Dear Birthday Girl


Fandango’s One-Word Challenge: REMOVE

Photo by Vie Studio on

Dear ( belated ) Birthday Girl

This is a short  note to say that I have received a book that you donated to the Goodwill.

It’s funny because according to the inscription, your Grandmother and Grandad gave it to  you on May 16, 2013 and nine years later,  almost to the date I received it in the mail.

You will be glad to know that the book was in excellent condition. In fact the spine hadn’t been cracked yet. The pages weren’t folded or creased. In fact, it looks brand new considering it’s age. Your Grandmother’s handwritten inscription gifting it to you on your BIRTHDAY  in ink was very sweet and it looked like she had just written it yesterday.

I  should not to be judgy here.

Maybe you said thank you and kept it on  your bookshelf- and when you saw it you thought fondly of them. Maybe you even wrote her a thank you card. Maybe you died and never read it. Maybe your Grandparents weren’t nice people and the gift meant nothing to you.

But as I consider these things,  I think about my own  Granddaughter’s bookshelf.

On the top shelf are a collection of books from her Great Grandparents to her Father ( my son ). Some are beautifully illustrated hardbacks, some are those little cardboard books that toddlers chew and sometimes sleep with. Others are just picture books that have seen better days.

Most of them have little messages from her Great Grandfathers that have passed on, other’s have little messages from her Great Grandmothers. I think that one day when she looks at them those signatures will tell her a little story too.

I’ll just say this,

I felt a little sad when I saw the story your book told. But it gave me a little to think about and as a writer moments like this are my bread and butter.That’s why I’m not going to remove or cover up the inscription after I’ve read it and added it to my library.


Happy Belated Birthday

Photo A.M. Moscoso


Mrs. Klotz’s Window

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: AIR

Photo by Emre Can on

Mrs Klotz has an apartment on the top floor of an abandoned building down the street from where I work.

I’ve never seen Mrs. Klotz’s face, I don’t know what color hair she has,  I don’t know what kind of clothes she wears. For some reason I have taken it into my head that she wears White Shoulders perfume and during the winter she likes to wear cherry flavored chapstick.

Sometimes when I walk under Mrs Klotz’s window I can hear Mambo music drifting down to the street from a crackling radio speakers and sometimes I think I hear Mrs. Klotz singing along with it.

On Summer evenings, those cool Summer evenings that follow brutally hot Summer days I expect that Mrs. Klotz is standing at her kitchen window enjoying as the cool air as it flows in.

I have no doubt, even thought I can’t see her, that she’s enjoying the breeze with a bottle of cold soda in her hand  as she watches people running for their buses and trains.

I’ll bet she thinks we are silly, but I’ll bet she wonders where we are going and…

Mrs Klotz stands at her kitchen window and watches the empty street under her grow a little more dusty, a little more sleepy looking then the day before. It used to be such a busy street with workers and shoppers and tourists running for their buses and trains and dinner dates and ferry rides.

The street below used to be so alive with colors and sounds and smells and on the good days, music.

Sometimes on those brutally hot Summer days Mrs. Klotz  waits until the evening and she stands at her window with a cold drink in her hand looks down into the  empty street below her

and thinks about ghosts.


A Tale of Two Funeral Directors

Fandango’s One-Word Challenge: Myriad


Once someone asked me what was the strangest Funeral Home story I had ever heard was and given I’ve been in a lot of positions where I was told stories or been part of a conversations where people were more then willing to talk about all kinds of experiences they’ve had with the dead, cemeteries or funeral homes- this one is my favorite because I am a part of it.


Years and years ago, I think it was in the 1930’s a local funeral director left in the company hearse to, as it’s put in the business ‘ do a removal’.

He left in the late in the afternoon, and because it was around late October it was already getting dark and it was foggy. You could hardly see your hand in front of your face.

But there was no way this Funeral Director was going to leave a family in emotional distress with a the remains of a loved one cooling in their house so he made the drive.

He must have driven slow in the less then half light and the fog in his big black hearse. He must have  inched his way slowly around the road that ran above the icy river below.

When he got to the bridge that lead to his turn off his car was completely  swallowed by the fog. Still,  I imagine you could hear the tires working their way over the wooden bridge…

and then all you could hear was the river.

He never made it to the other side.

It was quite a mystery,

The Funeral Director who disappeared, hearse and all on the way to a call.

It made a great Halloween story.

However, like some great stories ( that don’t get turned into a franchise )  this one came to an end.

Years later they found the hearse and the funeral director and the empty coffin still waiting for the corpse the Funeral Director was supposed to pick up when he disappeared on that October afternoon.

Strange, or not so strange depending on your point of view  was where they found them.

They  found them in the river, almost directly under the bridge they were crossing over all those years ago.

I drove over that bridge several times in a hearse myself over seventy years later, I made  my last drive over it two years before they found the Funeral Director, The Hearse and The Empty Coffin.

When I think of The Funeral Director, I think of him in the drivers’s seat, his hands clutching the steering wheel, his head tilted  towards the surface of the water and  when I think about all those times I drove over him-

I hope his eyes were closed.