Author Archives: Janet DeLeo

About Janet DeLeo

Author and Painter, Beachcomber

Is It The Beginning, Or Is It The End?

Once upon a time, a virus named COVID19 turned up on planet Earth. It may have touched down on some of the neighboring planets. Since I am an earthling, I have no firsthand knowledge to confirm or deny that possibility. Due to the absence of any extraterrestrial communications, I remain uninformed.

The best I can aspire to is recounting what life on earth has morphed into since its arrival. Humans are required to wear masks when entering stores, restaurants, etc. Of course, that is IF the restaurant or store can afford to remain open with such little foot traffic.

People are encouraged to stay home and to leave only to retrieve essentials. Shopping for food is essential. Shopping for clothing is NOT. Dining rooms are unnecessary. Dining at home is confined to the people living at the same address.

We recently celebrated Thanksgiving. I use the word “celebrate” rather loosely. In some states, people were asked to report any neighbors who had visitors showing up that day. I am not certain what state agencies were tasked to take a count, but word was that someone would be dispatched to investigate any Thanksgiving violators of the mandate.

I am not minimizing the seriousness of what my grandson calls “The Corona.” The Corona is dangerous and highly contagious. It spreads easily and randomly. The Corona appears to be very finicky choosing which person to infect. In some households, everyone becomes infected. In others, only one of a husband-and- wife team is chosen as a host. I was exposed weeks ago, Apparently, I did not meet The Corona’s standards and remained uninfected. Thank, God! Unfortunately, many of my friends and family were up to snuff and did become infected.

People no longer shake hands, kiss friends on the cheek or hug anyone. As I was taking my morning walk today, I passed a car with an open trunk. The homeowner waited for me to pass the car. Once I did, he removed the carton of water to transport into his garage. The walkers and joggers will step into the street to remain six feet apart from any passerby.

Life on earth certainly is not what we were accustomed to. Perhaps, The Corona previously inhabited another planet. I am imagining life there is now what life on earth was like. People are kissing, hugging, shaking hands and leaving their masks at home.

A new year is knocking on our doorstep. We will be ringing in 2021 shortly. Well, we may not be ringing it in the manner to which we are accustomed. Times Square will not be bursting at the seams when 2021 arrives, but it WILL arrive. Even the Corona cannot stop the passing of time.

I am imagining that we will return to our old way of life and kick The Corona into outer space. Perhaps it will inhabit some other planet where the people would not consider it such a hardship. Mr. Spock’s Vulcan comes to mind.

Out with the old. May we all live long and prosper.

Happy Labor Day

This weekend happy-labor-day-snoopymay be our last opportunity for a big barbecue. Summer may not have met its official end, but autumn is definitely breathing down her neck. Today is September 1, a new month. Another chance to get it right! Happy Labor Day. Enjoy the warm weather before we trade our summer clothing for those that will keep us warm as the weather turns colder.

Back in the day, Labor Day meant that we would put aside our white pants, shoes, and handbags to hibernate for fall and winter. We would retrieve them on June 21, the official start of summer. 

Labor Day also meant that we were about to start school – usually the first Wednesday after the holiday. Labor Day is always the first Monday of September. We would recoup on Tuesday and start school on Wednesday. Of course, none of that is true these days. 

Today, all bets are off. Most people wear whatever they want, whenever they want. If you are under the age of thirty, you may not have any familiarity whatsoever about the “no white after Labor Day rule.” Most kids have already returned to school. Perhaps in white clothing!

Enjoy your weekend!

Good Afternoon, Moon

Good Afternoon, Moon
On Sunday, June 20, 1969, my family was taking a ride to see my grandparents in East Boston, MA. They had moved from the second-floor tenement they had lived in on Federal Hill in Providence, RI. They had lived there practically their entire married life, but the state had plans to develop a highway. The old three-decker was slated for demolition, so they moved to a three-decker in East Boston that had been in the family for many, many years. My grandparents now occupied the third-floor tenement where I had visited my great uncle and great aunt throughout my childhood.
On this particular Sunday, my parents, three brothers, sister, and I bounded into the family station wagon. It didn’t have a third-row seat, but it did have a “way back”. I don’t think third-row seats had been invented, yet. They certainly did not exist in my world. All the families I knew had a “way back” to transport the extra kids who didn’t fit on the seats. These extra kids were not strapped in with any type of safety restraint, but neither were the kids on the seats. For that matter, neither were the adults. Safety belts hadn’t been invented yet!
As we had done so many countless times throughout my childhood, we headed for East Boston. When we drove through the tunnel, we knew we were close.
However, this was no ordinary Sunday. This was the day Apollo 11 was due to land on the moon. Even though I was a “cool” college kid about to enter my junior year, this was a very big deal. President Kennedy had promised us that we would put a man on the moon before the decade was over. Barring any catastrophes, this was the day it was going to happen. The whole nation was waiting with bated breath. It was sobering to remember how emphatic JFK was when he made that promise, and remarkable that the promise would be fulfilled today even though he would not be here to see it.
My father made sure that we arrived with plenty of time to spare to watch the landing live on television. My grandmother’s two sisters occupied the other two tenements in the building. That afternoon, no one was roaming around between floors. Everyone had finished dinner and was glued to the television sets. All you could hear were the newscasters and the static. Remember, it was 1969. There was tin foil on makeshift antennas. Technology was putting a man on the moon, but television, after all, was a whole other story!
We all watched in amazement along with the rest of the country as Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon. There was not a sound in the entire building as he said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”  You could hear the country’s collective sigh of relief.
It had happened. Everyone was safe. The whole country seemed to be on the same page. How refreshing!
As I write this, we are celebrating the 50-year anniversary of that landing. I vividly remember that moment. Although I frequently use “google science” to check my memory, I did not have to check much here. I checked to see if I had recalled Neil’s words correctly. I had.
This was a true American moment that jumps out at me as I recall the sixties!

A THANK YOU to Veterans

This is a THANK YOU to all American veterans.
I am giving additional heartfelt recognition to everyone who traveled to foreign and dangerous
Veterans-Thank-YouTo all those men and women who weren’t relaxing on commercial flights waiting for the movie to begin, but were being transported to faraway places to participate in battles that we will never understand.
To those who were told before they deplaned, “Welcome to (Vietnam or wherever); we look forward to bringing you home at the end of your tour.”
To the men and the women who heard “Welcome home”, and to all those who never did, we salute you.
We are forever grateful for all of your sacrifices, and we recognize the price paid by your families. We acknowledge a debt that we can never repay. We  are forever wounded by the ultimate sacrifice paid by all who never returned. We recognize the emotion of those returning vets who bend down to kiss the ground when they return to American soil. We lament the loss of so many who never set foot again on the land they fought to protect.
For any disrespect, insult, or indifference you may have endured at the hands of an ungrateful citizen who couldn’t separate personal philosophy from your sacrifice, we apologize.
For the shame of not taking better care of you on your return, we promise to do all that we can to correct that injustice.

Lessons I Learned from The Beatles

Beatles-on-Ed-Sullivan-BandWTonight I watched the Grammy salute to The Beatles. As a child of the 60’s, I, saw them for the first time on February 9, 1964. After hearing about their debut  for weeks, at  8 o’clock on that  Sunday night, we saw them on  “The Ed Sullivan Show”.  Thus began a 50-year love affair. They were and still are my favorite band.

As unbelievable as it seems to me, tonight was the 50-year anniversary of that fateful night.  It really WAS “50 years ago today that Sargeant Pepper taught the band to play”. I am SO grateful for this experience!

The Beatles changed my life. I don’t say that lightly.  They inspired me to write my first poem – the first of many. I still write poetry today. Who knew?

The first album I ever purchased was “Meet The Beatles”. I was too young to drive. The day the album was released,  I walked to the store. Did I mention I was in love?

Not only did I fall in love with them. My 50-year love affair included rock n’ roll and dancing. It was a new world after them. I still rock, I still roll, and I still dance; I still remember all the words, I still can’t sing very well, and I still love to dance. I can still cut a mean run – perhaps  a bit slower, but just by a bit!

I still have that debut album – along with 100’s of others . I can’t imagine ever parting with any old vinyl.   I am not saying that I play any of these albums. I’m just saying that I won’t get rid of them.  In spite of owning a surround sound system, I just never know when the mood may hit me to play vinyl! Of course, I own a turntable old-fashioned record player. Doesn’t everyone? At least that’s what I tell my husband.

But I digress….

Of course, I mourned the loss of John and then George. I felt I had lost true friends. I wrote poems.

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love to travel. One of the items on my bucket list was a trip to Abbey Road and Apple. That has been checked off. The visit to Liverpool is still in my future. Like most baby boomers, I find that sometimes I forget things. I say that to say this…last week I was having a discussion with my husband. Ironically, I forget what the discussion was about. However, I know it concluded when I told him I could still remember John Lennon’s birthday.

After all these years, I knew John Winston Lennon was born on October 9, 1940. If I somehow managed to forget a reader’s birthday, please don’t take it personally. Please remember this has been a very long love affair. Did I mention it’s been 50 years??.

Not only do I remember Beatle trivia, I remember lyrics. I was moved to shed a few tears tonight as I watched an audience mouth the words to the songs. Watching Paul and Ringo mouth lyrics to their own songs was a bit surreal!

Hearing the songs, seeing the images, and hearing the stories brought back a flood of memories.- memories of a more innocent America. A time when everyone was home on a Sunday evening to watch a band. That band was a major force in shaping my generation – The Boomers.

It’s been a long way from the sixties to the present. I would trade today’s lyrics shaping today’sBeatles-Abbey-Road generation for the innocence of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” shaping mine in a New York minute. Here’s to John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Here’s to all those Beatles moments that helped shape your life. . Here’s to John, Paul, George, and Ringo – “In my life, I’ve loved them all.”