Personal Stories

For my birthday on Friday, I’d love $55 donations for the Hill Country Ride For AIDS

My birthday is Friday, I’m doing the Hill Country Ride again this year & I’d really love $55 donations, but really any donation is more than welcome. My goal is $2,000 this year. They really need it. With the cuts the Orange One’s administration wants — and when he’s gone, we’ll have President Pence who will be even worse, especially for AIDS services — they really, really need it. Please donate at my Hill Country Ride page.

Tuesday in Moosevillle – Memories, Meals, Traditions, and Gifts 12/25/18

I’m looking for the pickle…

I’m sure some of you were opening this post with some trepidation, wondering if I was going to cover some depressing aspect of our history. Surprise! Even though I recognize that Christmas is not a holiday or holy day for all of us, it is part of my tradition. Taking a break from our seamier side is the least I can do; there’s enough ugliness in our current reality without piling on for one day. But history is all about stories, so today, I’m sharing some of my holiday stories and ask you to feel free to do the same. If Christmas isn’t part of your tradition, I’m sure you still have holiday stories, so don’t feel limited. But most of all, enjoy…and Merry Christmas!

A Boyhood Memory of World War II London

Jack, left, and Don, right in 1939

Tradition says that anyone born within the sound of Bow bells is a true Cockney. My husband Don certainly qualifies on that score: he was born at Lambeth, not far from the church of St. Mary-le-Bow. “Grandpa is walking, talking history,” I tell our grandchildren. Recently he shared his boyhood memories of wartime London with us.

“I had just turned nine three weeks before Britain declared war on Germany,” Don recalled. “The news was broadcast on the wireless that Sunday and the next day the teachers announced it at Lowther Road Primary School, which I attended.”

Soon after the announcement Don’s school was evacuated by train to Burnham, 30 miles from London. He was evacuated with his brother Jack, who was two years older. When the children arrived the organizers of the evacuation arranged for them to be placed in people’s homes. As Don and Jack were the last two evacuees, the organization didn’t have a place for them, so finally the boys were billeted with a family who lived in a row of cottages.

Asked what it was like living with strangers, Don replied, “It wasn’t very nice. My brother and I had to share a blanket, even though it was quite cold. The place was a real pigpen. After every meal what we didn’t eat was scraped back into a pot and we had it the next day. We went to the local school, which was set up for the evacuees to attend in the morning and the local children in the afternoon. My older brother Bob, who was 14 and therefore hadn’t been evacuated, came to visit us. After he told our mother about the conditions we were living in she complained bitterly, so a nicer house was found for us. When the owner found out she would be raking lice out of our hair, she said she would never have taken us in if she’d known. The war was little in evidence at that time, so our parents brought us back to London at Christmas 1939.”

After Don and Jack returned home, Don’s school was bombed. When the schools finally reopened nine months later, Don attended Barnes Central School with Jack.

All three boys helped their father dig an Andersen shelter in the back garden of their house. “He had to go down three feet to dig the six-by-eight feet shelter,” Don remembered. “The dirt we dug out was put back on top of the corrugated steel roof. It was damp in the shelter, which is how I developed bronchial problems. Dad never came down there, so after a while we simply stayed in our house during air raids. We lived in West London and the worst bombing was in the East End.”

Asked if he ever saw a dogfight between the RAF and the German planes in the searchlights at night, Don shook his head. “No, when the planes were dropping their bombs the searchlights were used to aid the anti-aircraft guns on the ground. We used to jump on our bicycles after an explosion to see if we could pick up any shrapnel, mainly from the big guns fired by the army. Later in the war we saw and heard the V-1 and V-2 rockets, also called ‘buzzbombs.’ The engine made a droning noise. One of them fell at the back of the Regency Cinema in Hammersmith, obliterating my dad’s truck that was parked there.”

When V-E Day was declared in May 1945 Don was nearly fifteen. “Everyone was overjoyed that the war was over. We all went to the West End and stayed around Trafalgar Square among the huge crowds.”

During the “austerity” that reigned in Britain until 1954, Don attended Kingston Technical College in Richmond-on-Thames, served two years in the Royal Air Force, and later spent some time working in Rhodesia. In 1965 he emigrated to America where he married, became a U.S. citizen, and brought up a family.

It’s easy to forget that from 1939 to 1942 it was not a foregone conclusion that the Allies would win the war. The threat of a German invasion of Britain was all too real. We Americans must remember that we owe Britain—standing alone against Germany until America entered the war in December 1941—our undying gratitude.

 

Don today

All my armor comes from you (an AIDS Walk Austin diary – there’s another match Wednesday)

So, first thing, there is another $100 match Wednesday, and another chance to win South By Southwest wristbands if I raise $250. If I get to $250, and if I win the wristbands (2 big ifs) I’ll put the names of all of today’s donors in my own drawing & give someone the other wristband, since I can’t use 2.

Here is my AIDS Walk Austin page.

AIDS Walk Austin is less than a month away – update: $100 match today

Becky's Page

****the 1st 50 people to raise $100today will get that amount matched**** please share this around!

I know, I know — it’s election time & there are so many great candidates asking for donations. But you know what will still be going on on November 7? AIDS. People affected by HIV & AIDS will still need their meds, will still need specialized dental care; and people whose illness has progressed will still need the food bank &/or the home cooked meals that donations provide. Please, if you can, spare a few dollars to help people at my AIDS Walk Austin page.

This will be my 31st  AIDS Walk Austin – I’ve done every damn one of them. I love the AIDS Walk & the Ride (the spring fundraiser for the same organizations) and the people who work at AIDS Services of Austin & the other agencies. They are an example of how we should be — caring for each other, carrying each other. If you haven’t met me, I’m just a teensy bit of a U2 fan, so yeah that was a reference to a song.

One love, one blood, one life, you got to do what you should.
One life with each other: sisters, brothers.
One life, but we’re not the same.
We get to carry each other, carry each other.
One, one.

My goal is $5,000 this year. I’ve raised $645. They really need it. With the cuts the Orange One’s administration has proposed — and even if we get rid of him, we’d have President Pence who would be even worse, especially for AIDS services — they really, really need it. Please donate at my AIDS Walk page. Please pass this around, ask people I don’t know. This isn’t going to plush offices or research that should be funded by the government. This goes to literally help people — feed them, help with meds, a dental clinic, wellness activities…  Please donate, and if you can’t donate, share.

The theme for the Walk this year is “step to zero” — that every step we take gets us closer to zero new infections. Won’t that be wonderful? Please help AIDS Services of Austin & the other agencies get us there. And here’s a song for you to listen to while you go to my AIDS Walk Austin page & donate:

I don’t know about you, but I could use some warm fuzzies – an AIDS Walk diary


it’s hard to read, but it says: “love is bigger than anything in its way”

So we’ve all been hearing the awfulness brought out by the Kavanaugh hearings. Some of us are reliving/remembering some pretty awful things. I can’t deal with any more horror/disgust/sadness. I can’t go back and re-do the past, make those things not happen. What I can do is try to make now better. I’m writing a diary filled with warm fuzzies. And asking for donations for AIDS Walk Austin.

My first AIDS Walk diary for 2018

Hi. So if you look at my posting history, it’s 99% AIDS Walk & AIDS Ride diaries. Yeah, back in May I posted about going to the U2 concert in Chicago. But really — it’s about the Walk & the Ride; and heading into the fall season, it’s #AIDSWalkATX. This year, it’s in early November:

In its 31st year, AIDS Walk Austin returns to Republic Square on Saturday, November 3, 2018. Benefiting ten sharing agencies including AIDS Services of Austin, this event brings together people (and pets) from all walks of life!

AIDS Walk Austin attracts 1,000+ people annually for an afternoon of celebration and remembrance of those affected by HIV. This year, the Walk will partner with the Farmer’s Market to create an amazing festival atmosphere that will be fun for the families, friends, and pets.

Together, we can add up the steps to equal Zero new infections.