Sun Lakes Writers’ Goup


Barbara Schwartz

It was 1963 when Judith discovered herself.

Judith – or Judi as we called her – was a junior in high school trying to figure out who she was, where she was going and what was going on in her world.

She was, as are most teenagers, sort of self absorbed and lived in her own little world thinking about tomorrow instead of the years ahead of her. Today, she was involved in thinking about the upcoming weekend and what she might be doing. She was out shopping with her mother, a fact in itself that bothered her immensely when they passed by the local shoe store. As they passed by the window display, Judi stopped cold in her tracks.

There, in the window, were the shoes that only existed in her dreams. The shoes were simple: they were lace covered instead of leather and they were dyed several pastel colors. The lace was circular flowers, each one being a different pastel of pink, yellow, mint green and sky blue. The two and a half inch heel was a bone patent leather as was the rim around the actual top of the shoe. She was mesmerized just looking at the shoes. Her mind was quickly telling her that she could wear them with almost all of her clothes that were pastel in nature. She had the earrings that were so very popular that year as well: they were five buttons that you could add little pastel flowers on and they were the same colors as the shoes. Could life get any better? Then she spotted a matching purse. In 1963, it was MOST popular to change your purse every day to match your shoes.

As she stood in front of the window, literally drooling over the shoes and purse, she noticed the price and gasped. It cost $15.00 for the shoes and an additional $15.00 for the purse. $30.00 was a LOT of money. She had apart of it at home, but not all of it. All of a sudden, she was aware the Mother was still standing there watching her salivate at the window.

“Oh, my gosh,” she gushed to her mother. “Those are the most gorgeous things I have ever seen. I am positive that I must have them. But I don’t have the $30.00. I have $20.00 at home. What should I do?” Mother, in her infinite wisdom, offered to spot Judi the money if she would promise to pay her back within a month. Mother commented that “if you see something that you love, get it right away. It might not be available next time you look and you will regret it and years for it the rest of your life.”

So, Judi went inside the store and tried on the shoes and walked around the store with the purse draped ever so elegantly on the crook of her arm.

She smiled and grinned widely when her mother paid for them and promised to give her the money from home immediately and would pay her back every week from the meager paying part-time job that she had. And she did just that.

Her class at school had plans to go to the opera performance matinee as a school project. She wore a beautiful simple pink dress and wore her matching floral earrings, her shoes and purse. Compliments flew from every direction toward her that day as well as every other day that she wore any part of this ensemble.

She loved the look that she had and the looks that she got when dressed up.

What she didn’t like, and never told anyone – that the shoes were the most uncomfortable things she ever had on her feet having caused blisters and callouses and probably were the start of the bunions that she developed years and years later.

But, what is the price of beauty and glamour when you are young?

Mother passed away and Judi still follows the advice given to her: “If you LOVE something and don’t get it, you will regret it forever.”

What is Decoration Day? What is Memorial Day?

Jacqueline M. Ruffino-Platt

By the time most folks read this article I have been honorably discharged from the United States Naval Reserve after serving 16 years, couple of decades ago. Memorial Day has come and gone, and memories, some great, some not so great, linger on and on throughout the years. Why is Memorial Day only celebrated one day a year? On this day, Flags, the Red, White and Blue, wave outside our homes, outside office buildings and many more places as far as our eyes can see on this designated day. Flowers placed on all the graves, the North and the South, East and West, throughout our Country. A grand day of Remembrance. Why? Is this the only day we remember our sons, daughters, our friends and families who dies in combat defending our Nation? And for all those who have fought for our Country and came home to be with their families. Our Veterans, who fought and died for our Country, the United States of America.

Flowers for all

On April 26, 1866, people across the South threw flowers on the graves of Civil War soldiers. Flowers decorated the Yankee graves as well and appeared everywhere. This story made the news back then. In May 1868, the day became a federal holiday. But there were few, if any, flowers blooming in the North in April. So, the government pushed the date up a month, to May 30th, so people could decorate the graves of the fallen.

Memorial Day remained on May 30 until 1971, when the Uniform Monday Holiday Act took effect. Did you know we had this Act? I didn’t. This act mandated that federal holidays occur on Mondays, and made Memorial Day the last Monday in May.

Origin: The custom of holding observances (including the laying of flowers on burial sites) to remember and honor those who gave their lives in military service goes back many hundreds, if not thousands of years. In the United States, that custom has long since been formalized in the creation of Memorial Day (formerly known as Decoration Day), a federal holiday observed on the last Monday in May to remember the men and women who dies while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Traditionally, every year the President of the United States (or, in his absence, another high-ranking government official) visits Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day to honor all those Americans who have died in military service to their country by participating in a symbolic wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.

In a formal sense, the modern Memorial Day originated with an order issued in 1868 by Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, the commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, for the annual decoration of war graves:

The first large observance was held at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

Most of my male and female relatives, cousins, and friends served our Country and proud. I come from a military background. Two uncles, one Army and one Navy. My dad, served over 26 years in the Navy, my brother, Marine Corps, and my wonderful, giving and loving husband served with the Navy for our Country, the United States of America.

Few years back, many more I assure you, I moved to the Washington, D.C. area, moving from New Jersey and found myself wanting to serve our Country as others have done. My first apartment was in Arlington, VA close to Fort Myer Army Base. Every morning I was awakened by the sound of Revelry, my time to get up and out of bed and “face the day,” and at dusk, with the beautiful sounds of Taps, “calling it a day.” It was then I decided to inquire about joining the military and serve my Country, even at the late age of 36 I began dialing my phone until I found a person to help me with my mission as well as my passion.

At my first interview with the United States Navy, and surrounded by Naval Officers, feeling a little intimidated, I was asked, “Why have you chosen the Navy?” My answer, “I called the Army, and their line was busy.” Oh my, did I really say that? Oops. Well, all went according to protocol. I enlisted and signed up for two years only and before I had reached the end of the two years, I reenlisted and continued for a full 10 years of Military Service. Many Active Duty assignments and non-active duty assignments Many week-end duty and many travels and most of all manty friendships. It was a big decision and a huge part of my life I wanted to share and very proud to have worn the uniform and served with my fellow members of the Armed Forces. Whatever branch your loved ones have served our Country, they are all special in our lives and the lives of others.

Every year, on Memorial Day we thank our military members, those who have served our Country, came home to families and friends and for others who fought and lost their lives for our Country, the United States of America. May God Bless them near and far. Let us pray for them not only on one day a year, Memorial Day, but every day of the year.


Ruby Regina Witcraft

A friend and I got to talking about conversations we have had with different people and I mentioned that a couple of my friends were long winded. I told her that I tended to run off at the mouth once in a while, and will tell myself to shut the heck up. I remind myself that conversation is a two way street and not an oration by one. Fast way to lose bored friends.

I seem to catch my self doing just such. I think it is because I’m alone, now and enjoy hearing a voice even if it is only mine. Yes, I do talk to myself.

Writer’s Group must fill many of our needs to bare our souls, which I, for one, appreciate, being able to read my little stories. It helps to have a captive audience, hopefully not yawning, to listen as they must patiently wait until their turn comes up.

When someone is conversing, the most flattering thing you can do is listen, intently, and when and if the person takes a breath, ask questions. I found this to be true when I was interviewing for our, now defunct, Chanel 49 television, show. Sometimes I would go into a home owners home who was very proud of her art work, another on antique furniture, even a tennis or golf pro and so on. They always had a love for what they did which made it much easier. For instance, I would pick out a painting that I sincerely liked and ask if this was a favorite or comment on the coloring and detail. Mention how beautiful and unusual a particular chair was, which could probably be a favorite of the collectors. With the pros it was a snap as I loved both tennis and golf and could listen until they got hoarse telling about their love of the game. Even picked up a few tips.

I have had many wonderful experiences growing up in a restaurant, as an Air Force wife, a show horse stable owner and have listened closely to everyone along the way. When anyone asks me, rarely, about my life in these areas, I am so tempted to expound, “ad infinitum but I remember what my father always said and I quote as I heard it bazillion times when I rattled on as a child, “You never learn anything when you are talking but you may learn something if you listen.”

Grapes Got to Love ‘Em

Dick Nelsen

Grapes you got to love ‘em. I like to just pluck a fresh grape and pop it into my mouth. I do this because I think they are good for you and provide some of the big name things that lower cholesterol and keep your body healthy. Now they’re maybe not good for you if you eat too many at one time but all the dieticians say we need to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables we consume each day. Have you ever tried putting grapes in the freezer and then pop one in your mouth? It is kind of neat. When driving in a car on the way to California I pluck a grape in my mouth and peel it with out using hands. It really makes time pass swiftly and, if you can remember to do it, check the mileage markers and see how many miles it takes to peel one.

However, there is an even better way to consume grapes. You can drink them. The best way is to drink wine. The true nectar of the gods, Bacchus is the god of wine and he is a jolly happy person, so why not get all of your flavonoids in a smooth Merlot or a dark red Cabernet Sauvignon. Both of these are best served with a good cheese or a steak dinner. I recently heard that after each bit of food a person should set down their fork and take a sip of water. I tried that and it is probably good but a small sip of red wine is a lot better.

I love to read the comments of so called wine conasuers who by sniffing wine and slowly moving the wine around in their mouth report they note a hint of plum with a slightly oak flavor, etc. Now how do they do that and who really cares? I swirl the glass around like the book says and sniff the bouquet take a sip and all I get is a hint of grape. I am not a wine expert nor will I ever be one, but I still enjoy a glass or two with dinner. After all I do want to be healthy and do what ever I can to reduce serious problems. Nevertheless like any fermented liquid too much can cause intoxication and that is when you begin to smell other fruits in the wine.

I wonder who was the first person to discover that if you stomp around on grapes and put the juice into barrels and put it aside you will get wine, maybe with a hint of feet?