Sunday, May 22, 2016
In depth book about the Medici's and their impact on the world. Author Paul Strathern demystifies each one of them, writing of each member of the illustrious family. Of Lorenzo her writes, "HIs sallow features were undeniably ugly, framed by lank centre-parted hair that fell to his shoulders; below his beetled brow his eyes were heavy-lidded, like his father's. He had an over-emphatic chin with a protruding lower lip, while his nose was broad and squashed, so much so that he literary had nor sense of smell-though this may have accounted for the precision with which he used his other senses, in aesthetic judgement and his poetry. HIs movements were clumsy, his figure tall and powerfully built, but ungainly; only his hands were long and delicate." In one paragraph, the author gives a an insightful description more powerful than a portrait by a master. This is an insiders look at what made the family great, it's kin groomed and prepared through generations of education and preparation to reach the highest offices of the different kingdoms in the known world changing history forever.
Carole P. Roman
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Promises by Ardyce Durham is a love letter to her family, a detailed a charmingly written memoir of a Southern family living just prior to the Civil War.
Owen and Weston are best friends, buddies who do everything together. With a Huck Finn quality, Durham recreates farm life in the South. The tone changes with the whirlwind of the Civil War. Durham traces Owen's experiences with a folksy style creating a slice of life in a family living through the calamity of crisis.
Well written, truthful to the times, this is an interesting picture of American Life spanning close to one hundred years.
Carole P. Roman
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Fast paced fantasy that incorporates almost every creature imaginable in an alternate universe where four high school students find themselves enlisted as an army of assorted characters who are trying to save the world from a shadowy villain named The Phantom. More New Adult, rather than YA, it has a fair amount of gore, but the fab four Amy, Melody, James and John keep the reader engaged as well as entertained. Fairies, Vampiresses, a powerful warrior woman, ghostly skeletons, and a big, bad wolf are just some of the fierce villains in the creative nether world in which the brave students must learn how to use both their wits and skills to overcome evil. There's a special book, spells, magic, menacing creatures, even a royal family. Sometimes action-packed, often humorous, Verze-Reeher keeps the action coming. Amy and Melody are strong characters and share great chemistry, while James and John remind me of Bill and Ted. More than once their dialogue made me smile, "Dude!"
A most excellent read!
Carole P. Roman
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Sweet little romance about the fate, faith, and destiny. An accident brings an unknown, unconscious patient to the hospital in serious condition. He is comatose and the doctors discover there is something bigger going on. A dedicated nurse decides that the man needs his family as much as his family needs to know where he is. She learns and uses social media making the patient and his struggle into an internet interest. She raises awareness of him and in the process learns a lot about herself. This is a story about kismet, and how in some strange way we are all connected, whether we realize it or not. A quick and enjoyable read.
Carole P. Roman
Sunday, May 8, 2016
|the two of us- I was eighteen|
My grandmother made her home with us when I was growing up. Maybe it was really the other way around, we made our home with her. She was sort of the master of the house, ruling with a wooden spoon.
I was born in Coney Island and lived in her house until I was three. She made the move with us to Rosedale, Queens when my parent's purchased their first house, then finally to Long Island, when we moved to the suburbs. I bought my own first house in the same neighborhood, so I could see her everyday. She was the heart of soul, the centerpiece of our family.
My grandmother was old her entire life. She came to this country when she was twenty-four, she often told me Calvin Coolidge was President. Her father died of consumption when she was three, her brother two, and her sister still in my great-grandmother's womb. My great-grandmother divided her children into assorted homes so she could support them by being a cook in a university. She had a gothic childhood that used to send shivers down my spine. It made me grateful for the simplest things I had and the security of knowing I was loved.
My grandmother was fostered with a rich aunt who's idea of discipline involved hours of kneeling on hard, dry lentils and beans that dimpled her delicate skin.
She had happy memories though, like when her hair was curled with sugar water and her mother surprised her with a blue lace, dropped waist dress for graduation. I adored this story and made my mother hunt high and low for a similar dress for my junior high gradation. She found it, my grandmother curled my hair charmingly, and I felt I honored her that day. I still have the dress in my closet.
She was bright and pushed to become a teacher, unheard of in her day. Her mother feared for her, Europe was volatile and she sent her to another relative in America where she was seen as ungainly and unmarriageable at the ripe age of twenty-four.
|her passport picture|
She married my grandfather in an arranged marriage made by his dying wife and her aunt while they were in the same hospital ward becoming a mother overnight to his two children and soon had another on the way. She told me she was blessed with a mother-in-law who taught her how to take care of the children. She had no household skills, and my great-grandmother patiently treated this shy girl as if she were her own daughter.
My grandfather was an immigrant, a furrier who lost his job because he refused to knuckle under union demands. They lost everything. She had saved a bit. and bought stock in an up and coming company called Bell Telephone.
My horrified grandfather made her sell it all. He told her it would never work.
Eventually, she managed to save enough to buy a small apartment house that got gobbled up in the Great Depression.
Undaunted, she opened a candy store, ending up running numbers for the infamous gangster Dutch Schulz, who furnished my impoverished family with coal and necessities when she ended up being booked by the Newark police. I don't think she had much choice and did what she was told to keep her family safe. She nearly gave birth to my mother in the local jail. There is a mugshot of my very pregnant grandmother somewhere in the annals of Jersey criminal history.
When she was released, she went right back to work, cooking rose petals from her garden into a sweet syrup for ice-cream, and keeping credit for people who couldn't afford to buy the necessities that only a candy store in the thirties could bring.
She sent clothes and food home to Europe to her family, going without for herself, making sure her mother, sister, and brother had what they needed.
She was a gentlewoman, never calling any of her friends by any other name than Mr. or Mrs. So and so. I never heard her curse, not ever.
She worked her entire life at one job or another, taking in her dead sister-in-laws five or maybe it was six children when their father remarried. She cooked every meal as if she was feeding an army. There was always a seat and a full plate at her table.
We all deferred to her. She was our queen. When I was in kindergarten, my mother brought her to the mother's day recital.
We were to dance and sing around the room and then present our mothers with hand-made posies of paper flowers. I can recall it like yesterday. My mother gave up her seat, standing behind her own mother and watching me with pride. I loved my mother. She was the finest person in the world. I remember dancing, biting my lips. What was I supposed to do? My mother was here, I made the bouquet for her. But my grandmother sat in the front row. She was important, we all deferred to her. I made a decision. I looked at my mother, we exchanged a meaningful glance. I must have had apology in mine.
I walked to my grandmother, my eyes on my mom and handed her the posy. My grandmother's eyes watered with happiness and gratitude. My mom didn't wait. She grabbed me in a bear hug, kissing me while she whispered with fierce pride that I was the best daughter in the world. She was so proud of me and I absolutely did the right thing.
I know I said I was sorry, but we had to honor Bobbie first. She told me, she wouldn't have it any other way.
My grandmother came to all my graduations, proud that I became a teacher, like her, she told me.
Later, when I entered the business world, she said I was following her footsteps there as well.
She taught me to always look forward, and that I could change my mind and do two or even three things at once. I could be anything I wanted to be.
My grandmother died when she was eighty-six. She had seventeen grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
In her lifetime she was a teacher, businesswoman, bookie, seamstress, cook, saleswoman, all while she was a wife and mom.
She could beat the daylights out of me with in both scrabble and canasta, all while touting she had only two week of night school where she learned to read and write English.
She read stories to my boys, showed me how to handle a wicked diaper rash, and cook a delicious chicken soup. She taught me how to talk to my parents when they were being unreasonable. She sat with me watching television when I felt lonely. Told a great story about life in another time.
She was a powerhouse of information.
We read books together, she enjoyed romances that we passed around between my aunts, my mother and me, comparing our take on the story.
|my grandmother, Laura Greenhout Ross 1898-1985|
I miss my grandmother with the same intensity as I miss my mother.
I am proud to be her descendant and want to remind everyone we are the outcome of a combination of our environment, the product of many parts.
Everything I am today is a reflection of her input as much as it was my parents. So, today, on Mother's Day, I want to honor her memory along side my mother. She was a survivor, reinventing herself bravely, setting a bar for her daughters and granddaughters,and great-granddaughters, showing them that nothing should ever be in their way.
It is the lesson I have embraced for her great-great granddaughters. Every day when I tell them the sky is the limit, it's because she taught me that years ago.
With Love To All,
Carole P. Roman
Saturday, May 7, 2016
|In Turkey- Ephesus|
I adored my mother. She was the kindest person I had ever met. If she didn't have something nice to say, she left it unsaid rather than hurt anyone's feelings. To her, everybody's art project was beautiful, any meal cooked was delicious, even when she hated it. She was not just a good sport, but a great sport and I miss her every day of my life.
She passed from lung cancer eight years ago in an aggressive fight against a vicious invader. She was young, even at 74, and I couldn't wrap my mind around not having her here. She was my best friend for as long as I can remember and I am sharing this story for that one reason.
|My wedding 36 years ago- I thought she looked magnificent!|
My Mom always bought me gifts. Sometimes expensive, sometimes not, old, new, it didn't matter, she decorated my house with bits of her personality so I could rest my eyes anywhere and revisit a memory.
I bought her things as well, but I was always more creative and tried to put a personal spin on it, just to remind her of our special relationship.
She was depressed very often. Life had been hard for her. My parents struggled with finances, health issues, family problems. While they kept the household and the children happy, I knew what she carried on her back. She was one of those people who couldn't share her load.
The year I was going to be married, I knew was very hard for her. I was the first chick to leave the nest. She depended upon me for a lot. I helped with the housework, chauffeured my brothers, entertained my grandmother who made her home with us. She never complained, but I knew she was heart sick that I was moving out.
I found an inexpensive Asian jar. I bought it because it seemed exotic. Sitting at my typewriter, I wrote up hundreds of memories. Asking my grandmother to help, we listed specific things that happened at my birth, family stories that made us laugh. Things to remind the reader of a minute in our life when something special had happened. I took these captured moments and folded them into tiny paper twists and stuffed them in the jar. Putting a paper band across the top, I wrote- "Do Not Read Unless Emergency"
Well, she opened the jar and read every last one of my wisps of our fond and silly memories and that jar stayed beside her bed for the rest of her life. She said it was the best present she had ever gotten. Ever. Period.
Now, as I wake in the morning, I will look at my own bedside and see her jar. Who knows, in case I need it I may read up on a memory or two. I guess that's a gift that keeps giving.
Wishing you all a very happy Mother's Day!
With Love And Gratitude,
Carole P. Roman
Friday, May 6, 2016
Mother's Day is and for me it's a time of reflection. Writing had always been a long time dream of mine, but life got in the way. I married young, started a family, and had to help with my husband's business. He was on the road and needed someone to field his calls, so I stepped in, and the business took over my life. It's hard to believe that it all began over forty years ago, in a small kitchen, but it did. The kaleidoscope of my life winks back to me in an array of bright colors and images that flew so fast, I hardly realized time was passing. It was so busy. You try to hold onto moments, but they flutter away in the winds of our fast paced lives.
The writing started on a whim, this second career born from the grief of losing my own mother. She got sick and her illness invaded our lives. I emerged after her death, angry, shocked, and worn out. You all have heard that my sons dared me to write, and I did. Captain No Beard was my lifeline back into the land of the living. It was the lifesaver thrown to me, that hauled me from the miasma of sadness back into the bright lights of life again.
Mother's Day is a day to thank your mom for all she's done for you. My mother was the best I'd ever known. I miss her greatly. She always encouraged me to stretch myself, take chances, and never be afraid. Even with her own passing, I could feel her pushing me to explore this new career. She is always the supportive mother.
My children made me a mother. They played as much a role in my creation as a person as my mother. Just as my mother helped shape and define me as a youngster, my children finished the job, teaching me as much as I taught them. Being a mother was what I wanted more than anything in my life. My sons constantly make me reinvent myself, holding my hand as I step into the new realities of a career, whether it's in the business world or the creative one of writing. As I stood behind them for all those years in their childhood urging them to try new things, I feel them behind me, supporting me to fly into the face of excitement without fear. I was there for them, and in kind, they are there for me. They brought me my daughters-in-law who have embraced me with kindness and warmth, showing me the joys of being with "the girls" after years of a stag only atmosphere. I am blessed.
Now, that brings me to the mother of all mother experience- being a grandmother. The unconditional love of my grandchildren. The little hands that caress your face with adoration. The unbridled joy and humor that fills your house when they arrive and stays long after they've gone home. Being a grandmother is like being a mother, only better!
So, I must take this day to thank for mother for setting up the example of what life was to be for me, creating the road-map and giving me the direction to live my life. I want to thank my children for enjoying the ride, shaping and sharing our time together so that I could learn what I really wanted and be there with me when I find it. While Captain No Beard often laments, "Being a captain is hard work," I want to say being a mother was hard work, but the most rewarding job I've ever known.
Carole P. Roman