D Day Stories from Childhood




This is my dad’s. helmet. Someone in his group painted their story on it.  This article was originally published last year on D-Day, and was published in Write Angles Journal.

Early June brings my sister’s birthday and raises memories of D-Day. For those of you who didn’t have a dad that landed on the beaches, I’ll explain that my sister’s birthday is June 3, and D-Day quickly follows on June 6. While one doesn’t celebrate D-Day, because it was important in my Dad’s memory my sister and I still call each other to say, “It’s D-Day“.


Since my Dad passed away there have been books and movies about D-Day, but for me, the memories are quite different. They are safe, snuggly stories I heard when dad tucked me into bed. The telling was age-appropriate and felt very close to my dad.

Many stories were about when Dad camped out in Dartmoor near the river. It was beautiful there and I suspect it reminded him of Ireland, where he was born.  He told stories of the waiting. There were ferns growing, rabbits ran by, and Dad once got a chocolate bar in his rations.  It was a special treat, and he packed it away in his pup tent to save for special.  Later when he retrieved it, he found the mice got to it first…. it was almost all nibbled away. Each time I nibble on chocolate, I think how dear that chocolate bar was, and how sometimes we hold onto things that are precious too long.

Dartmoor sounded like paradise. I imagined rabbits and mice dashing through the field of ferns, and a small tent to snuggle into at night. And all the stars to see above.  And then I’d drift off to sleep, holding my Dad’s hand.


I heard how the troops landed on the beach and scaled the cliffs. Later, I heard how they marched into Paris There were photos of him and his companions at the Eiffel Tower.  He kept in scant touch with his brothers, all fighting in different countries.

I remember one story about his group walking down a road in France as the Germans were leaving. Everyone was hungry and tired.  They came to a farmhouse and didn’t know who might be there. It was their good fortune that the Germans had recently left.  The  French farmers were hiding in the cellar, not knowing who was coming down the road.  The farmer family was happy to see this group of Americans and shared their food.  And like them, I share this smattering of what I have to offer, old memories.

After his return to Boston married, and soon there were myself and my sister, and the stories of D-Day began.

l946 mrriage.jpg

Years later, I was on a retreat in Totness, and I traveled downstream to Dartmoor on a passenger boat. You could have knocked me over with a feather when the Captain pointed and said, “That’s where the Yanks were camped waiting for D-Day”.  I had come to that field of rabbits and fern and was able to walk there myself.

May all beings heal, May we all dwell in Peace.


Posted in Poems | 2 Comments

Christina & Andrew’s World​

Cushing ME. Andrew Wyeth came to Port Clyde during the summer as here grew up, because his dad, NC Wyeth had a summer home.  In time, Andrew met Betsy, who he married.  Betsy introduced Andrew to Christina and Alvaro, her brother.  The rest is history.  This wasn’t a famous part of Maine. It’s quiet still, with many lobstermen working the sea. Many still take the mailboat from Port Clyde to Monhegan Island.


Rockland is the big nearby town, and many tourists drive past on the way to Camden, Castine, and Arcadia National Park. This is a quiet place of great beauty. NC, Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth have found it so, along with Hopper, and many other painters. But years ago, when Betsy and Andrew were young, they drove over here. He was mesmerized.  The story is that he began to paint immediately, and he continued for thirty years. Andrew asked permission to be buried in the family cemetery, just across the small road.


IMG_7244.jpeg The house itself was given to the Farnsworth Art Museum, in Rockland, and it’s open from Memorial Day on for the summer season. If you enjoy Maine art, the Farnsworth Museum is worthy of a visit.



This is the window with a small table where Christina sat to look out the window. She loved geraniums.


The Kitchen and pantry.  Christine and Alvaro were the last of the Olson-Hathorne line to live here.  There are still many Olsons in the community.




Andrew had an upstairs room in the house to use as a studio.




IMG_7210.jpegMay the land you walk on sustain you.

What creativity do you nurture that feeds you?


Posted in Poems

Thanks to Smokey Quartz Journal

This is both a print and digital literary journal, and its just out today with a couple of my poems in it. It’s laid out beatifully, so I hope you enjoy reading through it online.






Posted in Poems

Poetry on the Radio


I’ve been fortunate to last month be reading poetry in Fitchburg MA on FATV, and last Saturday I was part of a half hour poetry show in County Louth, Ireland, Dundalk Radio.  My thanks to Dundalk Radio and to Brian Bingham who is kind enough to publish my poetry in his bi-annual magazine, Automatic Pilot,  as he’s the person who convinced me to do this. It’s a lovely show, but may be tricky and confusing to wade through and find the spot to click on.   If you really want to persevere, you may have to copy and paste. It may not be worth your time.






Automatic Pilot 1 was broadcast on 25th May 2019. 




Posted in Ireland, Poems, poetry | 2 Comments

Through the Window

#developingyoureye    Glass

I’m nearing the end of this workshop on wordpress, but this is a favorite photo, taken looking through the glass of my neighbor’s window, with the trees in the yard, and the forest behind all captured.  The place is magical, the shot was accidental.



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Caouchin Day Centre for the Homeless

  • You may remember that some of my writing is part of this new anthology published in Dublin with the Inksplinters Writing Group, and the profits from this book are going to support this program. Hurrah! and Blessings to them.


27th May 2019

Prayers for God’s Blessings and Sincere Thanks To

Harry Browne of Inksplinters

For your Donation of €1,000

Wishing God’s love, peace, hope and joy

To You and all who support our work with people in need.

Dear Harry,


Just a brief note to acknowledge your very generous donation of €1,000. This will be a great help in offsetting our costs for providing this vital service.


As you can see from the media, our numbers are increasing by the day and more people are falling into poverty. We try to help by providing meals and grocery parcels to supplement their food needs. While it is a constant challenge to keep up with demand and plan for the future, we Capuchins know that with the help of God working through kind people like you, we will continue in our apostolate to those most in need.  Every day we thank God for your generosity, and it strengthens our own Christian commitment to the work.


On behalf of the people who attend the Centre and the Irish Capuchin Franciscan Order, we offer renewed thanks and our prayers for God’s blessings on you and all you hold dear.

Bro. Kevin and Bro. Sean

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Some Maine Outdoor Art

This area is rich in creativity and has been for a long time. The shores also remind many of the shore of Western Ireland, and more than a few artists have painted in both places.  I was surprised to find that I’ve painted in the same spots here that Rockwell Kent painted, and also painted in the same spot in Donegal.  I’ve found lovely little places and found that  James Fitzgerald and the Wyeths have been there before me, as well as many others.  Of course, I don’t compare my painting to theirs. Rather, I say the soup of creativity bubbles in Maine.. And thus, as I was driving down to visit The famous Olson House, where Andrew Wyeth painted many of his famous Christina paintings, I pulled in when I passed this sign.  I’m just going to share a few photos from this outdoor sculpture garden on the roadside in Cushing Maine. While I’m sharing the art, I’ll also attest that the oysters are as plentiful and delicious here as in the west of Ireland.IMG_7191.jpegIMG_7202.jpegIMG_7193.jpegIMG_7196.jpegIMG_7198.jpegIMG_7201.jpeg

May the force of creativity Be With You.



Posted in art, painting, imagination Imagination, Poems | Tagged

Photo: Mystery



Don’t continue to read this if you want to wonder about this.  This photo was taken at Mass Moca. in Western MA,

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A Love of Endings


 Pondering a Love of Endings

Sometimes when I read a book I want the stories to go on, to leave the pages, to have a breath of life hover over their papery souls that kindles them into an ability to carry on without any help from the author. But often I think characters are left marooned when the story ends.

Some ending are clear and good, for example, the end of Romeo and Juliet, 12th Night, or MacBeth. You know the story is done. There’s no need for Shakespeare to continue on with the next installment.  He knew how to end a thing well and good, to have a final feeling.  Billy Collins is the same in his poetry. The end is clearly the end.

Star Wars begged for a sequel, movie after movie, moving through time from one generation to the next. I thought Star Wars got muddled down in noise and combat from its more lofty beginnings in the fight between good & evil. Luke and Darth Vader came to represent so much in our society. Well, at least to me. I still draw analogies between ‘real life’ and the first couple of Star Wars movies. In my imagination, the current American President would firmly be in Darth Vader’s camp. In fact, Darth could have even visited the White House, in my imagination. Can you imagine the movie script? On the other hand, Bernie Sanders would definitely be on Luke Skywalker’s team. In fact, Bernie could have been one of Luke’s earlier teachers. Remember the old footage of Bernie marching next to Martin Luther King?  He’s remained constant through the years, even without a lightsaber. In this case, I’d like a good ending; I want Luke’s team to win. I want a good ending to this story.


Is there some book, poem,  or movie that continually speaks to you, and that you see having wider implications in the ‘real world’ setting?



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Sisters win at the Greenfield County Fair.IMG_5311.jpegIMG_5308.jpeg

Posted in Lina, Ella Martinez Nocito, photographs