family, In My Opinion, inspiration, nature

IMO: Mothers & Daughters

Time repeats itself through the transference of one role to another. To experience wisdom has become the reward for growing older. Let me explain:

My daughter is thirty-three. When I spend time with her, there is an invisible mirror raised. Time places her on one side while I stand on the other. The younger version and older version of shared DNA stares at each other. Vanessa cannot see my side of the mirror. She does not know what it feels like to be fifty-eight, carrying the decades of experiences that molded me into what I am today.

Her sight is fuzzy; she cannot see my wisdom from arriving at this plateau where I stand, forged from my mistakes and accomplishments. All my dreams and disappointments. The anxiety of raising my children until now they have their own. The price paid is evident by my wrinkles and gray hair. Meanwhile, at thirty-three, she is blonde with a smooth complexion. Her body parts are firm and mobile. I miss that younger version of myself, but that’s a different story.

I’ve got the advantage. I confess it is a lot easier being fifty-eight than thirty-three.

When I was thirty-three, life was ahead of me. I wondered and planned and strived for my goals with a determination that they would come true. Now at fifty-eight, I am able to look back at my life and feel grateful I survived the dark holes and worrisome stress that causes one to smoke, drink too much, and cry rivers. It’s my daughter’s turn to wiggle through the angst of life; there’s not much I can do but…well, buy her some clothes.

When I was thirty-three, my mother occasionally took me clothes shopping at a local department’s store. I knew our trips were a way to bond. Just the two of us looking in the sales rack. I didn’t have much money because I was a single parent which means any extra money for clothes goes to the children.

That’s why she would buy me something to help out my limited wardrobe.

My heart ached for my mother today. Without thinking about it, I called up my daughter and asked if she’d accompany me to the local boutique in town. I bought her a few pieces of clothing to vamp up her limited wardrobe.

In that moment, I was connected to Mom. I was myself. I was Vanessa at thirty-three, and we all swirled around as one person in the present.

I like being fifty-eight.

What will I feel like in twenty-five years at eighty-three? I don’t have the perspective yet.

2020s, adventure, family, Five Shots of..., five shots...., glamping, nature, photography, travel

Dear Friends,

Ruby on board at Sunroad Resort Marina, San Diego

Some summer breaks are uneventful for weeks at a time before an international trip happens. Weeks go by waiting for the big bang of adventure far, far away. Other summers, little trips happen–two days here, five days there–throughout the whole summer. This was my 2021 summer. You might recall a recent post at the beginning of June when Jim and I went to Cerritos Beach outside of Todos Santos, Mexico for a week. That was a great kick off to the summer.

Nothing eventful occurred until the end of June when I had rotator cup surgery which required three screws and nine sutures. Ouch.

Covid had kept our family members away from each other. A joy, then, to reunite with my daughter-in-law and grandson who stayed for a ten day visit. Whenever friends and family visit, we become tourists which is important. Seeing one’s neighborhood through the eyes of others is a perspective that keeps me grateful. Jim took his daughter on the Williams, AZ train to the Grand Canyon. We revisted Montezuma’s Castle, an ancient Anasazi monument in Camp Verde, AZ.

Ben and the Gene Autry Cowboy
Anna, Ben & Montezuma’s Castle

My son visited for a weekend. It had been a long time, so I tried something special and booked two nights at a Phoenix resort, so I could visit with my grandchildren and two sons at a fun location. We spent the days in the pool and had a blast.

My son, Paul, the accountant
San Diego skyline

Jim and I reconnected after the kids left, and we took Ruby with us to San Diego. We tried staying in a sailboat for a few nights at the harbor. What a fun glamping experience.

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

Atop a ridge overlooking San Diego on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other was a somber final resting place for veterans. It felt like visiting Arlington National Cemetery with manicured grounds and white marble headstones symetrically placed over many acres.

Ruby and Jim

Always ready to fish, Jim and Ruby spend the mornings in the ocean.

A Pacific Croaker
Inside the sailboat

It was pristine and quiet in the marina. Our boat was just right for two adults and a dog.

Ocean Beach, San Diego

After exploring several beaches on the coast, we headed back home to our Arizona desert. The water followed us as monsoons hit the Phoenix area with great force. Up north where we live, it has rained for days now. Our drought-suffering region needs it.

Crimped and tired, Ruby.

Now I’m done with summer adventures. The school year starts up on August 2. I did not write much in July. I’m hoping to spend the remaining week getting a chapter out of the way. Thinking kind thoughts of you all.

Love & Friendship,

Cindy

history, photography

(9) Creating Historical Fiction: Herbert Zipper

Barbara and Zorka Kiss are lost in more ways than one. Struggling to survive in Manila during the Japanese occupation in 1942-45, I came to a spot in the narrative where I needed to blend the Nazi and Japanese atrocities together for sharing the characterizations of two unique Jewish sisters. Zorka is the classical musician who is accomplished with the viola. She is at a crippling part of the story and needs to move forward and not let tragedy keep her captive. At twenty, she must learn that her childhood avocation has a more meaningful purpose to her identity.

“But we all learned the motto of Dachau to heed

And became as hardened as stone

Stay humane, Dachau mate,

Be a man, Dachau Mate,

And work as hard as you can, Dachau mate,

For work leads to freedom alone!” – “Dachau Lied”

Enter the real man, Maestro Herbert Zipper. I had never heard of him. I stumbled upon his unique story and was thrilled, for I found my bridge and motivation for Zorka. It’s one of those human stories that can’t possibly be made up. Reality is stranger than fiction. Herbert is that and more!

Herbert Zipper (1904-1997) was a refined and educated Vienese Jew. By the time of the Anschluss in 1938, his father went to Paris to secure emigration papers for his family. Herbert had fallen in love with his soul mate,Trudl Dubsky, who was an accomplished ballerina. Herbert and his brother were arrested, transported by cattle cars and deposited to Munich’s concentration camp, Dachau. The infamous greeting, “Arbeit Macht Frei” greeted the Jews. While he was in the camp, he survived by focusing his energies on composing and creating an “outhouse” orchestra. For fifteen minutes a week, music was played and their humanity stayed intact. Through music, Herbert survived and gave inspiration to those around him.

Februrary 20, 1939, his father had secured the necessary papers and his sons were released from Dachau. Once in Paris, Herbert made his plans. Trudl was in a ballet in Manila having secured a spot with another Vienese conductor the pair knew. When he suddenly died of a heart attack, Trudl advocated for Herbert to replace him as Conductor of the Manila Symphony.

Zorka will befriend the Zippers and it’s Herbert’s wisdom which will lift and transform Zorka. The plot becomes richer because of Herbert and Trudl’s love, courage, and underground activities. It will be a pleasure to showcase the real couple in the novel. The tie in with fact and fiction is perfect.

I found Paul Cummins biography of Herbert Zipper fascinating. Try Dachau Song: The Twentieth Century Odyssey of Herbert Zipper. His famous song, “Dachau Lied” was composed and sung by the inmates of Dachau. Here it is if you’d like to listen to it:

https://www.ushmm.org/exhibition/music/detail.php?content=dachau

Rough Draft:

During a sticky-hot monsoon in August, Zorka scanned the papers and discovered an article featuring the conductor of the Manila Theater of Arts, Dr. Herbert Zipper, a Vienese Jew who escaped Dachau and Buchenwald and came to Manila to accept the post of head conductor. A particular quote resonated with Zorka. “Music,” he quoted, “is God’s powerful gift that fills the heart and replenishes the soul when all seems lost.” Zorka felt a glimmer of inspiration. She desperately wanted to meet and talk to him. If he can survive the camps with music as his beacon of light, then so too, can I.

She stared at her viola case set in a corner of the living room. She pulled out the instrument, and her bow announced clear notes. The music seemed to seep into her blood. She played for hours a day, remembering her first recital at eight and her performances as a teenager for the Minneapolis Youth Symphony. She replayed pieces from solo concerts during Purim. She remembered the requests by the family in the parlor during Yom Kippur. As a transfusion, music flushed the sadness out of her heart.

Thanks for reading!