kNEW American Dream?

 While growing up in the 1950s and 60s, I heard the American Dream to be: own a home protected by a white picket fence. Why white I ask myself? A symbol of the white supremacy we continue to dismantle, struggling with its partner, patriarchy. Being a white woman who has owned two houses consecutively, and now lives in an apartment I love, an 1840s house broken into four apartments, I wonder what is my American dream.

I have been lucky enough to grow up in Ithaca is Gorges, NY, whose parents both served in WWII – my dad leaving his native land, Germany, to fight as a US citizen against Hitler, recently learning he was a Ritchie Boy – a soldier being of Austrian or German recruits, who become secret military intelligence officers, trained at Camp Ritchie, Maryland, who were “integral in gathering counterintelligence that helped secure victory for the Allies in WWII”(google.)

I doubt it was dad’s dream to fight for the freedom we cherish in America, leaving his six siblings and parents behind at age 17, eventually to raise three children with the American girl he fell in love with, his nurse on the ship Huddleston returning from WWII, she being pregnant by rape in Bremerhoffen, Germany. Was its dad’s dream to adopt me? Probably not – but he chose to love me, equally to his two children born after me.

I couldn’t have asked for a more (amour😊) loving dad, tears leaking as I write this sentence. I never tire of writing of this dream that came true for me: Dad’s love.

Which I pay forward by advocating for over 30 years, to teach a Healthy Relationship Skills Course at the local high school – knowing that healthy parenting education is how we can EVOLve toward LOVE that will end spanking (hitting) our children, or telling them: don’t talk back, stop crying or go to your room, big boys and girls don’t cry, or do as I say, not as I do.

I woke up this morning, April 15th, thinking and feeling I am living the American Dream, remembering how special I felt yesterday, when I hung up two 5×7 photos either hidden in a corner or in a drawer, of my two beautiful daughters as teenagers, (now 49 and 52) over the kitchen sink, reflecting a gargantuan smile on my face as I wash dishes.




Kill your TV??

Remember the KILL YOUR TV bumper sticker, popular in the 1980s and 90s? What a paradox I think to myself – ‘violently’ wanting us to rid ourselves of the TV, and to believe that TV ‘violently’ corrupts our minds? Are humans afraid of grooming an addiction to TV I ask myself. Then wondering why people can’t turn their TVs off with kindness.

I have learned much from the in-depth reporting by 60 Minutes or 20/20 or PBS, and can select free movies on Roku TV, the 43-inch screen I selected because 143 symbolizes I love you in numerology. One letter is the I, four letters the love, and three letters the you. I handcuff watching time to after 6:30pm, no daytime soap operas although I am far past retirement age, working part time as a Marriage and Family Therapist. I am a writer too, although The SUN has chosen not to publish any of my 243 readers write submissions, wishing I could be funny like Sparrow. Guess I may be addicted to writing to The SUN. I have subscribed for over 25 years, I’ve lost count Sparrow😊, always excitedly hoping to find a copy every month in my mailbox before the first.

As I have aged and EVOLved to love less TV and love myself more, I am aware of the Design Of the Universe (DOU) (dare I say I do not believe in god?) supporting my golden years with excellent health of greater immunity and greater flexibility than in my twenties. What is my secret? See my license plate: CRYBABE. Still, TV is my evening companion as I live alone. As is The SUN on waking and before sleeping.

It is hard to believe or comprehend that my grandmother’s vehicle for transport was her horse; and my great aunt Emma ‘s outhouse I used for peeing and pooping, neither owning a TV. My family’s black and white was delivered when I was ten years old and turned color when I reached college age, as well as being built smaller, while I was a single mother raising two beautiful daughters limiting TV watching. The upgrades have kept coming faster and slimmer, then smaller on one’s computers, and smart phones, where our democracy is seen desecrated on January 6th, 2021. I am greatfull to see more and more TRUTH being exposed by live videos as my three granddaughters grow up, where even our former president is being made accountable for his crimes, keeping American citizens informed of the TRUTH by investigative journalists, corroborated by the naked eye, on TV.



What’s up with PRIVACY

A 36-degree fog hangs around my apartment as I lift my head off the pillow, awakening in a cradle of cozy privacy, as the pond and forest are missing from my  bedroom large window’s view.

I am a fanatic about spacious light needing to surround me, thus, no curtains or blinds obscure. Unlike at my husband’s apartment, to which I drive 2 and a half hours usually every other weekend; we’re a commuter marriage.

Although I have broken free of my strict modesty expectations from growing up in a protestant fundamentalist family where the christian camp made girls and boys swim separately – and my husband has abandoned his catholic school religiosity, he still pulls the blinds down in the evening. He is afraid neighbors will see him in his underwear. Who cares? I say. I would walk nude anytime in my home and not care. Even his logic that children should not see nudity is a shame I cannot abide.

Over the 2 and half years we’ve been spiritually married, we’ve scraped off the glazed windows of the back porch one by one, with my persistence and elbow grease. Gradually, he admits, “I’m glad you convinced me; I like it being lighter!”

I like waking to the morning dawn, which means that eventually some windows are unblinded; him saying “You look beautiful in the morning light!” It’s been a tussle, as making love is definitely not to be seen according to my catholicized boy-man. There’s a front porch and two tall bushes that a neighbor would have to stare past. Why not give them the pleasure of our loving if they choose to cross the lawn and peer in?


My DAD – not my biological father whom I searched for at age 27. But that’s another story.

WHY is dad my idol?

I was conceived by rape; my mother felt too guilty and ashamed to want me. She met my dad-to-be when 5 months pregnant, returning from WWII, having met my dad-to-be as her diabetic patient.

They fell in love.

Often, I have written essays about the fabulous, extraordinary dad who chose to write his name on my birth certificate. How I felt loved as much as his 2 biological children born after me.

I can’t help it.

I could write a long list of WHY I love dad more everyday: as a baby he fed me, as a child he bathed me, carved a wooden doll bed, built a high swing set, and crafted a club house out of a radio-telescope crate brought home from his work as a radio-astronomer, played badminton with me after supper which he reliably showed up for at 5:30pm daily, opening his car door to lift me or my sister onto his lap to rumble up the driveway, asked his secretary to type my high school junior theme: Utopia, carved a water wheel with paddles turned by the small stream in our back yard, (I’m feeling sad), carved a whistle out of a willow branch during one of our many Sunday afternoon walks in nature, wrote vulnerable weekly letters to me while attending nursing school and early married life (tears appear), occasionally enjoyed clothes shopping with me, proudly led me down the aisle to my first husband, held my two young daughters often (crying now), etc. I must add feeling his shoulder next to mine while reading bedtime stories and supporting my questioning of mother’s rigid Christian beliefs of the bible.

Or I could write of the only-time he spanked me, the only-time I remember seeing his tender brown eyes glazed by a tear (sobbing). Or the only-time he ever yelled at me: STOP! As he was teaching me to drive our VW bug stick-shift.

Some family members still ask WHY I cry when speaking of how I miss his presence, he having died of a sudden heart attack in 1977. I miss his present: love (double meaning like being doubly loved.) As Adele Sweetman (apropos) writes in The SUN correspondence January 2023, “Missing her means you loved her…and that she loved you. Missing her means that all that love hasn’t gone anywhere.”

Just this past weekend, January 28, 2023, while walking my husband Dave across Cornell University’s campus to view several waterfalls, one from the suspension bridge, then across the arts quad, I spontaneously wanted to show Dave where my dad’s office was in the Space Sciences building, where a plaque in his memory I hoped still hung, where I had not been present for over a decade.

I was happily surprised to find the door open on Sunday, where I gloated proudly reading: “In MEMORY OF S. Michel Colbert, staff member of CRSR 1959-1977: “His talents, enthusiasm, and dedication were responsible in large measure for the design, construction and outfitting of the space sciences building in 1967.”

I am a Marriage and Family Therapist of 30 years because my space sciences daddy was way ahead of his time: an equally involved parent in the 50s, and 60s and then volunteering in the 70s for Suicide Prevention and Crisis Service before it was fashionable for men.

My dad worked for Carl Sagan of Cosmos fame, where in The SUN SUNBEAMS he is quoted: “Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us – there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.”

LOVE… I think to myself.

I am who I am today in large measure because of dad’s extraordinary love.

At age 76, I am over the moon in love with my dad.


“There is an eternal (universal) truth and that is love.” – author unknown


COFFEE grows on me

For a longtime I liked the smell of coffee, yet never grew to drink it in college or brew it for my first four husbands. It is like loving to eat fresh strawberries but not liking strawberry ice cream.

Yet, when I travel to my second daughter’s home near Boston, coffee is ferried from Dunkin Donuts each morning as a regular routine. I’m asked if I want some and cannot resist joining in with a small cup, adding one sugar and one milk. On a cold day, it becomes appetizing like the connection of warmth I feel with my daughter whom I cannot help but love.

My warming up to coffee with my daughter’s family became routine when I visited several times a year in my sixties.

Now in my seventies, I’ve evolved from an occasional coffee at Wegman’s grocery store, swallowed along with a warm freshly made bagel, to making my own at home – yes, every morning. Who says elders can’t change?

I’ve even learned to use a French press…even enjoy an occasional hot coffee mixed with Bailey’s crème. With my fifth husband.



CRYing with what kinds of pain?

November 5th of this year, 2022, my spiritual husband, Dave and I were moving a double bedspring and mattress to my eldest daughter, Erin’s home on a sunny day, when I trip on the stairs, falling, aiming to hit mother earth with my arm, instead of my hard head, already fractured in 1991.

The pain in my right wrist was all consuming: I could not talk or be touched by anyone for minutes. (I had no pain with my seriously fractured skull, surprisingly.) Then I felt nauseous for maybe a half hour, while able to bend my wrist, before becoming swollen. Being a nurse, I knew I did not need to go to the ER as others suggested. Back at my daughter’s, who is also a nurse, I was given an ice pack and a caring evaluation, sweet as honey.

I tell Erin and Dave: “I am surprised that I did not cry. Why is that? As I cry easily when emotionally hurt.” I google several related questions with little if any scientific findings; one article written in 2020 states, “we recall emotional rejection more readily than physical pain.”

Years ago, when Erin told me, “I need to feel pain,” as we casually walked down the street, I was surprised! Yet, being a Marriage and Family Therapist with a primal therapy foundation, I am aware, as is she, that emotions repressed: not grieved, acknowledged, are screaming to be heard. Felt. Why our bodies develop physical symptoms such as headaches, backaches, stomach aches, trying to grab our attention.

My daughter chose to be tattooed.

After an hour of applied ice pack, then donning a wrist brace and sling, I am hiking with Dave on the Black Diamond Trail, feeling the flow of a waterfall, while still stumped, yet pleased that my body knows what to do. That crying (endorphins, natural pain killers are in emotional tears, whereas basal or reflex tears are of different composition), evolves my soul to be happy. *

*A male client of mine years ago said, “Crying makes me happy.”





I have wondered if I could ever sign up just for sex…when I hear a client struggle to please her boyfriend, who wants her to be “more sexually free.”

I am reminded of my fourth marriage where my husband wanted me to have sex with other men, come home and “make love” telling him he is the best lover. “In my gut” I resisted because I knew “my heart” wanted more than sex, then in my forties. And I was attracted to my husband, in love with him, not interested in other men.

Being a Marriage and Family Therapist, being aware of being triggered into some past emotional pain, I endured ten months without sex because Gregory refused, saying he was too depressed. I closed my private practice for a year to move to Venice, California to attend The Primal Center, hoping to become a certified primal therapist. We were required be in individual therapy and group therapy weekly. After six months Gregory agrees to go to therapy as a hope to save our marriage.

We had met through a personal ad in a local newspaper, The Ithaca Times. Before Gregory, I had found loving boyfriends through personal ads before the advent of cell phones and dating apps. I met interesting men on and that I ultimately leave, still looking for love that lasts.

After leaving Gregory, my interest in dating sites, or apps disappeared. Finally, I was happy living alone, until living with boyfriend, Steve, a past client from 2004-2005. Future boyfriends I met on the dance floor. “In my heart,” I felt I would someday be married a fifth time.

Now I recognize that healing emotionally in order to trust myself and the Design Of the Universe (DOU) brought a fifth marriage into my life. Being a lover of waterfalls, led by and shared with my best friend, Gayle, for nine years before she died of cancer in 2019 – I continued on my own to find new waterfalls using her guidebook 200 Waterfalls of Central and Western New York.

On a hot day in July of 2020, I drive to Skaneateles, NY to carry on my love affair with waterfalls, but first decide to cool off in Skaneateles Lake. While swimming laps, a man joins my swim, applying a big smile saying, “A beautiful day for a swim.” I continue swimming laps as he shares his gratefulness to swim but cannot keep up with me due to a heart operation a year earlier causing a near-death experience.

He remembers me saying, “It must feel great to be alive.” Not just okay. Or wow!

We are now together two years, since I asked Dave to spiritually marry me the day before Halloween 2020, knowing and feeling we were meant to meet while swimming, neither of us being in our hometowns!



It is the first day of fall in New York State where leaves turn to bright reds, yellows, oranges, even purples, like those decorating my oldest daughter’s body.

Over twenty years ago, Erin and I were walking the sidewalks of Ithaca, NY when she offhandedly says, “I need to feel pain.” Even being a Marriage and Family Therapist I am surprised, taken off guard, even dumbfounded.

Erin and I had been to therapy together a few times, attempting to heal the distance between us, created by the mistrust I had created (along with her dad) by not respecting her feelings, she not wanting a recent boyfriend of mine to move in. It was the one time I wanted my ex-husband’s help and support, as to whether to let Rick move in. Rick had been kicked out of his present living situation, me wanting to help, yet was conflicted as to what to do.

Chuck drove 45 minutes, so all three of us could be together to discuss this distressing situation with Erin, whose eyes are drowning in tears. She is 15. I should have validated her feelings as being the priority – but her dad supported me by saying, “Your mom deserves to be happy.” (Maybe he was trying to ameliorate his guilt for leaving his family, to be happier as a gay man.) Therefore, he did not respect Erin’s feelings as most important either. I was a registered nurse back then, not yet a psychotherapist. Chuck was a music teacher.

Still, I regret my decision to let Rick move in, despite my twelve-year-old daughter being accepting. I have apologized to Erin more than once with teary, “I’m so sorry.” But this has not healed her distrust of me, and maybe her dad, who left when she was four, and had been a daily constant love in her life.

Although she has been in therapy and chooses to buy a house in the same city where I live, there is a steady stream of distrust amidst easy hugs, where I love you is not heard from her lips. (Occasionally, I hear love ya, just recently love you as her dad is dying) I tell her “I love you” often when we are together, as I view flowering tattoos extending over half of her naturally beautiful body!

DRUG experiences leading to trusting love

     I was not the teenager, raised in a strict religious home, who rebelled in their freshman year of college, unleashed from parental supervision.

Yet, I was rebellious, never liked the taste of alcohol, which was the drug of choice in my dormitory; to my disgust as one Sunday morning I entered the women’s bathroom, where every toilet was full of vomit. I could not bear to push my foot to flush – I hightailed out to church, where bathrooms and congregation are clean, “next to godliness.”

Trying to smoke pot several times in the seventies caused me to cough so hard, I could have thrown up. Not fun, nor did it make me float to a better place. Three of my five marriages hitched me to alcohol-dependent partners, as is my son-in-law, whose mother died early of alcoholism.

Recently, I visited my daughter and son-in-law’s home, whose 18 and 20-year-old daughters were drinking with me and their parents. I am surprised to see them pouring their third drink early Friday evening. As a nurse, (and marriage and family therapist), I know two alcoholic drinks per day is researched as scientifically healthy. I am surprised again when the 18-year-old says it is the third drink that makes you buzzed.

I am surprised a third time as my daughter respectfully asks her husband why he needs to drink every night after work to relax. She adds that she takes a shower and plays a couple games on her phone to wind down after work. She seems to enjoy a couple drinks on the weekend, offering me a sweet red wine, or I may request a white Russian, sweet like coffee with Bailey’s Irish crème.

I tell my daughter before I leave, “I am proud of your role model to your daughters.”

I tell myself; I am a lucky girl! To be carefree. Others admire my freedom to dance without inhibitions. What a buzz! Carefree. Others ask, when will you grow up?

NOTE: Today is the first day of fall…I have searched my heart…wanting to trust that while my daughter does not wish to be published (will not be to my email list or by The SUN magazine), there are no names given…and anyone who reads this will understand.

The PHONE call I wish for


6613 is the phone number of my childhood; a party line – you would pick up the phone not knowing who you would be listening to. Click!

By the time I am in nursing school, I call 2725690, using many quarters to ring my dad, sometimes a request for money, especially after discussing whether I could dismiss feeling guilty for buying a $100 dollar wedding dress, being from a lower middle-class family.

It was always my dad I could count on. Although my mother would drive my belongings to Cornell’s Nursing School in NYC and back home, it was dad who wrote precious weekly letters, not only about his research, or architectural design of Cornell’s Space Sciences building, but more so about his relationships with my brother and sister, or mom and grammy. Feelings even about his childhood self. And me.

America has evolved to area codes, using phone cards to call long distance, and me to imagining setting up a phone booth in NY City adorned with a large-lettered CRYING BOOTH, when in the nineties I began writing books to encourage healing through tears, our bodies natural way to let go of emotional and physical pain.

When my dad suddenly died of a heart attack in 1977, I tried to run away from my grief by running marathons, EVOLving into visits to his family still living in Germany. Phone calls to my aunt Resi, who only spoke German, me ein bisschen (a little.)

Now that Resi has died, my cousin Gabrielle becomes my closest connection to dad, from whom I recently requested the tape of his voice sent long ago to his cherished baby sister, Resi, whom he wrote weekly letters to for many years. It arrived a week ago in July of 2022. I want to hear his tender voice as if over the phone.