Sepia Saturday #13: The Road to Singapore

(“Aboard the USS St. Paul (a cruiser) in Singapore harbour with my US Navy host.”)

On October 7, 1942, at the age of 15 1/2, my father William Henry (Harry) Davison, who was born in the Whiterock area of Belfast in Ireland, enlisted in the British Army to escape what he called “a dead-end job” at the linen mill back home.
He was assigned for the first 3 years to the Southernmost part of England in Berkshire, Hampshire and Kent.
Many years later, in a letter to a family member, he wrote, “In Hampshire, I saw all the goings-on for D-Day, but was not involved in that, as I was too young.  I spent the years from 1947 to 1949 in Germany, from 1949 to 1952 in Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong and the final year of my Army service, in Hampshire until discharge from the Army in May 1953.

(As written on back: Port of Singapore waterfront.  November 1949.)
“Discharged on 4th May, I didn’t even go back to Belfast, but did visit my Mother, who lived then with an invalid brother, Patrick, in Portsmouth.  The 16th May was the day on which I departed by ship for Canada.”
My father often talked of Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaya with great fondness.  He was the sort of man who, if he saw someone who even looked remotely Asian, would make his way up to them and strike up a conversation.  It gave him great pleasure to spout a few (albeit broken) words of Chinese or talk of particular districts in the cities he remembered so well.  My dad loved to interact with people of all kinds—he was a man who would literally give you the shirt off his back. 
My mother tells me of a cold day when he came home from work  in the downtown core of Toronto without the big wool sweater his own mother had knitted for him and sent overseas. When my Mom asked him where the sweater was, he responded, “I saw this fella who looked really cold…”
I think his Army days and experience with people from all walks of life all over Europe and Asia gave him a real feel for his fell0w-man.  He loved everybody.

“Taken in Singapore on the US cruiser St. Paul in the year of 1950 if my memory serves me properly.”

Oops! Almost forgot, if you’d like to see more great photographs, visit the Sepia Saturday blog where you’ll find links to everyone who’s playing along.  Feel free to join in!

Friday Feast of the Week: A real treat

squares 006

(I made some the other day, so this photo is evidence!)

 

When I used to assist with special needs children in kindergarten classes back in the 80s and 90s we often had days where moms came in to help as well.  In one of the classes I worked in, I was fortunate to meet the mother of one of the little boys when she visited.  She brought with her these amazing butter tart squares that she had baked for the occasion.  Of course, I had to get the recipe off her and I still have it, printed on a card in blue Sharpie marker. (It has a few grease spots after all these years.)

These are fast, easy and delectable.  I don’t indulge my sweet tooth too often, but when I do, this is one of my first impulses:

Michael Banducci’s Mom’s Butter Tart Squares

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour (I use 1 cup regular and 1/2 cup whole wheat and add 1 Tbsp. flax meal)

2 Tbsp. sugar (I use organic)

1/2 cup of butter (don’t use margarine—this IS an indulgence, remember)

2 eggs

11/2 cups lightly packed brown sugar

1  Tbsp. vinegar

1 tsp. flour

1 cup raisins (I use sultanas)

 

Method:

Combine flour and sugar in mixing bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly.  Press into 9” square pan or oven-proof dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Beat eggs and brown sugar together in a small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Stir in remaining ingredients, pour over base.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or just until set and golden.  Cool and cut into squares.

Try and resist them!

Keeping Up Appearances


Photo courtesy of Flickr

I have a confession to make: I am compulsive when it comes to finding new blogs that I enjoy, getting swept up in the moment and signing on to follow them. Do you do this too?

The problem with this is that I get swamped with responsibility to far too many folks at one time, I start to fall behind and then I feel guilty.

I’ll admit, it’s nice to see your “Followers” mosaic get larger and larger—to see those numbers rise, isn’t it? The thing is (and I’m really bad at this) it becomes an obsession. (Maybe it’s just me— I don’t know.)

I have to start looking at the bigger picture and ask myself, why am I really doing this blog (or these blogs) in the first place? Is it for the accolades that it affords my poetry or writing? Not really. I’m just pleased if you enjoy it; I’m not obsessed with praise. Is it because I need to feel that hundreds of people are hanging on my every word? Nope. I’m content to have one or two people who like to stop in periodically. Is it to watch the numbers rise in my statscounter? (I’ll admit, the math/numbers-lover in me DOES watch that the feedburner numbers to see where they are each day), but the real reason I am here is to write. That’s it.

I have been feeling overwhelmed lately with the number of blogs to which I am attached. That’s not to say that I want to drop you all like hot potatoes; it’s just that I need to free myself of the whole “Following” notion.

My good friend Sarah at the Circles of Rain blog has recently taken the big step (although she only just started “following”) of advising everyone that she’s going back to sidebar links. I think that’s a smart idea and as of today, I will be doing the same. If you notice one less block in your “Followers” it will most likely be me. I will make every effort to have your link in my sidebar, so if you don’t see it there, please advise me and I’ll fix that. I will also understand if you choose to stop “following” me in turn.

I will keep the widget at the bottom of the blog so you can still add me to your dash if you like (you’re always welcome, of course). Alternatively, you can put my url in your dashboard or my link in your sidebar.

In the coming weeks, you may see less of me at your blogs. The reason is, I’m finally getting my act together to put together a book of my poems. I’m at a very early stage right now—just printing off some of the ones I think might be acceptable to put into print and doing some editing to those that really need an overhaul. I can’t give you a date for when this might be ready, but I’m hoping for some time in the not too distant future.

I’m struggling with a title for my volume, so I might just hold a contest to see if you can come up with something good (naturally, I have the “power of veto”).

As for the “Following” dilemma, as of today, I’m breaking free!

Who knows? Maybe this will start a trend.

Kat

P.S. I do follow some blogs through Networked Blogs on Facebook (I know! One thing’s laughing at the other, as my mother would say.)

Theme Thursday: “bottle” (a villanelle)

Spin the Bottle

 

Roped in to Spin the Bottle’s not the best,

Your heart is in your throat as round it goes;

Some fun to put one’s mettle to the test!

 

You might find some are smoother than the rest,

Who, in a closet, won’t step on your toes;

Roped in to Spin the Bottle’s not the best.

 

Though others may just  take it all in jest,

To play the biggest tricks on peer-group foes;

Some fun to put one’s mettle to the test!

 

If luck’s not on your side you might divest,

And add to your embarrassed teenage woes;

Roped in to Spin the Bottle’s not the best.

 

There’s always those who’ll try to grab your chest,

In every group there’s bound to be some schmoes;

Some fun to put one’s mettle to the test!

 

Rarely there’ll be a prize and not a pest,

Someone you’d welcome into passion’s throes;

Roped in to Spin the Bottle’s not the best.

Some fun to put one’s mettle to the test!

 

Kat Mortensen©2010 
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Please visit the Theme Thursday website for more participants in the “bottle” theme. Thanks.

Magpie Tales: Assignment Hungary

cigbrat

Match Point

 

They stepped into the shadows

where he struck a match

and lit her cigarette.

Tendrils of smoke waltzed above their heads

and she whispered (through wine-dyed lips),

“Have you got it?”

 

He reached into his breast-pocket,

and pulled out a tan paper, folded,

as her slender gloved hand waited to palm

it from him.

 

It slid, so easily

into her clutch and she clicked it

shut.

 

It was then, he decided,

all too much had been

confided—she had to go,

 

so as she turned—to slink away into the night,

his leathered hands surrounded her

long neck.

 

Though she struggled—

valiantly (he’d have to check that

bruise on his right calf),

eventually, she slumped

and he dumped her

to the cold cobbles, where

rain was starting to spit.

 

He did a flit, but not before

sliding the letter once more behind

his lapel. Just as well, he remembered,

but

he did not recall that she had

held the box of matches as he lit her smoke

(such a gentleman)

and poked them in her pocket,

 

until he was sitting at the hotel table

with a cup of muddy coffee,

pulled out his case of cigarettes

and pat his hip for a light.

 

Kat Mortensen©2010 
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Visit Willow’s Magpie Tales blog to join in or just to visit others who are playing along. (Look for the Magpie stamp in my sidebar to view other editions.)

OSI: “insomnia”

Pin-heads

 

In the scheme of things,

we are all just dancing

on the heads of pins;

our voices com-

bined, rise in

particles

to dis-

sipate

in the

celestial

skies.

We hum.

We are the

enduring

hum that

emanates from

the mantle

—upwards

to other

spheres:

tropo,

strato

… exo.

Less sig-

nificant

than ants

— to us,

are we—

mere

dots

on the

map

of exis-

tence—

in a con

stant

state of

in

som

ni

a.

 

Kat Mortensen©2010 
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape