Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Everybody is Talking About...Favorite Childhood Memories

My Brother, Barry and I at Duxbury Beach 1959

The Beach, Parades and Hoodsies
A recent visit to my cousin's home created an avalanche of childhood memories.  We laughed ourselves silly, remembering our antics together and with our other cousins. 

As I reminisced, later, I realized that there are recurring themes in my memories.  The beach, parades and Hoodsies all hold a prominent place in the slide show of my formative years.

The beach was just three blocks from my home growing up.  I swam before I could hardly walk!  Some of my happiest times were playing in the sand at the L Street Bathhouse in South Boston.  

The Bathhouse was built thanks to James Michael Curley, Mayor of Boston, back in the day and was divided into three sections - the boys', men's and women's bathhouses. My mother, one of the first women life guards in Boston on a public beach, took us to the "L", as it was fondly called, almost every day in the summer.  

I remember leaving early in the day with a lunch backed and stored under the baby carriage along with pails, shovels, towels and a huge Army blanket. Like a band of traveling tinkers, we would march down the street with all our paraphernalia for a day at the beach.  We would play for hours regardless of whether the tide was in or out.  (Most of us kids loved low tide, because we could dig in the sand and create massive castles.)

The second theme - parades - ranked a close second on the favorite memories scale.  Being a child of Southie, the St. Patrick's Day Parade was in my blood.  I don't remember ever not going to the parade.  Momma had our spot at the corner of L and Broadway.  We would sit on the curb, clapping and cheering as the bands and floats went by.  Sometimes, politicians would stop to talk to Momma.  I didn't know who they were, or that they talked to everyone they hoped would vote for them, I simply thought my Mom was very important.

The final theme - Hoodsies - threaded its way through both the beach and parades.  Hoodsies are a local treat of vanilla and chocolate ice cream in a small waxed cup, which was always accompanied by a wooden spoon.  

We loved to let the ice cream get all soft so we could swirl it around in the cup and then drink it.  Hoodsies at the beach cooled you down.  Hoodsies at the parade, which was held on or around March 17, were a promise that warmer days were ahead.

So, why am I waxing nostalgic today?  Because I am part of a Blog Party/Tour to kick off author, Steena Holmes' new book, Finding Emma.  The tour will run June 4 --29 with a guest post here on June 12.

Steena Holmes

 In the meantime, here is the synopsis of the story to peak your curiosity.

Finding Emma has quickly become a bestseller. Proceeds from each book will be donated to The Missing Children's Society of Canada - an organization dedicated to reuniting families. Visit for more information. 

If you comment on today’s post on this blog or any of the others participating the Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories day, you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of Finding Emma! 

To read Steena’s about childhood memories and view a list of other blogs participating in the Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories day please visit The Muffin (

A Story of Hope, and a Mother's Unending Devotion: Emma has been missing for two years. When Megan takes a photo of a little girl with an elderly couple at the town fair, she believes it to be her missing daughter. Unable to let go, she sets in motion a sequence of events that could destroy both families’ lives. 

Check out the Women on Writing blog for more information and a list of blogs on the tour.


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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Facing a Difficult Subject

Today, I am honored to have author, Helga Zeiner, as a guest blogger.  She will be sharing with us the story behind her new novel, Section 132. 

In her book, Helga deals with issues that are often avoided, disguised or ignored.  She brings her readers face-to-face with some of the awful realities of fundamentalism.  While her book is fiction, Helga has done extensive research into the topics it addresses.  

As she will discuss later, her book deals with children being forced into polygamous marriages by fundamentalists sects, such as FLDS.  Please note that the mainstream Mormon Church (also known as the Church of the Later Day Saints) renounced the practice of polygamy in 1890.


Section 132 is the title of my latest novel. This refers to the part of the fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) Doctrine and Covenants, which covers the "Principle of plural marriage." Behind this flowery description hides a life-style that is forced upon millions of women and children all over the world: polygamy. 

Unfortunately, polygamy is currently enjoying a distorted presentation by our western media – one might even call it a ‘celebration’ – which I find not only repulsive but outright dangerous. Reality TV shows like "Sister-wives" and series like "Big Love" are hugely successful. They prove that the topic intrigues many. In both programs, the sister-wives happily bond with each other, don’t mind sharing their one-and-only husband, have a say in running the family-business, can make independent decisions and so on and so on. The whole polygamous set-up is portrayed as desirable. 

I worry about young girls, living in small families, missing the companionship of siblings or the interaction with caring adults – as it so often happens in our modern society. Those girls are susceptible to the idea of bonding with a group of happy/giggling/care-free peers, sharing the joys of giving birth and the responsibilities of child rearing. They can’t imagine the jealous bickering of sister-wives fighting for the attention of their ‘husband’, or the added burden of making ends meet because there are too few wages to cover the huge living expenses of a large family. All this is not shown as long as the cameras are rolling.

No, watching the ‘pure joy of living polygamy’ on TV lures them into the sickening concept promoted by religious fanatics and pedophiles. Did you know, there is even a website called - Looking for sister-wives

I can not understand why Hollywood and Co. chose to assist a dangerous sect like the FLDS in twisting the disgusting truth. Current trials in America and Canada brought shocking detail of this secret society to light. There is proof of child-bride trafficking, sexual exploitation of minors, slavery … even water torture used on babies! 

It may be time to correct the sugar coated image our television producers want us to believe and show the other - the truly horrific - side of this fundamentalist cult. 

In my novel, Section 132, I have opened the secret door. I make no secret out of the fact that the fictional Mountain Glory compound where Bishop Jake controls his flock in utter isolation is a mirror image of the infamous Canadian FLDS sect, Bountiful. All references made to the Fundamentalist Mormon Church, the Doctrine and Covenants and its Section 132, the raid of the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Texas, the child-bride trafficking, the Lost Boys and much more are researched facts. 

By creating a fictional novel with a fast-paced plot and passionate protagonists, with twists and turns and surprising elements, I chose the literary path of ‘enlighten through entertainment’. Maybe, after you have read this novel, you will look at those TV shows with different eyes – and maybe you will take the time to encourage your teenage daughter to do the same. Maybe you will talk about it, with her and with your friends. It might just raise public awareness of what is really going on in those hidden sects. If my novel can achieve that, it would make me very happy! 

Don’t forget: Section 132 is fiction – based on facts! 

About the Author: Helga Zeiner is a bi-lingual German-Canadian author. At the age of 18, after completing her Arts degree in Bavaria, she left Germany. In the following 14 years, she has lived and worked in Australia and Hong Kong. Her time there gave her the inspiration for her first 5 novels, which she wrote in her spare time. They were all published in Germany. Since 2004, she has lived with her husband on a country estate in the wilderness of British Columbia. There, she is finally able to devote all her time to writing. 

Her first novel published in English, titled "Section 132" is a fiction-based-on-facts tale about a polygamous sect tucked away in a remote corner of Canada. 

What ‘Section 132’ is all about – brief summery 

Lillian grows up in an American fundamentalist Mormon sect which still practices polygamy. At thirteen she is forced by her father to become the child-bride of a Canadian Bishop. His compound is located deep in the wilderness of British Columbia, totally isolated from the rest of the world. Lillian wants out, but rebellion against her omnipotent husband is dangerous. When the land developer, Richard Bergman, buys the property next to the Bishop’s compound, he gets drawn into the sect’s secret. After discovering the true nature of his neighbor’s clandestine dealings, Richard is confronted with his own moral shortcomings and has to make some serious life-choices, which affect everybody involved.

About the title: Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants (an attachment to the Book of Mormon) covers polygamy. It states that members of the Mormon Church, who want to enter heaven, must enter “the principle” of plural marriage. Men are supposed to have several wives, while women are required to agree to their husbands having more than one wife. The mainstream Mormon Church (also known as the Church of the Later Day Saints) has renounced the practice of polygamy in 1890. A fundamentalist group, the FLDS, formed, who insist on their right to practice plural marriage, usually in secrecy. The American and Canadian authorities suspect some FLDS members of trafficking underage girls between the countries with the intent to marry them to deserving Church elders.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What Do You Make?

Several months ago, I came across a video by Taylor Mali, a teacher who answered the question, "What do you make?" with eloquence and finesse. I shared the video with my soul sister, Eliza Fayle.  She was so inspired by it, that she began putting together a book of women who make a difference.  

Yesterday, in an email, I received a copy of her second edition of Women Who Make a Difference.  Surprise!  There I was, along with seven other amazing, talented and wonderful women. 

Let me tell you a little about Eliza.  She is a dynamo when it comes to affirming and supporting women.  Here website, Silver and Grace gives women over 40 a variety of topics to ponder - everything from what to wear in the summer to great reads and dealing with aging parents.  Eliza is a no holds barred type of woman.  She looks at, ponders and discusses everything from breast cancer to vaginal creams.  She does it with humor, yet, she gives solid information that is worth the read.

If I may be so bold, I would answer the question, "Eliza, what do you make?" with an resounding, "YOU make a difference - for thousands of women around the globe!"  

Thank you, Dear Heart, for your love, friendship, guidance and understanding.  I bless the day our paths crossed!


Eliza Fayle is an intuitive mentor, creator of Touchstone Designs and founder of the Silver and Grace community of women.
Visit her at:
Get your free copy of the Women Who Make A Difference ebook at:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day Thoughts

Immigrants just arrived from Foreign Countries...
Immigrants just arrived from Foreign Countries--Immigrant Building, Ellis Island, New York Harbor. (Half of a stereo card) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been working for the past few days on my family's genealogy.  I am amazed at how much information we can access online as well as how far back we can go with that information.  After years of trying to piece things together, I am finally filling in the blanks on who my family is.

The sad thing about all this is that I have come to realize that I have cousins I have never met, aunts and uncles that never saw me before they left this reality and grandparents whose lives are a total mystery to me.  For many and varied reasons, my family was not always the closest, especially on my Dad's side.

The wonderful thing about all this is that I have found my father's ancestors (at least I believe I have) and they go back to Baden, Germany and Ireland.  On my mother's side, my paternal grandparents are a mystery because they came from Eastern Europe during a time when recording names accurately wasn't always a high priority.  I did find my Grandpa's entry through Ellis Island when he returned to the US after visiting with his uncle in Hungry.  However, according to his birth certificate, his mother and father were born in Slovenia, which became part of Yugoslavia for some time. Whether it is the spelling of their names or the fact that so much of the records from that time were destroyed in the wars, I'm not sure, but I seem to have hit a wall with it all.

On the other hand, my maternal grandparents seem to a wee bit easier to find.  They came from Ireland and Wales.  I have been able to trace them back a couple of generations, which is amazing to me!

All of this searching made me realize how blessed we are to have our mothers.  As each new mother in my ancestry is discovered, I feel a connection that spans many generations.  I feel part of a line of women who bore children, reared them, let them go into the world, sometimes never seeing them again.  I realize that I have a strong feminine ancestry of women, who were brave enough to leave the safety of what they knew to travel half-way round the world.  I am honored to be part of this lineage.

I made a Mother's Day movie for my daughters - my way of saying thanks for all the wonderful memories they have given me through the years, along with the new memories being created with my grandbabies.

Make your own photo slideshow at Animoto.

I wish all my friends and relatives, who are mothers the very best Mother's Day.  Remember - you are all part of a long line of women, who have worked hard, loved long and dreamed big.  Blessings to you all!

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Poem-a-day Withdrawal

National Poetry Month Display @ Forest Hills
National Poetry Month Display @ Forest Hills (Photo credit: mySAPL)
A week has past since my last Poem-A-Day prompt from Robert Lee Brewer at the Poetic Asides blog.  I must admit, I am having trouble coping with the lack of a prompt each morning!  I know it sounds silly, but, for whatever reason, I became addicted to getting up early, rushing to my computer and forcing my braincells to function.  

If you are not familiar with the Poem-A-Day challenge, it happens in April and November.  Each day, Robert expertly offers a prompt and his own poetic attempt. (A good leader always gets into the trenches with their troops!)

Some days, the prompt is so easy - like it had been waiting there just for me.  Other days, I sit staring at the computer screen wondering what Robert was thinking when he came up with the prompt in the first place.

Interestingly, I have always managed to write something.  Grant it, there are times when I wish I could have waxed more eloquently.  Those are the times I remember that even Einstein made mistakes, but it was those mistakes that got him where he needed to go.

Since this blog is about words and how they can heal and touch our lives for better or for worse, I will share with you a couple of my favorite poems from this year's challenge.  I hope you find something in them that will stir your soul.

I catch your shadow 
at the corner of my vision 
Turning, expecting your smile 
to fill the room with light - 
I am disappointed. 

Why do you hide from me? 
Why can't we commune - 
you on your plane of existence, 
me on mine? 
I am disappointed not to see 
completely your light. 
The thought of you makes me smile - 
the heart sees without vision. 
Lingering with your memory, 
I sit in the corner. 


Like St. Millay's ghost 
I walk ancient garden paths 
Bending over mint 
Yellow butterflies dancing 
Passing through what was once new 

For Momma 

Back when metal scraps where collected 
to benefit the boys over there, 
during times of leg makeup and seamed stockings, 
as blackout curtains shut in the light, and faith 
shut out the fear, 
my mother learned to economize. 

No eggs – no problem! 
Grabbing a can of tomato soup, 
some flour, soda, raisins, 
stirring in some cinnamon and cloves 
to add a bit of spice to the concoction, 
she would create a treat 
any Yankee Doodle sailor would come home to. 


Like ducklings in a row, 
they sit, hands folded in prayer 
until the youngest begins the dance 
of all four year old, bored by the mundane. 
From the corner of her eagle-eyes, 
the mother perceives the wiggle 
A snap of the head, a look 
all action stops! 

Copyright on all poems above by Linda M. Rhinehart Neas - 2012 

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