Susan Marie Molloy

🌺 Life in the Oasis 🌴


The Visit (A Ghost Story)

The blue skies that day had not a billowy cloud, nor a wisp of one. In fact, it was the kind of day in winter that I most disliked, when cloudless skies meant nothing was holding in the heat. The high that day was 32 degrees Fahrenheit and the low was a biting 17 degrees. I walked to school every day, and in that kind of Chicago weather, that meant a heavy coat, a knit hat pulled down to my eyebrows, and a long wool scarf wrapped around my nose, chin, and neck. My grey rabbit fur gloves and black zip-up boots completed my ensemble.

I was in high school. It was Friday, and school was back in session for the fourth day after Christmas vacation. There was a new class schedule, a new class or two with new teachers to get used to, and the year-long classes resumed with the same teachers.

That day was like most of my high school days: looking forward to lunching with my girlfriends, passing notes with them through the vents in our lockers, getting as much homework done during study hall, and b-o-r-i-n-g gym class. I only liked gym class when we had sports I liked: fencing, tennis, cross country skiing, dance, softball, and the like.

The beginning of that semester found me in trampoline class, around noon. I disliked it immensely, with all that bouncing up, down, around, falling, bouncing up, down— I didn’t see the point.

I was wearing a silver charm bracelet my uncle gave me. It had whale, dog, cat, horse, and bird charms. Sometime during that bouncing up, down, around, falling, I lost the whale charm. I couldn’t find it anywhere in the gym. I was sad about it and hoped someone would find it.

The rest of the school day was nothing special, and before I knew it, I was plodding my way back home in the biting cold, worried about the lost whale charm.

That night, while I was in bed, something caused me to wake up. My bed was directly across the closet. I saw someone – a man, and not my dad – standing there, in dark trousers and a white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. It looked like my uncle. It was my uncle. I smiled, then laid down with the blanket over my head.

The next morning, my parents were already up and in the kitchen. I went down the stairs, and I heard my brother telling our mom that during the night our uncle was in my brothers’ bedroom by their closet, in dark trousers and in his white shirtsleeves rolled up to his elbows, just like he usually wore his dress shirts.

I didn’t imagine it!

I told my mom the same story as my brother. She told us to say a prayer.

You see, the day before when I was in trampoline class and lost the whale charm off the silver bracelet my uncle gave me, I lost it at exactly the time he passed away. I learned that he passed away when I came home from school, and Mom told me.

Today, it’s 45 years since my uncle passed away. He was 51. And he stopped by the night of the day he passed away to say, “So long.”

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.



Putting a Neat Little Bow on 2017

Thank you, Everyone! You made 2017 a good reading, writing, and blogging year.  Following are a few of my thoughts about this past year and how I’m looking forward to the new one.

I Thank You.  I can’t begin to name and thank all of you whose blogs I follow, read, comment, and learn from. The same goes for all of you who followed, shared — particularly by The Militant Negro —  and commented on my blog this past year. These lists are long. Nevertheless, thank you, thank you!  I have discovered many fabulous blogs here on WordPress, and I will say there is a lot of good talent here.  (To see whose blogs I follow, please take a look at my blogroll.)

2017’s Theme. A little over a year ago, I declared that 2017 would be a Year of Change for me. I had no idea how “changed” it would be from any other year. Silly. Silly, because every year, every day, every hour, every moment produces change of some sort. If we recognize that change exists, no matter its enormity or minuteness, or its quantifying levels, we’re halfway there to using it for good, or not. It’s up to us, nevertheless, how we accept, handle, and manage it.

Writing, Published Books, and Photography. Another change was writing more, and my skills improved. Perhaps that led to more of my poetry being published. Moreover, one of my photographs for a writing anthology’s cover was chosen, and several more photographs and my poetry, were published in it, too. I’m chuffed.

Left the Old Job.  About a year ago, I knew there were changes afoot with the ol’ job. I already planned on leaving that long, horrifying, so-called career I had.  (Oh, the stories, or book, I could write!)  Life would – and did – become blissful again without the lousy job and its surrounding aggravations.

Staying in Touch. Remember letter-writing, phone calls, emails, visiting? Yeah, me, too. That’s how I continued to stay in touch with my friends and family. As long as we’re on the subject, when did it become de rigueur to use Facebook messenger only? Give me a box of nice stationery and a good Cross pen, and I’m ready–

Social Media Change.  No longer do I feel like a dirty voyeur being force-fed pictures of dead or near-dead relatives laying in the hospital bed, the perfect marriages and angelic children, announcements of divorce when those “perfect marriages” fell apart, hatred, the passive-aggressive posts, the Woe-Is-Me Crowd, and particularly the incorrect quotes and statistics on memes, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  I left Fakebook as a whole at the beginning of the year, returned for a five-week engagement in October-November, and left again – this time permanently (except for my author page). Those couple few weeks where I popped back in solidified my thoughts that Fakebook is a vast wasteland for The Bored, The Braggarts, and The Attention-Seekers. “Silent noise,” I call it, and I am done with it. And you know what? I’m back to my old self: calm, cheerful, creative, and relishing all the productive time within my days.

Reading.  I went crazy with reading this year.  Goodreads is a good way for me to keep track of what I read, what I like, what I want to read, and to connect with other readers and authors.  This year, I read 245 books.  How did I do this?  For one, I don’t watch television.  Cut out that crap, and voilà! you have more time to accomplish real, productive things.  At work, I was able to read in my office, in between doing nothing (it was a horrifying job with no work).  Plus, many of the books I read were a length that could easily be read within the course of the day or within an hour.  I discovered a lot of writers, too.  Expanding my horizons, you see.

The Lost Art of Thanking.  This year opened my eyes to the lack of thanking, which seems to have become a new national pastime, with its passé, quaint little politeness that went the way of good manners.  This year, I was dumbstruck at the lack of thanking for the simplest things.  People don’t thank for holding a door open for them, they don’t thank for a gift made or bought for them, they don’t thank for that unsolicited compliment you give, they don’t thank for anything.  I’m speaking in generalities here; some people do thank.  However, I notice it’s more people who don’t, than do.

Tales from Daily Life.  My beau and I are enjoying our lives more and more each day, and I shared our experiences with you during this past year.  We did a little travelling. I visited my hometownCooking is still one of my passions.  We saw a lot of new movies this year, one of which we thought was bad, but most we liked.  Nevertheless, there’s a lot to do and see in our world.  Yes, there was a lot more that happened in 2017, and much of it was good,  and some not.  

Peeking into 2018.  I’ll continue to share my experiences, and keep the positive theme of my blog.  Something new is that I plan to set aside a day each week to share a blog or two of yours that I find inspirational, educational, or just plain re-bloggable.  I’m working on three (yes, three!) books to be published this year.  I’ll be gardening more.  Golfing is in sight for me.  I have some art projects that I’ll finish.  I plan to re-acquaint myself with the art of sushi-making at home.

I hope you had a good, productive, happy, and healthy year, and I wish for you the type of 2018 you want and deserve.

Tonight my beau and I are headed to a New Year’s Eve party, and I’m looking forward to turning the page on the ol’ calendar.

Be happy you’re alive. Be happy you have today. Look forward to tomorrow.

See you next year (ha ha ha).

As ever,


To see what was up in 2016, read “Wrapping Up 2016.”


The Christmas Herons

Over the past couple of weeks, small and large flocks of white herons have been flying over the neighborhood. Late last week, a tiny flock of about a half dozen swooped across the road I was driving on. Around 7 o’clock yesterday morning, we spotted about thirty or forty showing off their Flying V Formation about a block from our cottage.

Each time, I didn’t have my camera ready, so I couldn’t snap a picture. But I’m hoping I’ll time it right one of these days.

My beau now calls these birds “The Christmas Herons,” since so many of them are congregating and flying overhead during this Christmas season, and there are much more now than what we see throughout the year.

There’s something nostalgic-sounding about “Christmas Herons,” and though maybe not so traditional in the traditional sense, from now on we, at least, have our “Christmas Herons.”

Stay tuned. I’m really hoping to snap a picture of an impressive flock of them soon.  Meanwhile, enjoy this photo of one I took last month.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


Merry Christmas!

Here’s a postcard of Marshall Field’s State Street store in the 1910s, decorated for Christmas.  I miss going to Marshall Field’s, especially around Christmastime and seeing their windows prettily decorated.  The service was top-notch, the merchandise top-shelf, and you really felt special shopping at Field’s.  Now it’s Macy’s, and it’s not the same, not even close.  (Photo courtesy of Chuckman’s Photos, here on WordPress.)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!



Morning Meditation: Baking and Brewing

Homemade pfeffernüsse  cookies in vintage nut dishes, as presented at the breakfast table.  Coffee brewing.  What time are you coming over?