Friday, August 25, 2017

Just A Quick Look At Something Personal

Back in 2013, I usually said "Good morning" to the small pot of elephant ears that sat on my book shelf.
That's how it looked, in February, 2014, after 2 of its ears  turned brown. On the steps to our roof where we have a storage area, I found a larger black pot. My husband, John Cullum, got a flower shop owner, a fan who'd seen him in various shows, to sell him 4 cupfuls of potting soil, and we transplanted it. I put it on top of my printer just below a bright light. Calling it "Plantee," I started greeting it every morning and every night.

By October 2015 there were 5 nice-sized elephant ears, 3 small ones, and 2 sprouts. I got a bag of potting soil from Kmart for $4.95. We didn't have a right-sized pot, so we used a large Plaster of Paris can. Scrubbed it, loaded it with soil, adding 2 wood sticks, 2 straightened-out wire clothes hangers to support the 2 main stems, and installed a lamp to give it sunshine near the fax machine in the hallway between our offices -- it's Plantee's home now. I say hi and compliment it, whenever I pass through the hall to chat with John, golly, around a dozen times a day.

If you work in a small office, spend your day inside away from people and other living things, hey -- a plant to love and cherish, and talk to -- wow, it grows you like it grows the plant.

You're growing, and growing, like I say as I run out of words in this in this video about the wonders of growing, growing, growing like Plantee.

Monday, August 21, 2017


Today's date, my brother's birthday, is burned in my mind.

My  brother, David Frankel, was the only male child in my father's family,  the one child who could carry on the family name. He drowned in a boating accident a few months before his 19th birthday. He was a freshman at Antioch college just beginning to figure out what he wanted to be and do. And he never got a chance to drive the second-hand convertible he bought. I wrote about this and how his death affected me and my family in "Spiffy Cadillac Cars."

As I say his name, I think of my mother, how she loved him, celebrated him, lived through the ups and downs in her life, and helped me -- never stopped helping me and being there for me -- how she gave me her strength. I celebrate her birthday every September in "My Mom's Birthday."

Mom and David are gone, but are part of what makes my mind wander  here-and-there, find significance in the many things that are changing, and write-talk about them -- about the sense that I have that the future is mile-a-minute coming in around me, and I am racing into what the earth will be like when I am gone.

David and Em

Yes, people who are gone have shaped you, and made you what you are right  this minute.


Celebrating them keeps them very much alive and present  in your life. Celebrating them is celebrating YOU. Thanks, Mom, I celebrate David's birthday today, Mom, for us.