In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket. Their father was gone. The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two.
Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared. Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds. He did manage to leave 15 dollars a week to buy groceries. Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either. If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it.
I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress. I loaded them into the rusty old ’51 Chevy and drove off to find a job. The seven…
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On a cold day in 1942, inside a Nazi concentration camp, a lone, young boy
looks beyond the barbed wire and sees a young girl pass by. She too, is
moved by his presence. In an effort to give expression to her feelings, she
throws a red apple over the fence — a sign of life, hope, and love. The
young boy bends over and picks up the apple. A ray of light has pierced his
The following day, thinking he is crazy for even entertaining the
notion of seeing this young girl again, he looks out beyond the fence,
hoping. On the other side of the barbed wire, the young girl yearns to see
again this tragic figure who moved her so. She comes prepared with apple in
Despite another day of wintry blizzards and chilling air, two hearts are
warmed once again as the apple passes over the barbed wire. The scene is
repeated for several days.
The two young spirits on opposite sides of the fence look forward to seeing
each other, if only for a moment and if only to exchange a few words. The
interaction is always accompanied by an exchange of inexplicably heartening
At the last of these momentary meetings, the young boy greets his sweet
friend with a frown and says, “Tomorrow, don’t bring me an apple, I will not
be here. They are sending me to another camp.” The young boy walks away,
too heartbroken to look back. Wallace-T0001
From that day forward, the calming image of the sweet girl would appear to him
in moments of anguish. Her eyes, her words, her thoughtfulness, her red
apple, all were a recurring vision that would break his night time sweats. His
family died in the war. The life he had known had all but vanished, but this
one memory remained alive and gave him hope.
In 1957 in the United States, two adults, both immigrants, are set up on a
blind date. “And where were you during the war?” inquires the woman.
“I was in a concentration camp in Germany,” the man replies.
“I remember I used to throw apples over the fence to a boy who was in a
concentration camp,” she recalls.
With a feeling of shock, the man speaks. “And did that boy say to you one
day, “Don’t bring an apple anymore because I am being sent to another
camp?'” “Why, yes,” she responds, “but how could you possibly know that?”
He looks into her eyes and says, “I was that young boy.”
There is a brief silence, and then he continues, “I was separated from you
then, and I don’t ever want to be without you again. Will you marry me?”
They embrace one another as she says, “Yes.”
On Valentine’s Day, 1996, on national telecast of the Oprah Winfrey show,
this same man affirmed his enduring love to his wife of forty years.
“You fed me in the concentration camp,” he said, “you fed me throughout all
these years; now, I remain hungry if only for your love.”
Lesson: The darkest moments of one’s life may carry the seeds of the
I don’t know if you have seen these pictures, but I want you to if you have not.
These war veterans (who were gravely injured while serving in the Afghanistan & Iraq) have been photographed by Bryan Adams, who is more famous for his musical career of-course. But he wants people to see him as a photographer and wants them to see the truth of wars and to never forget those who fought them. There is no make-up, no filters, all you see is the stark nakedness of war scars that remain with them.
Bryan’s Grandfather had been in both the world wars however Bryan himself has never served in the army. The singer and photographer is vociferously against war and has been inspired by some of…
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“Your casket slowly went down; the deeper it went, the more distant it felt. It happened in two different worlds, separated only by a thin veil that waved back and forth with the wind like slipping in and out of consciousness. They cried, of course, your mother most especially. She was drowned by her own tears; they had to call an ambulance. Your father, (you weren’t very close were you?), went to the car the moment you were lowered. Don’t worry, he cried there.”
If I die young, I would cry for the boy who rests six feet under the ground. The earth would not only swallow a mass of lifeless flesh, but beside him would also rest his hopes and dreams and the future. As the flesh decays, so would the core of his existence; the thing that makes him, him; the thing that made him live.
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A lot of people become self-destructive when they have nothing to lose. Just think of the movie… Nothing To Lose!
I’ve gone the polar opposite.
For example, one of the things I would have done in the past is crack open a giant block of chocolate and just drown my sorrows in front of a comforting movie. I’m as surprised as anyone when, after contemplating that idea as the best way to move forward, a voice in me said, “is that really going to make anything better?”
Is that chocolate going to help or hinder all the progress I’ve made over the past week? Wouldn’t it be more productive to plan something to fall back on? Bring your priorities and goals into focus right now – it’s as good a time as any.
That’s actually why I’m not very upset. Sure, I’ve had my outburst (or at least my…
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