Summer Ahead

By Alexandra H. Rodrigues

Foggy and soggy nature sulks
Gone is what pleasures our senses in spring.
Sad is even the song of the hawks
Too short was the creativity that spring did bring.

Cherry blossoms strewn on the patio floor like trash
Brown, mushy and spoiled
The lilac only last week so fragrant and fresh
Now hanging on twigs all weak and foiled.

Nature with nature has tempered a bit
Chased by a cat the birds flew away
To make room for summer it did see fit.
New different growth is now at play.

Now we are meant to breathe the chlorophyll
To pull the weeds and tend to lushes green grass.
Watch roses climb up the fence’s hill
Unfold in colors that proof their superior class.

Fruit will grow on many a tree
Bees pollinate what sprouts and grows
Salad, cabbage and tomatoes we see.
Nature surely how to delight us knows.

We have to allow all living things their up and down
Need to from complaining on dull days refrain
There is no reason at changes to frown
More often than not are we blessed with gain.

Father’s Day

By Alexandra H. Rodrigues
Published in Great South Bay Magazine June 2015

Men have children early or late in life
To create an image of their self seems a special drive.
God and the devil we know to be male
History spins both into many a tale.

A father is allowed to show power and to rule
Or he can teach the offspring to handle a tool.
As father he can decide on the time to have fun
Or discuss when and when not to use a gun.

If to be a father you are not really cut out
You let the mother handle this bout.
I never heard “Father” when of the devil one speaks
While from “God the Father” answers one seeks.

So I do not mind when on this special day
Men who are fathers have it completely their way.
In general I do not begrudge them honor and fame
Most fathers deserve the love shown in the name.

Mostly when there is something a woman wants
It is best for her the man’s ego to boast
As women we deserve part of the fame
As it started with Adam’s rib – oh shame.

Had Eve not been there Adam would not have sinned
No fault on him would have ever been pinned.
What would have been does not matter now
Thus to good fathers today I will bow.

Come to think there is a Mother’s and a Father’s day
Do children really have nothing to say?
Not till in their description the letters M E N appear
And parenthood they themselves come to love or fear.

For now let us to all the Daddies say
“Have a Happy Father’s Day.”

What it Takes to Get a Job

By Alexandra H. Rodrigues
Published in Literary Booklet
Massapequa Library 2015

This is the story how I landed the job as Stewardess at a time when maybe 10 out of 2000 applicants made it.
The root of it applies to all candidates for any job.

Some twenty heads turned and forty eyes, green, blue, brown and mixed evaluated me when I walked into suite 06 of the Hilton Hotel in Berlin. I pulled up one of the folding chairs and nearly tore my left stocking in an effort to sit down gracefully. I was nervous, not at all sure of myself. When the clock of the nearby Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial church, a well known monument of Berlin, chimed three, not a chair was left empty. I counted 32 candidates, including myself. In the silence one could have heard a fingernail crack.
An exotic looking Brunette and a pale Blonde ere skimming through Vogue and Harpers respectively, while the rest of us stared into the air with measuring side glances at each other. We were all wondering what was happening behind the closed door where the hiring committee of Pan American World Airways was holding court.

Age 21 and over. Weight 130 pounds or under. Height 5.4 to 5.8. Must be Bilingual or better. Must have High school diploma or preferably College. Those were the basic requirements. I had seen the Ad from Pan Am in the morning paper and had called in sick to my present, oh so boring job as secretary. I had decided to give it another go. Previously I had tried for the wings in the air with Lufthansa and TWA. Lufthansa turned me down because of my non-existing French and TWA because they could not sponsor me and had no service out of Berlin.
A look into my hand mirror assured me that I was neatly groomed. The navy suit enhanced my figure. It resembled the style of the Pan Am uniform and I had picked it for that reason.

One by one the candidates are called. There seemed to be a pattern. Those who only spent a short time inside, came back out with an unhappy demeanor about them. A few who spent longer inside looked rather pleased. My pondering about this fact was interrupted by one girl, who had been inside telling a girl who probably was her girlfriend “ They want to know what the capital of Alaska is Beats me so I guess it is over for me?

My palms got sweaty. Damn it, a vision of Dr. Luedke my geography teacher in High school flashed thru my mind “Girls pay attention.” I hadn’t. Now I was drawing a blank. I had to do something. Who would know? My father! I rushed to the phone booth which was close by. While I was still dialing I heard my name being paged. The receiver nearly dropped to the floor, I had to untangle myself from the cord and slammed the receiver back into the cradle. Without haste I made my way to the Interview. A lost cause for sure, so the quicker I got it over with the better. Literarily numb I found myself facing a panel of three important looking men and a little, elegant, older lady. The chief stewardess as I should find out later. “Is something wrong?” the man with the gray hair and the horn rimmed glasses inquired. I blurted out” I know you are asking what the capital of Alaska is. Well , I do not know ,but I tried to find out .you paged me before I could get the answer from my father.”
To my surprise everybody laughed. Totally deflated I now thought I had made a fool out of myself on top of it. The lady offered me a seat. Questions which I remembered from the previous interviews were put to me. “ Do you like flying?” “Do you like people?” Are you willing to relocate should it become necessary? It surprised me that they took still so much time to interview me. I answered honestly and without embellishment. Then it was over. They all stood up simultaneously. With a jovial smile, the man who had greeted me came over to me and shook my hand:”You will get a letter from us in about a week.” He said.
I knew or seemed to know what he referred to. I had gotten two letters before– sorry, we regret…
I have no way to describe the surprise I felt when he added: “You will be accepted. Welcome to Pan Am.”
I was as happy as I was stunned. Today after many years of flying I understand that they had hired me because I came across as unpresumptuous and because when in a bind I had taken the initiative to solve a crisis situation.

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday
By Alexandra H. Rodrigues

birthday

Once a year all of us this are told
It does not matter if we are young or we are old.
A year is a year and our life starts at birth
No matter when or where we start our life on earth.

On one for us special day in every year
We celebrate that we are here.
Why though are we being congratulated
What was our influence when birth related?

Our appearance on earth seems a miracle too
But with the conception we had nothing to do.
In the mother’s womb it felt like a dream
When first we saw the world it made us scream.

Then mother’s love gave us a booster
Some dad’s pride resembled a rooster.
Rich or poor the same is true for us all
None of us can their actual moment of birth recall.

It is however from that minute on
That to somebody we will be a daughter or son.
Quickly we learned how to rise
To what as destiny we recognize.

This possibly is why people decided to say
HAPPY BIRTHDAY on just that day.

Mothers Day

By Alexandra H. Rodrigues
Published in Great South Bay Magazine May 2015

Whatever in any language MOTHER means
The first word of a baby it seems.
All of us in the womb and not yet born
With our mother to special bond were sworn.

Even if later our personalities would clash
Love between us was impossible to smash.
From our mother we inherited our roots
Her traits in us quite often bear fruits.

When life throws into our path a block
For help to our mother we flock.
She always is ready to heal and smooth
Any hurting inner- or outer- bruise.

Relations between mother and child
Experience upsets not always quite mild.
We seldom take time to thank our mother,
To acknowledge her help we rarely bother.

Those of us when our mother we lost
Are the ones who cherish her image most.
The wound that she is gone will never heal
Forever her influence we’ll feel.

First mother on earth may have been Eve
That depends solely on what we believe.
Fact is that of a mother’s love we can be sure
Even in the animal kingdom this love is pure.

Now, if you are a mother yourself
Let me say:
“Have a Happy Mother’s Day”

Moods

By Alexandra H. Rodrigues

Published in South Bay’s Neighbor 2014

Our moods tend to brighten in a blink

When of all different flowers we think.

We ignore that they will wilt,

Their fragrance will remain in us instilled.

 

Same goes with thoughts of people we have known

We remember kindness that to us they have shown.

Their smile and the shine in their eyes,

Stays part of us despite their demise.

 

Life steers us thru many ups and downs in a blink

Often our moods will change in a wink.

There cannot be only days of joy in this endeavor

Just like a flower cannot bloom forever.

 

Good and bad tango to a dramatic beat

Even the flowers for dirt have need.

Our thoughts and deeds are the future’s seeds.

Enjoy any beauty that with your blossoming me

They Would Not be Remembered

Published May 2015 in Great South Bay Mag

In front of me is a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, NY 11735.  It is from November 8, 1993, directed to Mrs. Del Zappala, 222 Sullivan Street, New York, NY 10012.

It reads:

Dear Mrs. Zappala: I have enclosed a map of the cemetery with the section and grave location of your husband, Richard A. Zappala. The burial was conducted on November 4, 1993, and the remains placed in grave 1378A.

The information you provided on the ‘Certificate of Monument Date’ will be utilized to order the headstone.  Once the headstone is received in approximately 0-12- days it will be installed. We will mail you a post card once the stone has been installed.

If we may be of any further assistance please contact Annette Bianco at 516-454-4949.

Sincerely, Mike Cariota, Cemetery Director.

This letter was in a file, which my husband Raymond Rodrigues, had kept.  He too has passed on in the meantime. As a matter of fact, he too is buried in a Military Cemetery, but he is at Calverton, New York. I would have preferred him to be in Farmingdale, as this is much closer to my residency; however in 2010 there was no longer any space available in Farmingdale.

“Do the dead know when we visit them?”

One day in the future I will join him at Calverton.  This is a thought which is not exactly pleasant to me and oddly erroneous too.  I am not even an American Citizen; I came from a country, Germany, where my husband won his medals of war, including the Purple Heart.  Just like my entire life can hardly be called traditional, this too falls under the heading “Idiosyncrasy. “

Richard Zappala was my husband’s nephew, the son of his oldest sister Hilda. When I met him, he was already in his second marriage to Del Zappala. He had gotten hurt during a maneuver while in the Service and thus was buried with Military honors.

I remember Richard as a pleasant personality, heavyset, a smoker and drinker and always full of jokes. I knew him for nearly 30 years but only met him at family gatherings, maybe once or twice a year. Del his wife was a charming Blonde, a good singer and somebody nice to have around.  As I understand she was many years older than Richard, maybe about 15, and she was the bread winner.  She loved Richard dearly and gladly accommodated his aimless lifestyle.  In old times Richard was said to have been on road shows as an actor, but I cannot remember him ever working while I knew him. His failure to make a living obviously contributed to the break-up of his first marriage to Sybill.  He died at the early age of 53, succumbing to a heart attack while food shopping.

Del died many years later. During my last phone conversation with her she mentioned that she was working on her blood pressure, which was at stroke level and that we would get together when she felt better.  Well she did have a stroke shortly after this call and died several months later.  Her body was sent to her family members someplace at the outskirts of Pennsylvania.  At this point nobody, being that there is only Mary, my sister-in-law, who did not know the answer when being asked, knows the address. Unfortunately, Mary Petit, my sister-in-law had a fall-out with her son and their connection has broken off.  Mary’s daughter, Diana passed away July 2011, following a devastating fire in their house in Jersey and also suffering from Liver cancer. Richard Zappala also had had a sister, Dorothy.  She too died from cancer a few years after him. There are no offspring from either Richard or Dorothy. Mary’s son Mark however has two children, Tiana and Garrett, and I am contemplating to possibly send them a copy of this write-up in the near future.  I myself am of advanced age and the term “In the future” will be chiseled into “Near future” by me from now on.

In the “very near future” I will compose a write-up about my own family. Luckily I have kept pictures, letters and hear- say anecdotes since my early youth.  Maybe my grandson, Adam, now 5 years old, will one day take the notes into his hands and venture  on a trip into the past.

(The point that I would like to make with this outpour of data, which obviously has no meaning at all for any of you, is that our instructor Mary Haughey has done a great service to us by challenging us to write down our memories. She did that in a caring and stimulating way and for that we all should be grateful.)

People and happenings, otherwise forgotten, will live on in the written word!

Soulmates

By Alexandra H. Rodrigues
Published in Famous Poets of the Heartland April 2015
South Bay’s Neighbor April 2014
Famous Poets September 2014

I close my eyes and there they are
Faces of people once friends near and far.
No longer on earth they nowadays walk
Yet in a voiceless whisper to me they talk.

Never they come one by one to my side.
But as faces around my head they heed my invite.
Souls they are now with faces on loan
For a short while excused from the father’s throne.

They must have heard my searching cries
As my brain stumbled between truth and lies.
What is in store when life runs out
Human answers leave room for doubt.

The faces fuse deep wisdom into my soul
I feel the answer and it makes me whole.
Their vision alone gives me inner peace
Which grants a soul-felt, true r