Isn’t this a great shot I found?

My Dad is the third from left in the upper row!  Notice his hair, mussed a bit here, but usually combed back and groomed into what was known as a ‘pompadour’.!

Rudy and the Wrestlers-c. 1937   Original Sepiatone, not retouched  Copyright 2012


Before my Dad became a Milwaukee Police Officer 72 years ago this week (just three weeks before he and my Mother married), he was a semi-pro wrestler.  Though I have no idea who any of the other gentlemen are, I feel (prejudiced, perhaps?) that my Dad really stands out as the ‘handsome one’…and he was, till the day he passed in 1994.

BTW, for all you with lots of hair out there…within three years, at approximately age 26, he was already losing it.  They say baldness is inherited through the mother, but a I’ve inherited many very old shots of my grandmother’s family…no one seems to have had baldness; in fact, she, herself, had a full head of hair, worn in a coiled braid, until she passed at age 84.  All three of my brothers experienced baldness, beginning in their early 20s.  Thankfully, I, the only girl, did not.

Before I was born…and then some….

Grandma and Grandpa’s house  Copyright 2012

This is the house of my grandparents, immigrants from Slovakia, where I lived from the age of 6 months until I turned 10 years old.  The photo was probably taken in the late 1930s by my father, who always seemed to have one camera or another.  He let me take my first photos at age 4 and a half (perhaps, he helped then to make me what I am?).  The woman on the back porch is my grandmother, my father’s mother Martha, to whom I owe much of my being.  I was her first granddaughter…and she loved me until and beyond her passing in 1973.

The gate in the foreground is open to my grandpa Benedikt’s garden, where I spent much time with him, learning how to plant and grow vegetables.

My Grandpa and me, 1946  Copyright 2012

Our family lived upstairs from my grandparents, who were so proud their oldest son was a Milwaukee police officer.  The upper porch collapsed in the early 1950s (it made the newspapers!); Mother and Dad plunged to the ground as she was showing him a rocker she had just refinished.  Mother’s head was saved by a bale of newspapers my grandfather saved to sell to the one we called ‘the junkman’.  The rocker obviously did not survive–I have no memory of it.  Thankfully, they both did.  She passed in 1982, at almost 63, from the ravages of ALS;  he, in 1994, at 79 and a half, from the too many strokes and multi-infarct dementia caused by a seizure in 1989.

Needless to say, as my 66th birthday nears, I miss them all…yet, they are somehow still with me.



Who have gone before me

Do not call me to them.



They insist I keep plodding


Into experiences untried,



As I balk

And grumble negatives,


Encourage at every moment.

Even in my hours of sleep.


At times, the voices.

Their voices,

Are near, at my side,

Voices wrapped

Around my shoulder

Guiding my uncertain step.

Copyright 2004

In 12 more days…

…it will be the 30th anniversary of my dear Mother’s passing from the ravages of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

My mother, Anastasia (R) with her mother Clementine (L) on Mother’s Day, 1979 (I think?).

I wrote this in 1981, about two months before she left us.


The Fiddler’s playing out of tune this year
As the woman sits nearly immobile
Awaiting Death and its unpleasant sting.

Living in the hive of Life
Is not without its problems, Dearie
Even the workers don’t survive.

When you’re a kid
Mom and Dad are
So much larger than Life.

Why do they seem to shrink?
The more you mature
The smaller they get.

Return to the cradle
Slumber in the soil.

Was that Life worth living?
Worth anything now?
Back to the wall, and it crumbles away.
No escape, only another wall.
And the waiting
Like a Girl Scout, always prepared.

Life must pass your eyes
A hundred times a day
As you ask yourself
What did I do wrong?


And all you got was gristle and flux
The Prime went to someone else.
The leavings, the dregs
Are yours for the picking
At the catered Banquet of Life:

Rotting linen table cloths
Confusion in the ranks

The busboy is the Guest of Honor

The King is now the Queen.

Life sidles slowly up to Death, teasing
But it’s not time yet.
Death orgy, by invitation only

This must be the wrong party:

Just when it’s time to feel like Cinderella
The slipper won’t fit
Because the brace gets in the way
While the magnet of Death
Draws you down.

Peaceful slumber would be better
But you fear the fires of Hell
Kindled in your mind
By white-collar celibates.


In fragmentations
I seek the Whole.

Perhaps I am foolhardy.

Comes to mind and still/

I sit and ponder.

Copyright 1981


Somewhere, wherever she is, my mother, Anastasia, knows I have missed all these years without her.