Remembering

I wrote this post two years ago for Memorial Day and thought I’d share it again today. My kids are a little bit (okay, a lot) bigger but this is still our tradition. Whether your attending a parade or service, spending time with friends with family or spending some time in the garden today, I hope you’ll take time to remember and thank those who have served and sacrificed for us.  Michele

I was talking with a friend at church yesterday about our Memorial Day plans. She asked what we were doing and I shared that we’ll be visiting the cemetery.  She looked a little bit confused for a second so I went on to explain that I like to use it as a teachable moment with my kids. We don’t have family buried here in Salem and I’ll admit that we don’t take the time to visit graves when we’re in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  We really should do that more.  On Memorial Day however we take a trip to a cemetery here in Salem and just relax for a few hours. Sometimes we catch guppies in the ponds, or take a walk. My younger kids ask lots of questions about death and dying which is always an important conversation. I usually bring some carnations and the kids and I place them on Veteran’s graves that look untended and lonely. I like for them to think about the sacrifices that have been made for them.  It’s often said that “freedom isn’t free” and we need to remember that. I also use this time to tell them about their grandfathers. My Dad spent twenty years in the Army and retired as a Master Sargent. He was never far from that experience and shared much of it with us. My father-in-law didn’t serve in the military but he was a true patriot and taught us all as well. I love remembering Memorial Days long ago when my family camped together or Michael and I watched the  parade in Wharton, New Jersey with my in-laws. I wonder what my kids will remember and what they’ll share with their children.  I hope that you have a few moments to connect with the people you love today and to take some time to honor and remember those who have given so much for us.

My Military Life: Thoughts of My Father on Memorial Day

Today in honor of Memorial Day I’m sharing a post that my brother wrote about our father a few years ago. Marks a great writer and he really captured Dad’s essence. He overcome great hardship and went on to parent us in the best way that he possibly could. I can often feel his presence and he’s never far from my thoughts. Happy Memorial Day. Michele

Third Space


I remember waking up to the sound of work shoes being spit-shined in the hallway of our small home in the Pocono Mountains. I can still hear the slap of the worn rag and the quick rhythm it made, as the dull polish transformed into a glassy shine. Still dark outside, my father was in motion early, enjoying the same breakfast (Cornflakes with milk) at the Formica counter in our kitchen every morning.My father learned the art of shining shoes as a means to survive. He was a homeless street kid in Philadelphia, whose mother died in childbirth and whose father responded by crawling inside a bottle. From what I know, he had moved through a series of foster homes and Catholic orphanages, none of which were any better than the life he found fending for himself on the street. He used to lift Tasty Cakes out of delivery trucks…

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Remembering

I was talking with a friend at church yesterday about our Memorial Day plans. She asked what we were doing and I shared that we’ll be visiting the cemetery.  She looked a little bit confused for a second so I went on to explain that I like to use it as a teachable moment with my kids. We don’t have family buried here in Salem and I’ll admit that we don’t take the time to visit graves when we’re in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  We really should do that more.  On Memorial Day however we take a trip to a cemetery here in Salem and just relax for a few hours. Sometimes we catch guppies in the ponds, or take a walk. My younger kids ask lots of questions about death and dying which is always an important conversation. I usually bring some carnations and the kids and I place them on Veteran’s graves that look untended and lonely. I like for them to think about the sacrifices that have been made for them.  It’s often said that “freedom isn’t free” and we need to remember that. I also use this time to tell them about their grandfathers. My Dad spent twenty years in the Army and retired as a Master Sargent. He was never far from that experience and shared much of it with us. My father-in-law didn’t serve in the military but he was a true patriot and taught us all as well. I love remembering Memorial Days long ago when my family camped together or Michael and I watched the  parade in Wharton, New Jersey with my in-laws. I wonder what my kids will remember and what they’ll share with their children.  I hope that you have a few moments to connect with the people you love today and to take some time to honor and remember those who have given so much for us.