Sunday, September 26, 2021

He was no Paul Bunyan, and what else don't I know? for more info check out this safe link. You might have to ckick twice. Find out his cause of death and many other facts.

When Robert Wadlow was born, he weighed 8lbs 5 oz.

By the time he was five years old, he was 5’6” and weighed over 100 pounds.

The Gentle Giant was born in February 1918 with hyperplasia of the pituitary gland, which resulted in an abnormally high level of human growth hormone. Wadlow’s greatest weight was 493 pounds. He was still growing at the time of his death in 1940; at age 22, he was 8’11” inches tall.

Wadlow was the tallest person on earth. He lived across the river in Alton, Illinois, a St. Louis, Missouri border state.

While watching a documentary on him this morning. Bill said, “They didn’t mention that he played cards with my grandpa back in the 1930s in the house I grew up in. No, I didn't know him. He died before I was born.”

The things you find out after decades of marriage!


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Fear is fine; it serves a purpose.

Six weeks ago Charlie turned three-years-old. He loves super heroes, is an active little guy, and a non-stop talker. He makes observations about everything he sees, names the objects' colors, purposes, etc. He even talks in his sleep. I know because he spent the weekend with us. 

His older brothers went on a camping trip with their mom and dad. Mom said if he'd potty train fully he could go next time. I was brave and put him in super hero underpants. Two minutes later I heard him in the playroom shouting,  "Nana Linda! Nana, come see what happened. I so sawdy."

I hugged him and told him it was OKAY as I cleaned his puddle. Then he wanted to put his little blanket on the living room floor and jump the "puddle."

During the night he called out and rambled a bit. I waited to see if he would go back to sleep. He did until he didn't. At 2:00 a.m. I heard this little voice call, "Hewwwwo, anybody there?"

I laid down with him. He kicked me all night and jabbered off and on. Maybe he was overly-excited about our planned events. Our bank was opening a branch office, and they were having all sorts of attractions. Charlie enjoyed a free snow cone, free popcorn, but he refused a big helium-filled ballon. He's afraid of popping balloons. 

He was slightly interested in watching a young man, a balloon maker, twisting long ballooons into different characters such as Spiderman. When Charlie realized Spidey was made of balloons, he said, "Nope!"

He waited with anticipation for the Super Heroes to arrive. I explained that all I wanted was to take his picture with them, so we could show his brothers. He was all for it until they walked through the door. As you can see, he crossed his arms and flipped his entire body away from them. I snapped a photo and we left. 

Papa Bill asked him about it. He said, "I was scared, Papa."

What a good papa. Bill said, "Well Charlie, we have feelings like that to keep us safe. So when you feel afraid of something, that's your warning system. It's okay to feel afraid." 

Oh how I love this man of mine.

On Saturday, I told Charlie I was taking him to see BIG balloons. He said, "Oh Nana Linda, no thank you." 

I assured him they would not pop and explained they were giant, hot air balloons. I drove to Forest Park, found a parking place right at the curb, and laid Charlie on a beach towel and told him to look up.

When the hot air balloons rose above the tree line, he was so excited, and started yapping, describing each. 

"See that one Nana Linda? It's Mine Craft for Liam and that one is yellow and orange. And look at that one, it's Mario, and ...

It was such a hot day. We watched about two dozen balloons glide above us, and then I packed up my little babbler and we sat in the air conditioned car where he continued to tell me all about each one. 

When he woke up Sunday morning, Papa gave him a dollar bill. We walked to the corner store, where he selected a big pink frosted donut. He put it in a clear bag, and set it and his dollar on the counter. He clutched his donut and asked, "Where's my dollar?"

First lesson in economics. LOL

All in all a very good weekend with a sweet little talker, who developed seasonal allergies and began coughing and sneezing. Do you think he stopped yacking?

NOPE. I took him to the playground. I passed gas. He turned around and said loudly, "Did you faht?"

I said, "I think it was a frog talking."

He said, "I think it was you butt talking."

I couldn't be upset. He was just making an observation. 

We are truly blessed to have had these experiences with this little, wise, cutie pie.  


Friday, September 10, 2021

The Feelings Flag

 On September 11, 2001 I was stunned, like every other American. I didn't know what was going on or what to do. I felt compelled to give students a voice. This true story was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Spirit of America, 2016


The Feelings Flag by Linda O'Connell

I stood in my living room and cringed at the sight of the first plane hitting the first tower. I did not realize the horror had only just begun. As I drove to school I listened intently to the reports. Then, I heard that another plane had crashed.

I was as shocked and stunned as every other adult in my school. No one was sure what was going on. Teachers were asking one another, "Did you hear about the plane crashes in NY? Is America under attack?"

It was like a punch in the gut, beyond our comprehension. Everyone felt winded, worried, and wounded.

 My preschool classroom was in the lower level of an inner city middle school. What I remember most is the panicked young man in the hall who shouted at me, "America is at war!"

"Calm down," I said. "Don't jump to conclusions. Nobody knows for sure what's going on. This does not mean war."

They insisted they saw it on TV and that military jets were intercepting other planes.

I walked into my classroom and watched as my students went about their school day, unaware of the attacks. My aide was capable, so I left her in charge.

I felt compelled to do something patriotic to relieve the mounting tension and confusion the middle school students were feeling, although I was not in charge of any of them. I cut
twelve-inch by two-inch strips of red, white and blue construction paper strips, the kinds kids use to create paper chains. I did not consult the principal or counselor. I acted on impulse. I visited each classroom and intruded on classroom teachers. I asked each if I might have a moment, then I said, "Nobody knows exactly what is going on. We've all heard rumors and news reports. It's a frightening time for all of us."

 I passed out strips of paper to the students and asked them to write what they were feeling at the moment. Any fears, any words— anything would be acceptable. Some asked about spelling, and some asked if they should sign it.

"If you want to," I said.

I collected more than 200 strips and rolled them into loops, then I stapled them to the bulletin board in the cafeteria. I read an outpouring of emotional comments. "I am afraid." "I want to kick their butts." "Bomb them." "Why did this happen?" "What now?" "I want to go home."

I posted one after another, row after row, until an American flag took shape. Some of the comments were laced with misspelled words and profanity; some were smeared with tears. I did not censor. I rolled each into a loop and stapled every single one. I stood back and gazed at our"feelings flag".

At lunch I stood against the wall and observed teens and preteens, who were usually destructive with bulletin board displays, as they searched for their piece of that flag. I listened to them read their words aloud, owning their emotions, giving voice to their fears and frustrations, initiating conversations.

On that horrible day, when America came under attack, I didn't know if my actions would do any good. It just felt good to do something. My friend Tammy said, “With that spontaneous action, you gave children a voice when no one knew what to say."

The bulletin board flag stayed up for more than a week. Then the strips began disappearing as individuals claimed their sections... and their feelings.

(Thank you for reading my story.)



Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Giggles, grins, and belly laughs

 I have been in a writing slump. I usually catch up by year's end. But if I am not in the mood, it's best I wait until I am motivated. Then I can write like gangbusters!

Today I went back and looked at my submissions calendar. I have sent Chicken Soup for the Soul 22 personal essays to fit themed call outs. The majority of my stories were for humor books.

Today in my inbox, I discovered a last minute request from CSS for a humor essay. That ticked me off! I had been working diligently on my stories. If the first 15 I'd sent didn't tickle their funny bone, then apparently I didn't have what they wanted. Forget it! 

I was ready to close the computer when I checked my emails one last time. No, I did not get an acceptance for one of those stories, but I laughed myself silly at some of my junk mail correspondence offers.

I thought... this could be a story. And so I got to work composing those subject line, eye catching emails and my responses to each. My piece made ME laugh. 

Hope this submission lands on a few funny bones. 

What is the weirdest email offer you have received?