Hot Houston!

Christmas 1971, I flew from Chicago to Houston to visit Napoleon Bonaparte and his family. No, not the Napoleon Bonaparte because it was not in the 1800’s. This one had another name attached on the end but yes, his mother named him for greatness. Anyhow, to my shock, it was about 80 degrees and the only thing that saved me wardrobe-wise was the fact that it was the era of the hot pants. So, I did not have to go shopping to pick up new clothes. 

His family, though meeting me for the first time, lavished me with gifts as he always did. I was in for so many treats during the few days that I spent there in hot Houston. Only pleasantries come to mind as I spent time with him, his mom, his sisters, and his brothers. The youngest brother kept us laughing. His youngest sister was highly fashionable, and I remember her hot pants adorned with some tall black leather over- the- knee boots. In Chicago terms, we would say that the boots were smoking

I must go far back down memory lane to envision my time there, but Paule Marshall, one of my favorite authors, wrote, “Sometimes a person has to go back, really back – to have a sense, an understanding of all that’s gone to make them—before they can go forward.” And I do intend to keep it moving. I distinctly recall some gigantic shrimp from one restaurant with high seasoning and one night, we went to a dinner club, not a nightclub, in the downtown area. 

While there, we saw and heard Johnnie Taylor sing to us in a small, quaint setting. All folks from Chicago knew Johnnie Taylor and loudly sang along when he said, “My last two dollars, I don’t want to use” from his song Last Two Dollars. Or we all danced to Taylor’s “Cheaper to Keep Her.” After the show, we saw him talking to Tyrone Davis, another singer, over in a corner. He was close enough for us to touch him! 

The family wanted to make certain that I saw Galveston before I returned to Chicago. We all packed into the car, and I think an older brother drove, but the fact that I do not remember means he must have been a safe driver. No scary moments. Along the way, we stopped to see their father who lived at another location. We took pictures and then we headed south to Galveston which sits on the Gulf Coast. It is about an hour’s drive down. 

We were serenaded by the renowned Isaac Hayes. He was burning up the charts at that time and the movie Shaft was a huge hit. Hayes composed the film’s score. Around the same time, he had an album called Hot, Buttered Soul which we listened to in the car. He had us all spellbound as he first told the story and then finally sang the tune, By the Time I Get to Phoenix. He made us wait for it and that song will be forever etched in my mind. It is over 18 minutes long and we were all quiet as we held on to his every word while he took us on a long journey into a man’s deep pain. Little did I know that many years hence, my main character in my series of books would be named Phoenix. Who knew? (Probably the literary gods.) 

When we made it Galveston, I remember it being overcast. Afterall, it was December. We took loads of pictures as we all took turns posing on the rocks. I held onto those pictures for years, but now that they are gone, I repaint that experience here. That is the only time I have been to Houston, but I can put a check by that city’s name and say, “Been there. Done that.!” I had a glorious time! 

{If you have an extra 20 minutes, or if you want to clean the oven or spruce up the house, push play and enjoy the incomparable Isaac Hayes do his thing, like no other!} 

Lynn M, 
March 15, 2022 

Heading North!

In the summer of 1980, my contractual job ended, my lease was expiring, and I felt as if I was in dire straits. I talked to my friend, Twiggy, a fellow writer and fellow transplant while we both lived in Atlanta. She was like that ram in the bush. She knew someone in Ohio who was the director of a summer program called Upward Bound

Ohio Wesleyan University

This was pre-internet days, but she made the phone call. It was a connection, so I pulled out my trusty road maps, packed up my Buckhead apartment with the help of another angel friend and when all systems said go, I headed north to Columbus, Ohio. 

Once there, I met my soon to be boss and she graciously accommodated me for one night as we made one another’s acquaintance. The next day we headed up to Delaware, Ohio which is the home of Ohio Wesleyan University, where we would be stationed for the summer. I was hired as the Education Coordinator who led and advised the other teachers. 

The staff was made up of people from all walks of life who converged there to make some summer money and to work with the inner-city youth from Columbus. Many were fresh college graduates, but one stood out from us all. He was an actor from New York whose very presence demanded attention. Over time, he started calling me Evita Peron and the musical, Evita, was out at that time. Whenever, I entered a room, in this loud bellowing voice, he started singing, “Evita, Evita!” I would just laugh. 

We silently doubted whether he was a real actor, but as fate would have it, a few years hence, I saw him in Spike Lee’s first movie, “She’s Gotta Have It.” I was speechless as I sat there and watched him on the big screen. And a few years after that, I saw him as a lead character in the movie Daughters of the Dust about the Gullah people, on television. (Research that.) 

Our housing accommodations were great on the campus. About three of us had a huge fraternity house which was empty for the summer. We had about three rooms apiece and we shared the kitchen and the living room. One day, we all stood frozen in front of the television as we watched the story of Richard Pryor’s freebasing accident. Time stood still as we wondered if he would pull through. As we now know, he went on to recover and continued to make films though we feared that we had lost him at that time.

There were the daily challenges of dealing with young teens who were often frustrated, angry and filled with pent up emotions, but that is the purpose of the Upward Bound program. We were there to let them know that there are other ways to live, and to let them see the beauty and peace of Delaware. I love college towns because they are often quaint, safe and peopled with those who both read and think. 

On weekends, if I felt as if the walls were closing in on me, I would drive to Columbus, rent a room and just breathe. Or I would meet friends who were locals that had swimming pools at their apartment complexes. But, whenever, I entered back into Delaware, it was like re-entering an enchanted forest. There was a calm there. I later met another supervisor, Larry G. who referred to Ohio Wesleyan as that bump on the hill. (He had been there.)

That summer, I purchased my first collection of poems by Maya Angelou called, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Diiie. That was the beginning of a long love affair with Dr. Maya because after that, I read almost everything that she wrote during her lifetime. I also found my first The Writer magazine and I subscribed to it for many years as I prepared for things to come.

Once, we drove up to Bowling Green State University for some job-related event. We were always looking for ways to enjoy the Ohio area. On another, occasion, I walked the grounds of The Ohio State University. That was special because it was the alma mater of my former supervisor from Mississippi. It had been a brave trek for him, and he made certain that I added the The in front of Ohio State University when I was typing for him. He was so proud of his specialist degree from that esteemed university.

Some other highlights include seeing the movie All that Jazz with Roy Scheider. The open-heart surgery scene was both graphic and memorable for me. At another point, I went to observe the young photography teacher show his students how to develop film in the huge darkroom at Rutherford B. Hayes High School. It was a real treat as I watched them learning those detailed techniques. 

Yes, I stepped out on faith that summer and I do not regret it! I will forever hold fond memories of Ohio Wesleyan University and my time spent in Delaware, Ohio. And no, I would not take anything for the journey as I navigated uncharted waters. I simply count it all joy! 

Lynn M. 
March 12, 2022 

On Benford Street!

Riverview School 2013

In 1961, our family lived in segregated Memphis, but we did not feel anything but happy and content. We lived on Benford Street and our street was lined with loving families on both sides of the street. There were the Brumleys next door, the Miles on the other side of the vacant lot, the Drapers behind us, the Guys and Bryants across the street alongside with the mysterious Mrs. West. 

As children, we walked and enjoyed everyday life and often visited the sundry stores often held in people’s homes. They sold pop (soda), candy and other goodies that made small children smile for miles. We always crossed the street to avoid passing Mrs. West’s home because rumor had it that she washed down her front steps with urine to keep the evil spirits away. We shunned that as kids and found it quite comical. 

One day, my sister and I were walking down Benford Street, and we found a letter as we walked home. We started reading it and every line begin with ‘So susta.” We giggled as we read it and to this day, we often greet each other with those words, so susta. It is our private joke and happy remembrances of times gone by.

We lived in a small duplex and the six of us seemed to fit in there just fine. My father used to fill our family station wagon with us and as many neighborhood kids as he could get in the car. Then, he drove us around the town because he knew that some of them had never left Benford Street before, so it was a real treat. My mother was the school librarian at Riverview School which was a few blocks up the street. That is where I fell in love with the little blue biography books of famous people.

There was also a huge vacant lot right next to our duplex. It served as our neighborhood playground. Whenever, Mrs. Miles came to the porch with a pan of hot pound cake, all playing ceased immediately. We ran to her front porch to make sure that we got a piece of that delicious cake. Those were the days! 

On Saturdays, we had to do our chores such washing, hanging out the clothes on the clothesline, mop and clean our tiny house. Afterwards, we were allowed to eat popcorn and drink Kool-Aid as we watched Tarzan and Shirley Temple movies. One cousin had her hair curled in Shirley Temple curls. Boy, did we envy her! When the local show called Pride of the Southland came on, we usually called it a day and went outside to play or do other things. Playing jacks on the front porch was also a comforting pastime for me and my three sisters. 

On Sundays, I used to go to church with my friend Herdestine who lived next door. I was allowed to wear stockings or what we called nylons since I was dressed in my Sunday best. That was a highlight for me as I tried to figure out what the moaning bench (mourning bench) meant though she tried to explain it to me.

On weekdays at the school, we had one classmate who showed us how to take a penny and turn the date upside down and it would still say, 1961. That is how I remember the year. It was also a time when we would run up and down the school yard when we heard that the green men were sighted. (An era to be researched) They supposedly had come to earth from outer space with the astronauts. I know. Kids, right? 

My mother’s sister, my aunt, and her family lived at the other end of Benford Street. It was a very long street and especially if we were walking. Once the sisters were having a feud over some thread and a needle or something. They were exchanging hot letters and we had to deliver them, but we did not care. We enjoyed the long walks and the cool breeze as we talked and sang along the way.

It was on Benford Street, that I made up a name for my daughter. That did not happen, so I borrowed it for myself and used it as a pen name. When, I fondly reflect on the time spent on Benford Street, the lyrics come to mind, “Precious memories, oh how they linger.”

Lynn M.
March 5, 2022

Philly Bound!

Liberty Bell &
Independence Hall

I made a decision a few years back, that being alone would not deter me from continuing my travels when the opportunities presented themselves. While still living in Boston, I was determined to see as much as the Eastern Seaboard as possible. 

I took an Amtrak train in early spring of 2003 and headed to Philadelphia. I had a cousin in the area but that was not my entire motivation for going there though it served as a backdrop which propelled me forward. I enjoy train rides for both the scenery and the tranquility and I can let the conductor do the navigating of the terrain. 

Of course, I did my homework and made arrangements for my hotel stay and tour guide plans. I remember the train stopping in New Haven, Connecticut, the home of Yale University. That was a memorable stop because I knew that that was about as close as I would get to that famed university. 

But, when the train stopped at Penn Station in NYC, it was a poignant moment for me. It was my first return to the city post 9-11. I felt a quiet hush as I looked out of the train window, and it was surreal for a few minutes as I thought about what had occurred there since my last visit.

We slowly pulled off and moved further south until we finally landed at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. After coming upstairs out of the terminal, the first place I saw was Drexel University sitting across from the station. University and college campuses always get my immediate attention for several reasons.

I do remember a professional brotha as my taxi driver and I recall the warm reception that I received at the Sheraton University City Hotel. My room was nice and though it was a gray day, I vowed within to make the most of my journey.

I went down to the hotel restaurant after resting and I realized that the venue was also a hot spot for the locals. As I ate, I enjoyed watching the young people dancing and enjoying life which made me feel less alone. I was totally absorbed in the food, the decorum and the joy exuding from the youth.

I later went upstairs and called my cousin who lived in nearby Deptford, New Jersey. Though she was not that far away, she kept talking about some bridge that she would have to cross if she came to Philly. I was not expecting that of her for neither of us were spring chickens at that point. We enjoyed spending hours on the phone talking and laughing. She was close to my mother who had passed a few months earlier, so we visited via the tele and it was one of the highlights of my trip.

The next day, I took a bus tour of the city which left from the hotel. I highly appreciated our tour guide who was diminutive fella who had once been a jockey. He was animated and truly lightened things up for us on that sunless day. As he showed us some of the city’s landmarks, he said of the city’s inventions, “If not Ben, it’s Penn.”

We saw the statue of William Penn sitting high up the top of City Hall, the victory steps that Sylvester Stallone mounted as he played Rocky in the blockbuster movie, the grave of Benjamin Franklin, some really skinny houses, Betsy Ross’ home and the Clothespin Statue, to name a few. We stopped and had Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches close to where we disembarked to see both The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

We entered the place where the Liberty Bell is housed and there was a small group gathered around listening to docent. I was shocked to see how small the actual bell was because I thought it would be huge like the bell that the Hunchback of Notre Dame swung on in the movie. But as we stood there in reverence, I silently claimed as Langston Hughes wrote, “I, too, sing America.”

We crossed the grounds and headed over to Independence Hall. It looked as if it was a picture from the 1776 era. I could see Benjamin Franklin and his comrades hammering out the words of the Constitution in my mind’s eye. It too held special moments for me. The space, size of the hall and even the speaker’s box seemed so small but there was still a feeling of great respect for what had been accomplished there.

I had hoped to do a little shopping at some of the well-known jewelry places that customize in the setting of stones for customers. However, I picked up catalogs, other memorabilia and jotted down detailed memories of my trip. It was a short, but sweet trip and I am happy that I made to Philly while still living on the East Coast!

Lynn M.
February 26, 2022

Walking in Oakland

My father used to take me and my three sisters to the Memphis Airport to watch the planes take-off and land when we were very young. He also took us on numerous road trips and taught us to be good drivers. He gave us vision and as a result we all have traveled quite extensively. 

Here, I am sharing a blessed memory of my two trips to Oakland. My older sister lived there, and though I had visited her in LA many years earlier, I made to Oakland in the early 90’s. I had a lot on my mind and after calling her, she said, “Come on.” 

On my flight, I sat next to a woman named Carolyn who had kind, compassionate eyes. I took that to be a good omen as we chatted because that was also the name of my dearest friend. We flew into San Francisco, and I followed by sister’s directions and took a shuttle over to Oakland to a particular hotel. I stood in the posh lobby and waited for her to pick me up. She arrived shortly after I got there, and it was so good to see her smiling face after such a long flight.

She had an apartment that sat high upon a hill that was very close to Lake Merritt. She put on some great music as we celebrated my safe arrival, and the music was distinctive. She always had the best sound systems with Sony speakers so that we could hear every instrument being played. As the former wife of a musician, good equipment was key in her life. 

I do remember walking over to the peaceful Lake Merritt and sitting on one of the benches at one point. Its mere presence was comforting in itself. Later, when we got out and drove around, we did one of our favorite things to do. Second-hand shopping! We went to either a Goodwill or Salvation Army and I do remember her haggling with an employee about a price. I think he enjoyed the banter as much as she did, and I went on to pick out some jewelry pieces. 

When we left, we walked over to a food truck and got some type of sandwich wraps. I do remember us walking and eating which may be a California thing but definitely not a Chicago thing. But when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Right? We were enjoying each other’s company, so I just went with the flow. The weather was great, but I soon learned that it got really cold at night though it was mild or nice during the day. 

During my stay, she drove over to the UC-Berkeley area. I recall seeing the University sign though we did not go on the campus. Yet, close by, we went to a place that had hot tubs and saunas. There, we were able to really talk, and I was able to pour out my feelings. It was both cleansing and rejuvenating and a load was lifted off of my shoulders.

As she drove, I do remember seeing a huge billboard advertising the I Dream a World Traveling Exhibition. I had seen the book of photography and interviews by Brian Lanker that features black women who have made a difference though I did not see the actual exhibit. We did stop and get food in their Chinatown, and I also remember catching a bus with my niece, her daughter, as she went to her job at a title company. 

I did return about five years later and by then, my sister was an empty nester living in another part of Oakland. She had her own stretch limo as a commercial driver, and it was parked outside of her small house. It was a beautiful navy-blue limo, and she took pride in polishing it and keeping it in immaculate condition.

I went with her to pick up a businessman that lived in Kentfield. As, she drove across The Golden Gate Bridge, I thought of how proud my father must be as he looked down on her. I knew to be very quiet as she maneuvered the limo across the suspension bridge. I saw Alcatraz Island sitting over to the left as we continually headed north. When we arrived at the man’s house, it was quaint and covered in mossy greenery and rather hidden away. She took him to San Francisco, and I sat up front with her.

I saw quite bit of San Francisco the second time around. I noticed the steep, hilly landscape. As she drove on the freeway to San Jose to see a cousin, I saw a house that sat so high, I thought that one would need a helicopter just to reach home. That amazed me as one from the flat lands of the Midwest. At one point, she drove to a spot by the Pacific Ocean where I saw a bunch of seals gathered on a rock. I also remember the people in the area reeling from the recent death of Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead.

Though I was on an adventure, I always found time to continually reach to accomplish some of my personal goals. With her help, I found the number of the famed Wild Tree Press that was located in Oakland, as I searched for an avenue to publication. I called and spoke with the editor who was both kind and encouraging. We chatted for a short while.

I have many fond memories of those two trips. We laughed when she told me that at that time, it cost a dollar to go into San Francisco, but there was no charge to return to Oakland. That’s fine. I enjoyed it and I will cherish those times with my sister as we talked, ate and walked in Oakland. 

Lynn M.
February 19, 2022

Brush Hill Tours

When I lived in Boston for four years, it was my express goal to see as much of New England as possible. As a former English teacher, it had been a long-awaited dream finally tumbling onto my lap in a haphazard way.  I was determined to make the most of my time spent in that region. 

I found my way to Lynn, Amherst and Concord, Massachusetts to visit the Eddy, Dickinson, Alcott and Emerson homes, respectively. Each entailed a lot of research on travel plans and I also enlisted the help of some of my co-workers who hailed from the New England area. They assisted me in figuring out which trains or buses I needed to take to get to my destinations. 

Then, quite like a magic wand, I was somehow led to Brush Hill Tours, a division of Gray Line Tours. Or, perhaps, it found me; but whichever way that worked, it proved to be a solo traveler’s answered prayer. My greatest challenge was simply making certain that I was at the Charles Street depot in Boston, before the bus left at 9 a.m. on that day.  

There were a variety of tours listed and the beautiful thing is that I would be back home about 6 p.m. on that same day. What a treat! Though it took a degree of spunk, the fears and apprehension quickly faded when I saw that I was not alone. There were small groups, couples and even a few single wanderers like me. I was lucky enough to always get a window seat and I had two entire seats to myself to breathe, think and listen to the driver when he chose to speak to us. 

I chose Maine first because I had met a woman where I lived who used to refer to going to ‘down Maine.’ though it is actually north of Boston. As I was boarding the luxury bus, two women called out and said, “Make sure that you take the Newport Mansions Tour!” I told them that I would, which I did at a later time. 

We went through New Hampshire first where I bought a colorful granny skirt. Once in Kennebunkport, I remember us driving by the Wedding Cake House built by a shipbuilder. It was rumored that it was built for his bride who did not have a proper honeymoon but that has been questioned. However, it was a memorable sight.

Also, along the coastline, we bypassed the Bush home and we saw several Secret Service men in tube-like water boats guarding the political dynasty’s home. Maine was so refreshing. It was like enjoying a cool drink of water filled with large ice cubes. Ahh! 

Each trip included shopping sprees and planned stops at great eateries. The drivers often talked in spurts and gave us lots of new information about that particular part of the country.

When I did take the Newport Mansion Tour as the women had recommended, we went into The Marble House and The Breakers. We saw how the Vanderbilts, and other high society families lived in the summers during the Gilded Age. I bought souvenirs at the bookstore and ate BBQ in Newport and witnessed where the famous Newport Jazz Festivals were held. And, yes, of course, I went shopping at the local shops! 

I later took the Cape Cod Tour and we stopped in Hyannis and ate scrumptious cod fish at a refined restaurant facing a pier. We even took a ferry, and we were able to get a glimpse of the historic Kennedy Compound. I remember having on my headphones and listening to some great music as we propelled along on the water. 

I could go on and on about Brush Hill Tours which became my weekend go-to. I was always surrounded by cool people who were there, but never too intrusive. They, like me, were simply travelers who were out there taking in the new! 

Lynn M. 
February 12, 2022 

Nashville Reminiscences!

Nashville was either my go-to or go-through city for many years while residing in Tennessee. The memories always bring a warm feeling like a soothing cup of hot chocolate on a cold morning. I went to Nashville on several occasions to visit family, friends or for business. Here is what I know to be true of Tennessee’s center for country music. 

When I went to visit my cousin who lived there for years, I remember the wonderful drives on I-40. Mossy cliffs line both sides of the highway and it is a straight stretch of good road.  It was so easy to put on some good, choice music and enjoy the drive. It is a calm scenic route and a perfect way to relax and leave my troubles behind. Quite like my father, long distance driving gave me time to think, change my perspective and often find answers to things that concerned me. 

My cousin had a variety of homes over that ten-year stretch, but I especially remember one cute small house she lived in that sat high upon a hill. I was listening to Phoebe Snow’s Cash In at that time and it was so appropriate. I found solace there as I relaxed and let it all go, for the moment. Through her, I was able to visit Vanderbilt University’s campus as I sat and waited for her and her friend. I even saw the old George Peabody Campus, which at one time was the home of the school for librarians before it folded and closed. 

Later, another friend moved there, and I also visited her a few times. This allowed me to go on the downtown campus of Tennessee State University and see Nashville life from an educator’s point of view. We also took in the sights and enjoyed good meals there.

And later, I went to Nashville for a media conference. I do remember staying at the Ole Opry Hotel which had an inner courtyard lined with green foliage. I could l come out onto the little balcony, look down and see greenery and beauty at its finest. The food at the chosen restaurants was memorable and scrumptious and one was known for its delicious cornbread!

 Nashville was also my go-through city. We had to drive through Nashville to get to Atlanta, also known as Hot ‘Lanta. Nashville always served as a halfway point and a safe haven. Once, my mother and I were pulling my furniture back from Atlanta and when we reached Nashville, we pulled onto a church parking lot and slept until dawn like tired children. 

Nashville was the last feeling a safety before venturing on into hilly and mountainous Chattanooga. And Lord, forbid of a driver did not know about the treacherous Monteagle Mountain. It has a great descent with little or no warning. The runaway truck lanes for trucks that could not stop, freaked my father out when he drove to Atlanta to see me.  He was a seasoned truck driver, but he talked about it for quite a time. I heard other horror stories of people unknowingly approaching Monteagle Mountain either at night or during a rainstorm. I was fortunate and had no such harrowingly tales to share! 

So, nowadays, when I see Nashville on television as it hosts the CMA’s or any other awards show, I think, yes, it may be the home of the Grand Ole Opry, but to me, it is so much more. I think of a place of peace, solitude, reprieve, safety and an oasis whether I was going to or going through that wonderful, southern city! 

Lynn M. 
February 5, 2022 

Mississippi Traveling

I wrote a book back in 2010 called Traveling Streams: A Reflective Journey. But as my journey continues, so do my reflections during the downtime of this pandemic. More past travels come to thought as I know that” He drew me out of many waters.” (Psalms 18:16) 

While in Mississippi for graduate school during the late 70’s, I was blessed with several mini trips as I traveled through the state. It is very large in size and one can easily drive for hours within this beautiful state. In spite of some of the state’s dark history, the landscape is grassy and gorgeous. During the Civil War, it has been said that soldiers decided that Port Gibson was simply too pretty to burn. 

Once when driving back towards Jackson, I heard the band Kansas singing “Dust in the Wind.” I could clearly see that my father was getting close to the end of his journey, and I made a point of jotting down that song’s title. It seemed so perfect and as fate would have it, I was able to get the album with special help and we did play it repeatedly at his memorial service sometime thereafter.

In Jackson, the spring looks like it has been dressed for a fancy party. Even the humblest homes look so rich as the red, pink and white flowering dogwood trees line the fronts of their houses. It is breathtakingly beautiful!  And then, there are the tall, strong magnolia trees, for which the state is named, that proudly show off their strength like rooks on a chess board. 

I took a one-day trip with a ceramic’s classmate down south of Jackson. He had some business at the Keesler Air Force base in Biloxi. I tagged along and we first stopped in Magee to pick up his sister. She worked for the local newspaper and after going in, I was intrigued as I watched one of her coworkers do the layout before the paper’s weekly publication deadline.

Later, I saw the University of Southern Mississippi-Hattiesburg sitting on the right as he drove. When we made it to the twin cities of Biloxi and Gulfport, we stopped at the beach and got out of the car. The three of us walked on the sand, pulled up our pants legs and put our feet in the Gulf of Mexico. The snapshots from those days are long gone but the memories live on many years hence.  

He went on to take care of his affairs on the Air Force base while his sister and I chatted up a storm. We eventually headed back to our respective homes feeling much richer after having experienced the peace of the landscape. This is another sainted memory that floated to the top of my mental rolodex. More travels will be forthcoming as I slow down and allow the cream to rise to the top! 

Lynn M.  
January 29, 2022 

Brand New!

Hey!  It is a brand New Year.
Time to wipe away that tear.
From affronts of yesteryear.
No more crying in your beer!

Let it all go far away!
It’s now time to have your say,
On who sits on your front row,
Not those that operate low!

It’s time to rise and play,
With those who mold good clay.
And sow good seeds that do grow,
Germinate, though sometimes slow.

Lift your head and clean off the dust,
Scrub and get rid of that rust.
Sparkle, shine and forge ahead,
The lit path guides.  Enough said!

Lynn M.
January 22, 2022


At one point during my journey, I found myself constantly looking for stable employment. I was living far from home as a transplant in another state. I held on tightly to one of my Unity pamphlets and repeatedly read the quoted line, “Then saith He unto his disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few.”‘ (Matthew 9:37). It took a while for the meaning to sink in, but it gave me the courage to get out there and try to find work again.

I was hired on my first temp job and there I learned to stuff envelopes, neatly fold business letters and file in a filing room. One job led to another, and I ended getting a proofreading job through another temp agency in that state.

Now, as, I look back, I am stunned by the multiple skills that I have acquired along the way while keeping the cash flowing in to pay bills. I have learned to use business etiquette as I answered corporate phones. I cheerily greeted weary travelers who were coming into offices for high-powered meetings while working as a receptionist.

Temping also allowed me to manage different executives’ calendars and input data into an intricate engineering program. I even learned how to collate sheets and build presentation notebooks for an upcoming conference. I had to use Excel in-depth for one job and mastered using the sum icon to calculate the numbers on the spreadsheet.

Very importantly, during those years of temping in different cities, I learned how to build slide presentations. I even purchased a couple of how-to books to guide me as I continually worked on perfecting my ability to do it efficiently. At the time, I could not see that I was collecting and gathering a wide variety of things that I can now do with a level of ease.

Along with all of those temp jobs, there were so many other accolades. The settings were often refined and located in luxurious skyscrapers with breathtaking views. There were sometimes fresh cut flowers sitting around those offices to add to the welcoming atmosphere. I was also invited to a quite a few high-end office parties where the ambience was beautiful as I met many wonderful people along the way.

So, no. I did not get the big job with the fancy title. I did not get the 30-plus year retirement. I did not get the gold watch. But Lord, I received so very much more! And now, many of those skills still serve me today as a continue to work and labor during these present moments.

Lynn M.
January 15, 2022