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About Agnes: Scrubbing Dad’s records with Brillo, and other memories June 30, 2006

Posted by makingyourdashcount in Agnes, flooding, Susquehanna, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wilkes-Barre.

Officials on Wednesday ordered 150,000 to 200,000 people in the Wilkes-Barre area to evacuate their homes as a precaution because of the rising level of the Susquehanna River, according to a state emergency management official.

The sounds and images of June 1972 (hurricane Agnes) vividly filled my mind, 35 years later, as Wyoming Valley is again evacuated in fear of flood. I remember wandering into my parents’ room in the middle of that night, as official vehicles announced via speaker to evacuate our homes. As part of a surrealist painting, we heard the orders and left for higher ground. We didn’t even take a change of clothes. No one expected the river to really flood.

My oldest brother went with my father to help fill sand bags on the dike. My mother took my other brothers (11 and 16) with me (14) and drove. We drove up a hill to Larksville, a place I had never been, and we parked on a street.

And we sat.
We had parked outside of an elderly couple’s home, the Kapulkas, who in early 70’s neighborliness, invited us into their home. To this day, I wonder if they would have invited us in if we had the final two family members. As far as they knew, it was the pitiful sight of a mom and her 3 kids. They had houseguests for a week. I will always remember the hospitality of the Kapulkas, and hope that I would have the heart to open my home as readily as they did to people in need.

Bob and I drove back to the house to leave a note for Henry and Dad. I had no tape to post a message, but resourcefully used a stick of well chewed Doublemint gum. To this day, I take pride in sticking the note on the door with that gum. Even with flood waters looming, we only grabbed one essential for our trek: a left over lasagna from a cast party just the night before.

Thus began the trek of washing hundreds of records, including one I scrubbed with brillo when the chore got so tedious and tiresome, legos- you have NO idea what cleaning legos of dried mud is like, and throwing out most everything that floated to the ceiling of the first floor of our home (including a Steinway grand.)

We and everyone else within Wyoming Valley.

Bringing an old city back to its glory was a tough task after Agnes. Bringing back a city from ruin is emotionally, spiritually and financially draining. No one had flood insurance. The last flood had been in the 30’s. Families who rebuilt essentially paid for their homes and businesses twice, the original mortgages and the second ones.

Although Wilkes-Barre cleaned up relatively quickly, and most businesses and citizens were determined to return, it has taken 35 years for the rebirth to blossom. An example of the bloom is a new 14 screen theater that just opened last week downtown!

The mayor of Wilkes-Barre, Tom Leighton, has led the vision of renewal:

I wanted downtown to be back like when I was a kid, so my kids could enjoy it like I did,” recalls Leighton. When I ran for office, people told me, ‘We want our old downtown.’

Rebirth has taken 35 years.

So when I heard the evacuation orders live at my desk in Westerville, Ohio via the wonders of the internet, all thoughts went to my hometown to our friends and relatives with rebuilt lives and businesses and I wondered,

How can you rebuild twice? If the river flooded, what would become of the Wyoming Valley?

I was part of the collective sigh of relief, when the dikes held and the river crested below them. Never again do I want to stay glued to Internet TV and radio news or to see familiar family landmarks on CNN.

–Once a valley girl… always a valley girl.

When Abstinence only education doesn’t work, legislate that the life of an unborn child is more valuable than the life of the mother– OH to live in Ohio. June 22, 2006

Posted by makingyourdashcount in abstinence, intolerance, Ohio Legislation, Ohio Politics, rants, Thoughts.
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From the land of abstinence only education and the newly released CDC survey that shows that 46% of our teens have engaged in sexual activity, comes the newest blast from the Ohio Legislature and their faith over facts religious right friends.

Ohio House Bill 228 introduced by Tim Brinkman, R-Mount Lookout, in April would make it a felony for a woman to seek to terminate her pregnancy and holds the same penalty if she chooses to leave the state for the medical procedure. I envision the state patrol guarding Ohio’s border with one step pregnancy tests!

This bill: Read the bill

  • Prohibits the performance of abortions.(All abortions including pregnancies caused by violence or incest and those which would cause harm to the mother. All abortions including those from “a morning after” pill.)
  • Creates the offense of facilitating an abortion (Including pharmaceutical means and in the instance of rape and incest.)
  • Increases penalties for performance of unlawful abortions, unlawful distribution of an abortion-inducing drug, and abortion trafficking. (That includes being a pharmacist distributing FDA approved drugs.)
  • Prohibits the use of state funds to pay for health insurance plans that cover abortion.
  • Prohibits the use of state or local public funds to subsidize an abortion.
  • Eliminates the Public Health Council’s authority to adopt rules relating to abortions.(This is like playing peek-a-boo with a toddler. If you don’t see it, it goes away.)
  • Authorizes the Ohio State Medical Board to take disciplinary action against physicians who violate an abortion-related law.

As written, this Bill even prohibits abortions when the mother is in danger. The Representatives sponsoring this Bill: Brinkman, Hood, Buehrer, Bubp, Faber, Fessler, Gilb, Hoops, Kearns, Raussen, Reidelbach, Schaffer, Schneider, Seaver, Taylor, Uecker, Wagner, and Widowfield, have concluded that an unborn life is more valuable than an existing one, even when the existing one may be mothering other children. (I sure hope the voters note that!) So it becomes a felony for a physician to choose the health of the mother over the life of the unborn child/ fetus/ embryo? What kind of misogymist mumbo jumbo is that? Preposterous.

I don’t think there is anyone “Pro-abortion,” as some Pro-life activists like to think. No one wants to put anyone through the agony of dealing in any way with an unwanted pregnancy. Not getting pregnant is the first step, although medically correct information is not part of the abstinence only Ohio health education curriculum. If 46% of our teens are indeed having sex, shouldn’t they learn how to keep themselves healthy and childless?

When a legislature even proposes that a doctor, member of the clergy or parent is guilty of a felony in counseling a young woman according to their mainstream faith and beliefs, something is truly wrong.

If you care about women:


The definition of when life begins: When the kids move out and the dog dies….. (author unknown.)