Big News This Month
After dozens of rejection letters since I started trying to have poetry published last spring, one of my poems was finally accepted by a small online publication called, oddly enough, Spank the Carp. Don’t let the name put you off. Lots of writing publications have odd names, sort of like Rock Bands. Anyway, they finally published it this week and I am proud. Here it is. It is best viewed on your laptop as it is a shaped poem and the layout is part of the artistry. You can see it better at the publication’s website link below the poem.
The Marriage House A boy in red cap rides his bike to the baseball field flips upside down for the girl who has answers to all the questions in chemistry class. they marry and ride home with a string of trout caught at Uncle Gus's pond hanging downside up like flags from the back of the bike to build a house together. He brings white pine trees, cozies up to a local watering hole, rides a clever motorized bicycle (which he pedals furiously when a car goes by). She contributes a bright green and bitter lime marmalade, her grandmother's silverware and the sure path to salvation. They both hammer and nail the thing together He fusses about construction, she slap dashes everything, but the upside is they start building His beaten up stuffed donkey, her London Fog raincoat, his clam shaped boat, her Steinway grand persona his mother's perfect chicken her father's terrifying judgments. For the downside of lumber they use his lies, her violence, his avoidance, her arrogance. Reload the secret fears they vomit up at night for nails. The house grows. No one notices as termites tear their way up from the worried foundation, casually chew through coffee cups thrown, decisions smashed boxed up feelings in wine glasses and butter dishes stashed away for future use Holes turn into caverns and unsure floors, lower levels eaten into l a c e. One day walking up the steps she plunges through rotten cotton batting and dead bugs, falls down into an unexpected cavity filled with his steeled feelings and pretend promises. He finds a place at the other end of the basement with her abandoned playthings-- desires, plans, sincerities wrapped up in little boxes with bright paper. They ask what else is hidden here?
Jean’s in the Kitchen
My adventures making and selling food
“I am very excited about my upcoming cooking memoir with recipes”
It began in the sandpile, progressed to a Sunday Dinner catering with my sister. I learned to cook with many women and a few men. Christmas cookies, turkeys for thanksgiving, clam pies for a restaurant, and so many weddings. It was such fun to put this book together. I hope you enjoy it.
Cooking Began in my Imagination
The Lily Wallace New American Cook Book
Our household was not at all like the ones pictured in the cookbook. To begin with, my mother was not dressed up all pretty. She usually didn’t wear dresses or makeup or care about her wardrobe. If there was a special occasion she would rush around and find a dress to wear but that was rare.
She likely wore dresses when I was very young but as soon as the idea of women wearing ”trousers” became acceptable, she was in them, though my father did not approve. They were so much more practical for living in the woods where we lived. She was chasing children around, doing the washing in a wringer washing machine, cooking, cleaning. She did not wear frilly dresses with aprons.
Our house was not ready for a photo shoot either. It was very small with all the necessary stuff crowded into 2 rooms. Gail and I and our toys filled in the cracks. So, I imagined nice rooms in a big house with fancy foods on platters, garnished like they showed in the book.
Dear Milly is my parents’ love story. I know many people have similar ones. When I was finally old enough to be given the privilege of reading the letters my parents had written to each other when they were newly in love during my father’s service in the US Navy in World War II, I wanted to write a book about the relationship that they developed. I wanted to talk about it’s beginning in Alaska and Philadelphia, PA, Pleasantville, New Gretna and Galloway, New Jersey. I wanted to add a bit about the future generations that have sprung from it. It is partly a typical story and partly a very special one. I know my mother loved the story and read it over and over in the last two years of her life. If it is poorly formatted and rushed at the end, it was because I dearly wanted to finish it in time for her to enjoy.
The story begins with Ted’s father running off to pan for gold in the Alaskan Gold Rush. It follows his life after he heads back to New Jersey, marries Susanna and starts a family, losing everything in The Great Depression, rebuilding his life and raising his three children. Then there is Minnie Mathis and Fred Shropshire who raise five children in the country through these same bleak times. Mildred Ethel is the second child. When Ted is a high school student in Pleasantville, New Jersey, he leaves school and enrolls in the United States Navy at seventeen to help the World War II effort.
Milly is training as a Cadet Nurse at England General Hospital in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Home on leave and visiting his mother in the hospital, Ted finds his mother anxious to fix her son up with the lovely woman who has been her nurse. The two meet and almost immediately fall in love and begin writing letters the next day. Milly treasures these letters and saves them up in a shoe box tied with pink ribbon. They develop a close relationship after only a few brief visits and continue writing letters as Ted is sent overseas. Meanwhile, the war ends, and the couple is anxious to be together again, though Ted is busy in the Marshall Islands cleaning up after the war, awaiting discharge. The letters continue.
Then Ted comes home to give his love a ring and finally be together with her. But first, Ted and Milly need to get to know each other in real life. After a tumultuous year, they marry and begin a family together. This is the story of that family through good times and bad, and of the love that they held for each other “’til the end of time.”
The purchase a copy of Dear Milly, visit amazon.com.
Mildred Ethel Felsberg 1926-2021
Milly died four days short of her 95th birthday. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her but especially by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.