Christmas Fantasy by Barbara Edwards

The tradition in our family is to celebrate on Christmas Eve.

This year I had a fantasy. Come with me.

I decorated the house with all my old ornaments, the manger with my grandmother’s figures, chipped and broken as they be, the food was prepared and when I opened the door to my first guest, the music swelled behind me. A familiar polka brightened the air and my parents swirled past with broad smiles. They looked as they did when I was a child and we went to Eugene park to the dances. Somehow my space had swelled to hold them.

I teared up, then blinked as I beheld my daughter Theresa and her husband Don, both of whom have gone before. they looked so happy. 

I know when my sister Patricia joined them, this was to be Christmas to remember. All the people I ever loved were coming.

My sons and their wives brought covered dishes to share. Like usual they took over in the kitchen and told me to have fun. My nephew Bobby came in time to greet his children with hugs and smiles.

When I opened the door and my cousin Bill Petersen grabbed me in a huge hug and whirled me off my feet I couldn’t stop the tears of joy. I have missed him so much.

All my grand-children spilled in in a flood of laughter. My Great Grandsons, Charlie and Henry grabbed the spotlight.

The family shared memories from years ago. The highlight for me was all my sons singing carols as they did when they were growing up.   

We will be together this year on Christmas Eve. 

Merry Christmas to you all.

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2016 finally ended by Barbara Edwards

2016 was a rollercoaster ride. Not the fun one at an amusement park, but a shock after shock. My husband was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He started with chemo that hurt his kidneys and he had his bladder removed along with his prostate, two lymph nodes and six inches of his small intestine to rebuild the drainage duct. I learned more than I wanted to know.

img_0215He had complications that resulted in his gall bladder being removed and a collapsed lung. Four months later he was home and doing better. It took him all summer and fall to get back his strength and routine.

During the summer I got an inquiry on my ancestry.com account asking about my deceased daughter. It turned out to be my grand-daughter, her child, looking for family. She’d been adopted and her father had claimed there was no family for her. Just grandparents, five uncles with spouses, a dozen cousins and a half brother they didn’t know about.

Thank you, God, for answering twenty years of prayer that her children would be taken care of. I now have spoken with my three grand-daughters. It is difficult to know what to say. They are scattered across country and my husband and I are thinking about a road trip to at least the closest.

My book was rejected by a big publisher. Sigh. Another asked me to remove a sub-plot and its back to work. Otherwise my writing has been slow. Even my blogs have been difficult.

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Most of my family gathered for Christmas Eve and did a silly grab bag involving colorful socks. My oldest son and his wife had her son for company in another state.

On Christmas morning my oldest son’s wife Linda had a massive heart attack and later died. She was a wonderful woman who loved my son as much as he loved her. She called me her Mom. I don’t know why things like this happen. I don’t blame God. I may never understand.

So here I am. At my computer, determined to write my stories. To have a good year. To remember Linda with love. To welcome my grand-daughters, and in another sweet moment, my grand-son’s wife calls her two children my great-grand-children.

Keeping memories of the men in my family by Barbara Edwards

In remembrance on this Father’s Day.

Francis A. Radjeski
Francis A. Radjeski

My father, Francis Radjeski, lived a long and full life, passing away in his eighties. He was a foreman at Bowsers manufacturing for most of my youth, then worked for a company Called American Research. he built environmental test chambers.

He didn’t talk much about growing up in New York with seven brothers and sisters. He never said why he chose to leave all of them behind and move to Connecticut when I was a toddler. I do know he worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yards during World War II and wasn’t drafted because he was vital to the war effort.

My father was a skilled electrician, welder and carpenter.

His biggest gift to me was his love of books. Every evening he’d read a chapter from one of the classics to us. I heard Tarzan, Tom Sawyer, Treasure Island, Huckleberry Finn, and many others.

His dream was to be a writer but he never published a word.

img014My grandfather, Anthony Radzijewski, was born in Poland and migrated to New York in the early 20th century. I don’t know why and never thought to ask. He arrived at Ellis Island with fifteen dollars and a suitcase with a change of clothes.

He had a job at the Parson’s estate on Long Island for as long as I can remember. He was the head gardener. His Rhododendrons won awards for their display.

From the stories he was a tough disciplinarian, using a razor strop to enforce his orders with the boys.

He grew grapes on an arbor at the house in Bayside and we picked the grapes to make jelly. Before my time, they raised a pig in the backyard. Even to this child his roses were beautiful and smelled like heaven.

img003My mother’s father, Cyprian Gadamowitz, also migrated from Poland. He and his brothers were going to be conscripted into the Russian Army and their father, a pharmacist, sent to them to America. They were to go to South America (Brazil?) but my grandfather had been so seasick he refused to get back on the ship. He also had seven children.

I remember he had a rooster in the backyard that chased me. I even have a photo of that bird somewhere.

Cyprian worked as a mason. He did tile work in the Empire State building when it was built. He worked hard and drank hard. I don’t recall him ever kissing us grandchildren or giving us a hug.

It’s my blessing that because these men lived, I live. I like to think I’m as strong and tough as they were.

Have you written down your family memories?

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How do you give thanks? By Barbara Edwards

My Mom,

Long before politicians started pushing the value of volunteering, my Mom, Helen Gadamowitz, was a good example for me and my sister Patricia Anne Nadeau. We were far from well-to-do and money had to stretch to cover food, clothes and medicine. My Mother gave her time instead and taught me to do the same.

I was a member of our church’s Altar Society before I hit middle school. I found that what I gave didn’t equal what I received. One member taught me to crochet. Another’s daughter became a friend.

Over the years I’ve given time to many organizations. Because of my kids I was with the Boy Scouts for eleven years, the Girl Scouts for five and the Parent/Teachers association for six. Don’t get me wrong, I helped because it allowed me to spend more time with my children. The giving benefited me. It gave me hours of wonderful experiences with my sons and daughter. We camped with the troop, went to

Theresa Piazza Spahr Stark

summer day camp, and met some fine people. I can’t list the other places I volunteered, some for a day or a week.

From there it was a jump to RWA chapter President. I benefited so much from the writers who shared their talents and knowledge that I founded a chapter in Connecticut, The Charter Oak Romance Writers.

Again when I thought I was giving, I received so much more.

I taught Sunday School and joined the church choir. The joy I received cannot be measured.

So here I am making a list of things that I’m thankful for. Not in any special order.

1. My sons: the perfect men. Said with a mother’s smile but a belief it’s true.

2. And my Daughters-in-law who gave me grandchildren and are the greatest women I know.

3. Strength to survive the loss of my daughter Theresa Stark (Piazza, Spahr) was a gift from God, that and the sweet memories.

4. My grandchildren who are proving to be talented, smart and generally wonderful.

5. The ability to write is a joy that allows me to share my heart. Thank you God for five books published when I didn’t believe I could do it and for the dozen more in the pipeline.

6. How can I give enough thanks for my husband’s survival of his heart attack?

7. I thank God for the stubborn streak that pulled me through health problems that others failed under.

8. Thank you for my family, my friends and life.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Count your blessings and share your love.

Visit my website: http://www.barbaraedwards.net for free reads, excerpts and buy links.

 

The gift I didn’t get

Greeting and Welcome

Every year there was something special that I wanted for Christmas.
I remember wanting a horse. Not a pony, a real live horse that I could ride like in The Black Stallion. Sigh. It didn’t happen and with good reason since I had trouble taking care of a cat. But I wanted that horse.
How about the year I wanted a clarinet? I wanted to take the free music lessons offered at school but my parents had to provide the instrument. That was the year I learned that money didn’t always stretch to cover a son in college and a girl in elementary school’s wishes.
There was the year my sister was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and I wanted her to be well again. She learned to care for herself and I learned good things don’t always happen to good people.

Food's ready

There was the Christmas I was seven months pregnant and huge as a whale. I wanted that baby to arrive, but he stayed with me until February. Happy Birthday, Stephen.
Christmas was a time for planning on how to make the money go far enough. I wished for enough to buy everything my children wanted, but it never happened. I made jars of mint jelly (green) and crab-apple jelly (red) to give to their teachers. I knit slippers and mittens because hand-made things were less expensive. I saved so they could make a list to Santa and I promised to get them three things off that list. They got them, but it wasn’t always the most expensive items.
I wished to finish my manuscript by Christmas but didn’t. Shoot.
For years, I wished for my daughter to come home for Christmas, but Alaska was too far away.
This year I wanted to have my entire family gather for the Holidays. That ain’t going to ever happen. My son with the christmas tree farm is still working. The grandson in the navy’s submarine put into Groton so he came with his sweetheart. My granddaughter in the Air Force was flying to Colorado. My grandson in Florida started a new job at SeaWorld and couldn’t get the time off. The grandson in College surprised me and brought his girl-friend. My son in Virginia couldn’t take any more time off, but I’ll see him in a couple weeks. Every year I wish the same thing. To have us all together again. Maybe next year.

My Manger

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His gift to his Mom. Thanks, Bill

May you all receive your Christmas Wishes.