Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
October 29th, 2010


Ennui has set in. I attribute it to the medication for my vertigo which makes me sleepy. But I’ve read three really, really good books in the past couple of weeks and can’t in good conscience not post a little something about them. The writing in each is extraordinary.

So, first:


This is a book about the Viet Nam War and it is fiction, but so real you can taste and feel it.   O’Brien at the age of 22 was drafted into the infantry and served a year in Viet Nam. He came home, went to Harvard, and launched a writing career. As he says, “a long time ago I walked through Quang Ngai Province as a foot solder. Almost everything else is invented.” Then he explains why story-truth is sometimes better than happening-truth.

Here is the happening-truth. I was once a soldier. There were many bodies, real bodies with real faces, but I was young then and I was afraid to look. And now, twenty years later, I am left with faceless responsibility and faceless grief.

Here is the story-truth. He was a slim, dead, almost dainty young man of about twenty. He lay in the center of a red clay trail near the village of My Khe. His jaw was in his throat. His one eye was shut, the other was a star-shaped hole. I killed him.

HURRY DOWN SUNSHINE by Michael Greenberg.

The first line reads:   “On July 5, 1996, my daughter was struck mad. She was fifteen and her crack-up marked a turning point in both our lives.” You cannot help but wonder what happens next when someone near and dear to you is struck mad. The story is told as it is happening, the onset,the symptoms, the diagnosis, the hospitalization, the treatment, the return home. At one point Greenberg takes a full dose of his daughter’s medication and we see clearly how potent a drug must be to treat a psychosis.

FATHER JOE: The Man Who Saved My Soul, by Tony Hendra

Tony Hendra, English comedian, satirist, writer for the National Lampoon, as a teenage boy wanted to become a Benedictine monk. This is the story of a lad aspiring to the simple, holy life, who became an blasphemous agnostic to whom nothing was sacred. He is a word-smith and has a delicious way with words. I remember the writer each morning at Mass when I look at the sanctuary light which according to Hendra, says, “Jesus is……IN!”   I was also impressed by the impact it had on the teenage Tony when he realized that Jesus had actually lived and walked  on earth if not “in the here and now, in the there and then.”

These books are not Catholic or even Christian. The language, especially in the war stories,  is vulgar (of course) but these authors are top-notch storytellers  and each book  is worth the time it will take you to read it.   You want insight?   You get insight!

I would have linked the books to their pages on Amazon but perhaps the affiliation of my website with Amazon has expired for lack of use.  They are there and cheap.  Treat yourself.

October 29th, 2010


With thanks to Don:

They like to refer to us as senior citizens, old fogies, geezers, and in some cases dinosaurs.  Some of us are “baby boomers” getting ready to retire.  Others have been retired for some time.  We walk a little slower these days and our eyes and hearing are not what they once were.

We have worked hard, raised our children, worshipped our God and grown old together.  Yes, we are the ones some refer to as being over the hill and that is probably true.

But before writing us off completely, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration.  In school we studied English, history, math, and science which enabled us to lead America into the technological age.

Most of us remember what outhouses were, many of us with firsthand experience.  We remember the days of telephone party-lines, 25 cent gasoline, and milk and ice being delivered to our homes.  For those of you who don’t know what an icebox is, today they are electric and referred to as refrigerators.  A few even remember when cars were started with a crank.  Yes, we lived those days.

We are probably considered old fashioned and out-dated by many.  But there are a few things you need to remember before completely writing us off.  We won World War II and fought in Korea and Viet Nam. We can quote the pledge of allegiance, and know where to place our hand while doing so.  We wore the uniform of our country with pride and lost many friends on the battlefield.  We didn’t fight for the Socialist States of America, we fought for the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.”  We wore different uniforms but carried the same flag.  We know the words to the Star Spangled Banner, America, and America the Beautiful by heart, and you may even see some tears running down our cheeks as we sing. We have lived what many of you have only read about in history books and we feel no obligation to apologize to anyone for that.

Yes, we are old and slow these days but rest assured, we have at least one good fight left in us.  We have loved this country, fought for it, and died for it, and now we are going to save it.  It is our country and nobody is going to take it away from us.  We took oaths to defend it against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that is an oath we plan to keep.  There are those who want to destroy this land we love but, like our founders, there is no way we are going to remain silent.

It was the young people of this nation who elected Obama and the Democratic congress. You fell for the “Hope and change” which in reality was nothing but “Hype and lies.”  You have tasted socialism and seen evil face to face, and have found you don’t like it after all.

You make a lot of noise but most are all too interested in their careers or “Climbing the social ladder” to be involved in such mundane things as patriotism and voting.

Many of those who fell for the “great lie” in 2008 are now having buyer’s remorse.  With all the education we gave you, you didn’t have sense enough to see through the lies and instead drank the cool-aid. Now you’re paying the price and complaining about it.

No jobs, lost mortgages, higher taxes, and less freedom.  This is what you voted for and this is what you got.  We entrusted you with the Torch of Liberty and you traded it for a paycheck and a fancy house.

Well, don’t worry youngsters, the Grey Haired Brigade is here, and in three weeks we are going to take back our nation. We may drive a little slower than you would like but we get where we’re going, and in November we’re going to the polls by the millions.  This land does not belong to the man in the White House or to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.  It belongs to “We the People”, and “We the People” plan to reclaim our land and our freedom.  We hope this time you will do a better job of preserving it and passing it along to our grandchildren.

So the next time you have the chance to say the Pledge of Allegiance, stand up, put your hand over your heart, honor our country, and thank God for the old geezers of the “Grey-Haired Brigade.”

October 19th, 2010


We all know that  right-wingers are characterized by liberal writers as hateful, narrow minded, knuckle-dragging bigots whereas those on the left are loving, compassionate, and forgiving, accepting everyone as they are. It struck me as out of character, then, when I read the testimony of an ex-gay man and he reported that gays are  very accepting of all types of sexuality, whether it be homosexual, lesbian, transgender, cross-dressing, down-low, group sex, sadistic, voyeuristic – or any weird thing they can think of – but there’s one sexual variation they can’t tolerate. And that is they are not accepting of ex-gays!

There are many men out in this world who have had experimental sex with other men, who have been seduced by other men, who have found themselves sexually attracted to other men. Many gays seem to think that these experiences mean that they are dyed-in-the-wool homosexuals, forever and ever. If a man says he tried the gay scene for awhile and now he finds women more attractive, they just can’t accept that. Surely he is stifling his nascent homosexuality. It can’t be that he has grown out of it!

It seems to me so sad that adolescent loves cannot be recognized as just that. It is NORMAL for teenage girls to have girlfriends who they actually love and for young boys to have best buddies. Apparently if this stage lasts more than a day or two they are supposed to go to a class to think about their sexual orientation and decide whether they are homosexuals!! And they will be told that they are. How then does it happen that the vast majority of men in spite of a culture that tells them they might be gay at the age of 12 end up in a relationship with a woman? In fact, gays are so publicly present and insistent these days that boys and girls who are actually still children cannot enjoy their first loves without worrying that they may be queer.

At one time my best friend was a gay man, but no one wants advice from an straight old lady so I’ll refer wonderers to the experts. There’s Courage, where you can meet young Catholics who are trying to live up to their religion. There’s Exodus, a non-denominational organization where you can compare notes with others with “gender-confusion.” There’s PFOX (which stands for Parents and Friends Of X-gays and gays) which says:

Each year thousands of men, women and teens with unwanted same-sex attractions make the personal decision to leave homosexuality. However, there are those who refuse to respect that decision. Consequently, formerly gay persons are reviled simply because they dare to exist! Without PFOX, ex-gays would have no voice in a hostile environment.

Young men and women are just naturally immature, inexperienced, and uninformed. They often feel lost and alienated. There are others in the same boat. They do not need to be alone. They can, indeed, be loved and understood just as they are.

I have written before on the subject of homosexuality here and here.    To my mind, the gay refusal to accept the ex-gay status is because they know that being “straight” is the only thing that makes any biological sense. Throughout the vegetable and animal kingdoms the purpose of sex is obviously procreation.  It takes the intelligence of  human beings to imagine that they can separate sex from procreation and still be  natural and normal!   There is such a thing as natural and normal and gay sex isn’t it.   Same sex attraction may not be a matter of choice, but same sex action is. No one dies from lack of sex.

Dr. John Digg’s PDF on the health risks of homosexuality is here.

Rather than go on and on I’ll close with one little point made by my old friend, Dr. Herbert Ratner,  (which I’ve never seen written anyplace else).   Dr. Ratner said that humans are the only animals that mate face-to-face. Heterosexual sex is a “person-to-person” encounter. Lower animals are all rear-mounters.

Make of that what you will.


Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth. – Mohandas Gandhi

Once the sexual union is no longer seen to be by its very nature procreative, human sexuality is abused in ways that are profoundly harmful and in ways destructive of individuals and society itself. — Pope Paul VI

October 14th, 2010


October 13, 1917, marked the date of sixth apparition of Our Lady at Fatima who appeared in a Carmelite habit as Our Lady of Mount Carmel during the visions at the Miracle of the Sun.



In 1923, at the request of the Chilean bishops, the Vatican proclaimed the Virgin of Carmel principal patroness of all Chileans, not just the army and navy….. There are two Carmel images that Chileans especially venerate; the one at the National Shrine of Maipú, carved in Quito, Ecuador in 1785, and the one, made in France, at the Basilica of the Savior in Santiago de Chile, that was solemnly crowned in 1926.

Last March, Pope Benedict XVI presented a new statue of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to Chile. The statue traveled throughout the country bringing consolation to those suffering from the devastating February 27 earthquake.

Is it not a striking coincidence that the “miraculous” rescue of 33 Chilean miners after 69 days of entombment a half-mile underground took place on October 13, 2010?   Is it relevant that the miners requested religious articles so they could set up a prayer chapel down there while they awaited deliverance ?  Just asking.

October 13th, 2010


Others have said what Dr. Hal Lewis is now saying, but they haven’t had his credentials.

Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; Former member Defense Science Board, chmn of Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; Former member Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former member, President’s Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety Chairman Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board; Served in US Navy in WW II; books: Technological Risk  and Why Flip a Coin.

Here is the letter sent on October 8, 2010 to the President of the American Physical Society.

From: Hal Lewis, University of California, Santa Barbara
To: Curtis G. Callan, Jr., Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society

6 October 2010

Dear Curt:

When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago).

Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence—it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute could there be?

How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it. For example:

1. About a year ago a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a fraction of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then President immediately launched a hostile investigation of where we got the e-mail addresses. In its better days, APS used to encourage discussion of important issues, and indeed the Constitution cites that as its principal purpose. No more. Everything that has been done in the last year has been designed to silence debate

2. The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider it. One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word incontrovertible to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.) In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a far longer “explanatory” screed, admitting that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the original. The original Statement, which still stands as the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is. This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific society is at stake.

3. In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.

4. So a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mind—simply to bring the subject into the open.

5. To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members’ interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.

6. As of now you have formed still another secret and stacked committee to organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful petition.

APS management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do you wonder that I have lost confidence in the organization?

I do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is always risky to discuss other people’s motives. This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it. Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club. Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise. As the old saying goes, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. Since I am no philosopher, I’m not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.

I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents me, but I hope we are still friends.




Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. — Sir Walter Scott

October 11th, 2010


Reports of successful treatment using adult stem cells are coming in so fast that they are almost “ho-hum.”  Adult stem cells come not only from tweaking adult cells but are also found in other places such as umbilical cord blood.   They do not require the destruction of any human being.  Here is a report of recent impressive results in treating blindness:

Adult Stem Cells: More than Meets the Eye?

Liberals seem blind to the success of adult stem cells. Maybe if they saw the evidence from a recent Italian study, their eyes would be opened to the potential of ethical research. After cataracts, corneal disease is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. In September, Dr. Jean Peduzzi Nelson testified to the U.S. Senate about the success that Italian doctors have achieved at restoring sight to patients with corneal blindness, using adult stem cells. The details of the successful adult stem cell treatment were given in a June 2010 paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The Italian doctors treated 112 patients who had corneal blindness from chemical burns. The clinical team isolated adult stem cells from a portion of the patient’s eye, grew the cells in the lab to create many new corneal cells, and transplanted the new cells onto the damaged eyes. Over 77% of patients recovered normal vision, and 13% of patients had partial vision restored. One of the successful transplants was a man who had severe damage in both eyes as a result of a chemical burn in 1948. The doctors grafted stem cells from a small section of his left eye to both eyes. His vision is now close to normal. Seeing is believing! Adult stem cells are helping patients now!

By executive order, President Obama in 2009 had overturned Bush’s ruling against the use of tax dollars to experiment with  embryonic  stem cells.   This past August a US court again halted the federal funding of embryonic stem cells.  In September an appeals court ruled that federal funding of embryonic stem cells could continue for now.

In the meantime – the Washington Post reports on the FIRST STUDY in which a patient is treated with embryonic stem cells, primarily as a safety test. 

Washington Post , October 11, 2010
First patient treated in stem cell study

A patient has been treated with human embryonic stem cells in the first study authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to test the controversial therapy.

The patient, who was partially paralyzed by a spinal cord injury, had millions of embryonic stem cells injected into the site of the damage, according to an announcement early Monday by the Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, Calif., which is sponsoring the groundbreaking study.

It seems the administration and the most pro-abortion-president-ever are bound and determined that embryos must be used to obtain stem cells even though there is a demonstrated history of success with adult stem cells and we do not yet know if embryonic stem cells can by safely used.   The Geron Corporation is able to proceed with embryonic stem cell experimentation because they are not federally funded.


Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not. -Jer. 5:21

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

October 9th, 2010


Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, who has been known for years as a pro-life activist, recently because a national personality when she shared the podium with Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin at the massive Restoring Honor rally in Washington DC. In this video she shares her personal experiences with abortion.

Dr. Karen Stevenson, a black psychiatrist, looks at the black experience with abortion.

I have written previously about black genocide in America as depicted in Mark Crutcher’s documentary, Maafa 21.   This is racism at its worst !

October 8th, 2010


There’s nothing like a song to take you back to a time and a place. The time for me is the sixties; the place, Chicago IL. My husband collected John McCormack records and would play them over and over again. I still have some of those old Victor red label 78s and even have a record player that will accommodate them, but I very seldom play them. Still the songs linger on.

For no apparent reason McCormack’s rendition of The Lost Chord recently came to mind and I wanted to hear it once more, to check out some of the words, to see if I still liked it as much. And, lo, YouTube was there for me. And for you.

For those who have had hints of the transcendent in the here and now, I offer this reflection with a prayer that they may experience joy, peace, love, and the glory of God without measure, unalloyed, in the great beyond.

And for readers  who, alas, have no clue that John McCormack was also a great opera singer,  on a par with Caruso, here is his Il mio tesoro from Don Giovanni — with a prayer of thanks to my husband.


For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. — 1 Corinthians 13:12

October 5th, 2010


Saint Faustina Kowalska died on this date, October 5, in 1938.   This painting of Jesus, with the caption, Jesus, I trust in you, has been circulated worldwide through her efforts.

Many people, even if they are Catholic, are not familiar with Saint Faustina, visionary and mystic, who was born in Poland in 1905, the third of ten children. Just a few days ago I turned on the television in early morning and much to my surprise, on ABC no less, stumbled upon the end of a documentary about Sister Faustina. I had been to Poland in April, 2000, when Faustina was canonized and though I was familiar with most of her story I was impressed by the caliber of the miracles which had played a role in her canonization. When I learned that October 5, just a few days away, was the date of her death I decided to look into her further.

Born and canonized in this century, Faustina is indeed a saint in our time for our time. Rather than retell her story myself, below is the first of six videos, each less than ten minutes, describing how Helen Kowalska came to join the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. She received visions of Jesus in which she was told to have an image painted depicting his mercy which was to be venerated throughout the world.

Jesus died on the cross to bring us mercy. Still today, everyday, Jesus is dying to show us mercy. By sheer coincidence, I recently came upon a story by one Ringolds Klimons, a seminarian from Latvia,who needed a place to stay one night in Warsaw. This is how his story ends:

Here I can finish my story, for the next morning I was on my way back home. I do not know why the good Lord wanted me to stay that night in Warsaw. Because I was very tired, hungry and needed rest? Because of the man at whose apartment I spent the night and who had his doubts cleared through conversation with me? I do not know why – the Lord only knows. But the priest’s words proved to be true: when the Holy Spirit tells me stop, I have to stop; when the Spirit says go, I go. Later on I found out a curious fact from a religious magazine. When Sister Faustina received a call to the consecrated life, she went to Warsaw. The first church she found at random was the same church I also found at random.


God is love and mercy. — Saint Faustina

October 4th, 2010


1932.  The Great Depression.  Daddy was out of work.  I was the oldest of four kids.  We moved from Pennsylvania to Connecticut because we heard there was work to be found in Bridgeport. For awhile we stayed with Grandma until we could find and afford a rent.  Looking back, I think Grandma and Grandpa must have been  remarkable people to welcome us all, especially since all the kids proceeded to get whooping cough.  It seemed reasonable to us to be banished to the back yard since we would whoop and whoop and whoop and then vomit.

In due time we moved to 507 Park Street, Bridgeport CT and I spent a couple of hours in the middle of last night revisiting that house online, thanks to Google Satellite and Google Earth. There was, and still is, an empty lot next door. Williams Street, where Grandma lived, is a few blocks away.   In 1932 there were two mulberry trees in the yard, but I can’t tell if they are still there now on Google.  The cross street is Putnam and our school, Beardsley School, is seven long blocks away.   I was  responsible for getting Bobby, 7, and Annette, 5, to school each day.   We walked, of course.   Our family had not had a car since we left Detroit, Michigan about 1930.

Apparently we only spent one year in the house on Park Street since I was in Beardsley school for fifth grade and in Summerfield School for the sixth.  I loved my fifth grade teacher, Josephine Kane.  How well I remember my fifth grade debut on an arithmetic test — I turned in a very neat paper with all the problems done, and it came back to me with a very neat zero at the top.  Apparently there was something I hadn’t yet learned in my previous school.   Somehow I lived through it and did OK for the rest of the year.

It was during my ninth year that I met my cousins, Richie and Johnny.  We would climb trees and billboards, and build huts in the fields.  I operated on my doll in order to turn her cry-box around.  It did not seem right to me that a the doll cried when picked up.  I fixed her so she would cry when laid down – that had been my experience with real babies.

I’m sure we had bedrooms in that Park Street house but I have no recollection of them.  I do, however, remember the dining room.  I often had to clear the table and do the dishes and I recall going out to play after a meal and looking in through the window to see if the table had been cleared yet.   My plan was not to come back into the house until after the dishes had been done.   Also memorable was the time, at about my tenth birthday, when Mom and I sat at the dining  room table and she told me about menstruation.   I was flabbergasted!   Mom asked me if I had  noted the pads in her dresser drawer.  I hadn’t.  I couldn’t believe that I had lived this long and women all around me – my mother, my teacher, all of them – had been doing this every month without my knowledge.

What else do I remember about my ninth year?  Aunt Sue showed me how to push my cuticles back so the half-moon would show.  The hot water heater in the corner of the kitchen started jumping up and down and we very quickly turned on all the hot water faucets.   I found out I was  terribly sensitive to poison ivy and I was painted with purple potassium permanganate which turned me brown.  We played and skated in the street.  I had a friend named Elsie Kronus.  I could not find her with my computer but she would probably have a married name if she hasn’t died by now.  Many of my friends aren’t around anymore.  That’s life.

Conclusion:  Nine-year-olds  are real people and the things they learn at nine echo down through the years.  Places remain but people disappear.  Be nice to them while they’re here.


And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to the least of these, my brethren, you did it to me.”  – Matthew 25:40