It’s not that my husband Mitch will ever say,
This is how it is because I did it My Way,
But the implication is always there,
He marches to his own drum without a care.
On the flip side is me, saying, "Ahem or Hey!
"That’s not right because it’s not My Way!"
Going head-to-head is really unwise,
The secret to our union is compromise.
That all sounds good in this little poem,
But not so easy in our home.
So I sit in his boat, counting the hours till we dock,
He agrees to go out to dinner, although he'd rather not.
He tells me to pack my gear for our upcoming trip to the keys,
My gear is just sneakers, as he packs rods, reels, and all equipment he can squeeze.
I pack 10 pairs of shoes; he needs boat shoes and one other pair,
We are very different, and both of us are aware,
That Respect, Love, and Friendship will make it work out,
There will be struggles, without a doubt,
The best scenario is when you both can say
Well, this worked out, We Did It My Way!
If you haven’t had a chance, please check out my article in NEWSWEEK!
10 more to go to hit 100 Book Reviews! The best gift to an author is a review. It costs nothing but really helps us get the word out on our book. I’d be grateful if you took a moment to leave a review for #RaisingJess today.
Tomorrow will be 14 years since Flight 3407 crashed.
It was February 12, 2009. As Mitch and I drowsily watched the 11:00 PM news in bed, light snow was falling. Suddenly, we awoke with a jolt! The newscaster just announced that Flight 3407, a plane originating from Newark, had crashed in Clarence, near Buffalo, NY. Clarence was less than ten miles from our home…. so close to the airport… so very close to the airport.
Who Was on That Flight?
Our hearts and minds raced over the thoughts of the passengers and crew. Did we know anybody who was traveling? Who was on that Flight? We are a connected community with WAY less than 6 degrees of separation.
The news showed family members waiting for word from their loved ones at the airport. Mitch and I would not know additional details that evening. We eventually fell into a fitful sleep.
The morning news was grim. Every passenger and crew member on the flight perished. Tragically, the plane crashed into a family home. The wife and daughter were able to escape but not the husband. He lost his life watching TV in his home when Flight 3407 crashed on his house. The neighbors’ homes to the right and the left were spared.
I was in my office that morning when I received a call.” Did you hear about Susan Wehle? She was on flight 3407.” Shock and disbelief consumed my mind and body.
I later discovered that Susan was returning from a vacation in Costa Rica with her boyfriend. The layover was in Newark, where each would go their separate ways. The weather was fierce in Newark, and the flight had numerous delays. Finally, the passengers boarded, and Flight 3407 took off.
At 10 P.M., the flight began its fateful descent.
Taken from an Article about Susan, “Less than 24 hours after the crash, about 600 people crowded into Temple Beth Am in Williamsville, N.Y., (now known as Congregations Shir Shalom) on February 13 to remember the vibrant woman with curly hair and an irrepressible smile, the loss so fresh that friends were still speaking of her in the present tense.”
“Susan taught us that a life lived in fear is not a life lived at all,” said Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld of Temple Beth Zion in Buffalo.”
Another quote- “Susan’s reach was enormous,” said Jessica K., 21, of Williamsville, a Buffalo suburb. “She was involved in [the life of] every single person here tonight. With her not being here, we’ll have to find a way to reinvest in ourselves.”
Cantorial Soloist Susan, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, was 55 years old when she perished. She had so much more to give and live. Our community lost an icon, a friend, and a beautiful soul.
Could Of Should Of Would OF
Investigators found that the pilots were fatigued, the captain had failed several flight simulation tests, and the captain and first officer did not have 1500 hours of experience. The captain and co-pilot made a fatal mistake when the plane stalled moments before landing.
The surviving families of the victims of flight 3407 did not sit and accept fate. They rallied, they made themselves known, they fought, they went to Washington, and they changed aviation laws. These heroic families became advocates for all of us who chose to fly.
This small, powerful group fought tirelessly for years in the memory of their loved ones. Nobody would die under these circumstances again, and their legacy is safer travel for all of us.
When I hear the song Lechi Lach–I think of the lyrics that Susan sang at our daughter Jessica’s bat mitzvah. The memory of that song and the memory of Susan will always remain vivid. She made a difference in the lives of our family.
Dear Susan and the passengers of Flight 3407, we will remember you. May you rest in peace, and may your memory be a blessing to all who knew and loved you. You are truly missed.
For more information about changes made after Flight 3407, click here
Jessica’s Bat Mitzvah
Jessica’s Bat Mitzvah was a moving and powerful celebration. An example of inclusion and community. To read more about Jessica’s story, click here.
“I can’t go to school without my nails done,” shouts Noa. “And I need a dress for today!” Is this a high school student? College? No, it’s my three-year-old granddaughter’s morning requests. I babysit once a week, also known as Formal Tuesdays with Nana. Where did Noa’s fashion sense come from? Is it generational?
It’s a typical Tuesday, and Noa and I were hanging around the house. She was in her formal black-tie dress and I in sweats and a tee-shirt. She decides my outfit will not do, and I must dress up for the occasion. Rummaging through my closet, I find an old sparkly gown from decades ago. I quickly dress up, and together we take what appears to be prom photos in front of the fireplace.
Nana and Noa
Formal Tuesdays With My Fashionista
This week, she insists I wear a dress for our Tuesday get-together of running around and playing.
This is stressful because I don’t think I own an everyday dress! Noa insisted that a skirt was unacceptable since “It is not a dress!” (said with emphasis) I must be a total annoyance to her with my Nana Jeans, Nana Sweaters, and Nana shirts.
Where did her love of black-tie attire come from? Is this love of clothes genetic? Perhaps, but it has skipped a few generations.
The paternal side of my family was in the garment district in New York City. Some sarcastically (and lovingly) called it the Schmatta business – more definitions are here. The true definition of schmatta is “rags,” but the garment center definition definitely had a twist.
I found this definition- Faux humility about luxury goods.
“Fascinatingly, on occasion, shmatte can also be used to express high-end brands. To go off our story about the rag trade, someone who worked in the luxury clothing industry may have said, “I work in the shmatte business” — and they didn’t mean tailor shops and sweatshops. Rachel Kahan, a book editor in Brooklyn, said, “We use it as a kind of fond diminutive for a fancy garment we really like: “Oh, this old shmatte? It’s vintage Diane Von Furstenberg.”
My Grandpa Leo was also a fashionista – If his sport jacket was lime green, so were his pants, suede shoes, and socks. His ties and shirts coordinated with each outfit. He often told me he shopped for my grandmother; she always looked beautiful. Perhaps, I am more like her with my casual attire, and Noa is channeling Grandpa Leo.
If I let my husband Mitch shop for me, I would be in overalls, camo shirts, hiking boots, and 1980’s hair, with no make-up. It’s a more effortless look but one I rarely achieve.
Gotta Love the Versatile Powersuit
Mitch is the opposite of my grandfather; he wears his “power suit” to most weddings. This is not a tux, but that doesn’t matter to Mitch. In his defense, it’s a great suit, but GEEZ, I wish he had some variety! I decided long ago that I would not stress out about Mitch’s wardrobe – as experienced marriage partners know, you need to pick and choose your battles, and there are so many other things I can battle about!
In the 70s, Mitch had a 3-piece polyester leisure suit – all the rage! Until my mother came to our home in Buffalo and tossed the suit without Mitch’s permission! I wish I had her moxie! Of course, it took decades for Mitch to get over that. I get it…
Back to Grandpa Leo. He founded Leo Dress in 1950. They started on 35th street and 8th ave. My dad took over the business in 1970 and eventually moved to the center of the garment center, with an entire floor at 501 7Th ave. By the time my dad retired, the company was one of the largest manufacturers of dress and sportswear in NYC. Their target audience was JC Penney and similar stores.
As a kid, I would receive a box with dresses for the year. Back in the Stone Age, girls were prohibited from wearing pants to school. Can you believe that? When we were finally allowed to wear “trousers,” my mom allowed me to wear a suit once a month – pants with a jacket.
The Distracted Receptionist
I worked in his office for three summers as the distracted receptionist. I used an old-school adding machine and typewriter. But mostly, I waited for my lunch break to stroll the city streets and meet friends for lunch. Growing up, I always thought I would live and work in NYC.
So here I am in 2023 with my granddaughter Noa. And I am back to thinking about fashion. I bought a pair of white boots ( A direct copycat of my Sister-in-law, who is also a fashionista), and Noa was the first to comment on them. We actually talk about clothes and nails and hair! She’s three and inspiring me to “Step it up!”
Now, don’t start me on purses – My Grandpa Leo would be Kvelling over my collection!
So that’s the truth about formal Tuesdays. I love this generational stuff.
We were leaving on our “Big Trip,” mile one of 8000 plus other miles. My husband Mitch is not a fan of books on tape, but he agreed to listen to the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman as we began our adventure. The five languages of love are words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts. This story is about The Gift.
Our journey was beginning; we would be in a 24-foot home for 51 days. I might as well learn some relationship tips, although, after 43 years, I would hope we knew this stuff.
The book was interesting, and one of the main tenets we both acknowledge from the chapters was how one communicates and perceives love. If your partner doesn’t understand your mode of communication, then all hell breaks loose.
I originally wrote the post below when the Blizzard was beginning. As I re-read the blog, I knew I needed to edit and add more about the realities of this historic event. Sixteen are dead! This is a deadly storm. The county believes there will be more tragedies as the days move on.
There are stories of women giving birth in their homes without any resources. People who need dialysis and can’t leave their houses. Fires and health emergencies when first responders are unable to get to the emergency. In Buffalo, even the Rescureres needed rescuing.
There is a Facebook group created to help those who are in need. There are already 60,000 members!
This blog is my opinion only. I know my husband Mitch, navigator, driver of most miles, and cleaner of everything disgusting- including ALL BUGS and a trip planner may not agree with my reflections. But in true Vickie’s Views, here is the Inside Scoop about RV Life!
First off, RV miles are like dog years. “How many miles left?” I ask Mitch, my driver. “Only 80 miles left,” he repeats for the nth time. I reply, “Is that 80 miles in SUV time or 80 miles in RV time?”
It just takes longer; the RV is bigger than a car, it carries a lot of weight and is taller than the average vehicle. Another factor is that Mitch is obsessed with gas mileage. This is a touchy topic for non-RVers because getting 15 miles to the gallon is considered a win in our rig! An environmentalist may disagree, but that is for another blog. Mitch insists on driving EXACTLY 64 miles per hour regardless that the highway is allowing 75 or 80 MPH. “64 is the optimal speed for gas conservation. ” Can everyone repeat that mantra again and again?
Hence, sometimes our mileage feels like dog years instead of real-time.
Did you ever have a moment when you felt a powerful Connection to something larger than what you can see? Your mind and body are attuned to the surroundings, the moment, and the vaster view of a spiritual juncture. This short story is about friendship, connection, and a united decision.
It was Rosh Hashana, and we were almost 2000 miles from home and family. Our location was Bozeman, Montana. I googled “Temple In Bozeman,” expecting google to laugh at me and say, “your kidding, right?”. To our surprise, there was a Temple. But that wasn’t the only Surprising Revelation!
45 years ago, Mitch bought a VW bus. He was thrilled to own it, and we planned to go on a semi-hippie cross-country trip during the summer of 1977. (Hey, Dad, if you are reading this, did I ever mention this plan to you and Mom? LOL) The VW bus had a shag carpet with no seats in the back. Leather fringe separated the front seating and the back sleeping. That’s about it for amenities.
Was I REALLY OK with this? Both of us attended the University of Miami (Florida), and we planned to take off on our adventure after the Spring semester. Mitch picked me up from the airport in his VW bus the summer before our trip. I frequently flew the LaGuardia to Buffalo route during our summers at home. We drove partway to his house when I asked if I could drive the cute VW with the adorable stick shift and clutch.
The wedding at our home is in 2 weeks. The family is coming into town. But who should arrive first? COVID! AGAIN! After numerous exposures, I was avoided like the Positive family members, think Pariah. Math played an important role in the days post-exposure to Covid. Inquiring minds want to know about Covid Math plus a Wedding.
Covid math. Let’s see, on August 9th, I was exposed, so this is day one of a five-day period where I could become Covid positive. Start the clock! On August 11th, I spent the day with family only to find an unnamed husband-person was positive. Exposure number two, and now my five days start again. On August 12th, I picked up my grandson from camp and played outdoor football. The next day he is positive, and my Covid Math starts again.
But wait, there is more – On August 13th, I drive my in-laws to the airport after spending the previous day and evening with them at my home, only to find out that one of them is positive. Is this really happening? Do I need to redo the Math again? What day is this? Where is my calculator?
Last January, my husband Mitch sent out Airbnb options to our family for the summer Family Vacation. Six adults and three children under six together for one week in July. Talk about too many cooks in the kitchen! Every house Mitch suggested was greeted with six differing opinions. Out of frustration, we picked a house on Lake Wallenpaupack for our Family Vacation that at least one of us (Mitch) agreed to and moved on.
By the way, it took me months to remember the name of where we were going….and then more time to pronounce it – It helped that an old episode of The Office ” BOOZE CRUISE” was located at Lake Wallenpaupack – here is the pronunciation as demonstrated.
Here is a new podcast where I talk about how it felt to be told your baby has multiple disabilities, overcome panic attacks, and search for a diagnosis. Carol Graham from Never Ever Give Up Hope and I discuss how to communicate with a person who does not speak, for although somebody says no words, that does not mean they do not understand.
The Vet specialty surgeon called to inform us that Daniel, our Italian Greyhound Dog, was doing well. He told me about the procedure and ended the call with a note about an unrelated piece of information. I would learn more later about the most peculiar thing I ever received. (Part two from the last blog TLC Canine)
Daniel is 10 in dog years and 70 in people years. Is there Dog Medicare? Because it would certainly help! Our furry son is an Italian Greyhound (IGGY) and our KanVan-Dog. Our third IGGY, we adopted Daniel when he was one, unaware of his superpowers. (I briefly wrote about Daniel’s career in the blog, An Unbelievable coincidence). It took several years for Daniel’s Tender Loving Canine (TLC) to emerge.
At first, we noticed his patience. Later he demonstrated his eagerness to please. Daniel’s singing voice was the cherry on top! He would visit our daughter Jessica’s group home and bring cheer to everybody.
Before I start putting up a shrine to Saint Daniel, I will admit that he is not as wonderful as other dogs when he is on the leash. He is what some folks call a yapper! Daniel does not hesitate to bark and yell his greetings when we are walking; he screams while pulling his leash to an embarrassing level of zest. If I let him meet the other canine, then all is good.
BC – Before Covid, the families would meet in Jessica’s house for many celebrations or no celebrations- we just gathered. Jessica lives in a Group Home with four other women, each having different Abilities. Years have passed since we sat side by side in the same Room. But this week, we were together again to share a blessed event. This is the story of what we discovered in The Room Where it Happened.
I received a text from Rabbi Ori, “I have a chance to bring a Torah to the ladies’ group home tomorrow in anticipation of Shavuot…” Getting a text that a Torah is coming to visit is as rare as saying, “Hey, come to my house. Moses will be there telling a story!” Maybe not that rare, but you get the picture. And the holiday is what I refer to as the cheesecake holiday! Sounds good, right?
Today the Buffalo News printed MY VIEW in their My View section of the Opinion Page – Click Here
For more published articles or to see upcoming events, please click here.
BACK TO SCHOOL
Attention Special Educators, Therapists, and Professionals working with families. Back To School with a new Perspective! If You haven’t already purchased, Raising Jess: A Story of Hope – Please consider a copy for yourself, a friend, a teacher, a therapist, a mom, a sibling, or a book lover…
“As a professional in the field of developmental disabilities for over 40 years, I learned things I didn’t know. I encourage others in the field to read Raising Jess a Story of Hope to help understand the families and individuals you work with.” (Amazon)
“This book is a must-read for anyone looking to learn more about special needs families and their day-to-day challenges and triumphs or simply wants to immerse themselves in a compassionate and celebratory world.” (Amazon)
It appears I’m not the trooper Mitch wished I was; I still have some trooper-isms to learn. My can-do attitude and packing skills need a bit of adjustment. But, within two weeks, I morphed from not a KanVan RV happy camper to occasionally happy camper to mostly happy camper.
Packing is the bane of our travel. A pre-trip conversation overheard by no one is about Gear! Not the kind that moves engines – we are talking sports – Mitch is concerned about his tremendous amount of sporting equipment: fishing, hiking, e-bike stuff, golf, and tennis equipment. He asked me what Gear I am bringing?” Um, just sneakers?” I hope he doesn’t ask how many purses?
I am thrilled to report that Mitch and I are not the only forgetful people in the universe! In my last blog, You Forgot What?” I told of an embarrassing story about forgetting our Hungarian Vizsla, and little did I know that many of my readers have similar stories. How comforting to know that we are either not losing our minds or, at a minimum,EVERYBODY is losing their minds simultaneously. What YOU forgot – Part 2
It’s taken a year to write this embarrassing tail (yes, pun intended). At first, my husband Mitch and I didn’t want to tell anyone for fear we were losing our minds. “You forgot what?”
Mitch and I were in Great Valley, a town near Ellicottville, NY. Our plan was to meet our son Alex and DIL Joyce with grandson Griff at a dog meet-up party. This wasn’t an ordinary party; it was very exclusive.
When I was 15, I learned to ski. I realized this weekend that I have been skiing for 49 years. One would think that I would be faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall moguls in a single bound. Nah, I am just happy that I get down the mountain in one piece. But I did find one superpower in skiing, the connection with family. And now there is another skier in our family!
In the 1970s, my dad decided that he would learn to ski, and thus downhill skiing became our household sport. Well, golf was truly my parents’ sport but I rebelled against that boring game. Back to Skiing – We were only 4-hours from the steep vertical heights of Killington in the Vermont slopes. Mom would hang in the lodge (I hope I thanked her for doing that all those years), and my brother, dad, and I would traverse the mountains.
(“Rubin writes with clarity and thoughtful introspection, making for a truly enlightening read.” Kirkus Review)
On April 11, 1982, Easter Sunday, I was twenty-four years old and had chickenpox. And I was about to deliver my first child. ( Raising Jess: Did Motherhood really all start with Chickenpox?)
For a week, I complained to my doctor about a rash. For a week, he replied, “The baby is settling. Do not worry;” or, “Just put some lotion on. It must be dry skin.” I was naïve, pregnant, unaware, and truly wanted to believe it was nothing. And then my water broke.
We arrived at the local hospital and I told a few doctors about my rash. Each physician dismissed my concern. Finally, an astute nurse (probably an experienced mother) said that my rash looked like chickenpox. My mind went into overdrive, racing with anxious thoughts. How could this be? I was in labor, and I was twenty-four years old. Didn’t I already have all the childhood diseases?