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Archive for November, 2012


Legends of the Lake – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

While driving you’d pass many cow pastures, large corn fields, and farms to the left and the right of you, as you drove slowly to avoid the most worn down areas of the road. The further you progress, the more trees and beautiful wild flowers take over the landscape… Looking left you see a sliver of the lake, a big blue lake. There are campgrounds and a small bait and tackle shop situated right next to it… Continue on your slow drive down the hill and through all the curves, you pass children of the generation walking on the side of the road… The young boys are shirtless and some are white as white can be, while others have what were called “farmer’s tans.” This is where their arms and faces are tanned, but their chests and backs aren’t as they always wore t-shirts during the day… The aroma of fresh cut green grass and giant pine trees lingers in the background, while the special odor of the seaweed which gets pushed up on the shore makes me smile… This is when you see it off to the right… you can’t miss the boulders which line the front of it which proudly proclaims to everyone that “The Krons” reside here.

Philip had the kind of grandparent/grandchild relationship that every kid would love to be able to brag about. Actually his Gramps and Nana (Kron) were his mother’s grandparents making them his ‘great’ grandparents. No matter, he love spending as much time as possible at their lake house in Wisconsin. Gramps bought the lake property before he and Nana had their first child. They envisioned it as a place to bring the family throughout the generations and that’s exactly what they did. This two bedroom cottage housed parents, children and grand children for many years and the one thing it did, or should I say those in residence did, was create memories.
Over the years memories were passed on from one generation to another and by the time they reached Phil’s young ears they may have grown and may not be quite true but who was to say they were or weren’t. For instance, one of the cottage owners went by the initials of AC instead of his name. He was from Chicago and in the ‘produce’ business. When probation came he was there to help out by opening what was known as a ‘speakeasy’ with a bar and gambling in the back. It wasn’t too long afterwards that AC disappeared back to Chicago, never to return. That was around the same time Al Capone was locked away. Was AC the famous Al Copone? If not, how did a ‘produce’ man acquire alcohol, gambling equipment and some pretty mean looking guards for the ‘speakeasy?’ Then there was the story about Nana needing some type of container to carry her food to and from the pier. One of the residences, a Mr. Tupper, came up with the perfect container including a fitting top. Or how about the time one of the kids was hit by a baseball, which hurt like heck. A man from a nearby cottage brought out a ball, threw it as hard as he could and hit the kid square in the chest. Billy, expecting it to hurt was shocked when it didn’t. He picked it up and found it to be soft and light. When asked what it was called the man explained it didn’t have a name just yet. Billy suggested the name ‘Non-Expanding Recreational Foam’ ball or NERF for short.
Are these truths or fictions? Who cares. They are the stories that made a young boy’s life better. These stories, along with those telling them, helped to shape not just Phil but all of the family into what they were and are today. Reading Legends of the Lake kept me in a frame of a ‘wishing world.’ I wish I could have lived and experienced the history of some of these family members and also wish I could be one to help carry beautiful memories on into the next generation. I loved the feelings of love, peace, family, togetherness, and true life that Phil experienced while growing up. Don’t get me wrong, there were bad times too but the teachings of Gramps and Nana made those times a lot easier to live through. You have to read this one or you’re missing out on some wonderful emotional feelings.

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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Psychs – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

My parents are leaving in an hour for a visit and my little sister always sleeps late during vacations, I couldn’t wait anymore for them to leave. I looked at the spirits surrounding me and said. ‘Let’s talk’ I said, then closed my room’s door. ‘My name is Hassan what’s yours?’ They replied in turns. ‘Mine is Joseph.’ ‘Rodriquez, call me Rod’ Rod gave a wink. ‘Steven Chow.’ ‘Markus Reed, at your service.’ Mark took a bow and pointed at the female ghost to follow. ‘Nice to meet you Hassan, my name is Emma’, she smiled and waved. ‘Sorry for scaring you’ Emma said. ‘It’s ok’ I replied, then my eyes went to the one next in line. ‘Jack.’ ‘Mason.’ The last one to be introduced was a woman I had first seen behind the glass window, the one who had watched me sleeping when I was admitted. She looked different, they all looked military, and she was the only one who didn’t fit in the picture. And for some reason, she looked very familiar to me. ‘Sara.’ My eyes started to widen. ‘I am your mother dear.’

All through his life Hassan has felt there was always someone watching him. Now and then he would even see a quick movement out of the corner of his eye. It wasn’t until he came to the rescue of a woman and child being beaten by husband only to have the husband bring him near death that he realized his images were real. At least as real as ghosts can be. They had always looked after him but couldn’t communicate, until Hassan came up with an idea. Sign language. That would give he and the ghosts a way of communicating without actually speaking. But Hassan’s ghosts were not only his guardian angels, they became his teachers. Through them he was able to lead a 2nd life that would prove most valuable in years to come.
Adam, also known as Shark, was a Navy Seal that had been held prisoner for years. His capturers were of the worse type. Torture was used more as an entertainment than to acquire information they might need and since Adam’s strong hold was his hands, their first form of torture was to remove his arms leaving him with no method of self-defense. They may have destroyed his body but they never destroyed his mind, soul and determination to live. So, after 13 years of torture, Shark meets Hassan and the battle begins.

Psychs is a book that brings out the strength of mind over body in its desire to live, both through Hassan and Shark. The stories of both that lead up to their story together is one that may sound impossible but with the author’s ability to write, you can see, feel and picture each line as it happens. This is a very well written book and an extremely interesting story. I can actually see this one being made into a movie with someone like Bruce Willis being Hassan. Now I’m impatiently waiting on the next book in the series ‘The Remnant.’

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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Can We Come In and Laugh, Too? – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds, A Book and A Dish

‘When I was very young the only transportation was street cars. There were o buses, elevated systems, or cars. Henry Ford was still working on his Model T. As for airplanes, I believe the Wright Brothers invented their first model in 1914. Also the only form of home entertainment was the Victrola. I remember that after my parents saved enough to buy a Victrola, every couple of weeks my brothers purchased new recordings and played them while dancing around the living room. As for radios, it was many years later when the first crystal set was invented. It wasn’t until around 1946 when my daughter Morgan was seven, and Phyllice was around two, that radios became very popular. We bought a very good radio set, encased in a lovely big mahogany cabinet, and after that we listened to many good programs. Don’t ask me why everyone clustered around that radio cabinet staring at it as thought there was something to see, but that’s what everyone did back then.’

Rose Schwartz was born November 18, 1909. She was the youngest of ten children born to her fun-loving Latvian immigrant family. She later became Rosetta after one of her sisters decided Rose just wasn’t classy enough so when she registered her for school she told them her name was Rosetta and that’s what she was known as from then on. Rosetta married All Shifrin in the 1930s and later Max Lachman. She passed on in 2006 just a few months short of her 97th birthday. In 1988 her daughter Morgan was able to convince her to write her memoirs so the rest of the world could share a laugh from the life of this beautifully, happy woman.

Rosetta lived through both WWI and WWI and gives us a few stories about the hard times created by war. She tells of the time she sold Al’s extra shoes only to find out that shoes were being rationed just a few weeks later. There were the blackouts that were mandatory in hopes that if the enemy flew over they wouldn’t be able to see Chicago in the dark. She tells us about her move to Florida and later to California where many of her brothers and sisters also ended up moving to. Her stories are all warm hearted yet cheerful. Whenever there was a problem, she looked at the bright side not the dark and always found humor in even the worse circumstances. She was truly a woman that anyone would love to know and call their friend.

At the end of Rosetta’s writings her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews all expressed their own feelings about this lovely lady. They added to the warmth by giving their memories of the woman that was never negative, always loving and always forgave whatever one might have done wrong. This is a very uplifting story about a very special woman. I personally wish I could have asked the question ‘Can We Come In and Laugh, Too?’

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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