A Reflection of Who I Am

Posts tagged ‘Memories’

Collectibles or Junk

2015-07-21 14.01.44A Repost from The Pearline Oyster – P. J. Richardson’s blog

My associate, Deborah Smart and I took up residence last month in The Village of Wilsondale just over the bridge in New Castle County, Delaware. While packing up our stuff, we decided to sell some of the items which were definitely collectible or antique. We found a wonderful location in Sicklerville called Carnival of Collectables and Antiques. Before you try to point out I misspelled Collectables, I did not. That is how they spelled it.

One of our prized possessions is a Bob Macke designed African Goddess Barbie doll (Watch him talk about it on You-Tube). We have wonderful pottery from McCoy and Haegar. We are still loading up our brass collection which includes bells, horse ornaments, lamps and a candle holder. We have a set of 4 vintage brass goblets; a complete Bewitch board game, and we are setting up more each week.

Working with collectibles fits in with our writing The String of Pearl series. Carnival has rows and rows of vendors who are selling memorabilia items from the past. It’s a wonderland of memories. I will be in and out of the store, so I hope to meet you. You will probably run into Deborah because she is also holding a Boomer’s Writer’s Group there every 3rd Wednesday of the month.

The world of collectibles is a new venture in stimulating writing down memories. If you are thinking about writing a memoir, biography or fictional stories from the past, I hope you come out and explore Carnival of Collectables and Antiques. To answer the question; Collectible or Junk…we are definitely selling Collectibles.

Unpacking Memories: Sifting and Retaining

Sifting through the research papers and notes.

Sifting through the research papers and notes.

The hardest thing for me to do is to trash my paper memories. I did a lot of research about building a publishing company. I originally wanted to specialize in children’s books…picture books and chapter books for elementary grades K-5. I’m not sure why I was drawn to that age group. It might be because a lot of my early life experience set the stage for my emotional intelligence. Alas, outside influences eventually turned me to working with adults whose life stories were so compelling I had to help them get them published. The outside influences were the people, places and things which exposed me to the Word of God.

Yesterday I began sifting through the research papers collected in the past 15 years; and taking notes of key points I need to retain. I’m not finished growing. I pray I never lose the desire to learn and grow as a publisher, writer and mentor.

Unpacking Memories – Why I Save Stuff

Unpacking the Memories will document the stories behind the items being examined and judged. I must have given away over 40 bags of clothing (not all mine) deemed unnecessary. They were too small or too big. The wrong design or they just weren’t flattering enough to wear. Unfortunately, some of the clothing still had price tags on them. Going through this process has made me even more aware of my wants versus my needs.

Boxed Memories

Boxed Memories

The question which runs through my mind as I examine each item is, “Was I hoarding or collecting?”

Unpacked So Far


I found original manuscripts from my first publishing projects.

A) David Goerlitz, Former Winston Man & Associates, Inc. came to me with “Smokescreen” which was titled “Before the Smokescreen” at the time of publication. The book was written for juveniles and young adults. It told Dave’s life experience with being addicted to cigarettes as a teen and rising to become one of Winston’s top models. I remember being nervous about accepting this project, because Dave’s life had been threatened because he testified in congress against the tobacco industry.

B) Paula Nolte – No Nonsense Nathan! Paula was the inside sales representative for the company I consulted from 1992-2002. I was an independent training consultant for Abra! Human Resource and Payroll Software. She had written and illustrated “Nathan” years before coming to work with us. We were away at a conference in Florida. She and I shared a room. She coily asked me if I would be interested in seeing her children’s book. I was delighted and said yes. From out of her suit case she introduced me to Nathan for the very first time.

C) Iris Calaci – Matthew Mouse Iris and my late husband Donald met in the supermarket. She and her husband somehow got into a conversation with Don. I wasn’t present so I don’t know exactly how it all came about. Iris told him about her children’s book and the rest is history. I published “Matthew Mouse” in 2001. I sold quite a few through advertising through the Philadelphia Inquirer.

D) Debra Pedrow – Aunt Debra and My Favorite Things Poster and Aunt Debra and the Snack’n String. What a wonderful project. I was able, along with Debra who lived in the Pittsburgh area, to bring her character to elementary schools and local bookstores for signings and programs. Even though my name is spelled Deborah, people thought the character looked like me because of her wonderful smile.

I am very proud of these projects. I became a publisher when I took on the dreams of these gifted people.I eagerly look forward to finding more wonderful treasures as I continue to Unpack the Memories.

Letters from My Sister Lisa

How precious it was to find these letters and hear my sister Lisa’s voice once again. I share with you my thoughts after my wonderful discovery.

This morning as I unpacked some bags, I came across an envelope sent to me by my mother dated March 21, 2012. When I opened it, I realized they contained letters from my late sister, Lisa to Mom. It was bittersweet to see her handwriting and to read her words. As I read, her face came into my mind’s eye. I could see her smile and her beautiful eyes. She and I were so different. I regret not knowing her better. I regret not having the patience to understand her illness. What she bi-polar or schizophrenic? I don’t remember. But in reading the short notes and letter, I realized despite of her condition, she was an intelligent woman who loved God and lived and died on her own terms.

She wrote, “The prophetic quote is every child arise on earth. They who have peace with themselves are righteous.” How profound. How ironic I found this letter as I have found peace finally with myself. Despite of the transitions were have been experiencing, the Holy Spirit has allowed me to find peace within the storm.

Lisa signed the card, “Rev. Lisa A. Davis”. Sometime ago…in my absence from her life, she dedicated her life to be a Shepherd of God. Did she have a church? Not to my knowledge; but she indeed had a ministry. Even though she moved to Washington homeless, she worked with women at the Woman’s Shelter. I have some paperwork of hers packed away somewhere with more information about the shelter.

In a second note she wrote”

Hi Mom.

Thanks for the blessing… It’s a great city I’m in. The statues are mesmerizing. People are as common as life is made. Snobs do not exist. I was sick now I’m saved…Some women work, some come in from the hospital or nursing homes, a girl was hit by a car. I have to wait some time for my SSI, soon I hope.

Your daughter,

Lisa Ann Wilson

A simple letter that told me, my sister found happiness in a simplistic and Godly life. She wrote phrases like, “Though I’m prayed upon by the wisdom of the spirit, my merciful soul (is) at grace”. “Through the process of life God has my mind at ease in great unwearied hopes that publishes itself, as the evening shade prevail it takes up wondrous tales of new.”

Oh if I could have spent more time with Lisa. Well, that chance is gone. I do have more of her writings and a copy of her published poetry book. Lisa’s memory will continue through my memories and reflections. She will also be a character in “String of Pearl” series.

Memories – Ten Years and Counting

Sunday, December 15… Ten years ago today. I was not aware that it would be the last day my late husband Donald and I would have our last conversation.  As hard as I try I cannot remember what we spoke about.  When I left that night I was tired and he was resting comfortably. I was looking forward to his release and return to the rehabilitation center.  I was traveling between Voorhees, New Jersey and New York during those days as a Software Trainer and Programmer.  When he completed his stay a week earlier at Virtua, I admitted him to a Rehabilitation hospital so he could receive ’round the clock care. There was no one that I could call on to help with his care. By choice, we lived such isolated lives.

For two and a half years, Donald battled a rare cancer called, liposarcoma. It’s a fatty tissue cancer that normally appears in your extremities. It began in his abdomen and spread.  He was strong and determined to beat it. As I traveled away from home for work, he drove himself back and forth to University of Penn and then Fox Chase Cancer Center in northeast Philly from Voorhees once a week.

That Sunday evening, I slept hoping and praying that he would come home soon.  He hated being away from home. He said he hated being away from me. I woke up Monday morning at 6 am with the ringing of the phone.  “Mrs. Karper?” It was his doctor from Virtua, “Our boy had a very rough night. I’m sorry but you will have to start making arrangements.” What words to wake up from.  No how are you doing Mrs. Karper. Did you have a good night’s sleep. I stared at the ceiling and asked, “Are you saying I have to arrange hospice?”  I didn’t want to say “funeral” so I chose the safe word “hospice”. “Yes…hospice”.  So much can change in less than 24 hours.  Saturday we were sharing a movie in his rehab room. Sunday we were arguing and stressing about his hatred for the hospital. Monday I was arranging for hospice.

My dear friend, Janet Janka LaFrance gave me a number to call and the hospice nurse met with me around 2 pm that afternoon.  At 7 pm we move Donald to Kennedy’s Good Samaritan Hospice Center in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.  I sat with him for about three hours and then left because I thought I had forgot to turn the coffee pot off that morning.  During those days, I didn’t cook or make coffee. Donald handled those chores for over 15 years of our 19 years of marriage.

At 2:30 am I received the call that he has passed in his sleep. So, Saturday we are watch television together. Sunday we are at Virtua arguing. Monday we are sharing time together at hospice and Tuesday I am making funeral arrangements.

It can happen so quickly. Don’t let silly arguments and disagreements come between those you love. Time is fleeting and not promised. Tomorrow I celebrate an anniversary that I was not prepared for nor did I want.

I wrote a book in 2011 “Joy Comes Through the Mourning”.  It does. http://bit.ly/1kPpPum

Deborah Smart aka Deborah Karper

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