In our daily journey through life we encounter many challenges. There are battles to win, fears to face and defeats to accept. There are days that we feel so alone and unprotected we may think there is no point to our struggle. But if we take the time to count our blessings we may realize just how lucky we are and how much of what life has to offer is ours for the taking. We can either drown in the storm or look forward to the rainbow.
This is the time of the year when we should stop, look and listen so we can appreciate all that is good in our lives.
Living in a small city in Cuba in the 1950’s a telephone was a commodity and not so easily obtained. I am not sure what the protocol was, and perhaps my parents did not rush to get one, but I remember there was a waiting list. There was a cigar and stationery store (King Kong) a few doors down and people trying to reach my father (who was a physician) would call that store and the owner or one of his clerks would come and get my father. I do believe that the news of my birth reached the neighborhood via that phone.
I remember the magic day when we finally got our very own phone. We were so excited to finally get it even if it was a party line. There was still another waiting list for a private line. The magic number was 9691 and it served our household, my father’s office and my mother’s beauty shop. Every time it rang my brothers, my sister and I would rush to answer – it became a contest. Needless to say, the novelty eventually wore off and it would take a few rings before anyone answered hoping somebody else would. Finally we got our own private number – 2169.
There have been many telephones and telephone numbers in my life since then. I do not keep up with the latest trends, but I do own a cell phone even if by now it is considered an antique. But no matter what magic technology will bring in the future, it could never live up to the excitement that 9691 brought to me.
Old age is not so bad when you consider the alternative. – Maurice Chevalier
I wonder if when I was a young girl dreaming of what life would bring and not focusing in what I could bring to my life, old ladies would look at me wishing they could tell me not to waste opportunities. Perhaps they wanted to tell me to take care of myself and the importance of flossing, taking my make-up off before going to bed, exercising, nutrition, getting proper rest, etc. , not for the sake of my appearance, but because it would contribute to a healthier and more vital old age. Also, not to worry so much about my looks and concentrate instead on inner beauty which is the one that lasts and may even increase as you grow older. Not that I would have listened then or that I heed this advice today.
In my not so wise old age I wish I could pass this knowledge on to young girls. I do not envy them their youth, I would not want to go through that again. I have made a lot of mistakes, fought a lot of unnecessary battles and dealt with countless insecurities. I still struggle, but after years of drowning in self-doubt, I’ve come to accept who I am. There is a lot of work left to do. Perhaps at the end of my life I may even learn to like myself.
Sixty-four seemed so very far away when this song came out. Now I’ve been there and out.
Taking time to enjoy some musical thanks –
“Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged” (Matthew 7:1)
I have very definite beliefs and opinions that I have acquired during the course of my life. I don’t have the need to prove to anyone their veracity; they are very real and true to me. Sixty five years of living with all the ups and downs, sufferings and joys along the way have led me to where I am. At this particular time in my life I am at peace with myself.
The immediate communication through technology available today is truly amazing. I appreciate being able to reach out to friends and family so quickly. The days when letter writing or expensive phone calls were the only way to communicate with our loved ones far away were difficult. Technology has made instant communication possible. It has also made anonymous insults thrive.
It pains me to see name calling and insults so freely posted with no regard as to whom they may hurt. Each person’s life experience is unique, even within the same family. It is impossible to judge them unless you become them. Since that could never happen, don’t jump to conclusions and assume that because someone doesn’t share your views, they are stupid and have no right to express theirs. It is possible to share our thoughts and experiences if we only listen without prejudice and without anticipating our brilliant response while the other person is talking.
Am I ever guilty of thinking that I know better than those with opposing points of view? You bet! But it is not necessary or fair to belittle them – they have walked a different path. Before posting something it is wise to consider other people’s feelings lest we offend someone dear to us. It is a struggle, but neither side on any issue has the right to insult the other.
It doesn’t seem possible, but it has been twenty years since my brother Wichy died. Memories of two scary moments when he was in his teens came to my mind a few days ago. I was not even thinking about the upcoming anniversary of his death.
When he was 14 years old while riding a friend’s bike, he was hit by a speeding car. The driver of the car was the chauffeur of a prominent government official. He was in a rush to get some medication for his boss’ daughter. Wichy was thrown up in the air, bouncing off the hood of the car onto the pavement. The friction with the pavement completely burned off the back of his shirt and undershirt.
When my parents got the phone call telling them about the accident they did not know what his condition was. My father, my mother (with rollers in her hair) rushed to the hospital accompanied by Alodia, a very dear friend, neighbor and stylist at my mother’s beauty shop. Alodia told us later that my father’s face was white as a ghost as he drove hanging tightly to the steering wheel and my mother frantically pulled the rollers off her hair.
Luckily he had only minor injuries. The days spent at the hospital became a social event. He was very popular and had numerous visitors. One of the nurses told us that the waiting room was packed right before visiting hours. When she announced that visiting hours had begun she expected people to go visit different patients and was amazed when she saw the whole group march into my brother’s room.
There was a dent in the hood of the car and his friends teased him saying the dent was made by his nose. Wichy had a lovely, generous nose.
I don’t really remember which incident happened first, but around the same time while he was away at boarding school, we had another scare. The phone rang and my mother answered. It was a call from a funeral home in Havana – she heard someone in the background asking “How many bodies do we have?” and just then the call disconnected. That day Wichy was scheduled to go into the city on a field trip. My mother could only think that something had happened to him. Immediately rosaries came out and my mother, praying and crying, kept pacing through the whole house on her knees. I am not sure how long it took before the call came through again, but it seemed like an eternity. When we finally got the call it was to inform us of the death of my father’s cousin’s mother in law. The poor lady was in her eighties and senile. I felt guilty that the news gave us such a relief.
My mother outlived Wichy who died before his 48th birthday.
REST IN PEACE MY DEAR BROTHER!