Our USA Autumn

Page 1




AUTUMN, 2013


Our Country - Our People - Our Stories


Our USA Magazine

my notes

Absolutely love the iconic image on the cover of this June, 1939 copy of LIFE Magazine, so much that we adapted it for our use, and are forever indebted to Time/Life. Aside from the image, the headline, America’s Future seems so relevant to what American’s are experiencing today. The more things change, the more they remain the same, except maybe the price!

Cher Valentino, Editor

Back Cover - Bob Oswald lightbanditphotography.zenfolio.com Center Spread - Forest Wander http://www.forestwander.com

Wendy Junker, Marketing Director CJ, Production Manager Debra Jennings, Text Editing Bubba, Director of Goodwill

P. 10 Forest Wander http://www.forestwander.com P. 16, 17 Bob Oswald


P. 23 Phaedra Wilkinson http://pinterest.com/phaewilk P. 26 Jeffrey Bunce http://www.harmonyhillart.com P. 27 Kristin Talluto http://www.kmtphotography.org Click on the above cover for more archived issues of LIFE.

P. 54 Milan delVecchio http://Milandelvecchio.com

Autumn, our favorite time of the year. The dazzling colors, the thankful harvest, the wonderful crisp air, hay rides, and pumpkin pies, and warm fireplaces. We’ve added a diversity of images and thoughts about what autumn means to us inside this issue. And of course we are ever so thankful to all our wonderful contributors for their amazing creativity in words, pictures and art.

P. 59 Amber S. Wallace https://amberwallacephotography. shutterfly.com

I hope you enjoy our autumn issue, and as always, if you have a downto-earth story, a poignant memory, an amusing anecdote or fantastic photography or art to share with us and your fellow Americans, please do so at www.ourusamagazine.com. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.


P. 60, 61, 106 Br. Paul Richards http://www.geneseeabbey.org

our usa magazine PO Box 275 Leicester, NY 14481 PO Box 761 Sidney, NE 69162

www.ourusamagazine.com admin@ourusamagazine.com



Autumn ‘13 Copyright © 2013

All rights reserved. Reproduction in any manner, in whole or part is prohibited.

Our USA Magazine

Our Country, Our People, Our Stories

Fall 2013

10 Embracing

Autumn’s Harmony

“The falling leaves drift by my window, the falling leaves of red and gold.” Looking forward to a new season.


How I Spent My Summer Vacation

The auto trips of my childhood gave me an appreciation for this amazing and diverse country and the people living in it.

18 Real Housewives of the Cold War

The problem that had no name was so unfathomable no one even thought they had a problem.

28 A Family Tradition

36 The Classic T Celebrating 100 years, the modest t-shirt has stood the test of time.

46 The Better You Know America

The better the future looks. Looking ahead, from a 1954 perspective.

Honoring, acknowledging and serving.

40 Building A Nation 54 The Gatekeeper

30 Top 11 Songs for

Honoring the many American workers whose jobs were crucial in building our nation.

a Better World

To abolish war, racism, hate and poverty, rockers have created anthems that have moved people to contribute money, take to the streets or just live in harmony.

Photo: Amber S. Wallace

Our USA Magazine



An amount by which the cost of something exceeds its value. Have we lost too much?

Visual fantasy and delight at the entrance of your next fate!

56 Awaken to Your Own Authority

Still seeking the world’s approval? Maybe after reading this, you won’t need to.

60 Sunrise at the

82 Sick As A Dog

One of the most beautiful places in all the world.

Man’s best friend shouldn’t get such a bad rap–especially when they help to make the impossible, possible.

Abbey of the Genesee

66 Adopt Me Every sentient being wants love and compassion.

68 Urban Homestead

70 The Story of

Bottled Water

6 7 Contributors A Lion of America 9

Overcoming many personal challenges, one young man is now aspiring to change the lives of many.

91 Good Boy Roy

Detox Diet

It’s not only healthy for you, it’s morselicious!

78 Open Hearth Cooking

Experience the enjoyment of preparing, savoring, and eating meals from an open hearth.

16 My Hometown Vanishing America

22 I’m Just Sayin’ Hissy Fits

26 The First Time Poetry & Photos

A very talented ZMan!

Should we believe the hype?

74 21-Day Ultimate

3 Photographers

We’re all characters...which one are you?

92 This Happily

Haunted House

38 Made in USA

104 History of Handwritten Letters Infographic 108 Resources

Scary, frightening–words you associate with ghosts, right? Not necessarily so.

96 Italians in America Italians and their descendents helped shape this country, and were, in turn, shaped by it.

Our USA Magazine


A homegrown revolution being fought right on the outskirts of Los Angeles.



A Shout Out to Our Contributors Kay Thomas Kay Thomas has lived in the rural Finger Lakes hills of western New York for many years. After a successful teaching career, she is pursuing opportunities in freelance writing. Her first book, “AND ONE MORE THING: I Brake for Squirrels and Other Thoughts I Have No Doubt About” is based on her bi-weekly social commentary column in the Livingston County News, Geneseo, NY. http://overaroundhills.blogspot.com

Gloria Doty

Gloria Doty is a writer, author, blogger and speaker living in Indiana. She has 5 children, 13 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. Although she has had many different occupations in her lifetime, she has finally settled on being a full-time writer. Please visit her blog written about her special needs daughter: www.gettingitright-occasionally.blogspot.com and her website: www.writingbygloria.com

Sally Edelstein Sally Edelstein is an award-winning artist and writer whose work has focused on mid-century American culture. Her nationally exhibited collages of vintage imagery offer a remix of popular culture. Her blog, EnvisioningTheAmericanDream.wordpress.com, offers up a curated collection of vintage advertising and illustrations of mid-century American consumer culture. Weaving personal stories along with vintage images, the commentaries are an amalgam of satire, history and memoir. www.sallyedelsteincollage.com

Shelly Gail Morris Shelly Gail Morris is “everybody’s girlfriend.” A southern girl, Shelly was born in Atlanta, GA and now resides in good, old Nashville, TN. She has been married for 26 years and has two boys and two dogs. She enjoys writing about strong women pursuing their dreams and following their hearts. Her new book, “Mae’s Open Arms,” is available now from Oak Tara Publishing. www.ShellyGailMorris.com

Barbara Hamp-Weisksel I was born and raised in Lancaster County, PA and now reside in San Diego, CA. I am a Civil War buff, a photographer, and a writer. I blog and share my photos at: barbarahampweicksel.com. My first book: The Be Something Project - 30 Daily Inspirations To Change How You Look At The World - is being released September 3, 2013 on amazon.com.

Tami Richards Tami Richards lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon, where she enjoys caring for her four grandchildren, two dogs and her wonderful husband. Day trips, photography, poetry, paper crafting, writing, and making duct tape projects are among her other passions. You can follow Tami at www.herrhetoric.wordpress.com.

Our USA Magazine

Milan delVecchio Milan DelVecchio is an illustrator and motion graphics fine artist. She has contributed concept art to Ars Electronica, children’s book illustrations to international authors, and worked as a costume designer for the Opera Theater Music Festival in Lucca, Italy. She received a BS in Fashion Design from The University of Cincinnati’s College of DAAP in 2010, and an MFA in Computer Art with a concentration in motion graphics from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2013. http://Milandelvecchio.com

Tama J. Kieves

Tama Kieves is the best-selling author of “This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love!” and “Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work!” As a sought after speaker and career coach, she has helped thousands worldwide to discover, launch, and live the work and life of their dreams. Visit her at www.TamaKieves.com and sign up for her free “Inspired Success Launch You Kit” and free mojo-messages. And join her Facebook tribe!

Larry W. Fish Larry was born and raised in the beautiful Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. In 2004 he moved to North Carolina with his wife, Lina. He enjoys writing short stories of his youth, politics, nature, and scary fictional stories. Larry’s first novel Golden Haze won critical acclaim, his second novel Walk to Love should be in book stores soon. Follow Larry on his blog, “Writing by Fish” http://lwfish62.blogspot.com

Maura Knowles

I am a professional actor/singer/writer and baker. I created Mac-n-Mo’s Morselicious Treats for my Dad, a diabetic, and a recent quadruple bypass surgery survivor. Mac and Mo’s is a vegan baked goods company committed to producing the healthiest treats possible for kids and adults alike. We use only wholesome, locally sourced ingredients to create gluten-free, no-salt, no-addedsugar treats that you can enjoy guilt-free. http://macnmos.com

Angela Madaras I am happily married to partner-artist Douglas Madaras, while healing my way through life with the help of loved ones, meditation, playing in the lake, organic gardening, cooking, and a strong belief in living life with joy and gratitude. I am incredibly blessed to be alive, and love sharing my journey with others through writing, growing food for our CSA family, and sharing recipes. You can find me at http://angelasguide.com

Mark Barkawitz Mark Barkawitz has earned awards for his fiction, poetry, essays and screenwriting. His work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, literary journals, ‘zines and on dozens of websites. He has IMDb feature film credits as screenwriter, actor and associate producer. He has taught creative writing classes, coached a championship track team of student/athletes, and ran the 2001 L.A. Marathon. He lives with his wife and two children in Pasadena, CA . http://markbark.org

Our USA Magazine

South Wedge Soap, P.O. Box 31251 Rochester, NY 14603-1251. 800-888-8468 http://southwedgesoap.com

Favor your skin naturally with handcrafted soap made from ingredients traditionally used for skin care by indigenous cultures worldwide. We utilize food grade seed and nut oils, floral and herbal essential oils, natural plant materials, and high purity water extracts thereof. Each bar incorporates at least one ingredient tenderly grown in the “South Wedge� of Rochester, New York, a prized horticultural area for the last hundred years. Remaining flora are purchased from cultivated sustainably farmed sources, not robbed from the wild. The base oils are made into soap by the energy efficient cold process which retains the natural glycerin yielding a softer texture soap than commercial hot process bars. Our soap contains neither animal by-products, synthetic fragrance, nor detergents. Recycled paper and cellulose film packaging is thoroughly biodegradable.

Our USA Magazine

A Shout Out to Our Contributors

Susie Duncan Sexton

As I consider myself nothing more than Peter Sellers in Being There, or at my liveliest as Inspector Clousseau, it is difficult to make “Susie” sound interesting. I am proudest of being mother of Roy, whom I consider the person I would most wish to be. I grew up in a very small town, and after having ventured briefly out and away, returned to my roots, be that what it may, and I shall discuss that aspect of my life some other day. I love to rhyme, and I always have time...for stray animals and causes which involve “innocents” being victimized by our self-centered society.

Mike Virgintino Mike Virgintino is a marketing communications executive who has directed corporate, nonprofit and product branding initiatives that rely on public relations, public affairs, corporate social responsibility, community relations and related strategies. Mike also has provided communication services for historical sites and organizations, combining his communications skills with his interest in the Revolutionary War and Civil War. http://sites.google.com/site/michaelrvirgintino

Bob Oswald

Bob Oswald, a retired 30-year veteran of Eastman Kodak, devotes his time to all sorts of photographic expression – including portrait, commercial, travel, fine arts and loving all those things that creep, crawl and fly – wildlife photography. http://lightbanditphotography.zenfolio.com

Kristin Talluto

I am a self-taught photographer, proficient in manual exposure, with over ten years of experience working as professional photographer. I have photographed for private studios, as well as events for the Real Housewives of NY and NJ. My portrait work has garnered national awards and has been seen in many publications including Connextion Magazine. I recently opened a new studio in North Brunswick, NJ – Kamali Studios http://www.kmtphotography.org

Amber S. Wallace Amber S. Wallace, a photographer in the foothills of North Carolina, thoroughly enjoys all of the creative aspects that are involved in the art of photography. Amber’s personal ambition in a photo is to show her unique art style through a combination of location, fashion, props, models, mood and light. You can follow her new blog at https://amberwallacephotography.shutterfly.com or find her on Facebook: Amber S. Wallace Photography.

Photo: Brother Paul Richards Our USA Magazine

Embracing Autumn’ s Harmony By Kay Thomas


Our USA Magazine

Virginia Autumn Mountain Foliage Photo Credit - Forest Wander Our USA Magazine 11


can’t help it. My heart beats a melancholy song when Labor Day sneaks up. I want to hang on to summer a wee bit longer, like a youngster at the neighborhood pool dreaming of stretching out every drop of summer before returning to school. However, I am realistic. Changes are in the air and fall is inching into my life one baby step at a time. A few colorful leaves have dropped in very conspicuous places hinting for me to take notice that summer has wrapped up ever so quickly. A long-sleeved shirt is the clothing of my choice early in the morning. Those dependable tank tops have departed for their winter’s hibernation at the bottom of the pile. They had plenty of wear over the hot summer and deserve a decent rest.


Our USA Magazine

It’s inevitable that cooler temperatures will come at night, although Indian summer days are pleasant surprises in the Northeast. And I don’t take them for granted either. I find any excuse to be outside— waxing the car, pruning the trees, and gathering bouquets of deep orange jack-in-the-pulpits. Afternoons can be spectacular in their blues streaming across the cloudless sky, and for the warmth on my skin while I am cleaning out my gardens—a chore for every autumn and necessary payback for the beauty of the summertime flower displays. I gaze up at the hills and remark to those creatures hiding nearby in the bushes to come out and have a look at the swatches of browns, oranges and reds dotting the landscape. .

Having taught school for years, I automatically sense a new start at this time of year, too, and although I no longer buy back-to-school clothes and black and white notebooks, it is practical to purchase computer printer cartridges for the writing set out for me. My mother claimed that she disliked fall more than anytime because school would start and she would be home alone again. Today, on the other hand, I often hear young parents sighing in relief when the family gets on a regular routine with homework and soccer games mixing and matching into crowded days. If you are a four-season type of person, you have your being in the cycles of nature around you. Where you choose to live your life and for

what purpose is less important than the attitude you have on a daily basis about the meaning of your existence. Getting the optimum out of life is a thought process more than a physical one. I actually look forward to each new season for what it may bring. It is the way I keep my life glued together sensibly. I am not sure that I would want to be celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays swimming at the beach, although I have done it on occasion in Florida. I get a lot of strange looks from people who seem to think that a warmer climate is the answer to their woes. Well, it might work for them, and who am I to answer for someone else? Retirees begin to anticipate the first snowflake in September, and hightail it south faster than a jackrabbit on the run from a predator. There is a sacred flow of rhythm to a year. I find myself immersing in each cycle and embracing what my

body and soul receive. When I feel activity coming on, I go with it. Cooler temperatures make me more active, and I walk for miles at all times of the day, releasing thoughts cluttering my head. It never fails, though, that when I return to the house, I will have the beginning of an article written that will go directly to paper. I am excited getting an e-mail notice alerting me that my bulb order will be arriving early next week. It is fall planting time, and the garden soon will be chock full of new daffodils, hyacinths and tulips. From the dining room window I will be able to look out at them sleeping in the ground, and imagine the elegance of their show in the springtime. Their beauty will come up after a long winter’s dreariness, and I will be grateful that I got them started in the fall in an all-new area in the yard that pays tribute to my sister, a lover of colorful flowers and plants during her lifetime.

Pumpkins surround my entry way and they are sparkling with dew running off their faces in the early hours of the morning. Leaves upon leaves drift down, all to be blown away, and I wonder if their descent will ever end before my energy runs out. That’s when I remind myself that raking is a perfect fitness exercise, and worth accomplishing in fresh air. All things natural wither and die. The spectacular display of fall foliage and a celebration of the harvest is a finalizing of the season. There is one special dinner serving local produce on handmade pottery designed for the occasion that I attend every year. Two ceramic artists make it an event with the help of nearby restaurants. I am fortunate enough to live in a safe place, and I can take deep breathes in peace and contentment. For all my worldly travels, I am drawn back home not wanting to miss the orchestrated canvas of color in the fall.

Our USA Magazine 13

How I spent my summer


By Gloria Doty

I was 18-months old when I took my first auto trip. It was from Indiana to New Mexico, and although I have no recollection of it, I’ve heard about it enough times to believe that I do remember it. My mother wanted to visit her sister who was living in Albuquerque with her husband, a student at the University of New Mexico. My dad loaded my grandmother, my 9-year-old sister, my mother and me into a used car and we set out for the Southwest. My father was the only driver, so he did what is unimaginable today: he drove over 2600 miles with no interstates, no cell phone,no radio, no air conditioning and no GPS; only a map, an extra pair of glasses and a lot of faith.


Our USA Magazine

He fell in love with traveling across this beautiful country, so every year following that initial trip, we went to some part of the 48 states. (Note: This was 1948 and there were only 48 states.) Our days on the road followed a pattern. We would be in the car and on our way by 6 a.m. each morning. It was cooler then (the car had no air conditioning) and traffic was lighter (there were only two-lane highways.) After two hours of driving, Dad would stop at a café for breakfast. Every small town in America had at least one of these establishments. As a child, I was fascinated by the doll-sized glass bottles filled with cream, which the waitress brought with my parents’ coffee. The locals, who were in the café having their morning coffee, were always friendly and asked where we were from and where we were headed. After breakfast, we would crawl back into the car for the longest stretch of the day’s drive. Around noon, my father would stop for gas. While the attendant was filling the tank, checking the oil and washing off the many bugs that had met their fate on the windshield, we would all use the restroom. Usually, the restroom door was outside the station and you had to get the key from the person working inside at the counter. While we were in the town getting gas, my mother would find the local grocery and purchase enough food for our lunch. This usually consisted of bologna for sandwiches, a can of cold pork and beans, and maybe a cookie and sliced peaches and water or Kool-Aid. We didn’t have a cooler, so she only bought what we could consume in one meal. To this day, the wonderful aroma of waxed

paper cups brings back visions of a squatty green metal thermos with an aluminum lid and a spout on the side. We wouldn’t eat lunch until we found a roadside park. Usually, the park consisted of a grassy space on the side of the highway with just enough room for a car to pull off safely. There would be one or two wooden picnic tables and a green barrel for trash. As we sat and ate, we would see some of the trucks that had impeded our forward progress, roll past. This meant, of course, we would have to pass them again. Then it was time to get back in the car. The black highway with the yellow lines painted down the middle stretched ahead of us like a ribbon, sometimes curling around a curve and up and down the dips in the road. The only thing that slowed our progress was a slow-moving vehicle or a semi-truck. I remember standing on the “hump” in the back seat (no seat belts) and watching as my dad would pull the car over the center line just enough to see if there was any oncoming traffic. If not, he would pull into the left lane and pass, but occasionally, especially in a hilly stretch, it could be twenty minutes before it was safe to pass the vehicle in front of us. Around 4 p.m., my parents would start looking for a motel or cabins with a ‘vacancy’ sign. My father would register, pay and get the key. We would rest for a while before eating dinner at a restaurant. Usually, it was within walking distance of our motel. After dinner and before an early bedtime, we would sit outside our room in the provided lawn chairs and chat with other travelers. It was interesting to hear about their home states and their destinations. It seemed to me as though everyone

traveled somewhere in the summer. Occasionally, there were sight seeing opportunities on the way to our final destination, so we would spend time exploring these wonders, also. It was an education no schoolbook could have provided. I knew first hand what the Rocky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, and the Statue of Liberty looked like. I saw palm trees in Florida, visited Washington D.C., and saw rows of combines making their way across the vast wheat fields of Kansas. I waded in the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, swam in the Great Salt Lake, and felt spray on my face at Niagara Falls. By the time I was 10 years old, I had been in 40 of the 48 states. When a teacher talked about a particular location, I knew exactly what it looked like. I saw cities and farms that were not like the ones in Indiana, and had the opportunity to talk to children who looked and sounded different than I did. The auto trips of my childhood gave me an appreciation for this amazing and diverse country and the people living in it. I truly enjoy every type of travel, but traveling by car is still my favorite. My parents were by no means wealthy; they saved for this one expenditure each year, and I am eternally grateful for the many experiences and the education that the travels provided.

Our USA Magazine 15

Vanishing America

Photo Journal By Robert Oswald


Our USA Magazine

Our USA Magazine 17

The Real Housewives of the Cold War

By Sally Edelstein

with Tuesday’s, pick-ups and deliveries reversed, or when a tired mother deposited the last child and stayed for a quick cup of instant coffee. It was over the roar of the dryers in the afternoons, while casseroles simmered in automatic ovens back home, that these women gave full voice to secret whispering fears. Somehow dread words could be spoken and reassurances offered.

ike most women growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, I was fed a generous serving of sugar-coated media stereotypes of happy homemakers who were as frozen and neatly packaged as the processed foods they served their cold war families. The Feminine Mistake 1960 In the years before I went to kindergarten, I shadowed my mother Betty everywhere she went. Within her suburban sphere of influence, I was a contented little satellite, spinning in her orbit. Whether shopping or schlepping, picking up or dropping off, I would follow in her footsteps…literally. The task I enjoyed tagging along with the most was her weekly appointment at the Glam-A-Rama Beauty Parlor. 18

Our USA Magazine

The beauty parlor was a unique universe unlike any place else, where unfamiliar, strange-looking equipment was being used by familiar neighborhood women looking strange. All dressed alike, their ordinary clothes replaced by identical leopard print smocks, it was a universe with its own uniform. A universe where gossip was as hot and swift as the air blowing through the missile shaped hairdryers, a world where I was privy to carefully guarded grown up secrets. Strange intimacies grew between women who organized carpools and now found themselves sitting, captive under pink hair dryers. These conversations were unlike the hurried confidences exchanged as Friday’s schedule was switched

Ladies Home Journal 5/52 - Illustration Al Parker


In the shadow of the hairdryers, as nails were polished, calluses scraped and hair teased, dread words could be safely spoken.

Sinking into a padded turquoise swivel styling chair, I sat next to Mom, carefully watching as Miss Blanche, the hairdresser, combed and teased, bombarding Mom with hairspray. This was truly a space age hair-do with its propulsion accomplished by strenuous backcombing. Mom would sit in the hydraulic chair reading 2-month-old, dogeared copies of McCalls and Good Housekeeping, while Miss Blanche maintained a steady flow of mindless chatter as she worked. Magazine Madness Tucked within those pages, the periodicals promised the modern mid-century housewife would find exactly the right information and products that would give her the knowledge to excel in her role as wife and mother. Glancing at her favorite magazines at the Glama-Rama only seemed to confirm what Mom knew in her heart to be true–that love, marriage, and children is “the” career for women.

“Yes,” she would read, nodding in agreement “for today’s homemaker, her home is her castle.” “Snug within it she basks in the warmth of a good man’s love… glories in the laughter of healthy children…glows with pride in every new acquisition that adds color or comfort, pleasure or leisure to her family’s life.”

between puffs of her Parliament, pointing to an article in one magazine, “are those who feel that household and community activities are for “squares.” The curler clad ladies nodded in unison. Homework

“And, she’s always there! She’s an up-to-date modern American homemaker.” Breathing in deeply of the beauty parlor air, heavy with the cloying sweetness of perfume diluted by the acrid smell of singed hair, Mom sighed contently. Of course, the gals all agreed, some poor mothers had to work to provide for their families. The big talk that day that set tongues wagging concerned Shirley Birnbaum, who was pregnant and planned to go back to work as a teacher after she had a baby! “But the ones I’d like to talk about,” our neighbor Estelle Wolfson said

By the fall of 1960 there had begun to appear some quiet rumblings among some unhappy housewives across the country. Now and again Mom would read an article, usually in the “Can This Marriage be Saved” column, about those few unfortunate women who felt stifled and lonely in their marriage. “Feminist’s” or anyone who couldn’t find fulfillment in the Lady Clairol-colorful cold war world of carpools, cookouts, cream of mushroom soup casseroles, and catering to contented children and happy-golucky husbands, were disturbed. Flipping through one magazine, she noticed that September’s Redbook offered a $500 prize for the best essay on “Why Young Mothers Feel Trapped.” It triggered an unexpectedly large response: 24,000 entries. Our USA Magazine 19

Another magazine, Good Housekeeping, also tapped into this vein of unhappiness with a September article of its own, “I Say: Women Are People Too.” The article caught Mom’s eye. It noted “a strange stirring, a dissatisfied groping, a yearning” by American women, a sense that there must be more to life than raising children and maintaining a clean, comfortable home. The magazine urged its readers to overcome their malaise by taking charge of their lives. “She can’t live through her husband and children.” It said of the typical housewife. “They are separate selves. She has to find her own fulfillment first.” 20

Our USA Magazine

The author of the Good Housekeeping article was by another Betty, Betty Friedan, a 39-year-old freelance writer from NY suburbs.

The Good Housekeeping piece sprang from this research. She had started a book manuscript by Oct 1960.

Friedan was asked to assemble a booklet for her Smith College class 15th reunion in 1957. She sent out questionnaires expecting to be inundated with cheerful stories about successful careers and young families. Many classmates responded with tales of depression and frustration. It was Friedan’s first clue than many thousands of women shared her own dissatisfaction.

The book entitled The Feminine Mystique wouldn’t be published until 1963.

The Smith questionnaire inspired her to undertake a detailed examination of what she called “the problem that has no name” interviewing hundreds of women in New York, Chicago, and Boston.

Mom dismissed these grumblings and put down the magazine. She never felt constrained. She saw her life as full of choices after all she as free to choose – automobiles, clothes appliances and supermarkets. Freedom was all around her.

Suddenly she was carefree with her automatic dishwasher; there was freedom from brushing between meals with Gleem toothpaste; you could relax if it’s Arnel with new ease of care; sofas covered with Velon plastic meant she was no longer a slave to delicate upholstery; even her waist whittling, calorie-curve-cuttin’ Playtex girdle promised her new freedom. And, best of all, there was freedom to choose from a dazzling assortment at the supermarkets. Patting her lush brown bouffant coif floating like a gentle cloud above her head, Mom left the beauty parlor happy. With a new recipe for cheese fondue clutched in her hands and a sure-fire solution for removing ring around the collar, Mom was content. For now my mother Betty would follow in the footprints of another Betty, Betty Crocker, satisfied in her role as housewife and mother. The problem that had no name was so unfathomable no one even thought they had a problem. It was buried as deeply as our missiles underground, and would cause the same explosion when they were released.

Our USA Magazine 21


I’m Just Sayin’

tressing out has become an art, I tell ya. Hissy fits, as they used to say, are a common occurrence. Everyone I know is stressing out, freaking out, wigging out and losing their minds! It’s customary these days. And the scale of reasons to freak out ranges from practically nothing to a big fat something. Life is difficult, but let’s don’t make it more difficult. Let’s take a moment and a deep breath and focus on the truly important issues of our lives. The toast is burnt, who cares? The vet bill is two hundred dollars, you’ll survive. Your son or daughter did not make the team, life will go on. At some point you have to accept that there is a higher power involved, and no matter how much you scream or plead your case, or lose your mind, you cannot change the outcome. Accept this notion. I feel like repeating that, but I won’t. Do not lie in bed at night and worry about the situations that you have absolutely no control over! The universe is bigger than you. I worked in a day spa and not a day went by that someone was not freaking out over something. It was a daily ritual and everyone got to play. Some women were far better at it than others. Some played the pitty card. Some were angry. Some were completely insane! I realized that everyone had problems they wanted to rant about. And I do think it’s


Our USA Magazine

By Shelly Gail Morris

good to get it out and hear what advice other gals can offer. But in the end, the individual has to deal with it. Isn’t it better to just deal and get it over with? Don’t prolong your misery. Face it. Deal.

And now there are so many medications to help deal with stress. Many, many young, healthy girls are medicating themselves. Don’t go there, honey! Stop the insanity. Side effects can make it all worse. Read the fine print. Seriously, just hash it out with your best girlfriend and save yourself a fortune and awful side effects. If you’re a bit older and going through truly tough times and momentous family problems— do whatever you have to do to get through it. And when life becomes sane again—throw the meds in the trash. Don’t live doped up. You’ll miss the difficult stuff but you’ll also miss the cool stuff. Be alert.

Forgive me if I state that I think teenage girls are the worst at freaking out. They are growing up seeing all antics on television and high school and have indubitably absorbed it. Don’t let your daughters fall apart over the little things. Teach your girls to be strong and have confidence and hold their heads up high. Tell them they are perfect just the way they are. Don’t let boys influence them. If they spend ten hours a day talking on the phone—that’s ten hours a day they aren’t listening to you. Teenage boys don’t know crap. (And I have one-sorry, Mitch.) The little punks are so not worth your daughter’s sanity. Try desperately to stay her friend, even if you are not her best friend. As parents we cannot indulge the drama. We have to say, get over it, move on, it’s no biggie. Sure some events are larger than others. But let’s don’t let the little things be turned into huge things. Teach them that it will be okay. Promise them that it’s not the end of the world. Implore them to be strong and show some class. Time does indeed heal. No medication. Suggest that they chillax! No more hissy fits! I’m just sayin’.

Photo Phaedra Wilkinson Our USA Magazine 23


Our USA Magazine

Our USA Magazine 25

Swappin’ Stories by Jeffrey Bunce


Our USA Magazine

The First Time When I was a small child, I’d say about four or five, My grandparents took me to a farm, It was there my first horse, I would ride. Frozen as I took my first glimpse, as this gentle creature seemed massive in size, Yet to be able to sit on such a beautiful animal, was indeed a magnificent prize. At first I felt frightened, and I do believe so did he, But the more I looked into his eyes, I knew as I saw him, he saw me. I noticed he no longer seemed wary, my Grandfather lifted me up I was very small and not too much weight to carry Aaah, the wind blew through my hair, and I felt so special to sit upon this strong creature, I felt each step he took, becoming one with him, Studying all of his features. I held on tight as his height seemed a story high, When the ride was almost over I felt as if I would cry I was brave enough to climb off my new found friend Walked around, reached out with my small hand, and touched his soft chin. We stared at each other as if we both knew, That it would be the first and last time we would meet My eyes filled with tears as my sadness grew I’ll never forget, and each time I see a horse, I remember, My first ride as a child on a Fall day in September

Words and photos by Kristin Talluto

Our USA Magazine 27

A Family Tradition

By Barbara Hamp-Weicksel


Our USA Magazine


n the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, World War I, the “war to end all wars” ended, and this day became known as Armistice Day. In 1926, the United States Congress passed a resolution to officially call November 11th Armistice Day, and in 1938, Armistice Day became a national holiday. Soon after the end of World War II, Raymond Weeks, himself a veteran organized a “National Veterans Day” with parades and many other festivities to honor all veterans of all wars. In 1954, Congress passed a bill proclaiming November 11th as Veteran’s Day. The bill was signed by perhaps one of our countries greatest men in uniform, President Dwight Eisenhower. I was raised in the 1950s in a small town in the southeast corner of Pennsylvania where we honored our war heros – dead and alive. We stood on State Street and waved little American flags as our veterans marched proudly down the street in their uniforms on Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Veterans Day. It didn’t matter that some of the uniforms didn’t quite fit anymore, or that they were frayed and moth-eaten – they were proud to wear them, and we were proud to see them march down the street in them. We laid wreaths and placed little American flags on the graves of all the veterans buried in our town’s cemetery, and we paused for a moment to remember their service and their sacrifice.


y family is a military family. It’s not that we like or glorify war; it is my family’s tradition. My great-grandfather wore a Union uniform and gathered the wounded and dying on the wheat fields of Gettysburg; my grandfather helped the wounded on the fields of France in World War I. My father helped clear the English Channel for the troops that landed on D-Day; my brother helped keep men alive in Da Nang, Vietnam during the Viet Nam War. There were also uncles, cousins and nephews proudly wearing the uniforms of our country’s Army and Navy during the Korean conflict, The Persian Gulf wars and Iraq and Afghanistan. Our mother instilled in my brother and me a love of country. She never talked of the purpose of the wars or conflicts – she only made sure we knew to honor the men who served in uniform. I’m not sure she ever understood the purpose of any war, but she certainly understood the value of the men and women who served in uniform, and it was this unwavering pride that she passed on to not only my brother and me, but to all who had the great fortune to hear the history of the United States through my mother’s voice.


erving our country is not just an honor” – she would say – “it’s our duty.” She believed it was the responsibility of every citizen to serve their country, if not by being in the military, with a simple “thank you for your service,” or a contribution to the USO, or sending cards and letters and donations to those who are overseas and in need of some comfort from home. Veterans Day to Mother was more than a holiday. It was a day to celebrate and honor and be proud of who we are and where we came from. Mother passed away on Veterans Day, November 11, 2012. “...it is well for us to pause, to acknowledge our debt to those who paid so large a share of freedom’s price. As we stand here in grateful remembrance of the veterans’ contributions we renew our conviction of individual responsibility to live in ways that support the eternal truths upon which our Nation is founded, and from which flows all its strength and all its greatness.” ~ President Dwight Eisenhower.

Our USA Magazine 29

(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Top 11 Songs for a Better World By Frank Mastropolo


hile rock ‘n’ roll has always celebrated love, laughter, and living large, its stars have also created music that has sparked social change. To abolish war, racism, hate and poverty, rockers have created anthems that have moved people to contribute money, take to the streets or just live in harmony. Songs that targeted the Vietnam War have been updated to address new conflicts; music that tackled hunger and discrimination are still relevant. Here is our list of the Top 11 Songs for a Better World.


Our USA Magazine

11. Edwin Starr – War With war raging in Vietnam in 1969, Motown’s Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong wrote what would become one of the best-selling protest songs: War. Originally recorded by the Temptations, Motown never intended to release War as a single. “It was buried on one of their albums,” soul shouter Edwin Starr told Super Seventies. “But then a lot of mail came in, mostly from students, asking why they didn’t release it on a 45. Well, that was a touchy time, and that song had some implications. It was a message record, an opinion record, and stepped beyond being sheer entertainment. It could become a smash record, and that was fine, but if it went the other way, it could kill the career of whoever the artist was.”

To avoid alienating the Tempts’ more conservative fans, Motown released War as a single by Starr, which hit number one in 1970; Bruce Springsteen also cracked the Top 10 with a live version in 1986. Starr maintained that people have misunderstood the song’s meaning. “It wasn’t about Vietnam. It never once mentioned the war in Vietnam,” Starr said. “Actually, we were talking about a war of people – the war people wage against each other on a day-to-day basis.”

10. The Beatles – All You Need is Love

In June 1967 Our World, a TV show watched by 400 million people in 26 countries, hoped to send a message of peace around the world; the Beatles were asked to contribute a new song. “We were big enough to command an audience of that size, and it was for love. It was for love and bloody peace,” said Ringo Starr in Anthology. “It was a fabulous time. I even get excited now when I realize that’s what it was for: peace and love, people putting flowers in guns.” Largely written by John Lennon, All You Need Is Love was recorded with the band surrounded by friends. “I remember the recording, because we decided to get some people in who looked like the ‘love generation,’” said George Harrison. “If you look closely at the floor, I know that Mick Jagger is there. But there’s also an Eric Clapton, I believe, in full psychedelic regalia and permed hair, sitting right there. We rehearsed for a while, and then it was: ‘You’re on at twelve o’clock, lads.’ The man upstairs pointed his finger and that was that. We did it – one take.” Though it seems uncomplicated, the song deserves a closer listen. “The chorus, ‘All you need is love,’ is simple, but the verse is quite complex; in fact I never really understood it, the message is rather complex,” said Paul McCartney in Many Years From Now. “It was a good song that we had handy that had an anthemic chorus.”

9. USA for Africa – We Are the World Africa’s people starved to death in the famine of 1984-1985, including one million in Ethiopia. “I think what’s happening in Africa is a crime of historic proportions,” said musician and activist Bob Geldof. “You walk into one of the corrugated iron huts and you see meningitis and malaria and typhoid buzzing around the air. And you see dead bodies lying side by side with the live ones. In some of the camps you see 15 bags of flour for 27,000 people.” To help, 45 of music’s biggest stars formed USA for Africa to record We Are the World. Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie, the proceeds of the record’s sales went to humanitarian aid. Two sessions were held in January 1985; superstars like Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross and Billy Joel each sang a solo line in the anthem. “It was really interesting and unique,” John Oates told Songfacts. “Who knows, it may never happen again in history. You have some of the world’s greatest singers in one room. We ran the song down once. The next thing you knew they ran the tape back and it was goosebump time. It was an amazing experience.” We Are the World helped raise more than $60 million for aid to Africa and the U.S.

8. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On? By 1970, Marvin Gaye had tired of performing his signature love songs. Anti-war demonstrations swept the country; Gaye’s brother Frankie described the death and destruction he’d seen in Vietnam. Gaye wanted to record music with a message, as did Motown colleague Renaldo “Obie” Benson of the Four Tops. Inspired by a clash he’d seen between protesters and police, Benson and lyricist Al Cleveland wrote what would become What’s Going On, a call for the end to the war abroad and brutality at home. When the Tops passed on the song as too controversial, Gaye added the title and his own touches and recorded it despite Motown head Berry Gordy’s claim that the song was not commercial. Motown fought it. “They didn’t like it, didn’t understand it, and didn’t trust it,” said Gaye. “For months they wouldn’t release it. My attitude had to be firm. Basically I said, ‘Put it out or I’ll never record for you again.’ That was my ace in the hole, and I had to play it.” What’s Going On became a huge hit but for Gaye, it was more than just an anti-war statement. “The biggest result of What’s Going On had to do with my own freedom. I’d earned it, and no one could take it away from me,” said Gaye. “I needed to keep going up – raising my consciousness – or I’d fall back on my behind. When would the war stop? That’s what I wanted to know… the war inside my soul.” Our USA Magazine 31

7. War – Why Can’t We Be Friends? War is the funky California band whose name stands for We Are Righteous; drummer Harold Brown said War’s goal was to “bring everybody together through our music.” Their 1975 hit Why Can’t We Be Friends? features band members each singing a verse that asks why differences should prevent people from getting along. Brown told Songfacts that the idea for the tune came while traveling in Japan. “Most racists don’t know why they’re racist. But you pick them up and take them over and drop them in a country, like India or Pakistan, guess what? ‘Why can’t we be friends?’ Because all of a sudden you find out we’re more alike inside than we are on the outside.” The infectious track, which repeats the phrase “Why can’t we be friends?” more than 40 times, became an anthem for harmony among different races, religions, classes and ethnicities. In 1975, NASA beamed the song to American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts as they linked in space.


Our USA Magazine

5. Cat Stevens – Peace Train

6. John Mayer – Waiting on the World to Change Unlike most protest songs that inspire action, John Mayer’s 2006 hit Waiting on the World to Change explains his generation’s apathy on social issues. “It’s saying, ‘Well, I’ll just watch American Idol because I know that if I were engaged in changing anything for the better, or the better as I see it, it would go unnoticed or be completely ineffective,’” Mayer told The Advocate. “A lot of people have that feeling.” Anthems promoting peace and love, Mayer told NPR, won’t cut it anymore. “Look, demanding somebody do anything in this day and age is not going to fly. Kids don’t even like being talked to like kids anymore, you know, ‘Just give me the option and I’ll think about it.’” Despite its cynical tone, Mayer ends the song on an optimistic note: One day our generation / Is gonna rule the population / So we keep on waiting / Waiting on the world to change.

By 1971, the U.S. was enmeshed in the Vietnam War with no end in sight. British-born folk-rocker Cat Stevens wrote Peace Train, a song he hoped would motivate people to live in harmony: Why must we go on hating / Why can’t we live in bliss? “Musically, I was revisiting a very Greek-sounding riff – the kind of thing you’d hear on a Greek island,” Stevens said on The Chris Isaak Show. “The words were attached to that time, my peace anthem. It ended every show that I did and was quite a showstopper. It was a very important song for me because it stated one of the big goals of my life, which was heading straight for that peace.” Stevens, who later became a Muslim and changed his name to Yusuf Islam, re-recorded the song in 2003; America was again at war, this time in Iraq. “Peace Train is a song I wrote, the message of which continues to breeze thunderously through the hearts of millions,” said Stevens. “There is a powerful need for people to feel that gust of hope rise up again. As a member of humanity and as a Muslim, this is my contribution to the call for a peaceful solution.”

3. John Lennon – Imagine

4. Paul Revere & the Raiders – Indian Reservation The forced removal of the Cherokee Nation to reservations in what is now Oklahoma is one of the most shameful chapters in U.S. history Known as the Trail of Tears, 4,000 Cherokee died on the journey over land and water in the 1830’s. Singer-songwriter John Loudermilk learned of the tragedy growing up in Durham, North Carolina, where his family belonged to the Salvation Army church. Loudermilk’s mother performed missionary work with the Cherokee; their stories would inspire Loudermilk to write The Pale Faced Indian in 1959. The prolific Loudermilk, who also wrote Tobacco Road (the Nashville Teens) and Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye (the Casinos), described the white man’s attempt to destroy Indian culture: Took away our native tongue / And taught their English to our young. Retitled Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian), the song would become Paul Revere and the Raiders’ biggest success. Indian Reservation had a special meaning for Mark Lindsay, who performed the lead vocal and produced the track; some of Lindsay’s ancestors were of Cherokee blood.

John Lennon’s signature song, Imagine, is his vision of a world at peace, free of the conflicts caused by nationalism, religion and greed. Lennon was initially inspired by Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit, a book that encouraged readers to Imagine the clouds dripping / Dig a hole in your garden to put them in. Later activist Dick Gregory gave the couple a gift that would help Lennon complete the song. “Dick gave Yoko and me a little kind of prayer book,” Lennon said in All We Are Saying. “It is the concept of positive prayer. If you want to get a car, get the car keys. Get it? Imagine is saying that. If you can imagine a world at peace, with no denominations of religion – not without religion but without this my-God-is-bigger-than-yourGod thing – then it can be true.” Ono told Rolling Stone that Imagine reflects “just what John believed: that we are all one country, one world, one people.” Lennon acknowledged that Imagine was intentionally commercial; the song is “anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic, but because it is sugarcoated it is accepted,” John said. “Now I understand what you have to do. Put your political message across with a little honey.”

2. Sly & the Family Stone – Everyday People Sly and the Family Stone, headed by psychedelic funk pioneer Sly Stone, exemplified its message of anti-racism and equality. The band members – men and women, multi-racial – were all featured prominently on stage. “We didn’t have three girl background singers. Everybody was on the front line,” saxophonist Jerry Martini told AltSounds. “We were all up front. A straight line right across. There were no background people.” When Everyday People was released in 1968 during the Civil Rights movement, it became an anthem for racial harmony. It was a plea for people of different races, ages and social status to accept that “we are the same whatever we do.” By February 1969, Everyday People reached number one; the line “Different strokes for different folks” became a catch phrase for tolerance of others’ beliefs.

Our USA Magazine 33

1. Bruce Springsteen & the E. Street Band – Born in the U.S.A. The Battle of Khe Sanh was one of the longest and bloodiest of the Vietnam War. That battle – and the plight of veterans when they came home – was the inspiration for Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. Springsteen told American Quarterly that the song was about a working-class man in a “spiritual crisis, in which man is left lost… It’s like he has nothing left to tie him into society anymore. He’s isolated from the government. Isolated from his family… to the point where nothing makes sense.” The 1985 anthem is one of the most misunderstood message songs in rock; many mistake the ringing “Born in the U.S.A.” chorus as a nationalistic cheer, ignoring Springsteen’s biting verse about a brother killed in a senseless war. “In my songs, the spiritual part, the hope part is in the choruses,” Springsteen told NPR. “The blues, and your daily realities are in the details of the verses. The spiritual comes out in the choruses, which I got from Gospel music and the church… I make American music, and I write about the place I live and who I am in my lifetime. Those are the things I’m going to struggle for and fight for.”

The above article was reprinted with permission from our friends at Rock Cellar Magazine. If you are interested in timeless music, and stories about its artists, please check out this wonderful online magazine. Conceived as a labor-of-love by founder/publisher Kevin Wachs, Rock Cellar Magazine’s focus is on music and musicians from the 1960s through the 1990s – seasoned, established artists who are still recording, touring, and whose voices still remain relevant today. Wachs felt that he–as others-just didn’t have the time to endlessly surf the internet trying to find music and articles on older artists. “I thought it would be cool to start collecting artists all in one place, and then eventually offer their music, books, whatever, right at our site.”


Our USA Magazine

Our USA Magazine 35

The Classic T-shirt Celebrates 100 years


orn in the U.S.A. from humble beginnings, the T began as an undershirt in the U.S. Navy. They were first issued to sailors (vintage 1913) to force them to button up. The T-shirts were modest endeavors to hide any chest hair that might show through a uniform’s V-neck collar. Because they were so lightweight, comfortable and versatile, servicemen returning home brought this popular item back with them. Following World War II, it became common to see veterans wearing their uniform trousers with their T-shirts as casual clothing, and they became even more popular in the 1950s after Marlon Brando wore one in A Streetcar Named Desire, finally achieving status as fashionable, stand-alone, outer-wear garments. The T-shirt, named because of its configuration, soon became popular as a bottom layer of clothing for workers in various industries, including agriculture. The T-shirt was easily fitted, easily cleaned, and inexpensive, and for this reason it became the shirt of choice for young boys. Boys’ shirts were made in various colors and patterns. The white tee is the one piece of clothing worn by people of every age, gender, nationality, race and economic status. In the words of Giorgio Armani in his introduction to Alice Harris’ book The White T: “I’ve always thought of the T-shirt as the Alpha and Omega of the fashion alphabet. The Creative universe begins with it essentially, and, whatever path the imagination takes, ends with its purity. And then, I love the T-shirt as an anti-status symbol, putting rich and poor on the same level in a sheath of white cotton that cancels the distinctions of caste. It also excels as a means of communication: writings, drawings, poems, slogans, photos, worn as a way to tell the world who you are, what you think, where your ideas are directed.”


Our USA Magazine

With striking photographs and sophisticated text, The White T traces the colorful history of the classic garment worn by billions all over the world. From the first Hanes version sold in the 1930s for twenty-four cents to its transformation into the ultimate in cool (not to mention sexy) when worn by James Dean, Elvis Presley and Marlon Brando, the white tee has become part of our culture. The significance of the white tee goes beyond fashion, to encompass the political, sexual and social trends of the past decades. Whether tie-dyed, stamped with a slogan or icon, torn, slashed or designed, these shirts make a statement, and everyone, from presidents to rock stars, bikers to bankers, babies to baby boomers, has at least one white tee. Celebrating this universally worn piece of clothing, The White T is a chronicle of cultural history and, like its quirky and expressive subject, in itself is a work of art.

Our USA Magazine 37

Patriot Partners

American Made T’s some of our favorites Honest. As in Honest Abe, the nick name for our 16th president: Abraham Lincoln. Unisex Sizing. Coffee Brown, U.S of Awesome $34

Applauding the full-length documentary that explores the rise and fall of USA made products. Unisex sizing, All American Clothing Co. $11


Our USA Magazine

Individually Hand Made in the USA Custom T for USA citizens Men’s - varied colors Black & Denim $49

Pointer Brand celebrates 100 years Since American Made Star T-Shirt 100% Cotton Gray with Star Logo on Front


Unisex Sizing Pointer Brand $17.50

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death! 50% Cotton 50% Polyester Silver Contrast Stitching Forged Clothing $29.99

Tri-Blend (50% Polyester / 25% Cotton / 25% Rayon) Durable rib neckband.

American Built $24.99

Our USA Magazine 39


Images Š 2013 U.S. Postal Service


Building A Nation


Our USA Magazine


hey are called the “12 forever stamps” and they comprise the U.S. Postal Service’s most recent issuance, “Made in America: Building a Nation,” postage stamps that honor the courageous workers who helped build our country. The sheet features 12 stamps in three rows of four. Eleven of the 12 stamp images were taken by photographer Lewis Hine, a chronicler of early 20th-century industry. The stamps were issued Aug. 8. The three rows are: • Top row: an airplane maker, a derrick man on the Empire State Building, a millinery apprentice, and a man on a hoisting ball on the Empire State Building.

By Bill O’Boyle

• Middle row: a Linotyper in a publishing house, a welder on the Empire State Building, a coal miner and riveters on the Empire State Building. (The coal miner stamp is the only one of the 12 that does not feature a Hine photograph. The image is from the Kansas Historical Society.) • Bottom row: a powerhouse mechanic, a railroad track walker, a textile worker and a man guiding a beam on the Empire State Building. Ray Daiutolo, U.S. Postal Service spokesman, said there are five different sheets available. Each one contains the same stamps, but is anchored by a different photograph. The Hine images include two Empire State Building iron workers and a General Electric worker measuring the bearings in a casting. The fourth photograph is the same image of the coal miner that appears in the stamp pane. The final photograph, taken by Margaret Bourke-White, depicts a female welder. “In addition to the photos chosen, the naming of the sheet demonstrates that in doing these often unseen jobs, these American workers made crucial historical contributions, transforming the U.S. into an industrial giant,” Daiutolo said. “The pane showcases images of early 20th-century industrial workers. Their contributions were essential to the growth of the modern U.S.” Daiutolo said the Postal Service’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee is tasked with evaluating the merits of all stamp proposals. Established in 1957, the committee provides the Postal Service with a “breadth of judgment and depth of experience in various areas that influence subject matter, character and beauty of postage stamps.” He said the committee’s primary goal is to select subjects of broad national interest for recommendation to the Postmaster General that are interesting and educational. In addition to the Postal Service’s extensive line of mail use stamps, approximately 20 new subjects for commemorative stamps are recommended each year. First published in The Times Leader, used with permission.

Our USA Magazine 41

loss By Tami Richards


Our USA Magazine


r of photo unknown but greatly appreciated


t is sad to watch a thing meet its end. The wilting bloom of a striking rose pulsing blood red, the sun’s bright orb shrinking away over the horizon, or the innocence of childhood shedding under the pressures of maturity. The reality that ending is where all beginnings travel to does not help much in the way of alleviating the twinge of loss. It is surprising to realize that the emptiness left by a lost thing fills more space than when that thing was living. It can be said that a bloom is not lost to a root that will once more birth a startling bud, or that the sun will once again shine upon us, painting wisps of color among the clouds, and too that innocence is not truly lost – only an experience carried for a lifetime in the breast of each and every adult. These are all comforting treasures resting in each of us, preparing us perhaps, for the more difficult losses that we are sure to encounter. Losses that make us angry at the world in general because no one really prepared us for them. Yet who but experience can even begin to reconcile the loss of a beloved dog, a favorite cat, a doting aunt, our grandparents or parents? So many loved ones can be irrevocably lost in our lifetimes that no one can be blamed for wishing to avoid the pain of it all. To deal with loss better is, at times, a lost cause, but eventually time will render its own salve for healing. A few months ago I finally threw away a chewed up plastic measuring cup that I’d held onto for two years past the death of the dog who had left his teeth marks in it. I was sorting through a drawer when I ran across my yellow one-cup reminder of Vinny our black lab. Lifting it from the drawer and running my fingers across the sharp, toothy divots, I realized that Vinny’s fond memory often visited me without me having to look at the treasured momento. In much the same way, this past year I have often found myself missing the aunt who passed away last May. There were many times when I would meet up against a difficult situation only to think, “I wish I could call Aunt Char and ask her advice.” Or I would come across a Disneyland character that I was compelled to draw her attention to if she would have been within earshot. She was a big fan of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Though eventually the pain of mourning does lessen as life’s daily concerns occupy the space of my thoughts, the mention of a name, or the sight of a shared place or activity will often grip me with emotion and visit upon me varying degrees of sadness. Sadness that makes its home within my heart, where the empty spaces are full of loss. Along with countless other Americans, impending loss is a force that I’ve found myself wrapped within as of late. The economy has been caught in a downward spiral that forced the closing of businesses one after the other. It seems that no one has beern immune and all of us are targeted. Schools have shut down, businesses filed bankruptcy, and institutions in the service sector locked their doors for good. Our USA Magazine 43

A few years ago we may not have thought that our jobs could be outsourced, but now we are forced to rethink the equation. Are our children going to have to receive their educations online, their instructor being someone in a third world country who works for pennies on the dollar of what American teachers earn? Will people be making all of their purchases online, or downloading pirated e-books from a nonfair trade country? Will state buildings even exist if the government goes belly up because American citizens don’t earn enough money to support their maintenance? As I’ve been saying for ten years or better now, we Americans have dug our own hole in this situation. It is we, the people, who spend countless billions on non-fair trade foreign manufactured goods, thereby closing down nearly every manufacturing facility in the United States. It is we, the people, who have continually insisted on cheap fuel to fill our gas guzzling automobiles. It is we, the people, who have greatly added to the more than $16 trillion dollar national debt. While knowing all this does help to put fault in perspective about the impending losses that we are facing, the pain of losing hope for my grandchildrens’ future is not eased in the least. There is plenty of finger-wagging to go around concerning how the present economy got so bad and as to who is responsible for calming the errant sea of unrest. Big government, not enough government programs, big business, etc. Hearing all the name calling, badgering, and downright hateful language turns my blood to crude oil and makes me more nauseous than back when I had morning sickness. I swear, every discussion about the economy feels like a 44

Our USA Magazine

shouting match in the high school girls’ bathroom. If we were to thrust open the doors of our storage sheds, peak into our trash cans, or comb through all the belongings in our homes, we would be hard-pressed to find anything that wasn’t manufactured in a non-fair trade country. Put simply, trading with these countries puts a dent in our trade deficit by creating a non-balance of trade scenarios. We have spent countless billions of dollars on products made in China, a country that undervalues its yuan and overvalues the American dollar, which creates a trade imbalance, in turn creating a high debt on the American side. We, the people, knew all this and willfully chose to ignore it. To me, the fault of the government is in allowing the unfair trade. If we had chosen to forgo making purchases of all those billions of dollars of deficit creating products, it is likely that not so many companies would have set up shop overseas. As it is now, who can undo all that and bring the blue collar worker back to American soil? Without the blue-collar laborer, the middle class is nonexistent and the divide between the rich and the poor is becoming a rift too wide to bear. The goal of big business is to make a profit for the shareholders; they are accountable to the shareholders. Can we, the people, really expect them to risk competing in a market where the competition is offering the public a comparable product for a lower price? Profit or fold is the environment they face. We, the people, chose to buy cheaper foreign-made products over the more expensive American-made products, forcing all manufacturers who

wanted to stay in business to pack up and move overseas. The fault of big business is in aspiring to stay in business. Let’s clean out our closets and inspect those labels. At that point, do we really need to ask the government or big business what they have done to the future of America? Once we’ve sorted through our treasures, let’s stand up and hold ourselves accountable. At that point we can stand together, for there will be no more bickering over whose favorite politician is better than whose, or which big business should be brought down to size. Let’s be adults. Take part of the blame. Accept responsibility and move forward. Loss is never easy... my daffodils bloomed this spring, a beautiful party of pale yellow centers bordered by bright yellow petals. The sun rose this morning, the rays unhindered by a single cloud. I laughed like a child more than once just today. I have photos of my long gone black lab that make me smile, woodcrafts honed by my dear aunt Char sitting on my desk, my oldest granddaughter wants to be so many things when she grows up that she has trouble listing them all. It is these factors that gird my resolve and strengthen my belief that with solidarity of mind, some hard work, and the passing of time, we, the people, can bolster our strength and create a strong America for ourselves and the generations to come. We do not have to lose it all.

Our USA Magazine 45

By Christopher Otto


he picture above is two pages from “The Future of America,” a 24-page, staplebound booklet published in 1954. It was prepared for The Advertising Council by McCann Erickson1 “as a public service.” The back page of this copy indicates that it was issued as part of the “Western Electric Booklet Rack Service For Employees.” Some excerpts from the booklet: • “Since you opened this booklet, a baby has been born. By this time tomorrow, your country will have 11,000 new Americans. By next month, a city the size of Syracuse will have been added to the strength of your nation.” • “All these babies need food and how! A job first for the farmer, perhaps. And to meet it efficiently, 46

Our USA Magazine

farmers must buy machines, and that can help create new jobs all over America.” • “Billions of dollars worth of new schools are needed -- because we must nearly double the existing system. ... Money spent in this construction creates work for bricklayers, masons, plumbers, architects, real estate brokers, construction workers and many others. In turn, everything they buy for themselves just adds new UP to everybody’s opportunity for prosperity.” • “The tremendous backlog of needs that must be met does not even include the billions that the electrical industry needs to invest. Demand for electrical energy is expected to increase by 250% by 1975.” • “Highway transport is another

industry moving ahead. For example, in the expansion plans of the entire automobile industry two manufacturers alone have immediate plans to spend $1¼ billion, while one oil company alone plans a $500 million expansion program. (This need is pressing, too, for today’s roads are carrying 55 million vehicles, 72% more than in 1940.)”2

• “Right now we need 100 billion dollars worth of new homes.”3

• “American science continues to

give us miraculous developments in electronics, jets, rockets, chemistry, which are opening broad new fields of opportunity. We stand at the very beginning of the new atomic world.”4

• “It all adds up to a ... $500,000,000,0005 OPPORTUNITY RIGHT NOW...because this staggering sum should be spent immediately just to meet current actual needs.” Man, in just 24 pages, I think they used the world “billions” more than Carl Sagan. Below is another pair of pages from “The Future of America” booklet. An interesting note (but certainly not a surprise) is that all 33 people pictured in the booklet are caucasian. And, even with that, none of the caucasians have the slightest touch of ethnicity to them. The good news is that, by 1971, McCann Erickson had properly recognized how to exploit the power of feel-good multiculturalism in advertising, as that was when the advertising agency introduced CocaCola’s “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” hilltop commercial to the masses.

The Ad Below Reads: “Literally everything must grow faster and faster to keep us with the fantastic snowballing population growth ahead. Business today faces an outlay of hundreds of billions of dollars just to modernize plants and replace worn out or outmoded machines. Future population growth will call for even greater investments—a dramatic challenge and opportunity that can mean good times ahead for everybody! It takes energy just to keep up… This tremendous backlog of needs that must be met does not even include the billions that the electrical industry needs to invest. Demand for electrical energy is expected to increase 250% by 1975. Employees in this industry by the hundreds of thousands can be kept busy just trying to keep up with this need for growth.” Footnotes 1. McCann Erickson, now McCann Worldgroup, was formed in 1930 by the merger of advertising companies run by Alfred Erickson and Harry McCann. Among its other advertising campaigns: MasterCard’s “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard” and the Rice-a-Roni jingle. 2. I was wincing as I typed that excerpt. And not just because I’m in agreement with some of James Howard Kunstler’s writings. 3. Are we sensing a trend? 4. Here’s a week’s worth of sobering reading: Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents. Or, if you read just one, check out “Nuclear and radiation accidents.” 5. That’s $500 billion, if you don’t wish to count the zeroes.

Our USA Magazine 47

Patriot Partners


We are a non-partisan organization lobbying for American made manufacturers, small business owners, suppliers, distributors, mom and pop stores, local boutiques and service providers. We are dedicated to encouraging consumers to buy American made products; providing our members with resources to expand their use of U.S. made products; and serving as a place to share ideas to increase our members’ bottom lines. We are a conduit for change by uniting American voices to tell Washington to bring American jobs home.


To play a part in the restoration of the U.S. economy by connecting American manufactures with consumers; to educate consumers on the importance of buying American made products; and to partner with American manufacturers and businesses to collaborate on maximizing their use and distribution of Made in USA products.


Receive 15% off membership when you mention Our USA Magazine 48

Our USA Magazine

Our USA Magazine 49

Patriot Partners

• simplicity sofas

For small space dwellers, Simplicity Sofas specializes in apartment sized sofas, chairs and even sectionals and sleepers. To help maneuver tight stairways and small door frames, the furniture is delivered in pieces that are easily assembled by the customer. Don’t let the threat of assembly scare you off. Simplicity Sofas shared a video of an 8-year-old putting together a sofa so you can probably handle it. Simplicity Sofas is unique. All of its furniture is patented (or patent pending) and not available anywhere else. Simplicity Sofas manufactures large and small sofas, apartment sofas, studio sofas, sleepers and sectionals. All furniture is custom-built the old-fashioned way, one piece at a time, to your individual specifications using quality components such as solid oak frames and Ultracel® premium cushions with a lifetime warranty. The furniture is shipped directly to you. No retail middlemen and no retail markups. Review from Apartment Therapy


Our USA Magazine

The Home Furnishings Capital of the World

Photo Apartment Therapy


igh Point is the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World,” (home to Simplicity Sofas), and every year they host two home furnishing markets, one in the Spring and one in the Fall. This year’s Fall Market is being held from October 19-24. The High Point Market is the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world, bringing more than 85,000 people to High Point every six months. Considering that the population of High Point is just a little over 100,000, this is a significant achievement The show space comprises 180 buildings on around 12 million square feet. This space accommodates more than 2000 exhibitors who represent over a hundred countries. The Market is now over a hundred years old, as it was originally founded in 1909. The region was rich with furniture manufacturing operations, and the Market provided furniture makers and retailers an opportunity to connect in one place for business. It has so evolved that High Point can boast of being a “Niche City”– a city that is a global magnet by providing an economic specialization in a global service economy.

Our USA Magazine 51

West Virginia Autumn Grist Mill 52

Our USA Magazine

Photo Credit - Forest Wander

Our USA Magazine 53


B The Gatekeeper Words and Drawings by Milan delVecchio



Our USA Magazine


n a land not too far from where we be, lives a creature not too different from you and me... her task is the Keeper of the Gate Raddish – she welcomes visitors at the entrance of their next fate...

ut between visits, life grows longs days, for her world is made of merely shades of grays...but one day, a thought came to her, quite clear: she would ask the guests to trade a story for her to hear...so from their voices into her ears, each story would travel through her inner gears...

o one by one, creatures come and leave, sharing a piece of their past for her to wear on her sleeve... after each farewell she grows a new cognitive stain, for which the colors and textures forever remain.


Ostrich Legs


ut, twist, braid, seam Thick, thin, wrinkle steam Just remember to connect the elements in a conscious stream Fishy Feathers


As we all row merrily along in our own little dream.


Elf Wrinkles


All Ears

Our USA Magazine 55

Awaken To Your Own Authority By Tama J. Kieves


Our USA Magazine


used to be the girl who needed to nab an “A” in every subject in school. I’d study what you wanted me to study—what grabbed your attention, not mine. That’s because I had no idea that chasing approval and “security” was keeping me from discovering my certainty and my power, my chance to create everything I’d ever wanted. But this is what I’ve come to learn again and again: you can’t chase approval and aliveness at the same time. Do you want to live someone else’s advice? Or do you want to live your birthright? An inspired life is the result of owning your own brilliance—following your own indwelling authority. It’s the intimate landscape of learning how to listen to and trust the infallible specificity of your guidance. This is a life that isn’t on any map. I made this choice long ago, when I first left the practice of law to become a writer. I traded “security” for meaning and heightened magic, knowing deep down that I’d claim everything—creative salvation and a tidy way to pay the bills—by following the call that meant everything to me. But I’ve had to make this choice ten thousand times it seems, each time as though it were brand new—because some part of me still thinks that maybe I’ll find certainty and the end of pain by following the authority of others, instead of my own. As a driven, ambitious person, it feels threatening to let go of doing things the “right way,” following the “experts,” and “getting the A,” in favor of stumbling into unmarked territory, because you have some hunch. Believe me, I still love the “world’s approval.” I love the bangles she wears and the beaded purse stuffed with dollars to buy my time and allegiance. But I have resisted her charms. I am chasing a greater security than anything that I can deposit in a bank. I am hunting my own authenticity. I am determined to live my full potential in this lifetime.

Our USA Magazine 57

These days I am still getting an A, but now it’s in Adventure. Authenticity. Alignment. Abundance.

but it’s not possible to lose the truth. And this divine, fortifying, intimate Truth will never lose sight of me.

Bet the farm on your own life. I am discovering my own magic. I am healing my own pain. I am awakening to something incredible and difficult and true. It’s frightening, like crashing through the air on a roller coaster some days. It’s that wild and exhilarating rush, too, when life meets you in midair for a kiss.

I giggle like a child, every time I’ve been fooled by myself. Over and over, I fall for it, find myself feeling that maybe I’m not really getting ahead or that maybe nothing is going to change in the way that I want. Meanwhile, everything is radically transforming and when I catch a glimpse of where I really am, and who I really am, it takes my breath away. It is the most extraordinary feeling to have maintained your faith and conviction in something and to be right, to discover the magic, an extraordinary portal that no one else knew. Only you know the secrets you hold. Only you know the potential that beckons you. Only you feel this almost unwanted tug of glory in your bones.

As I continue to grow my work, my message, my reach and my life, like those who are just beginning this path, I find myself on the “hero’s journey,” the walk into a mythical forest. It’s dark and dank and on so many days I wonder what the hell I was really following. Maybe I don’t want to be a stupid hero. Maybe I just want to be saved. Worse yet, maybe I’m not following anything except a delusion—and now something stinky, clawed, and real is following me. And then there are those other days. These are the days when you walk through the darkness, resolved, accepting the fate you chose. You decide to bet the farm on your own life. You call yourself a pilgrim instead of a fool. You walk deeper into your life. And then, just a few steps further from the darkest patch of forest, you come upon a clearing, a meadow, a thousand yellow buttercups, or red Indian paint brush and the sun gleams in a way that paints your name, your nick name, on each petal of every flower and you know in an undeniable way that you are exactly where you are meant to be. It’s a greater sense of security than any amount of money could offer you. It’s hitting the mother of all jackpots, the great sweet Power Ball of the Universe. These are times of knowing that you have been loved and seen and heard. There is so much joy in having trusted yourself and realizing that you were never off kilter or flawed. You were different. You were compelled. You were keeping a promise to yourself. Really, I am loving the adventure. It’s this personal game of “Hide and Seek.” I am loving losing myself and my faith and then finding it again, each time branding me in the lesson: that I can lose sight of the truth


Our USA Magazine

This is the adventure of your lifetime. I don’t want you to miss it. You are a pioneer in your life. It is as though you are discovering the Wild, Wild West. There are no sign posts, Starbucks, or convenience stores. Garmin has no idea where the hell you are—because, honey, you are so off the map. There is a black, black night with eight million greedy stars dotting the sky. And there is a nakedness, the power of nothing extra or untrue. And though you feel alone or as though you will never know how to get to your goals, know this–you have never been less alone.

Without the distraction of the world’s guidance, you can finally hear your own undivided genius.

Every curve of the road is guiding you. Every tree knows your step. Every bit of sky is whispering clues to you. This Mysterious, Brilliant Love is drawing you forward, rooting for you, investing in you, chanting for your fruition. It is in the nature of your destiny to lead you to your destiny. Every circumstance you are in is a chosen conversation designed for your good. There is a scent to follow. Every butterfly is telling you something necessary. The wind is pushing you in the right direction. The rain is a wild unfettered priest dousing your existence in holy water. Everything is in your favor. The moments of realizing this are worth a lifetime. Really, it’s one thing to be alive. It is a whole other thing to be awake. It’s the ultimate “A.”

Photo - Amber S. Wallace Our USA Magazine 59

Sunrise At the Abbey of the Genesee


Our USA Magazine


Sunrise at the Abbey Bridge and Pond White Fawn Photo Credit Brother Paul Richards

Bethlehem and Nazareth are two of three retreat houses where men and women of all denominations are weclomed.

he Abbey of the Genesee is a community of contemplative monks belonging to the worldwide Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (O.C.S.O.), more commonly known as Trappists. They were founded from the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, KY in the spring of 1951. As described in their Constitutions, the community belongs to “. . . a monastic institute wholly ordered to contemplation. The monks dedicate themselves to the worship of God in a hidden life within the monastery under the Rule of St. Benedict. They lead a monastic way of life in solitude and silence, in assiduous prayer and joyful penitence. . .�

In addition, they maintain three guest houses where individuals and groups can come for several days private retreat in a contemplative environment. Necessary to the contemplative, monastic vision is creating and maintaining an environment conducive to contemplation. To this end, they observe silence, speaking in a limited way when necessary, and exclude the use of radio and television and other irrelevant media. Prayer for the needs of the world, the Church, and for special intentions, is an important aspect of the apostolate of prayer.

Nearly everyone has a share in the common work of baking Monks’ Bread. In addition, the brothers help out insofar as they are able, with farming, cooking, maintenance, hospitality, formation and care of the infirm to mention some of the many tasks in a moderate-sized community.

Our USA Magazine 61

Patriot Partners

Baked by Trappist Monks: Quality Since 1953 MonksBread.com 877-264-6785


Our USA Magazine

Our USA Magazine 63


Our USA Magazine

South Wedge Soap, P.O. Box 31251 Rochester, NY 14603-1251. 800-888-8468 http://southwedgesoap.com

Favor your skin naturally with handcrafted soap made from ingredients traditionally used for skin care by indigenous cultures worldwide. We utilize food grade seed and nut oils, floral and herbal essential oils, natural plant materials, and high purity water extracts thereof. Each bar incorporates at least one ingredient tenderly grown in the “South Wedge� of Rochester, New York, a prized horticultural area for the last hundred years. Remaining flora are purchased from cultivated sustainably farmed sources, not robbed from the wild. The base oils are made into soap by the energy efficient cold process which retains the natural glycerin yielding a softer texture soap than commercial hot process bars. Our soap contains neither animal by-products, synthetic fragrance, nor detergents. Recycled paper and cellulose film packaging is thoroughly biodegradable.

Our USA Magazine 65

By Larry W. Fish


n January 2013, my wife and I moved to north central North Carolina. We had been living closer to the coast for quite a few years and decided to move to be closer to family. Moving is a big decision, but we found a nice apartment only about four miles from our daughter. It had been some time since we had owned a dog, so we decided to get one that would make our home a happy one. I had it in my mind after hearing how many animals need homes that we should adopt one. I’d read that 6–8 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters each year. Of these, 3–4 million are euthanized. I searched and searched on the Internet and applied for what looked like adorable dogs that would fit our lifestyle. However, we were disappointed each time to find out that they had been adopted by someone else. We continued to search and, at the suggestion of our daughter, went to the website of Saving Grace Animals for Adoption. We saw several dogs that we liked and sent in an application only to find out that most of those had been adopted as well. One little dog on that website caught our attention with the cutest little face. She was a beagle, named Sarah. We arrranged to go see her and it was love at first sight. Photo courtesy ofwww.animalfamilyveterinarycare.com 66

Our USA Magazine

She became part of our family, adding sweetness to our apartment that only an animal lover can appreciate. We changed her name to Cookie. A dog in need of a home was now ours. We knew we made the right decision by going to an adoption site. Saving Grace Animals for Adoption is one of many organizations in the state of North Carolina and across the United States. These organizations help to find homes for animals that are brought in as strays, found at animal shelters, or rescued from puppy mills. Many of the animals have suffered much heartache in their young lives. It is many people’s opinion that they need a dog raised by a breeder because a dog that is taken from a shelter or a rescue organization is not safe, healthy, or will not show the love they expect. I can tell everyone that when we look at Cookie, we know that we made a choice that is making us happy and her as well. Cookie is now with people that love her in a permanent “forever” home. Puppy mill owners keep dogs in cages for the sole purpose of breeding. They are often mistreated, live in unsanitary conditions, and live a life that is sad in anyone’s eyes. If you know of a puppy mill in operation, witness a dog or cat being abused, or see an animal that is malnourished or appears to be a stray, contact a shelter or adoptions site and send the animal on the road to a better life.

Saving Grace Animals for Adoption is a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to find permanent loving homes for dogs in need. Volunteers give the support that is needed to care for and find homes for so many dogs. The volunteers do it out of love, because animals touch their hearts so deeply. As I walked around Saving Grace, I could see the love of those volunteers. Every one of those dogs on the grounds that day were loving and could give some family smiles and love that would last them a lifetime.

Cookie has changed our lives for the better. Every time we look at her, we smile, knowing she will have the love that she deserves for the rest of her life. Soon after Cookie was adopted by us, she had a seizure. That seizure was followed by more in the next couple of months, which we closely monitored. It is heartbreaking to see a dog have a seizure. Her body gets rigid, her eyes may roll back, and her legs may thrash uncontrollably. She may appear to be gasping for air, may froth at the mouth, and she

possibly may poop or pee because has no control. When these seizures occur, I pet her and keep rubbing my hands over her to keep her calm. I talk to her in a quiet voice and keep telling her that it is going to be alright. I protect her from harm. When Cookie comes out of a seizure, she may appear wobbly for a couple of minutes. Then, she is back to running around and playing like nothing had ever happened. Cookie and I were put together for a reason. She is now on medication to help her seizures. Cookie has had only one minor seizure in the past month and a half. Would I ever get rid of Cookie because of the seizures? That is easy to answer. Without a doubt, I would never get rid of her. I will continue to show her the love that she shows me. Cookie had been brought to Saving Grace as a stray. Had she been abandoned? Had she been abused? By her actions when we first got her, I’m sure she was. Can you imagine her having a seizure living on her own with no one around? It is a sad thought. Were the previous owners afraid of the seizures? Did they think Cookie was unsafe? Did they abuse her because of them? I can’t answer those questions, but I can honestly say she will have a home for the rest of her life. When your family desires to get a cat or dog, look at the ones that are in shelters and animal adoption organizations first. Many of those will show you love that you couldn’t imagine. Give them a permanent home. They deserve to be happy, to be loved, and live a good life. Our USA Magazine 67


Our USA Magazine

Photo: Jean Vachon , Grand Grocery Co., Lincoln, NE, 1942

Our USA Magazine 69

Urban Homesteaders Produce 6,000 Pounds of Food on 1/10 Acre By Justin Gardener, REALfarmacy.com


n danger of being free.” That’s how Jules Dervaes sums up his journey from a small backyard garden to a super-productive microfarm. It’s a low input, highly efficient urban homestead right next to the metropolis of Los Angeles. Jules, his son Justin, and his two daughters Anais and Jordanne live in a 1,500 sq. ft. craftsman bungalow on 1/5 of an acre. Here they have a 1/10 acre garden and grow 350 different vegetables, herbs, fruits, and berries. The sustainable plot is complete with chickens, ducks, rabbits, goats, and honey bees. For two years in a row they were able to produce 6,000 pounds of food. Their mission is to live sustainably and simply, and they are doing it. 90% of their vegetarian diet comes from the homestead and 2/3 of their energy comes from solar panels. They make biodiesel fuel with used vegetable oil. Their commitment to reducing consumption extends all the way to a hand-cranked radio. They are highly motivated and have a lot to say about the way things are in the world. “Government can’t do it and corporations won’t do it,” says Jules in the short film Homegrown Revolution. With a corporatocracy running the show in Washington and millions of Americans addicted to television and fast food, the Dervaes family provides a model of what can happen if we change our priorities. We don’t have to rely on a centralized industrial system that is poisoning public health and the environment more than ever with pesticide-laden, GMO food. We can get off the couch and start providing for ourselves. Most of the Dervaes’ food production is for their own consumption, but they do sell excess harvests to local establishments and individuals, and then use that to buy other basics like flour and rice. They are truly one of the most independent family units in the country, with an ever-decreasing environmental impact.


Our USA Magazine

“Growing your own usually means moving to the county, plowing the fields, cultivating the crops, harvesting the bounty for your table. But these days more people are turning to their own backyards to create urban farms. One southern California family is at the forefront of that movement.� From Social Connected Click the image to the right to view this inspired video.

Our USA Magazine 71

By Annie Leonard

The Story of Bottled Water By Annie Leonard


Our USA Magazine


ne of the problems with trying to use less stuff is that sometimes we feel like we really need it. What if you live in a city like, say, Cleveland and you want a glass of water? Are you going to take your chances and get it from the city tap? Or should you reach for a bottle of water that comes from the pristine rainforests of... Fiji?

Well, Fiji brand water thought the answer to this question was obvious. So they built a whole ad campaign around it. It turned out to be one of the dumbest moves in advertising history. See, the city of Cleveland didn’t like being the butt of Fiji’s joke so they did some tests and guess what? These tests showed a glass of Fiji water is lower quality, it loses taste tests against Cleveland tap and costs thousands of times more. This story is typical of what happens when you test bottled water against tap water. Is it cleaner? Sometimes, sometimes not; in many ways, bottled water is less regulated than tap. Is it tastier? In taste tests across the country, people consistently choose tap over bottled water. These bottled water companies say they’re just meeting consumer demand. But who would demand a less sustainable, less tasty, way more expensive product, especially versus one you can get almost free in your kitchen? Bottled water costs about 2000 times more than tap water. Can you imagine paying 2000 times the price of anything else? How about a $10,000 sandwich?

Yet people in the U.S. buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week. That’s enough to circle the globe more than 5 times. How did this come to be? Well it all goes back to how our materials economy works and one of its key drivers, which is known as manufactured demand. If companies want to keep growing, they have to keep selling more and more stuff. In the 1970s giant soft drink companies got worried as their growth projections started to level off. There’s only so much soda a person can drink. Plus it wouldn’t be long before people began realizing that soda is not that healthy and turned back to – gasp – drinking tap water. Well, the companies found their next big idea in a silly designer product that most people laughed at as a passing yuppie fad. Water is free, people said back then, what will they sell us next, air? So how do you get people to buy this fringe product? Simple: you manufacture demand. How do you do that? Well, imagine you’re in charge of a bottled water company. Since people aren’t lining up to trade their hard earned money for your unnecessary product, you make them feel scared and insecure if they don’t have it. And that’s exactly what the bottled water industry did. One of their first marketing tactics was to scare people about tap water, with ads like Fiji’s Cleveland campaign. “When we’re done,” one top water exec said, “tap water will be relegated to showers and washing dishes.” Next, you hide the reality of your product behind images of pure fantasy. Have you ever noticed how bottled water tries to seduce us with pictures of mountain streams and pristine nature? But guess where a third of all bottled water in the U.S. actually comes from? The tap! Pepsi’s Aquafina and Coke’s Dasani are two of the many brands that are really filtered tap water. Our USA Magazine 73

But the pristine nature lie goes much deeper. In a recent full page ad, Nestlé said: “Bottled water is the most environmentally responsible consumer product in the world.” What?! They’re trashing the environment all along the product’s life cycle. Exactly how is that environmentally responsible? The problems start with extraction and production where oil is used to make water bottles. Each year, making the plastic water bottles used in the U.S. takes enough oil and energy to fuel a million cars. All that energy spent to make the bottle, even more to ship it around the planet, and then we drink it in about two minutes? That brings us to the big problem at the other end of the life cycle – disposal. What happens to all these bottles when we’re done? Eighty percent end up in landfills, where they will sit for thousands of years, or in incinerators, where they are burned, releasing toxic pollution. The rest gets collected for recycling. I was curious about where the plastic bottles that I put in recycling bins go. I found out that shiploads were being sent to India. So, I went there. I’ll never forget riding over a hill outside Madras where I came face to face with a mountain of plastic bottles from California. Real recycling would turn these bottles back into bottles. But that wasn’t what was happening here. Instead these bottles were slated to be downcycled, which means turning them into lower quality products that would just be chucked later. The parts that couldn’t be downcycled were thrown away there; shipped all the way to India just 74

Our USA Magazine

to be dumped in someone else’s backyard. If bottled water companies want to use mountains on their labels, it’d be more accurate to show one of those mountains of plastic waste. Scaring us, seducing us, and misleading us – these strategies are all core parts of manufacturing demand. Once they’ve manufactured all this demand, creating a new multibillion dollar market, they defend it by beating out the competition. But in this case, the competition is our basic human right to clean, safe drinking water. Pepsi’s Vice Chairman publicly said, “The biggest enemy is tap water!”They want us to think it’s dirty and bottled water is the best alternative. In many places, public water is polluted thanks to polluting industries like the plastic bottle industry! And these bottled water guys are all too happy to offer their expensive solution which keeps us hooked on their product. It’s time we took back the tap. That starts with making a personal commitment to not buy or drink bottled water unless the water in your community is truly unhealthy. Yes, it takes a bit of foresight to grab a reusable bottle on the way out, but I think we can handle it. Then take the next step -- join a campaign that’s working for real solutions. Like demanding investment in clean tap water for all. In the U.S., tap water is underfunded by $24 billion partly because people believe drinking water only comes

from a bottle! Around the world, a billion people don’t have access to clean water right now. Yet cities all over are spending millions of dollars to deal with all the plastic bottles we throw out. What if we spent that money improving our water systems or better yet, preventing pollution to begin with? There are many more things we can do to solve this problem. Lobby your city officials to bring back drinking fountains. Work to ban the purchase of bottled water by your school, organization or entire city. This is a huge opportunity for millions of people to wake up and protect our wallets, our health and the planet. The good news is, it’s already started. Bottled water sales have begun to drop while business is booming for safe refillable waterbottles. Yay! Restaurants are proudly serving “tap” and people are choosing to pocket the hundred or thousands of dollars they would otherwise be wasting on bottled water. Carrying bottled water is on its way to being as cool as smoking while pregnant. We know better now. The bottled water industry is getting worried because the jig is up. We’re not buying into their manufactured demand anymore. We’ll choose our own demands, thank you very much, and we’re demanding clean safe water for all.

Our USA Magazine 75


Mo, The Morselist’s 21-Day Morselicious Ultimate Detox

created Mac-n-Mo’s Morselicious Treats as bite-sized morsels because most of us crave a taste of a certain flavor and will be satisfied with a luscious or morselicious bite sized portion. I also believe we have become a society where SUPER-SIZED portions have become the standard, and my goal/mission is to bring us back to mini-morselicious, nutrition-packed portions. Remember, you can always have seconds. The goal is to eat MORSELICIOUSLY nutrient-dense foods, reversing the current trend of an over-fed nutrient-deficient-food-like-products society. How’s that for a mouthful? Keeping my MORSELICIOUS portions in mind, I have created these recipes for my 21-day Ultimate Detox with generous, yet not super sized portions. I love good food and I love being healthy so I created my morselicious lifestyle to combine both. In my experience, I find that eating a mixed green salad with lunch and dinner not only gives me Mo’ energy, micro-nutrients, fiber and a rainbow of flavor, it keeps me full longer. It’s also a great way to incorporate antioxidant foods to your diet. Try adding a simple mixed green salad with your meals or snacks and see how you feel. Please make sure to drink at least eight glasses of water daily. 76

Our USA Magazine

By Maura Knowles

I created my own version of a detox based on personal experience. Fasting or juice-cleanse detoxes NEVER worked for me and when I did try to do them, I was shaking, nauseous, had low energy and low blood-sugar. Not a good combo while one is trying to keep up, or better, relish and thrive in this crazy yet wonderful thing called LIFE! Therefore, I designed a 21-day REAL FOOD MORSELICIOUS DETOX using only clean, whole

foods to keep our energy levels and optimal health flowing. I am not a doctor, but I am a Board Certified Health Coach. In no way should you treat my cookbook-detox as gospel, but as a tool that has worked for me and is my gift to you. As always, if you are in compromised health, please consult your health care professional before starting any

type of new diet or exercise program. Note: This is not a diet. It is my MORSELICIOUS lifestyle. Another part of my mission is to teach people how to cook using fresh ingredients and not use packaged foods, thus I tend to do the bulk of my cooking for the week on Sunday and freeze extra brown rice, quinoa, beans, and herbs, which I chop up and add to a high quality olive or oil of your choice and freeze in small ice cube trays. These make a tasty and quick addition for salad dressings, sautéing and soups. I also incorporate most of my left-overs into new dishes, as you will find in this cookbook. For example, a soufflé casserole one night can become a pan-fried veggie patty a day or two later for lunch or dinner or, if you like my topsyturvy game, even breakfast. You can even play with the left-over soufflé or mashed cauliflower and massage that into a mixed green salad or kale instead of salad dressing. Or use it as a cabbage or lettuce wrap spread or dip with your favorite crunchy veggies, or add to soup bases. Once you begin on your MORSELICIOUS path, you will find fun and creative ways to implement home cooking into your daily routine without over-thinking or working too hard. Please keep in mind my 85/15 rule. Eighty-five percent of the time, strive to eat foods that support and nourish your overall health.

Think clean, whole, real foods, and 15% of the time, allow yourself flexibility to indulge and eat out, not overly stressing about the food not being exactly what you’d have in your kitchen. As a society, our Standard American Diet (S.A.D.), is filled with empty calories and, as a result, we are over fed and under nourished. Chew your food! Skin is a big part of our digestive system. If you follow my MORSELICIOUS lifestyle, your skin will Glow! Believe me, if 85% of the the time you are eating clean, you can afford the 15% wiggles. And as you continue on the MORSELICIOUSness, your 15% wiggles will not be so guilty. One of my Morselite’s emailed me hailing, “Mo, I know I’m getting MORSELIFIED because instead of reaching for potato chips for my 15%, I’m eating kale chips!” My goal/wish for you is that you will love the way you feel and look after 21 days and want to continue living a MORSLEICIOUS lifestyle. I always use organic produce if it’s on the Dirty Dozen list, since those are the most heavily pesticide-filled products. Whenever possible, I use fresh herbs, lemons, freshly ground black pepper, spices, etc. However, I understand that I live in sunny California, where we are blessed with an abundance of amazing produce, so if you are not as fortunate weather-wise, choose the cleanest and freshest options that work for you.

Quick tip: I keep most of my everyday spices and powders on my counter, as you can see in this photo. Kitchen counter clutter believe me, it makes everyday cooking so much easier and quicker. You can arrange your spices and seeds in clear glass jars and line them up nice and pretty, or if you have a creative crafty flair, label them in fun fonts! I reuse my nut butter jars. The labels peel off easily in hot soapy water.

fresher foods, you will notice how good real food tastes. Most grocery food stores sell black peppercorns in their own grinder case now. Shop around and decide what works best for you.

This is part of the learning process in cooking from scratch and not using convenience packaged processed foods or the cheap and easy go-to salt/sugar fillers. For some of you, this may be “oldhat,” and for others, it may seem daunting or a pain, but believe me your health is worth it and soon, it will become second nature and you’ll be writing your own cookbooks and/or sharing your recipes!

This may take a little time, so please be patient and stick with it. The rewards are worth it and your body and health will thank you!

To get your free preview copy of Mo’s 21-Day Morselicious Ultimate Detox, check out Mo’s site here.

I prefer frozen (no additives) to cans, which typically contain more sodium and other preservatives, and I love freshly ground black pepper. It’s amazing how much tastier fresh tastes. Once you cook and eat Our USA Magazine 77

A Point in Time


Ladyheart 78

Our USA Magazine


Chef Sean Christopher Our USA Magazine 79

Open Hearth Cooking C

ooking outdoors can be fun and tasty when one plans ahead. I have had some disasters on open fires, while other moments seemed like the best meal ever eaten. A few years ago we went with our good friends and travel partners to Mount Mitchell State Park in North Carolina. It was Thanksgiving, and we challenged ourselves to cook in one of their rustic cabins overlooking the beautiful valley below. The fireplace was our heat, stove, oven and grill all in one. It reminded me of the old settler days when folks heated with and cooked with their large stone fireplaces. Dressed in non-colonial gear, we entered our open aired “kitchen� with coolers of food and drink, multiple boxes filled with cooking utensils, skewers, cast iron skillets and one large cast iron pot for baking beans.


Our USA Magazine

By Angela Madaras

Never underestimate the amount of time it takes to bake beans on a fire (I suggest pre-cooking beans). We also made skillet cornbread, meat chili, collard greens with onions in a chicken stock base, and a fruit pie. I do not remember the fruit of the pie, but I remember it was a welcomed sweet bubbly treat to end a perfect day of cooking, hiking and hanging out with friends. It was a successful open fire cooking experience I will not forget, yet try to re-create. These same friends are visiting us at our home in Michigan, where the produce stands and gardens are overflowing with end of summer bounties, and our freezer is full of fresh chickens and rabbits. Both meats are perfect for slow roasting over an open fire alongside sweet corn, avocados, onions, peppers and fresh peaches. I canned a few batches of pickles and corn salsa which will be our condiments and pre-dinner noche while we enjoy a few games of horseshoe and croquet.

What is different this time is the way in which we built the fire for cooking. We had our friend make a very large metal iron bowl, aka “firepit,” with a large iron grate to fit over top. This thing is very heavy, so once we found the perfect spot for it, we knew it would never be moved. We can sit around the fire while the food cooks and do small quick grilled snacks while the meat simmers as we continuously baste it in the juice of lemons, olive oil, garlic and rosemary. We brush this on with a homemade baster created from rosemary and lavender branches straight out of the herb garden.

The recipe for the corn salsa can be found in a wonderful book every home canner-gardener should have on their shelves. It is called Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round by Marisa McClellan. In it you will find her version of a famous corn salsa found at Trader Joe’s markets. I could eat it for breakfast, but knowing how much effort goes into each pint I use it sparingly. The pages of this book offer lots of easy small batch canning recipes anyone can make, in any kitchen.

The chicken and rabbit marinate overnight in the juicy basting brine with sea salt, black and red pepper and lots of fresh garlic. Do not fear garlic! I use our own German hard neck variety, about two bulbs, all chopped up, and then I place the meat in large plastic bags with the “juice.” Every few hours I take out the bags and massage it and move around the juices. Cutting the chicken and rabbit in half with the back bone intact is best way for this type of grilling. If you have a really hungry crowd you could throw some sausages in the mix as they will cook fast and can be eaten while dinner cooks. The meat will take about two hours with little direct flame. The vegetables can go on in the last 15-30 minutes. Serve the whole mess on large platters and wooden cutting boards family style. Let everyone grab and pull off what they want. You can make a little extra “juice” for dipping or have a selection of sauces. Communing over a fire with food “slow cooking” is one of the best ways I know to spend a late summer/ early fall day. Dogs and people alike can hang out in relaxed fashion playing games, reading, chatting and laughing. It is an easy way to entertain with paper plates and napkins with no need for forks; just your fingers and teeth! I always have a water bath or hand wipes available when a sink is not possible. We keep coolers handy with trash and recycling containers. In this way no one needs to venture indoors with muddy feet unless they need the facilities.

Avocado and Corn Salsa Ready for the Grill.

Grilled Avocado Stuffed with Corn Salsa

With little clean up, everyone can relax by the fire as the sky turns to stars, and hopefully someone will have a harmonica, guitar or a few good jokes. The dogs will, of course, be focused on all the leftover bones and treats they were drooling over all day.

Our USA Magazine 81

For this feast, I also made my mom’s pickled zucchini recipe. Zucchini is always in abundance due to our love of growing the stuff. When it is coming out of our ears I use zucchini instead of cucumbers for all sorts of pickling. My mom, Pam Gross, was a lover of food. Though her life was short-lived, in that short time she made many people’s tummies happy. The following is her recipe. Pam Gross’ Pickled Zucchini 1969 ½ c cider vinegar ½ c water 1/3 c sugar (can adjust) 3 Tbsp. Sliced green onions and tops (any onions work here) 1 large clove or 2 small cloves of garlic crushed or chopped ½ tsp. sea salt ½ tsp. celery seeds 3 medium zucchini thinly sliced Directions: Place all ingredients except zucchini and onions in a quart jar, place lid and shake for a few seconds. Add the onions and zucchini to jar and shake again. Place in fridge overnight. It will be ready to eat next day and stores for at least two weeks. I like to serve these sweet-tangy delights with saltine crackers and peanut butter. Yes you make little picklepeanut butter sandwiches, which are especially great with chili or chicken soup in the colder months. For our cookout I served them on a tray with other types of homemade pickles, saltines and sunflower butter. It might be a Michigan thing, but everyone who has tried it is hooked. Bread and butter pickles also work well. There is nothing like opening up a jar of pickles you have made by hand and with love; well, maybe the best is sharing that love with friends and family.


Our USA Magazine

Our USA Magazine 83


~ Author Unknown

I grew up in the ‘50s with very practical parents. My mother, God love her, washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen, before they had a name for it. My father was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones. Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, dishtowel in the other. It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep. It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there’d always be more. But then my mother died, and on that clear summer’s night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn’t any more. Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never to return. So, while we have it... it’s best we love it... and care for it...and fix it when it’s broken... and heal it when it’s sick. This is true for marriage... and old cars... and children with bad report cards... and dogs with bad hips... and aging parents... and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it.


Our USA Magazine

Autumn...the year’s last, loveliest smile. ~William Cullen Bryant

Our USA Magazine 85

Sick as A Dog By Mark Barkawitz


A fatherless little leaguer and his single mom find their fortunes changing when a mysterious stranger arrives in their moribund little town. Can one damaged man really make a difference in so many lives? Can the factory around which the town has grown survive a world-wide recession? Can two aspiring women break the glass ceiling? Can the stumbling, bumbling Dodgers beat the big, bad Giants? When plans go amiss—and goals unachieved—can we still realize the dreams of our youth? In GIANT KILLERS, perhaps we can. “Having read Mark’s work in various mediums over the years, I’m happy to see his talent in the form of a novel that has memorable, multi-faceted characters and poignant contemporary themes. In the tradition of authors such as Twain whose works spoke to their age and audiences young and old, this novel speaks to the triumphs and trials of our time across various age demographics.” ~Nicole Bouchard, Editor/Publisher $2.99 eBook available @ Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, Kobo.com


Goodreads.com & www.markbark.org Our USA Magazine WOOF BOOKS


ack when I was really sick– down to 122 pounds, scrunched over with a broken back, and using a four-wheeled walker with hand brakes to get around—my dogs still wanted to be walked. And I wanted to walk, too. Hell, I wasn’t dead. Not yet anyway. So one day, I got the bright idea of tying Summa—the larger but more docile and controllable of my two golden retrievers—with her leash to the front of my walker. I put the buds of my iPod in my ears, sucked down a tube of energy gel, and we strolled slowly up the driveway of our Paloma Street home onto the sidewalk. When she pulled too hard or fast, I partially-applied both hand brakes and told her: “Slow down, Summa.”

I lifted my head and asked: “Is that a gum disease or cancer?” I’m kind of a smart ass. Sometimes. But I really didn’t know.

We headed east and made it to the corner without any hitches. I can only imagine what my neighbors must’ve thought. I’d been a distance runner the entire 20 years that we’d lived on the block. Lifted weights, too, in my garage. Until one day while training for a halfmarathon I was to race with my mostly-grown son, a vertebrae in my lower back suddenly broke. Hurt like hell. At first, it was diagnosed as the result of a birth defect in my spine. Birth defect? At my age? That was ridiculous and I pretty much told my orthopedist as much. Because he was closed to any other possibilities that I might suggest in subsequent office visits, our relationship and my health spiraled downward from there. Seven doctors and nine months later—keeled-over with an all-over-body-pain in my primarycare physician’s office—Dr. Gomez explained: “You have multiple myeloma, Mark.”

I pretended to laugh.

“It’s cancer of the blood and bone marrow. I’m sorry.” I must’ve sighed deeply. Because all the air left my being. As a lifelong athlete, I knew my body well and it had been telling me for a long time that something—not only my wrecked spine—was wrong. But this? This was my worst fear. “Am I going to die?” “50/50.” Then he quickly recalculated: “With you—make it 60/40 Better than Vegas odds.” He had been my doctor for years and knew me pretty well.

“The cancer has shut down your kidneys. Our primary concern right now is to get them functioning again. Otherwise, you’re going to be dead in two days.” He put his hand on my shoulder. “Better make plans—just in case.” Forty-five minutes later, I sat in a recliner at Urgent Care with an IV needle in the large, bluish vein in the crook of my arm, contemplating my mortality. ***************************** We turned south at the corner, Summa still leading the way, the wheeled walker and I following a few feet behind. It was the middle of the day in the middle of the week, so there was only an occasional car on Sierra Bonita Avenue. I knew which houses had dogs. On this side of the block, another golden retriever named Finicce

(Italian for Phoenix, the mythological bird reborn from ashes) was sometimes loose on the front lawn while Justin read the newspaper in the redwood chair on his porch. Summa didn’t like other big dogs, especially males. And sensing my weakened condition, she had become aggressively defensive of me. But fortunately, Finicce wasn’t outside today. I was relieved. My most immediate fear right now was not the cancer coursing through my veins but a loose dog or cat or Summa’s favorite—squirrels— which inhabited our neighborhood plethora of trees. Charging or chasing was no longer within my physical ability. Slow was my only speed. As we were going downhill, I braked slightly. I had a limp now, too—left leg—from the cancer in my hip. X-rays had revealed that it had spread to every bone in my body, even my freakin’ skull! Yep, I was sick as a dog, all right. Funny expression. Dogs aren’t necessarily sick at all. Probably Shakespearean in origin. From a time when God’s creatures were believed to exist on different levels: the angels above us, the beasts below us. So when a man became out of sorts—afflicted with melancholy—his level was thus lowered to that of a dog. I think. But it’s a long time since college. And I had chemo-brain now—short term memory loss as a result of chemotherapy—which was only temporary. But then—so was I. At the southeast corner of our block, we made another right turn at the stop sign onto Orange Grove Boulevard. The mid-day street traffic was light. Two Latino gardeners mowed-n-blowed a front yard across the street. Image courtesy of Playing with Brushes

Our USA Magazine 87

It was warm for early December. But Southern California was often like that. So I’d put on sunscreen, a baseball cap, and sunglasses with my T-shirt and nylon track pants. Most of my clothes now hung loosely on me like a hanger. As the cars and trucks whizzed past us on the left, I felt oddly out of place and time, like an old jockey harnessed behind his horse in a seat-less sulky. I tried to pick up the pace. But that didn’t last long. The cancer—and chemo—sucked all the energy from me daily. Hell, I just wanted to make it around the damn block! That was all. I hit the brakes again slightly. “Slow down, Summa.” About the middle of this side of the block, lived a large, male Rottweiler, who patrolled his property behind a wrought iron fence and electronically-controlled gates. As we approached, Summa started pulling harder—she knew where he lived, too.


Our USA Magazine

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” I said just above a whisper, braking harder. I didn’t want my voice alerting the Rottie either. But Summa continued to pull, her chest heaving, her breathing rasped by the linkedchain collar pulled tighter around her neck. I continued to apply the brakes but the back wheels slid and skid instead of stopping. And sure enough, as we got to the corner of the neighbor’s block wall, the bigheaded Rottie lay in wait. Summa jerked us forward the last few feet until both dogs were at each other face-to-face with the wrought iron’s mesh between them, making lots of loud, vicious noises but unable to do each other any harm. I pulled back on the walker. “Summa! Stop!” I pulled again— harder. “Sto-op!” She continued to snarl her teeth at the Rottie but backed off. “Go. Go!” As soon as she stepped away from the east gate, the Rottie stopped barking, raced behind the fence to the western end of his property, and stood panting, waiting for our next encounter. I tried to steer us closer to the parkway grass, but at 90 pounds and with four-footed drive, Summa’s strength easily out-matched mine. They went at it again with the west gate between them until I could cajole Summa into passing. The row of honey-colored fur on her back stood up straight like a warning to others—DON’T MESS WITH ME!

That Rottie would’ve kicked her butt. But she remained fearless, defiant. I had to laugh. And wished that I had her courage to likewise face my foe. We both knew there were no more dogs on this part of Orange Grove. If there were, the large condo complex that occupied the southwestern corner of the block hid its mandatedly-small canines and felines behind closed doors. The pressure was off for awhile. I remembered my iPod in my pocket and turned it on. The Wallflowers sang about driving home “with o-one headlight.” Partially-impaired. Physically and metaphorically. The objective correlative—something which stands by itself while mutually representing something else in the story. But my four-wheeled walker had no-o headlights at all. So where in hell did that leave me? We turned north—right turn number three—at the corner up Hamilton Avenue with the purplish-green San Gabriel Mountains now in the background serrated below an intensely blue sky. We were more than halfway home. Thank God. My legs, which had carried me well over ten-thousand miles in my distance-running past, were already tired. The bone pain from the cancer in my feet, legs, back, and hips was sometimes

mind-blowing. But today—so far—it was bearable. (The two Vicodin I’d popped earlier helped greatly.) But this block was uphill. I held the handgrips tightly and let Summa pull me behind her. “Good girl, Summa. Go, baby.” About halfway up the block, I steered us down a driveway—there was a pit bull up at the corner house on this side of our block. But as I strained to look over my left shoulder – twisting was painful with my unstable spine—a work truck with ladders atop sped closely past us in the street. I squeezed the brakes hard and shouted “Whoa!” to stop Summa in front of me. With the late Amy Winehouse mellifluously refusing to “go to rehab” in my ear buds (and we know how that turned out), I hadn’t heard the truck either. I took a deep breath and sighed. Summa looked back at me. “Close one. My bad.” But she didn’t seem to mind my tunnel vision.

Cancer had a way of doing that to a guy—narrowing one’s vision. Or to a gal. It certainly wasn’t sexist. Or racist. Or even classist. No, cancer was an equal opportunity killer. I looked both ways and we walked across the street to the other sidewalk where there were no dogs behind fences or gates all the way to the corner. My hip ached. Just make it to flat ground at the corner, I told myself. We did—eventually—and negotiated a wide, right turn number four out into the street around the corner house on Paloma from where the pit bull barked at us. Summa looked over, as did I, but he was hidden behind the cinder block wall. Sometimes the scariest things of all are unseen. I steered us up a driveway onto the sidewalk. Half a block. I was gonna make it. Cool. A pleasant, little ditty—“Birdhouse in Your Soul“—came on. I took out my iPod to turn up the volume. And so I didn’t see the squirrel ahead of us on the parkway grass. But Summa did. And because I had the iPod in one hand, I only held the walker with the other, which suddenly yanked me forward, face-first onto the sidewalk—“Umph!”—and out of my grasp. Once again, all the air collapsed from my being. When I could breath in again, I looked up from the sidewalk at Summa with my four-wheeled walker bouncing in hot pursuit of the squirrel, who barely beat her to the base of a jacaranda, the trunk of which it scaled

as if shot from a canon. Summa leapt teeth-first— she had tasted squirrel before—just missing its bushy tail. Then she jumped up against the tree as if on tiptoes, staring up, the leashed walker lying idly behind her on its side—one wheel still spinning. Looking back on that episode in my recovery, I’d be hard-pressed to call it a wholly successful leap forward in physical therapy. (Face-forward maybe?) But after six or so months of chemotherapy (I didn’t keep track), a stem cell transplant at our good neighbors the City of Hope, and neurosurgery to implant titanium rods in my spine, Summa and I—reborn like the Phoenix from ashes—are now up to three miles a day when we walk together. Without the walker. Or the limp. Or the cancer. I’m a light-welterweight again. Resumed bench-pressing (carefully) in my garage. I walk my other dog again now, too, even though she’s wildly exuberant, even at the end of a leash. And now that yours truly is no longer sick as a dog, I’m pretty damn exuberant, too.

Image courtesy of Playing with Brushes Our USA Magazine 89

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf’s a flower. 90

Our USA Magazine

- Albert Camus


wonderful, concise book of inspirational minibiographies celebrating the heroic feats of courageous women, Heroic Vignettes by Tami Richards. Book One: Feminine America, is now available. The book opens with the legend of Hero, a priestess of Aphrodite, in Greek mythology. The heroes portrayed in this delightful pocket-size book include, among others, Toypurina, Hazel Hall, Mildred “Babe� Didrickson, and Dorothea Lange. $4.99 eBook available @ Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com,


If you would like to win an autographed copy, please send an email to admin@ourusamagazine.com with subject line Heroic Vignettes. Two lucky wnners will be chosen in October.

www. http://blackmanhomesteadfarm.com Our USA Magazine 91

A Lion of America A Voice for the Voiceless

By Christopher C. Gagliardi and Yoav Sivam


here has never been another election like it in the country: In 2009, a young man from Englewood, New Jersey, ran for state assembly against the district’s two incumbents. Though he won only seven percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, he considered that a victory in itself. And in an ironic twist, one of his former opponents, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, hired him to serve on her staff. His name: Christopher C. Gagliardi, and he was born with infantile autism. Born in Westwood, New Jersey on December 18th, 1980, Gagliardi is believed to be the only person with autism to have run for public office in the United States, according to the Autism Society of America. And other than Hillary Clinton’s going on to work for President Obama, there likely aren’t many other instances in politics where a candidate has hired an electoral opponent. “When Chris was a baby, he didn’t do the things babies do,” said his mother, noting that Christopher was diagnosed with autism as an infant. “He didn’t crawl. He screamed when I cuddled him. And at first I didn’t know what it was. There was no Google to look things up and find the word “autistic.” Monahan says her son’s political bug came naturally to him without much pushing from her. “From the earliest I can remember,” she said, “he loved the rallies, took the bus to 92

Our USA Magazine

Democratic headquarters in Hackensack, liked making the calls for candidates. He wanted to vote when he was 14.” “It was hard for me to express how I felt,” said Gagliardi. “My first real sentence came at the age of 16, when I said, ‘Mom, I need a hug.’”

president at Ridgefield Memorial High School. He was the first student with mental challenges to reach that pinnacle. As student council president, he helped to raise funds for families of September 11 victims, as well as for people with HIV/AIDS, by teaming up with Broadway Cares/Equality Fights AIDS. When Gagliardi decided to run for the state assembly in 2009, his mother encouraged him but set conditions. “I said to him, here’s the deal,” she recalled. “Find out what the campaign involves.” She saw the campaign as an opportunity for her son to grasp that dreams take work. She told him, for instance, that she would help him collect the signatures New Jersey law required to get his name on the ballot – but only if he collected many on his own.

That was the day Gagliardi had a particularly unpleasant encounter with school bullies. “I was always picked on by bullies,” he recalled. “I was called slow, retarded, freak, you name it. It got to be overwhelming sometimes.” “When finally he told me, ‘Mommy, I need a hug,’ that day I held my child for the first time ever,” Monahan said. “I thought, he knows I am his mommy.” Once Gagliardi started talking and came into his own , “his classmates saw Chris evolve before their eyes,” Monahan said. He went from bullied student to being elected student council

Though he won only 15 percent of the vote, Gagliardi considered that a victory in itself and not a defeat. One of his former opponents, Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle, hired him to serve on her staff as Special Needs Outreach Coordinator for the physically and mentally challenged for New Jersey, as well as a selfadvocate advisor to Autism NJ, an organization for bringing awareness to Autism in New Jersey. His mom, cannot say enough how proud she is of her son. “During the campaign,” she said, “Chris spoke for everyone who faces discrimination.”

Now, Gagliardi is campaigning on one of the biggest issues that effected him throughout his life – bullying. Recently, he got a student’s bill of rights in New Jersey passed in the wake of the tragic events with youth taking their own life due to bullying. Among the people whose stories deeply affected Christopher was Phoebe Prince, a young high school student from Massachusetts and Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers student who committed suicide because of bullying by people who he thought were friends. “Bullying is a violation of a person’s right to exist, and it has got to stop,” Gagliardi said. He currently has a petition going on at change.org to make bullying illegal in any form. To date, more that 1,104 people (as of the publication of this article) have signed the petition, among them were the Daughter of KISS band leader Gene Simmons, as well as Kathy Ireland, Leann Rimes, and James Van Der Beek. His goal for this petition, to get half a billion signatures to send to President Obama, and Congress with a message that the youth’s lives are in danger and they are the future leaders of America and the world. “Our youth are the precious leaders of the future, they will be the ones to uphold the honor, dignity, and more to make humanity and our country the citadel of the world for people to come to and to return to again and again inspired, but more,” he said. “They are the ones who will make change a reality.” “For me,” he says “This event not only symbolizes the hopes and dreams of all the precious youth of America, but for the youth of the world for our future, as leaders.” He quotes one of his favorite passages: “A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of an entire nation and further will help achieve a change in the destiny of the entire human race.” ~ Daisaku Ikeda To take a stand against bullying sign Chris’s petition by clicking on the image below.

Our USA Magazine 93


Our USA Magazine


ack (aka, the “ZMan”) is a 17-year-old teenager who has always loved to draw. Zack used to race BMX bikes, and has played baseball most of his life. Zack’s always been funny, silly and loves to do impersonations. Like most kids, Zack has challenges that he’s struggled with while growing up, including OCD, depression, ADHD and anxiety. When Zack was quite young, he developed a severe strep infection that led to PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Disorder Associated with Strep) which, in turn, caused Tourettes Syndrome and tics. Zack also sustained several brain traumas over the years, which have further aggravated these difficulties. But making light of his plight, Zack maintains “Nobody can have it worse than anybody else. It’s just a matter of how you look at it.” Zack’s health issues can make life somewhat chaotic and unpredictable at times. Drawing has always helped Zack relax. When Zack was 14, he began drawing and sharing his Good Boy Roy characters. Creating the cast of characters in Good Boy Roy’s life is both a refuge and a comfort for Zack. The Good Boy Roy team includes Zack, the artist and creator of Good Boy Roy, and his mom, Kim, the CEO, CFO and business manager for the Good Boy Roy Brand and GoodBoyRoy.com. Zack relates the simple beginnings of Good Boy Roy: “One day I handed mom a stack of drawings. She thought they were really cute and decided to surprise me. Mom had a favorite character screened onto a t-shirt for me. The first character that came to life on a shirt was Roy! Mom thought we should call him Good Boy Roy. Like me, he really is a good boy, but sometimes he does things he knows that he shouldn’t do. I have always apologized after acting out and told my parents, ‘I really am a good boy,’ so Roy is kind of my alter ego. Since creating Good Boy Roy a few years ago, there is a cast of characters and Good Boy Roy has a collection of good friends.” This motley crew of characters is also now featured in a Good Boy Roy and Friends coloring book. Click on the image above to go to Zack’s website. Our USA Magazine 95


ach month delivers the angst of writer’s block, i.e., seeking a column idea. What story do I tell that I have not already shared? My preference, for the approach of September, focused on animals’ rights to thrive until old age, via a treatise heavily populated with many like-minded heroes I encounter in my activism. Local hunters and farmers might bite me, mount my head on a wall, or package me into hamburger. I am not in the mood for controversy. I prefer to submit a love letter to the finest humans whom I ever met and who graced this fortunate town with their presence for decades. As the dearest wedding photograph in history gradually fades alongside a flowery, yellowing marriage certificate filled with rules and regulations written in calligraphy–both keepsakes tucked into a music box which creaks out “Camelot” upon the opening of its lid–reverent memories of my parents re-emerge. Then I drum my fingers atop the kitchen table as I await my husband’s backing out my 20-year-old automobile to take to Reeg’s for its oil change. The endless mystifying racket reminds me of my breakable, manic, nutty Jerry Lewis record, called “The Noisy Eater,” which I wore out as a kid. I lean toward the screened window and get greeted with, “Just moving and scooting ‘Jim Fleck’s garbage cans’ (a reference to our former city chief) so that I can drive this car out my own driveway.” Truth be told, Don actually ran for mayor prompted by his ire over that very topic… garish Tupperware-type receptacles no longer allowed in the alleys but now those bold, electric-blue eyesores instead stand at sloppy attention in front of our houses along the tree-lined streets. 96

Our USA Magazine

Now, back at the computer to write of an elopement on September 18 of 1930, and a young couple of individuals starting life together in the Carolinas, I reach out to capture two frisky, feisty, plucky ghosts named Roy and Edna. On the fingers of one hand I calculate the number of times I clashed with either one or the other or, worse, that instant united front that they masterfully conjured up when faced with the sassiness of an errant child. And contrary to the views of some rotten publicists, I do not answer to misguided identifications as either “spoiled” or “brat.” I am -- always have been -- one respectful kid who enjoyed a very special relationship with my parents. The three of us -- for 10 years joined at the hips (my married sisters in their own houses) -- had an absolute ball! I was blessed to realize that fact in real time. All mine! My “folks” – an apt, quaint, typically Southern reference – really still should be alive to preen for their 82nd anniversary picture…but “posing” did not fit their style. My mom detested corsages, tore up pictures of herself, and possessed the talent to have outwritten Margaret Mitchell, Lillian Hellman, or Dorothy Parker. She preferred to remain unnoticed yet occasionally penned perfect poetry for which she once received a personal, hand-written “thank you” note from Jacqueline Kennedy. My dad died at the exact age that every Duncan dies, from a cerebral hemorrhage which is an appropriately rugged Scotsman’s usual adieu to this world. Endure what life hands you; think independently; live with gusto; never back down; laugh often and exit quickly one fine day, with little fanfare, singing,

“…And Ah’ll be in Scotlan’ afore ye…!” (“Loch Lomond.”) Kind, beautiful individuals. Neither phony nor stereotypical, my parents disagreed often, attended church regularly for networking and spiritual rejuvenation with a minimal dose of dogma, quietly performed good deeds, valued and strengthened family ties (yet at a reasonable distance), maintained serious friendships throughout their lifetimes, and only neared divorce court when my dad bought a new car without permission or “adopted” pets without consultation or engaged in small downtown store ownership/co-management with Snooks/Edna, which lasted about 10 minutes. The “Corral” was our families small town emporium. My dad paid dearly for offering Wranglers at an affordable price – small town retailers do not enjoy competition, no matter what they say. Our store paled in comparison to the WalMart empire we all know and love presently. To this day, I borrow a treasured tip from my old man: when human beings behave like jackasses, I simply diplomatically refer to such types as “damned peculiar” and move on with my life, brushing off my jeans while celebrating my genes! Only a fool offers a template for marriage “between one man and one woman,” such as might be dictated by spooky judges at a timewarped Salem Witch Trial; rather, I instead salute – as I marvel at – the collaboration between two determined, joyous, unique, unbiased, “live and let live” human beings setting an example which served me well when Mr. and Mrs. Duncan ruled my world and unto this very moment listening to Don lug trash


Our USA Magazine 97

containers about while CUSSing “a happy tune.” Roy and Edna snuck away to become hitched only one year into The Great Depression, weathering many storms. Both continue to live with me while dispensing their daily advice, whispered into my over-sized ears. Although I view awards with disdain since such silly pageantry and subjective selectivity generally cause divisiveness, dissension, and jealousy, I wish to correct an unforgivable oversight. Being as I daily function like Leo G. Carroll, who starred as “Topper” in the television version, I long to bestow upon Edna (Constance Bennett) and Roy Duncan (Cary Grant) a posthumous certification – “Citizens of the Year!” My beloved, sometimes aggravating, personal apparitions flit about, encouraging thoughts, inspiring dreams, and motivating positive action while I live in their tiny little house to which I was brought as an infant from Ft. Wayne’s Lutheran Hospital. Their steadiness, sense of fairness and fun, and lack of pretentiousness enhanced our community. So, I wish a happy anniversary to my very own delightful citizenghosts who eternally haunt me! I love every minute of it! “So I’m a ditherer? Well, I’m jolly well going to dither then.” ~ Cosmo Topper


Our USA Magazine

“Topper (1937) is an American comedy film that tells the story of a stuffy, stuck-in-his-ways man who is

haunted by the ghosts of a fun-loving married couple.” ~ Wikipedia

As a special treat, here is a link to the orginal movie, thanks to Turner Classic Movies. Just click on the image above, enlarge the screen, and sit back to watch a delightful comedy made 76 years ago!

An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break. May you be open to each thread that comes into your life - the golden ones and the coarse ones - and may you weave them into a brilliant and beautiful life. ~ Author Unknown

Our USA Magazine 99

Italians in America By Mike Virgintino

Mulberry Street in New York City’s Little Italy during the early 1900s. Credit: Jacob A. Riis Collection, Museum of the City of New York 100

Our USA Magazine


ames such as Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci easily come to mind when anyone is asked to recall an Italian who influenced or contributed to the growth of America. Many others from Italy crossed the Atlantic Ocean, too, but their names are foreign even to most Americans of Italian descent. Columbus was from Genoa, and he first traveled to the new world under the Spanish flag during 1492. Seven years later, Vespucci, for whom the American continents are named, personally named the land he first saw from his ship. He called it Venezuela or “little Venice” in Florentine dialect. John Cabot, a Venetian born Giovanni Caboto, sighted today’s Newfoundland and claimed it for England. During 1524, Giovanni da Verrazzano, sailing for France, was the first European to travel from present North Carolina past Cape Cod and on to Newfoundland. Missionaries and Explorers During the 16th and 17th centuries, Italian missionaries arrived to establish missions. Marcos de Niza, a Franciscan, explored Arizona and New Mexico. Eusebio Kino, a Jesuit, traveled through Mexico, Arizona and California to map the land, establish missions, introduce European crops and the practice of raising cattle. Henry de Tonti from Gaeta accompanied French Canadians during an expedition that traversed the Great Lakes and the length of the Mississippi River. During 1657, a group of Italian Protestants, the Waldenses, arrived in New Amsterdam (today’s New York City) and eventually settled at New Castle, Delaware.

During 1822, Giacomo Constantino Beltrami explored Minnesota to seek the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Forty years later, John Owen Dominis, the son of an Italian-American sea captain from Boston, married Hawaii’s Queen Liliuokalani. Revolutionaries and Patriots Just prior to the American Revolution, Philip (Filippo) Mazzei of Tuscany led a group of Italians to Virginia to introduce to farmers the cultivation of vineyards, olives and other Mediterranean fruit. He befriended Thomas Jefferson and they started the commonwealth’s first commercial vineyard. When Mazzei returned to Italy during 1779, he served as a secret agent, purchasing and shipping arms to America. When Maryland became a state, its official seal read “Fatti, Maschii, Parola Femine,” which is Italian for “Manly Deeds, Womanly Words.” It is the only state motto written in Italian, and Maryland also is the only state with a signer of the Declaration of Independence—William Paca—who was of Italian heritage.

great cause of his day. He opposed British oppression. Before the Revolutionary War, while serving in the Maryland Assembly, he led a crowd of protesters to the public square in Annapolis to demonstrate against additional taxes. Scientists and Artists Following the Revolution, Milanese botanist Count Luigi Castiglioni recorded observations about the states, national government, the Constitution and native vegetation. Sicilian Pietro Bacci taught Spanish and Italian at Harvard College. Sculptor Giuseppe Ceracchi created busts of George Washington and John Adams. Jefferson invited Giovanni Andrei and Giuseppe Franzoni to work on the capitol building. Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749-1838), a contemporary of Mozart, lived and taught in New York during the latter stage of his life. He became the first professor of Italian literature at Columbia University, and he welcomed the first Italian opera company to the U.S. Musicians and Band Leaders At about the same time, Italian musicians traveled to the new nation at the encouragement of President Jefferson to organize a brass section for the United States Marine Band. Sicilian Gaetano Carusi became known as the first leader of the United States Marine Band. Five additional Italians followed Carusi in this position.

William Paca. Credit: Wm Paca Club.

Paca enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle, but he preferred to dedicate his life to public service and the

Many other musicians of Italian descent organized bands of various kinds. Prospero Siderio was bandmaster on Admiral George Dewey’s flagship at the Battle of Manila Bay Our USA Magazine 101

during 1898. Lucian Conterno, a Piedmontese, was a bandmaster of Commodore Matthew Perry’s fleet during his 1853 expedition to Japan. Workers and Business Leaders Most immigrants from Italy arrived in the United States throughout the 19th century and into the early decades of the 20th century. The records at New York’s Ellis Island are filled with Italian surnames. Many others came through Boston and Baltimore, and a number of Italians arrived in the U.S. through Canada.

From 1820, when the U.S. first kept such records, until 1865, approximately 17,000 Italians entered North America, joining the others who had preceded them during colonial times, during the Revolution, and during the nation’s formative years. Most settled along the east coast, but Italian seamen reached the west coast during the 1830s. The largest arrival of Italians, the ancestors of most of today’s Americans of Italian descent, occurred during the late 1800s and early 1900s. About 70,000 entered the U.S. between 1866 and 1879, while four million more arrived from 1880 to 1914. Their children, grand children and great-grandchildren have followed in immigrant footsteps and have also contributed to the success of America. Each one also has a unique family story to tell.

While many of the Italians who arrived in the U.S. during the 1800s were laborers, a number of others were successful business executives and owners. These included proprietors of some of the finest eateries, including Delmonico’s restaurant. Giovanni Del-Monico was from Mairengo in the canton of Ticino located in Switzerland’s south area but adjacent to Italy. After a career as a successful sea captain, he opened a wine shop in lower Manhattan. His brother, Pietro, opened a very successful candy shop in Berne. They discussed food business opportunities in America, where their surname eventually lost its hyphen and uppercase “M.” As the business grew, restaurants were opened along Broadway and Fifth Avenue, and then the business spread to other locations, including Dodge City, Kansas. Viewers of the television program Gunsmoke, which is situated during the 1870s, will periodically hear and see references to Delmonico’s Dodge City restaurant.


Our USA Magazine

Michele Virgintino and Angela Pellettieri, the author’s grandparents in their 1911 wedding picture. He was a laborer who became a retail business owner.

Our USA Magazine 103

Reflections by Anita Haridat

In today’s society, everyone is so accustomed to email and online social networking, that the thought of actually picking up a pen and writing a personal message may seem foreign to some people. Although technology is an essential aspect of our world today, it’s sometimes nice to sit down and express a particular emotion to someone in a handwritten letter.


This takes me back to third grade, when my best friend moved away to England. Yes, there was dial up internet and our parents set up email accounts for us, but we both looked past that and wrote each other every chance we could. Some of the best days I remember from elementary school, middle school and even high school was when I received a letter from my friend in the mail. Our USA Magazine

“ This infographic is Shared by Sample Letters & designed by Visualization

Our letters were rather lengthy, and we discussed every aspect of our lives and included dozens of pictures. Even through college and graduate school, we still managed to write letters to each other. As I look through the letters and pictures now, it’s funny to see how we have lived on different continents for over 15 years, but we are still so involved with each other’s lives simply through our letters. This goes to show that although we are in a technology- driven society filled with text messages, video chat and countless other technological interactive methods, letter writing can still be a part of a person’slife. Until this day, I love when a postal employee comes to my house because you never know what kind of treasure you may find in the mail.

Our USA Magazine 105

Photo: Brother Paul Richards 106

Our USA Magazine

Enjoy some of your favorite Our USA archived issues now available as Digital Downloads! No app required. The display of Our USA will be online in a beautiful digital reader, on your computer. The download supports all devices - mobile and desktop.

Now you can leisurely explore every article, just as it appeared in every issue, with the added bonus of live links to each contributor’s blog or website. Best of all, you can download instantly, and you don’t have to pay anything for shipping!

Download Entire Digital Archived Editions Instantly! Only $1.99! Click on the Covers Above to go to our Digital Newsstand Our USA Magazine 107

From the delightful book Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child by Author/Illustrator Jesse Hartland


Our USA Magazine

Nunda Mustard

No artificial preservatives, no fat and no cholesterol. http://nundamustard.com

Mustards for Marinating, Eating, Grilling, Baking, and Dipping. Tangy, Jalepeno,Cajun Onion, Garlic,Honey Brew, Horseradish, Peppercorn, Smokey Maple and Raspberry

Advertise Your Product Here Increase Your Web Traffic by Targeting our Web Audience and Digital Subscribers!

Connect With Our USA LIKE


Call: Wendy @ 308-249-7358 wendy@ourusamagazine.com


Our USA Magazine 109

Please support all of our Patriot Partners:

A Send Us Your Stories! www.ourusamagazine.com

Do you have something you would like to share? A story, your photos, or maybe even a recipe? Then send it in! Our USA Magazine is unique in that it is reader written. The stories and photos are submitted by regular folk from all across the USA.

Bullet Blues Custom Apparel 11733 Highland Place Coral Springs, FL 33071 www.bulletbluesca.com

We would love to hear from you too! Guidelines for submitting work: •Print your name, address, and phone number on your article, and on each photo. •We ask for submissions of no longer than 1000 words. An average of 500600 words is good. •Photos: Send high quality color prints. Copies are preferable as we are not responsible for lost photos. Make sure to include your name and address on each photo. Please include a caption title with your photos. •Digital Photos: For digital photos, set your camera for the highest picture quality, and send us JPG files. Please see the Photo Requirements page on our website. •Returns: If sending actual prints, you must send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to have your photos returned. •Contributor grants Our USA Magazine the right of material to be used in the magazine, promotions, and on our website.


Our USA Magazine

s a continuing theme for Our USA Magazine, we would like to display “Old Glory” on the cover of each issue. From the White House to your house to outer space, the flag of the United States is one of the nation’s most widely recognized symbols. Show your pride, and send in your photos! We are featuring a special Etsy artisans section in each issue. If you are an Etsy artist and would like to see your product displayed in the pages of our magazine, please email us for more details at: admin@ourusamagazine.com We are dedicated to showcasing small Made in USA businesses in our country. If you are a Made in USA business, please email us for special rates. Stand Tall If you have a story relating to any military conflict that has affected your life, or the lives of your loved ones, please let us know. Share your stories. facebook.com/Our.USA.Magazine

etsy.com/shop/ourusa pinterest.com/ourusamagazine

For information on our magazine and how you can partner with us please call or write: Wendy wendy@ourusamagazine.com 308-249-7358 She can tell you all about our great low rates and special packages.

Our USA Magazine 111

All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind. ~Abraham Lincoln

Photo: Bob Oswald