life-challenging experiences. I never did see so many beautiful children with such rosy, rosy cheeks. However, I remember a city by the name of Rotorura; but I'm not sure if I'm spelling it correctly, or even if it was the place where we tourists were caught in a gale out in a small glass-enclosed boat. Our bold and brave Captain managed to steer the ship (with ten frightened would-be-sailors) towards land on which we were able to embark. With feet on solid ground, but surrounded by many trees, we sat on the trunks of trees, and chatted away. The Captain assured us that we would be found....and no longer frightened, we waited four or five hours to be rescued. I still have vivid pictures in my memory of rescuers in their bright yellow rain-gear, chopping and sawing fallen-down trees to reach us.....and later, arriving back at our hotel, mid great cheers of joy and celebration....and, best of all, to a sumptuous dinner.

The other frightful incident was on a tour to a city that was buried for some years by an earthquake, but still had tops of buried trees growing above ground. There was an area where tourists, if they wished , could venture down into the underground via a stair-well.....and, of course. I became the leader of the band. Down the steps I gingerly ventured, with eight or ten other followers, one behind the other. Several minutes passed when my breathing became constrained. I sat on the step to rest, looked up, and realized that I was alone in this semi-darkened pit....and further, that I had a loss of energy. When the bus was about to leave, the driver noticed that one passenger was missing...and on roll-call, who would it be but yours truly. Lucky for me, the tourist behind me remembered that I was continuing downward when he and his wife became tired and called-it-a-day. Labouring with my breathing, I barely was able to respond YES to the voice from heaven-above: "Elvira Oliver, are you down there?" The driver encouraged me to take one-step at a time, rest, and continue....and "as you rise, your breathing will get better". Gosh!, I wish I could remember the city. Perhaps somewhere in my treasure chest is the answer, or perhaps Eric Shackle will once more come to my rescue to prove I'm not making up these stories.

I have such fond memories of Christ Church and the beautiful people I met there. I would like to tell you about them; I have the will but lack energy. I will just have to wait and see, as time goes by.

The second time I used the name Concetta was in 1984 on a passport for the two trips to Italy; the first in mid-January when I was invited to vacation at the home of Filomena and Gerardo Sperduto. They were cousins from Italy who became citizens of the United States , I believe, sometime in the sixties. They had just purchased a condo in Avellino in order to vacation there and continue to be a part of the Sperduto family throughout Italy and Switzerland. I met many, many cousins...hundreds of them, previously unknown to me. I was there one month and every day was a feast day. They would call each other on the telephone (upon my arrival at one's house) and excitedly say: "Venite, venite; la Americana e qui. (Come over, come over; the Anerican is here.) I felt like I was a celebrity. In August of the same year, I was invited to be a guest at the wedding of a second-generation cousin. I found myself being transported back into my childhood and into my Italian culture. I joyfully responded to Elvira (el-vee-ra).....and each time my name flowed from the lips of my cousins, I heard the whispering voices of my Mother and Father in the breeze.

From Memories to:

Did you Know..................

Our eyes are always the same size from birth.

The brass family of instruments includes the trumpet, trombone, tuba, cornet, flugelhorn, French horn, saxhorn. and sousaphone. While they are usually made of brass today, in the past they were made of wood, horn and glass.

Five years ago: The first successful cloning of human embryo.

Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world.

Every year in the United States, 625 people are struck by lightening.

There are no poisonous snakes in Maine.

In Britain's House of Commons, the government and opposition sides of the House are separated by two red lines. The distance between the lines is two swords' lengths, a reminder of just how seriously the British used to take their politics.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

School Days - Chapter 1

Thursday, March 18, 2010.......School Days - Chapter I

One day last week, someone called me Elvera and memories of the difficulties I endured with my name , for almost forty years of my life, flashed across my mind. It started at the beginning of my school days.

I do not remember who accompanied me to Public School #11 in Brooklyn, N.Y., when I was just several months past my sixth birthday, to register me for classes. Nevertheless, whoever it was had to present my birth certificate....and the registrar at the school office depended on the information thereon. All well and good, you would say, until...during the first four days, I would refuse to go back to school after luncheon breaks. On the fourth day, my Mother had enough of this nonsense. Seeking an explanation from my brothers Alfred and Ernie, and receiving none, she could not understand the reason for my distress, particularly since I had previously expressed great joy when informed that I was going to attend school. This transpired in the kitchen behind the store. Mother then sat on a chair, took me into her arms, sat me on her lap, and with my brothers listening, persuaded me with her soothing words to tell her the cause of my distress. Sobbing, I told them that an Italian girl told the Americanos that my name meant tomato-paste, and they were laughing, taunting, and calling me "conserva"....and further to add insult to injury, that my teacher kept scolding me in the presence of 47 other pupils. "What
would she say", Mother asked. She would say: "When I call your name, you must stand-up beside your desk or raise your hand". And Mom, she never calls my name....and when I tell her that I never hear her call me, she walks away very angry. Mother realized that if the Italian girl was calling me "conserva", then the teacher was probably calling me 'Consetta', which was the anglicized way of pronouncing 'Concetta' (but in Italian pronounced con-che-ta). Mother solved the problem.

I returned to school on the fourth day after the luncheon break....and Ernie escorted me to my classroom. With me in hand, he approached my teacher at her desk, and recounted the difficulty they (Mom and brothers) had with me about returning to school for the past four days....and Mom said: "If you are calling my sister Concetta, she will not respond because she does not know that word and does not know that is her first-given name. At home, we call her Elvira (pronounced el-vee-ra). The teacher, a lovely person, apologized....and since she had never heard of the name Elvira (el-vee-ra) before, she asked Ernie "How do you spell it." His reply was "I don't know." (Ernest was ten years old and I imagine it was the first time he was asked to spell anyone's name except his own.) Then the teacher asked him to pronounce Elvira (el-vee-ra) several times and came to the conclusion that it sounded like El-vee-ta, and from there on, I was referred to as Elvita by all my school friends. Upon graduating from Grade School in January 1924, my diploma states Elvita Sperduto.

Shortly after I was attending High School, I remember sorting through some papers with my Mother, and in so doing, came across a packet of envelopes tied with a blue ribbon. Mother handed it to me and asked me to read them. They were the children's birth certificates...both civil and baptismal. I was thirteen years old and it was the first time I read that I was named Concetta Elvira Sperduto. When I questioned Mother why I was not called Concetta, for more than an hour she delivered a very impassioned story. I was also surprised to see that the correct spelling of my name was Elvira.

I thought it was high time to correct a misunderstanding, and on the very next school day, I marched into the principal's office of Girls Commercial High School and corrected the spelling of my name....from Elvita to Elvira. And when I received my high school diploma in January 1928, it was properly noted as Elvira Sperduto.

I stopped answering to Elvita, but since all the other Italian girls in the neighborhood named Elvira (el-vee-ra) anglicized their name to Elvera), I conformed and responded to Elvera , but continued to spell it correctly; that is, Elvira. Is this the end! No sireeee!

For the next 25 years, I responded to Elvera. In 1948, I became a single Mom and found that one job was not sufficient to provide for me and my three children. In order to earn more, after my nine to five workday, I hurried home to prepare for my eight pm to one am job. I became a hat-check girl in Club 28. When I applied for this second job, Mr. Lockwood (my employer)
reviewed my application. He raised his head and said: "I believe you introduced yourself as Elvera , but you signed this application as Elvira (he pronounced the 'i' as in the English alphabet). Which is it? " For my excuse, I advised him that I lived in an Italian neighborhood and that all the other Elvira's rather than pronounce it the Italian-way, decided on Elvera. He seemed annoyed with the stupidity and said: "My wife's name is Elvira...she's a beautiful Southern belle from the hills of Tennesee, a proud Swedish woman, and she pronounces her name Elvira (long 'i'). " I replied: "Mr. Lockwood, I want and need this job. You may call me anything, just give me the job." After one year, I became the Cashier. We became very good friends.

Some years later, the group of singers known as The Oak Ridge Boys wrote a song ELVIRA and pronounce it as did Mr. Lockwood, and as I do now for the past 62 years.

And now more of DID YOU KNOW, especially for my cyberspace friend:

The Bible still is the world's best selling book.

Hydroflouric acid will dissolve glass.

Soldiers arrived to fight the Battle of Marne in World War I - not on foot or by military airplane or military vehicle - but by taxi cabs. France took over all the taxi cabs in Paris to get soldiers to the front.

The human head contains 22 bones.

Men get hiccups more often than women. On average a hiccup lasts 5 minutes.

A green diamond is the rarest diamond.

The oldest inhabited city is Damascus, Syria.

A cat's jaw cannot move sideways.

Humans blink over 10,000,000 times a year.

Despite his great scientific and artistic achievements, Leonardo Da Vinci was most proud of his ability to bend iron with his bare hands.

.............Elvira Oliver

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wayne W. Dyer - PBS "Excuses Begone"

Sometime ago, to be exact on October 28, 2009, I posted "Imagination" which I copied from "Wisdom of the Ages", a book I was reading in Kent Library, written by Dr. Dyer. Today, he was on TV's Public Broadcasting Station and I watched intently the presentation he gave "Excuses Begone". I was once again mesmerized. In fact, I called several of my friends, told them "drop everything you're doing and turn on Channel 13. " I listened for more than two hours.

Wherever you are, if you are feeling lonely, depressed, feeling sorry for yourself, or whatever ails you, then I suggest you obtain this book "Excuses Begone"....and start a new life for yourself. There is a book especially for children carrying the same title which should be a must in every household.

On a different note: In the mail once a week, a small magazine is placed in our mailboxes which contains mostly classified ads. However, to fill in spaces, are little tidbits which I enjoy reading. I am ging to refer to them as "DID YOU KNOW" and will post them from time to time. although I cannot swear as to their veracity.


Peanuts are an ingredient of dynamite.

A snail can sleep for three years.

An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.

The San Francisco cable cars are the only mobile national monuments.

Dating back to the 1600's thermometers were filled with brandy instead of mercury.

Time slows down near a black hole; inside it stops completely.

Ancient Greeks and Romans believed asparagus had medicinal qualities for preventing bee stings and relieving toothaches.

Bacteria, the tiniest free-living cells, are so small that a single drop of liquid contains as many as 50 million of them

Liquid detergent is added to the beer in beer commercials to make more foam.

Before 1859, baseball umpires were seated in padded chairs behind home plate.

Until next time........Elvira