Saturday, August 6, 2016

WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN, I WILL TURN PURPLE... (My parody of the famous poem by Jennie Joseph)

    

WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN, I will turn purple at my birthday party and revive myself when people dial 9-1-1.
    I'll dine on jelly beans and ginger snaps and coffee and circulate hot rumors all around the town about myself.
     I'll be haughty with the sales clerks who carry only tiny sizes, and I'll skip obituary pages in the morning paper, just in case my name is there.
      For my health, I'll wear a copper bracelet and rub my skin with mink oil and start my day with fiber laced with M and Ms.
     I'll paste a smile on my face for make-up; and I'll refuse to tan and soak for hours at the spa, where I might wrinkle into nothing and be mistaken for a raisin.
     I'll ignore the TV ads for PolyGrip and grown-up diapers and those ugly chairs that stand you up, and I won't let Ed McMahon seduce me into pre-paid funerals, or elder magazines or cheap insurance.
     I'll cultivate a mellow air of wisdom, and when the young folks seek advice, I'll tell heroic tales about the past and lie to them about the future.
     I'll let my dwindling eyesight go, for that will let my mirror lie to me, and it will also help to camouflage the cobwebs, dust and dirt.
     I will not dance the hokey-pokey at your wedding or spend my days at Big Lots trying to save a dime.
     I won't hang out at craft fairs or in bingo halls; I will not go to quiet towns in Florida for shuffleboard and golf; and most of all I won't go into places where my young friends aren't allowed.
     I won't bend over in my garden in a flowered muumuu; and I won't let the Beauty Ladies tint my hair in any shade of blue or cut and kink it into scouring pad or Orphan Annie hairdo.
     I'll wear strong necklaces in case I ever want to hang myself, and of course my friends and loved ones know that isn't likely.
     If I'm forced to trade down to a dinky little car, I'll let the neighbor kids paint flowers on it and glue a wind-up key upon the roof, and they can ride around with me and make a lot of noise.
     If you ask how old I am, I will not hear you; and I will not criticize the young except to God, who has been around awhile and sympathizes.
     I may someday build a pedestal and designate myself an icon, but I will not speak of growing old until I'm well into my 90s, if I live that long...
     And then I'll hold that very private conversation only with myself.
                                          ---------------------------------------------- 

BACK NOTES: 
--I did NOT "let my dwindling eyesight go" after all. With recent cataract surgeries, I can now see without glasses... unless I want to read! (I'll soon be fitted for my reading glasses).
--I wrote this birthday poem when I was 50. When I was 73, I shared it publicly through my column in Gazette Newspapers.
--In April, after more than two decades with that column, I retired. Now it's just me and my Bob, growing older and older together!

ROSE AT AGE 7...before she was OLDE!
SELFIE of Olde Rose today without her glasses.
(Actually an image via mirror) 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY STARTED WITH A COLUMN... (REPRINT)

by Rose Moore, columnist, Gazette Newspapers of Ohio

(Blogger's note: Today would have been the 91st birthday of the late Fred Holp. Since his Face Book page has not yet disappeared, I wish him happy birthday and share this good-bye which previously ran in my former newspaper column in Gazette Newspapers).

    YEARS AGO through this column, I wrote about a man we kids called Grampa Hope. And there began a sentimental journey...

    In the early 1940s--a time of shorter life spans, when many miracles of modern medicine had not yet been discovered--I was not the only child who had no living grandparents. My mother's parents and my father's father had passed away many years before my birth. Like my older siblings and many children whose grandparents were no longer living, I would look around my neighborhood for an unofficial grandparent, and he was Grampa Hope.

     We found him in a purely accidental way, in the twilight of World War II, when our makeshift kid-parades had distinctly military flavor. With pots and pans for drums, and bowls atop our heads for soldier hats, and homemade army "tanks" with cardboard, wheels and other bits of cast-off junk, we dragged our friends and siblings and our pets along in these grand marches, and we made a lot of noise.     It was a summer day in the midst of just such a "Little Rascals" brouhaha, when we spotted Grampa Hope sitting on his porch in an old wood rocking chair, near a shallow set of steps where sunshine met the shade. He didn't flinch when our raggle-taggle little bunch of rowdies approached him in their military gear.
    He smiled, and the smile reached his eyes and crinkled to his ears, and we knew that we were welcome. We broke our march and crowded near him on the steps, bombarding him with our excitement-of-the-day. From that point on, Grampa Hope was ours.
    Looking back from later years, I recognized his frailness. He was bent and thin; his veins showed clearly through his skin; his gnarled hands rested on the wooden cane on which he leaned as he rocked. Yet we kids never sensed that our exuberance might tire him.
    We talked; he listened. He answered silly questions patiently, and often told us tales of what the world was like when he was young. On cicada dog-day afternoons, his voice would blend with insect music until it was hard for us to stay awake. If truth be told, we sometimes dozed and woke to find he had quietly retreated and left us with our dreams.
    A calmness seemed to coat us as we touched base with this Ancient of Our Hearts, whose amiable spirit connected us to the era of our parents' parents we had never met. Did "Grampa Hope" have children or grandchildren of his own? We never asked; it didn't matter; Grampa Hope had us, and we had him.

    "GRAMPA HOPE" IS still the perfect name for him, at least to me. But until a reader of my column told me that Grampa Hope was actually Christopher Holp, as indicated in an old Painesville City directory. I passed that information to my readers, and like a bit of magic, responses filtered in from my old neighborhood and far beyond. And here's the truly magic thing: These responses led me to his sole surviving grandson.

    Patricia Milgate Holp, whose deceased husband Bob had been a grandson of this man, provided the first information which truly began to answer my request: "If Christopher Holp has descendants who might be reading this, I would love to find out more about him."
    She told me he was gone before she married Christopher's son Bob. "But I know my husband felt very attached to him," she said.."There were always such wonderful stories about him. He was well beloved by the entire family and so special to all of his 'real' grandchildren as well."
    A bit at a time I learned more. I heard of tragedy in Christopher Holp's life. His wife had died after her clothing caught fire from a cook stove. She had impulsively run for the creek to douse the fire, and that is where her husband Christopher found his beloved Dorothea when he came home from work.
    I learned that Christopher was born as Christoph Holpp in 1863 in Reichenbach, Germany. He came to this country with his father Christian, mother Eva Rosina, older sister Rosina Margaratha and younger brother Gottlieb. They settled in Cleveland for a time. When Christopher was older, he moved to Girdled Road in Leroy Township in Lake County, where he bought land for farming. He married Dorothea Kristina Pederson in 1891. Dora, as she was known, was from Denmark. They had three children---Harry who died when one year old; Alfred Johnson, a nephew they adopted when his mother died in childbirth; and Fredrik Gottlieb, the Fred Sr. who lived in Painesville for many years.

    WHEN FIRST I WROTE of Grampa Hope, I did not yet know of Fred Holp Jr. of California, the one surviving grandson. Later when I was given Fred's address, I mailed him a copy of the column. Fred called as soon as he received it, telling me how happy he was to have had his grandfather return to him through my column.

    Over time, I learned even more from Fred, who still possessed one of the two original packing trunks that had come with the Holpps on their journey here from Germany. He shared memories of his grandfather from the 1930s and 40s, before Fred went into the military.
     He spoke of how he and his grandfather enjoyed their favorite mustard sandwiches together, and how his grandfather always kept a good supply of small hard-candy on hand for his grand children's visits. He shared with me his memory of the smell of the old coal-oil cooking stove his grandfather cooked on, and the smell of bacon and eggs, which his grandfather often cooked...
    "In the late 1930s," Fred recalled, "Grandfather sold sets of horse harnesses so Dad could buy Bob and me a pony. We lived on Overlook Road at the time and sometimes rode the pony over to my grandfather's place from there... Mother and Dad would have Grandfather over for our Sunday evening meal, chicken and dumplings... In the early 1940s, my brother Bob and I bought Grandfather his first floor-type radio...
    "He always enjoyed seeing Bob and me in our high school band uniforms... He helped Mom and Dad buy new bikes for us from Sears at Painesville Square... I remember asking him to teach us some how to read some German words, but he didn't want to. He was all-American, he said."
    Fred mailed to me a photo of a wall at his home, decorated with such things as his Grampa's rifle and cane and a double-frame photo of Fred and his grandfather. He described vintage family photos and genealogical charts; and copies of his great grandparents' 1867 passport papers to America' and a list of the Holp (Holpp) family members interred in Painesville's historic Evergreen Cemetery... and more.
    When Grandson Fred was in the Navy, Christopher sent him a touching pencilled note dated Feb. 24, 1945, and Fred said he has always kept that note. The child-like scrawl seemed to indicate an aging Christopher was having trouble with his hands and eyesight as he wrote: "Mr Dear Fredie, How are you? I think of you every day. I long to see you, be of good cheer, the Lord will take care of you and bring you home. Gram Pa."
    Fred told me he did return home safely that year, but by that time his grandfather Christopher Holp was gone from the world. I sensed the sadness in Fred's words. I told him that when I had heard that "Grampa Hope" had died, I got comfort from imagining him in Heaven, talking with my own grandparents.
     Soon after that conversation with Fred, a manila envelope arrived at my home, and the space for the return address bore the words: "From Heaven from Grampa Hope. I still remember you." Inside the envelope was a copy of a faded photo of Grampa Hope, obviously sent by his grandson Fred. The California postmark was the giveaway. When I called Fred to thank him, he laughed as he assured me, "It was my grandfather's idea!"

    GRAMPA HOPE'S MEMORY remains intact with me. And now his grandson Fred---loved in his own right by family and friends---is also mingled with that memory. I kept in touch with Fred by phone, by mail and by face book; and my husband Bob and I were his invited guests at a multi-class Harvey High School reunion group (our mutual alma mater, though in different generations).

    In March, his family informed me that Fred had passed away peacefully at his home in California, at the age of 89, and in April a service will be held in California for him. A second memorial will be held in Lake County around the time of Fred Holp's August 4 birthday.


    And so, goodbye to you, my friend Fred Holp.  I wish Godspeed to you as you join the amiable colony of Holps who are gathered in the Lord's Hereafter.


FACEBOOK PHOTO OF FRED HOLP


(You can direct your commentary to columnist and blogger Rose Moore at randrmoore@gmail.com).











Tuesday, August 2, 2016

THE NEW MOON... August 12, 2016


    THIS MORNING the new Moon rose with the sun. Had you been awake, you would not have seen it, For a new moon is too close to the sun to be seen by the eyes of a human standing on earth.


   Just as the new moon will always rise with the sun, it will also set with the sun. Though it won't be visible to my eyes, the moon-watcher in me will always know when it's there. 
    Its invisibility has one great advantage for stargazers like myself. Without the light of the moon, the night sky is darker than normal, and it won't be competing with my view of the stars. With no clouds forecast for my valley, the stars tonight will rule! And this night will hold a lot of the warmth of the day, making it a fine and comfortable time for sitting outdoors and enjoying that view. 
    Tomorrow the moon will be visible, though briefly, as a slender crescent in the west after sunset; its profile sketched with such a fine line it might well have been drawn with light from the finest of fine-line markers. 
     Some call it young moon at that stage. I do not. I always see the moon as the very old presence it actually is; and always one size, though that size is greater or lesser to the human eye, depending on the stage it has entered on any particular night.

young moon one or two days from full

MAY ALL OF YOU HAVE A GOOD NIGHT!---Rose Moore and the New Moon

Monday, August 1, 2016

FIFTY YEARS AGO: WHEN 'HAPPY DAYS' EXPLODED

by Rose Moore
COPY of my personal memory of the Hough Riots, written in 2006 on the 40th anniversary of the event. In this 50th anniversary year, it is worth sharing again--Rose Moore)  

    Tales of Cleveland's 1966 Hough riots were retold recently in a Cleveland newspaper. Some of you may be too young to remember the riots; some of you might not been born yet; and many of you who lived in the more sparsely populated Lake County at the time may have observed it from afar. As for me, I will never personally forget that summer night of July 18, 40 years ago, when social and racial unrest burst forth like a volcano. I was in my car, driving in that very Hough neighborhood when the riots began. It's a story about which, until now, I have never written.
    In those days, before many homes (or automobiles) had air conditioning, we were sweltering through a hot summer drought. In city areas, the relentless heat sizzled up in white-hot waves from the concrete and asphalt. Humans suffered in hot apartments, and even the summer streets at night provided no cooling for relief.
    At the time, my first-born son Mark was not quite five years old. He wanted to visit his Uncle Bill, my brother, who lived in Cleveland in an apartment near St. John's Cathedral. So Mark and I, as we frequently did, drove in to spend some time with Bill. In the city, the three of us enjoyed a leisurely walk, window-shopping among the downtown stores.
    Later, Bill wanted to "take a little spin" in my new Mustang, and he also offered to treat us to a meal in his favorite diner where, he said, the food was very good and the fellowship was even better. And yes, we did have a fine meal complete with dessert, and so many of the diner regulars engaged us in delightful conversations that time got away from us. Daylight was swiftly graying into evening, and that seemed to be of great concern to my brother.
    "We'll take a short cut to my apartment," he decided. "You need to drop me off and hurry toward home before it gets darker." Where were we headed? I didn't ask; I simply followed his instructions; he knew the city well.
    SUDDENLY AS WE turned a corner, we heard a roar like surf on a stormy ocean and found ourselves in the midst of a swarming mob. My ears rang with the sound; the anger was palpable, and it seemed to be aimed toward us. More quickly than I could have thought possible, the crush of people grew and swelled around us, and as far as we could see in any direction were dark, fury-filled faces---at our windshield, our windows... Soon we could see nothing at all as they pounded the car, swaying it forward and backward and side to side, shouting threats and profanities.
    I shouted at my brother, "Close your window; lock your doors; toss Mark to the floor; cover him with your body... !" The noise was unbearable and frightening; I had no idea what had happened or was about to happen, or why. What was our role in all this? I swallowed fear and decided I had no choice but to press the pedal and move forward, whatever happened and whatever it took to get out in one piece.
    Praying I wouldn't be  killing anyone, or that we wouldn't be killed ourselves, I moved faster and faster, operating on pure instinct. At times, I wasn't sure our wheels hadn't been lifted off the ground... It seemed we were smothering among those faces and bodies, but soon I began to see bits of daylight, and I pressed forward faster. Soon we were moving out, free for the time being...
    AWAY FROM THE neighborhood and out of the city we headed, without looking back. I gave my brother no options whatsoever as we left the city; he was going with us.
    All the way home to Lake County---we were thankfully on the right road---my mouth felt like it was full of cotton, and my arms and legs and hands trembled. I clung so tightly to the wheel, my hands and arms and shoulders ached for days. My mouth felt like it was full of cotton...
    Later, I learned a racial incident in a bar had been the tinder that lit a neighborhood that had been seething with unbearable heat and deep-seated frustration. The news people believed the rioting began "around nine in the evening"---just about the time our car was turning the corner into the neighborhood. For the next six days, Hough nights were filled with violence, arson, firebombs, shooting, looting... Police and firefighters entering the area were fought backward by gunfire. The National Guard was called in. Bars were closed, businesses boarded up, traffic outlawed, curfews enforced...
    In this period of racial tension and social unrest, Cleveland was not alone. Such riots were breaking out in cities all across the country.
    For a time afterward, Hough stood like a bombed-out war zone, with buildings destroyed or boarded up and sitting vacant until the Cleveland Clinic began buying up land for hospital expansion.
    ABOUT FIVE YEARS later, I recall staying in a hotel near the Clinic while my youngest son was hospitalized. Each morning as I left at dawn to be with my son, I would be accompanied by a uniformed guard who walked beside me with a drawn gun. (If the truth were told, I was more afraid of that guard's drawn gun than I was of the surroundings.)
    Decade by decade afterward, the area improved and continues to improve. When I pass through these days, it's hard to imagine it could be the same place in which so many buildings were destroyed and so many people were victims, and in which my son and my brother and I faced such danger, on July 18, 1966.
    As a teen in the mid-to-late 1950s, I could not have guessed that our "Happy Days" were a facade, hiding frustration and unrest for so many people. The riots were merely one harsh symbol of that, boiling to the surface and exploding to make itself known.

----Rose Moore---

Sunday, July 31, 2016

FROM MY TRAVEL JOURNALS: CAREFREE CAROLINA AND THE "WRIGHT STUFF"...

MY SISTER MARY AT KITTY HAWK
ROSE COMMUNICATES WITH A WRIGHT AT KITTY HAWK


June of 2011

    This would be the day! With my sister Mary and my husband Bob, and with Mary's son Bill as our chauffeur, we headed from Virginia Beach to North Carolina to finally  meet "Uncle Willie Dough"---in the form of a life-size statue at Wright Brothers Memorial Park at Kitty Hawk. 
   Not until the autumn before, in a visit with my Carolina cousin Rachel Dough Smith, had I learned of a family connection, through Rachel's uncle Willie St. Clair Dough, with the historic First Flight of the Wright Brothers.  
    In 1901, Willie Dough had become a surfman at the Federal Life Saving Station at Kill Devil Hills. He and the men of that station had befriended the Wrights when they arrived at Kitty Hawk, and the surfmen kept the Wrights supplied with food and any help and supplies they might need as they worked in preparation for their historic flight. The Wright Brothers would later write of the surf men as "hospitable and indispensable." (The Lifesaving Stations would evolve into the U.S. Coast Guard, and its entwined history with the Wrights at  Kitty Hawk is well recorded in U.S. Coast Guard archives).
    On Dec. 17, 1903, the day of the historic flight, the Wrights raised a pre-arranged flag as a signal to the surf men that their help would be needed. Willie St. John Dough was one of three who answered the call. (Willie himself would help to push the plane into place for take-off and push it off the rail from the hill). 
   Later when Wilbur and Orville Wright would return to North Carolina for further flight experiments, Willie Dough willingly continued to help. The two became friends, and in 1907 Willie actually settled the name Wilbur Wright Dough on a newborn son. 
   Later Dough testified before a Congressional Committee as to the details of the First Flight, and in 1928 as a witness and survivor, he helped to lay the cornerstone of the Wright Brothers Monument at Kitty Hawk. (Dough died in 1931).

    ON OUR OWN SUNNY afternoon at Kitty Hawk in June 2011, Bob and my sister and I, with Mary's son, played like little children around the Wright Memorial. We also spent good time at the museum to learn more details of the significant First Flight.
    From here, we Three Amigos (as Bob and I and Mary dubbed ourselves) returned to "Beauty and the Beach"--the beach house we had rented in Sandbridge on the southeast seashore. We sat together that evening on the deck above the slip of water that would allow us to maneuver the resident canoe out into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. With a heron fishing patiently nearby, we lazily considered all the possibilities of our planned canoe excursion.
   WHEN MORNING ARRIVED, our well-laid plans were changed abruptly by a shocking sewage back-up that surprised us as we slept! The management company offered no solution except to assure us if we slept there again that night, they would "fix the pipes by evening and clean up the mess in the house tomorrow."
    For us, that was far-from-acceptable. Beauty and the Beach had lost all her appeal, and Mary wryly renamed it Beauty and the BEAST---beauty for the setting, beast for the house itself. 
     Bob and I packed up and headed back to our Ohio, after driving Mary back to her home in Williamsburg, Virginia. We had packed a lot of fun and happiness into our time together, but we'd also left some things undone. 
   Superstition says that leaving at least one thing undone will draw you back again. And we prayed that would be true.
                                                  -----------------------------------------