find your happy place

From our first trip together to Cancun, Mexico in 2001…

…to a recent outing 22 years later with our granddaughters at a local Mexican restaurant…

…Pretty and I have considered Mexican food to be nectar of the gods

Viva! Viva!

Find your happy place – and stick with it.

Posted in family life, Humor, Life, Personal, photography, Random, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

memory makers over Memorial Day

(l – r) Molly, Ella and Caleb

Our granddaughters sixteen-month-old Molly with three-year-old big sister Ella plus their ten-month-old first cousin Caleb had a room with a view in our Memorial Day weekend place in the mountains of the South Carolina upstate. This is their story.

Caleb, come with me, said Molly

then Ella said Caleb, don’t go with Molly – she’s a drama queen

so Caleb stayed with Ella, and Molly sat by herself

I’ve got my baby and my guard dog Carl, Molly said

Carl and I can hang out with Naynay


I went for a walk with my Aunt Darlene, said Ella…

I petted a baby goat at the Farmer’s Market…

I had s’mores around a big campfire while Molly and Nana talked

Mama and Daddy were all smiles when we went to dinner


and then every night Naynay and I were so tired we went fast asleep

while Nana read her book

The End


Slava Ukraini. For the children.

Posted in family life, Humor, Life, Personal, photography, Random, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , | 8 Comments

I will be missing you, Tina Turner

Every time I think of you
I always catch my breath
And I’m still standing here, and you’re miles away
And I’m wondering why you left
And there’s a storm that’s raging
Through my frozen heart tonight
I hear your name in certain circles
And it always makes me smile
I spend my time thinking about you
And it’s almost driving me wild
And there’s a heart that’s breaking

Down this long distance line tonight
I ain’t missing you at all
Since you’ve been gone away
I ain’t missing you

No matter what I might say
There’s a message in the wire
And I’m sending you the signal tonight
You don’t know how desperate I’ve become
And it looks like I’m losing this fight
In your world I have no meaning
Though I’m tryin’ hard to understand
And it’s my heart that’s breaking

Down this long distance line tonight
I ain’t missing you at all
Since you’ve been gone away
I ain’t missing you

No matter what my friends say
And there’s a message that I’m sending out
Via telegraph to your soul
And if I can’t bridge this distance

Stop this heartbreak overload
I ain’t missing you at all
Since you’ve been gone away
I ain’t missing you
No matter what my friends say
I ain’t missing you, I ain’t missing you

I can’t lie to myself
And there’s a storm that’s raging
Through my frozen heart tonight
I ain’t missing you at all
I ain’t missing you, missing you
I ain’t missing you, no, no
I ain’t missing you
I ain’t missing you, I ain’t missing you
I ain’t missing you, I ain’t missing you
I ain’t missing you, I ain’t missing you
Every time I think of you
I always catch my breath

These lyrics written in 1984 by John Waite became a #1 hit on Billboard’s Album Rock Tracks, then covered by other artists through the years until it reached Tina Turner’s Wildest Dreams album and tour in 1996 where it found a home in the hearts of millions of Turner’s fans – including mine.

From the Spring Hills Baptist Church choir in Nutbush, Tennessee as a child of the late 1940s to concert halls around the globe that set ticketed attendance records including her largest venue with more than 180,000 fans in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1988 Turner entertained and amazed millions of people for nearly six decades with her raspy voice, high energy, sexy self. Her ability to overcome, to survive and thrive in a man’s music world were an inspiration to everyone that knew her story.

Thank goodness for YouTube videos of Tina Turner who has often been referred to as the Queen of Rock and Roll – I watched my favorite, the Amsterdam concert, through tears when I heard she had left the building.

Every time I think of you, I always catch my breath…this week I spent my time thinking of you, and it’s my heart that’s breaking.

RIP, Tina Turner. I will be missing you.

Posted in Life, Personal, Random, Reflections, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Calling All Lesbians – Time to Speak Out!

My most recent interview with Dianne Barrett for the B-E Collection is now available on the website under Coming Out stories. I think it’s probably my best of the three I’ve had with her. Certainly my most relaxed. If you or someone you know should be included, please help spread the word.

The B-E Collection Mission Statement

My spouse, Margaret Elfering, and myself, in conjunction with archives such as the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives and the Gerth Archives and Special Collection at California State University Dominguez Hills, will contribute an ongoing series of interviews of lesbians and their careers.  The collection will be known as the B-E Collection: Lesbians and Their Careers.

The “B-E” of the collection is a shorthand for our last names (Barrett – Elfering).  However, there is a second meaning to our collection’s name:   the verb “be” is also defined as “to exist” or “to occur or take place”.  Our collection is a means of bearing witness to the stories of lesbians of different generations, from different walks of life.

The mission of this collection is to dignify the accomplishments, pride, and effort lesbians put forth in their careers on their journey in life.  We make oral histories to document our existence then and now.  Many of us had the “don’t talk – say nothing – you are wrong” experience.  Now we are talking.

We would appreciate a referral of lesbians who might be interested in participating in our project.  We would be more than delighted to speak with anyone who you think would be interested in participating in the B-E Collection.

Your support is always a gift.

Dianne Barrett

Please check out this important project and consider adding your stories at the following address:

Won’t you please contact Dianne to add your voice – every story is important, and it’s so simple: a zoom call that’s less than an hour, at your convenience. The project has been expanded to include stories on additional topics.

Bring it, sisters. Tell your Coming Out stories to someone who will not only appreciate but also preserve them.


P.S. I also want to say a huge personal thank you to Barbara Embick for her participation in this important project.

Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Random, Reflections, Slice of Life | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Nana, is your birthday over yet?

Yes, Nana a/k/a Pretty had a birthday party on her birthday Sunday, May 21st. at Drew and Caroline’s house where she had the best time! Three-year-old Ella and sixteen-month-old Molly love a birthday party, too so they had almost as much fun as their Nana did. Caroline’s twin sister Chloe and her husband Seth brought nine-month-old Caleb to add to the festivities; Naynay (me) was the official photographer. Viewer discretion is advised!

Nana holds Caleb while Ella explains a birthday gift beside her

Molly said you’re my Nana, hold me

Yummy! Yummy! Yummy!

Nana needed help opening her gifts

Nana and Ella danced to the music Uncle Seth had Alexa play:

the Beatles singing When I’m 64 (which is Nana’s birthday next year)

Daddy and Mama brought cake while everyone sang Happy Birthday!

Molly was her happiest when birthday cake was served

(Ella prefers the icing just like her Nana)

This is my cousin Caleb

he’s a boy

Uncle Seth brough a picture of his great-great grandmother

(she walked the Trail of Tears from North Carolina to Texas – fascinating)

Late in the afternoon when the table was cleared, music stopped, cake had gone to overload mode, Ella asked “Nana, is your birthday over?”

Nana said, “Almost – it will be over when you go to sleep tonight and wake up tomorrow morning, but thank you for my wonderful party!”

Tomorrow became today, and Nana’s birthday was over so she woke up early to go to work in her antique empire, but will she forget her birthday party…not anytime soon. Maybe she will carry these memories all the way until next year “When She’s 64.”

I have been blessed to share Pretty’s birthdays for twenty-two years, but even more I share her values, world view, love of family, kindness, sorrows, and joys every day. Our family has grown over the years, thanks to Drew and Caroline – the new additions have been a bonus I never expected – they are the true icing on our cake.


Slava Ukraini. Remember the children there and at our own borders. Bless them.

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Prologue to I’ll Call It Like I See It Revisited

The house that occupied the address at 1021 Timber Lane was an unremarkable story-and-a-half red brick structure with a bay window on the lower floor that jutted out toward the narrow concrete walkway leading from the front door to the driveway of the two-car garage facing the street. The first time I saw it in 1964, however, it reminded me of pictures I’d seen of English Tudor country homes with its dormered roof and cedar shutters, and I couldn’t imagine how it came to rest on a cement slab in Rosenberg, Texas. My schoolteacher parents took me to see the house initially when I came home to visit them for Christmas break of my freshman year at The University of Texas in Austin before they purchased the place the following spring. They were like happy, almost giddy children with a new toy and while I shared their excitement of finally having a home that belonged to our immediate family after eighteen years of rental houses and living with my mother’s mother, I was more interested in college life and the girls in Blanton Dormitory at school than I was in a house in a town I had never lived in.

            The women whose lives intersected with mine in that house on Timber Lane deeply impacted the person I am almost fifty years later. My grandmothers, my dad’s sister, my girlfriends, my mother, and her best friend who took care of our home and family through the Timber Lane years and beyond – all of these women walked the rooms of that house with me at some point in the time my parents called it home, and all of them loved me and supported me to the best of their abilities even though I was an absentee family member for over forty years except for random brief visits. Life is about choices, and I chose to leave the safety net of this house on the concrete slab and the family it owned to seek my happiness in other houses with other women in faraway places.

            I live in two houses in two states today and label myself a bi-state-ual. One of the houses is in Texas again where I care for my aging mother who has Alzheimer’s disease and barely recognizes me now. The other is a thousand miles away in South Carolina where I’ve lived my entire adult life. Recently I’ve realized we never really own our homes even though we hold a title to them. We’re really passing through on a journey from here to there. I haven’t quite made it to “there” yet, but I’m getting closer… and have earned the right to call it like I see it.

The Prologue to my book I’ll Call It Like I See It published in 2012 intimated that the upheaval in my life wasn’t limited to expected college adjustments during the  summer of 1964. I graduated from high school on a Friday; my parents drove me from Brazoria to Austin for summer school the following week. Neither of them said one word to me on that three-hour drive about my dad’s accepting a position in school administration at Lamar CISD in Rosenberg, a Houston suburb forty-three miles north of Brazoria. I learned of the move two weeks later when I called them to say I had a ride home from UT with a friend from high school, only to be told by my dad oh by the way, we don’t live in Brazoria anymore. We’ve moved to Rosenberg. We’ll pick you up in nearby Needville. Wow. So much for open family channels of communication.

I started college – they moved to another rental house in a different town in the same breath. I was shocked and felt deceived, selfishly wondering how I would keep in contact with my friends from the five years we lived in Brazoria. I realized in the coming days that would be impossible – Rosenberg wasn’t home, and my friends had moved on, too, to different colleges or jobs or marriages or joining the military or staying at home with parents. When I saw our new place that first weekend I came “home,” the move didn’t strike me as upwardly mobile. Six months later, however, during my first Christmas break I understood what changing positions must have meant to both my dad and my mother financially. They had achieved the American dream after nineteen years of marriage. Finally, two people who had devoted their lives to public schools were able to have that elusive title to their own house.

I gradually got over myself and learned to like the Timber Lane house through the years, but it never felt like home to me. Instead, I subconsciously transferred those feelings of “home” from a house with my parents in an unfamiliar town to familiar houses I knew in Richards where I grew up, the place where my grandparents remained…they were my unchanging anchors when my world felt like a carousel ride where the ticket price changed before the music stopped.


I’ve had fun “revisiting” my earlier works – I hope you’re enjoying the virtual books tour.

Posted in family life, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Random, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Economics 101 Revisited

Registration for summer school at The University of Texas at Austin in June 1964, was held in the massive gymnasium on the south side of the campus. Large signs indicating course titles hung above long rows of tables staffed by professors who taught in the summer to make extra money. Students pushed and shoved and elbowed each other as they maneuvered for enrollment in classes they needed. To say that pandemonium reigned was an understatement.

            I was eighteen years old, and I was overwhelmed.

            My first-grade class in Richards, Texas, in the piney woods of Grimes County, had ten students. We shared a classroom with eight second graders and one teacher. Our school was a two-story red brick building with the first eight grades on the lower floor and the high school on the second floor.

            When we moved to Brazoria, Texas, my eighth-grade class had forty-five students in two home rooms. By the time I graduated in May of 1964, my senior class at the West Columbia – Brazoria Consolidated Independent School District had ninety-two members. I was the valedictorian by a thin margin over Judy Keitel, so I had reason to believe that I was bright.

            The scene before me as I gazed around the gym that first college registration day planted seeds of doubt. I was intimidated. This school had approximately nineteen thousand students, and several thousand were jostling for positions in classes for the first semester of summer school. A few of the girls on my hall in the dormitory had gone together, but I had opted to tackle this hurdle alone.

            I began to see a few problems. First, I had no major. This placed me in the category of “Undecided.”  All unfortunate “undecideds” automatically were assigned to the College of Arts and Sciences to be advised by one of their professors. I took my place at the end of the longest line. Evidently, many of us were up in the air when it came to academics.

            When I finally reached the front of the line, a young man with a bald spot at the top of his skull and thick eyeglasses spoke to me without raising his head to look at me directly.

            “Do you know what you need to take this summer?” he asked. He looked around me to see how many people were behind me.

            “No,” I said. “I’m undecided.”

            That appeared to irritate him.

            “Of course, you are undecided. That’s why you’re in this line.” He paused and looked again at the line behind me. “Let’s see. You’ll need a foreign language regardless of your major. I think you should take German 101 for your first class. That happens to be a class I personally teach,” he added.

            German 101? I had a panic attack. Was he joking?

            “Uh, I really wasn’t thinking about taking German,” I said. “I had Spanish for two years in high school. Maybe I could try that?”

            “No, definitely not,” he said. “Spanish isn’t offered in summer school. Let’s go ahead and sign you up for German. I need your name and social security number.”

            This isn’t going well, I thought. I had a moment of clarity.

            “Is there any college that doesn’t require a foreign language?” I asked.

            He sighed heavily and nodded. “Just one,” he said. “College of Business Administration. But, you must have a major to enroll in their classes, and you are undecided.”

            The boy behind me groaned. He tapped me on my shoulder and pointed to some signs three rows over. “Those are the courses for Business Admin.”

            The first one alphabetically was Accounting. I liked bookkeeping in high school. Hm.

            “I’m majoring in Accounting,” I said to the German professor. For the first time, he looked at me. He shook his head in disbelief and waved me away. I crossed a vast chasm and took my place in a much shorter line with other students who knew where they wanted to go and suspected money was the key to getting there.

This story was the first one in my second memoir Not Quite the Same published in 2009. Part One of that book, Leaving Home, explored the initial tentative steps I made to pursue a college degree that had been my goal since I was old enough to understand the concept of higher education explained by my parents who were the first generation of college graduates in their respective families. In our house there was no discussion about whether I would go to college – the big mystery was where and how to pay for it.

Nearly fifty years later in 2023 I can still feel the sense of being a very small fish in the very large pond that was college registration for summer school at the University of Texas in June of 1964. I marvel at the random nature of that choice to major in accounting because I didn’t want to take German with the young man trying to fill his classes. The destination of the College of Business Administration three rows over shaped my career for the next forty years. While the story makes me laugh, I admire the courage of that eighteen-year-old girl who stepped out of the “undecided” line.

Economics 101 was a requirement for my newfound degree plan, and I signed up for it that first semester of summer school. I was excited to see that Dr. Thompson, the Chair of the Economics Department, and the author of our textbook, would be my instructor. (I learned later to avoid at all costs classes taught by the author of the textbooks.) I was stunned to see that my classroom was shaped like an amphitheater with more seats (500) than the population (440) of my hometown. We were seated alphabetically, and our attendance was checked by a graduate assistant.

            Dr. Thompson would stride in with an imperious air, move to the podium and take out his lecture notes. He was a small older man with a receding hairline and pointed facial features. His voice had a high pitch and unpleasant tone. When he read his notes, he peered over rimless eyeglasses. He looked like a caricature of himself.

             His graduate assistant would nod to indicate when he was finished with taking attendance and then take his place on the front row at the feet of his master. I halfway expected him to bark.

            I always arrived early for the class and began a conversation with a young man seated to my left, Mr. Morehead. He begged me to call him by his first name, but I assured him that I had been taught to call people “Mr.” or “Mrs.” out of respect. And, I added, Mr. Morehead was a Yale man, and for me that denoted utmost respect.

            “But I’m here because I flunked this class at Yale,” he said. “And we’re almost the same age. You must call me by my first name. I insist. Besides, you got an A on the midterm. I got a C.”

            He had me there, I thought. I was feeling cocky about that.

            The lectures were boring, and I missed the class participation of my smaller high school classes. I felt class participation was necessary to bond with my teachers. It was a classic strategy that served me well in the past.

             Everyone wrote furiously while Dr. Thompson spoke, but his presentations reminded me more of church sermons than school instruction. His questions were always rhetorical. One day, I decided to help him improve his teaching style. I raised my hand to answer. He seemed to sense something out of the ordinary and stopped.

            “Dr. Thompson,” I said with my hand still in the air.

             Pencils stopped in midair. Sleepy eyes popped open. Heads snapped to attention. The room grew deadly silent.

            Dr. Thompson frowned. He lifted his head, too, and surveyed the room. Either he was blind, or he chose to ignore my raised hand. He gestured to his graduate assistant.

            “Who is seated in chair number 228?” he asked.

            “Uh, I think it is Miss Morris. Uh, yes, it is Miss Sheila Morris,” the assistant replied with a nervous twitch.

            Dr. Thompson removed his glasses and set them on the podium. He squinted at me.

            “Miss Morris,” he said slowly, drawing out each syllable. “Where are you from?”

            This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind for teacher improvement, but I had gone too far. As Molly Ivins would later say, “The first rule of holes: when you’re in one, stop digging.”

            “I’m from Brazoria, Texas, sir,” I said, and lowered my hand.

            Mr. Morehead was nudging my leg with his foot. His expression was one of pure horror. This had been a mistake.

            “Bra-zori-a, Texas,” Dr. Thompson said. Again, he pronounced each syllable distinctly.

            I felt sick.

            “I am curious about the educational system of rural Texas,” he continued. “Curious, and perplexed. Whatever possessed you to speak to me today?”

            “I thought you might want an answer to your question,” I said faintly.

            “And you presumed to know that answer?” he asked. “Well, we are all waiting on pins and needles for your thoughts. Please.”

            I knew for sure that he didn’t want the answer, and by this time I didn’t even remember the question. So, I said nothing. I wanted to die.

            He waited for an eternity before he spoke again.

            “I see,” he said. He picked up his glasses and put them on. He looked at me with a snarl. “Since you are so eager to answer questions, I will make sure to ask you one from the readings every time this class meets for the remainder of the semester. I expect you to have the correct response. Do you understand, Miss Morris?”

            “Yes, sir,” I said. It was way past time to stop digging.

            I kept my A in Dr. Thompson’s class, and Mr. Morehead, whose first name I never knew, returned to Yale, never to be seen again. I memorized much in the three years I was successfully enrolled in college, but what I learned wasn’t in a textbook or classroom. I was a good student, and that created wonderful opportunities for me following graduation, but I was plagued with a fear of exposure of my personal life. Dorm life was exhilarating because I was surrounded with female sexual energy. Yet, that same closeness threatened me.

             By the time I graduated with my degree in accounting, I had fallen in love with two sisters from Dallas and been rejected by both. I roamed the halls of my dormitory in the wee morning hours and stood many times outside locked doors with no courage to knock. I would turn away and try to concentrate harder on my studies.

             My mind was filled with facts and figures, but my heart couldn’t compute. At least, I wasn’t trying to calculate in German.

This incident lives on in infamy in my memories to this day as I read it again fifteen years after I wrote about it in Not Quite the Same. Truly one of the most embarrassing moments in my life – whatever possessed me to raise my hand in a college lecture that first summer? I have no clue except that when my high school teachers asked a question in class, they looked favorably on students who attempted to answer. Mr. Morehead was kind to me that summer, and I was naïve about what transferring to UT from an Ivy League college to take economics meant. To me back then, Yale represented academic exclusivity at the highest level, regardless of his C in Econ 101. He had to be brilliant.


What we had in Econ 101 in 1964 was a failure to communicate.

Posted in family life, Humor, Life, Personal, Random, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Epilogue For Deep in the Heart Revisited

I find it almost as difficult to leave Richards at age sixty as I did when I was thirteen. The family and friends of that small town live in vivid memories that come easier to me than what I had for lunch yesterday. Alas, I realized in writing these stories that I am now the age my grandparents were when I left Richards. And I know, for sure, that they were old. I never returned to live in Richards, but my dad was true to his word, and we visited there frequently after we moved away. When I got my first car in college, Richards was my number-one destination. And so, it has remained for the rest of my life. Now though, when I visit, my first stop is Fairview Cemetery, the beautiful resting place for almost all the family and friends in this book. The setting is a hill overlooking rolling pastures, with cattle grazing nearby. Each time I visit I hear the voices of my childhood and am grateful for that time and place and those loved ones. And often I hear, echoed across the years: “Sheila Rae, it’s getting late. You better come in before it gets too dark.”

 For my birthday in April this year, my friend Meghan gave me a reading with an oracle who felt I needed to return to my earlier writings, read them again, and try to determine whether they still say what I want to say. Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing was published in 2007 when I was sixty-one years old. Much has changed in the past sixteen years.

The book is a collection of stories about coming of age during the mid twentieth century in a small town called Richards located in rural Grimes county in southeast Texas – the stories of a young girl who could identify her feelings of being different without being able to name them, a little girl who loved her dysfunctional family that treasured its Texas heritage. My dad whom I adored was famous for declaring you can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the girl when I moved three thousand miles away to Seattle as a young adult. A subsequent move to South Carolina several years later brought me closer to Texas but still a thousand miles from home.

While I have made my home in South Carolina for the past fifty years, I continued to cling to my Texas roots with a brief actual reconnection to them from 2010 – 2014 when my wife Teresa and I bought a home in Montgomery to help with my mother’s care. My mother had severe dementia, a condition that required placing her in a Memory Care Unit of an assisted living facility in Houston. Montgomery was eighteen miles south of Richards so in a very real sense I finally did go home again.

During that four-year sabbatical we purchased our own headstone in the Fairview Cemetery I mentioned in my Epilogue; I had it placed below my mother and father’s stone in our section of the cemetery that holds the dust and ashes of family and friends. I refused to leave deep in the heart of Texas with Fairview’s overlook of rolling pastures and cattle grazing nearby.

Sadly, Texas in 2023 is now the single villain capable of taking Texas out of me. The culture of gun violence within the state that provides opportunities for daily shootings, mass murders, bluebonnets replaced by the red blood flowing in the killing fields across the state, politicians who are dependent on revenues from gun shows, the unhumanitarian crisis at the border with Mexico as immigrants from around the globe seek asylum in America – all conspire to drown out the voices of my childhood described in this first memoir.  It’s getting later, and I’m afraid of the call to come in from the dark that once was a sweet melody but now has an ominous refrain.


For the children.

Posted in death, family life, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, Random, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

and then there were these Mother’s Day Moments in 2023

Number One Son Drew and Pretty Too Caroline along with their daughters Ella and Molly treated Pretty a/k/a Nana and me a/k/a Naynay to a Mother’s Day brunch Saturday at the Luzianna Purchase restaurant in Irmo, the second year in a row we have had that family fun there. Hm. I think I smelled tradition when we were eating, but possibly that was the aroma of the best French toast I ever had. Everyone enjoyed the food – I sat next to fifteen month old Molly whose little teeth allow her to taste whatever looks inviting which, for her at this moment, is everything.

Naynay, can I please try your French toast?

Three and a half year old Ella lost interest in our conversations but never loses interest in her Nana’s phone. Endless entertainment for her although her parents, ahem, prefer limited cell phone viewing. Honestly, where does that child get her phone obsession, Nana and Naynay?

Ella took this photo of her mother using Nana’s phone

At some point during brunch, Ella asked us if she could come to our house when we finished eating. Of course, the answer was yes so she came home with us for the afternoon. The energy level picked up steam when the tornado that is our granddaughter mixed with our barking dogs who announce but try to ignore her presence. Although the afternoon sun was warm with temperatures in the mid 80s, the pool was still too cold for jumping in so Ella had to settle for playing with her toys which we have had on our screen porch for her (and now Molly) for the past three years.

The girls have tons of toys at their house, but when they come to our screen porch they make their own outdoor games with empty pill bottles, bandaid boxes, a tennis ball, homemade wooden car, a green frog that once croaked but the squeaker gave up, and a box of cards that can be admired but too difficult to open. Ella created elaborate stories while she filled the pill bottles with pool water from the shallow steps to make “pretend” sodas for us while we kept watch. She also was happy to carry cold water bottles and peanut butter crackers to the two men who were working on replacing the wood on our deck. Busy, busy, busy.

I told her we were so happy to have her visits but I was afraid there’d come a time when she would have her own friends to play with and she wouldn’t be interested in visiting her Nana and Naynay. She looked at me and said with all sincerity, “When I get bigger I’ll have my own car and can drive to see you.” End of story…

By far the highlight of Ella’s time with us was when Nana took her to the front yard and let her run back and forth through the sprinkler before we loaded her into the car for the trip to take her home. She loves water as much as Pretty does, and she squealed with laughter, with delight, with the pleasure of getting soaked and announced this was her best time ever and didn’t I just love what she was doing?

Of course, I said yes.

our beautiful Mother’s Day gift from the kids

Pretty and I appreciate our family time and understand how fortunate we are to love and be loved by them. We also know Mother’s Day can be a reminder of loss for other mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers – losses that leave vacuums in our hearts. I remember a hymn that went something like now the day is over, night is drawing nigh, shadows of the evening steal across the sky. For this one day let the shadows bring us comfort and peace with the possibility of love to fill the vacuums.


Slava Ukraini. For the mothers and their children.

Posted in family life, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, Random, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

making fudge with my mother

Upon the suggestion of an astrologer I met for the first time this last week as a birthday gift from my friend Meghan, I began to re-read my memoirs beginning with the first one published in 2007. Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing was described by author and poet Ed Madden as a story of what life was for a little butch tomboy growing up behind the Pine Curtain of East Texas in the mid-twentieth century. I still like this little girl I wrote about in 2007, and I adore my maternal grandmother Dude as well as my paternal grandmother Ma today as I did then. Fifteen years later I feel more loving toward my mother the fudge maker – perhaps the result of sharing the last four years of her life as she struggled with dementia from 2008 – 2012. The difficulties in the relationships between mothers and daughters are universal, although they may hopefully be set aside at least once a year on Mother’s Day.


Slava Ukraini. For the mothers.

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Random, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments