Happy Birthday, Gail!

Many years ago, my parents sent me to a Summer Camp that focused on our Episcopal Church. The place was called Briarwood.

Briarwood had once been an enormous estate that was donated to the Episcopal Church. The Church put it to good use as a summer camp for teens.

So there I was at the age of 13, feeling a bit lost and very nervous. I met two girls during that time and we became friends. One girl was the type that would be voted most likely to succeed at anything. Worst of all, she knew it.

The other girl, the one that has been with me ever since, was, like me, just trying to find our way.

52055445729_04505130e3_oGail and I are right in the middle of the second row. Gail was a brunette back then and I was a badly bleached blond.

After camp, Gail and I began to write to each other. Long letters full of teen angst and news of our latest boyfriends. Back then phone calls were expensive so it was pretty much out of the question. Occasionally, my grandmother would have extra minutes on her old landline and she would allow me to use the phone for exactly three minutes. Her motto was, “If you can’t say it in three minutes, then write a letter!”

All these years, through thick and thin Gail and I have remained as close as sisters.

26826577730_3a9cfa1394_oYou can see that as we grew up, she became the blond and I became the brunette!

Today is Gail’s Birthday! And I wanted to take this moment to wish her the happiest birthday ever!

 

Days Are Numbered

Katie was born on Wednesday, November 8, 1978, at 5:30 in the morning. She was our second daughter, who came into our life with tiny red curls and blue-green eyes.  She was a happy baby, and even when she had to have her feet broken as a corrective measure, she was still happy.

Kate

She loved her family, and she loved all animals. Her heart was a big one.

She enjoyed climbing trees, dancing, playing with Barbie dolls, and dressing up. One year her father made her and her sister a Barbie doll house and Mandy and Katie just loved it.

We went to County Fairs and rode on Merry-go-Rounds and ate popcorn and ice cream.

When asked by an old lady where she had gotten her red curls, Katie smiled and told her “One day Mommy was cutting my Daddy’s beard and it fell on my head and started to grow!”

She had a wicked good laugh and loved to sing everything from songs she heard on the radio, to songs she made up in her head.

I didn’t know that I would only have 2415 days, or 6 years, 7 months, and 11 days with her.

Had I known, I would have laughed more and appreciated every single hour of every single day.

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The accident happened. I’m grateful that I do not recall too much of it. I am also grateful that even though Katie never woke up from the coma she was in, at least we were able to hold her and kiss her before she passed away.

This year she would have been forty-four years old. She might have had a family of her very own.

Instead, from June 19, 1985, when she passed away until November eighth, 2022, I look back and see that she has been gone from us for 13,657 days, or 37 years, 4 months, 21 days. When I saw that I felt quite overwhelmed.

Most days I do well. But some days I am not sure how I have managed to cope.

We all miss you, Katie. I wish you were still with us. You were and still are greatly loved.

KatieKathleen Alynne

Queen Elizabeth II ~ King Charles III

It’s been an odd time. I’m sixty-three years old and for the very first time, Queen Elizabeth II is no longer with us.

I have been watching the BBC, as well as Sky News, and ITN on the computer. I’ve watched the Church Services and heard the Choirs singing. I’ve watched the Queen being moved all over Scotland and England, and I have seen her family weeping at her loss.

Each time I went to Great Briton, Elizabeth was there. For a while, I even subscribed to HELLO Magazine which was sent over to me. How I enjoyed reading all about the Queen and the Royals.

In Great Briton, they call you a Royalist if you favor the Royal Family. I don’t know if I am a true Royalist, but I did love the Queen, and I love to follow William, Catherine, and their young family. I also enjoy other members of the family, like Princess Anne and Countess Sophie, who do so much charity work.

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I believe that King Charles will do a good job. He is finally old enough to understand what he needs to do. And bless his Camilla. She has taken a lot of flack, but after their marriage, she’s kept her head down and worked hard towards children’s literacy, the prevention of cruelty to animals, and her most important work with domestic violence.

I’ll keep following them. I wish King Charles a happy and healthy time in office. I pray for him and for the family.

And may her gracious Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II rest in eternal peace.

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September 11th, 2001

I think we all can tell you where we were, and what we were doing on that fateful day, in September.

September 11, 2001

It was a beautiful day here in New Hampshire. Sunny, bright, clear with blue skies. I was taking a shower and getting ready for a dental appointment, while Jack was working on shingling the house. It was a day like any other here.

Jack had the TV in our bedroom pointed out the window so he could listen to the morning news.

Suddenly, I felt a hand on my arm and Jack told me I had to get out of the shower now, something was happening. I was a little dazed and confused. I shut the water in the shower off and grabbed my towel.

TOWER1

Jack and I sat in our family room watching Fox News, ABC, and CNN. A plane had hit one of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in downtown New York City. Jack, as a former Airline Pilot knew immediately, that it was no accident.

TWINTO~1

EPLODI~1

While we watched, suddenly another plane came in and hit the other Tower!
We were both in shock. We listened to reports. No one was saying terrorism, not at first. But both Jack and I knew.

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I look at this picture, and I know that none of those innocent people got out alive. That thought brings me to tears each time I see it.

We watched the Towers come down, one and then the other. We knew people had died. We just didn’t know how many.

At 12:30 I drove to my dental appointment. There was not another car on the road. Not one. I got to my dental appointment and found that I was the only patient that hadn’t canceled that day.

When I got home we watched TV all day. I called my family and my close friends. Just to hear their voices.

It doesn’t matter your political affiliations, or how you feel about war. What matters is on September 11, 2001, innocent people died in New York City, In Washington, DC, and in Shanksville, PA.

People like you and like me. Just because. That was the day I learned that we are no longer safe here at home.

12FLAG

I also learned that when our country is attacked in such a manner, we pull together and unify.

God Bless all who lost their lives that day, to their families, who will never be the same, and all who serve this country each and every day to protect and defend us.

September 11, 2001: Basic Facts

Chronology
8:46 AM Plane crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
9:03 AM Plane crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center.
9:17 AM The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shuts down all New York City area airports.
9:21 AM The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) halts all flights at U.S. airports. It is the first
time in history that air traffic has been halted nationwide.
9:38 AM Plane crashes into the Pentagon. Evacuation begins immediately.
9:45 AM The White House evacuates.
10:05 AM The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
10:10 AM A portion of the Pentagon collapses.
10:10 AM Plane crashes in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
10:22 AM The State and Justice Departments, as well as the World Bank, are evacuated.
10:28 AM The World Trade Center’s north tower collapses.
10:45 AM All federal office buildings in Washington, D.C. are evacuated.
1:44 PM Five warships and two aircraft carriers are ordered to leave the U.S. Naval Station
in Norfolk, Virginia to protect the East Coast.
4:10 PM Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapses.

The Flights
American Airlines Flight 11
From: Boston, Massachusetts (Logan Airport)
To: Los Angeles, California
Lives: 92 people on board
Crashed into North Tower of World Trade Center at 8:46 AM

United Airlines Flight 175
From: Boston, Massachusetts (Logan Airport)
To: Los Angeles, California
Lives: 65 people on board
Crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 AM

American Airlines Flight 77
From: Washington, D.C. (Dulles Airport)
To: Los Angeles, CA
Lives: 64 people on board
Crashed into the Pentagon at 9:38 AM

United Airlines Flight 93
From: Newark, New Jersey
To: San Francisco, California
Lives: 44 people on board
Crashed into rural Pennsylvania (southeast of Pittsburgh)

Victims
Victims came from more than 90 countries around the world.
The following are the number of people who died at each site:

World Trade Center 2,823 (includes airline passengers)
Pentagon 125 (not including plane victims)
Flight 11 – 92 people on board
Flight 175 – 64 people on board
Flight 77 – 64 people on board
Flight 93 – 44 people on board

The initial numbers are indelible: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m, the times the Towers were hit. Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. The time they took to fall: 12 seconds. From there, they ripple out.

That day, these first responders also died, as they raced to the scene trying to save anyone they could.

343 Firefighters (including a chaplain and two paramedics) of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY)
37 Police Officers of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department (PAPD)
23 Police Officers of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and 8 Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics from private emergency medical services.
1 Patrolman from the New York Fire Patrol

Fact Sheet
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC
August 15, 2002

Happy Birthday Melodie!!!

Today is my sister’s birthday. I wish I could be down with her to celebrate her big day. Alas, this is one more Covid-19 moment.

I do want to tell you all what a wonderful sister Melodie is. She is five and a half years older than me, and I was her “first baby”. She cared for me like a little mother and was always more like a mother to me, than a sister. I am so blessed to have her!

Mel is one of the kindest women that I know. She always has a smile and a warm greeting for those around her. She loves her family with her whole heart and rejoices in their successes and comforts them in their sorrows.

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Ron and Melodie

She has been married to her husband, Ron for 50 years. They met at the age of 13 at summer camp and wrote to each other for many years before their wedding in November of 1971.

So today, on her Sixty-ninth Birthday I want to wish my beloved sister, Melodie a very Happy Birthday!

293050308_10226394720787413_331198945436785005_nMy beautiful sister! I love you so!

Happy 34th Anniversary to Us!

Today, Jack and I celebrate 34 years of marriage. It doesn’t seem possible that it has been that long. In the grand scheme of things, 34 years is like forever in a Hollywood marriage. And at my age (63) it certainly is a large chunk of time.

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In our thirty-four years of marriage, we have had 4 White German Shepherds, Rex, Max, Fritz, and Lili. Five Wire-haired Dackels, Shubi, Greta, Arnie,  Anneliese, and Heidi, lived in four homes. One was a farm in Lyndeborough, NH; a very beautiful ranch home in Punta Gorda, FL; in a motorcoach here in Meredith, NH for 9 long months; while we built our current home, and lastly, this beautiful house, that Jack and I designed.

We had four children, between us. Three are living, and they have grown up to be really good people. We also have two of the most beautiful, and wonderful grandchildren on the face of the earth!

Marriage is never easy, even if you are married to your best friend. There are days you want to murder each other, but lucky for us, those days were few and far between.

Forgiveness is so important when you live with someone this long. People do stupid things, and if you can’t forgive them, then you are with the wrong person. I am the Queen of stupid things and I am married to the King of stupid things. So it’s a good thing we forgive and forget.

You will also find during a long-term marriage (or relationship) that there will be those days when your significant other just makes you crazy. Whether it’s how they are chewing their food, or even sipping their soup, you will sit there and wonder how you never noticed this before!

But then, there are those times when a little look, the warmth of a hug, or a gentle squeeze of your hand, will make you feel loved and safe. During my illness in 2017, when I felt like I was dying, I was so scared, and Jack just kept the home fires burning, cooked my meals, did the laundry, and did not allow me to believe that I was leaving this earth.

Likewise, not even six months after that, when he got the infection in his foot that led to the amputation of his toe, I made sure I was at the hospital each day. I brought him goodies to eat, stayed to speak with each doctor, and informed Jack, he wasn’t leaving me yet.

No, marriage isn’t easy, but the pros far outweigh the cons, and life would be, so lonely, without my Jack.

Even after all these years, Jack is still the first person I want to speak to in the morning, and the last person I want to speak to at night.

I made up a short montage of our life together using one of our favorite songs. I hope you enjoy it!


Happy Anniversary Jack!

Happy Birthday Amanda!

Today is my daughter’s birthday. A special day for her, but in the beginning, it was a very special day for her father and me.
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Amanda was the first child born to us. She was healthy and happy and amazingly beautiful! We both immediately fell in love with our girl.

She was a bright and alert baby, who seemed to grow up very quickly. Always sweet and loving, yet determined to set the world on fire.

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Whatever she sets her mind to, she accomplishes, but perhaps her greatest accomplishment is the fact that she is a wonderful mother to her two kids and their 2 dogs and a cat!

I am so proud of the woman she has become. She is a self-made woman who continues to tackle challenges that many would run from.

So on this, her special birthday, I wish her, good health, much happiness, and a fulfillment of all her dreams.

71136718_10221137923904358_8407547006184062976_oI love you so much, Amanda!

Happy 50th Anniversary ~ Melodie & Ron!

Fifty years ago today, I stood by my sister’s side as she said her wedding vows. Melodie was marrying her soul-mate, Ron. I watched them look into each other’s eyes, and I knew their marriage would last. Here is what Mel has to say about her life with Ron and a short montage after.

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“Ron and I celebrate 50 years of marriage today! We are so blessed to have each other and still be so in love! We did not have beautiful wedding photos so during the past year we dressed up and took many pictures of us at several special places! It was great fun! Once we had taken all the photos my dear sister made a wonderful slide show set to our pick of music! Thank you Maribeth for doing this for us!! We hope you all enjoy it!”

Happy 50th Anniversary!

Birthday Girl ~ That’s Me!

Today is my 63rd birthday. Odd. How did that happen? I do not feel that old. Officially, according to Social Security, I am not old. In order to get my full retirement, I have to wait until I am 67 and a half, so you see, I am still very young!

I was born and raised on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts. I still feel that the Cape will always be my home, even if I don’t get down there too often.

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I was the youngest child of three, and I guess a bit of a tom-boy. I loved playing trucks and riding my bicycle all over town. I did like Barbie Dolls and played them with my sister and cousin. But I was equally happy climbing trees and going on adventures along creeks and swamps.

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I did many things alone. I would ride down to the beach and climb the jetties. I would sit and dream and lose myself in thought.

I also tried to make people laugh. At times life was hard, and I could joke around and get people smiling.

Yet, as a young woman, I seemed to lose that child-like confidence. Although many would say I was outgoing, not many knew how I worried I was inside of falling on my face and failing.

Now I am sixty-three. Golly, I have learned so much along the way. But, oh, that insecure woman still resides within, and occasionally rears her ugly head.

I find my peace with my pups. Walking them or holding them or waking to their morning face licks. Unconditional love. Given freely, by my fur babies meant so much.

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Having a grown-up daughter is amazing, and watching the wonderful mother she is with her children, makes me proud. She is a self-made woman. What an amazing person she is!

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My grandchildren are everything. Savannah tells me her secrets and stories, and Quinn is coming into his own. He always checks to see if I remembered his Bai water when I come down, and recently my Kindergartener made me a card all by himself. To Oma, Love, Quinn. Why? Just because.

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The hugs, their smiles, watching them grow puts a smile on me like you cannot believe. How grateful I am.

So life at 63 isn’t too bad. It’s not quite what I thought it would be, but it is a good life nonetheless.

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So, Happy Birthday to me!

 

Twenty Years Later ~ September 11th 2001

I think we all can tell you where we were, and what we were doing on that fateful day, in September.

September 11, 2001

It was a beautiful day here in New Hampshire. Sunny, bright, clear with blue skies. I was taking a shower getting ready for a dental appointment, while Jack was working on shingling the house. It was a day like any other here.

Jack had the TV in our bedroom pointed out the window so he could listen to the morning news.

Suddenly, I felt a hand on my arm and Jack told me I had to get out of the shower now, something was happening. I was a little dazed and confused. I shut the water in the shower off and grabbed my towel.

TOWER1

Jack and I sat in our family room watching Fox News, ABC, and CNN. A plane had hit one of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in downtown New York City. Jack, as a former Airline Pilot knew immediately, that it was no accident.

TWINTO~1

EPLODI~1

While we watched, suddenly another plane came in and hit the other Tower!
We were both in shock. We listened to reports. No one was saying terrorism, not at first. But both Jack and I knew.

sept-11-library-of-congress

I look at this picture, and I know that none of those innocent people got out alive. That thought brings me to tears each time I see it.

We watched the Towers come down, one and then the other. We knew people had died. We just didn’t know how many.

At 12:30 I drove to my dental appointment. There was not another car on the road. Not one. I got to my dental appointment and found that I was the only patient that hadn’t canceled that day.

When I got home we watched the TV all day. I called my family and my close friends. Just to hear their voices.

It doesn’t matter your political affiliations, or how you feel about war. What matters is on September 11, 2001, innocent people died in New York City, In Washington, DC, and in Shanksville, PA.

People like you and like me. Just because. That was the day I learned that we are no longer safe here at home.

12FLAG

I also learned that when our country is attacked in such a manner, we pull together and unify.

God Bless all who lost their lives that day, to their families, who will never be the same, and all who serve this country each and every day to protect and defend us.

September 11, 2001: Basic Facts

Chronology
8:46 AM Plane crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
9:03 AM Plane crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center.
9:17 AM The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shuts down all New York City area airports.
9:21 AM The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) halts all flights at U.S. airports. It is the first
time in history that air traffic has been halted nationwide.
9:38 AM Plane crashes into the Pentagon. Evacuation begins immediately.
9:45 AM The White House evacuates.
10:05 AM The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
10:10 AM A portion of the Pentagon collapses.
10:10 AM Plane crashes in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
10:22 AM The State and Justice Departments, as well as the World Bank, are evacuated.
10:28 AM The World Trade Center’s north tower collapses.
10:45 AM All federal office buildings in Washington, D.C. are evacuated.
1:44 PM Five warships and two aircraft carriers are ordered to leave the U.S. Naval Station
in Norfolk, Virginia to protect the East Coast.
4:10 PM Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapses.

The Flights
American Airlines Flight 11
From: Boston, Massachusetts (Logan Airport)
To: Los Angeles, California
Lives: 92 people on board
Crashed into North Tower of World Trade Center at 8:46 AM

United Airlines Flight 175
From: Boston, Massachusetts (Logan Airport)
To: Los Angeles, California
Lives: 65 people on board
Crashed into South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 AM

American Airlines Flight 77
From: Washington, D.C. (Dulles Airport)
To: Los Angeles, CA
Lives: 64 people on board
Crashed into the Pentagon at 9:38 AM

United Airlines Flight 93
From: Newark, New Jersey
To: San Francisco, California
Lives: 44 people on board
Crashed into rural Pennsylvania (southeast of Pittsburgh)

Victims
Victims came from more than 90 countries around the world.
The following are the number of people who died at each site:

World Trade Center 2,823 (includes airline passengers)
Pentagon 125 (not including plane victims)
Flight 11 – 92 people on board
Flight 175 – 64 people on board
Flight 77 – 64 people on board
Flight 93 – 44 people on board

The initial numbers are indelible: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m, the times the Towers were hit. Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. The time they took to fall: 12 seconds. From there, they ripple out.

That day, these first responders also died, as they raced to the scene trying to save anyone they could.

343 Firefighters (including a chaplain and two paramedics) of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY)
37 Police Officers of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department (PAPD)
23 Police Officers of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and
8 Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics from private emergency medical services
1 Patrolman from the New York Fire Patrol

Fact Sheet
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC
August 15, 2002

Maribeth Dackel