Category Archives: legacy

A Peony For My Mother

There are things that you’ll remember in the oddest of times; remarkably some extremely trivial, after someone close to you has gone on.
Time pulls your heartstrings out of it and untangles the ribbons that once held your heart so interwoven with another.

Finally, you can breathe again and be filled up with just the simple memories. You now can look at a photo and see that your loved one was smiling and enjoying some momentary happiness. This doesn’t lessen the longing or the missing, just maybe the tears.

I choose to retell a time in the summer of 1980, it’s hot and early June, I came to visit my mom. I moved out in 1979 because I thought that this was some kind of requirement as I wasn’t in college. In this era, if you weren’t backward thinking, you weren’t thinking. It was fun visiting my mom back then, we always had a very rich engaging conversation and I loved our visits.

Looking out onto the “screen porch”, which is what we called our four season room that my father single-handedly built, and don’t you forget it, the table was set with a jug of sun tea, glasses, and a small cake. I smiled as I looked down on it seeing the old chewed on Tupperware glasses, grandma Nona “Banna” old plates, the old flocked tablecloth that had been washed so many times the print was coming off in some places! Last but not least, was the ashtray overflowing with spent butts and perhaps a nighttime deck soiree.

There it is, I think now, a true snapshot of times ago.

Anyway, I called out for my mom, she responded that she was outback. I found her on her knees weeding her flower beds. She and my father were extremely prideful on how manicured their home was. They had a glorious garden reaping with a bountiful harvest as well as these prizewinning favorite flowers; pink peonies, and yellow roses.
I joined my mother sitting in the grass and began plucking weeds by hand, following her lead. We talked about the nice weather and then on to the flowers. She began to tell me how the bees were attracted to the beautiful show the flowers were putting on. She went on to say that her observation of the bees was that even they would compete to land on the flower. We began to get sunburned as we chatted about the flowers, we decided to go get our tea.

Mom began tea with a freshly lit cigarette and of course, I smoked then too. We went on at least another hour with jokes and conversation.

On my way home in the car, I realized that my mother was talking about me the entire time. So I broke up with my boyfriend and put on a bra! I planted a pink peony bush in my yard to honor her because nothing has ever been the same since.

A true snapshot of times ago for me means a peony for my mother and memories that just maybe provoke more smiles than tears.

Happy Mother’s Day.2018-05-14 13.00.16


Road Trippin…..

Road Trippin


There’s the rumble of the tires on the asphalt road, the wind blowing across the car with deafening sound and sweaty hair stuck to faces, as kids in the back seat ask, “When are we going to get there?”

There’s a stop for gas and a Polaroid camera, the station with a general store attached to it has salt water taffy and I am happy; all the flavors are my favorites! The man came out and began to fill my dad’s car up with gas and he washed the bugs off the windshield too! He and my dad chatted as the man pointed here and there as they were both looking at the atlas.

My mom sprayed her hair with hairspray and went back to reading her romance paperback. I don’t know why she keeps doing that we’re all choking back here! Also my mother thinks we can’t read too, it’s a book about kissing I am sure of it!

My brothers argue and wrestle, but me, I just peered out into the sky above me. I’m watching the clouds; they somehow look different out here. I suppose being out in the middle of nowhere means there just might be a little more sky!

I see there is way more room to play, but it doesn’t look like there are any kids around, just miles of corn and behind that  miles more of corn!  By the time my dad has gotten back into the car, I have already spotted an entire zoo worth of animals in those clouds, and I can even swear I see my grandmother’s face there too!

Time to go back onto the humming road now and count the thwamps and rumbles on the different pavements and undoubtedly I will fall fast asleep and miss the Native Americans on the plains that I think I might see.  I will also miss the license plate game my mom will play or 50 guesses question game, but who cares I’ll have my dreams of being a prairie girl like in my story books.

I’ll dream of what could be in the next town and the town after that!  And from this day on I will always have a sense of wonder, of what that next town will bring, more flavors of taffy pulled; I hope, or maybe just maybe, how many more miles of unfound zoo animals or grandmothers faces will be in the sky above me.

Merry-Go-Round Memories

Merry-Go-Round Memories


Memories; lifetimes should be filled with them. Memories should make us giggle with delight

like when recalling your 12 year old self at the carnival. Do you rememeber the pure

enchantment you felt as you now spot the carnival in the distance? You see the lights and your

heart leapt!

Giddiness begins to happen, as you approach closer still, and now the music is softly sounds,

there are thrill screams from rickety roller coasters, and throngs of people sounds closer, closer

still and then there’s whistle of the man directing you to a pay booth with policeman’s flashlight

that causes us to jump and giggle again, as your parents follow the car packed with as many

children as will fit in it, in front of you while my two brothers and I sit quietly and smile feeling

extremely lucky to have arrived at this wonderland. My mom and dad share passing smiles

together that they were happy of their surprise vacation choice. We enter and the world warps

into a fantasy. The smells of a carnival are fabulous, the lights off the noisy rides and then there

are elephant ears dusted with white sugar, cotton candy a mile high, and corn dogs on a stick.

There were ropes of licorice in red and black….oh I want one of everything I see! There, I want

to ride the merry-go-round, I want to jump on a unicorn horse; but no I take the brown one with

the tongue sticking out weirdly. My brother is two ahead of me smiling with glee he is on a black

stallion, my younger brother is beside me and he is on a tiny white pony with blue eyes and he is


My parents station themselves standing between us children, my dad a hand on my brother and

my mom between myself and my little brother, her hand on each horse. We begin, the music is

bellowing, the operator gives us a few rules, now spinning quite quickly, my sweaty hair is

in the breeze. My brother ahead of me thinks we are racing; he is slapping the red strap like

a rein and is smiling and laughing gratuitously. I glance at my baby brother next to me and my

mom is now holding him entirely as the pony pumps up and down. I look above me and I now

realize that my horse is just a stationary one. Just a horse on a pole and now I no longer am

smiling somehow I feel I’m having a less than experience. I want to get off of that goofy horse

anyway! I am dizzy, my baby brother is crying and my other brother is smiling crazily asking to

do it again when we exit the merry-go-round. Secretly, I hated it. But, do you remember how

much you wanted that damned stuff bear? It was deemed the top prize on the runway that year.

Every time I looked up some adorable little girl was sweetly hugging one, except I knew I was

not ever going to be one of them. (father thought games were a waste of money)


That night continued, and our little family trudged forward into Never NeverLand, finding a fun

house with fabulous goofy mirrors and hard to walk up floors (they were tilted), but I got scared

because of the freaky clown standing next to the funhouse; he looked directly at me and asked,

“did you have fun little girl?” ugh really? Dad bought us cotton candy and I forgot that freak for

second. We rode all the tiny rides because of my little brother and my parents

hated rollercoasters; that made me happy though. I love a little train and I rode a car that looked

like a ladybug! Back then no one cared if you were 12, they saw you were having fun, they left it

alone. Well, it was getting late and we were getting ready to go home, we were getting crabbie.

By the time we got to the car, my little brother was already asleep on my dad’s shoulder. Both

my other brother and myself were asleep before we left that parking lot.

That night our merry-go-round dreams turned into magical memories, stuffed bear or no; I thank

you mom and dad.

Michelle Obama’s Up-do!

I thought it was much ado about nothing!   Er..and Uh I was right!  It was all the rage for a couple of days;Michelle Obama’s new hair-do!  When first lady Obama appeared at the country music event at the White House and sported what many dubbed “The Obama Bob”, it was all the rage!

It was said that people were running in to their beauticians and asking for a bob that resembled that of the first lady’s! Could it be? Yes. But too bad for many when they found out days later that it was just an up-do of Michelle Obama’s current hair-do some were disappointed!  Why?

Probably because behind this hair-do could have meant dollars to some. If it were true and caught on, beauty shops would make more more money and their would be a spur of trickle-down effects that may or may have not taken place. All because of a hair-do. It goes to show you the power behind the woman.

Is this part of a bigger problem? Possibly. Being so invested in an individual could be disastrous for some. Although it is a harmless thing to want to just look like someone for example, Jennifer Aniston hair, or Farrah Fawcett hair. Or perhaps just purchase an outfit from J Crew like Michelle Obama’s. These all seem harmless, but to the young women coming up, it would behoove us to ask them to aspire to be educated like them. To tell young women it is more than great to have the mind of a chemist, love and write the greatest of literature, or to solve the world’s health problems and you will have something! We need to tell young women you go ahead and study everything and and anything that will take you to a higher educational place, all while telling them if you want Michelle Obama arms that is okay too!

Promote your daughter,your granddaughter, friend, niece, neighbor in every thing that they may encompass, but make sure you tell them to be a well-rounded individual!  Pursue music, education, and sport and build self-esteem! Then you’ll have something!

Just my thoughts, just my opinions, and always in a conversationalTone.

Mary Caliendo

Lance Armstrong-A True Athlete!

Lance  Armstrong is a man driven. He appears to thrive on competition itself. He’s out there and is in the race, he and his teammate, Alberto Contador remain in second and third for the third day in a row at this years’  Tour De France.

Lance Armstrong is quoted as saying that he even has his thoughts turning to next year already. Armstrong is out there racing sans salary this year! Alot of things can be said about Lance Armstrong, but athlete should be mentioned at the top of the list!

He is a seven-time champion, who after a three year retirement is back on the bike and is still a viable and a controlling presence. What can one say? What type of person can come back from that, not to mention having cancer? Lance Armstrong is a very resilient person who continues to stun and amaze us with his true god-given ability. These type of athletes only come along once in awhile. The Sugar-Ray’s, the Michael Phelps’s, and the Tiger Wood’s , along with Lance Armstrong of sports have something we all do not. The drive, the ambition,and the discipline that is required to not just reach the end of a race or game, but to conquer it. To create the next game and to improve that game for the next group of athletes.

So all that this writer can do is to add that Lance Armstrong at this writing is only eight seconds back and he looks comfortable, and the next hurdle is the win and the yellow shirt he will wear as he crosses the finish line only to enhance and improve his game. The game of cycling in which he created the stage on which he alone stands; an accomplished athlete.

Just my thoughts, just my opinions, and always in a conversationalTone.

Mary Caliendo

Michael Jackson Farewell

The crowds are beginning to gather at the Staples Center where later today a large memorial service will be held. They are signing their names  along with messages to pay homage to the pop star. Michael Jackson is known the world-over, and is loved the world-over. CNN is just breaking the news that Jackson’s body will be lying in state at the Staples Center!

Whether you personally love him or hate him, one has to admit that he was extremely talented. He paved the way for ground-breaking dance and creative ways to continue to re-invent or re-invigorate being  just a singer.

But that is the point, he was more than just a singer; while he has been accused of some nasty things (with children none the less), he has never been convicted of them. He has broke contracts and hinged upon some copyright infringements, but some people cannot get past the accusations regarding the kids! In many an interview the very soft spoken Michael Jackson states that he is often misunderstood. He claims that most likely because of his loss of childhood, he wanted to be “Peter Pan”.  In other words, he wanted to reclaim all that he thought was child-like.  People do not have to succumb to having been beat, or be a high profile star/singer as a child to want the right to reclaim childhood!  As we all age, don’t we all wish we could go back?  Don’t we all wish that we could be innocent again?

As my excelled child hops on to the Internet each day, do I proclaim, “don’t be sorry if you miss great things in your childhood!” Perhaps it would be great if the children all got on their play clothes, gathered sticks, large rocks, and built a fort to play army in! But that was my generation. My culture asked us to use our minds to invent things to play, or pass down marble championships, yo-yo tricks, and jump rope expertise! 

Now this up and coming generation will make us feel small at the amount of intelligence that they actually have. Their level of learning has far exceeded the things that we were taught at the elementary level. Their culture will ask them to create new applications for the computer, and pass down viral videos, and be part of a generation that tries to be “green”.

So don’t blame Michael Jackson as he saw things that none of us could ever venture to imagine, he was a visionary and a true seer. He was inventing new things to play. His games included dancing and singing on the utmost of levels beyond even the most talented could ever have predicted. So whether you loved him or you did not, admit and acknowledge that he somehow has changed your life.

So today, it is official, that act of saying goodbye. Saying farewell Michael -The King of Pop, we listened, we sang, we danced, we smiled, and we loved to your music. It’s hard to say goodbye to someone who was so young or someone you have grown up with, but we know we must. But saying goodbye doesn’t mean we will ever forget! Goodbye Michael your legacy will live on forever, just like that of Peter Pan!

Just my thoughts, just my opinions, and always in a conversationalTone.

Mary Caliendo