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We asked the 97 contributors to the Nancy Drew Anthology (Silver Birch Press, October 2016) to send photos featuring the book in their home environments. Author Anne Borne provided this portrait of herself and the collection from the ever-wonderful New York City. Anne contributed the story “It’s Not the Books, It’s the Library” (featured below)  to the 212-page anthology.

It’s Not the Books, It’s the Library
by Anne Born

It’s easy to identify the Nancy Drew and Dana Girls mysteries as my favorite children’s adventure stories. When I read those little books, I wanted to be the one with the answer, the one to solve the crime, the one to show the grownups that this teen could do it. These girls were resourceful and clever. What’s interesting to me now is that, for the life of me, I cannot recall a single episode, and I couldn’t name more than one title. I do not remember just exactly what these plucky heroines accomplished. What I do remember is my cousin Diane.

Diane was much older than me. She was a child of the 1940s whose father served in WWII. She spent countless hours with my grandparents and her aunt and uncle, laying a foundation of trust and love for all of the cousins to follow. We all knew that we were important, and we knew that our family had something special—and a good bit of that came from the first cousin on the scene: Diane.

I came to know Nancy Drew because Diane collected the books. As far as I can remember, it was a complete set. I could borrow them, read them one at a time or a couple at a go, and return them to her collection. But it was never about the plot of the books, it was that Diane could read and when she did, she did it up in style. I could take books out of the town public library certainly, and I did that nearly every week I was in school. But Diane had a library and that was exciting to me.

Because my family did not have a budget line for book buying or the means to get to bookstores very often, and because I spent so much time at the library, I have only a dozen or so books from my childhood. I do not have all the great pirate books that I loved. I don’t have the stories of Pompeii that I remember so clearly. And I don’t have the Nancy Drew books. I vowed that when I had my own children, I would buy them books instead of just taking them to the library. I wanted them to know what Diane must have known, that there is tremendous comfort in being in a library, but there is something so much more powerful in owning a library.

Diane left us a few years ago. She had a heart ailment that would take her from us way too soon. In writing this, I am sad she doesn’t know the lifelong impact her choice in teen fiction had on me. I want her to know that her collecting Nancy Drew and Dana Girl mysteries, and sharing them the way she did, instilled in me a love of libraries as well as a love of a great mystery story. My library has books about everything!

I’m reading my own copy of The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey now with my book club and even though it does not feature a boyfriend with a slick convertible or helpful aunts and uncles, it does remind me of the debt I owe to my cousin Diane. It’s great to have a library card, but it’s even better to have a library.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anne Born is the author of A Marshmallow on the Bus (2014), Prayer Beads on the Train (2015), and Waiting on a Platform (2016). She is the editor of the award-winning anthology of stories from The Late Orphan Project —  These Winter Months.  (2016). Anne is a regular contributor on The Broad Side, and her essay on Hillary Clinton’s religious faith was included in Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox  (2015), edited by Joanne Bamberger. Her work has been published in the Newtown Literary Journal and in “Me, as a Child,” “All About My Name,” and “My Prized Possession,” Poetry & Prose Series published by Silver Birch Press. Anne’s essay on her cousin’s collection of Nancy Drew novels was published in the Silver Birch Press Nancy Drew Anthology (2016). Her poetry has been featured in New York at Boundless Tales, Word Up Community Bookstore, and the Queens Council on the Arts. She has been a featured performer in several venues with Inspired Word NYC, at the New York Transit Museum, on Queens Public TV in “The World of Arts,” and with the International Women’s Salon on Salon Radio. Anne divides her time between New York and Michigan, and the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Follow Anne Born and The Late Orphan Project at The Backpack Press, and on TwitterRedbubbleWattpad, andInstagram @nilesite. Listen to her in the Bronx podcasts on Our Salon Radio.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This is me at the subway station in my neighborhood, the beautiful South Bronx. Snapped by a girl walking by who saw me balancing my cell phone and the book. She says, “Wow! I love Nancy Drew!” So I gave her the book.

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Seashell
by Anne Born

I am a pilgrim.

I choose
To leave a predictable life,
To carry so little,
To walk for days and days,
To pray in the presence of a saint
In a sacred space.

The symbol of this pilgrim
Is not a full dinner served on a bountiful table.
Or all those photos of Sunday-best clothed cousins in front,
Proud grown ups in the back.

It’s a seashell.
On a fraying bit of rope.

To carry while I walk,
To be my calling card,
To take the place of my past,
My name,
My provenance —
To help write my future.

I bought it years ago
In a tiny mountain town in France
Before beginning
And I’ve carried it across Spain
For years since.

It’s cracked a little from the time it fell
And someone caring came up to me running,
Did you drop this? I think it’s yours.
It looks like yours.
It looked like his.

It’s the best essence of me
A reminder to walk,
A reminder to love,
A reminder of where I’ve been
And why I also choose not to look back.

A pilgrim.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Ultreya! Souvenirs from walking the Camino de Santiago.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: If Marie Kondo is right, you should only keep objects that spark joy. I like to keep objects that spark memory — sometimes joyful, sometimes sad, but the object is an agent for memory. For over 1,000 years, pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago have carried seashells to identify themselves as pilgrims — not only to fellow pilgrims but to the great number of people along the road who offer assistance and protection. In May 2009, this shell was picked from a basket of one-Euro shells in the pilgrims’ office in St. Jean Pied de Port, France, traditionally the beginning of the Camino Frances, or French Route to Santiago de Compostela — a journey from that point in the French Pyrenees of over 800 kilometers to the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela in Northwest Spain. I’ve carried this shell with me on four shorter pilgrimages in Spain from 2009 to 2014 — only leaving it at home when I walked this past May because I worried I might lose it if I took it on one more hike. It reminds me of the pilgrim on the bike in 2010 who waited for me to catch up to him, offering to carry my backpack on his bike. It reminds me of the woman I met who vowed if she ever became cancer-free, she would walk the Camino. It reminds me of how important it is to be able to step away from your life just long enough to find your life. It reminds me of why we walk — to pray at the cathedral of Saint James, the resting place of the Apostle. The Camino de Santiago is my bliss.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anne Born is the author of A Marshmallow on the Bus (2014), Prayer Beads on the Train (2015), and Waiting on a Platform (2016). Her work has been published in the Newtown Literary Journal and in “Me, as a Child” and ”All About My Name” Series published by Silver Birch Press. She is the editor of These Winter Months: The Late Orphan Project Anthology  (2016), and her essay on Hillary Clinton’s religious faith was included in Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox, edited by Joanne Bamberger. Her poetry has been featured in New York at Boundless Tales, Word Up Community Bookstore, and the Queens Council on the Arts. She has been a featured performer with Inspired Word New York City, the New York Transit Museum, and on Queens Public TV in The World of Arts. Anne divides her time between New York and Michigan, and the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Follow Anne Born at The Backpack Press, and on Twitter, Redbubble, Wattpad, and Instagram @nilesite. Listen to her in the Bronx podcasts on Our Salon Radio.

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Never Annie
by Anne Born

Annie Nannie Anita — Anne
For four generations, someone in my mother’s family
Was named Anne.

Born into a family of women,
Born with a hand-me-down name,
In the end, I was the only one never to suffer a nickname.

For just one day, just once
My grandfather called me his little Nancy
And I felt special, unique, only, new.

And yet, when I order my
Frappuccinos with whipped cream at Starbucks now,
I tell them my name is Lucy.

PHOTOGRAPH: Anne Born in her very own personal district of Barcelona, Spain (2009).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My name is too short. I always wanted something lingering, graceful. It was only when Ian Fleming’s stories took hold that I realized my name sounded like a spy. Born, Anne Born. I don’t care for Martinis, but if I did, I would like them shaken, not stirred. BORN

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anne Born is a New York-based writer who has been writing stories and poetry since childhood.  She blogs on The Backpack Press and Tumbleweed Pilgrim and her writing focuses on family and life in a big city after growing up in a small one.  She is the author of A Marshmallow on the Bus, and Prayer Beads on the Train. Anne is a photographer who specializes in photos of churches, cemeteries, and the Way of St. James in Spain. Most of her writing is done on the bus.  Find out more at www.about.me/anneborn. You can follow Anne on Wattpad, Instagram, and Twitter at @nilesite.

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The Subway at the Lake
by Anne Born

The subway doors open at Columbus Circle
and the air on the platform is suddenly fresh.
Trees from Central Park, the dew of the morning,
the warming heat of August coming up from the damp grass.

And I am back at Indian Lake, at my grandpa’s place there,
playing with my cousins.
Sailboats at the dock, the pier stretching out like train tracks
into the blue-gray water around.

Me, terrified of the dull green grasses
that grow just off shore, hidden beneath the surface
of the water.

My dad, teaching me to swim so my face stay’d dry
and I could see where I was going without my glasses.

My mother, cool sipping from a fragile Martini glass
while she sits on a lawn chair, her feet up on a stool.

My grandmother in the house.
Fish caught by grandpa for supper,
Cards and dice played after coffee,
Marshmallows toasted over the fires on the beach.

Fireflies light up the night sky,
ducking in and out of the bushes.
Wet swimsuits hang on the line.
I can taste the icy too-sweet grape Nehi.

Then the double doors shut on the subway train,
and I am heading down to Seventh Avenue now.

I wish I remembered how to play Pinochle.

PHOTOGRAPH: The author as a child in her green cowgirl outfit.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote “The Subway by the Lake” on the downtown B train [in New York City] one morning in August 2014. The poem appears in my second collection of stories written on the MTA — Prayer Beads on the Train. It describes the memories prompted by the rush of fresh air into the train car as we pulled into the Columbus Circle station one morning on my way to work. The moment lasted only as long as the train car doors were open — roughly 15 seconds. But I felt refreshed by it and found myself quickly writing down the images on the way downtown.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anne Born is a New York writer whose blog posts have appeared on Red Room, Open Salon, Bubblews, and as a feature in Non-Fiction on Wattpad (as Nilesite). She is a regular contributing writer on The Broad Side. Her writing focuses on family and life in a big city after growing up in a small one in Michigan. Anne published her first collection of MTA stories, A Marshmallow on the Bus, in June 2014. Most of her writing is done on a city bus or train. Anne is a performing artist in the Platform Series at the New York Transit Museum and has featured as a Local Poet at Inwood Local, as an author at We Heart NYC Writers sponsored by Inspired Word, and as a poet and storyteller with No Name at Word Up Community Bookstore in Washington Heights. Her poetry has also been featured at Boundless Tales at the Astoria Bookshop in Queens, New York. She is a participating member of Poetry & Coffee. Anne is a photographer who specializes in photos of churches, cemeteries, and the Way of St. James in Spain. Her photos are sold on Redbubble (Nilesite). Follow Anne Born on Twitter and Instagram @nilesite and at http://thebackpackpress.com and http://tumbleweedpilgrim.com.

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Calling My Dad on Father’s Day
by Marianne Peel

I remember him
not letting me drive myself to college
until I’d practiced changing a tire three times.
He gave me an index card
in his penciled hand
reminding me what I need to do
and when
to maintain properly my car.
I still have that card.
the only writing I have
that belongs to his hand.

But today
I interrupted
the Nascar he was watching.
Out of Seattle, not Indy, he told me.

He stayed on the line
twenty minutes.
Muted the race.
The longest conversation
I’ve ever had with dad.

He asked about the brakes on my G6 Pontiac.
We discussed warped rotors, machining,
the amount the shop shaved off.
I knew his mechanic’s vocabulary.
He assured me they did right by me at the shop,
only charging me eighty for the service.

In the heated garage, growing up,
he’d plunge his hands in Goop,
massage this grease into the lines of his hands.
He would press down hard on his nail beds,
trying to dislodge stubborn oil.

And so tonight,
after silence filled the space between
Arizona and Michigan again,
I vacuumed out my car:
road dirt, leaf fragments, twigs, gravel bits,
bread crumbs from that French baguette

I took Armor All to the dashboard
pressing with elbow grease into the leather.
Making it shine.
I squirted Bug and Tar Be-Gone
onto a lumpy rag,
wishing I had the smooth yellow chamois cloth
he used to use.
I knuckled down
a full body press
and erased splattered insects
from the front bumper of my Pontiac.
Just because
I know
how much he admires
a clean, clean car.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The front and back of the 3 x 5 card my dad gave to me.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Loved this prompt, as it caused me to reflect on what I consider to be “prized” among my possessions. I’ve accumulated tons of stuff over my 57  years, even though I actually consider myself non-materialistic. I have only one possession from my father: a three x five card with directions on how to take care of my car. He gave this to me as I was leaving for college. He was a mechanic. This was important information for him to share with me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marianne Peel taught English at middle and high school for 32 years, and is now retired, doing Field Instructor work for Michigan State University.  She won first prize for poetry in the Spring 2016 Edition of the Gadfly Literary Magazine, and.  also won the Pete Edmonds Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared  in Encodings:  A Feminist Literary Journal; Write to Heal; Writing for Our Lives:  Our Bodies—Hurts, Hungers, Healing;  Mother Voices; Metropolitan Woman Magazine;  Ophelia’s Mom;  Jellyfish Whispers; and Remembered Arts Journal, and will appear in the fall editions of Muddy River Review and EastLit Journal. The recipient of Fulbright-Hays Awards to Nepal and Turkey, she is a flute-playing vocalist, learning to play ukulele. Raising four daughters, she shares her life with her partner Scott, whom she met in Istanbul while studying in Turkey.  She taught teachers in Guizhou Province, China, for three summers, and in January 2016 toured several Chinese provinces with the Valparaiso Symphony, playing both flute and piccolo.  In June 2016, she was invited to participate in Marge Piercy’s Juried Intensive Poetry Workshop.

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Packing the Cases
by Derek Kannemeyer

Here’s my sister, pitching in to pack the cases,
lining her toy box with doll’s clothes, bits of rummage.
The red pig’s an Alphabet. It says S is for Snow.
Under a baby blanket she tucks two figs from the fig tree.

Here’s my mother by the window, where bars of sunlight
coat the dust with gold. She is singing, as if it’s our bedtime,
singing “Summertime,” singing “Little Man, You’ve Had A Busy Day.”
Still when I think of her singing, it’s of this day:
of her clear voice rising, singing something in herself to sleep.
Singing, she packs the cases, careful not to understand
just what, as she snaps them shut, she locks outside.

All day my father has been at the police station;
someone is saying, We know you are active in certain circles…
My father fidgets with his hands, wanting to pretend
(Ag, he’ll say later, it was to scare us only)
that this man’s only his own Dutch cousin, from whom he knows
this face of bland, not quite amused contempt.

Cape Town, November, spring 1955; with winter, England, coming.
I’ve just turned six. In a corner I’ve begun to stack
what I don’t want shut away just yet. I stand with the box open,
I hold my arms out to the window, I am moving through the hall—
now the front door’s by me, now the stoop. The wood
gate widens, I’m to the street, and running.

In the corner park, I lie and watch the sky.
Light’s threading through like film.
Remember by the swings, how I’d take off my sandals and forget them,
how overnight the grass would limb up round them, thick as a pulse?

Now it’s morning, and I fill them with my hands, fingering the toes,
idly reluctant to lift them free. Dew pearls on the thongs.
At my wrist, my chest, my neck, rising like a voice, I feel the sun.

  Master bronzesmith, bend across the veldt;
  lean your massive forearm over Table Mountain,
  crisping the creases from its cloth-white clouds; deepen its greens
  to a dappled spectrum; our skins to a glow of consonance,
  like coins clattered to kiss in a wishing well.

  At the bottom of the garden is a gate; sitting on the gate I hear the   trains…
  But goodbye to that as the boat pulls out. Goodbye to the black maid,
  my sister, slipping into the illegal darkness. Goodbye
  to the white friends, my brothers.

  Master bronzesmith, tint the photographs:
  in your luxuriance of light. And stretching behind us in the ship’s
  white wake, husked back and back to the immaculate sands,
  cast, in its statue of brown arms reaching,
  my child’s peeled shadow.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: With my mother and sister on the boat from South Africa to England, December 1955.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve lived in four countries—I’m now on my third nationality—but this first move was the one that marked me the most. Whether I write about it from the Cape Town or the London end of the relocation, there are always the same mixed feelings, of deliverance and loss, of love and longing. A longing that went beyond the personal into the political, the social, the humanitarian. But I suppose it’s mostly the longing of every refugee: the longing to belong again.

bio photo Kannemeyer

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Derek Kannemeyer was born “coloured” in Cape Town, South Africa, but was raised from the age of six in London, England. He lives and teaches in Richmond, Virginia. His work has appeared in a few dozen online and print journals.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Spring 2016, Richmond, Virginia.

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Modesty
by Derek Kannemeyer

There’s a photograph of me at the beach:
I’m four or five, skulking in a nook of rock
with one arm flung across my midriff
to prevent the lascivious exposure of my navel.
Where did it come from, this modesty my parents hooted at,
in sunny South Africa, on the frolicsome Cape sands?
The panic caught on my face can’t be coy, surely;
surely I can’t believe I’ve anything much to protect?
It’s terrible to be born so private and so self-involved,
to be so modest and so immodest, as if anybody even cares
about the flaws or the perfections of one’s ordinary person.
How much longer must I hole up so, for the indifferent world
to not gawp at, holding this same shy, brazen pose?
Still stricken so with wonder at my terrible, terrible bellybutton;
still singing, “Don’t look at me! Don’t look at me!”

PHOTO: Three Kannemeyers on the rocks, circa 1954, Western Cape, South Africa.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The poem that appears here was written to announce an upcoming reading. In the few years since I wrote it, the photograph that inspired it seems to have utterly disappeared. Mmh. But I’ll offer another one, from the same year, I believe, in which you will notice that I am the only one of the subjects who remains decently clad. And unlike my brother and my father, I have my eyes closed: to draw attention, it may be conjectured, to my renunciation of all this unsavory (and yet poetic? rather charming?) self-flaunting of the exposed self.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Derek Kannemeyer was born in Cape Town, South Africa, raised in London, England, and teaches in Richmond, Virginia. His writing has appeared in a few dozen print and online journals.

Universal-Translator
Lucy and I Watch Star Trek
by Derek Kannemeyer

What tickled us was never the boldly going. Any fool can boldly go; we      had
the bruises to prove it. It was the Universal Translator. Oh, to know
any and every language! To understand, to be understood!

Peter had brought some Dada to rehearsal: L’Amiral cherche une maison      à louer.
Such glorious nonsense! Lucy wondered if we might subvert the UT with      it—
if the device turned gobbledygook lucid, or it went haywire trying.

So remember, dear Lucy, how we beamed over to the Tate to check out      Dada art?
Or took the tube maybe, I forget? And on the way, began to chat in      tongues—
my gutturals; your long, liquid vowels—riding the joke from Mile End
to Charing Cross, till it took off into lunacies of joy? And its noise
into an ur-tongue—in which we told all, faked all, grasped all:
text, pretext, and subtext; gasp, grunt, groan, and chortle!

Once at the gallery, since now we’d “things” to say, we switched to      English,
but soon fell into a black hole of teen ignorance. The same banalities
the guards had to tune out daily. And so you turned with a sigh,
to board your escape pod of burble, impenetrably desolate.

In comforting Derek, I clucked and kyorr’ked to you.
With a ululoohaloo you beamed back from the void. Oh Lucy, such
dilithium we had, then—to power us into the brillig wabe. To boldly go
gigglegabgoo at anyone. King Herod, the Borg, a coatrack, your toes, the      stars.

IMAGE: Captain Kirk (William Shattner) and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) listening to Universal Translators in a scene from Star Trek. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Even now, when I forget the words of a song, I’ll sometimes sing in my private glossolalic language, and I’m always gratified when people ask what language, and how come I know the lyrics in it. If I could choose my superpower, it might well be the ability to speak and understand every language. But this poem is about teenage friendship. In which the ability to communicate does sometimes feel like a superpower—even if you’re not actually saying much. There’s this astonished glee of mutual attunement. This belief, for a while (until you learn how much you’ve been losing in translation), that there’s someone else in the world on your wavelength.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Derek Kannemeyer was born in Cape Town, South Africa, raised in London, and lives and teaches in Richmond, VA. His writing has appeared in a few dozen online and print journals.

AUTHOR PHOTO: The writer in his World Languages classroom, 2013.

Corey
Crowning Glory
by Joanne Corey

“The silver-haired head is a crown of glory…” Proverbs 16:31*

Friends recognize me
in a crowded theater
down the street
across the restaurant
among the congregation

Strangers comment
how beautiful
how they wish
theirs looked the same

I smile
remember the first silver
that appeared
among the brown
before I was in high school
multiplied after my daughters were born
until at fifty just a bit
of brown was left

Then I let it grow
past my shoulders
down my back
in silver waves
finally

*Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

PHOTO: A sunny Sunday morning in the backyard, February 2015.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For years, my hairstylist tried to convince me to dye my hair to cover the silver that was becoming noticeable in my twenties and accelerated through my thirties and forties, but I always declined. I am not the type to fuss with hair and makeup and I loved the silver color that was replacing the dark brown. She said that while men with graying hair look distinguished, women just look old, but I appreciated looking older. After I graduated from college, I was working in music ministry, assisting the organist/choirmaster. When I would be among the treble choir, whose members were in elementary and middle school, people would mistake me for one of them. I appreciated that a touch of silver at my temples might keep me from being confused with 12-year-olds. Times have changed. Now, one of the hottest shades for young women to color their hair is silver. Will I begin to be mistaken for a younger woman again?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joanne Corey lives and writes in Vestal, New York, where she is active with the Binghamton Poetry Project, Bunn Hill Poets, and Sappho’s Circle. She is pleased to return to the Silver Birch Press blog in 2016 after appearing in five series in 2015. She invites you to visit her eclectic blog, Top of JC’s Mind.

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Becoming Joanne
by Joanne Corey

If my grandfather Giovanni
had not fled the Old Country
before the Great War,
I might have been Giovanna
or piccola Giovanina.
Born in 1960s New England,
I was Joanne —
one word —
small a —
with an e —
to avoid confusion with four classmates
who answered to that common name.

When I was eighteen,
my Latin teacher derived and gave
meaning to my name:
Joanne —
feminine of John —
from Hebrew –
variously translated as
God is gracious- —
Gift of God —
God’s gracious gift.
A daunting aspiration
as I began adulthood.

After decades of striving
to fulfill the promise,
to be worthy of my name,
in my sixth decade,
wisdom dawns.
God freely gifts grace.
I AM,
have always been,
will always be
Joanne —
God’s gracious gift —
living out a universal call.

PHOTOGRAPH: The author’s visiting her daughter in Honolulu for Mother’s Day (May 11, 2014).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joanne Corey lives in Broome County, New York, where she spends her time writing, blogging, caring for family, volunteering, and tilting at windmills for various environmental and social justice causes. Recent publications include the spring 2015 anthology of the Binghamton Poetry Project and the anthology Candles of Hope (GWL Publishing – UK), her first international print publication. She invites you to visit her eclectic blog: http://topofjcsmind.wordpress.com.