“It’s no use.” Ruth said, as she came inside the public bathroom after our swim at the local pool.
“You’re STILL ugly, and you always will be!”
I was combing my wet hair out, and her comment stung me to the core. I had only been introduced to Ruth that day…and I was the new ‘girl’ at the adult swim class. I loved to swim, and thought it would be a good thing to join up. Most of the woman, were older than me, and had been swimming at noon, every day in summer, for a good twenty years. She said it with such seriousness, I could only assume that she meant it. Did I take it wrong? No, I told myself, this woman really hates me for some reason.
What did I do wrong?—I thought to myself— I tried so hard to be nice to everyone, introducing myself, and everyone was nice, but this Ruth lady. She looked mean. She talked mean to me—always throwing insults at me. No matter how hard I tried to talk to her, she ignored me or insulted me.
“Oh, that’s just Ruth” said the other women. “She’s just like that.”
One night I was telling my husband, how bad I felt. “Why does she say such mean things? ” I decided to stay away from her. I started to REALLY dislike her. She was sort of the silent leader of the cocoon ladies of the pool.
And then one day, she said to me…”Do you want to read a book?”
Out of the blue. “Sure! I said.” And she brought me the story of Dresden, her home town. How it was during WWII. It was an old book, one that was out of print years ago. From Wikipedia:
The bombing of Dresden was an American and British attack on the city of Dresden, the capital of the German state of Saxony, that took place in the final months of the Second World War in the European Theatre. In four raids between 13 and 15 February 1945, 722 heavy bombers of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and 527 of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city. The bombing and the resulting firestorm destroyed over 1,600 acres (6.5 km2) of the city centre. An estimated 22,700 to 25,000 people were killed. Three more USAAF air raids followed, two occurring on 2 March and 17 April aimed at the city’s railroad marshaling yard and one small raid on 17 April aimed at industrial areas.
After I had read the book, I asked her about it. She went on to describe the day the bombs fell in Dresden. When the allies destroyed the whole city. They had heard the bombs dropping when she and her mother and sister were in the kitchen. Her father worked at the railroad station, loading food and guns for Hitler’s army, so he wasn’t home. They ran out the back door of her house, and when they turned around they watched not only their house go up in flames, but the whole city block. Fire was everywhere. She was 16. She had only the clothes on her back—so they ran, and ran, and she was told to go find her father at the railroad station by her mother. She never saw her mother or sister again.
That was one swim day’s conversation….I couldn’t wait to hear more.
And then she stopped. Like bits and pieces of a puzzle, she left out pieces…her story would stop. As if, the memories were too painful. Later on I learned that she had a friend that roamed with her through the streets, trying to find food… but then, the Russians came in. And every woman they saw, they raped. And they raped you in the most horrible way. Two men would hold on to your arms, and two men would hold your legs, and hold you up against a wall…and take turns. I’m not sure how many times Ruth was raped, but the anger…was still there.
The Russians took her and her girlfriend to a far off Russian prison camp. She said it was in Russia, so she had to walk, and it was cold, and their feet froze, and she had a coat, but no more. She said they were in the prison for a good six months, but they ‘dug’ their way out. Under the dirt. It took them a long time to dig the hole, and they dug it with their fingernails…but they got out and walked back to Dresden to look for her dad.
She found her dad. He was still at the station, but the trains were destroyed.
When they got back to Germany, she said the allies MADE all the German people pick up the dead Jews and carry them to their graves. She had to write all the numbers on all the arms. It was some of the hardest work she had ever done, and she had to do it day after day, she said.
That’s all she said that day…the next day, I asked her about her husband.—Who had died years before.
“How did you two meet?” I asked.
“He just saw me one day…he was an American Soldier, and he was Italian. ”
She told me how far he would come just to see her. Whenever he got a day off, he’d drive out to meet her, and she said she always dressed very proper. She wore white gloves, and her best Sunday dress every time he came.
Her father PUSHED her to marry this young American. Her father wanted her to live in America…so she did.
She lived happily here…had a son, and a grandson. She taught swimming at the local pool. She became an American citizen…but I could tell, at heart…she was still a German. She still thought the Jews caused the war, and she still admired Hitler…go figure. And she was convinced there WAS no god.
Who could blame her? My god. Who could blame her? I’m sure the few things she told me were just the tip of the misery she endured.
After I gave her the book back, she didn’t talk anymore about the war.
She talked about her current boyfriend…and how he had a ranch with horses, and they would stay in the same hotel room and she didn’t care what people thought…they were boyfriend and girlfriend.
I saw them once, drive pass my house. He was in his nineties, and she was driving…and they were just adorable. Ruth was 85. They looked so perfectly cute together, and she talked about him all the time.
As each summer came and went, we started to talk more. We talked about many things, but mostly I just admired her outlook. She walked every single morning, and swam, and belonged to a music group who got together and played each other songs. She kept busy.
They’d learn a new song every week in her music class. Her biggest pride was her $50,000 organ sitting in her living room. Learning to play, “To Dream the Impossible Dream” was a big challenge for her.
The swim ladies don’t keep in touch over the winter, but last winter, I called her before Christmas–bad news: Her boyfriend had died. She had fallen in her home. Got a big gash on her head and broke her arm in three places. When I went to see her, she looked defeated. She couldn’t put up her Christmas tree. It was just too sad. I would have done it for her, but I kept thinking…where is this family of hers? Where is her son?
The death of her boyfriend did what the Russians couldn’t do…break her spirit. After all…she lived alone. So, I went to see her again in March. She sounded so upbeat…she said she was driving again, and going back to her music lessons, and going to parties…she sounded fine. No…she sounded great!
And so, when I’d heard she died in April, and didn’t show up at the first day of adult swim, it was…the feeling that you always get: I should have gone more often to see her…I should have this, I should have that…but now, it’s too late. Oh Ruth.
One of the ladies, (Chloe) who had been her friend for over twenty year came today. She didn’t even know that Ruth had died.
It was the only thing she looked forward to…because she was taking care of her husband who had Alzheimer’s ..but he had bought her a pool pass because he AWAYS remembered, how much she loved to see Ruth. She is…88. She is not going to ride her bike anymore because her doctor told her that older people who break bones, usually die within 6 months….and Ruth just proved the theory now, didn’t she?
You know, we all think life in America is so bad, but Americans have never had to go through what Ruth went through, and what many people are going through right now all over the world.
To hear some idiot complain that some business refused to bake them a cake, or some feminist whining that their company didn’t want to pay for their contraceptives, …it makes you wonder….what in the hell happened to people? Don’t they realize just how good they have it?
I’m so glad God introduced Ruth into my life. She was brave, smart, confident, and lived life as it should be lived…to the fullest each day. Ruth made me appreciate MY life more. What a great gift.
I will miss her. To me, she was a real somebody. She might not have believed in God, but God believed in her, and I was so lucky that he shared her a little bit with me.
I don’t think it has really hit me yet. …you know how that goes.
Now, that painful memory of her calling me “ugly” is now….one of my most favorites of my life. And she was right: Her kind of beauty I could only hope for, and I could never even come close to.
Funny, isn’t it?
The best of news…..
Okay. I admit it. I gave myself a few more days of “rest” from writing, which is always a good thing to anyone who writes everyday I think. I want to thank the readers who sent prayers for my family during this last week: We are home now, and everything is pretty much back to normal except for lifestyle changes which have to be made.
To explain my panic, my husband has an inherited blood disorder called Protein S Deficiency Factor 5 Leiden: These are two separate issues:
Factor V Leiden thrombophilia is an inherited disorder of blood clotting. Factor V Leiden is the name of a specific gene mutation that results in thrombophilia, which is an increased tendency to form abnormal blood clots that can block blood vessels.
People with factor V Leiden thrombophilia have a higher than average risk of developing a type of blood clot called a deep venous thrombosis (DVT). DVTs occur most often in the legs, although they can also occur in other parts of the body, including the brain, eyes, liver, and kidneys. Factor V Leiden thrombophilia also increases the risk that clots will break away from their original site and travel through the bloodstream. These clots can lodge in the lungs, where they are known as pulmonary emboli. Although factor V Leiden thrombophilia increases the risk of blood clots, only about 10 percent of individuals with the factor V Leiden mutation ever develop abnormal clots
Okay…so not so bad..BUT…he also has the only other blood clotting disorder called Protein S. Deficiency:
Protein S Deficiency (PSD) is a rare blood disorder that affects just a few thousand people worldwide. It is one of several known risk factors for thrombophilia and can increase the risk of blood clots such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE).
AND he has lived with a blood clot in his leg..(one of the many he has had) for over four years, which we were warned could break away any time. Add to that, is the fact that he is allergic to Kumindin, and had to experiment with other blood thinners. We never know when something might happen. He is on one of the many blood thinners that you see on TV everyday…you know, the ones where you could DIE any second so please contact our lawyers types?
The good news: He is okay now, and besides a lot of bad hospital food, he has found out he cannot drink his favorite Mountain Dew anymore, or indulge in his other daily favorite vice…Twinkies.
So—small a sacrifice..in the scheme of the universe–it means–Your prayers worked! Thank you! Not that this couldn’t happen again in the future, it’s just nice to know, he’s okay for now.
On another short note: I have to tell a few stories from the hospital. (Of course I do.)
I was in the hospital room when one of the technicians came rolling in with a big machine to do an ultrasound on the blood vessels to his brain. As I watched in amazement at the huge monitor, I asked her how long it took to learn to operate the machine:
“A year and a half,” she said. “but you must have a Bachelor’s Degree first.”
As we got to talking I found out she was from Iran.
“You know,” I said, “People all over the world think Americans are fat and lazy…but..we are NOT lazy.”
“Yes, I know that.” She said. She then told me how people in Iran, worked until early afternoon than took long afternoon breaks..and some of them would go back to work later, but their work days were short.
“Is it true about the people?” I asked.” “Do they agree with the Mullahs?”
“Right” I said. “Obama was no help.”
She shook her head, sadly, in agreement.
And then she talked about how hard she had to work–she had two jobs. She worked at a bank part-time and at the hospital part- time. She and her husband, who was from Mexico, were struggling, and they had a little boy.
His parents were doctors in Mexico, but he did not follow in their footsteps…he was home. Perhaps unemployed, but she didn’t say. She was so proud of him because he just lost 40 pounds when he found out he was a diabetic by exercising. She wanted to exercise with him, but just could not find the time.
The reason I bring this up, is that I thought it strange that with all her education, the hospital had her on part- time. The hospital did….as a whole… seem empty.
Still worrying about my husband, I had to come home to feed the dogs that first night. After that was done, I went to my neighbor’s house to ask if she could give me a lift to my husband’s car, which he had left at work. My neighbor is in her early sixties, and she works at the local church, so I knew she would help.
In her living room was her grandson, who was graduating from Law school. The money he owned from law school was $200,0000, and he was trying to figure out how he was going to pay it off while setting up a house and starting his new job, and he couldn’t see how he was going to do it.
He expects to make $300,000 a year—– someday.
And I can’t help but wonder, will that day come? Or, will we fat and lazy Americans become more like Iran, and Europe, and work part-time, making less and less, and doing with less and less?
Some say, someday—- is already here.
So, what did I learn from the last week?
Stay out of hospitals…and someone please tell Obama: Fox News is being shown in the ER. All…Day….long! :)
He has a rare blood disorder …I won’t go into it except to say, for the next couple of days I will probably take a break from posting as I will be spending all my time at the hospital with him.
Any prayers you care to throw our way will be appreciated. I will know. I just will.
Sometimes…life sends us long faces…doesn’t she?
In the meantime, hold down the Nobody fort.
And thank you again….for your understanding.
Happy Mother’s Day!
My mother passed away in 2001. She was my best friend. She was my mentor, and I miss her every single day.
So…if your mother is still here….do something special for her. Don’t forget your mother.
She is the reason, you are here. (Okay, dad is too, but mother’s are closer to your soul. )
Everybody have a great day!
Nobody Gets Email
Didn’t get many emails this week, (Or none that I could POST that were…presentable) so here’s a few pictures that I grabbed off of FACEBOOK….Notice the same colors in the Fireman and the Giraffe.
This week, we saw a shirtless man get his foot caught, in a basketball net. Notice the police are not touching the guy. They waited for the firemen, who were going to put the latter up, (around 6.00) but then had to get the police to stop the guy from moving so they could cut him down. I may be going out on a limb here, but I’d say a good deal of drugs were involved, and probably Al Gore. I know, every time I hear Al Gore speak, I too get the urge to climb up a basketball net, hang by one foot, and scream bloody hell.
And while I searched and searched for my usual political blooper to match the nobody one, the only one I could come up with was Bill Clinton, who gave a long interview to NBC about how he has to make a living to pay their bills, tangling himself up ONCE AGAIN in shady lies, and the same old Bill Clinton charm which is getting so old, I’m tired of listening to it. Bill is getting so skinny he should match up with that U.N. Babe on a stick, Angelina Jolie.
So, in order to NOT write about boring old Bill Clinton, I found a more adorable example of how to get yourself all tangled up:
Who wins the Nobody’s Perfect Award for the week?
The man on Capitol Hill, hanging from the net.
Clearly—he has issues.
The adorable puppy, just gets a big hug.
Now…this is a good news story..a man who is so compassionate he helped his pet turtle get around…after it was injured.
I am VERY fond of turtles, because….when my son growing up, we had at least six of them as pets in the yard. And I found out, that turtles (or tortoises) can have as distinct a personality as any human.
They can be very lovable, turtles. One of my morning pleasures was going out and finding a nice batch of worms for them all to enjoy.
Do I sound pretty pathetic? (okay yes)
That’s why I like this guy. Great guy. The world would be less without turtles, and also less without such caring people to fill it.
Too bad all we see everyday on our TV are the morons.
(Thanks to Mona! )
Annegret Raunigk of Germany, needs some kind of medal for being determined to have four kids at once. To most of the human race, one child at a time is plenty, but for Annegret Raunigk, four is not problem:
“I’m not actually afraid. I simply assume I’ll remain healthy and fit. In matters of organization I have enough experience, that’s not new for me,” she said.
Why don’t we hire Annegret to come over and run the IRS?
But…raising a lot of kids is not new…she’s had plenty of practice:
Berlin (AFP) – A 65-year-old Berlin woman who already has 13 children is pregnant again with quadruplets, Germany’s RTL broadcaster reported Sunday.
The Russian and English teacher’s pregnancy follows several attempts abroad at artificial insemination over the last year-and-a-half, according to the private TV channel.
The woman, Annegret Raunigk, decided to try to have another child because her youngest daughter, who is nine, wanted a little brother or sister.
Nobody wants to know, who paid for the artificial insemination and how can she afford all those kids? Is she married to an Audi Engineer? Or does the German state support them all?
The article didn’t say. It also didn’t say what will happen to the four newborns if Annegret dies in five years.
Obviously, it will not be a problem…something tells me the other “kids” are doing a lot of the work already, and mom knows that.
Most women at 65 are thinking about raising tomatoes, not Annegret. O.K. She’s done a great job at bringing babies into the world, and that’s a good thing.
But…is her house German clean? Hope so..that’s a lot of diapers.
I watched this and thought the 3rd guy was a riot.
Here are ten people who survived the impossible…which leads to the next question: Will there be ten conservatives in America who even survive Obama?
Nobody Gets Email
It’s fitting wisdom for a Sunday, don’t you think?
(Thanks to J.R.)
Written by the late Andy Rooney (ex-60 Minutes USA), a man with whom I also disagreed sometimes, had the gift of saying so much with so few words. These are some of those words I think are worth repeating.
I’ve learned…. That just one person saying to me, ‘You’ve made my day!’ makes my day.
I’ve learned…. That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.
I’ve learned…. That being kind is more important than being right.
I’ve learned…. That you should never say no to a gift from a child.
I’ve learned…. That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act
I’ve learned…. That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child
did wonders for me as an adult.
I’ve learned…. That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
I’ve learned…. That money doesn’t buy class.
I’ve learned…. That it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.
I’ve learned… That under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
I’ve learned…. That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
I’ve learned…. That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to
I’ve learned…. That love, not time, heals all wounds.
I’ve learned…. That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter
I’ve learned…. That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
I’ve learned… That life is tough, but I’m tougher.
I’ve learned…. That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.
I’ve learned…. That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
I’ve learned…. That I wish I could have told my Mum and Dad that I love them one more time before
I’ve learned…. That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to
I’ve learned…. That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
I’ve learned…. That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you’re
hooked for life.
I’ve learned…. That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth
occurs while you’re climbing it.
I’ve learned…. That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.
“Human have gotten along millions of years without colonoscopies, I just don’t understand why all of a sudden, you must have a test when nothing is wrong…I mean, why have a procedure that is unnecessary when you feel perfectly fine…especially when you COULD die from it?” I said.
My doctor, just shook his head. Every year, I would go into his office, and every year, he would tell me I should get a colonoscopy. He was PUSHING it. I imagined him making some kind of kickback….It’s not that I didn’t want to experience the pain, after all, I’d gone through a Caesarean, where you wake up and realized that oh..they DID cut through seven layers of muscle…stomach muscles you DO need to walk, who knew? I still remember trying to walk out of the parking lot to the children’s hospital where my newly born son was lying in an incubator…it took me about an hour just to get to the elevator.
…and gall bladder removal, where you realized that nobody will tell you that without the gall bladder, food actually travels at the speed of light through your body, the gall bladder acting as a traffic stoplight…even a snickers candy bar would go into my mouth and come out in a matter of minutes.
And they say the gall bladder is useless. THEY LIE! I was always calling up doctors and saying, “What is this green stuff coming out of me!” Nobody knew. It took a year for the alien gall bladder bile to disappear into probably some other organ in my body— like my ears. I should have called Steven Spielberg.
And most painful of all…I’ve had countless tooth infections, and root canals. Imagine what it must have been like before dentists? Pulling a tooth without Novocaine? Who knows how many wars were started by Kings with serious tooth decay?
What I wanted was my doctor to give me statistics. “Google it.” he said, as I saw him getting madder by the minute. Frustrated. Then he let it out. One of his patients was a mere 40 years old. He had cancer throughout his colon and didn’t even know it. He died. If he had gotten a colonoscopy, he would have lived. He didn’t want me to blame HIM if I had gotten colon cancer.
“Why in the WORLD would I blame you for the colonoscopy that I didn’t get?” I asked.
I guess his other patient did.
But, my real fears came from what I had heard, late at night on the radio. The radio host was really upset about his best friend, who had gone in for a routine colonoscopy, and was now, DYING…in a hospital. And this radio host talked about that for the next week. As far as I know, he is still there…punctured by some evil needle that couldn’t find its way back to the hole it came through.
Stuck. Blood oozing out all over his liver.
Surely, that would be my luck, I thought to myself. Out of the thousands, it would be me.
Even after reading Dave Barry’s famous colonoscopy column (Google it) I just thought..it’s all so unnecessary. O
And then, my wisest and dearest friend told me….do it. And so, I made the appointment.
Can’t be so hard, right?
As the day approached, I didn’t tell any of my friends. I didn’t want to jinx it.
Of course—there were papers that you had to sign….and then I saw it—there it was:
“Death COULD happen to you. ” sign here and relieve us of any charges.
I knew it. ..that mention of death again. They didn’t tell me that when I got my gall bladder surgery.
Drink all you want, and then pour this bottle of stuff in a glass and drink three 16 ounce glasses of whatever you want— but you do this all in just one hour.
You MUST drink all three glasses. And cool…you could mix this laxative stuff with any drink you like. I had SEEN what Coke could do in science class…you can launch a rocket with coke and Alka- seltzer, so I figured, Coke. That will clean ANYTHING out. It works great on car engines. If I’m going to do this, I want to use the most lethal soda on the planet.
Sounds easy right? It’s not. That night, I read two whole books in the bathroom. ….and
The next morning, zombie eyed..you do the same procedure all over again.
I had basically bloated my body with so much water, I could have passed as a floatation device in the nearest ocean.
I went into the office at after noon. I felt at least six months pregnant. My stomach was holding a water baby. As I walked into the office, the admitting nurse was curt:
“Come with me, you have to sign some forms.”
After signing about 1,345 more papers, the nurse looked at me and said…
“Do you want to be resuscitated?”
“What? Is this a trick question?” I asked.
Okay. Now. This was the real reason I didn’t want to be her in the first place, and so, I was right! I could die on that table, and they would look down at the paper I had just signed and say…
“Well, it says here, she doesn’t want to be resuscitated.”
I’m not kidding.
As they reeled me into the room, I looked at the doctor and said,
“I was my first time too,” he said. Meaning, the doctor had had more than one.
Great. Just knock me out. Which they gloriously did. That IS the best moment. They should bottle THAT stuff and sell it on the open market.
As I woke up, the doctor came right in…and so, nothing was wrong. They found a perfectly healthy and exceedingly CLEAN colon to which the doctor was very happy, as I’m sure he was, if you could have seen some of the people who were waiting n the waiting room…I was quick and easy. I wondered if I would have gotten such a clean as a whistle colon HAD I still had my gall bladder.
Was this the happy ending to the story?
Well…there is one thing they don’t tell you. And it’s that they fill you with air.
Yes, like a flat tire being filled, they actually pump you up with air to do whatever they do in the great labyrinth of what is called your intestines, better known as the great highway where no man has gone before.
They blow you up…ha ha! Who knew?
Afterwards the nurse was pressing on my stomach to push the air out.
Funny. The nurse won’t resuscitate, but pushing out air is something they really do like to do.
As I was getting ready to leave the nurse said, “Well, good news! You don’t have to have another one of these for ten more years.”
Don’t tell my doctor. Hopefully, he’ll be too old to remember my name.
O.K. all you pilots out there, is this a real video, or is this fake?
It looks real to me, but even if it isn’t, it’s fun to watch.
Nobody Gets Email
Lars Anderson would be a handy guy to have around in the new Zombie takeover!
I enjoyed this so much I wanted to go out and buy myself a bow and arrow.
(Thanks to Kim Komando)
Nobody Gets Email
I’m sure it’s my female hormones that find this video so amazing, but isn’t this adorable? Two twins try to talk to each other and hold hands for the first time..OUTSIDE the womb.
It’s such a feel good video I had to share it.