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Margaret, loving called Donnie by friends and family began telling stories at the age of 5. By the time she was 8, her mom complained that she found it difficult to tell the difference between Donnie's truth and her fabrications. Her mom encouraged Donnie to start putting her imagination on paper, including poetry since she seemed to have a talent for it.
Donnie, finally had her first story published. The title is Max and Donnie wrote under the Donnie Harucki. She's had many poems published in various anthologies.
Now being in the senior category of her life, she want to write more and see how far it takes her. That's why she became a member of Biopage. She's hoping you'll read her stories and leave a message.
Thanks for reading about her. She appreciates your attention. Have a great day.
I grew up listening to tales about the television stars my dad met through his job as a carpenter and stagehand. I eagerly waited for my dad to come home from work each night to fill me in on happenings behind the camera. How I longed to meet some of those famous people. Just meeting one would make me happy, I thought as I'd drift off to sleep each night. Visions of Steve Allen and his crew, Milton Berle, and Mitch Miller danced their way through every dream. Arlene Francis became my role model. After hearing the wonderful stories of how Ms. Francis did so much for the stagehands in a tough but lady-like manner, I decided I'd grow up being just like that wonderful lady. One afternoon, my brother, Frankie, raced home from school with some incredibly interesting and exciting news. A local company comprised of young adults formed a small organization for children between the ages of 10 and 16. The purpose of this organization was to teach music and march in the neighborhood parades. It was as much to keep the kids out of trouble as it was to advertise the company. Frankie wanted to be the first to join. Now I'd have the chance to play something. The first band practice interested more than one hundred children. The elimination process lasted two weeks and among those accepted were Frankie and me. Frankie, for whatever reason, chose to learn the bugle instead of the drums and while I tried my hardest to get one note out of the bugle, it was all in vain., I found myself learning to play the bells. Soon, we were not just marching in parades but playing in movie houses when celebrities came to town to promote their latest films. Then it happened. That summer, in 1961, Troy Donahue along with his co-star, Connie Stevens, came to town. While adults ran the operation of the band, they felt as a children's band, a child should represent it. Frankie, being the oldest child in the group at age 15, seemed only natural to represent the band by shaking hands with the stars which never fazed him in the slightest. Since their arrival in town coincided with my 14th birthday, the band's owner arranged a surprise for me. As Frankie made his way to the stage, his friends hooted and hollered from the audience. To my horror and excitement, I heard that same manager call out, “And now, I'd like Donnie to come on stage. Today is Donnie's birthday and I can think of no better gift than to have her meet our guests.” I'd get to shake hands with Troy Donahue – my latest heartthrob! Connie Stevens gave me a hug while wishing me a happy birthday. Troy Donahue, then took both my hands and the crowd in the theater came to a dead quiet wanting to hear what he said to me. What seemed to be an hour, was probably no more than two minutes Mr. Donahue stared deeply into my eyes. He slowly leaned towards me and pulling me toward him, placed a huge kiss on my cheek and then whispered in my ear, “I hope your birthday is as beautiful as you are.” Late that afternoon, as I walked home with my brother, I felt as though my world crashed around me. My mother noticed a downfall in my spirits. “Donnie, what's wrong,” she asked. “I thought meeting Troy Donahue would be the highlight of your entire week.” “Oh Mom! I always dreamed of being like Daddy. Meeting famous people and having them greet you when you go to work. But this afternoon changed everything. Connie Stevens hugged me, and Troy Donahue kissed me. I waited for the star's to shine, their faces to glow or something special happen. But nothing did. Nothing! Her hug and his kiss were no different than a hug from you or a kiss from Daddy. Yours at least mean something. They're just like daddy said, they're as human as we are.” My mom smiled as she realized how much her daughter grew up in the short span of two hours. Calling her husband from another room, together, they handed me a small box. “We thought of giving this to you earlier but decided to wait until after dinner. However, now, while dinner is cooking, this seems like the perfect time. Happy Birthday, honey.” I opened the small box and found the prettiest little ring with a dark green emerald – my birthstone. I immediately put it on my finger, jumped from my chair and with both arms, grabbed my parents and hugged them tightly. “Oh, Mom, Dad! I could meet all the stars in the world and none of them could ever make me as happy as you just did.” All it took was one kiss from an adored celebrity to take the stars from my eyes and put my feet back on the ground. To this day, I will always remember that day as I laughingly call it, the day the stars fell.
When my son reached his 17th birthday, he was diagnosed with ulcerated colitis. By the time he was 19, he was rushed to the hospital with severe anemia. His colitis began to cause bleeding ulcers. His hemoglobin count was down to five when it should have been 13. Two pints of blood later and a seven day stay in the hospital, l he was released with a hemoglobin count of 11. At the beginning of 2011, the colitis took control, and the decision was made. My son would have a colostomy. He wasn't happy. After all, he was only 45 years old. A colostomy bag was the last thing he wanted. Yet, on June 1st of that year, that's what happened. He had a full ileostomy. However, that wasn't the end of the problems - only the beginning. For the next three years he was in and out of the hospital with one procedure, or surgery, or infection after another. Finally, his health began to stabilize, and he seemed to be getting better but still hated that colostomy bag. In December of 2011, my mom had an accident which forced her to reassess her living conditions. She realized that she could no longer live alone, and in January of 2012, she packed her things and moved in with me. After we cleared out her house, we put it on the market. Mom was recovering nicely from her accident but still needed the use of a walker to get around. My son's house is about 3 hours away from mine which enabled us to visit often It didn't matter that I am his mother and my mother his grandmother. He was mortified every time the colostomy bag began to fill. He would leave the room and hide in his bedroom until the sound and odor dissipated - which often was about 30 minutes While we were busy socializing with his wife and children, we were unaware of the colostomy bag. Unfortunately, he was, and it made him extremely uncomfortable. Early in 2013 a friend began doing research on colostomy bags and found a doctor who specialized in a different kind of procedure. it's called the Barnett Continent Intestinal Reservoir Koch Pouch – or B.C.I.R. At that time there was only one doctor in Florida who could do this surgery. My son made the appointment, and it was determined that surgery would be scheduled for August of 2013. The procedure is a reconstruction of the small intestine using about two feet at the end to create a small internal pouch. The stoma is no wider than a #2 pencil which enables the pouch to get emptied a few times a day using a catheter. No noise, no smell, no mess! My son was thrilled. His stay in the hospital was about seven days but he insisted during that time we bring his grandmother for a visit. “Mom, I want grandma to see that I'm OK. After all I've been through and all her prayers, she deserved to spend some time with me, and I really want to see her.” I loaded mom's walker in the car and help her climb in the front seat. The hospital was only two hours from my house, and mom and I passed that time easily since she had many questions about his surgery. Once in the hospital, we pulled a chair closer to his bed and while holding his hand, grandmother and grandson spent the next hour gloriously talking about health and family. The nurse came in a few minutes later and reminded my son he needed to get out of bed and walk. Lying in bed wasn't good for anyone so I encouraged him to follow the nurse's orders. He was still hooked up to an IV, the urinal bag, and a heart monitor. Anytime he left the bed, the pole with all the bags went with him. Looking at the pole my son spoke up. “Hey Grandma, since I have to walk for exercise why don't you come with me? I have my pole; you have your walker. we could race up and down the hallway.” My mom laughed. “I don't know about racing, but I'll take a walk with you.” For the next 15 minutes grandma and grandson walked the halls of the hospital, chatting and enjoying each other's company. Once back in his room, he lay in bed, my mom sat in the chair, and they talked and laughed about how they must have looked with him pushing his pole and mom pushing her walker. Our visit lasted another 30 minutes and my son looked as though he was about to fall asleep. I suggested we leave since mom also looked tired and I had to make sure she had the strength to withstand the ride down the elevator and the walk to the car. We still had a two-hour drive home. We left the hospital and walked slowly, stopping periodically for mom to regain her strength and her breath. After all, mom was 92 years old, and her stamina wasn't what it used to be. As soon as we got in the car, she perked up and said, “Can we stop at McDonald's? I'd love a cheeseburger!” That's mom! My son was released a few days later and the first thing mom wanted to do is visit him at his home. Mom may be gone now, and my son is healed, but I'll never forget that day in the hospital when grandson and grandmother had their Walker Derby. It definitely was a sight to behold and one I'll cherish forever.
I love my husband's family. When my husband and I first started dating, his family treated me as though I were already one of them. My husband became a widower the year before and I'd been single for much longer than that. Second marriages aren't always easy but when you have a family of in-laws that open their arms and accept you immediately, it makes life a lot simpler. While a few of his brothers were on the quiet side and others were more extroverted, they all were friendly and loving. The only exception was his sisters. None of them were introverted in the slightest way. When I say we were one big happy family, it's said with the absolute truth. Through the years, as each sibling's health weakened, communication became more important. The problem was that while they enjoyed speaking to each other, my husband is not a telephone person. In fact, he really hates speaking on the phone and avoids it as much as possible. Time past and now there are four of them left which includes my husband. While in my own mind, he should make more of an effort to call his sisters and brother, in his mind, he will when he has time. My husband is 80 and retired. I insist he can make time. He reminds me that he's too busy doing the gardening and general maintenance on the house. We don't live in a run-down, ramschackled house. It's 20 years old and in very good condition. He can take 20 minutes out and call his siblings. Unfortunately, he doesn't. I do. His remaining brother calls at least three times a week and leaves messages such as: “Hey, wanted to say hello and check in. Call back.” “It's me again. Haven't heard from you. Hope everything's ok. Call back.” “Uh, what's going on? Is something wrong? Call back.” “Come on, really? What's your problem? Call me back today! Damn it.” I give my husband the messages. He ignores them. No, he isn't angry with his brother. Their relationship is fine. It's my husband's problem with phones. The other problem is that his brother is an invalid, living in a nursing home, and has nothing to do. My husband keeps himself busy with yard work, and other things around the house. He never was one to sit still. There lies a good portion of the problem. His brother doesn't understand why Rich won't call him back immediately or why he doesn't answer the phone in the first place. Rich says his brother should find a hobby to occupy his time. Today, I found another messages on my husband's phone. I said, “Don't shoot the messenger but please listed to your brother's message.” He did. Then he grabbed the phone and said, “That's it! I'm going to straighten this out once and for all!” I tried reminding him that his brother lived over a thousand miles away, has no one to visit him, is easily bored. He's just looking to have someone to talk to. My husband remined me that he has things to do. One of his sisters called but is still trying to get used to her new cell phone. She kept disconnecting herself. She'd call and lose the connection. I'd call her back and she'd lose the connection. This went on for fifteen minutes and then I just didn't return her calls. I might try again tomorrow. I saw no point in telling this to my husband since there really wasn't anything to say. After that bit of thunder-rolling atmosphere involving my brother-in-law, I received a text from my other sister-in-law stating she was out of the hospital and staying with her daughter. I walked out the back door and said, “Jane called.” Before I could relay the message, he looked at me with daggers coming out of his eyes. I interrupted him. “Hey, just a quick message,” I began. “She's fine, out of the hospital, and staying with her daughter.” “Oh, ok” he said and calmed down. I know tonight, once dinner is done, he'll call his sister. Maybe I can even get him to call his other sister. At least, they'll be quieter conversations than the one he had earlier. Oh boy! It seems the older we get, the less patience we have. There are times when I could smack Alexander Bell on the head and say, “Why did you ever invent such a troublesome instrument?” There are so many times it comes in so handy but then there are other times!! As I walked away toward the house, my first thought was, “I'm not getting paid enough for this.” Then I realized, “Hey, wait! I'm not getting paid at all!”
Like most people I know, I can and often be impatient. You could also use the word intolerant because while they are different in definition and emotion, they often go hand in hand. We hired a private contractor to do some work and as we checked him out, we were told, “He's good, thorough, and efficient. Just not very timely.” I asked what exactly that meant and was told that while he would show up for work, his day began whenever he arrived. If he said he'd arrive by 9am, we could expect him by 11am or maybe a bit later. My husband called him and made an appointment to take place two weeks later for an estimate. He showed up three weeks later. We liked his estimate and hired him with a promise of work to begin four weeks later. He explained that he needed to finish his current job first. Taking that into consideration, we agreed. Four weeks came and went. The fifth week did the same. Finally in the middle of the sixth week, he called saying he'd be at our home by 9am the following morning. As promised, 9am sharp, he was at the door. We had the final consultation and arranged for the work to begin by 9am the next day. Normally, I'm a very patient person but I do often find myself intolerant of inconsideration. That's when my patience goes out the window. Nine o'clock came but the contractor didn't. As the hour hand on the clock snuck past the number 10, I tried to busy myself to keep from constantly glancing at it. Eleven o'clock passed as did noon. I commented to my husband, “It's a [expletive] good thing we didn't pay him anything.” He finally arrived at 2pm saying that he needed to make a quick trip to the hardware store and was delayed. I felt like screaming, “REALLY?” Here we are at the end mark of week one and 4 out of 4 days, he's been late. He has yet to show up at his 9am promised time. In fact, he has not once arrived before 11am. To his credit, he is not lazy. When he's here, he works constantly. He doesn't leave until around 8 pm (which interferes with our dinner, but we manage). You're probably wondering why I haven't confronted him about his tardiness. If it affected his workmanship, I wouldn't have hesitated but as I said, his work isn't just decent, it's good and he isn't lazy – just tardy. The work we hired him to do should take no longer than two full weeks. I'm eager to see if his tardiness affects that deadline. Our friends who recommend him urged us to not speak to him or speak as infrequently as possible. This man loves to talk, and it doesn't matter what the subject might be. He can begin about the weather and before you know it, he'll be telling you about the diamond mines in Africa. To avoid any lengthy conversations, my husband spends the day in the yard doing whatever he finds he can do; I close the door to my home office and try to keep busy but there is still only so much to do in here. Ergo, this essay. While the handyman is bustling around my living room, I'm trying to think of things to do. It was at that point when my brain's lightbulb illuminated. Ah! Write, I thought to myself. So, here I am, writing, and wondering if I can sneak out of here just long enough to make myself a cup of tea without getting caught up in a firestorm of time-consuming conversation..
Because I was eight years old and the only girl in the neighborhood at that time, my ten-year old brother always let me tag along with him and his friends. When the boys played baseball, my brother would say to me, “Hey Sis, you're so good in the field, go over to that spot and wait for a fly.” That spot was not just in “out” field, it was in “left-out” field. But, at the time, I was too young to realize what was happening and way too enthralled with the idea of being part of my brother's team. At the same time, my brother, Frank, although making sure I didn't get in harm's way or the way of the game, every now and then, asked his friends to hit a ball in my direction so I could “field” it. Naturally, that play never counted but it sure made me feel important and like I was someone incredibly special. Despite being only 27-months older than I was, Frank always found a way to do just that – make me feel special. However, there was one day in particular that, to this day, brings a warm feeling to my heart. It was the day we climbed the Iron Man. In a section of the park near our house, sits a statue. I didn't know it at the time, but the statue was and still is a memorial commemorating the battle between the U.S.S. Monitor and the Merrimack, which was fought in 1862. The Monitor was only six months old at the time of its sinking and the street on which we lived was named after the massive and historic ship. The statue is huge and made of iron. It depicts a man in a semi-sitting position holding desperately onto a rope that stiffly hangs just below the ship's deck on which he sits. This was a favorite place for the boys as they would climb the statue and sit for hours looking at everyone who walked through the park. From that height, a child felt you could see for miles. On one of my “tag along” days, Frank and the other boys decided to climb the statue. I stood at base looking up helplessly. I, too, wanted to climb the big iron man, but was too small to reach. Finally, my brother stretched his hand down. “Come on, Sis, grab hold. I'll help you up.” As I took his hand, he explained where I should place my little feet and what part of the statue I should grab to hoist myself while he pulled me up. Within seconds I was sitting in the lap of this great iron man. I was on top of the world. I looked around and as my heart fluttered with excitement, saw the wonders around me that the others had seen from such a great height for so much longer than I had. As the boys laughed and joked among themselves, I was quite content to sit in silent awe. Eventually, it was time for dinner. One by one, the boys climbed down. I was the last to begin the descent, trying carefully to place my feet around the iron man's wide arm. My legs were just a bit too short. I couldn't get down. My brother realized my plight and ran to help. “Hey, Sis, turn around and kneel on the spool. Wrap yours legs around the rope. Then hold on to his arm and let yourself slide down. Once you get low enough, let your feet drop and then let go. I'll catch you,” he said. While I trusted my brother with my life, I didn't trust my life with my little hands and legs. Frank assured me I'd be okay. He stood directly beneath the stiff iron arm. I knelt at the edge and did what my brother suggested, but with one added thing. I closed my eyes. If I was going to fall and kill myself, I didn't want to watch. Suddenly, I felt Frank's gentle hands grab me. “You're down, Sis. Safe and sound. Let's go home.” I opened my eyes, gratefully and happily, as Frank gently put me on the ground. He grabbed my hand to walk the short distance from the center of the park, across the street to home. It didn't matter to him that his friends stayed and watched. After all, he was the big brother taking care of his little sister. As we approached the parks exit, I turned to give the big iron man one last look for the night. As I did, I realized I'd learned some particularly important things from my experience. Although for a while I felt like I was on top of the world, I didn't need a statue to keep me there. My brother's love and protection did that better than artificial things could ever do. I didn't need to climb a statue to see the beauty and the wonders of the world. They were right before me – at my own eye level, in my mind and heart. As we grew, I married and moved away, my brother enlisted in the Army and was sent to Viet Nam. Although he returned after his Tour of Duty, he did not return whole. There was something lacking in his spirit. Years later, we would find out that he contracted the cancer that would consume him before his 51st birthday. Several decades have passed since then, and although Frank is no longer a physical part of my life, I think of him daily. When I recall that day when I sat atop a statue, I smile and realize: my brother was my Iron Man.