I Am Inspired

another clapkin clan.

I am inspired this morning to share a “what if” thought. Usually, if you are on a solid track, you don’t go off into that dark patches full of what if’s. Today is a day I am going to let myself travel in that direction.

One thought I have never shared, and it is a “what if”. Once we lived in a lovely part the City of Los Angeles called Cheviot Hills. Our family grew and grew, and very soon there were 7 of us. Our beautiful English Tudor three bedroom home shrank and shrank until finally we had to make a move to accommodate our growing family. Our question was to stay in the city or move to the Valley beyond.

We moved to the Valley beyond. Every so often we talk about how our lives would be different and how the lives of our children would be different if we stayed in the city and NOT moved to the Valley Beyond!!!

We could not have a nicer family. The children and grandchildren are all well, educated and settled. We still live within a short driving distance to all of them. So you see this “What if” question of whether this or that or something else is not even pie in the sky. We have already received our rewards. Now it is still up to those in the photograph to continue growth and development.

Keep on the right road kids and mom and pop, good job!

clapkin van

The House Next Door


The house next door is getting a new roof. After so many years of wear, it began to leak. I did not know how intricate the work of art between man and materials is in the job of receiving a new   roof, and I have learned to respect it greatly.

Many men have worked the past two weeks, weekends off, to finish the job. I have the best view out of my two-story bedroom window. Men working on the first phase made the most terrifying grinding, ripping, scrapping, wrenching noises as they worked to pull off the old, and tired roof tiles. The tiles were gone, but still they scraped and pulled. Then some slight banging began to secure the edges of the chimney.

The next task was to unload all of the tiling necessary to complete the roofing job. As these men transferred the tiles to the roof, they threw each tile to one man on the first level, who in turn threw the tile to the next level. Tiles passed hands for the rest of the afternoon and were placed in rows where they would be nailed into place beginning the very next day. Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang! Double bang, bang. Triple bang, bang, bang. Bang, bang, bang for the week and into the next. The roof stands newly shining in this morning’s sun.

The house next door had a big family. The four children were raised, and left to live their own lives. Their sweet, precious, kind and generous momma died and dad is left to live his life. Dad is a righteous, trustworthy, caring, kind person winning a Great Neighbor award.

The yard of the house next door is full of roses, fruit trees, and perch with a view that extends to the valley below all the way to the Santa Susanna Mountains. Now sparkling from the new roof are waves of reflective light and some twinkling going on.

God Bless all of you from the house next door and thank you for all of your kind attention these many years.


Memories: A Memoir Writing Class Assignment


Interview with Carly about Memories she has of us Together:

“What memories do you have of us together?”

” I have memories of us looking through your jewelry and the jewelry gave me memories of you. I also remember the first black and white bracelet I made for you that broke after a long time. I knew I had to make you a new one so I did. I remember our trip to Mexico and the swim with the dolphins. I remember our trip to Hawaii and the swim in the Seven Pools.”

“Any more memories?”

” Oh yes, I remember cooking and when we were making muffins, I made a mistake and dropped too many chocolate chips in the batter. It ended up being a good mistake. Also, you taught me to put a package of pudding mix in cake batter to make it extra moist. I remember you and grandpa taking me up to the top of the hill to a giant, pretty sunset. You bought me a stretchy real pearl bracelet at Ross. It fits me perfectly. I remember telling you I had to run a mile nearly every day and you agreed with me that you use up your parts to early and maybe will have bad knees when you grow up. And today I remember the Birthday Scavenger Hunt!”


Don’t ask me for just one memory because I don’t have just one memory; I have so many. You are a person I admire and a cool, calm, and collected person. The parties at your house are really fun. I remember a lot of those and a lot of fun. We made a lot of muffins together. I like the banana ones and chocolate chips. I liked all the stuff we bake. One time we used almond flour and the cake tasted much sweeter and softer with almond flour than the cake box.

I remember the times we went out to dinners. All the food was always really good. One time I remember is when we went to an Italian restaurant and you taught me to dip my buttered pasta into a side order of marinara sauce. It made the pasta taste great. I won’t forget to order a side of marinara or maybe meat sauce.

I remember sleeping over your house on the couch in the bedroom. Now I am to big for it and besides you got a new couch. I’ll have to try it out.


  1. We used to have fun in the mall. I remember we were sitting having lunch and I saw the wrinkles on your neck. I called you Gecko Neck. You collected gecko pins and earrings for a while. You showed me your collection.
  1. I remember our New York Trip and our trip to Hershey Pennsylvania. I remember the graveyard in Philadelphia and we saw a ghost rise up. No one saw it but us.
  1. I remember you helped me learn to read better one summer and we read a whole series, but I don’t remember the name of it. It helped.
  1. I remember the whole family was riding in a bus on our Hawaii trip and the driver slammed on his breaks. I went flying right over your head.

Memories Shared by April:

One time you bought me a really nice pillow from Ross. I remember sleeping over your house; I think I was six.   Also, I remember when we bought some washcloths and made pillows with them. I still have mine. We cooked food together,

We had a lot of fun at Sheri and Jodi’s house on Easter, we had a scavenger and egg hunt and you brought big baskets for everyone.

I remember when my mom was ill and you and grandpa picked us up and we went places and did a lot of things together, and then we went home when my mom felt better.

I remember we went on a trip to Mexico, then, Hawaii and a trip to Alaska.

I remember all of the Jewish Holidays at your house, but I never found the Matzo. I remember your 50th wedding anniversary party and I remember a birthday party for you when we all wore the same shirt with your picture on it.

Experience Guinea Fowl for dinner, we did.

photo 3


















It depends on where in this world you live how easily or difficult it is to find Guinea Fowl to cook for your dinner. In our case finding it in Los Angeles took some research, but here he/she is and the last one in the case at that.

After bringing our bounty home we washed our bird, then dressed the bottom of the pan with onions, apples and a little apple juice, topped with a small amount of cinnamon and sugar on the apple onion base. Added to the guinea fowl’s skin 1/3 cup of melted butter or olive oil, add seasoned salt. Never mind, leave the neck head and beak, because that is all part of the allure.  Bake for 1½ hour, but I added time on to our baking because of insecurity.

Everything during the baking of your first Guinea Fowl produces anxiety followed by lots of good smells. You probe your Guniea every once in awhile, you baste it with cooked juices, and you to fuss with several side dishes. The choice on side dishes is yours, certainly there are many and varied ideas.

When your bird looks very ready, out you pull the perfectly browned body, yummy apple onion bottom bake and neck head and crown. This glorious sight is all set aside to rest while you finish your early celebratory glass of wine. Soon it becomes time to carve your Guinea Fowl.

The carving takes a steady hand and well worked out muscles. Guinea takes finesse as well as brawn. Am I trying to say it is a bit tough? Only the carving. The meat is tasty and secure. The flavor is very good, acrtually borders on delicious and the apple onion base is spectacularly lovely, making it all worthwhile in my humble opinion. Save the memorable furcula.


Would we hunt and find Guinea Fowl again. Probably if you asked us to cook it for you we would, but not for an everyday meal. There is a place to purchase Guinea Fowl called The Pieking Poultry in chinatown on S. Broadway Street, Los Angeles California. Google it. Call ahead.




A Feather for Anna


If you have a grandmother or grandfather, go and visit him, her, or both of them right now before you read this, or after if you like, but I warn you not to wait too long.

My grandmother’s name is Anna. She asked me to drop a feather into her grave after they lowered her casket into the ground. I said I would even though I was hoping to split from the scene just before the painful lowering of grandma into the ground for eternity. I waited as promised and dropped the feather into her grave. When I let the feather go, the wind blew it in a soft floating way and then in a downward spiral where it landed on the side of the coffin where I imagined her heart to lie.

I want to tell you this.

Before she passed she said the she has had some gloriously golden moments in her lifetime and was happy for most of her days. She was happy even when she was waiting she said.

“Waiting?” I asked, “waiting for what grandma?”

“Not waiting for what, waiting for whom,” she answered.

“ Whom were you waiting for? I asked.

“You,” she answered.

“For me?”

‘Yes dear, I always waited for you to come and visit and when you did I jumped for joy.”

Fifth Grade Culmination/Graduation in West Hills, California Celebrating our Granddaughter’s Achievement


As you can see, modern technology secures a record of this event for each iPad holder/user, but for me it screened out the event that I so desperately craned and wiggled to see. I know they did not realize that they were being obtrusive and prominently using up my space and the space of others to see their family member culminate/graduate. I enjoy bringing you the above photograph of the experience plus I have added the interior chuckle I have every time I see the iPads using my space or is it theirs once they have taken it?

Well thought out plans had been made for this event and many practice sessions had been conducted; all speeches were committed to memory, the songs well rehearsed, outfits for the event had been searched for and purchased by the celebrated child and family members. As the rewarded volunteers took their front seats, we the others, scrambled for the best leftover seats we could secure.

The prossession began. We were on the wrong side, oh well.  The speeches began and songs sung. The school officials gave appropriate speeches of their love for the children, rewards given, culmination certificates lovingly handed to each child, another song was sung and the procession off to begin a new life began.  The photo on the top is what I saw of the event for most of the time. But I am not one for the back scenes or do I like to sit on the sidelines, so I scrambled, nudged, gently elbowed and jostled myself in position to grab the shots of our granddaughter receiving two awards and her diploma for our family records.

Aside from enjoying and witnessing this charming event I saw so little of, I had an opportunity to feel like I was my mother. She so proudly came to these advancing events for our children and smiled with hugs. Now I am she.

Visit the Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California: March 1 – May 12, 2013


When your eyes become acclimated to the hills awash with brilliant flower colors, you come back down to earth and realize this is heaven on earth. It is what I envision heaven to be.  As soon as I earn the two points I am short upon arrival, Saint Peter opens the opaque gates and flowers, flowers, flowers is the first impression and then it goes on from there.  This is not a lesson on heaven, Saint Peter or the pearly gates; it is just a sharing of joy and an invitation for you to enjoy the Carlsbad Flower Fields @ 5704 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA.  The only kink unfortunately is for you to be prepared to stand in a long line to pay your admission fee. You would think on such busy days they would have more than one-person selling tickets.

Look! You are greeted and kindly asked to enjoy the fields.


If you were aware and fortunate enough back when these homes were being built you would be able to enjoy this view all spring and early summer. What a backyard bonus.


The fields are planted several weeks apart to insure months of flower productivity and viewing.

The lady in the next photograph was posing for another photographer and I joined in. She was so down in and among the flora, I envied her. I think there may be something illegal about posting her photo, so if this is you and you are opposed this posting, let me know, and I will immediately remove your photo from this post, but in the meantime, let us enjoy your loveliness, your enjoyment and endorsement of the flower fields.


Visitors were walking around smiling and full delight was the order of the day.




You still have time to enjoy the flowers and if you miss them this year, plan for a visit next year.

Previous Older Entries