All posts by William Sefekar

POST-PRODUCTION – AN AMERICAN DREAMER: A LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MY FATHER, JOE BABY, PT. 2

January 16, 2017 by William Sefekar
 January 16, 2017 by William Sefekar

POST-PRODUCTION – AN AMERICAN DREAMER: A LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MY FATHER, JOE BABY, PT.2

REFLECTIONS

EXCERPTS FROM AMERICAN DREAMER: A LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MY FATHER, JOE BABY POST-PRODUCTION PT. 2

A MEMORABLE STORY OF A MAN ON A MISSION

HE WROTE IT, THEY DID IT, HE SAVED IT; TRANSFORMING AMERICA!!

“JOE SEFEKAR’S INSPIRING STORY OF AN IMMIGRANT’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE HEALTH, WELFARE AND ARTS OF UNITED STATES.”

 

My Dearest Mom,

Today would be your 97th birthday, so many memories abound, wonderful memories, caring memories, loving memories.  You have to admit I was a handful and you did your best.  I hope you know your best was more than good enough.  I thought so anyway.  🙂  Planning to stop by and see you today on this special day.  It would be nice to share these thoughts with you.

Today people express so many different recollections and messages about what their mother’s meant to them.  It’s special that people can share their thoughts on the Internet and social media. So, I too will express my thoughts, and while doing so, I truly thank you for all the patience, love, and understanding you provided to me right from the beginning.  

I never thought that these stories would make it too see the light of day, but what the heck.  It just shows how a mother’s love can be taxed to the max.

When I was growing up in Syosset, NY and evidently as they said “I was a handful.” I remember never getting over the idea of just putting my things away.  You would see my clothes, toys and my sporting equipment all over the floor, all the time.  

I do recall when you finally reached your limit, your boiling point, the final straw when you told me you would toss my stuff out the window if I continued to leave my room a mess.  Well, you certainly stood by your word.  Right out the second story window went my “valued possessions” which now cluttered our lawn on the side of our house.    

It certainly was a message and as you would’ve hoped; bring a change, but as you so lovingly said, “a wolf can change his coat but not its colors.”  That sort of thing has permeated throughout my life and another loving term of endearment that you would mutter -‘If I had half a brain, it would be lonesome.”  

Well, when I think that even in the levity of such a saying there was something that I needed to ponder over.  So I tried to make my brain become more productive, more relevant, and live up to what would be considered a better person, instead of a “brain-breaker.”   Another one of our families colorful expressions for me.  🙂  

I know how much you loved songs and music and also valued how you were the consummate homemaker; cooker and cleaner of the household.  Rest assured that your talent in creating all those wonderful meals you so skillfully prepared for us was at least transferred to the next generation, maybe not to me, but to your daughter Bonnie.

And so on what would’ve been your 97th birthday; we send our love and appreciation and know how much you gave, could never be repaid.

So many, many, many memories come to light, the thousands of dinners that created a wonderful atmosphere for our family gatherings.  The Thomasville dining room set that you loved to entertain on, with the armoire where you put many of your special dishes, dessert, and teacup sets. They would all stand out so elegantly in the lighted armoire. You would be happy to know now that this dining room set is the place where Dad and your legacy resulted in the 450 pages of the book so far.

It gave me great pleasure to be able to share these special little things like helping you grow your roses when Dad retired to Florida.  I remember that you loved to sing and unfortunately in your 50’s developed a thyroid condition that affected your voice and required treatment and surgery.  It made us all sad.  

As fate would have it, when I went to college, you remember, I decided to take up the guitar and I too loved to sing.  So Bonnie got your cooking talents and I got your singing talents.  I thank you and on occasion have singalongs, in some way I’m bringing back some of the songs that you enjoyed and that was part of your life.  One particular favorite was “You Belong to Me,” by Jo Safford, “Come On-a My House,” a Rosemary Clooney standard and the one that you were particularly fond of and one that I would love to play was, “Annie’s Song,” by John Denver which really captures your essence.  It starts off with you “You fill my senses like a night in the forest, like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain….”

In my later years, I tried to return the thoughtfulness but it would never be enough to repay for a lifetime of giving and caring and worrying, sharing and the irony of the biblical story when Adam “gave his rib,” creating Eve.  How ironical in that women and mothers give “their rib” and more for their children.  So, I’m very fortunate to have a window to share this with others and the people who had a special opportunity when you passed through and crossed their lives.  Like you have become intertwined with them and for them to feel a little of what I have been so privileged; that you were such a big part of and also that we have living proof of these things.  Thanks mom.

Love your son,

Bill

 

Figure # PP.8 Picture of Thelma Lakoff Sefekar at 4 years of age

 

 

Figure # PP.9 Montage of pictures when Mom and Dad first met.

Figure # PP.10 Wedding pictures, January 3, 1943.

    

Figure # PP.11 Pictures from 1944.

Figure # PP.12 Mother and me.

 

  

Figure # PP.13 LIU College Graduation

Figure # PP. 14 A few of the Hit Parades and Song Hits to sing-along to

           

Figure # PP.15 dining out in the back yard, Syosset, L.I., N.Y. circa 1955

Figure # PP.16 Getting ready for a nice evening, circa 1957.

  

Figure # PP.17  Hirshhorn Museum Retirement Party, 1977.

Figure # PP.18 Ruth Eckerd Hall Construction, 1983.

 

Figure # PP.19 Playing with Granddaughter Diana Jill, 1982.

Figure # PP.20 Florida visit from Daughter Bonnie and Son-in-Law Lee with Diana,1982.

Figure # PP.21 Rose bushes 1980’s.

Figure # PP.22 Birthday Visit and Roses for Mom.

Hope you enjoyed the visit, I did. Brought a cupcake for Dad and the roses for you. As it turned out it was an assortment and reminded me of the different varieties that you grew and I was able to help when I moved down to Florida from Maryland. There was the red Christian Dior; the ever fragrant orange, Tropicana; the Double Delight; the pink Elizabeth; Aspirin Rose, Angel Face and Peace

 

 

Figure # PP.22 The Family Dining Room Table; just a few of the hundred and hundreds of dinners and gatherings took place for 50 years.

Figure # PP.23 The Family Dining Room Table; Where “American Dreamer” was created.

 

   

Figure # PP.24 Celebrating with a dance.

Figure # PP.25 40th Anniversary Party and Toast, January 3, 1982.

Figure # PP.26 Thanks for the Memories, Thelma and Joe

 

One of the things I’m most proud of was finishing and printing my first book with Holocaust Survivor, Cantor William Hauben. Over the past 5 years this has offered me an opportunity to be an “Ambassador” of sorts.  Coincidentally enough, the book was created around 10 righteous nations and the ambassadors that represented these countries at this time.  I enjoyed writing special inscriptions for close friends, relatives, and new friends that obtained copies of the book, “Light: Courage and Hope.” Recently, on one particular instance. a “new friend” happened to find the book in the Hillsborough County Library in Tampa, Florida and sent me a copy of the inscription that was presented to the Library.  I would like to share this with you now.

Figure # PP.27 Picture of Inscription from copy of the book: “Light: Courage and Hope,” presented to Hillsborough County Library, Tampa, Florida.

Pre-Order your Autographed Hard-Copy by Clicking the Button Below!

The following is the Press Release that provides details on the expected Release For the book.  It explains what we have presented our viewers over the past 11 months and hopefully will be an exciting portrayal of a man who made a difference in his life and the life of others.

A man who is worth finding out about, who will give the reader thoughts to ponder over and words to live by.

  

Figure #PP.28  Press Release Announcing the Upcoming Release of “American Dreamer: A Look into the Life of My Father, Joe Baby, A Man on a Mission; He Wrote It, They Did It, He Saved It.”

In the upcoming Blog posts, we will provide readers the opportunity to take advantage of presale purchases of the book and offer other incentives so that you can receive especially packaged first edition copies.

 

Copyright © 2017             William Sefekar

** Material will appear in book.

We are always interested in hearing comments and suggestions about how the blog could be better. Sound off below with your ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POST-PRODUCTION – AN AMERICAN DREAMER: A LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MY FATHER, JOE BABY, PT.1 PRE-SALE NOW AVAILABLE!

 January 2, 2017 by William Sefekar

 

Pre-Sale for the Book is Now Available!

Pre-Order your Autographed Hard-Copy by Clicking the Button Below!

EXCERPTS FROM AMERICAN DREAMER: A LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MY FATHER, JOE BABY POST-PRODUCTION PT. 1

A MEMORABLE STORY OF A MAN ON A MISSION

HE WROTE IT, THEY DID IT, HE SAVED IT; TRANSFORMING AMERICA!!

“JOE SEFEKAR’S INSPIRING STORY OF AN IMMIGRANT’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE HEALTH, WELFARE AND ARTS OF UNITED STATES.”

12-17-16 PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, BILL SEFEKAR 

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2016, 7:30 PM

Well, welcome to the New Year, 2017.  It should arrive on time in the next few hours.

Love, Peace, Hope, Faith; Be Kind, Be Wise, Be Brave!

I want to wish you all a most salubrious and positive encounter with the fates.  2016 has produced a number of pleasant milestones.  Joe Sefekar would’ve been happy in seeing what he felt was his extremely important contribution to getting onboard for the train ride through almost 100 years that had taken us from the early years the 20th century to the first decade and a half here in the 21st century.

This book is being written because Joe Sefekar’s experience relates to so many of the millions of stories of people like the Sefekar’s and immigrants that came to this country to break free from the yoke of subjugation, misery, hopelessness, poverty and could use the building blocks of what this country afforded those that were lucky enough to make it to its shores.  Together they forged a better nation, a nation that is so amplified by the timeless, refined woman who stands ready to welcome so many of the downtrodden, huddled masses and until then, ill-fated.  

It is amazing that this is so perfectly exemplified in the Hirshhorn Museum’s contribution to the Bicentennial exhibitions in 1976 less than two years after it opened its doors; which Joe Sefekar as Administrator played a big part.  The Exhibit just happened to be about the influence of immigrants, and particularly in the realm of art and culture.  However, the bigger theme; “Contribution of Immigrants,” should be applied to the Golden Door, coming to America as we know it.  It is worth revisiting.

Figure #PP.1  Part of the Hirshhorn Bicentennial Exhibit 1976

Artist -Immigrants of America. 1876-1976

So, Joe Sefekar left us a legacy but he didn’t just leave a legacy, it is a legacy vibrant and is meaningful today as it was when he started his quest to keep all of this intact.  This is a wonderful country, a unique country, a blessed country and we cannot take it lightly.  We need to keep the dream alive.  Become “American Dreamers” like so many millions that was exemplified by this man; it is our responsibility, it is our duty to live the dream and make it better, we all must become “American Dreamers.”  Please don’t take this responsibility lightly, the mindset of,” Let George do it,” does not apply here.  We must do it, we must do it in our communities and in our neighborhoods, in our relationships both on local and national levels.  

This country has been faced with challenges and has “persevered” as Joe baby would say.  It is even more prevalent today and at this time; so follow your dream.  But don’t dream alone, take others with you that are close by and share, reach out just as the “Lady” reaches out, offering her hand, her outstretched arms and bids us to become part of the American Dream.

How can one person, it cannot be fathomed, how one person aside from his daily activities of husband, war hero, father, with college degrees; successful career in management and government; building museums and performing arts centers, involved with libraries, community affairs and his Temple, Jewish war veterans and other service organizations, how could one accumulate such a massive amount of original material.  What’s even more remarkable that everything was in such an organized, orderly fashion (not anymore) that one could easily put his hands on and go “Back Into The Future” as we’ve seen done on a Hollywood set.  

A couple of cases in point follows: in Dad’s cache of hundreds of amazing World War II artifacts that part of is presented in Chapter 4 of the book; Marriage And The War, one comes across interestingly enough, papers that had SECRET stamped on it.

As can be seen from this three-page letter from Four-Star General Eisenhower, Commander of the Allied forces in Europe, to Five-Star General Gen. George Marshall, Chief of Staff of the Army for all Army forces both in Europe and in the Pacific.  What makes this so profound is that this letter was transferred approximately three weeks prior to Victory in Europe, (VE Day), May 8, 1945.  

It explains in detail the different forces that were at work.  One with the US forces and the other with the Russians spearheading efforts that would allow them to get to Berlin first, while the American Expeditionary Forces in conjunction with the British were battling from the western side of Germany which involved more intense combat related actions as the Germans had located more troops and tanks there.

Figure #PP.2 SECRET Letter from General Dwight Eisenhower and General George Marshall on plans for the ending World War II

The situation that Eisenhower referenced and documented was so strongly etched in his mind then but have now become faded and difficult for us to comprehend now.  Upon liberating Germany there were many, many features to document this but this also allows for one to pick up what Gen. Eisenhower found so hard to believe and try to express his disbelief of what he had seen in these internment camps, and concentration camps.

It was determined that because of the length of time, “over 70 years” that this document could be used and made available. Another example of how Joseph Sefekar managed to maintain much of this material that transcended over years were photos of his army soldiers celebrating the New Year on December 31, 1944 in France.  This proved to be a very critical time with the ensuing Battle of the Bulge taking place during the first weeks of 1945.  It was the German’s last concerted effort to break through the allied lines with their Panzer Tank Divisions in search of fuel depots to keep their tanks from running out.  We could hear tanks rumbling through the snow-covered hillside of the French Ardennes forest not knowing whether they were American or part of the German armored division. It was quite terrifying and created havoc with our troops and especially at First Army headquarters where we quickly gathered up all vital military and top-secret papers, maps that would be destroyed rather than falling in the hands of the enemy. Over 20,000 Americans were killed another 20,000 were captured and 40,000 wounded. The British sustained over 1,000 casualties and was the greatest loss of American soldiers on the Western front during the War. The turning point came on January 3, 1945 when the weather began clearing and allied air dominance crushed much of the German offensive. January 3 also marked Thelma and my third anniversary; yes, it was indeed a very good omen.

February and March showed great progress for Allied Forces. Upon reaching the Elbe River in Germany, Joe and his comrades-in-arms made an appropriate gesture, it was called relieving themselves on their way to Berlin.

  

Figure #PP.5  Joe with 1st Army Headquarters buddies, December 31, 1944 Prelude to the Battle of the Bulge

Figure #PP.6  Joe with US Troops crossing the Elbe into Germany, “It was a Great Relieve”

Figure #PP.6  Seeing the Light, It would be another 3 months before the War’s end and “Going Home.”

 

Today marks the last day of Hanukkah which in the Jewish faith this holiday known as the Festival of Freedom and/or Festival of Lights.  It was the first successful organized religious uprising and managed to defeat the Greeks and restore the Temple in Jerusalem. When the high priests returned to the Temple, they found it in much disarray and there was only enough holy oil to keep the lamps lit for one day.  However, the lights kept burning for eight days while the high priests prepared new oil.

It is most fitting that this is the kind of bond that has transcends our ancestry and provides us with a taste, reflecting the kind of Joe Sefekar’s inner strength; his desire to believe and live in the Light of Freedom.  There is also a song that is recited during this holiday that was written by Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul and Mary fame.  It is called “Light One Candle,” in the spirit of freedom and hope we share this with you.  How Judah Maccabee and his five sons actively fought a war of attrition and will of attrition against the larger Greek forces and were eventually victorious to have the Temple returned to the Jewish people.

Words and Music by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary

Light one candle for the Maccabee children, With thanks that their light didn’t die, Light one candle for the pain they endured When their right to exist was denied, Light one candle for the terrible sacrifice Justice and freedom demand But light one candle for the wisdom to know When the peacemaker’s time is at hand.

Chorus: Don’t let the light go out! It’s lasted for so many years! Don’t let the light go out!  Let it shine through our hope and our tears. (2)

Light one candle for the strength that we need To never become our own foe And light one candle for those who are suffering Pain we learned so long ago Light one candle for all we believe in That anger not tear us apart And light one candle to find us together With peace as the song in our hearts

(Chorus)

What is the memory that’s valued so highly That we keep it alive in that flame? What’s the commitment to those who have died That we cry out they’ve not died in vain? We have come this far always believing That justice would somehow prevail, This is the burden, this is the promise This is why we will not fail!

(Chorus)

Don’t let the light go out! Don’t let the light go out! DON’T LET THE LIGHT GO OUT!

Read more: Peter, Paul & Mary – Light One Candle Lyrics | MetroLyrics

We always liked to dabble in exercises for the brain.  Whether they’d be in the form of doing the Jumble, playing Scrabble, working on crossword puzzles or cryptoquotes.  One of the things that has proven particularly satisfying is the responses we’ve received from social media, i.e., Facebook etc. for what could be listed under categories of “Brainy Quotes,” “Cryptoquotes,” or “Words To Live By.”

We leave you with a few of these that are noticeably pertinent and worth pondering over:

“PEOPLE WILL NOT LOOK FORWARD TO POSTERITY WHO NEVER LOOKED BACKWARD TO THEIR ANCESTORS.” – EDMUND BURKE

“THE GLADDEST MOMENT IN HUMAN LIFE, METHINKS, IS A DEPARTURE INTO UNKNOWN LANDS.” – SIR RICHARD BURTON

“BE GLAD OF LIFE BECAUSE IT GIVES YOU THE CHANCE TO LOVE AND TO WORK AND TO PLAY AND TO LOOK AT THE STARS.” – HENRY VAN DYKE

“I LIKE TO SAY THERE’S CERTAIN THINGS YOU CAN’T TAKE BACK: ONE OF THEM IS “I LOVE YOU,” AND ONE OF THEM IS BULLETS.” – NATHAN FILLION

“WE MAY ENCOUNTER MANY DEFEATS BUT WE MUST NOT BE DEFEATED.” – MAYA ANGELO

“THE REAL WINNERS IN LIFE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO LOOK AT EVERY SITUATION WITH AN EXPECTATION THAT THEY CAN MAKE IT WORK OR MAKE IT BETTER.” – BARBARA FLETCHER

“PEOPLE UNDERESTIMATE THEIR CAPACITY FOR CHANGE THERE IS NEVER A RIGHT TIME TO DO A DIFFICULT THING.” – JOHN PORTER

“NO MATTER HOW DIFFICULT AND PAINFUL IT MAY BE, NOTHING SOUNDS IS GOOD TO THE SOUL AS THE TRUTH.” – MARTHA BECK

“YOU KNOW THERE ARE TWO GOOD THINGS IN LIFE – FREEDOM OF THOUGHT AND FREEDOM OF ACTION.” – WILLIAM SOMERSET MAUGHAM

“HE WHO THANKS BUT WITH THE LIPS, THANKS BUT IN PART; THE FULL TRUE MEANING OF THANKSGIVING COMES FROM THE HEART.” – J. A. SHEDD

The following is the Press Release that provides details on the expected Release For the book.  It explains what we have presented our viewers over the past 11 months and hopefully will be an exciting portrayal of a man who made a difference in his life and the life of others.  

A man who is worth finding out about, who will give the reader thoughts to ponder over and words to live by.

  

Figure #PP.7  Press Release Announcing the Upcoming Release of “American Dreamer: A Look into the Life of My Father, Joe Baby, A Man on a Mission; He Wrote It, They Did It, He Saved It.”

In the upcoming Blog posts, we will provide readers the opportunity to take advantage of presale purchases of the book and offer other incentives so that you can receive especially packaged first edition copies.

 

Copyright © 2017      William Sefekar

** Material will appear in book.

We are always interested in hearing comments and suggestions about how the blog could be better. Sound off below with your ideas

REFLECTIONS – AN AMERICAN DREAMER: A LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MY FATHER, JOE BABY, PT.3 PRE-SALE NOW AVAILABLE!

December 23, 2016 by William Sefekar

REFLECTIONS – AN AMERICAN DREAMER: A LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MY FATHER, JOE BABY, PT.3

REFLECTIONS

 

Pre-Sale for the Book is Now Available!

Pre-Order your Autographed Hard-Copy by Clicking the Button Below!

EXCERPTS FROM AMERICAN DREAMER: A LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MY FATHER, JOE BABY REFLECTIONS PT. 3

A MEMORABLE STORY OF A MAN ON A MISSION

HE WROTE IT, THEY DID IT, HE SAVED IT; TRANSFORMING AMERICA!!

“JOE SEFEKAR’S INSPIRING STORY OF AN IMMIGRANT’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE HEALTH, WELFARE AND ARTS OF UNITED STATES.”

 

Figure #R.24  Video produced from small segment of Podcast Interview 12-17-16

 

It has been a very satisfying experience that has come out of preparing these blog postings. The opportunity has been presented to us to portray small bits from everyday life encounters that over the course of a lifetime becomes building blocks so that one can derive worthwhile lessons in dealing with life’s challenges.

The past few years have created an amazing amount of challenges in itself. The last couple of months were particularly a tussle, slugging through and testing endurance limits. But there have been given quite a number of signals that lead me to believe it is a path being well-taken; which I will share now and in the near future.

My path has crossed very talented and well-intentioned people who helped pull the loose ends together. Starting with the tech savvy individual, Ricky Ricardo who has committed over 15 months of being available to extend his knowledge into all aspects of this undertaking. He was even responsible for leading me to the wonderful experience “in the world of creating and posting blogs,” Tonya has been instrumental in bringing Dad’s story to life. That has been going on at such a tremendous pace with active twitter accounts, instagrams and continuous daily updates of pictures and intriguing tidbits for our readers.

She even brought two of her colleagues on-board that have become an integral part of the team. Mary and Tyler have been diligent in working on the manuscript, detailing the material, pictures, documents. They’ve been very conscientious in editing the manuscript.

One of the more recent members of the team spending over four months involving all aspects that are also an interconnected part of preparing the book for publication, marketing, he is also fully adept with social media outreach, complementing the blog activities. Dan, is a writer and published in his own right while combining many of these critical talents so we will be ready for publication in the next few months. A good friend of mine, Terry has been constructing a “Tasks Oriented Management Tool.” This functional work sheet, will allow all the dozens of the detail assignments and projects necessary to be tracked and prepared in the right sequence so as “to get me to the printer on time.”

There have been as indicated, so many instances of things just seem to fall out of the sky, but the sky wasn’t falling, it would seem to be of a more positive calling. Another dear friend John Casimiro, from my Public Access TV Production days has sort of been monitoring progress of the book, the blog and other incidentals. He had even suggested the possibility of doing a podcast at the Tampa Bay Community Network (TBCN). So, last weekend, Dan and myself prepared some questions for the taping and the following is a result of this session. The transcript of the interview appears below and with Dan’s creative approach bringing some of the snippets to life in this short first run video that should be one of many similar outpourings amplifying the kinds of contributions in all aspects of “a Life Worth Living; Man on a Mission.”

 

EXCERPTS PODCAST INTERVIEW, DECEMBER 17, 2016:  TAMPA BAY COMMUNITY NETWORK STUDIOS, TAMPA, FL

Why was it so important for you to publish this autobiography about your Dad’s legacy:

One of the reasons for undertaking this book is to give people an opportunity to see just what a well-lived can mean. Joe Sefekar was well-intentioned, straightforward and made a difference. That was his style., That was his resolve that you will come to find out.

 

What are some of the key elements we can take from your father’s example and apply to today’s world:

From humble beginnings of immigrant parents the story line runs true. Joseph Sefekar became a model and inspiration of what America offered to the outstretched hands of the poor and downtrodden from the European and Mediterranean countries at the turn of the 20th century. His family from the Greek Island of Salonika were Sephardic Jews that still spoke the same Ladino Spanish that was the language of Queen Isabella at the time of the Inquisition in 1492 when his ancestors were forced to leave Spain.

Joseph Sefekar grew up in the teeming city of New York and was raised in the tenements of lower Manhattan, when they moved to Brooklyn with his parents and five siblings he grew to manhood working at odd jobs including the Fulton Fish market, and working as an accountant for Joseph Hirshhorn would later change his life when he became administrator for the beginning of the Hirshhorn Museum and sculpture Garden on the capital Mall in Washington DC in 1969 he may not have been a George Gershwin or an Irving Berlin growing up in teeming New York, but he made his contributions to the American scene as well.

 

What was the relationship like between your mom and dad? What did they like to do together? When and where did they tie the knot?

The relationship which I would say was just about perfect. They never argued, they cooperated, my Dad had a very famous line about the best way to be relatively successful with women; three little words, “Compromise and give in.” He took great pride in being married 67 years to the same woman.. I’d never seen them argue, they were always together, lovingly together. It was a beautiful example of how to build on a life together and how you treat those you love and everyone else in the right manner with courtesy and respect that’s what my Dad would always fall back on how his wife exhibited her persona. As I said they enjoyed doing things together whether at home or with friends. In the book you can see the playbills that involved from the shows that they were able to see in New York and on Broadway before they moved to Washington DC in 1965. Things that were most important in their lives was their family. Family togetherness was number one. Between my Mom and her sisters and brother and my Dad’s sisters and brother they were very close and their parents were number one and made sure they took care of them.

They met in Brooklyn in 1940 and are were engaged in 41. With the outbreak of the World War II they decided to tie the knot in New York on January 3, 1942 and honeymooned in Miami Beach shortly thereafter. Because my Dad would enlist in the Army, he was he was inducted in June 1942 and given his orders to be shipped overseas to England 1943 and fighting the Germans in Europe in 1944 and 45. That wasn’t much of a marriage up until that point.

 

What was your Dad’s biggest influence?

No doubt about it is, HIS biggest influence was meeting Thelma Lakoff and his marriage to her in January 1942. This defined the course his life will take in the years to come and throughout his life. She was his guiding light, a pillar of strength, she exhibited love with her endearing actions that helped them, help them raise two children, steered him through the shoals and turbulence of life. When he had to make important and critical decisions he knew he could count on her to offer just the right words of advice and comfort. Through the good times and bad, the fruits of their labor came out like a shining light.

He became an expert writer of thoughts and happenings. He acquired this special talent from reading the nickel novels of his time. Almost 20 years prior to the present day I had good fortune and desire to work with my Dad and his handwritten page after page after page of what he thought was a wonderful expression of how he came to be the man, and the force behind what would become an extraordinary life and his legacy and the legacy he left.

 

Why should people read this book?

Nothing compares with the story of this man, who dedicated and devoted his life to be an example of goodness., of determination, love and encompassing what is the best this country can produce. He wrote about his experiences, he shared his experiences, he documented his experiences and people responded. Growing up in teeming New York City on the lower East Side of immigrant parents, the stories have been told before but he exemplified, shared his proficiencies and pulling himself up by the bootstraps and being a commendable human being. Husband and war hero he wrote about it and he wrote about what it was like coming back from the war and he shared his letters and wrote letters to newspapers, too friends and they responded. Whenever he left a job it would be for a promotion. They did going away parties and they put together things and his wife, Thelma shared in his success and was a large part of his success. She was so invaluable and made sure they had a family, a loving family and her family and his merged and showed much for the union. Two wonderful children; they accumulated much, but not necessarily wealth. A lifetime of togetherness as depicted by their 40 albums of pictures, 100 Kodak slide carousels, videos, etc. There are files and boxes with letters, folders carefully collected and labeled. Everywhere that he organized and documented, he built one Museum and a Performing Arts Center. information that would eventually go to the archives for the Smithsonian Museum and too Ruth Eckerd Hall on the West Coast of Florida.

 

The following is the Press Release that provides details on the expected Release for the book. It explains what we have presented our viewers over the past 11 months and hopefully will be an exciting portrayal of a man who made a difference with his life. A man who is worth finding out about, who will give the reader thoughts to ponder over and words to live by.

prrelease-pg-1    prrelease-pg-2

Figure #R.25 Press Release Announcing the Upcoming Release of “American Dreamer: A Look into the Life of My Father, Joe Baby, A Man on a Mission; He Wrote It, They Did It, He Saved It.”

In the upcoming Blog posts we will provide readers the opportunity to take advantage of presale purchases of the book and offer other incentives so that you can receive especially packaged first edition copies.

 

Copyright © 2016      William Sefekar

** Material will appear in book.

We are always interested in hearing comments and suggestions about how the blog could be better. Sound off below with your ideas

 

 

REFLECTIONS – AN AMERICAN DREAMER: A LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MY FATHER, JOE BABY, PT.1

EXCERPTS FROM AMERICAN DREAMER: A LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MY FATHER, JOE BABY REFLECTIONS PT. 1

A MEMORABLE STORY OF A MAN ON A MISSION

HE WROTE IT, THEY DID IT, HE SAVED IT; TRANSFORMING AMERICA!!

“JOE SEFEKAR’S INSPIRING STORY OF AN IMMIGRANT’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE HEALTH, WELFARE AND ARTS OF UNITED STATES.”

Well we’re really getting close to the finish line and it takes a lot of work while the effort is expanded and I’m really concentrating on editing the book. Also critical at this time is determining the best way to present it, print it, publish it, and this is where my major time constraints are focusing.

However, I still find in folders amazing things that my Dad wrote and collected but I guess the next few postings will concentrate on just giving our readers an amazing compilation of what Joe Sefekar considered important enough to write about and save about. As I mentioned before not all of it can fit in the book and maybe they’ll be able to find its way in some kind of website to keep this available after the book is published. There are video clippings, sound clippings and a lot more that may be made available should the interest prevail.

However, there have been so many wonderful “reflections” and stories over the past 11 months covering almost 40 blog postings to give you an opportunity to pause and reflect on Joe Sefekar’s words and wisdom’s. So, if you have the time to revisit and enjoy some of the past postings that you might have missed, or you may want to catch up on and even refresh your memory, go right ahead.

Okay, so let’s get started:

I found this in a folder that had at least 200 song titles and descriptions.

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Figure #R.1 Handwritten Lyrics from “Remember Me,” by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, – A Lover’s Refrain

Figure #R.2 Lyrics from “Remember Me,” by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, – A Lover’s Refrain

 

The Next set of text and letters deal with the European theater in World War II that Joseph Sefekar was very much a part of as a result of his being assigned to the First Army Rear Echelon Headquarters. As the end of the war was rapidly approaching, which ended on May 8 with the surrender of the Third Reich; also known as V-E Day; Victory in Europe.  There were critical communications between General George Marshall head of all military personnel both in Europe and in the Pacific with Supreme Allied Commander of European Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower. This determination was made to bolster US forces in the Pacific with the announcement of the First Army being deployed to the Pacific for mounting the attack against the Japanese Empire on the Japanese homeland. Also to be presented in future blog postings are documents marked “secret”  that was forwarded to General Eisenhower three weeks before the war would end in Europe.

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Figure #R.3  Letter from General George Marshall Army Chief of Staff over all US Forces to General Dwight Eisenhower Supreme Allied Commander for European Forces.

 

The letter written below is to my dear friend Jake, an old war buddy. It sets in motion my resolve to find out any additional information that would help in re-creating what transpired over 50 years ago before, when we fought and defeated the Germans in Europe. I tried to contact as many of my war buddies as I could, especially since time was creeping up on us. This would become one of my major missions, jotting down my/our experiences during the war.  There were plenty of letters, memorabilia, documents even pictures that would become a key focal point in my life.

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Figure #R.4 Letter to Joe Sefekar’s war comrade Jake.

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“The things I saw beggared description… I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first hand evidence of these things if ever in the future there develops a tendency to charge these things to propaganda.”  –  Gen. Dwight D Eisenhower

Figure #R.5 Hand written notes that were a result of General Dwight Eisenhower’s determination to make sure that the horrors of what he witnessed as the Allied Troops liberated German Concentration camps would not be erased. More details and accompanying pictures appear in Chapter 4, Marriage and the War, Part 3

 

An article in the Wall Street Journal was published on August 25, 1999 by Elyse Tanouye, “Clues to a Sudden Attack on the Mind,” I found particularly timely. It deals with what all seniors become sensitized to. The writer talks about how scientists believe the process for natural pruning brain cells connections are essential for handling the explosive growth of information in a person’s formative years. Pruning helps makes the brain more efficient and flexible for handling the changing mental needs of adults. Grant it, that some of this material is rather complex when talking about the brain as seen in the article from the pictures and descriptions of neurons and neurotransmitters, etc. However, it is worth delving into when confronted with today’s massive influx of information, data and the explosion upon the mind and senses not just for those changes taking place in the human brain as people enter early adulthood. It is equally important for the whole spectrum from our beginning and also dealing with the vulnerability that also comes in later years and the induced stress is not just confined to those that would be at risk early on. The thinking processes need to become more efficient. And certainly, in today’s society much more pressure is being exerted and as the demands come greater, it is important that family support systems and other similar related structures also become stronger.

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Figure #R.6 Article by Elyse Tanuoye, ” Clues to a Sudden Attach on the Mind”

 

Naturally being a prolific writer all his life it was extremely important for Joe Sefekar to be not only succinct in his elocution but to write legibly so that his supervisors, staff and as the years progressed all the wonderful letters, prose and dissertations for posterity would remain easy to understand.  As has been demonstrated, the hundreds of pages for the manuscript as well as letters, documents that are presented show this accomplishment.  The reason we mention is the following example. Joe Sefekar followed from the earliest recollections a priority to write legibly. These basic fundamentals were taught early on during his impressionable years, not so now.  Today penmanship is not only a lost art it is almost not even a required subject. Here is an illustration of how he would go about passing this on. Equally important was being steadfast about keeping family and friends to be in command of more than just adequate vocabulary.

This practice of drawing continuous circles was used to develop better handwriting skills. No doubt his granddaughter Beth Landau also agreed and followed in her Grandfather’s footsteps, so to speak, with what may be considered mundane exercises but would eventually pay off.

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A firm believer in the old school of good penmanship, Joe was always ready to practice and impart this “Lost Art.” Here is a practice sheet from granddaughter Beth,

Figure #R.7 One of the exercise drills that Beth Landau would practice to improve her handwriting.

 

 

The following is the Press Release that provides details on the expected Release for the book. It explains what we have presented our viewers over the past 11 months and hopefully will be an exciting portrayal of a man who made a difference with his life. A man who is worth finding out about, who will give the reader thoughts to ponder over and words to live by.

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Figure #R.8 Press Release Announcing the Upcoming Release of “American Dreamer: A Look into the Life of My Father, Joe Baby, A Man on a Mission; He Wrote It, They Did It, He Saved It.”

In the upcoming Blog posts we will provide readers the opportunity to take advantage of presale purchases of the book and offer other incentives so that you can receive especially packaged first edition copies.

 

 

Copyright © 2016      William Sefekar

** Material will appear in book.

We are always interested in hearing comments and suggestions about how the blog could be better. Sound off below with your ideas

 

 

POSTSCRIPT: AN AMERICAN DREAMER: A LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MY FATHER, JOE BABY, PT. 3

EXCERPTS FROM AMERICAN DREAMER: A LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MY FATHER, JOE BABY POSTSCRIPT  PT. 3

A MEMORABLE STORY OF A MAN ON A MISSION

HE WROTE IT, THEY DID IT, HE SAVED IT; TRANSFORMING AMERICA!!

“JOE SEFEKAR’S INSPIRING STORY OF AN IMMIGRANT’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE HEALTH, WELFARE AND ARTS OF UNITED STATES.”

 

Blog posting Postscript 3, Pt. 3 also turns the corner in that it includes video excerpts of the TCM Disney Cruise and includes trips to a Butterfly Farm in San Maarten and the Carabali Rainforest Park, in Luquillo, Puerto Rico.

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Figure #PS.21 Butterfly Farm, San Maarten

Figure #PS.22 Butterfly Farm Video of Farm in San Maarten

Figure #PS.23 Rain Forest on horseback riding in the Carabali Rainforest Park, Luquillo, Puerto Rico

Figure #PS.23A

 

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Figure #PS.24 Some of the life-sized murals that appear on the outside decks of the ship.

On board the Cruise was equally fascinating with continuous activities. Even while walking on the deck there was a lot going on. One time I noticed this artist doing charcoal drawings and had amassed hundreds of beautiful drawn pictures of well-known personalities and stars. Coincidentally, I was returning the same way and there was one of the TCM Host’s Illeana Douglas who appears on many of  the interviews. It just so happened that the artist had a drawing in his collection and showed Ms. Douglas who was enthralled with the likeness and even more appreciative when he signed the copy and presented it to her.

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Figure #PS.25  and Figure #PS.26 Illeana Douglas receiving her Charcoal drawing from one of the masters who has created and catalogued hundreds of personalities and stars.

I really didn’t have too much time or money to indulge into the excursions available as part of the Cruise but was satisfied with the choices that were made. Please understand that I didn’t have the luxury of doing too much editing of any of the videos. It was a fun compiling assortment of the still pictures using YouTube and getting it into a video montage in movie maker and with public domain music for the background.

Also it’s worth mentioning that the Disney part of the cruise provided so much entertainment and enjoyment. The stick figure here was created in the dining area as we were getting ready for dinner. It was then ingeniously intertwined with the other guests similar artistic designs to come up with a really enchanting version to have our creations parading on the screen, while we were finishing our meal.

 

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Figure #PS.27 Initial drawing which would be incorporated into the animated videos below.

 

Figure #PS 28 Video Motion picture cartoon composed of contributions from guests while having dinner

Figure #PS 29 Video Motion picture cartoon composed of contributions from guests on Cruise.

Bill’s artistic endeavor is on the far right in blue.

 

 

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Figure #PS.30 Photos substantiating I was actually on the Cruise. The distinguished gentleman with me is the Captain of the Fantasy. Captain Fabian hails from Argentina.

 

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Figure #PS.31 One of the latest pictures taken with Joe and brother Al Sefekar.

Figure #PS.32 Famous Fighting Sefekar’s that appeared in the New York Newspapers on Joe’s return from service in Europe at the end of World War II.

More important is that it reflects on the ties that binds the Sefekar’s, Joe Sefekar and brother, Al. The Fighting Sefekar’s were close and continued a lifelong camaraderie and beautiful story that helped shape their family; their mother, father, four sisters and the extended Sefekar family. It also lends itself to include Joe’s in-laws which made up a large contingent on Thelma’s side with her mother, five siblings; four sisters and brother.

There are many things that transcend life here on earth and what better way of showing the enormity of it,  as in these special yearly summaries that were part of anticipating the millennium going from the 20th century to the 21st century. Aside from some of the years that were milestones in the lives of Thelma and Joe Sefekar and their family, we hope to be able to present the entire century of highlights. Last week our viewers will recall an also abbreviated version of this montage that was posted. Let’s have another look back at some of the amazing events as they unfolded 25, 50, 75 and even 100 years ago in the years that played a major part in our lives.

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Figure #PS.33 Century Countdown, 1946 and 1951; Birth years for son and daughter Billy and Bonnie Sefekar

Figure #PS.34 Century Countdown, 1953 and 1965 Moving to Long Island, NY and Washington, D.C.

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Figure #PS.35 Century Countdown, 1974 Opening of the Hirshhorn Museum; our daughter Bonnie Sefekar marries Lee Landau; still going strong after 42 years.

Figure #PS.36 Century Countdown, 1977 Retire from the Hirshhorn Museum and Federal Government; move to Florida.

Figure #PS.37 Century Countdown, 1984; 10 years after the opening of the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., Grand Opening of Ruth Eckerd Hall Performing Arts Center in Clearwater, FL. Played a part in both of these major events.

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Figure #PS.38 Century Countdown, 1994, 50th Anniversary of the ending of WWII, Thelma and Joe returned to the Europe to retrace the route of the 1st Army Headquarters and his war experience.

 

As was mentioned we’re embarking on a new approach that would bring about a heightened awareness to the forthcoming publication and more video excerpts and possibly the beginning of a podcast that would go into further detail recounting the Life of Joseph Sefekar and his impact on the lives and places he touched.

It is particularly nice to share this with our viewers and how far we’ve come, along way since the last century when Joe Sefekar started out. There is another likeness, being here on the Cruise, corresponding with the early days of Walt Disney. Coinciding with the great technological advances, we’re able to take advantage of so much to be thankful for; indeed fortunate; it is a great part of “The American Dreamer,” and especially meaningful for those who dream about making dreams a reality.

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Figure #PS.39 Farewell party with some of the special guests.

 

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Figure #PS.40 As we “Cast Our Fate to the Wind.”

 

Copyright © 2016      William Sefekar

** Material will appear in book.

We are always interested in hearing comments and suggestions about how the blog could be better. Sound off below with your ideas

 

 

 

 

POSTSCRIPT: AN AMERICAN DREAMER: A LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MY FATHER, JOE BABY, PT. 2

EXCERPTS FROM AMERICAN DREAMER: A LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MY FATHER, JOE BABY POSTSCRIPT  PT. 2

A MEMORABLE STORY OF A MAN ON A MISSION

HE WROTE IT, THEY DID IT, HE SAVED IT; TRANSFORMING AMERICA!!

“JOE SEFEKAR’S INSPIRING STORY OF AN IMMIGRANT’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE HEALTH, WELFARE AND ARTS OF UNITED STATES.”

 Well it was a great week, but it took me more time getting my land legs back than it was getting situated on-board. Then there was the return travel time and throw in a little bugaboo to deal with, so things are starting out little slow here.

 I wish everyone could enjoy a good film, movie while on the high seas. It was a great opportunity to leave on a cruise sponsored by TCM and Disney, two of the foremost icons of keeping and preserving, creating movies and entertainment that touch the heart and the soul and spirit of humanity.

 It was 8 days of being truly transformed; the closest thing next to being in Hollywood. The crew and the staff and TCM were just so hospitable from Ben Mankiewicz, all the guests; Jerry Lewis, Leslie Caron, Kim Novak with her paintings not just her acting career, Michael York, Lucie Arnaz, Dick Cavett and Alex Trebek. Some of the other people who I met included Scott Eyman, noted best-selling author and bibliographer, Bruce Goldstein, film restoration expert, and the wonderful staff that helped me during my stay on the ship.

                                                         

I will never forget them; to be able to post the blog; “Postscript,” that appeared last week and what I’m conjuring up the next few weeks. So, I hope you can feel being part of this also. Setting the stage for providing a wonderful commentary for my Dad’s, “American Dreamer: A Look into the Life of My Father, Joe Baby, A memorable story of man on a mission.”

Let me take you back to the cruise for a couple of memorable situations as I mentioned to you last week.  Alec Trebek, the mastermind of Jeopardy all these years was part of the festivities. Not seeing him in person before I was not sure about if I would recognize him but I was looking for Scott Eyman who I had met on Sunday, the night before when he introduced the program for the movie directed by John Ford, “My Darling Clementine,” a western about Wyatt Earp with Henry Fonda and Victor Mature. The movies were presented by the special guests and Scott Eyman was very well-renowned for being a best-selling author and particularly of noted biographies such as John Wayne and John Ford and Robert Wagner; I was hoping to catch-up with him again. So, I meandered to one of the theaters where he maybe found for one of his one assignments about John Ford.

I noticed what looked like Alex Trebek in the entrance way which seats about 100 people. The film was playing, it was being narrated and noticed that it seemed almost at the end. I hear these words and was just riveted at what I was hearing. The movie showed what looked like an old mining town and it happened to be in England. “Men like my father cannot die.”

I wasn’t sure of what movie it was and I was at the exit way and the narrator in the movie, Huw Morgan (the son played by Roddy McDowell) says “Men like my father cannot die. They are with me still, real in memory as they were in the flesh, loving and beloved forever. how green was my valley.” As I said, I wasn’t familiar with the movie and I went up to this gentleman who I realized was Alec Trebek. I was overwhelmed at this sound track as it came from the film. I said I’m writing a book about my Dad and this is exactly what has been resurfacing, that my Dad will live forever; it’s just was too much. I said what movie is that from and Alec Trebek’s explained that it was from  “How Green was My Valley.” 

Well after the movie was over and Mr. Alex Trebek was off on the side working on his upcoming presentation, I went over to him and reintroduced myself as the man who asked him about the movie that I’m writing about my Dad. He was gracious enough when I asked him about writing something for my sister and brother-in-law who watch his show religiously. Matter of fact, they were at a taping of Jeopardy in Washington. He signed the back of the card from one of the postcards from the upcoming book release… And here is the autograph, my sister with her cute comment  when I sent her the copy, “how come he didn’t ask it in the question when he wrote it,” which was an interesting after thought.

My sister just happened the night before on Sunday asked if I could get Alec Trebek’s autograph, which seemed far-fetched at the time but here he was; a true gentleman as you would imagine from how he is perceived watching him on television all these years. He signed it: For Bonnie and Lee, All the best !, I reiterated about Dad’s book and presented him with an American Dreamer postcard.

 

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 Figure #PS.5 Alec Trebek’s note to my Sister        Figure #PS.6 New Postcard: Pre-Sale and Book Release

    and Brother-in-law 

Well naturally I went back, Googled the movie and found quotations that came from the movie, is a novel written by Richard Llewellyn: How Green Was My Valley. Very profound, not just about the reference to My Dad. Here are some other noteworthy passages that are strikingly worth getting imbedded in your consciousness.

“Men lose their birthrights for a mess of pottage only if they stop using the gifts given them by God for their betterment. By prayer. That is the first and greatest gift. Use the gift of prayer. Ask for strength of mind, and a clear vision. Then sense. Use your sense. … Think long and well. By prayer and good thought, you will conquer all enemies.” ― Richard Llewellyn; Author; How Green Was My Valley

Huw Morgan:  [Narrating] “Memory…Strange that the mind will forget so much of what only this moment has passed, and yet hold clear and bright the memory of what happened years ago; of men and women long since dead.”

Mr. Gruffydd: You’ve been lucky, Huw. Lucky to suffer and lucky to spend these weary months in bed. For so God, has given you a chance to make the spirit within yourself. And as your father cleans his lamp to have good light, so keep clean your spirit… By prayer, Huw. And by prayer, I don’t mean shouting, mumbling, and wallowing like a hog in religious sentiment. Prayer is only another name for good, clean, direct thinking. When you pray, think. Think well what you’re saying. Make your thoughts into things that are solid. In that way, your prayer will have strength, and that strength will become a part of you, body, mind, and spirit.

 

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  Figure #PS.7 TCM Programming Guide             Figure #PS.8 TCM Programming Guide Table of Contents

 

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Figure #PS.9 Jerry Lewis SPECIAL GUEST                          Figure #PS.10 Interview with Jerry Lewis

 

It sort of set in motion several things that unfolded on this cruise that locked me in to trying to give copies of my first book, with inscriptions included. As it turned out copies of the Postscript blog that is featured this week and previously the Epilogue, were included courtesy of the Guest Services Staff. It became a startling adventurous scenario that fueled possibilities of something happening in publishing the book.

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Figure #PS.11 Author with Ben Mankiewicz       Figure #PS.12 Ben Mankiewicz TCM HOST

 

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Figure #PS.13 Bill with Author Scott Eyman

It turned out to be a work/vacation. I could provide Jerry Lewis, Ben Mankiewicz and Scott Eyman copies of my first book with pertinent inscriptions.  It explained that my second book about my Dad’s life is worth they’re looking into and provided them with copies of the last two blog postings; the Press Release announcing the upcoming “New Book” to give them a sampling. The Press post card was also in the Packet, explaining what’s happening as part of the plan as we are preparing for pre-sale, allowing people to show an interest. If you have been following the excerpts in the book, we realize more than ever your comments are very valid; would love to hear from you.

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Figure #PS.14 Light: Courage and Hope, Author’s 1st Book

Thank you again and thanks to TCM and Disney Cruises, anyone that were a part of this and I would recommend it for everyone to be a part of this anytime.

Now back to the book, one of the things that was a major objective was presenting memorabilia about the life and times of Joe Sefekar’s for almost 100 years; that was his job and he did it admirably.. It seemed fitting that when the St. Petersburg Times back at the turn-of-the-century; the 21st century that is; the paper is now the Tampa Bay Times, a big hullabaloo about Y2K for those of us who remember how it was affectionately referred and to the new millenniums. As the days got closer to December 31, 1999 there were major concerns and plenty of information and resources to deal with the unexpected. We are offering a capsule summary that was collected every day as part of Joe Sefekar’s century countdown starting on Friday, September 24, 1999 from the year 1901. He continued for 99 days saving the Newspaper clippings as he so tactful did for a life-time. It culminated of course on Friday, December 31, 1999 with beginning of the new millennium. The following is just a few of the over 75 years that we have during this period. We will be presenting this Century montage (with the complete set) for your interest and capsule summary that spans the decades that were a good part of Joseph and Thelma Sefekar’s life.

 

A few of the highlights we share with you now, were the birth years 1917 and 1920; 1942 and 1992 the marriage year and the 50th Anniversary. Also selected was the first and last year of the 20th century.

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  Figure #PS.15 “Century Countdown 1901 – 1999”         Figure #PS.16 “Century Countdown 1917 – 1920”

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 Figure #PS.17 “Century Countdown 1942”            Figure #PS.18 “Century Countdown 1992”

 

Needed to get this blog posted today (Tuesday) so I decided to provide viewers with additional book material on the next update; sprinkled with photos and even some videos from this wonderful cruise. Included are stops at a Butterfly Farm in San Maarten and a Rainforest on horseback outside of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Enjoy!!

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   Figure #PS.19 Sunset on the Caribbean                                     Figure #PS.20 Midnight on the Caribbean

 

 

Copyright © 2016      William Sefekar

 ** Material will appear in book.

 We are always interested in hearing comments and suggestions about how the blog could be better. Sound off below with your ideas

 

 

POSTSCRIPT: AN AMERICAN DREAMER: A LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MY FATHER, JOE BABY PT. 1

EXCERPTS FROM AN AMERICAN DREAMER: A LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MY FATHER, JOE BABY PT.1

A MEMORABLE STORY OF A MAN ON A MISSION

HE WROTE IT, THEY DID IT, HE SAVED IT; TRANSFORMING AMERICA!!

“JOE SEFEKAR’S INSPIRING STORY OF AN IMMIGRANT’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE HEALTH, WELFARE AND ARTS OF UNITED STATES.”

 

Well Howdy folks we’re turning the corner getting into the final activities here in Florida of getting this story to come to life and that should bring about some exciting twists and turns. There is a very wonderful group of people I’ve been fortunate enough to work with to help me and I wanna share with you these very important people who have been an integral part of making a book, a lifetime of words in the form of a draft and then to the blog postings. I’ll talk about the intricacies about getting this done and now impart to you how these very talented people with their permission and relate how we’re coming to a very interesting phase involving networking, contacting people in the publishing field as I begin embarking and I do mean embarking on this “voyage”.  This voyage “cruise” starts with a Press Release on Friday, November 11, 2016 with the announcement of “Pre-Sale Order” and a scheduled “Book Release” Date of February 14, 2017.

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Figure #PS.1 Postcard from the Bridge of the up-coming Book Release

The actual Cruise is scheduled for this Saturday, November 12th. I’ll be with the TCM group, Turner Classic Movies as they debark from Port Canaveral, Florida and take us on an eight-day cruise in the Eastern Caribbean and the reasons I signed up on the for this is that it says it in the stars; OK so Movie Stars!! One of the movie stars and personalities that I have the highest regard for in the first order of magnitude is Mr. Jerry Lewis. Jerry Lewis who most of us have known and loved in his comedic roles and humanitarian roles with MS, Muscular Dystrophy. Every Labor Day weekend you would find him with his “Kids” on the MS Telethon; raising money for finding a cure.

 

Leslie Carón one of my favorite actresses from the delightful musical “Gigi” and then also in “An American in Paris” with Gene Kelly. And then Kim Novak whose head turning career in her own right. Mitzi Gaynor famous for her roles in dancing and musicals was unable to be there but Michael York filled in for her. Mr. York was one of the all-time swashbuckler, actors in his time. He starred in the “Three Musketeers”.

 

This will make for quite an event for the next eight days and in itself is so exciting as I think it should be fun to share some of this with you. Who knows what can happen with this adventure on the high seas especially seeing Alex Tribek walking around on the deck of this Disney Cruise with the great talk show host, Dick Cavett. Can’t wait to meet Ben Mankiewicz, the host of TCM and Lucie Arnaz, daughter of the famous Icon, Lucille Ball.

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Figure: #PS.2 TCM Stars on the Disney Fantasy Cruise

So, stay tune as we try to distribute the new calling cards that I have worked up with our team to give you an idea about the book release, book postings and look for the heartfelt printing of the “American Dreamer: A Look into the Life of My Father, Joe Baby. A memorable story of a man on a mission.” I hope the appeal continues as in the past 9 months as well as your interest. God bless everyone. Keep an eye on this country while I’m away. We need all the help we can get – from above as well as here on earth.

 

It is great that I’m going on this cruise with TCM – Turner Classic Movies, But I’m also living up to the hype of “He Wrote It… They Did It… He Saved It. Would you believe, here is a postcard; it’s almost 20 years old, April 22, 1997 from Atlanta, Georgia. It is from Turner Classic Movies addressed to none other than Mr. Joe Sefekar thanking him for a letter expressing interest in TCM as his usual way of writing something, doing something to make a difference. In this case some ideas that were forwarded to their Programming Department. They in turn sent the card to please “look for your suggestions in upcoming months on TCM.”

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Figure #PS.3 and #PS.4 Postcard from TCM on response from letter sent by Joseph Sefekar

So, it gives me great pleasure to keep these tidbits continuing, Lord knows there are dozens and dozens that you will see even if there isn’t enough room that can be squeezed into the manuscript. At least hopefully it continues to be entertaining. It will offer you an original way of seeing that the extra time and effort to build on keeping one’s mind and interest in a constant state of flux is not too terribly taxing but can pay off in big dividends for relatives, love-ones and friends in the here-and-now and for the future.

I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to Ms. Anca  Maria for helping me to get the blog ready for posting while out to sea. It takes on a whole new technological approach in using the internet and she was glad to assist me.
We will appreciate your continued support. if you shared this so far you can see “That’s Entertainment.” The blog posting for this week strays a little from the straight and narrow but we always maintain a concerted effort; it will continue to surprise and inform.

 

Copyright © 2016      William Sefekar

** Material will appear in book.

We are always interested in hearing comments and suggestions about how the blog could be better. Sound off below with your ideas

 

EPILOGUE

EPILOGUE – THOUGHTS AND RECURRING THEMES

HE WROTE IT, THEY DID IT, HE SAVED IT; TRANSFORMING AMERICA!!

“JOE SEFEKAR’S INSPIRING STORY OF AN IMMIGRANT’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE HEALTH, WELFARE AND ARTS OF UNITED STATES.”

THOUGHTS AND RECURRING THEMES

It is amazing how little twists and turns in our lives can make a difference. There was so much material I want to share with my readers that I sort of wanted to bypass beginning excerpts from the Epilogue and continue with recanting some of the vital occurrences during this time in my life. However, there was more than enough to accomplish both at the same time. So you have the best of both worlds. And if it has helped just one individual then it was well worth it.

I found this George Bernard Shaw from his Man and Superman, Dedicatory letter. It encapsulated my feelings in the latter part of my life. At this juncture, anything that bills up your ego, self-esteem and makes you feel that you have control over your bodily functions for as long as, or far as you can, has got to be a placebo.

“It recognizes true joy in life and perceiving yourself as a mighty one; a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to make you happy.” That’s something to get by without feeling sorry for yourself.

The next sentence captures what I was feverishly doing all these years trying to avoid being a selfish little clod. That my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

In finality, here is another inherent theme that wholeheartedly agrees with me. Before the end, to thoroughly use myself before leaving, as was written, the harder I work, the more I live. As George Bernard Shaw states, “I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

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Figure #E.1 George Bernard Shaw from Man and Superman, Dedicatory Letter

June 11, 1998

Just a Little Too Late

“I can sing of death, I’ve seen a lot of it… But I’m obsessed with life. I’ve seem that dark place. I fight the beast in me every day. I’ve won a few rounds with God’s help. And that’s what matters most to me now – – feeling good about my relationship with God.” Johnny Cash

I never thought about my relationship with God, I just assumed that I had one and that it was good. Now and then I thought about family values – but I never had doubts that I had family values. They were good and they were strong.

I never had too many thoughts about having imbued my children with family values. I seem to have taken it for granted that they had the same feelings, the same doubts, the same feelings of being fair, and being honest the best that we knew how.

What was the best way to tackle your relationship with God your family values, that my parents instilled in us and we weren’t aware that this was happening. We never sat down and discussed our problems. You see, they did not speak English, and we conversed in Latino (a form of Spanish). I do not recall having deep conversations. I do not recall having deep conversations with my one brother and five sisters. Like aliens in spaceships, we found that this most important thing in our lives was transferred to us painlessly.

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 Figure #E.2  Dissertation on “Your relationships, to G-d  Recurring themes of going off to war, and Surviving Letter

 We show our children by example who we want them to become.

“We need to realize that we are our children’s first and best teachers when we are selfish or inconsiderate, when we mistreat our wives or girlfriends, when we cut corners or failed to control our tempers, our children learn from this —and it’s no surprise when we see those behaviors in our schools or on our streets.”

But it also works the other way around. Work hard, treat others with respect, spend within our means, and contribute to our communities, those are the lessons our children learn. And that is what so many fathers are doing every day coaching soccer and Little League, going to those school assemblies and parent-teacher conferences, scrimping and saving and working that extra ship so the kids can go to college. They are fulfilling the most fundamental duties for this: to show the children by example, the kind of people they want them to become.

 to-step-up-show-our-children-by-example-who-we-want-then-to-become

Epilogue #E.2 Father’s Day message from Pres. Barack Obama, Parade magazine June 21, 2009

In closing out final Captain’s Log entries on the Starship Sefekar, I’m emphasizing what makes for a life worth remembering; is not just a good thing. It is working hard at the goals that you set and it is always beneficial, working with others. You will find sharing and caring as trite as these adages are, maximizes your mission and enhances your results. And if it’s worth remembering, it is worth taking the time to keep these memories secured. And Lord knows, I have secured a lot of stuff; we haven’t even touched the hundred, yes 100 Kodak carousel trays, full of slides. That will be in my next lifetime, so stick around.

As we become more capable of saving pictures, documents, tapes and video, it is becoming easier to keep a lifetime of memoirs intact. Don’t put off making this concerted project. Keep your loved ones apprised of your intentions, as they most likely want to hear what you have say about it and what you’re doing about it.

The secret is that it isn’t a secret at all. Having a life partner to work with and share this with is the key. She has been my key and it’s opened up so many doors that it made a heavenly life here on earth.

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Copyright © 2016      William Sefekar

 

** Material will appear in book.

 

We are always interested in hearing comments and suggestions about how the blog could be better. Sound off below with your ideas

 

SETTLING BACK – IT WAS A GREAT RIDE PT. 3

EXCERPTS FROM CHAPTER 13, 1998– 2008 SETTLING BACK, IT WAS A GREAT RIDE, Part 3

HE WROTE IT, THEY DID IT, HE SAVED IT; TRANSFORMING AMERICA!!

“JOE SEFEKAR’S INSPIRING STORY OF AN IMMIGRANT’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE HEALTH, WELFARE AND ARTS OF UNITED STATES.”

MY LEGACY

To my mother and father who left me no legacy except for longevity, an even disposition, the energy and the stamina to meet all life’s problems honestly, forthrightly. I wrote these words down on an envelope as I was finishing up my “tour of duty.”

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Figure #13.40 “No Legacy” left by my Mother and Father   Figure #13.41 Jotted down on an envelope.

Yes, my folks didn’t leave me a Legacy, they left me so much more.  What they left me with was the basic building blocks which were more much vital to being successful “in-life,” contributing to the health, welfare and the arts and paying back in some small way what it meant to be a citizen of this great country.

One of the themes that was running rampant in the early part of this chapter was a preoccupation with related health issues.  I kept the articles in folders hoping they would be of some value in bettering our understanding.  This would come in handy in the future as we dealt with all the medical twists and turns.  Case in point, Thelma had developed an acute case of insomnia.  Don’t know if it was a result of all these years of her having to deal with my snoring.  I guess it sounded like a truck going to our bedroom at night.  But whatever the case, we had to confront with the other possibility of sleep apnea and on three occasions she went to the Mease Hospital in nearby Dunedin, Florida for this condition.  She stayed overnight and they monitored her sleep patterns with both neurological, physiological as well as video equipment.  We read up on all the different approaches but nothing really worked.  In the following article written by Rick Weiss, “When Sleep Won’t Come,” many of these sleep problems were discussed such as more than half of people 65 or older complain of chronic sleep problems, such as trouble falling asleep or difficulty with excessive sleepiness during the day, according to the National Institute on Aging.  About one-third if seniors have chronic insomnia.  Happily, most problems are treatable often and very simple ways with such as a nighttime breathing device.  This wasn’t the case with Thelma and as I mentioned sleep apnea which can be recognized by snoring loudly at night and sometimes associated with stop breathing and causing her to awaken with a start.

The end of the article finally acknowledged that “there is often an overlooked perfectly sensible option for some older people to find themselves slaves to their advancing internal clock: Go with the biological flow.  Get to sleep as early as possible, wake up naturally at three or four in the morning, and take advantage of the quiet, predawn hours to get some things done.”  Which is what I am doing exactly now; predawn inspiration.

Here are some of the suggestions; we couldn’t follow all of them but some that made very good sense were:

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
  • Bedroom for sleeping; don’t read, watch TV or eat in bed.
  • Limit daytime naps. Take a 20 to 30-minute warm bath before bed, drink a glass of milk just before bed (warm or cold); milk contains tryptophan, a naturally sleep–inducing amino acid.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages and chocolate (which contains caffeine) in the afternoon or evening.
  • Don’t drink alcohol before bed; it can cause rebound wakefulness in the night and exacerbates snoring and apnea.
  • Exercise during the day may promote better sleep at night, but don’t exercise in the three of four hours before going to bed. From “All I want is a good night sleep” by Sonia Ancoli – Israel (Mosby 1996).

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Figure #13.42 Article by Rick Weiss “When Sleep Won’t Come.”

Next two articles deal with “Stroke Symptoms” and “Help with nursing home issues.”  The first article appeared in a local publication which I’m not able to find the exact citation as well as the author.  It was found under the heading “REACHING YOUR BEST.”  It describes certain risk factors which increase with age and sometimes might not be easily picked up when the symptoms occur whether it’s a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA is a temporary interruption of the blood’s life to an area of the brain.  TIAs can appear hours, days, weeks, or months before full stroke).  The article discusses seven “Uncontrollable Stroke–Risk Factors:” as you can imagine high blood pressure; high cholesterol; atrial fibrillation and other heart diseases; personal history of stroke or TIA; smoking; alcohol consumption and excess weight.  I was one of the fortunate ones that my risk factors did not reach the critical levels and subsequently the minor stroke that I experienced could be treated and I could resume a normal life.

Another common health issue more prevalent among seniors and attributable only to men is prostate cancer. And yes, I have articles about the different approaches and treatment.  But I will spare my viewers this touchy subject and refrain from posting any articles; except on demand.  It is a very serious subject and it is important from my perspective that routine tests are part of your annual health exam.  My brother Al, was diagnosed in the early stages of a possible malignancy and it was successfully treated.  So I know firsthand why men should have regular visits to the doctor to make sure they are not affected.

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Figure #13.43 Symptoms of a Stroke Figure    #13.44 Suzanne Palmer, Article about “Help with nursing home issues.”

It is one thing to plan and is another thing to have plans work out. We did manage to have excellent care with excellent caregivers during this timeframe and Thelma was doing very well with CNA’s that would be scheduled for twice a week, a few hours each.  The “Nursing Home Issue” as discussed in the article by Suzanne Palmer was not required at this time.  And Billy was close by, within earshot range for the most part.

I guess while we are dealing with life-threatening issues, might as well throw in another zinger. “Life-ending” issues that we needed to address.  I made the necessary arrangements for a place for Thelma and I to spend the here-after.  It was a plot that would be close-by where we live; for family to visit.  But not dwelling on this too much we did take into account other even more important impending issues.  This related to our estate and an equal distribution of whatever earthly wealth that we accumulated.  As usual I found an article that appeared in USA Today in their Managing Your Money Section written by Sandra Block, “No Will?  There’s a way online.”  It looked into the new fledgling advantages of the Internet.  Included were some of the websites that were available at this time.  Provided as well were tips about downloading free technical and legal advice; at least it gave us an idea of the guidelines and parameters from which we would base our final decisions.  Realizing that this was something that appeared at the time, it is certainly recommended to do your own “homework”.  We know so much has since evolved and is now current.

We did have a lawyer friend of the family, Greg Fox who Bill was very close with for over 20 years and we knew his family.  So, we sat down and came up with a “Living Will” and “Trust”, all families and individuals need to come to grips with this.

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Figure #13.45 Sandra Block Article, “No Will? There’s a way online,” USA Today

 

In taking editorial liberties, I will digress and revert back to another place and time; my beginnings, “My Eyes Were Young And Gay” as part of my earliest recollections.  These notes and letters would become the hallmark for putting together my memoirs and artifacts almost like the Big Bang theory that exploded and started the wheels churning.  The other letter about this time was sent to my granddaughter Beth Landau in response to her question, “Where were you born?,” It jogged my memory which a few years later in 1997, I would undertake with the help of my son to type these remembrances and occurrences from handwritten notes and letters that numbered in the hundreds.

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Figure #13.46  “My Eyes Were Young And Gay.”1             Figure #13.47 Letter to my granddaughter Beth Landau

1 Author’s note, at the time that I wrote this, the word gay was taken in the context of almost 100 years ago as in the “Gay Nineties.” A time when gaiety was identified with jolly cheerfulness.

 

As was mentioned in the last chapter, it was a most memorable evening listening to Prof. Elie Wiesel the Nobel Peace Laureate.  I even had the distinct honor to have Mr. Elie Wiesel sign the program.  What makes this even more of an amazing encounter is that a few years later at the opening of the Florida Holocaust Museum and Education Center in St. Petersburg Florida, Elie Wiesel was the main speaker at this major event for the city.  It just so happened that Bill as part of his duties as producer of the Public Access TV Show. “B’nai B’rith Presents; Jewish life in Tampa Bay,” was there to film this.  Also on the program was a Cantor William Hauben who at that time was Cantor at Congregation Rodeph Shalom in Tampa.  Cantor Hauben also a friend of Prof Wiesel performed the Priestly benediction to open up the program.  As fate, would have it, 10 years later in 2008 my son would begin a three-year writing project that resulted in co-authoring a book with Cantor Hauben; himself a Holocaust survivor entitled, “Light: Courage and Hope.”  I took these pictures from that historic night.  Little did I know that in 2010 when the book was published I’d be at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. for a reception with the Ambassadors from these 10 righteous nations that helped save Jews and others during the Holocaust.

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Figure #13.48 Professor Elie Wiesel Main Speaker at the Opening of the Florida Holocaust Museum, St. Petersburg, FL, February 1998

Figure #13.49 On Stage standing next to the Podium, Cantor William Hauben who would author his second book “Light: Courage and Hope,” with Bill Sefekar.

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Figure #13.50 Opening Dedication Ceremony of Florida Holocaust Museum, Cantor William Hauben is sitting at the right.

Elie Wiesel, the Nazi death camp survivor who won the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize, spoke to a standing room only crowd at Eckerd College warning of the dangers of religious nationalism and fanaticism.  The article below appeared a few years before in the Jewish Press of Pinellas County November 1991.  He said “I’m afraid the trend towards extremist movements – political, religious, and social bear close scrutiny.  Increasingly, he said more people are clamoring for answers, and fanatics of all types are eager to fill the void.”

“I’m afraid of this. It’s easy, it’s so tempting to be a fanatic.  The fanatic has no problem.  He knows it all, wants it all, has it all, the fanatic never doubts.  He believes only he knows what G-d wants. Ultimately, in the end, he thinks G-d is guilty and he replaces G-d, puts Him in a prison.  It is when the fanatic feels he moves within the framework of history that we are all in trouble.  We must fight against fanaticism by learning the lessons of history and become more sensitive to other peoples’ plights.  The student of history and ‘messenger to mankind’ called upon his audience to help promote understanding and tolerance of others.  You have a sense of responsibility – the only human response – to defeat the fanatics of the world who put us all in danger.  Remember, not a single human being is identical.  That means plurals pluralism, variety, differences and tolerance.  I must say I respect your belief of faith, and I’d like you to respect mine.  It is not easy.  We come from all different backgrounds and with all kinds of baggage.  But we must learn, we must start again.  If we use our beliefs as a weapon instead of as in friendship, we poison our world.  We people live in fear, we are afraid of strangers.  Well, society can be measured by the humanity it demonstrates towards stranger.”  I would like to thank the Jewish Press of Pinellas County for their following and reporting on human interaction and tolerance for over 35 years in the Tampa Bay area.

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Figures #13.51 and #13.52 Elie Wiesel: ‘We must fight against fanaticism.’

 

Continuing to always wanting to “leave them with a smile,” the other side of the local newspaper article above that discusses “symptoms of strokes,” deals with a little more levity as was located in its “BIT OF HUMOR,” section.  I don’t know if I would’ve known about these classes when I first started out whether it would’ve helped me along the way.  But I did manage to come up with the right things to say and do, most of the time.  In that passage in Chapter 12 about making it to the magic age, one of the things that was mentioned in being successful and accommodating with women; the three special words: “Compromise and give in.”  But in this day and age it seems people take liberties above and beyond what was considered in my time as “rules of engagement.”

“So here is a two-year degree: being offered at universities many of you should be interested: ‘Become A Real Man/Husband.’ That’s right, in just six trimesters, you, too, can be a real man – as well as earn an AA degree (AA Real Men).  Please take a moment to look over the program outline.” Be prepared to smile!

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Figure #13.53  Bit of Humor

 

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Figure #13.54 Perpetual Calendar,

 

One of my nephews happened to loan me copy of an old memorable songbook and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I kept it for quite a few months musing over all the songs that were so much a part of me as well as my wife’s world.  One of the songs that I remembered fondly was this song that seemed to capture my starting out with Thelma, when I was wet behind the ears.  “Making Whoopee,” was just that kind of song.

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Figure #13.55  Lyrics from one of my favorite songs, “Makin” Whoopee

 

Copyright © 2016      William Sefekar

** Material will appear in book.

We are always interested in hearing comments and suggestions about how the blog could be better. Sound off below with your ideas

SETTLING BACK – IT WAS A GREAT RIDE PT. 2

EXCERPTS FROM CHAPTER 13, 1998– 2008 SETTLING BACK, IT WAS A GREAT RIDE, Part 2

HE WROTE IT, THEY DID IT, HE SAVED IT; TRANSFORMING AMERICA!!

“JOE SEFEKAR’S INSPIRING STORY OF AN IMMIGRANT’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE HEALTH, WELFARE AND ARTS OF UNITED STATES.”

I NEVER THOUGHT

I never thought that when I’d be getting to the end of the trail that I would still have to be making the hard decisions. In retrospect things weren’t that tough. In the here and now, things are tougher when I start philosophizing to my wife. Somewhat complaining, she retorts, “Why don’t you be happy thinking about everything you have.” But the things that bother you aren’t the good things – it’s the bad things that you mull over in your brain that you wouldn’t want to discuss. Sometimes you have a tendency to think negative things even if you’re mostly a positive kind of person but it is human nature to let your mind drift to things that you worry about such as impending health issues, loss of income, loss of loved ones when you get to this point there’s a lot of loss, the objective as what my wife said, think about the have’s, all the blessings that you have received; that is also part of the have’s.

So I guess I fell back on one of my pillars, to be persistent. Being persistent about not worrying and that’s how I applied my basic mantra to my present mind-set.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press on,’ has solved and always will solve the problem of the human race.” – Calvin Coolidge. –Ed.

So I channeled my energies in getting into a more favorable frame of mind. And as usual I sent out more letters, this time to President Clinton announcing that my wife’s birthday was upon us and maybe he would do a Presidential kind of Announcement as he did for my wife’s 76th, our 50th Anniversary and hopefully he won’t forget her eightieth birthday on January 16, 2000.

 

In the early part of this chapter I fired off a letter to my Congressman Mike Bilirakis on the potential Social Security reform. Things started to get even more intense as President Bush kept his proposal to reform Social Security with private investment accounts in the forefront. So, I set my sights higher and fired off another salvo this time to Florida, Senator Bill Nelson. He seemed to be in complete agreement, not to tamper with having retirees taking money out of Social Security to pay for a private account, in order to play the stock market. A copy of his response is cited below.

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Figure #13.20 Response from U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, Florida

Naturally I kept my pen well-armed in fighting the wars on the home front for keeping Social Security intact, Health Care Reform and casino gambling from becoming the likes of another Atlantic City. It would eventually become a household word as part of the Hard-Rock Casinos establishments. But I did manage to keep the home fires burning with salutary  letters coming in from the Head-honcho himself. This was always a pleasant surprise receiving Birthday or Anniversary wishes from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And “greasing the track,” doesn’t hurt to get the desired response.

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Figure #13.21  and Figure #13.22 An encapsulated account of correspondence between President Bill Clinton and First Lady on Thelma and my Special Dates.

 

My darling Thelma has some health issues that kept rearing its ugly head. When you’re first put in this precarious situation you are at the mercy of health care experts. Our family physician was someone we knew and trusted. However, once you get out of the realm of their expertise; you’re like a babe lost in the woods so to speak. You go from one specialist to another; one prescription to another.  Boy, were we loaded, with medicines that is. As it is a dutiful husbandry’s duty I managed to try keep track of all the “meds”.

This was just a sampling of the level of monitoring and administering, a whole company of these required pills at regular intervals. We developed a system whereby  we kept track of the times the medicine was given; the blood pressure systolic and diastolic; pulse and reaction such as nausea; time of the meal and other incidentals like TV before bedtime. I guess this is part of growing old and can be part of the vicious health care conundrum. Complaining doesn’t help and we have been blessed with wonderfully good health throughout most of our entire lives.  The way I rationalized it was that between the both of us if you divided all the pills and the meds. It came out manageable, only she had most of them and I had only some blood pressure and one relatively mild heart pill. As you can see it was a full-time job but as usual working together for a life-time means like I said before, ” You don’t give in and You don’t give up.”

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Figure #13.23, Figure #13.24 and Figure #13.25 A sampling of the regimen for Thelma’s medicine

Even as this process worked, we didn’t want to be a burden on our children. But inevitably we would have to come up with a plan that all families must face. Thelma needed some extra care in addition to what I could provide. We also had the blessing of Billy and his job with Hillsborough County government having a provision in place that is available in all public and private sector employment. It allows immediate family members to sign up for and upon approval be available for assisting in medical care and appointments. But it was the supplementing this with home care visits by a reputable CNA’s (Certified Nurses Assistant) that became essential. It seemed to fill the bill and life went on relatively smoothly for the time being.

This is why I’d like to share with you this article by Ms. Lynn Brenner, “A Conversation You Can’t Put Off.” It was very timely in dealing with possible medical crises and being organized and addressing financial and legal issues. And to do it while everyone is in a clear state of mind. Each family situation is different so you need to act accordingly to handle changes in individual health, level of healthcare and possible long-term arrangements.

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Figure #13.26 Dealing with Family Health Issues

As the years dwindled on, issues that I wouldn’t have given a second thought before are cropping up and naturally as I was predisposed to, I kept track of with “A Dossier” on and file them away to look them over when it was pertinent to bring them back out. Topics such as eating healthier, worrying about losing your memory and keeping your immune system in check. You cannot lose any ground when all this was creeping up beside you.

In an article written by John Mitchell; “Food substitutions mean healthier hearts,” There were some good things being suggested and we decided to include foods in our diets that would be translated into a healthier lifestyle. Reducing the chances of medical problems; this is what we hoped. Included in the article were recommendations and substitution hints on the American Heart Association and local chefs:

Although we know how important these recommendations sound, it is another thing to follow them. We did cut down on red meats which I was having a tough time digesting anyway and eating more fish and poultry. Sonny boy would go out shopping and we would get the low-fat processed, low-sodium sandwich meats. Dairy was a big concern and we used the more healthful butter substitutes that are available, yogurt and non-fat milk. We skimped on the salad dressing, croutons, cheese and meat.

We ate more fresh herbs and followed the advice of throwing away the salt shaker, specially watching out for the salt content in canned goods. The tough part was the desserts, we did try the fruits, sorbet and sherbets but ice cream containers seem to flow freely in and out of the freezer.

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Figure #13.27 Changing health habits for healthier living article by Mr. John Mitchell

The other thing that constantly kept creeping into our psyche was how to maintain our memory, concentration and for all intents and purposes how to think clearly. As I mentioned earlier in this chapter trying to keep your mental acumen in gear through daily activities is not enough. Conversation, constant interaction with friends, neighbors and of course family all help to maintain a sharp mind as we get older. I was fortunate enough in keeping my writing skills intact and continued doing my crossword puzzles with Thelma standing by to offer assistance. The title of the following article by Dr. Ronald M. Lawrence, “Are You Worried About Losing Your Memory As You Age?” (** full article to appear in Book), is certainly a resounding yes, of course!!  We all know there is no easy panacea for basically bringing up particular items of concern that must be addressed. I found that mental and physical health usually goes hand in. And as the old adage recounts, love and marriage, “you cannot have one without the other.” Which also falls back to the concept that the brain is a muscle and you need to exercise it. As most of these articles profess, these are problems we all face.  They provide red flags that can spur us on to avoiding more severe pitfalls if we take the proper measures. We worried about our memory and how to maintain it.

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Figure #13.28  Dr. Ronald M. Lawrence’s, “Article on Worrying About Losing Your Memory As You Age.”

As is always the case, our ability to fight off colds, flu bugs and an assortment of other physical ailments tends to leave us very vulnerable with so many communicable diseases running rampant today. We started to take this immune system seriously. There’s not much can do about your genetic makeup so we followed a little bit of the advice spelled out in the article by Lawrence Roy Stains and worked on changing our lifestyle.(**The condensed version will appear in the book) .A healthier diet of more fish, fruits and vegetables, we took vitamin supplements such as Vitamin C and B12. Some of the advice that was part of the article such as “Eight Ways To Turn Back The Clock,” was considered. This isn’t expected to perform miracles immediately though we felt every bit helps and we even tried to get the best results out of joining a wellness center for seniors.

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Figure #13.29 Laurence Roy Stains Article, “Super Immunity.”

So in keeping with these options from the article above at hand and in addition to dealing with the “issues of our times,” I still managed to keep my letter writing level to at least two letters coming and going each week during this period.

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Figure #13.30 Letter from Daughter Bonnie

Figure #13.31 Letter to our next door neighbor Emily Levine in Syosset

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Figure #13.32 Letter to Actor, Movie Star, Mickey Rooney  Figure #13.33  Letter to our “New friend,” John

 

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Figure #13.34 “We are Survivors,” by Irv Greenfield Figure #13.35 Color Commentary

 

January 3, 2007 marked Thelma’s and my 65th Wedding Anniversary. People came from far and wide and near to be with us, celebrate with us, and share with us; a lifetime of memories. The Grand Affair was held at the Countryside Country Club in Clearwater, Florida. Over 100 people attended and Thelma mustered up all her energies and we commandeered her from the rehab stint where she was receiving some heart treatment. Thelma played the role to the hilt; The Lady of Honor. She looked lovely and it was the best medicine for her to be there with all the many people who loved her. We have a DVD to prove, it if anyone is interested. Speeches, a guitar rendition of Thelma’s favorite, Annie’s Song, by John Denver, good Luck Wishes from family and friends, children and grandchildren. We even were serenaded by our very dear friend’s 3 1/2 year old son, playing a song on his violin. My “War bride” did so well that we had a return engagement the following morning at a brunch in our honor. Bonnie took the lead, preparing memory boards complete with pictures, mementos, even a jeopardy skit that challenged family and friends to revisit highlights of our lives. Billy presented us with a framed rendering of our life together. We can’t forget the CD that was digitally mastered by Lee Landau, our Son-in-law. It included many of our special songs that preceded us throughout the years; starting with Tony Bennett, “Because of You,” from our Wedding Day.

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Figure #13.36 Our 65th Wedding Anniversary Album    Figure #13.37 A Record CD Prepared by Bonnie & Lee

 

We sang, we danced, we laughed and cried that was our strength; our family bond. It included many dear and loyal friends who joined us in our “Simchas,” Yiddish for Happiness and Joy.

It was so special and I can only wish that all people everywhere can taste at least a sampling of what Thelma and I have had. As one of the beloved humorist and humanists of our times, Bob Hope would always leave us with, “Thanks for the Memories.” And that’s how I would like to leave one and all, Thanks!!

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Fig. #13.38 “A Love Story: Thelma and Joe’s Story of Love

 

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Figure #13.39  A picture worth at least 80,000 words;Thel and Joe you can feel the glow

 

 

Copyright © 2016      William Sefekar

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