A generous offer from my home church: Office Space!

As previously reported, my mom has moved.

Looking at these two pictures, you’ll see it was quite the downsize.

My mom refers to her new purchase, built in the 1970’s, as her Granny House.

5 blocks away stands the 1917, wrap-around porch, corner lot “grand lady”. This is my childhood home, where my parents lived for 50 years.

Yes, the new house is very nice but one of the biggest draw-backs for 2 people is space.

My mom expected me to have short visits from time to time but this is turning into a bit of the long-haul.

I have a back room we have labeled The She-shack.  It holds my mom’s WOW computer, her desk chair and my pull-out bed but that’s about it.  When you squeeze me, my mom and our China rescue, Bridget, into the She-shack for our separate computer-ing, it gets a bit crowded.

Plus the house noise seems to be amplified quite a bit from different areas of this completely uncarpeted dwelling.  From every room, you can hear the TV, NPR radio broadcasts, kitchen cabinet and door bangings, the washing machine and dryer whirring, the dog barking at folks walking by, footsteps (even in socked feet) …. All these add even more of a distraction when I’m trying to concentrate on doing Amity work, writing and editing articles, formulating new lesson plan videos for China, holding a virtual meeting or just when I need a bit of meditative “down” time to refresh and re-energize.

And there is just no way to spread out and feel somewhat organized.

A stroke of genius

As my mom and I discussed this dilemma, she suddenly came up with a brilliant idea.

“Why not ask  the church council if it’s possible for you to have a small area in the building (a Sunday school room, perhaps?) for your personal office space?  You know, the pastor’s former study, which is now the prayer room, would be perfect. ”

I followed through with this suggestion.

With the generous, unanimous support of my hometown church’s Marshall First UMC council members, permission was given.  I now have a small space of my own in what was originally built as the pastor’s study (in use from 1909 — 1982), later changed into a prayer room, then somewhat moved into a storage area, and now it has become my sweet little office.

Although our church is not yet open to the public, aside from worship on Sunday, the go-ahead was announced for me to use the room without the worries (due to Covid) of coming in contact with staff on a regular basis.  I have a key to the back door which leads me directly to my office door.

I wear my mask upon entering the building (mandatory).

But after that, I am free to remove it.

Since  I am pretty much isolated on the other side of the church, there is no need to mask-don 100% of the time.

I have already set myself up.  As you can see below, it makes for a cozy setting and a great work environment.  I love it!

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Thank you’s Abound

How very grateful and blessed I am to have this little niche of my own.  Thank you, my home church, for this treasured room.  I will use it with the same Christian love you have bestowed upon me to pass on to others during my service to missions here, in this place.

Here’s wishing you, as always, 平安 (ping ahn, peace) for your day.  

Posted in A Visit Home to America, A Visit Home to Marshall, coronavirus, Illinois, My New Office Space, Smalltown American Life, Waiting it out during Covid | 2 Comments

September updates from me!


I promised in the last post for more recent updates from my end.  Here is the latest about what’s happening in my extended stay in America.

There have been so many ups and downs:  moments of excitement, sadness, determination, apprehension, excitement, concern, reflection . . . .  the list goes on. In this entry, I give you the highlights

Return to China . . . Still on hold

From the beginning of this wait, starting in February, I had great confidence of a return to China for  at least the beginning of the college school year in September.  I daily logged onto websites announcing openings of China to different countries as governments and experts tamed the virus in their regions, giving China the confidence needed to allow overseas’ visitors to return.  The timeline is as follows:

April:  New visas for students, teachers and company employees issued for those in South Korea.

May:  “Fast Track” business lanes for business executives and special experts from Germany, Britain and Singapore opened up.

July: Educators teaching at International Schools allowed to return on their current visas (Unfortunately, I work for a Chinese college, not an international school, so I was not included in that category)

August:  New and current visas for 36 European countries, including Britain, are being processed with a letter of invitation from educational institutions or companies.

September:  Direct flights to and from Beijing are now being opened to 8 more countries.

That has been the last as of today, with more country bans lifted as the months progress.

Mandatory 2-week quarantines are still in place at designated hotels, with people being herded directly off the airplane into the facilities assigned. Costs fall on the individual, housing and food delivery.  After those 14 days, three negative Covid-19 tests are required before any visitors to China are released into the public.  After that, those taking on-going flights will require a person to quarantine another 2 weeks in their residences at their final destination.

All new virus cases have been from abroad, with no new reports of pop-up cases in the country itself being found.  I am still crossing my fingers for my school to receive permission from local government authorities to send my invitation letter for the Spring semester.  Much of this depends on how the virus continues to spread, both in America and around the world.

News from Luzhou Vocational and Technical College

My Chinese colleagues living on campus, and those traveling from their distant home towns after their summer holidays, were required to return 2 weeks early (by mid-August) and quarantine at home.  On campus, meals were delivered 3 times a day to my apartment building and left outside people’s doors for pick-up.  I received many messages from my colleagues saying how much they enjoyed having a rest in their homes for 2 weeks (although a bit bored) where they were able to sleep, watch TV, clean house and prepare remotely for the new school year to get their lesson plans in place and do numerous office duties (including virtual all-school staff meetings) from the comfort of their homes.

Then came the postings of students returning to the campus, by classes, with the seniors arriving first, then the sophomores and lastly, the freshmen.  Everyone was required to quarantine in their dorms for 2 weeks, after a Covid test was administered with a negative result, but they could go to the cafeteria to eat.   We have a holiday coming  up, National Day from Oct. 1 – 7 (celebrating the founding of the People’s Republic of China) but students are not allowed to travel home.  They must remain on the campus to make sure they don’t bring the virus back with them, although in China itself, Covid 19 is pretty much gone.

Even campus building projects are going strong.

The indoor pool is finally open!

Last October, after a hasty push to get it done for China’s 75 anniversary of the founding of the PRC, many structural issues kept it from opening:  burst pipes (constant 4-foot water flooding in the electronic pump room), chlorination imbalances (water was over-chlorinated,  under-chlorinated, or not chlorinated due to technical issues), qualified lifeguards and a knowledgable manager not yet hired and unfinished locker rooms with numerous  installations needed.

Needless to say, those have all been solved and the pool is fully being utilized.

Next bit of news concerns the  bridge linking the extended campus with the new dormitories, located across a busy main freeway, is to be opened late October.  This will allow students trekking from farther away to be safe, rather than cross an expressway with heavy traffic that separates the two areas of the school.

The Luzhou Protestant Church: Now open for worship and activities

My Luzhou church family has already begun worship services, with the sanctuary full and the choir having practices twice a week, plus belting out anthems with no fear of virus spread.  I continue to post the daily prayer and receive our scripture readings for the day as well as notices of church happenings.

All the choir members, and Pastor Liao, send me uplifting messages of hope:  to take care of my mom, to stay healthy, that God is watching over me, that they look forward to my return, that I am prayed for, that all will be well and not to lose faith.  Those little notes of encouragement mean the world to me.  How very blessed I am to have such love and support coming my way all the way from China.

My Students:  “Teacher, where are you?”

Last year: My Methodology class, our lesson on how to use puppets in the classroom, was one of my favorites.

I have received countless text messages and voicemails from students and friends, asking me when I will return.  Most do not know that I’ve been blocked from entry and am waiting for the Chinese government  to change that stance.

On my WeChat blog moments (WeChat is similar to Facebook), I post several times a week about what I’m up to with pictures of me, my mom, my hometown, things I’ve been doing and my community’s news.  Comments abound, with likes,  sympathetic emojis or words of cheer or surprise.

In moments of frustration, my  mom has to listen to me lament about all the events my students and I always organize for the Fall semester, not to take place this year: Mooncake giveaway for Mid-Autumn Festival, Halloween Activity Night, Christmas Activity Night, Thanksgiving Day lessons, my holiday open houses, the English speech and singing contest I judge with other Chinese teachers, end-of-the-year “thank-you”s to monitors and words of praise to my classes for their hard studies and participation . . . . the list goes on.

I read my WeChat posts from a year ago,  go over pictures I took of all our fun times together and reflect upon the amount of work, effort and time that went into doing everything.

 I remember exhausting days full of  teaching, meeting with students,  evening planning sessions in the English Center, rushing off to choir practice for Bible study, fellowship and song,  not getting home to have dinner until close to 10 p.m., then finishing up last-minute emails and blog postings on this site or WeChat before an early morning rise the next day.

Wow!  How did I do all that?!

And despite it all, there was the uplifting and excited feeling about the next day, plus looking forward to a Saturday of rest or dinner hosting in my home, not to mention a joyful Sunday worship with my choir family and Christian community.

It is hard to let go of those joys and know they will not take place this year.

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My mom listens with patience and sympathy as I moan and groan about what I’m missing out on. As any good mom, after an adequate amount of silence, she  responds.

“I have faith you will return to China.  Don’t dwell upon the negative.  There is always a reason for this hiatus.  Think about all you have been able to do now which you never would have been able to do had you been in China.”

Her remarks always bring me back to the “count your blessings, one by one” of today.  She’s so right!!  See what all I’ve accomplished and am accomplishing, or adding to my new-found life here, during this special time I’m spending in America.

Blessings of Connecting:  Zooming the day away

In China, I am somewhat isolated using the Net in that many sites are blocked to me.  This includes Skype, Zoom and Lifestyle (the virtual meetings’ App’s), Facebook, Youtube and a few others.  With WeChat as the main venue for communication in China, I had no trouble touching bases with everyone who lived there but in America, it was hotmail that put me in touch with all of you in the States.

Now, however, Zoom and Lifestyle have given me a whole new world and community of people to meet with:  The UMC Atlanta office staff, my UMC colleagues both overseas and in the States, our UMW (United Methodist Women) and church groups, and my hometown church for Bible studies, church meetings and fellowship time. I’ve just finished 9 gatherings these past 2 weeks with more to come.

This has been truly a very special, rewarding part of my being here.  It certainly would never have happened in China, with so many blocks to use such means of communication.

Educational Videos and Photo Ops

Creating 4-5 minutes videos for my students in China has been so much fun.  Not only do I get to use my mom for some of these, but I have the ability to drive about town and choose whatever venue I want to record or photograph for future lessons.

No need to dig through archives of photos and clips and try to build around topics that don’t exactly fit the textbook chapter.  It’s been so much fun to think of a theme or topic then actually go to the place itself to film or photograph:  an American supermarket, swimming pool, tour around town, visit to a farm, my brother’s law office (he has his own firm in town), interviews, American hobbies, etc.

The more I do, the more I have for use.

Not only can I  send to my college department or post on WeChat blog moments for others to see and use, but I am collecting for my return to my Luzhou classroom .

Despite having had frustrating moments of “Will I ever get back?!”, there honestly more of “What a great video addition to use next year for my lesson on XXX.  I can’t wait!”

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We Have Moved!

It only took months of packing, sorting, boxing up, trips to the Goodwill, many carloads to the new house, trips to the furniture stores, and then the movers finally  arriving but we finally made it.

Into the new ..

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Leaving behind the old …

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A little nostalgic and sentimental?  Just a tad but the new house is, folks, very, very, VERY nice.  And even more important, I was able to do this move with my mom, not leave her the great burden and daunting task of doing it all on her own.

From Stateside, helping Chinese Rescues is still in the works

Despite being far from my Luzhou home, I  have still been able to help out with a few animal rescues. These new connections I established because of Covid 19 and would not have joined such groups beforehand had I not been stranded in America.   I recently posted this notice on a Facebook site for Beijing foreigners who have been updating me on China news since March. All use a VPN to be able to access Facebook and have been an excellent source of information concerning those of us stuck in the States during this time.  I’m hoping something comes of the below, which I sent out a few days ago:

“Hi, Beijing folk!! While still waiting to return to China, I am in touch with an animal rescue business woman, Zhou Yan, in my city, Luzhou, Sichuan Province. She has saved several larger dogs, including this poor stray in the picture below.  He would found emaciated, hairless, covered in scabs and cuts, and being attacked by attendants in a shopping mall the poor thing had wandered into. He was so gentle and frail.  Zhou Yan guesses he is about 2 years old. After months of rehabilitation, and her own out-of-pocket money, he is ready for adoption. (Still needs neutering and vaccinations but she’s working on that.) The difference is incredible!  See this gentle giant below in the video.   If you know of anyone in Chengdu who would like to adopt this big boy, or even another of her larger or smaller animals, please let me know. Zhou Yan often brings sick dogs to Chengdu (4 hours away from Luzhou) for better veterinarian care. She would be happy to bring him for a meet-up and possible adoption. Email me and I will connect with her to connect with anyone willing to help. corneliaw2000@hotmail.com”

Closing Off

I leave you here with my mom’s Fall display at her new home.  May the cool, fresh autumnal breezes blow good wishes your way, and may abundant 平安 (ping ahn), Peace, fill your weeks as it continues to fill mine.

Posted in A Visit Home to America, coronavirus, coronavirus situation in China, Illinois, Luzhou Vocational and Technical College, Return to China, Smalltown American Life | 1 Comment

My Grandfather and Mr. Brooks: Did they cross paths?

Note:  For those following me as an Amity Foundation teacher in China, I will update about my return-to-China news and current status of that in another entry.  For now, this posting seemed timely and appropriate so I include it here.

Lawrence Brooks, the oldest living WW 2 veteran, served in New Guinea and the Philippines with the 91st battalion.

A CNN article caught my eye several days ago.

Reporter Kelsie Smith, in her September 5th article, wrote:  “The oldest living American to serve in World War II is turning 111 years old, and you can join the celebration.” She went on with the following:

“Lawrence Brooks served as a support worker in the predominantly Black American 91st Engineer Battalion stationed in New Guinea and then the Philippines and reached the rank of private first class during the war. On September 12, he celebrates his 111th birthday. The National World War II Museum in New Orleans has thrown parties for the past five years to honor Brooks. Last year, family, veterans, and current military service members celebrated the veteran’s new milestone at the museum, with cupcakes and a musical performance by the museum’s vocal trio, the Victory Belles.

But this year, due to the pandemic, the celebration will look a little different. The museum is asking Americans around the country to send birthday cards.

On the big day, a small group of museum staff will deliver the cards to Brook at his home for a private celebration. Staff plans to wear face masks and practice social distancing. The Victory Belles will still serenade him.

To join the celebration, send a card to:

The National WWII Museum    c/o: Happy 111th Mr. Brooks!    945 Magazine Street New Orleans, LA  70130.”

Photos, such as the one below,  followed of Mr. Brooks in past birthday celebrations enjoying his special day.

Did they cross paths?

After reading the article, I wondered if my grandfather’s battalion and Brook’s ever came in contact with one another.

As mentioned in previous posts, my grandfather also served in the Army in New Guinea and the Philippines at the same time as Mr. Brooks.  His role was that of chaplain, assigned to the 101st AAA  (Anti Aircraft Artillery) and had him traveling extensively to outlying foxholes and gunnery stations by peep. (A peep is slang for a WW II  jeep attached to an armored regiment.)

Or perhaps my grandfather had met the 91st’s chaplain, if not the men themselves. In his journal entries, he mentioned the “colored” troops (the term used at that time), including that he had met their chaplain.  It seems that for the African-American soldiers, one Black chaplain was assigned to their battalion with segregation of the troops still practiced to some extent, although not in all instances.

My Grandfather’s Opinions on Race Relations

Marvin’s Army trunk is seen here with his 5 journals from the war years displayed.

Throughout his journals, there were numerous references to those from different backgrounds, both in race, religion and nationality:  Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, women, homosexuals, Australians, Brits, native New Guineans, Filippinos, the Japanese … As a chaplain in the Army, he was confronted with ministering to and/or associating with all.  His writings portray an unedited, uncensored, raw telling of his thoughts and feelings:  some progressive, some less so; some thought-provoking , some banal; some applaudable, some cringeworthy.

With today’s current situation in America, I was struck by one particular entry, which I will share here.

A  Revealing Journal Entry 

In Volume 2 of my grandfather’s WW 2  journals, I found an entry dated Feb. 1, 1944.  His orders for overseas’ deployment came and he was waiting it out in San Francisco before departure for New Guinea.  During that time period, he detailed his numerous encounters with other officers heading out.  Their many conversations he recorded.  Some left him with a feeling of disgust and indignation, others that of bemusement and still more with admiration and respect.

This one below I found of particular interest, especially due to the current situation in America regarding racism:

“Also an officer in JAGD (Judge Advocate General’s Department) stated that there were many more AWOLs among Negro soldiers than among whites.  My answer to him was that the white American has much more to fight for.  He has a bigger stake in America.  Will the colored soldier fight for the privilege of riding in Jim Crow cars, of being discriminated against in labor unions, of being denied proper educational facilities and of being denied access to the professions?  Most assuredly, he is not going to be enthusiastic about fighting for the maintenance of such insistutions.  The JAGD Lt. then asked, ‘What better country could he belong to and fight for?’  I mentioned Australia, England, Free France and South America, Mexico:  This officer changed the subject.”

My Ponderings

Such shameful treatment of American citizens, during that time period as well as today, gives me even greater admiration for those who served and are serving in our US Armed forces as racial and ethnic minorities, including women and LGBT armed forces personnel.  Despite blatant discrimination and all the wrongdoings that follow with it, here we witness, in such individuals, a commitment to hoped-for change, an optimism that things will get better, and that military service to this country is a respected calling to be carried out with honor and pride.  It takes a strong, dedicated and determined person to fight for a country that still struggles for justice, fairness and equality among its people.

To Mr. Brooks

On that final note, I would like to extend an upcoming Happy Birthday to you, Private First Class Lawrence Brooks.  Your card is in the mail, along with hundreds of others, I’m sure.   If my grandfather were alive today, he’d be right there beside you, offering a prayer of thanksgiving for your service, your life and your commitment to America.

From Illinois, here’s wishing Mr. Brooks, and all who read this 平安 (ping ahn), Peace, for your day.

Posted in A WW 2 chaplain's encounters with discrimination, World War 2 Letters, WW 2 Letters: My grandmother writes | 1 Comment

A 51-year-old church newsletter rings true today

Connie (my grandmother) and Marvin (Rev. Maris) in the parsonage, around 1970.

The yellow-tinted, aged paper caught my eye, seeming to call out for a reader.

In preparation for her upcoming house move, my mom had been going through cabinets.  She’d been pulling out dusty folders from hidden drawers and came across a mimeographed, typed, 2-page newsletter entitled The United Church of Christ (UCC),  dated March 18, 1969, Garden Prairie, Illinois.  The church was among one of the last  my grandfather, Rev. Marvin Maris, served during his over 40 years of service to the UCC.  With so many other papers, church programs, bulletins, newspaper articles, old photos and other odds-and-ends materials bursting from their filing cabinet, this one faded item seemed destined for the trash heap.  But in a moment of nostalgic weakness, I scooped it up and began reading.

What I found was so similar to today’s churches, large and small: a much-needed  commitment by the congregation to run the church well, to volunteer, to get projects off the ground, to attend services, to financially give and, above all, “HELP, HELP, HELP!”, as the newsletter so fervently begged.  I counted 6 “help”s, along with quite pointed sentences urgently calling for assistance and involvement.

My mom revealed it was most likely her mom, Connie, who wrote the newsletter, not so much Marvin.  I’m sure he was consulted but Connie had a take-charge knack for enthusiastically pulling folks together as the pastor’s wife.  Marvin’s erudite, scholarly approach to ministry was balanced by Connie’s ability to be more down-to-earth in seeing to the  fellowship aspect of church-going.  She was a good one to get projects off the ground, albeit sometimes at the last minute, and rally the troops (i.e., church members) to participate.

This is obviously apparent in the below newsletter, created and typed 51 years ago, with topics and sentiments that still hold true to those of today’s churches.  For my Christian followers, see how many are reported by Marvin and Connie that you find true today in your own church community.  My guess is that there are more than a few.

============================================================================18 March, 1969

The United Church of Christ   Garden Prairie, IL

From Marvin and Connie Maris:

SPRING IS HERE:  The birds are back, ducks are traveling!  Time to clean up and pick up!  Bring your pails, mops, rakes, clippers and other equipment Saturday, March 22, this coming Saturday and help get the place ready for Easter.  WE NEED YOUR HELP.  Teenagers, men and women, old and young!  Come early and work as long as you can.

FRIDAY MARCH 21:  Cookie bake.  Order your cookies from any church school member … or call parsonage.  Proceeds for Summer program and building fund.

RUMMAGE SALE:  FRIDAY MARCH 28.  Bring your good used things to the church by Thursday evening.  Please press and hang clothing on hangers.  It will help the workers.  Donations of baked goods for sale welcomed.  Lunch served also.  Come and help, buy, give.  All for the church treasury.  This is an all church project.  Set up Thursday, sell Friday, clean up Saturday.

THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY has been instructed by the church council to give each of you a quarterly statement of monies given to the church.  This is a private thing and no one else knows what you give. It is one way to keep your tax records straight, also.

DID YOU KNOW:  We have three choirs, a rhythm group (devotion in motion), two Youth Fellowships (age group 7th through 12th grades), two women’s circles, a women’s fellowship, church school ….. and we should have the church overflowing on Sunday mornings.  You are not doing your share when you stay at home or go other places.  We need you, you need a church in Garden Prairie.  Someone from a larger church remarked the other day that she was surprised how much activity we have here.  It gets discouraging for those who DO THINGS for the rest of you to forget to become involved also.  How about trying a little harder?


EASTER      SUNRISE SERVICE      6:30 a.m. Breakfast follows. Let Frances Snider know how you will help.  Service by youth groups

EASTER.  11 a.m. worship service, three choirs and a special Easter message.  Will you be there?

BOONE COUNTY RELIGIOUS CENSUS:  This is an effort to reach the unchurched.  Our church is responsible for Bonus Township.  We need 20 workers and several drivers.  This is for Sunday, April 20.  This is a good way to invite people to our church also.  WILL YOU HELP EVEN TO DRIVE A CAR SO THAT SOME OF OUR YOUNG PEOPLE CAN PARTICIPATE?

The church school brought in $27.00 for the One Great Hour of Sharing.  Did you do your part? You can still give.

SPRING FLING:  AN EVENING OF FUN AND ENTERTAINMENT at Educational building, April 10.  Tickets available from Circle 2 members.  There will be 100 tickets only.  Get yours and invite your friends to come.  Supper and entertainment.  Mrs. Priscilla Wieck, Mashall, Illinois, will be doing the program.  A Spring Fling is traditional in many parts of Europe where the keeping of Lent was taken very seriously. It is the celebration of the breaking out of winter and the promise of bright, sunny, warm days.

VACATION CHURCH SCHOOL:  With help, we will conduct another Vacation Church School during June.  We will need teachers and helpers.  It is not too early to plan

Our Treasurer is getting a big headache because the necessary $30.00 a day to run the church is not coming in.  Are you doing your fair share?  Lent and Easter is a good time to think about it and to get out those back envelopes and tuck in a little extra.  The fuel bills have been high because we are using the buildings more.  HELP!  HELP! HELP!


Misguided Prayer

O Lord, so long as the weather is reasonably fine,

so long as I have no visitors,

so long a nobody asks me to do any work,

so long as I can sit in the back pew,

so long as they don’t choose hymns I don’t know,

so long as my grandson is asked to recite at the Christmas programs,

so long as I can get out in time for the game on TV,

I will honor Thee with my presece at one of the services of Thy church

whenever I feel like it.

(From the bulletin of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Williamsville, New York.)


Some must blend the plaster, Some must carry the stone;

Neigh man nor the Master Can ever build alone.

Building a room for a shelter, Or building a house for a king,

Only by working together Can we ever accomplish a thing.


Someone said this: “The tithe, in its broadest sense, is the setting aside first a definite share of one’s income regularly for the work of the Lord.  In the stricter sense, it is the setting aside for the work of the Lord first, exactly one tenth.  Any person who takes Christ seriously will find it difficult to justify the giving of left overs!  Try it faithfully for a year and find for yourself its joys.  You will find a deeper and richer life.”

What percent of time, talent and money are you returning to God who gave all for you?

A Few Photos from that time period
Posted in A Small-town American Church: 51 years ago, Illinois: United Church of Christ in 1969 | Leave a comment

75 years later, Atomic bomb reflections re-surface

Previously, I mentioned I’d been going through the World War II correspondence between my grandmother, Connie Maris in Holland, Michigan, and her husband, Chaplain (Captain) Marvin E. Maris, serving overseas’ in New Guinea and the Philippines from 1944 – 1945 (Below is my grandfather’s sketch of his Pacific service journey.)


Connie’s daily letter-writing habits detailed her many activities as a young mother of two,  the local town’s goings-on, church happenings (she was very active in the Holland Methodist Church), and tons of gossip, all interspersed with her varied thoughts, observations and feelings on all kinds of subject matter.  I remember Grandmother Connie was never one to hold opinions to herself.  I see that, in her younger years, that held true as well from the letters I’ve been reading.

As the 75th anniversary arrives of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the ending of World War II (V-J Day, August 15, 1945), I’d like to share in this post two letters written from Connie to Marvin.  Both were composed while she was attending a 1-week Christian retreat camp at Lake Louise, located in Johannesburg, Michigan.  This was 215 miles from Holland, where she was living while waiting for her husband to come home from the war.  Connie had volunteered to be one of the counselors for the young girls and also the leader for several adult Bible study groups.  My mom was attending as well, age 12, and my uncle, age 7.

Before launching into the letters, I’m including a bit of information regarding the camp and its ties to Christianity and Methodism.

A History of Lake Louise Camp  (Taken from the Lake Louise website)

As the logging era in Northern Michigan waned and Great Depression descended upon the United States, the Horner family of Eaton Rapids, MI held approximately 5,500 acres of “stump land” surrounding a spring-fed lake in Northern Michigan.

In 1934, the Horner family approached their pastor, Rev. Stanley Niles, desiring to give these lands away. Together, the Horners and Rev. Niles envisioned a youth camp and cottage sites for clergy families surrounding the lake.

They created Lake Louise Christian Community, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, to receive the gift and hold the land in trust for the two United Methodist Michigan conferences, and by extension, all Michigan Methodists. Yet the current ministry transcends traditional Christian denominational lines, welcoming all persons of Christian faith, and seeks to offer an environment in which all persons feel welcome, regardless of faith tradition.

The transformational camping experiences of children, youth, and adults of the Methodist Church linger in their memories and continue forming their lives and faith long after they leave.

Christian camping at Lake Louise began in 1935 and continues uninterrupted to this day.  Today, the Lake Louise staff works with dedicated volunteer deans and counselors to develop and offer vibrant Christian camping programs.

My Reflections to the Above

When my grandmother’s camp experience took place, the facility must have been quite new in 1945, having been built with additions during the 9 years since it was established.  Connie mentioned participants staying in cabins and I read on the Lake Louise website  that Tennant Chapel  was later built in the 1950s. The chapel , which is fully functional today, seats approximately 160 people and has a sound system and piano.  Not sure what my grandmother’s worship experiences were like but I doubt a fully equipped chapel with sound system was available.

Back to the Letters:  My Grandmother Writes about The Atomic Bomb

It was during this week at camp when world history was made. How very telling that her closing remarks on the atomic bomb echo much the same sentiment many of us have today, 75 years later.   She writes as follows:

Note:   M.M. is Marvin Maris, my grandfather. Ed Dixon is one of the study leaders,  held as a POW (Prisoner of War) before being repatriated.  I was saddened concerning the derogatory remark my grandmother made concerning the Japanese (“the Japs,” she calls them) but I include it unedited.  Those are my grandmother’s words and reveal the sentiment of the times, that of animosity toward an Asian country  that started the war and whose military perpetuated inhumane conditions, treating POW’s with disdain, scorn and contempt. 

Aug. 8, Wednesday 1945, Lake Louise  camp

Dearest M.M.,

It’s a lovely warm day.  The baseball game between faculty and kids was won by the kids so now tomorrow, we’ll see a bunch of crippled old men!!

Just had a nice talk with Ed Dixon.  He sure has done things.  Spent 50 days in solitary confinement at first because the Japs thought he was a spy and then was secondly placed with the British 1 1/2 years, allowed to walk around, etc., and then was 6 months in a concentration camp before being repatriated.  It makes me feel very humble to talk to a man like that.  I seem to be marking time and doing little. You are doing for the family.

All my love, dearest one, and I’ll write later — 50 gals milling around so I’ll quit as they make noise.  All my love, Connie

Wednesday August 13, 1945

Dearest –

Here we sit and wait for the news that the war is over.  Everyone is jittery but it doesn’t keep much to be impatient. I wonder how anyone can shout and celebrate – there has been too much destruction and chaos.  I haven’t too much faith in man and what he can do anymore.  This atomic bomb – might well be used against us in time. We are too smart!

I don’t think I can hardly tell you what all I gained at the camp this week. You know the spirit there was unusual.  You expect horsing around and all the rest but somehow, thru all the fun and laughter, there was the undercurrent of thoughtfulness. There was no emotionalism but a fine experience living together.  Ed Dixon gave us four points which he says he got out of his personal Pentecost in a Japanese prison.

1- The Bible wears well — it satisfies man’s hungry (Man cannot live by bread alone!). His fare consisted of rice and a little cabbage soup.  2- God answers prayer. 3- The value of little things.  He said that he had always taken a chair for granted but he had none. A tea cup became a symbol of that value. It comforted him as he held it filled with hot water in his hands and as he drank from it.  4 – Jesus is utterly adequate.

I had quite a talk with him just before we left for home.   I most certainly got a lot from him.  As I was talking about the re-establishing of our home, I asked him how it was for him coming back after over 2 years in a prison concentration camp.  He said that it was a hard thing for him to adjust himself to being patient with the children and thoughtful of Esther — he’d been out for himself for so long.

Marriage, to him, is a triangle – husband and wife and God.  When we try to solve our difficulties without the peak of the triangle, we are pretty apt to get into difficulties.  I know I’ve been a difficult person to live with and I don’t promise any great change but I am trying to be more patient and understanding.  Maybe that will help some.

Those of us who have our men away just put our heads down and cried when the announcement came Friday at dinner that peace negotiations were started.  If you get a chance to go to China or Japan or wherever before coming home, I won’t blame you at all for taking it.  I know that you’ll likely never get over again and what you see now, you’ll always have. We can wait and understand.  If you get home – OK, too.  You know we’re waiting as anxiously as the next one.

By the time this reaches you, maybe this terrible war will be over.  I am horrified by the atomic bomb.  Is that what being civilized does?  If the wrong parties get it before we can discover a good use for that power, I can think of no hope for us all.

Now I’ll eat my breakfast and do some work. My prayers go winging along with this–

All my love, Connie


Posted in 75th anniversary of dropping the Atomic bomb, A Visit Home to America, Michigan in 1945, Michigan's Lake Louise: A look back in time, Travel, World War 2 Letters, WW 2 Letters: My grandmother writes, WW 2: VJ Day | Leave a comment

My battle with the Virus

Like so many others, my battle with the virus has left me exhausted, mentally drained, frustrated and wondering, “When will this ever end?!”

But unlike so many others, my Covid-19 struggle is not one of health but of bookings.

Although foreigners such as myself are still blocked from entry into China, that hasn’t stopped me from booking my return ticket.  If there’s a sudden lift to the ban, I want to be ready before my visa expires on Sept. 30 so I can speed back to my Chinese college. With airlines now waiving re-booking fees due to uncertain times, it’s becoming easier to change flights. But booking a ticket and holding onto it has become more and more of a challenge.  Our US airlines flying into China have had numerous cancelations or changes.  This is due to  ongoing restrictions from other countries not wanting Americans to enter their borders.  Our ability to deal with the virus still remains a huge problem as cases and deaths continue to rise.  My flight schedules have gone as follows:

February  11:  Canceled.    September 1:  Changed.  August 19:  canceled.  August 31:  canceled. September 9:  Canceled.

Several people, such as my mom, are wondering why I’m bothering making reservations. “Why not just wait until the ban is lifted and get a flight right away?”

There are several reasons for this:

  1.  Flight availability:  There are currently only 2 flights out of America a week on Delta and United.  Delta is following guidelines of leaving vacant seats in between passengers to social distance. Their seats are completely booked now until close to December.  United is all that’s left, and their seats are available at last-minute notice because (according to what I’ve been seeing) it seems they are not following recommended guidelines of keeping people apart.  We are packed in like sardines.
  2. Cost:  There is a crazy array of costs that change daily, weekly and even monthly on both United and Delta .  What used to be affordable for people of low incomes such as myself have now catapulted to millionaire status, so it seems.  Last-minute bookings are impossible for me to afford unless I want to completely empty both my savings and checking account. Let me give you what I’ve been contending with for the past 8 months

a). On June 23, I booked my $583 one-way ticket to China for  Aug. 31.

b) On July 14, I changed to an earlier flight on August 19, recommended to me due to a 2-week quarantine needed and my visa expiration date.  That ticket was the cheapest I could afford at $1,560 as compared to other offerings topping $3,500.  (Yes!! One way and in economy!).

c) On July 8, I was informed the August 19 was canceled so I booked a second affordable ticket for $1,600 on Sept. 1.

d) On Jul 23, I was informed the Sept. 1 ticket was canceled. The next affordable ticket was Sept. 9, at $2,200.

e). Now Sept. 9 has been canceled, leaving me somewhat stranded.  Why?  Flights have now skyrocketed to $6,000 and up for economy, one-way, to China.  Those prices seem to be holding steady until late October.

Bleak Outlook

It doesn’t really matter at present being able to enter China because foreigners are still banned.  And my visa will expire soon, meaning a last-minute dash to China will be out of the question.  I will be starting the visa application from scratch.  This takes several months, with a mandatory physical exam completion, official documents of invitation  from my college and the Amity Foundation, forms to complete and appointments to be made at the Chinese Embassy in D.C.  (Currently, that is the only place where visas are being processed.  A majority of Chinese Consulates, including the nearest  one to me in Chicago, is not open.)

Staying Upbeat

Despite all the above frustrations, I trust that eventually,  I will get back to my college. I have been told that the leaders are eager to have my return and are willing to process any visa requirements needed.  I am now their only foreign language teacher,  a role which I have treasured and cherished  for 13 years.  I would never abandon them, or my Luzhou church community, unless absolutely necessary.

Here’s wishing you 平安 (ping ahn, Peace) for your day as I hold fast to my 3 Ps:  Patience, perseverance and positive thinking!

My mom’s moon flowers, which only bloom under the moon’s beams. Even in the darkest of times, or rather the darkest of nights, small blessings do occur.





Posted in Battling the Virus, The Airline Ticket Wars during Coronavirus | 2 Comments

Views from Around the World: Window-swap.com

“Open a window somewhere in the world”

This is the beginning of a world journey to be taken by any one of us through window-swap.com.

My mom read about this unique, quirky website in one of her magazines.  A pair in Singapore (Sonali Ranjit and Vaishnav Balasubramaniam) dreamed up a way for all of us to enjoy the sights and sounds of other countries via 10-minute clips of what people see from their windows, thus the term window-swap.

According to the article, there are over 500 of these for anyone to click through, one after another, and get a feel of living somewhere other than where you are.

Check out Elcio’s window from Ubatula, Brazil.  Or how about Liliana’s window in Santiago, Chile. There’s Anna’s window with her sleeping kitty in Brooklyn, New York, David’s window with coconut trees and distant ocean views from Kai Tao, Thailand,  Indre’s window with crystal clear blue skies overlooking Vilnius, Lithuania and Sitara’s open-air porch with wicker furnishings in Chennai, India. (Don’t forget to pet her dog!)

Not only can you comfortably settle yourself for 10-minute intervals into the home surroundings of  another but you can record your own window view to send and be added to the site as well.  Directions are easy to follow through “Submit”  on the window-swap home page.

With Covid-19 barreling full speed throughout the globe, including the U.S., there’s been an increase of travel restrictions, fears and anxieties, and often times curiosity as to how others around the globe are managing in a pandemic situation. I am discovering this amazing Internet find to be the perfect place to calm my spirit, put a smile on my face and pull me out of my mundane, hometown environment.  Once “gone,”  I can meditate in my chosen space, in another’s home, without endangering anyone’s safety, or being a burden and a bother.

How cool is that?!

After you check it out, let me know your favorites.  I haven’t seen them all yet and would love visit recommendations.

Here’s wishing you Peace (平安, ping-an) for your day, and happy viewing!

From our kitchen window, we’ve been watching this surprise start-up sunflower, a product of our back deck’s wildlife antics of dropping seeds here and there. Welcome, little sunflower, to our home!


Posted in A Visit Home to America, A Visit Home to Marshall, coronavirus, Illinois, Smalltown American Life, Travel | Leave a comment

Back to Worship: My Hometown Church and My Chinese Church Open for Worship

 Welcome Back!!

July 5th had our Marshall First UMC open to worship in the sanctuary.  The preparation for this was quite stringent and lasted several weeks.  I listened in on  the discussions via Zoom, which my mom participated in as a church committee member:  Sign-up online  required for both services, masks worn at all times, temperature checks at the door, limited to 45 people sitting in the sanctuary at one time, families can sit together but all else need to be spaced apart, sanitation procedures before and after each service, no wandering about the church, no singing (that expels spittle and germs),  and no fellowship coffee hour, children’s church or Sunday school gatherings.

Just in and out for worship.

Such procedures seemed daunting but church members have all stepped up to the occasion.  Volunteers came forward for entrance checks, ushering and cleaning.  With no choir, Jo Sanders, our organist, worked hard to prepare schedules for special music singers and instrumentalists for the next few months.  (My mother and I are “booked” for the first Sunday of every month until my China return). Live streaming has now been placed in effect for our Facebook page.  And in-person committee meetings (with distancing) will soon follow as well as Zoom meetings continuing.

Here at Marshall First UMC, I am so happy to say we are learning to connect in a new, different way, one which brings us relief, joy and I’m sure God’s blessings.

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News from my Chinese Church Family 

         Like us in America, my church in Luzhou used to be mask-free with people socializing in tight circles and having plenty of people-to-people close contact. 

Worship Before the Virus (BV)

        But during the virus lockdown, large gatherings were forbidden.  Chinese churches moved to online services which most watched on their smart phones through a special worship App. A vast majority of Chinese have smart phones, including the elderly, and all are quite adept at using them. I now hear restrictions will soon be lifted.  The Luzhou Protestant Church is currently preparing to worship once again in the 1913 sanctuary. Government guidelines for safety include limiting the number of worshipers present (but not the number of services that can be held), sitting 3-feet apart, wearing masks and what sanitation procedures to follow. 

I was sent this picture.  Luzhou church members, including the praise and liturgical dance groups, are practicing for the church building’s opening to worship at the end of this month. Notice pews have been marked with white X’s for sitting apart. Also, parishioners must wear masks. Those seated here are practicing for their celebration performances for that first Sunday of worship after doors that were shut for 6 months are opened.

        My church choir family, of which I am a part, is anxious to begin rehearsals once again. In our WeChat group (comparable to Facebook), we have been instructed how to keep our voices in shape and which hymns to practice for future anthems . I also post the daily English prayer for those in our group who want to challenge their language abilities. Despite being apart, we can still connect in this special way and it is a true godsend.

Other News

Those on my newsletter list, please be looking for my Summer 2020 updates.  With 2 loyal volunteers, at my hometown church, we will be stuffing and sealing my 850 envelopes to send out this week.  We will have our masks on, we will social distance and we will sanitize before and after our task is finished.  If you’d like a newsletter, just send a note and a mailing address.  I’ll get it out to you ASAP.

More reports to follow, and if you were wondering, rescue kitty Ping-ping is having a wonderful time in her new home with Ms. Zhen.  Weekly photos from her new owner show a happy, healthy and loved feline.  As I said before, a match made in heaven!

Until next time, here’s wishing you 平安 (Ping Ahn), Peace,  for your week. Stay cool!


Posted in A Message of Faith, A Visit Home to America, A Visit Home to Marshall, coronavirus, Coronovirus Situation, Illinois, Luzhou, Luzhou Protestant Church in China, Return to China, Smalltown American Life, The Chinese Church, Travel, Visit To The States, Wuhan coronavirus | Leave a comment

News of rescue kitty 平平 (Ping-Ping): A match made in heaven

The Recap from previous post

Last October, an abandoned newborn kitten was handed to me by a colleague who found her on our campus. Near death and in dire straights, she blossomed with a good dose of antibiotics and round-the-clock care. Her recovery prompted me to find her a name, given by a UMC church group in Flowery Branch, Georgia who had been following her story.  We called her Pingan Hua (Peaceful Flower), or Ping-ping for short.  Below, she is on the mend in December.

Here she is, 7 months later, at the kennel in Luzhou where she’s being housed.

And here I am, clear across the world and stuck in America due to Covid-19, trying desperately to find Ping-ping her forever home.

A long wait has prayers answered

My plea to find rescue Ping-ping a home has been ongoing.  I posted the following in my WeChat moments, hoping once again for someone to contact me.

大家好!我需要你的帮助。 我还在美国。由于感染了病毒,我无法返回中国。 我在沧州的救援需要一个家。 他在宠物店等。 她叫平平。 她是一只雌猫,1岁。 她被人搞砸了。 她是一只室内猫。 她不喜欢住在外面。 她不会损坏家具。 她喜欢其他的猫和狗。 请给平平一个充满爱的幸福家庭。 如果您有兴趣,请与我联系。 告诉你的朋友! 谢谢!!

“Hi, everyone! I need your help. I’m still in America. Due to the virus, I can not yet return to China. My rescue in Luzhou needs a home. She’s waiting at the kennel. Her name is Ping-ping. She is a female cat, 1 year old. She has been spayed. She is an indoor cat. She doesn’t like staying outside. She doesn’t damage furniture. She likes other cats and dogs. Please give Ping-ping a happy family full of love. If you are interested, please contact me. Tell your friends! Thank you!!”

The message, with pictures,  went out on June 26.

2 hours later came the reply: “你可以把它留给我 我会照顾你的猫 我会给她一个好家。”    Leave it to me.  I’ll take care of your cat. I will give her a good home.

From whom, of all people, did this message come?  None other than our former choir director at the Luzhou Protestant Church, Zeng Yujie.

The offer of a forever home

Yujie was very quick to announce in her note to me that she was not busy and wanted to pick up Ping-ping the next day.  She explained she had raised a cat before, calming my concern of a first-time pet owner.

From past experience, I know that Chinese don’t often understand the great responsibility of feline ownership, nor do they want to spend the extra money needed to take ownership seriously:  proper pet food (not their left-over, oily and spicy stir fries with dangerous fish bones), vaccinations (often Chinese don’t bother), store-bought kitty litter (a majority improvise with construction site discarded crumbled brick pieces), plastic litter container (cardboard boxes are used instead) and scratching boards (cats that scratch furniture are sometimes abandoned, thrown into the streets to fend for themselves.)

In China, animal rescuers such as myself have a stressful time placing our charges in good homes.

But Yujie put my fears to rest by immediately sending me a video of her lovely, home where Ping-ping would live, and assured me that the kitty would never be released outside.  She also  included in our WeChat message photos of how prepared she was.  Kitty litter and tray ready to go and one of the best cat food brands we have in China, Royal Canine, all waiting for Ping-ping’s arrival.

A Smooth Pick-up

My next task was to contact the kennel owner and staff to tell them that Ping-ping would be leaving them the next day.  I put the two in contact so they could co-ordinate pick-up times and then anxiously awaited news of kitty’s departure from her 7-month foster compartment at the shop.

Due to time differences, I had to wait an entire nail-biting day until nearly midnight before the “pings!” began on my phone of messages, videos and photos being received.

Yujie arrives, reaching inside to pet her new kitty. I fortuitously left Ping-ping’s carrier as an after-thought, not knowing my 1-month absence would stretch into 7 months. The staff,  in the above, are looking on.

I later received word from the kennel employees that they cried when Ping-ping left them.  She had really grown on them! (But obviously not enough for someone to step up and adopt her.  Hmmmm.)

An Easy Adjustment

At first, Ping-ping was worried and scared when she emerged from her carrier.

Yujie left her alone.

And then came the photos 2 hours later.

Ping-ping contentedly rolling on furniture.

Ping-ping gazing out the window onto the apartment complex below.

Ping-ping perched on top of the piano as Yujie plays hymns and sings.









Obviously,  Ping-ping had truly taken to her new home and loving caregiver.  No worries from my end  of her being tossed out into the cruel world.  This kitty was here to stay!

Blessings Abound

It has been 3 weeks since Ping-ping found her forever home.  Yujie has updated me weekly about her new family member’s silly habits and numerous feline activities.  Ping-ping loves her cat food and especially enjoys her evening bowl of goat’s milk, which is to be good for her pretty gray coat, according to her owner.

Being a devout Christian, Yujie gets up every morning at 5 a.m. to send out the scripture readings on her phone to those of us in the daily Bible reading class.  (I am also a member of that church group.). She prays and goes over her lessons as do many Chinese Christians at the Luzhou Protestant Church.  During that time, she shared with me that Ping-ping flops at her feet as she reads aloud Biblical passages for both to ponder over, contemplate and meditate on.

It gladdens my heart to know that Ping-ping’s Christian education is continuing onward. She was first introduced to my faith in my home, when all during December, my student Christmas parties  took place one after another after another.  While I did my best to share with little kitty the true meaning of this season, a very young Ping-ping cared more about batting at Christmas ornaments and playing with sparkly tinsel roping than she did about hearing of Christ’s birth. Good to know that, under Yujie’s faithful tutelage, she might very well become a Christian yet!

Thank you, Yujie,  for giving Ping-ping the perfect home, the perfect life and the perfect  human companion, yourself.  I think I can honestly say this was in every way a match made in heaven.

Posted in A Visit Home to America, China, Chinese Christians reach out, coronavirus, coronavirus, Luzhou Vocational and Technical College, My Rescue Animals in China, Tales from The Yangtze River, Tales of China, Travel | 1 Comment

My mom’s last newspaper column for the summer

Walk with Me by Priscilla Wieck

Summer is my usual time to take a break so this is my last column until September. Hopefully in July, I will be moving to 710 Mulberry Street, just a few blocks from the big white house on the corner where I have resided for the last 40 years. It will be different but I am looking forward to a much smaller space to care for and a new flower garden to tend.

Downsizing: From this 1917 home …..


to this 1970’s “granny house.”

If this virus situation ever gets resolved, I plan to have an open house so all of you curious readers can see what has been taking place. Right now, it doesn’t appear that much visiting will happen for quite a while so I have plenty of time to get settled in before the big reveal.

Traveling through Books

I haven’t been doing much book reading these past few months since Connie has been here. We have been spending our late summer evenings with Netflix and Amazon Prime and not much time is left for books. In the process of packing up for the move, I found a reference book that I had written about a couple of years ago, Book Lust To Go . “Read Your Way Around the World with Nancy Pearl” is the subtitle. Hundreds of books from many different countries are listed as “recommended reading for travelers, vagabonds and dreamers.”

Ms. Pearl is an armchair traveler, librarian, book lover and a compulsive reader. She must be all of these as she boasts that she has read every book she recommends. Since many of us have now decided to limit our travels because of potential virus exposure, now is a good time to arm chair travel. For my personal reading, I gravitate toward a book series. If you stay with a series, you don’t have to keep finding the next book to read.  Another lies ahead, already selected for you. Guess I am a lazy reader.

Suspense and Intrigue

Dorothy Gilman, an espionage writer has created a heroine who belongs not only to the CIA but to the local garden club. In the first novel (1966), “The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax”,Gilman introduces us to Emily Pollifax ,a 60-ish bored New Jersey widow who offers her services to the CIA to find adventure. Through the 14 book series, readers travel to Turkey, Mexico, Thailand, China, Sicily and elsewhere. This series is one of Pearl’s top picks and I am looking forward to joining Emily on her journeys.

Mysteries Galore

If you are a mystery fan, Colin Dexter has penned 13 intriguing novels(1975-1999) set in and around Oxford , England. The novels feature Inspector Endeavor Morse, an ill tempered but lovable Brit , and his partner, Robbie Lewis. Begin reading with Last Bus to Woodstock and you will be hooked. This detective series has been made for British TV and episodes are still shown occasionally on America’s PBS. The novels feature good story lines as well as journeys around the island nation.

Walk for Life

As a walker, I became intrigued with Pearl’s recommendation of “A Walk Across France” by Miles Morland. At the age of 45 ,Moreland left his job as a broker in England and took a hike with his wife, Guislaine across France from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. Both he and his wife were in poor physical condition but they committed to walking 20 miles a day. Their journey strengthened not only their health but their marriage according to the Pearl . I am ordering this book from our great library system soon. You can do the same for any of these titles you have interest in.

I agree with Pearl when she recommends Peter Jenkin’s fascinating “A Walk Across America.” Jenkins began his journey with his dog,Cooper, in 1973 in New York and continued to New Orleans where he met the woman who would become his wife. He ended his trek in Florence ,Oregon in 1979, a six year journey. Great reading! Jenkins retired from walking in 2012 and instead made a 2 year drive across America in a 1957 Chevy. That story also makes a good read.

Gearing up for cozy winter reads

I am making a list of other books from Pearl’s listings for my winter reading. The evenings will be longer then and Netflix and Amazon Prime may have lost their attraction. Winter flu and virus restrictions will most likely still be around so we all need something to look forward to. Arm chair traveling through books sounds like a good way to spend a long winter’s night,  doesn’t it?

“The more that you read,

The more things you will know.

The more that you learn,

The more places you’ll go.”–Dr. Suess

Until September, Peace

Posted in Illinois, Travel, Visit To The States, Walk with Me: My mom's newspaper column | 1 Comment