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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.
You never know how things will turn out or how they might affect your life when they do. My husband was one of nine children. While growing up, they were a very close-knit group of siblings. Once marriage and children began taking each away from the group, the relationships became somewhat distant. Several moved to other states, some were too busy raising their own children. Others, like my husband, were not telephone people. If someone called him, that would be fine, but he was not the kind to make the call. He still is not. All too often, one sibling would call the rest and relay any news but often, just to keep us all in touch. Through the years, as life demands, we all aged and, the siblings began to succumb to illness: one was by heart attack, another by complication of rheumatoid arthritis, still there was that dreaded cancer. Jerry left us a few years ago leaving behind two sisters and two brothers, one of which is my husband, Richard. When I married into the family, I was never treated as an in-law. I was treated with the same love, warmth, and respect as they treated each other but then, none of the in-laws were treated as outsiders. The family was always that close, even as the miles pushed us apart. As I said, Jerry left us a few years ago. When I met him, he was tall, husky (not fat just, well, husky), jovial, and loving. He lived in New York; we were and still are in Florida. While we did not see each other often, there were the monthly phone calls. Then the calls began to change. Jerry was diagnosed with cancer and it did not look good. His doctor said he might live six years, six months, six days. His cancer was aggressive. Jerry lived fourteen months. His son called a few days before he died, and I advised my husband to fly to New York. I was taking care of my invalid mom who lived with us and could not make the trip with him. Jerry died while my husband was there. It was almost as if he waited for his brother for a final goodbye. A few days later, my husband called and said he was on his way home and gave me his flight information. When I picked him up at the airport, he was toting a very, large box – one he did not have when he left. Jerry's urn? It was one of Jerry's requests that he be buried in the Gulf of Mexico, a place he dearly loved to visit, which he did as often as possible. The following day, Rich called his friend who had a gulf-worthy boat; ours was only for shallow water. John was eager to volunteer his assistance in this sad undertaking and said he would be honored to take my husband to bury his brother. The sea-burial was set for the following day. When Rich arrived at John's house with Jerry's ashes, John handed Rich a dozen long-stemmed, white roses. “You can't send him off with nothing. Hope these'll do,” John said. They were better than, “they'll do”. About two weeks later, we received a large package, delivered by UPS. It was a beautiful painting of a small row of houses set on the water. With it was a note from Jerry's children (all five adults) saying, “Dad never told anyone that his hobby was painting. He was always afraid of criticism. Going through his paintings, we found this one and we knew, since you live on the water and love to fish, he would want you to have it. Please accept this from dad and all of us in gratitude for everything you did for him and us while you were here. We all love you.” Each of his children signed the card. They could have kept the painting to remember their dad but chose, what, to others might have seemed a simple gesture of thanks, was, to my husband, a world of love. The painting hangs prominently on the wall in our dining room for everyone to see. It is just a simple reminder of the love between two brothers and the closeness they, with their other siblings shared throughout the years. While I was not able to attend the sea-burial, John was kind and compassionate enough to take a photograph for me. I did at the beginning of my marriage and probably will always feel, even after all this time, that being part of the Brennan family is something to be cherished, never taken for granted. We still have my husband, one brother, Bill, two sisters, Pat, and Joan. Phone calls are now more frequent and finally, finally after all this time, my husband (after slight encouragement from me) will pick up the phone and make those calls. We only live once and should vow to remain close to our siblings. You just never know how things might turn out and those we love will be taken from us affecting us in ways we cannot even at time imagine. So, my dear friend and brother, Jerry, until we meet again, even after these passing years, we still have your painting, the photograph, and loving memories of the wonderful person you were, a loving and caring man. Not a day passes that we do not think of you with love and affection.
I know how heartbroken you are not being able to walk on the stage and be handed your diploma. You worked so hard for just that moment, the moment to shine, to show everyone what you have accomplished during your years in school. Whether to give valedictorian or class president speeches, to raise your diploma high in triumph, to smile for every camera waiting to capture the glint of awesome wonder in your eyes – the moment was yours – or should have been. Then the unthinkable happened. A virus that scientists named COVID-19 started spreading its vicious bacterium throughout the world. It did not care your age or gender, your education or lack of. It is just waiting for that one careless motion to leap onto your skin, invade your lungs and then impatiently wait. Wait and watch to see what medication treatment will be administered in time to save your life while you fight for the very breath we often take for granted. Often, even when that treatment is finally found, it is still too late. How my heart aches for every one of you who so looked forward to your graduation day. Having family members of my own who will have to miss this day, I know very well how disappointed you are. However, please keep one thing in mind. Not being able to walk on the stage in glory and triumph, does not take away the fact that you achieved your goal. You passed your tests! You accomplished what you set out to do. Your family and friends are still proud of you and when this virus is over, while you will still not be given that golden opportunity to proudly walk on the stage, your family and friends will still celebrate with you and for you. No matter what your course of study, you are what you set out to be - and nothing, no virus, no quarantine, no walking on stage, nothing can take that away from you. Yes, you can be disappointed. It is your right! To work so hard for your degree and be denied the opportunity to share that glory and pride with others is not fair. Unfortunately, life is not fair and that is something you will find out if you have not already. Life is the best of what you make it to be. Grieve for a lost opportunity to shine for a day but do not make it a goal. You already achieved the goal you set out to reach. Be proud of who you are and what you have become. We are.
As I sit at my computer, now and then, I glace out the window. An occasional car will pass by and I wonder from where it's coming. The time is 4:50 in the afternoon so whoever is driving, must be heading home. But, from where? We are not under a mandatory quarantine but under the circumstances, I wonder if that is wise. I know there are “essential” workers, those who keep our markets open, mail delivered, truck drivers, medical personnel, etc. We need these people more than we ever thought about. We always took their services for granted. Not anymore. I finally realized how important these people are to my everyday living. Then there is another group of people whom I haven't yet been able to categorize. One example is my friend and neighbor from across the street. Every day she hops in her car and is gone for at least an hour. She says she's tired of being “cooped” up and just needs to go for a drive. Is that really a wise thing to do? What would happen should her car break down and she needs to call for assistance? Using gas to just “get out” is also, in my opinion unwise. Now, you're touching the gas pump, which might transfer bacteria to your hands for you to transfer to everything else you touch. Bacteria can live on certain objects for at least 12 hours so even if you wash your hands, the bacteria are still on whatever else you touched before – just waiting for you to touch it again. This is a critical time in the lives of everyone. No one yet knows how to eradicate the virus that is infecting the world, so caution is our best defense. My husband and I chose to stay at home as much as humanly possible. If we have the need to venture out, we wear masks and gloves which we deposit in a plastic bag we keep in the car. We wipe everything down with alcohol and shower as soon as we get home. Are we being overcautious? Maybe. But we're still here and healthy. Isn't that what counts? People who have never had a serious illness take breathing for granted. Over 30 years ago, I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia administer to me before surgery. My heart and breathing stopped. I was placed on a ventilator. After eight hours, I began breathing on my own, but the incident was an experience I'll never forget. Have someone hold your nose and cover your mouth for 20 seconds. 20 seconds isn't long but when you know you can't breathe; it seems like a lifetime.
As I look back and open the memory box in my mind, I recall a Halloween night in the mid 1980's. My boys were grown and rather than go “Trick-or-Treating”, they would go to the local park and watch the little kids' Halloween parade. They, too reminisced about when they did the same thing. Through the years while my kids were growing, my friend Anne and I had gotten into the habit of weekly family dinners. We were both divorced and our children were still little. We kept this weekly ritual even after our children were teens and no longer wanted to spend every second with their moms. We'd have dinner, and they'd leave before dessert. Anne and I would laugh as we called them “typical teen”. One night, we were sitting at the kitchen table enjoying freshly brewed coffee. Anne and I became best friends while we were married and comforted each other through our divorces. Each week when we'd get together for dinner, we took turns cooking and visiting each other's house. This time it was my turn to cook. Anne arrived with her son and daughter and we all enjoyed my homemade baked ziti. After our meal, as I brewed a pot of coffee, the kids said their “See ya, later” comments and left. Then it happened. I anticipated something; I just didn't know what or when. I never told anyone fearing they'd think I was losing my mind. Now, there was a witness. My secret was out. How could I possibly explain the situation without losing my best friend? I wondered if any friendship could survive this kind of secret. Anne brought a delicious cake for dessert and I placed it on the table with the hot carafe of coffee. As we sat and talked after dinner, I noticed Anne's half-filled cup of coffee slowly moved towards the edge of the table. I didn't say anything wondering if she saw what I did. She did and became very quiet as she sat completely still and stared at the cup not quite believing what she was seeing. When the cup reached the edge of the table, even slower than before it slid off the edge, stayed verticle, and gently lowered itself to the floor - never spilling one drop of coffee! It was as if it had been guided and yet, if I had tried to do that, there would be drops of coffee splattered everywhere. Anne inched her chair away from the table and almost jumped out of her seat. She backed away from the table and stood behind the chair tightly gripping its back. Her face was pale, almost white with fear. The wild look in her eyes was a mix of fear and confusion. She opened her mouth but at first no words were spoken. Trying to take control of the situation, I tried to explain that this sort of activity happened frequently but rarely in front of visitors adding that other similar events also happened. I told her about the dish cupboard doors rattling; faucets turned on and off on their own; the dog refused to go down the basement stairs and frequently sat at the basement door, growling while showing her teeth. These things and more are events I'd already gotten used to seeing. They didn't bother me and no longer frightened me. I just accepted them. I shrugged and tried to make light of the situation as if all these things were completely normal. They weren't but I didn't want to frighten my friend any more than she already was. Anne said that she found the situation bizarre and difficult to accept as she walked out of the kitchen and vowed to never step one foot inside my house again. Although we stayed friends for the next ten years, she kept her vow. As for our weekly dinners? When it was my turn to cook, I'd prepare the meal and bring it to her house. She was much too traumatized to come back to my house. And while she kept my secret, never again would she enter my house that was inhabited by my uninvited poltergeist.
Twenty-five years ago, I married my second husband. As I did, Rich had two grown children. Christmas gift-giving had to be imaginative and it was a pleasant but curious surprise when I opened mine from my stepdaughter. Kim had given me a card-making program to use with my computer. At that time, the internet hadn't yet been offered to residential areas. There would be no internet surfing, site browsing, or links for informative sites. The writing I did on the computer required snail mailing. Kim thought I could use a break from wracking my brain looking for something about which to write. In addition to writing stories, poems, and essays, she thought it would be a great program for fun. She was right. Not only was it fun to use, but it also sparked another side of my imagination that I never knew existed. Once I began making cards, I never stopped. Five years later, I purchased my first card program that came with its own artwork. While it was great having a set format, I found the artwork to be a bit boring. Yet, finding the art or image I wanted, at first, wasn't easy since this was an entirely new method for me. By this time, the internet was in almost every home but browsing sites created other problems. Google hadn't been created yet so if you didn't know the URL address, using the internet was something you didn't do. Looking for any kind of artwork on the computer, for me, didn't happen. As I said, it wasn't easy until I was out fishing with my husband. The sunset was breath taking and I thought the little island that sat at the edge of harbor looked so peaceful. I grabbed my camera, which was always with me, and took the photo. When I downloaded the photo to the computer, I saw, not just the sunset and the small island in the water, but a lone bird flying to who knows where. I called that photo, “Flying Home” since it seemed as though that's where the bird was going. At first, I didn't use the photo but kept it stored in the computer. After taking many others, my imagination ran wild. I'd found a use for many of the photos I'd taken. I used a photo of a sunrise and wrote something like, “With the rising sun, a new day is yours to enjoy your special day.” I was invited to a birthday party where the honoree was given a beautiful bouquet of red and pink roses. The bouquet was so lovely, I took a photo. I still use that photo to make birthday cards. And the imagination keeps going. A few years ago, I found myself hooked on Pinterest. It's on that site where I discovered 3-D cards. Wow, I thought to myself, I can do that, too! And I did. I know most of the cards on Pinterest are posts so others can imitate them. I'm not one of those imitators. As far as I'm concerned, those cards were the imaginations of others and I have no right to use them, especially since now, I attend many craft fairs. What I do is study the cards I see, then using my imagination, copy the intent but change the look. With so many different colored papers and ribbons, it's easy to change the look of a card. The sentiment inside is always mine since I still write poetry. I've learned to heat-emboss, which is a lot of fun. Between dry-embossing, making cutouts, heat-embossing and using pop-ups, I've gotten many compliments on my cards and have received a few private orders. While it's true that I'll never make enough money to call this is living, it is a hobby that supplies with fun and the ability to demonstrate, or more pointedly show off, my imagination. The few dollars I make, end up buying more supplies for my crafting. Nope, I'll never get rich but I am having fun. My family and friends love receiving my cards and show them off to each other and their friends. When I look back and remember the way all this got started, I always send an email to my “daughter” reminding her of that very first program and thanking her for getting me started on what has turned out to be fun way to spend a rainy afternoon. In fact, I've gotten some of my friends hooked on card crafting and we often get together for a few hours and make cards together. There is a craft fair approaching in the next few days. My friend, Lorraine and will be there sharing a table and displaying our work. It's a day I can definitely look forward to between sharing it with friends and meeting new people. So, again, Kim, thank you for getting me started on this great, fun-filled activity.
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