Sunday, May 20, 2018

Update Part 1 - 2015

Update for all - this is to explain why I have not been posting. These past 3 years have been a challenge to say the least.
In 2015, my one and only brother, who had been battling cancer for 14 years, went into hospice care. They gave him 3 - 4 weeks with 3- 4 months being considered a miracle. As the whole family tried to prepare for his passing, everyone took extra time to visit with him and to help with his care as best as they could. With his wife's care, all our attention and many many prayers, he was here with us for nine more months - truly a miracle. My younger son and his family flew in to see him in May, family from the Czech Republic flew in and spent time with him in November. His friends from out of town all made an effort to stop by to visit him several times. It was especially hard on our elderly parents as they tried to prepare for the death of their only son. I, as the oldest of 8, was the one everyone turned to the most for emotional support even though they all tried to support his wife and be there for each other as well. My brother would slowly start to lose more weight and we would make an extra effort to see him and he would rally and gain some weight. During this time, I was helping my parents with doctors appointments and other things and I was unable to go see my little brother as much as I would have wanted to. When I saw him in September, he had lost a lot of weight and I didn't think he would make it to Thanksgiving. Someone let him know that I had expressed this thought which prompted him to call me and tell me that not only would he be with us at Thanksgiving, but also through the New Year. Knowing him the way I do, I knew I could take his word as gospel. Writing was not at the top of my list that year so I only posted a few times.

My brother and I were very close growing up. We were a year and a half apart and we did most things together. We fought a lot but we were very protective of each other. In other words, we could beat on each other but don't anyone else dare touch either of us. We shared a lot of good and bad times. We did have some friends and independent interests so we weren't joined at the hip. As we grew into our teens, we gravitated more to doing things on our own with our own friends. For example, I really didn't want my younger brother tagging along on my dates. Though I did have to take him with me a few times at my parents' insistence. Our relationship changed over the years and we didn't see each other as often, but we continued to have a strong bond till the end.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Who Do I Think I Am?

I am trying something new.  Comments would be welcome.

Who Do I Think I Am?

On my mother’s side, I am the great granddaughter of an educated and compassionate Czech farming family who were known for helping people however they could including hiding two paratroopers (part of the team sent to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich and who’s navigational crew had overshot their target by more than 100 kilometers) in their barn after they landed in their fields during World War II - at the risk of their own lives. Their whole town participated in keeping the airmen from being caught by the Germans who were actively looking for them. My grandmother and her brother (not Jewish) were imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps for listening to the BBC on the radio. My mother had to run for her life during the Communist purge after the coup in 1948. She had minutes to leave her home, run and hide out for days before being smuggled out of Czechoslovakia into Germany. She wasn’t even able to say goodbye to her mother.

My father’s family was an intelligent mix of journalists, newspaper editors, writers, educators and engineers who were persecuted by the Communist regime (especially my grandparents, who were hounded to the day they died) because they refused to join the Communist party and give up practicing their Catholic faith. They were continually tyrannized by the top ranking STB official for the region of southern Bohemia, who had my uncle bring me in to be interrogated when I had the opportunity to visit Czechoslovakia and meet my family for the first time at the age of 15 in 1966.  

I was born in a refugee camp in Germany. My father worked for Radio Free Europe and my mother worked as an interpreter in the medical facility of the camp before my parents became eligible to immigrate to the United States as part of the quota for workers needed during the Korean War.  Because ‘officially’ our ‘sponsor’ was a farmer from North Dakota, my father was physically prevented from going to his scheduled interview with Radio Free Europe New York by small minded immigration agents exercising their power over these DPs (displaced persons).  They were insistent that my parents needed to go work on a farm even though my mother was six months pregnant, had a degree in accounting and spoke English and German in addition to her native Czech and my dad had been studying journalism and law at the university before the communists kicked him out of school.  We were rescued from the train to North Dakota in Chicago with the help of the Benedictine abbot and other displaced Czechs already in Chicago.  Unfortunately, the Radio Free Europe position had already been filled by this time and my dad ended up working in a factory making pontoon parts for the war. Because he was underweight and small and relatively clumsy (he managed to break several machines in the first weeks he was there) they were at a loss as to how to utilize him until they realized he had an aptitude for numbers and put him to work taking inventory. My father continued to freelance for Radio Free Europe for many years while working at various factory jobs.

So who do I think I am?

I am a child of dual cultures, Czech and American.  I am, also, a child of the fifties and sixties. I was brought up to be an idealistic realist, to have compassion, to do what is right not what is comfortable, to stand up against injustice and in my own small way make this world a better place.  I have hope in the face of hopelessness, the courage to speak out when I am most afraid and faith that good will always prevail.

I am an altruistic optimist and I will never be silenced. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Summer Green

Brand new poem inspired by photo I took yesterday - enjoy!

Summer Green

Hot, humid
August day

Blue burnished
Cloudless sky

Cool, crisp fronds
Restful, fresh

Clean, clear spears
Summer green

© Alice Vedral Rivera - 8/8/2015 7:45am

Friday, June 12, 2015

Domain of the Goddess

Because of personal family things, I haven't been posting for a while.  I will try to post more often again.

I went to an Alphonse Mucha exhibit yesterday with my friend Bea and remembered that in 2010 when I visited her in Minnesota and we stayed at a friend of hers in Duluth, I was inspired by this Mucha print hanging on the wall and by her friend to write "Domain of the Goddess". 
Domain of the Goddess

Step into the flow
Of the waterfall
Crystal beaded shades
Soften moonlit glow
Senseless beauty all
Around surrounds in
Colored glass hugs of
Random earth kindness
As sweet voiced guitar
Strings serenade you

© Alice Vedral Rivera 2010

Monday, March 23, 2015

Poemhunter Poem of the Day by Member Poet - AVR!

I received this message this morning...

Dear Poet;

We chose your "! Exoteric Descent into Iniquity (Social/Political Commentary)" poem as 'Poem of The Day from A Member' and on 3/23/2015 it will be sent to all 'MemberPoem Bulletin' members.

It will also be on the main page on that day, and it will be listed on 'Poem of The Day from A Member' calendar.

Your "! Exoteric Descent into Iniquity (Social/Political Commentary)" poem will also be posted to our social media pages: Facebook page: Twitter page :!/PoemHunterCom

We thank you for your contribution to our site.

Best regards.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Children of Tomorrow

Sharing one of my social commentary poems from Shadows on the Carpet I

Photo AVR  © 2014

From you - our future
From you - we borrow
You are the children
Of all our sorrow

Children of tomorrow
In the aftermath of today
What will you do?
What will you say?

Children of tomorrow
Ours in every way
What are your horrors?
What price will you pay?

Children of tomorrow
Living with our legacy
Can you survive?
Can you stay free?

From you - our future
From you - we borrow
You are the children
Of all our sorrow

© Alice Vedral Rivera – 6/16/06

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Event - Chicago Book Expo

Shadows on the Carpet Trilogy
I will be at the Chicago Book Expo this Saturday, at the Tamale Hut Cafe Writer's Group table. If anyone can make it, I would love to see you there.

Free Admission
Saturday, December 6, 2014
11am - 5pm

Columbia College
1104 S. Wabash Avenue