The back left corner

Somewhere, sometime, some years ago I read a column in a newspaper. Are you old enough to remember newspapers? That was the social media of my day! Anyway I read a story and it was something like this:

It was a story about a mother who had taught her young son; if you are ever lost in a store, go to the back left corner and that is where I will come for you. It was brilliant in its simplicity, and worked on several occasions when the boy was young. Over the years it became an inside joke between them every time they visited a store. As the Boy got older he began to get very sick and spent much time in the hospital. As time went on they realized he would soon die. Every night before he would sleep he would tell his mother, “Don’t worry Mom I will meet you in the back left corner”. On the night that he passed those were the last words that they spoke to each other.

I like to think they were, or will be reunited in the back left corner.  The story stuck with me, and I use the same phrase with Jace often. Of course he always wants to know where the back left corner of outside is! The genius in it’s simplicity just really made sense and the story made an emotional connection. They were the last words I spoke to both my sister and my Mother before they passed. If there is a Heaven, I imagine it might be super crowded when we get there, so knowing where to meet up could help! Of course every time you enter any building you will need to be prepared for the onslaught of questions about where is the back of the store? what side is left? what if there is no corner? What if I am facing the wrong direction?

If you have kids, you know exactly what I mean. Well that’s about all I got for today, so live long and prosper, leave only footprints and take only photos, love often, laugh more, and appreciate everyday. Everyday you wake up is a good day!


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Episode 5 of the Adventure: Riding around with Rob

Join us for Episode 5 of the Adventure: Riding around with Rob
As we explore some of the roadside, and now apparently TRENDY places in the great state of Pennsylvania.

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The Shelf

When you learn at an early age
to open the forbidden cage
you unleash the beast of rage
upon yourself

then you find there is no escape
from a frightened tormented fate
no-one came it was too late
to put it on the shelf

Locked away in a room
always fearing dread and doom
oh what madness can there loom
for me ahead

there is no tunnel with a light
everything wrong, nothing right
fishing without a bite
everything is dead

they say there is a way back
if you find the right track
but don’t step on the crack
it leads to hell

take a look down the road
and Put down that heavy load
stumble into the abode
drink from the well

It is the fork along your way
Do not let the fear betray
Do not be led astray
Out to the brink

In the water is the cure
To cleanse your soul and make you pure
its a truth you cant ignore
Come take a drink

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Anticipatory breakage

In the garden of my mind,where I have been lost in time
In the fields of azure spoken of in lure
In the forests of retreat, and at the foot of every seat
Lies the answer everyone is looking for

In the puzzle of deceit, that has been laid upon your feet
There is a lack of luster lying unexplained
On the beaches of the lost, tell me truly what’s the cost
The animal within us never can be tamed

It’s a mystery to me, when through others eyes I see
What it’s like to be on the other side
And that from yourself, you can never hide

In the maze that are my thoughts, often paid but never bought
One could wander on and never find their way
Oh,the trail that leads you home, is one best traveled all alone
Hard to tell once you arrive if you should stay

Of all the words you hear from people claiming to be dear
The water is deep and dark, turbulently it swirls
Doesn’t make much sense when speaking in defense
Trying to find our way in this world

I don’t expect you too understand
How unlike you I have no plan
And I float through on a wave of uncertainty
with blinded eyes, no world to see

Yes it’s still a mystery, when through others eye I can see
What it’s like to be on the other side
And that from yourself you can never hide

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Bleeding in silence

The death of Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart last week, has left a hole in the musical landscape. 3 years fighting brain cancer and we did not even know. Even Rush’s biggest fans were unaware of what he was going through. Whether or not you are, or were a fan of of Rush, Neil’s talent and excellence cannot be denied. He was extremely precise, and very technical in his professorship of percussion. His lyrics were varied and expressive and sometimes hard to follow, but they always took you on a journey.

I am a Rush fan, going back to the first album. That was before Neil joined the band, they had a different sound back then. I guess everyone did though. Rush seemed to be able to stay current and relevant for over 40 years. They made music that was worth listening to, music that took you on a journey. From the long, well orchestrated songs of 2112 to the more straight forward  and much shorter hard rock songs of moving pictures. Rush just seemed to flow along with the times.

I didn’t start this column with intent of writing a tribute to Neil. As I sit here listening to the SiruxXM tribute channel dedicated to Rush, it just seems to be happening. I am deeply saddened to know there will never be another Ruch album. We all knew the big tours were done, but surely assumed some new music. You could always tell it was Rush as soon as you heard the music. They definitely had a “sound” that was mostly all their own.

I can honestly say that the album Signals may have saved my life more than once. It was my go to all through the early 80’s, whenever times were rough. The song Suburbs was so spot on for anyone between the ages of 10 and 20. Be cool or be cast out! Thank you Neil for all you have given us, you will be missed by many. I can just see Neil, up there with Keith Moon and John Bonham having the great drum off in the sky. Godspeed Sir!

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I learned from Rock and Roll

Ive had the music in me as long as I can recall
4 years old mama caught me scrawling lyrics on the wall
The music it came to me like a stranger in the night
When things are all askew in life The music makes it right
The melodies flow through me The lyrics touch my soul
Everything i ever need to know I learned from rock n roll.

John taught me to imagine, and that all I need is love
Ronnie told me to be a simple man and believe in God above
Robert Johnson gave me rhythm that touched me hard and deep
Music taught me lessons that through my life I keep
it carries me like a fragrance in the early morning breeze
It moves me like a storm that is raging in the trees

I would stay up late at night, with my AM radio
Listening for a favorite song ,Hoping it would show
Lessons I’ve learned, and carried, the music was my cue
Giving me direction when I knew not what to do
Many times it was a savior, as it cut deep and touched my soul
I believe that I can say that I was saved by rock and roll

I remember Mick told me, you can’t always get what you want
Bon was out there yelling, It’s a long way to the top
Roger had us join together, and not get fooled again
James Taylor took me to Carolina, and told me I had a friend
it carries me like a fragrance in the early morning breeze
It moves me like a storm that is raging in the trees

I have had the music in me since the first day I could hear
My soul becomes so weary if I do not have it near
I have had the music in me and it helps me find my way
In the darkest depths of night it gets me through another day
I have had the music in me, way down deep in my soul
and everything I ever needed to know I learned from rock n roll.

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Through the Lens Anew

Re-Publish from 2013

In 1974, I was 10 years old and I received my very first camera. It was a little Kodak 110mm film camera, nothing special just something I could take some home pictures with. I have always owned a camera since that time, and have taken 1000’s of pictures. Most of those pictures really bad, some not so bad and the few that I am particularly proud of, not to mention the many rolls of undeveloped film. Photography has come a long way since I received that first camera, and so have I. I now use a Digital Single Lens reflex camera, or DSLR.

I don’t have the best camera on the market, probably never will but it serves its purpose for me. I use a NikonD3100, D70 and D60 bodies accompanied by one Nikkor AF-S 18-55mm lens, which came with the camera when I received it. I also use one Tamaron 70-300mm lens and Neewr 0.45x super wide angle, all lens are Macro. I would like to add an 8mm fish eye, and a 150-500mm to my toolset but both are well out of my budget at the moment. Since I acquired my first digital camera, (a Sony Mavica which recorded on 3.5 inch floppies and did not even have a megapixel rating) I have amassed close to 24,000 images. (now closer to 60,000)

Most of the images are probably of family, or mundane events thought to be worthy of being documented. Within this trove of digital wonder is the world as seen through my lens, my perception of the event, person, place or activity, the world through my eyes. I have begun the monumental task of actually organizing all of those images, and beginning to share my world, with the world. This is who I am, this is how I feel, and this is how I see. Everywhere I look I see a photograph; everywhere I go has a story. Follow me as I weave a story that can only be told; through the lens anew.

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The Welcome Home week

Originally posted on December 17, 2019

Written on Thanksgiving

The welcome home week is the 5 days preceding the Thanksgiving Day holiday. I call it this because it is the time of year when many families and friends, although dispersed throughout the universe make their way HOME. Wherever that place may be, whomever that place may contain. A time to be with the people who mean the most to you, in the place you are most comfortable. It is the beginning of the long winter holiday season, racing toward the end of the year and bright new beginnings.

They say that home is where the heart is, for the most part I suppose this is true. As I have grown older I have come to notice there is a time in everyone’s lives, when they can no longer go “home”. As we age and the elders of our families begin to pass, the places that we called home sometimes pass along with them. I am not saying there is no place that is home, or a place that has that same level of comfort. It just becomes, no longer the same. The last 2 years for me have really come to highlight this more than ever having lost both my mother and little sister last year. I never realized how much a part of HOME they both were for me.

Trying to keep alive traditions of that former home are our way of remembering and preserving a feeling. A certain sense of warmth and acceptance, a place where the troubles of the world don’t matter. With the preservation of such traditions sometimes comes a certain amount of sadness. Knowing the people who once shared in them are no longer with us. Sometimes making the holidays close to unbearable for several years to come after such a loss. Sometimes something as simple as a pig can fill the eyes.

I have also come to realize, that at some point perhaps we become home for the next generation. While we want so to pass these traditions on, sometimes we need to modify the existing or perhaps create new ones to share with those to whom we are home. We cannot live for the dead, we must live for the living, for they are the ones who need us now. It does not mean we have forgotten. It means that they have taught us, and left us with the knowledge and responsibility to be home for the next generation.

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Memorial in Yellow

It was almost a year before I would post anything after Dawn Passed, Mom Passed Just 6 months later. I was so lost. I had known them both my entire life. They were both my biggest fans and cheerleaders. They ALWAYS had my back! I know being who I am, they probably both had many sleepless nights on my account. I am grateful and so thankful that I was in a position to be able to care for mom during a time I can only imagine had to be horrific for her. But enough of that already, This is my memorial to them both.

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My Little sister

Originally posted November 12, 2018

As I mentioned earlier 2018 was indeed a very rough year for me, and it was months between these posts.  Even as I repost all these it is a little rough to reread.

Dawn Marie Wellman

It has been some time since I have published any updates. Sorry for the delay, but understand it has been a really rough year. Mom has not walked since she took her spill back in February, and the Alzheimer’s has progressed to the point where she is non vocal most of the time. She still knows who the people are who visit regularly, and sometimes remembers other people.She has good days and bad days, She has lost close to 25 pounds and getting her to eat can sometimes be a chore. Bring her a milkshake or Wawa ice tea though, and she is still all over that!

On the 25th day of June, just 5 days past her 50th birthday my little sister passed away. Her name is Dawn Marie Wellman (Bleattler). She was really sick for a really long time. Dawn was never able to say goodbye to my mother the way she needed to. Mom was in no condition to visit Dawn at the hospital. Dawn was too sick for us to take her to see mom. It was the one time I was glad that mom was blissfully unaware. This would have broken her I think. I miss my sister terribly, there is not a day that goes by without something reminding me of her. I have had to leave a store because I saw a pig and could not stop myself from crying. If you knew Dawn you’ll understand.

They say my sister died of “Lung Disease”, I say she really died of a broken heart. My little sister died trying to hide from her pain. It was my job to protect her, she was my little sister. The one thing I could not protect her from was herself. I missed my sister for a long time before she left us, but losing her like this has really been tough. In less than 2 years the 2 women who were my biggest fans have been taken away. Mom is here but it’s not the same. Sometimes I have to wonder to myself how it is I don’t drink. I don’t know how it is I am going to handle all of this through the holidays. Last year at this time, Dawn and mom were both here and able to be a part of it all. Now neither one to be thankful with, to laugh at stupid Christmas movies with. 

I have never had a Thanksgiving without them before, I have never woke up on Christmas and not had the plan to go see mom. Mom has never before had a News Years eve when she wouldn’t be worried. My world has shifted, and my mind has been sequestered. I keep it to myself, and I write. The music plays and every song takes me back to another point in our lives, and I can remember everything including the aromas of our existence. The holiday decorations are starting to arrive and I am lost, like a child in a snowstorm. The words need a roadmap to get from my brain to the keyboard. But alas comes the Muse.

Not all news is bad news, and sometimes the darkness can show you the light.

Through this tragedy with mom, I have met someone who brings me sunshine on a daily basis. She saw through my darkness and somehow found a light. She tolerates me, and she can stop me in my tracks. She saw something and said yea I want that one.Why? I just don’t know, but I am thankful she did. We had a little help getting together, but here we are. She is amazing and wonderful, and strangely enough in a semi similar kind of boat. We just seem to fit together, and Mom likes her too. It helps that she was mom’s nurse for a while there. she never got to meet Dawn, but I know my sister would have loved her and been OK with us being together. I know that as time goes by the heart heals, but it’s hard to heal when it keeps getting torn. This whole getting older thing is for the birds, nobody ever warned me. 

UPDATE: That relationship fizzled quickly, but she sure did help me through alot.

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