The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.




You certainly know  Jack and Jill along with probably dozens of other nursery rhymes.  You also know the stories of Cinderella and Peter Pan. When you outgrew nursery rhymes what did  you read? Maybe Heidi, The Bobsey Twins, The Hardy Boys. All of those can be classified as ‘kiddie lit.’  I met an English professor who taught a course called Kiddie Lit and we spent hours arguing over whether or not certain books could be classified as such.


He claimed The Little Prince was children’s literature while I contend its primary purpose is not to entertain children but to show adults they have lost what is important in life: to encourage them to explore the world and find their way back to the mindset of a child.  Adults are given short shift in this story. The power hungry king and the vain man demonstrate the meaninglessness of their lives. The businessman is after meaningless pursuits and has no visitors. The commonality between all the people the prince meets on the asteroids is that they are alone Their  personality traits prevent them from making friends. Friendship is all important to The Little Prince.


“When  you tell them you made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you, “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?” Instead they demand, “How old is he How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?”


“To forget a friend is sad. Not every one has a friend. And if I forget them, I may become like the grownups who are no longer interested in anything but figures.”


The Little Prince points to other things he sees the grownups as having lost.


“Well, I must endure the presence of two or three caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted wit the butterflies.”


“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”


How can that learned professor deny The Little  Prince is much more than Kiddie Lit?


I also asked the professor if parts of the Bible could be called kiddie lit.  How could he not agree that a story about a man living for three days in the belly of a fish isn’t an adventure story suitable for a child.? How about a  boy killing a giant with a slingshot or talking jackasses or an ark large enough to hold two of every species in the universe?


It seems to me that parts of the Bible are fairy tales and should be shelved in the library along with Children’s fiction. You can make a case for it being history as well.  There are millions upon millions of  people who will dispute this and I do not mean to disparage their views.  Still, I simply cannot fathom a belief that some stories contained in the Bible are “truth..” or divinely inspired.


What child doesn’t love magic? The creator had a wonderful imagination. He (or she) could be called a magician. Witness the spreading of a peacock’s tail or a fish that swims upright. Turning tadpoles into frogs is no small trick. The mind of a child is open to such magic.  As in The Little Prince the minds of grownups are often closed to it.




What would be your parting words to The Little Prince as he returns to his asteroid?


Julie Rose


Leave a comment »





I sometimes come across a quote or a line that appeals to me because of its quirkiness, particularly beautiful language, humor,  or the ounce of sense it contains.  Here are a few of those. Some I cannot decipher and others are simply well-said  phrases.


“If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it too.” (Dorothy Parker)  Does that mean God rewards those people? Does it mean he despises money and thus gives it to thieves?


What about this Yiddish proverb?  “If God lived on earth people would break his windows.” Do people so despise the deity they’d destroy his property.  Are they sending  God a “go back where you came from – you don’t belong here” message?


“If you surrender to the wind you can ride it.”   (Toni Morrison)  What does it mean to surrender to the wind? What happens if I surrender to politicians?  To advertising tycoons?


“Everyone should keep a mental wastebasket and the older he grows the more things he will consign to it – torn up in irrecoverable tatters.” (Samuel Butler)  Not being attached to the past and moving forward, despite growing older, is what I think Butler is getting at.


“I  think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.  People think pleasing God is all God cares about but any fool  living  in the world can see it is always trying to please us back. “ (Alice Walker)  That I do  understand but  I wonder what else pisses God off.


“Bloom where you are planted.”  (Mother Jones).  You can’t help but understand this one. It’s a  subtle and concise way of saying be satisfied with what you have – be not envious or jealous.


“I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and Fries”  (Stephen King) Now there’s a guy who knows who he is.


“A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.”  (George Santayana)  Truth in ten words.


“Drawing upon my fine command of English language, I said nothing.” (Robert Benchley) Here Benchley reiterates a Yiddish proverb. “A closed mouth catches no flies,” as well as the more common “The less said, the better.”


You, too, must have encountered a phrase that tickled your fancy or rang a bell with you.  What is it?


Julie Rose


1 Comment »




You would be justified to think I was an odd-ball, a little loony, if I told you I’d rather have dirt or bread dough under my fingernails than diamonds on my fingers. It’s true – I would.


I  couldn’t  plant  pots of perky petunias and grinning geraniums without playing in the dirt. I couldn’t dig a hole and plant a rose bush or sunny sunflowers without getting dirt under my fingernails. I couldn’t sink my hands into a bowl of risen dough and snack on warm bread dipped in honey if my fingers bore diamonds. Earthy gifts are those, together with going fishing rather than to a movie, walking in a forest instead to diving to a shopping mall.


It isn’t just dirt and dough either. I sometimes think my fingers are not attached to my body – they have minds of their own and often escape from the hands they are attached to. I recognize how silly that sounds but the fact is that when I am writing, my fingers frequently just go on and on and on – clicking away – and often take me places I hadn’t intended to go. A correspondent calls me Rambling Rosie.


I sometimes think I was born in the wrong century. I’d have been content milking a cow, sitting at a loom, pumping water from a well sitting in front of a huge fireplace writing long letters to those from afar.  I become more convinced of that every time I am technologically challenged, every time I run into a computer glitch, every time I open a box – if I can get it open – and must assemble something.


I don’t for a minute, dispute the value of the computer or of technological progress in any form.  Still, it seems to me, that our attachment to the newest and the latest of electronic toys and labor saving devices often deprives us of the joy of simple activities. When was the last time you laid on the grass and watched the clouds float by overhead?


Put simply, if I was to marry again, I’d be damn sure the man I choose was willing to turn off the TV, walk away from the phone, and come jump in a pond with me. He would never refuse to take a side road rather than an expressway or joyfully kick a pile of autumn’s leaves.  He’d bring home a lost dog instead of a box of chocolates.


And he wouldn’t give a damn if I had dirt under my fingernails.


Post a comment.


Julie Rose


Leave a comment »




I enjoy it when someone tells me about a book he particularly enjoyed but I grow weary of hearing “He’s a very good writer.”  I want to ask him, “How do you define very good?  There are, of course poor writers, good writers, great writers and exceptional writers.  How am I to judge into which of those categories to place the writer of the last book I read?


There is the test of time.  Dostoevsky, Ibsen, Homer, Plato, and dozens more have withstood the test of time for centuries.  Those we can call exceptional. How do we judge writers of the 20th century or those of the current generation?


There are a few questions I ask myself before I recommend a book to others.


Is  this book  well-composed in language devoid of redundancy, triteness and jargon? Do the words hum, not screech?  To write melodious English you must have an ear. How does it sound if read out loud? Poets frequently read their poems aloud to judge the sound of what they’ve written. Few writers can measure up to Shakespeare in this regard but a good writer is conscious of beautiful language and rhythm.


Was it persuasive?  Accurate?  If fiction, were the characters believable? This one is my nemesis.  I have a tendency  to create impossibly perfect men no intelligent reader would believe ever existed.


Did the book arouse my curiosity? Did it contain anything that sent me on a quest for more information?  In 84 Charing Cross, the author, Helene Hanff, refers to Quiller – Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, Professor of English Literature, University of Cambridge.  I am grateful to Ms. Hanff for sending me in search of him.  Plato’s The Republic led to learning something of ancient Greek history.


Did the writer of this book avoid a soapbox or lectern? I’m not interested in writers who are pontifical. If I want to sit at the feet of a professor, I’ll enroll in a class.


Did this book teach me something – anything?  My fictional preference falls into the historical genre.  Books like The Source, Hawaii, Shogun and Aztec have taught me a good deal about other cultures.


            If the book was fiction, did it introduce me to a lifelong friend?  Did I feel so close to one of the characters that had he lived next door we would have spent hours together in conversation.   When I was a child,  I read Heidi.  Heidi has been my friend for some 70 years. Today I sometimes read Nora Roberts, writing as J.D. Robb and there is a woman detective in those stories I’d be proud to call a friend.  I wouldn’t classify Spyri or Roberts as great writers but they score well on my measurement ladder.


I’m quite sure there are many more questions one might ask before classifying a writer as poor, good or great but the few I’ve mentioned are enough to give me some guidelines I think are valid.


Here are some comments made by others on this subject.


“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make.” (Truman Capote)


“Don’t tell me the moon is shining: show me the glint on the broken glass.” (Anton Chekhov)


“A writer needs three things: experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.” (William Faulkner)


“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock proof, shit detector.” (Ernest Hemingway)


What do you think?


Julie Rose


1 Comment »




I would have to label myself a wallflower. I’m not the least bit gregarious and avoid situations that compel me to engage in small talk. My social philosophy is one chair for privacy, two for company and three for society. No more. I’m not proud of this and often wish I could have been more of a social animal but the fact remains, I am not.


That said, I have observed people meeting each other and often heard them exchange names or make some comment abut the weather or her pretty shoes. Bob’s first question is often “What do you do?” He’s asking Ron about his job, how he earns his living. I want to tell Ron not to say he’s a dentist or an electrician. Instead, to answer by saying he carves bird houses, builds ships in bottles, plays tennis and golf.


Bob will  persist. He can’t place Ron  unless he knows where his bucks come from. I’d like to hear Ron reply “Today I took my kids to the park, cut the grass, played two sets of tennis and made fettuccini alfredo for dinner.”


In dismay, thinking this Ron’s an idiot, Bob may walk away. Ron gave Bob nearly a dozen other things to talk about and he didn’t take the bait. It’s now time for Ron to ask himself if he wants a new friend who has his career confused with life. Does he want to swim with a fish that won’t bite


Our lives are our thoughts and feelings, the people who surround us, our activities beyond nine to five The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait too long to begin it. Life is not a final exam: it’s daily pop quizzes which you prepare for, not by studying,

but by doing. I sometimes think it’s like an onion. You peal off one layer at a time and sometimes you weep but it’s well to remember that rain must fall for flowers to bloom


As long as we live a part of that life ought to be to do for others whatever we can. The lives we touch, for good or for ill, touch other lives and no one can know where the ripples will cease


Post a comment.


Julie Rose



Leave a comment »



Once in a while I attend Sabbath services and most often I don’t open the prayer book to the correct page but to a selection of supplementary readings that appear at the back of the book. There I often I find words that ‘click’ for me.

Neither of these selections is ancient Greek poetry or Shakespeare but I find them thought provoking and comforting.

Each year should be the best year we have yet lived

Each year we are more learned in the ways of life

Each year we are wiser than the year before ……

The sunrises are one year more familiar

The sunsets one year less fearful

And the peace of the night is one year closer.


Is the first line of that intended to be inspirational?  Is the last line intended to offer comfort?  Is it true that we become wiser year by year?


Another from a memorial service.

“We are children in a park filled with many gardens,

playgrounds and azure tinted lakes . . .

Come with me, it is your bedtime

Stars shine in the canopy of eternity.”


I have no fear of death though I hope the grim reaper will wait a few more years to claim me.  I’d like to be around when my grandchildren marry – perhaps long enough to have a great-grandchild.

I do, however, resent the cost of dying. It would suit me just fine if my children dug a hole on a shady hillside somewhere and threw me into it, or if they wrapped me in a white sheet, took me to the middle ofLake Michigan, and dumped me overboard.  Why should it cost thousands of dollars to dispose of a body? Why do people break the bank to erect marble headstones?

I do not want a headstone and thus cannot write my own epigraph, but I can write my own obituary. It wouldn’t recount my history or announce to the world I was a decent cook and could sometimes be witty. It might say:


Proud mother and grandmother

of people who epitomize what

God intended when he created mankind.

            Julie Rose


Leave a comment »




Once, at a stressful time in my life, I escaped – not by running way or seeing a shrink – but by writing several short pieces that are fantasies. Expressing a fantasy was, for me, cathartic. From time to time I will share one of them with you. Come along and dream with me.




My workaday world is far different in my fantasy than it is in reality. I am the impossible image of the successful woman. I look like the front cover of Vogue and own enough designer clothes for ten people. I successfully juggle home, family, husband, job and travel. My children are well-adjusted, my husband supportive and loving. I have time for travel, charitable work and the health club. There are forty-eight hours in every day.


As the owner of my own business I travel internationally. I am a consultant and develop cooperative programs between university research departments and industry. When I learned that a South American university had developed a method of extracting protein from banana leaves, I negotiated a licensing agreement with a  Guatemalan chemical company. It has since had to hire additional employees and an international marketing consultant. I am frequently called upon by the governments of third world countries to develop similar programs.


I have a sumptuous penthouse office with a teak desk and three secretaries. My employees are caught up in the challenging atmosphere and are a joy to work with. We are a fine-tuned team, hitting the basket every time. I have achieved recognition for my acumen and am frequently interviewed by the media. Currently, I am negotiating with a movie studio which wants to do a film of my story.  I am soon to meet with Meryl Strep and Judi Dench to determine who is to play the leading role. I hold an M.B.A. from Harvard and was valedictorian of my class. I also hold a Ph.D in Greek History fromCambridge.


I live in a sprawling ranch, surrounded by gardens, high on a cliff overlooking the Pacific with a dock that houses our 58’ sailboat and we frequently go for long cruises accompanied by a Japanese tutor for the children. The children also have a resident tutor who is a violinist and I’m thrilled the kids are learning to play that instrument. My husband and I entertain frequently. I enjoy setting a beautiful table and cooking elegant dinners.


It is satisfying to be respected; to know I am making some significant contribution to humanity and to share my good fortune with my family. It feels like being wrapped in ermine to be tall, slim, rich, successful, respected by my peers and loved by my family.


Who is this lady?


What’s your fantasy?


Julie Rose


Leave a comment »


This is another in a collection of children’s stories featuring The Old Witch and the many odd characters who live with her.


Once there was a warlock named Slobbola who was the world’s biggest slob. One day he knocked on the Old Witch’s door and the minute she opened it he said to her, “Please let me live with you, Old Witch. I have no place else to go.”

The Old Witch met Slobolla once before in another life and she knew about Slobbola’s messy habits but she felt sorry for him and thought maybe he’d changed. “Well,” she said, I’m not sure about that. I would like to help you Slobolla, but I will not tolerate a slob living in my house.”

Slobolla started to cry, turned away from the door and started to leave.

“Wait,” said the Old Witch. “I’ll give you a chance. Don’t let me down.”

“I’ll try,” he said.

Slobolla did try but he remained a slob.  His bedroom looked like a battlefield. Things were thrown all around the floor and draped all over the chairs. He kicked his dirty clothes under the bed.  He was always dirty, messy, disorganized.  He never washed a dish, and never picked up his dirty socks. He did, however, keep the door to his room closed so the others wouldn’t have to look at his mess.

The day soon came when the very neat and tidy Wizard said to the Old Witch, “I can’t stand Slobbola’s messiness any more.  He makes the whole house look like a pigpen. This morning he came in from the yard and tracked mud all over the floor.  Yesterday I had to fish hair out of the bathtub after he got out. Either he goes, or I do!”

The same day, everyone else in the Old Witch’s said just about the same thing.  They all threatened to leave unless the Old Witch got rid of Slobbola.

By the end of the day the Old Witch knew she had a big problem.

Rusty, the Skeleton, asked the Old Witch, “Why don’t you just tell Slobbola to leave and take his mess somewhere else?”

“Because Slobbola has nowhere else to live,” she said.  “And, I like him. Sometimes he’s funny and he makes me laugh.”

“But he gets on our nerves,” said Rusty. “Do something, Old Witch, or we are all out of here. You’d better do it fast because everyone is already packing their suitcases.”

The Old Witch had to find a solution or soon the only guest in her house would be Slobbola. She liked having all the others around. They made her life interesting and she didn’t want them to leave so she sent Slobbola a telepathic message and asked him to come to her room for a little chat.

“Why are you such a slob?” she asked him.  You are causing me no end of trouble. Everyone wants to leave me because they can’t stand your messiness.”

“If I tell you,” said Slobbola, “I’ll be turned into a frog forever.”

“Ah, ha,” the Old Witch said. “Someone placed an evil spell on you. Right?”

“Slobbola replied, “I can’t . . .  I can’t tell you anything.”

Immediately the Old Witch knew that Slobbola was the victim of evil magic and being a slob was part of the curse. She reached out and took hold of Slobbola’s sticky hand and said, “Poor fellow.  The Evil One got you, didn’t he?  I will remove the curse he put on you.”

Right away she went to her library of magic books to look for the answer to the problem. With the help of the Wizard, the Phantom and the Weasel it took only a few hours to find the solution to Slobbola’s problem. The magic words were on page 125 in the Book of Curses. Before the Old Witch could say the magic words, the doorbell rang.

“Old Witch, Old Witch, this is Sara. May I please come in?”

“Sure Sara.  Come in.  You’re going to love watching what I am about to do.” The Old Witch then told Sara all about Slobbola and his curse and what she intended to do about it.

“Wait,” said Sara.  “You might be making a mistake. My Daddy told me you must not act quickly when things appear to be simple,” said Sara. “You must look for traps and devious evil plots.”

“Sara is 100% right,” said the suspicious Weasel. “The removal of Slobbola’s curse looks too simple. It may be some kind of a trap and I don’t want to be trapped.”

“Nobody is going to trap anybody here,” said the Old Witch. “I want to hear what everybody has to say about this before we decide what to do. Let’s take a break and think carefully about what Sara and the Weasel have said before we do anything”.

“Old Witch,” said Sara. “I’m a little hungry.  Can we can have some Chinese ribs and egg rolls during our recess?”

“Of course, Sara,” she said. “Take orders from everyone. Call Won Ton Tony and place an order. I’ll have some Mongolian Beef and thanks for warning all of us. You were right and we do have to think this over carefully before we take any action.”

“Rumple, food’s coming,” hollered Sara. For the next hour everyone enjoyed the tasty Chinese food delivered by Won Ton Tony. When the last little rib and the last fortune cookie were gone everyone except Slobbola felt full and ready for a nap. Poor Slobbola’s stomach was twisted in knots and he couldn’t eat. What would happen to him if the Old Witch made a mistake when she removed the curse placed on him by the Evil One. He couldn’t forget the Evil One’s words: “If you tell your friend, the Old Witch, and she tries to remove my curse, watch out! I’ll put another one on you.”

It was their turn so Sara, Rumple and Mr. Googolplex cleaned up the kitchen. Everyone else started to talk about Slobbola’s problem.

“In my judgment,” said the Phantom, who had fought many battles with the Evil One, “this curse was placed on Slobbola by the Evil One.”

“I agree,” said Count Morbid. “We must beware of his deadly tricks. We can’t underestimate his cleverness and his intelligence.”

Then Sara, who had just finished sweeping the kitchen floor, said to everyone, “Let’s just do the unexpected.  That’s what my Daddy always tells me to do in times like this.”

“Yikes!” screamed the Old Witch.  “I have a great idea.  It doesn’t involve the risk of using magic at all.  Let’s trick the Evil One into removing the curse himself,” she said.

“How?” asked everyone.

“Simple.  We just take advantage of rule #43, which is the hospitality rule. That rule says that all witches, warlocks, ghosts, gremlins, and all others from our world, must accept all visitors into their homes for two weeks if they are homeless.  Let’s pretend to throw Slobbola out of my house and send him to stay with the Evil One for two weeks.”

“I get it,” said the Wizard. “The Evil One will be driven crazy by Slobbola’s messiness and he’ll have to remove the curse. Right?”


“What if the Evil One just ignores rule #43 and won’t let Slobbola stay at his house?” asked Sara.

“Then we report it to the Sorcerer, the enforcer of our rules,” said the Old Witch.

“Who is the Sorcerer?”

“You have a lot to learn about our world, Sara,” said the Old Witch. “You can compare the Sorcerer to the head honcho of the FBI. He has the power to enforce our rules. Not even the Evil One dares to offend the Sorcerer.”

“Wow!” said Sara.  “I’d like to meet this . . . this . . what is he?  A Ghost?  A Warlock?”

“When you are older, Sara,” said the Old Witch, “and I have taught you much more about us, then you can meet the Sorcerer, if he chooses to meet you.  He does not like to meet ordinary human beings.”

The Old Witch’s plan worked out just the way she hoped it would. On his first day in the Evil One’s house, Slobbola left bacon grease on the kitchen floor, dirty socks on the living room couch, a pile of hair in the bathroom sink and four wet towels in the bathtub. The second day Slobbola tracked mud through the whole house, spilled his hot chocolate all over the kitchen floor and kicked his smelly t-shirt under the stove. By the third day the Evil One couldn’t even take a shower without first cleaning up the bathroom. On the fourth day the Evil One gave up and removed the curse. It took the poor guy almost a whole week to clean up the rest of Slobbola’s mess.

Soon after the Evil One removed the curse, Slobbola appeared on the Old Witch’s front porch. “Look at Slobbola!” everyone said when he walked into the house. He was dressed in a very stylish blue suit and striped red tie. He had a crisp, white handkerchief in his breast pocket and there wasn’t a smidgen of grease or dirt on his hands. Even his fingernails were clean and his shiny shoes glowed.

“Hello everyone,” he said.  “I’m back and . . . hey . . . this place is a mess! I see dust on the rug and what’s that cobweb doing in the corner up there? How come nobody’s swept the kitchen floor since I left? Whose dirty sneakers are parked over there by the door? Gee, you guys are messy. Where’s the vacuum cleaner?”

Slobbola then handed the Old Witch an envelope with a message from the Evil One.

“My dear, disgusting Old Witch:” it said.

“Congratulations!  You won this battle but our war is by no means over.  Sooner or later I will defeat you and claim leadership of our world.  For now you can have Slobbola back.  You will soon find out that Slobbola is no longer a slob. Has he started to vacuum your rugs yet?  HaHaHa. Don’t bother trying to send Slobbola back to me again. I have sold my house and moved to my secret home inTransylvania.

Worst regards, The Evil One”

When the Old Witch finished reading the letter, everyone started to laugh and laugh and laugh some more. They stopped when they heard a noise that got louder and louder and louder.  Over the drone of the vacuum cleaner, they could hear Slobbola repeating over and over again, “I hate dust. I hate dirt. I hate slobs. I hate cobwebs.”

The Wizard looked at the Old Witch and said, “Our old Slobbola no longer exists. This new guy is like a stranger.  He’s so clean! Maybe he’ll wash everyone’s clothes and even clean the basement!”

That is how Slobbola got a new name, a name no one is likely to forget. He is now called Mr. Clean.

Leave a comment »






I cannot tell you why I write. There is nothing to be gained by doing so. I’m not gong to win a Nobel Prize or retire on the royalties from my novels. So why do I do it? Why am I compelled to write almost to the exclusion of doing anything else?


Perhaps the answer is that writing like talking without being interrupted. And why is it that you an search for an idea until your brain bleeds, then suddenly one comes rushing in unbidden and you dash to your desk, all else forgotten? The writer can no more stop the words from flowing than he can stop the snow from falling. The difference between writers and others is that writers have a lot on the inside they need to get on the outside and it’s the same with dancers and artists.


When I decided to try my hand at some poetry I discovered I had a head full of ideas and thought I’d never given voice to .  You don’t normally say to someone “Do you think imagination is the highest kite you can fly,” do you?  Or “Do you know what I mean when I ask you if you can squint?”  Ideas like that came pouring out in the form of rather pediatric poetry.


I don’t expect that anything I write will win a blue ribbon but it seems to me that I have succeeded if my words are found to be interesting, challenging or inspiring. If they raise a question in the mind of the reader that’s a plus.  If they send the reader in search of more information or inspire his curiosity that’s better than a gold medal as far as I’m concerned.


Isaac Asimov summed up his passion for writing, saying, “If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.”

Julie Rose


1 Comment »