Thank you and Happy 245th Birthday, America! #FridayFinds

To commemorate Independence Day, July 4th, here in the United States, I’m sharing fellow blogger Alice Massa’s poem, expressing gratitude for her family’s ability to immigrate to this country during the earlier part of the 20th century. Since most U.S. citizens, if not all, are descended from immigrants, I can’t think of a better way to show patriotism. If you live in my country, have a safe and happy Fourth of July.


Thank You, America!

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

Thank you, America,

for welcoming to your eastern shore,

in the early 1900s,

four immigrants from Italy–

later to become

the parents of my parents

and good citizens of the adopted,

the chosen country–


Thank you, Lady Liberty,

for holding high your torch

to light the way

to Ellis Island,

where my grandparents’ dreams

first met land of the USA.

Thank you, Indiana,

for giving my paternal grandparents

some of your precious farmland–

a grape arbor, too.

Thank you, Indiana,

for allowing my maternal grandparents

to build a grocery store and Italian bakery

in your Vermillion County.

Thank you, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini,

for blessing these four immigrants

from Italy to Indiana,

with a safe voyage,

with seven sons

and five daughters,

with eighteen grandchildren–

all of whom went on to do well

in this new home of our immigrant forefathers.


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American Flag Memories for June 14 #SocialMediaMonday

This post’s title pretty much tells you what it’s about. So, what more can I say except that Alice and I have been following each other’s blogs for years and are members of Behind Our Eyes, an organization of disabled writers. To learn more, you can visit: Now, here’s Alice’s post. Happy Flag Day!


Ready to Raise the Red-White-and-Blue on Flag Day

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

As we prepare to raise the “Red-White-and-Blue” on June 14–Flag Day–I am recollecting memorable USA flags that have waved throughout my life. The first American flags which I recall were in each classroom and in the auditorium, as well as hoisted atop an outdoor flagpole at Jacksonville Grade School, in my hometown of Blanford, Indiana. Next, I picture in my mind the flags which were carried during the parades which I enjoyed as a child.

At the northwest corner outside the Blanford Post Office was another flagpole which I distinctly remember. From 1955, when my mother became postmaster of this small-town post office, throughout the next twenty-eight years, my mother was proud to fly the American flag six days a week. After school or during summer vacations, I was always pleased to be given the opportunity to either…

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Patriotic Medley #Monday Musical Memory

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

As you read this, I’m returning from a wonderful vacation with my brother and his family in Florida. The Fourth of July is coming up, and I’m thinking back to how my family spent the holiday when I was growing up.

When we lived in Tucson, Arizona, we often attended fireworks displays at the local university. Although my vision was limited, I enjoyed watching the pyrotechnics show in the sky. I might have been scared at first of the booms and bangs, but I most remember gazing in fascination at the explosions of color and shapes. One year, I could even see them from our front lawn.

We moved here to Sheridan, Wyoming, when I was twelve. At the time, there were no public displays, so we bought our own fireworks. These consisted mostly of sparklers, pop bottle rockets, and Roman candles. They weren’t as elaborate as the colorful displays we saw in Tucson. So, for me, they weren’t as fun.

One year when I was in high school, Dad was kneeling in the middle of the street, about to light one, when a car slowly approached. Thinking it was a police car, we held our breath, since fireworks were illegal in town. Then, to our relief, we realized it was Grandma, who was always a slow driver.

After I became a registered music therapist and started working in a nursing home, Dad acquired an Irish setter who was born on the Fourth of July. Her original owner had named her Old Glory, but Dad changed that to  Maud, after William Butler Yeats’ mistress. Fireworks must have been shot off at Maud’s birth because she was fearful of booms and bangs. After she came along, no more fireworks were shot off in our family.

You can now click the link below to hear me sing a medley of familiar patriotic songs. This may inspire you to shoot off some fireworks of your own. If so, please enjoy them responsibly.


Patriotic Medley


What do you remember about the Fourth of July when you were growing up? Did you shoot your own fireworks or attend a display? Did your family traditionally have a picnic? What did you eat? Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!


My Books


My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

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Thursday Book Feature: The Summer Before the War

The Summer Before the War

by Helen Simonson

Copyright 2016

In 1914, Beatrice, a spinster, arrives in an English country village to teach Latin at a grammar school. Although some citizens are skeptical about a female Latin teacher, she is able to make a few friends. Then World War I breaks out, and everyone, including Beatrice, is caught up in the effort to support the troops.

This book has several sub-plots that bring out the injustices of English society during that time. Soon after war breaks out, a group of refugees from Belgium arrives in the village. When one girl is found pregnant, the residents arrange to send her away. When Beatrice tries to help her, she is shunned. In the grammar school where she teaches, a gypsy boy who is bright with a serious interest in learning is not allowed to take a scholarship exam because of his family’s heritage. As a result of the war, lives and limbs are lost, and the book’s ending is happy and sad.

Despite the seriousness of the war and closed-mindedness of certain characters, parts of this book made me laugh. The sadness caused by loss of life as a result of the war moved me nearly to tears. The Summer Before the War made me thankful to be living in today’s world with modern medicine and more liberal views, even though some people still look down on minorities and those less fortunate than ourselves.


Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

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