Her First and Always Mentor – Part I

Everyone in the world needs a mentor at every stage of their life. She never really thought about who her first (and always) mentor was until much later in life. She had so many over the years, it seemed. There was always someone who helped her get to the next stage of her life. Not all were men. In fact, her first and most impactful mentor was her mother.

It wasn’t always a relationship of love and joy, in fact were there times of downright hate. But it was that love/hate relationship that allowed her to grow and recognize how important her mother had been in her life.

She didn’t feel mentored when her older sister basically raised her while mom played in the bridge club. She didn’t feel mentored when her mother divorced her father and she was cast to the four winds (or at least that’s how she felt) when her “Pal and Buddy” left the house. She didn’t feel mentored when she became an outcast wearing thrift store clothing and had no friends while mom wore expensive suits and gadded about on weekends.
What she didn’t see was that regardless of all the emotional pain, she was so much better off than so many others. What she did’t know is she had #enough. She didn’t know that the musical talents she was given were her anchor to sanity. She could hide behind her flute and play to soothe her soul. She didn’t appreciate her warm bed and three squares. All she could see was the dysfunction of her family and her life and hate her mother for it.

It would be years before she realized that she would not have gotten to the employment levels she did without the example set by her mother. She would not know how to dress, behave or work in a professional environment without her guidance. She remembers at 14 having to “go to work” with Mom during Christmas break. There was no way this “creative child” could be left home alone. She was given the task of addressing the Law Firms Christmas Cards by hand (that’s where Mom worked). The addresses had to be lined up just so; the penmanship impeccable; the envelope perfect, while dress was skirt and nylons, voice was quiet, and comments were kept to one’s self. She hated it. But it was such good training for other mentors to send her forward.

Order In Court – Book Review

Order In Court by David Osborne is an odd, but fun little book. Each Chapter is a new adventure by Barrister Toby Potts. From his love life to his court life, everything is just a little odd – but so are all his clients.

I purchased the book because the tease said it was humor, and I was pleasantly surprised his unique style of writing made me laugh out loud. Mr. Osborne has a gift for turning your tongue. And his subtle humor and innuendo is refreshing.

“Gettig squiffy on rough cider” makes it clear what was going on. Mr. Dan D Lyon is yet another of his characters you’ll want to know more about. He pokes fun at just about everyone, but in a kind way. And you’ll need to be paying attention as you read, the hidden barbs and twists are cleverly woven into the text and all are worth a chuckle.

4 Stars for Mr. Osborne’s latest.

The Flower Sellers – A Tale of Two Sisters

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

That phrase never appeared in my latest read – “A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London’s Flower Sellers” by Hazel Gaynor. The children of historic London were the flower sellers – watercress, roses, lavendar, shamrocks, each season there was one special nosegay Spirit of 13 - Book Reviewthey sold on the street to the affluent Britains. It was there they learned to take each day as it comes, don’t wrorry about the future, leave the past where it is. It was there that “little mothers” were born. They were the children who raised their younger siblings in the absence of any parents. It was there the street Urchins might meet Mr. Shaw and be chosen to live and work at his Watercress and Flower Girls Facility in Clerkenwell.

The street urchins of London in the 1800’s, results of polio, accients and abandonment, were like most of the street children – they wore tattered,m dirty frocks, which hun off their undernourished bodies and went about barefoot. Mr. Shaw “sensed that it would be only y housing the girls, removing them permanently from theirlife on the streets and providing them a purpose, that we could ever make a real and lasting difference to their lives.”

The houses were called a “Crippleage”, but they were places where children learned that “to love and be loved is the greatest joy on earth”. They learned to make silk flowers by the hundreds, and they learned to care and share.

This is my best read of 2015, at least thus far. Ms. Gaynor has done a wonderful job telling their true story, all the while asking “Is this an ending or a beginning?” Good question – one I should have asked myself over the years. The love of two sisters, the sorrow of childhood poverty, the history of women in society, the compassion of a London man who owned an engraving business who had #enough and hired a room for hot cocoa and bread and butter.

A must read.