Blanche Barnett Nevel, gave birth in 1949 to an adorable blond haired boy,who twenty-one months later, became a big brother to a cute little redheaded sister. With dark brown hair and a natural tan from spending time outdoors, our Mother was often stopped and asked, “Are you the Nanny of these 2 babies?” (Three more children of assorted hair colors were born a few years later but that’s another chapter to this story.)
When my big brother and I were little, we were inseparable. We started our school career at Tiny Tot Finishing School. One day a big 5 year old bully pushed my brother down on the playground. I became so angry, I filled my purse with rocks and hit the bully with it. (At 3 I carried my purse with me everywhere. I was such a girly-girl!) I remember this incident like it was yesterday though I doubt my brother does since it happened 59 years ago! He returned the favor when I pooped in my pants . All the kids would have made fun of me if they didn’t see my big brother standing there watching. I am SURE he has erased that memory from his mind!
My big brother and I shared a bedroom when we were little and we got into lots of mischief. For one of my birthdays, he bought me a small flashlight. The night before my birthday, he carefully unwrapped it and we played with it under the covers for hours. The next morning, my Mother couldn’t understand how the brand new flashlight batteries went dead!
During hurricane Donna in 1960, (also our younger sister’s name) my big brother convinced his siblings to put books in our pants so that if we got spanked for behaving like wild animals during the hurricane, it wouldn’t hurt a bit. Our Father (who wasn’t big on spanking) discovered the books and fortunately didn’t get mad. Somehow my big brother always charmed his way out of punishments!
I went through an awkward stage as a preteen but my big brother never did. With his self confidence and good looks, a lot of my girlfriends had crushes on him. I remember in junior high all my friends wanted to sleep over so they could hang out with my brother. It took me a while to figure out that I hadn’t suddenly become Miss Popularity.
When I was 15, our family moved to Miami Beach. I will always be grateful to my big brother for making the transition so easy for me. He had attended school on Miami Beach the year before and made sure I met all his friends. They quickly became mine, too!
My first semester of college was lonely for me. I was far away from home and my brother’s letters kept me happy and motivated. When I transferred to a local college, it was my big brother who helped me write an English paper that earned me an A++. When he saw my grade and the teacher’s positive remarks, he said to me, “You’re on your own now, kiddo! Happy writing!” I was determined to show him that I could become a great writer like him!
Flash forward 44 years and though my big brother and I live hundreds of miles from each other, I’m still loving and appreciating his role in my life. He has all the best qualities of our beloved Mother and Father. He’s a loving, caring person who looks at life as a half filled glass. He has a wonderful sense of humor that is the glue that holds us together. The other day I told him that when we’re in our 90′s, we’ll sit on our rockers with a view of the ocean and share jokes.
And we’ll toast our lifelong friendship with a glass of organic prune juice…
* Note from Debi…Big brother does have a name but I am protecting his privacy in case any of my junior high school girlfriends are single and looking for a good man. He is happily married!
My Mother passed away when I was 41. She suffered with a debilitating illness for the last 14 years of her life. I remember being in my late 20′s (the age of my youngest child) and thinking, “Nothing can happen to my Mother!” Even as her health declined, I couldn’t imagine my beloved Mother dying.
As I look back over those years, I remember the cloud over the family that didn’t turn into a raging storm. How could it when I had an amazingly positive Father who spent years trying to convince his 5 children and the outside world that he could find a cure for our Mother’s illness? For a long time, I believed him. Why wouldn’t I? He was the man he could place his healing hands on a feverish keppalah (forehead) and make you instantly feel better. He was strong and stoic and unbreakable. He was the glue that held our family together. He was my role model.
September 19th, 1991
I didn’t cry at my Mother’s funeral. I watched my Father and he never lost his composure. Holding my head high and my four children close, I greeted and thanked all the family and friends who came to my Mother’s funeral to show their love and respect for our family. I was the eldest daughter and I did what had to be done. I wanted to make my Father (and Mother in heaven) proud of me.
Recently, I found a tape among my deceased Father’s possessions that my Mother had made a few years before she died. As she spoke about her daily physical and emotional struggles, it completely overwhelmed me. Sitting alone, I played that tape a dozen times cradling my arms around my tape recorder as if it would take me back to her. I wanted to hold my Mother in my arms and never let her go. “I’ll make everything better, Mommy!” I cried out as my words echoed off the walls. ” I’m older than you now, my children are all grown. I’m strong just like Daddy! Please, let me come back and help you!”
Outside my window, I listened to it rain almost as hard as my buckets of tears….
Blanche Nevel, a lecturer and reviewer of Jewish literature and a translator for the late Isaac Bashevis Singer, died Thursday, September 19th, 1991. Nevel was head librarian of Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach and lectured to congregation members on Jewish works. In the early 1980s, she reviewed books for the Jewish Floridian. She and her husband, Joseph Nevel, met Singer in the 1970s, and she later translated his Yiddish works into English.
According to Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries, there are millions of young people in this country who are NOT attractive or “cool” because they wear a larger size of clothing than the store carries.
Here is an excerpt from an article posted on www.businessinsider.com
In a 2006 interview with Salon, Jeffries himself said that his business was built around sex appeal.
“It’s almost everything. That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that,” Jeffries said.
Jeffries also told Salon that he wasn’t bothered by excluding some customers.
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
Here is my reply to Abercrombie & Fitch, CEO Mike Jeffries…
After reading your comments in an article on the Business Insider site, I will never be a customer at any of your stores not even to purchase a gift for one of (what you consider) my “cool” children. I am sure you did Abercrombie & Fitch more damage than good by your discriminatory comments. Fortunately, many of the people you are targeting as customers have evolved enough as human beings to figure out that YOU are clueless as to the REAL definition of a “cool” and beautiful person.
Debi Drecksler’s Authentic Me Campaign
Do you remember LBF a.k.a Life Before Facebook?
The biggest difference was the definition of the word friend.
A dictionary says a friend is…A person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.
An online dictionary gives the definition for a Facebook friend as… individuals who have mutually agreed to be friends, allowing you to view information on their profile.
What?? Where’s the I like so many things about you I decided to be your friend?
Of course I’m being funny but there’s a reason behind my humorous approach to this subject. The other day someone (who I will keep anonymous) called me on the TELEPHONE (remember those?) and said, “I can’t believe only one person ‘liked’ what I just posted and that person was YOU!” Where are all my friends???”
Debi’s reply (after she muffles her laughter) “This is what you called to talk to me about? So what’s new?”
Anonymous person’s reply, “This is serious. I put a lot of thought into that post and no-one liked it!”
Debi’s reply, “YOU JUST POSTED IT LESS THAN TEN MINUTES AGO!”
A half hour later, after my caller’s complete analysis of the best and worst times to post something on Facebook, we finally talked about other things.
My point is….This is just an example of how people get SO caught up in social networking. I think there are many people besides my caller who have agonized over the response to something they posted on Facebook or somewhere else online. They feel rejected and unloved if they don’t get positive response or G-d forbid NO response at all!
Yes…even I’ve been guilty of this!
That’s why I’m writing this. To reassure my readers that it’s ok if your online friends do not love you as much as your real life friends! In many cases, they don’t know you as well!
Here’s a suggestion…Make time in your life to get off your computer (or mobile device) and go make a new friend. Someone who won’t delete you because you wrote something that rubbed them wrong in an online post or didn’t click “like” on your post or maybe never even saw your post.
A REAL LIFE friend who as the dictionary says shares a bond of mutual affection with you and who might actually be around after Facebook runs its course.
Disclaimer: Debi Drecksler has many Facebook friends who she considers REAL friends. She hopes to win the lottery so that she can one day invite them all to join her on an exotic island to have lots of great conversation in person. No computers or mobile devices will be allowed.
The other day I was a little surprised to read a young friend’s Facebook post where she expressed her concern about being SO old and not having accomplished what she should have by that age. I think she’s around 27. That sounds pretty young to me to be stressed about something like that. I was wondering if she was comparing herself to her friends or trying to live up to someone’s expectations of where she should be at this stage of her life.
I’m used to hearing it more from my age group who I think have legitimate reasons to be looking at their lives and thinking about whether or not they’ve fulfilled their bucket list of dreams, hopes and expectations. I’ve had friends pass away (much too young) and it absolutely makes you stop and think,” Is this all I can expect from life?” My response would be, “Absolutely not!” My reasoning is…If that is all you expect from life then what can you look forward to?
My life like many others, has had its up and downs. I haven’t visited any exotic islands or lived a carefree lifestyle. I’ve had my share of hardships. With all that said, I try to look at life as a half filled glass. If I had already traveled the world and lived problem free, I might not appreciate anything wonderful that comes my way.
I get a lot of enjoyment out of planning the adventures I would like to have one day. Thanks to a show called House Hunters International I’ve already had the opportunity to see the world and choose my favorite places to visit. Since I LOVE the ocean, there are many exotic beaches on that list.
Even if I don’t fulfill everything on my bucket list, I will have no regrets.
I’ve spent my life looking forward with anticipation to spending time with loved ones, desserts at the end of a meal and special moments that I capture in my heart forever!
This story is dedicated to my friends John W. Pinky R. Mike M. Steffon M. and Priscilla K.
DEBI’S FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH ORGANIC COCONUT OIL (Nine Months Ago)
After reading about the skincare benefits of coconut oil on my Facebook page (thank-you Dawn M.) and constant requests from my daughter, Heidi D. to use organic products, I bought myself a big jar of Organic Coconut Oil for just under $10. Later that night, I stuck my hand in the jar, put a little coconut oil on my face and went to bed. In the morning, I was surprised to see that there was no residue on my pillow case. My skin felt soft as a baby’s tush which is a wonderful result for someone with VERY dry skin. I also have extremely sensitive skin and was happy that I had no strange reaction. After this very nice experience, I made this part of my nightly regime. Within days, I could see and feel the difference in my skin. I was hooked….
TIPS WHEN USING ORGANIC COCONUT OIL ON YOUR FACE
1. A little goes a VERY long way.
2. If it is too thick for you, just add a few drops of water.
3. Do not use it right before applying eye makeup or your makeup might get smudgy. I love using it as my day and night facial moisturizer but have to avoid the eye area if I’m planning to wear shadow, liner or mascara.
4. After you finish putting it on your face, run your hands through your hair. It is great for smoothing flyaway strands.
5. Buy a travel size container and transfer some of your coconut oil into it. It’s a lot easier than carrying around a big jar when you’re on the go!
COMPLIMENTS I’VE RECEIVED SINCE USING COCONUT OIL ON MY FACE
Male cashier asking to see my license when I paid by check… “Why are you showing me your Mother’s license?” (Was that a compliment or a pick up line?)
Teenage Boy In Movie Theater Box Office...”You have to be 55 for your Senior Citizen Discount.” (I wanted to give that kid a little hug)
Husband of 36 years…“You look SO hot I am going to stop watching the movie I’ve seen 25 times and take you out dancing!” (Alright, maybe I made that one up??)
Disclaimer…Debi Drecksler is NOT being paid for this testimony by any company that produces Organic Coconut Oil. If any company wishes to compensate her for using her testimony, she will gladly accept a jar or two of Organic Coconut Oil and a trip to an exotic island. ( Debi is kidding about the the second request but feel free to include the trip if your company is feeling generous and/or needs a tax write off.)
I woke up this morning and all my body parts were still working! I was VERY happy!!
At my age my Mother spent her days fighting for a few moments to feel like a normal person. Most of the time, she was in excruciating pain from a debilitating illness.
Sometimes you have to put things into perspective to understand and appreciate what you have.
I think my Mother would have happily accepted growing old if she had been blessed with a healthy body. I doubt she would have wasted one minute looking in the mirror for signs of aging.
I think about her every day and live my life accordingly….
I refuse to be obsessed with the physical signs of aging. It’s a waste of my time…
I’m too busy EMBRACING the years that were taken away from my Mother.
LIVING for the both of us……
Dedicated to Blanche Barnett Nevel who brought 5 children into the world who were all inspired by their Mother to live and love each day to the fullest!
Let me start by saying…I love the internet. How else would I have this website? I enjoy social media and I appreciate modern technology.
Great… Now with THAT out of the way, hopefully it will eliminate any negative response to this blog! This is about TALKING…To each other…On the telephone or in person. I’ll even include Skype and G chat on this list.
I’m concerned that people are losing the ability to communicate verbally. Let’s take the last few years for example. Many people who used to verbally communicate with others now choose to communicate via email, text or social media UNLESS it is an emergency! I think it is very sad that the desire to hear someone’s voice has taken a back seat to a quick message on a computer or cell phone. (I am excluding Mothers from this list because I don’t know a single Mother who prefers a text message from their child (of any age) over an actual phone call! Our last words as they walk out of the house are, “Don’t forget to call me!”)
I can’t help thinking that people will just stop spending QUALITY time with each other. Online dating services will change as people create profiles that read something like this. “Attractive, intelligent female would like to meet a nice guy for some texting. Must have strong fingers and a reliable phone. Could lead to a possible facebook relationship!”
I worry about future generations. What if people forget how to talk? I’m serious….If you don’t use it, you lose it? Maybe things will go backwards and people will end up just grunting and groaning at each other like millions of years ago!!
Language is like a piece of fertile land being used to grow crops. It needs to be cultivated so that it can thrive. If the land is ignored, the crops will die.
They say that cursive writing will soon be extinct because of the computer. Many school systems have already eliminated it from their curriculum. (This is another subject entirely. I just threw it in because it aggravates me!)
Will TALKING be next? I hope not!
ABOUT THE WRITER
Debi Nevel received poor marks in self control all through elementary school. Her teachers wrote, “Debi is very smart, creative and outgoing but she needs to stop talking so much!” Debi took her ability to verbally communicate and used it to her advantage becoming a language arts teacher, drama coach and public speaker. She also talked her way into her first professional writing job and has written hundreds of articles, stories and blogs. Her greatest achievement was producing 4 children who haven’t forgotten how to pick up a telephone and call their Mother!
“Love is the greatest refreshment in life.”
Valentine’s day 2013 is right around the corner. Everywhere you turn there are advertisements encouraging you to buy a gift that will show someone special in your life how much he or she means to you!
Does the size of a box of chocolates or the carats in a diamond necklace determine how much you love someone?
Advertisers would like you to think that but it is not true.
Ask a woman who has been handed a bouquet of flowers purchased from a street vendor by the man she adores. There is no greater gift….
Ask a new Mother who is surprised with a slice of chocolate cake by her husband just because he knows she loves freshly baked goodies. There is no greater gift….
Ask a man who is offered a back massage after a challenging day. There is no greater gift…
Ask a Grandmother whose grandchild hands her a heart made out of construction paper and doilies. There is no greater gift…..
Ask a Father who is greeted with a big hug from his child as he walk through the door. There is no greater gift…
The most important thing about Valentine’s Day is not the size or the cost of the gift…
It’s the love that comes along with it…And that is priceless!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
My daughter, hip hop artist/lyricist Heidi D is known for her spiritual counseling. Thanks to Skype, people all over the world can partake in her positive approach to life and walk away feeling refreshed and renewed. As the woman who brought her into this world, I have been the recipient of her gifts which include helping me tap into my creative potential.
Heidi sees things about me that I have either given up on or tucked away under years of trying to survive rather than thrive! Her resume of MY LIFE is filled with creativity and productivity. I think it is fascinating to view my world through my 29 year old daughter’s eyes.
I say, “I think it might be too late for me!” …She says, “You have just reached the greatest stage of your life.”
I say, “How can I make this happen!” …She says, “By putting it out there 24/7 and eliminating the negative self defeating thoughts.”
Imagine a big thick rope and my daughter and I at separate ends.We are each pulling that rope and though I am taller and weigh more than my child, she has pulled me over to her side. She is laughing because she knows I am not going to win no matter how hard I pull.
The strength of her LOVE is powerful. She will NOT allow her Mother who she lovingly calls “Burd” (imagine a Mommy bird taking care of her young) to make excuses for why she hasn’t fulfilled all her dreams.
I am her role model. If I slip and fall she will pick me up and put me back on my path. Just like I did for her a hundred times as a child.
She is my role model. I have created a strong daughter. She inspires me with her courage to put herself out there and just BE!
I have dreams and they will come true if I think outside the box and toss my inhibitions to the wind.
I am going to put lotion on my rope burns and get busy living life to the fullest.
I have a daughter waiting to meet her Mother at the finish line!