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Thread: My book of memories

  1. #1
    Registered User JacobBenAvraham's Avatar
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    My book of memories

    Welcome to my "Book of Memories". These are memories that are part of my life. These are from the early 1960s and 1970s. I think that all people have memories that they could share, especially if those memories can bring the reader closer or deepen their relationship with God. If you wish, you can leave a comment. More memories will follow under "Go Advance". This is part of my eBook "God Tales, An Anthology".

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ________________




    SQUEEDUNK


    What in the world is a “squeedunk” one might ask? Is it some kind of animal? Something to eat? Or a place tucked away in some remote corner of the world?

    Well, I can sincerely say that it is a “place” perhaps not mentioned on a map, but definitely a “place”. It is a place that I often visited when I was young, a place where my aunt Solveig lived. She was my father’s sister who we lovingly called, “Tante Mackie”. A place in the city of Hackettstown, New Jersey, a rustic little area which also carried the name “Rustic Knolls.”

    It was a place that still exists in my mind's eye, with about 10 metal mailboxes at the entrance of a long, dirt and gravel road. Mailboxes with the names, “McDonald”, “Petrocelli and Rullo”, “Montalvo and Lugo” “S. Petersen” “Catcher” and other names which now elude my memory.

    My mother and father would often visit Mackie during the summer months, or during a Thanksgiving vacation. We would drive down from New York in our 1960 red Studebaker, passing the supermarket on Willow Grove Street, past old Joe Paddock’s place where the residents of Rustic Knolls would visit to fill their water jugs with fresh well water, as Joe was the only one with a well in those days.

    We would make a right turn on that rustic, dirt road and head downhill. We would pass a nice-looking house with spacious property on the left. It was owned by a lady who had a lamb. Sometimes the lamb would be tied up outside when the weather was nice.

    Once past the “Lamb lady's” house, the forest took over. There was a wooded area on both sides of the road. The road would bend and curve this way and that. Halfway to Mackie's place, my father would honk the horn to warn any cars coming in the other direction that we were coming, as there was little room to pass on either side.

    Once we got to the bottom of the road, the road would fork into two directions. The road to the left would go upriver, to the right would end at the swimming hole. The river that ran near my aunt's house was (and still is) the Musconetcong River, meaning “rapid stream” in the Native American language. It is a river with a rocky bottom that would attract fishermen during the Spring, as the Hackettstown Fish Hatchery would stock the river with trout.

    I remember fishing in front of my aunt’s place. I never caught any trout though, only sunfish. A few times I would venture across the river, either wadding across the rock dam that residents would build to separate their properties from their neighbors'. A few times I crossed over in an inflatable rubber raft which was fun.

    Across the river was a wooded area that went uphill. I remember somewhat of being a small mountain. I never reached the top though, I just explored the land to the right of my aunt's property dam. I remember an old rusted car with a lot of bullet holes in the middle of a small clearing, a memory of the Bonnie and Clyde days.

    Around the edge of our neighbor's part of the river was a huge boulder where a Korean boy named Lee, a friend of the MacDonald family once caught a very big largemouth bass. My aunt showed me the newspaper clipping of that event.

    My aunt's house was built with foundation stones which she and old Joe Paddock got from the river. The two of them built it with these stones and fashioned wooden planks for the walls. It was a cozy little house, with two bedrooms and a sleeper sofa in front of the dining room table. I can close my eyes and still see it.

    There was a stone fireplace with a driftwood mantel, shelves on which were stored many volumes of National Geographic magazines, whatnot s, a few pictures of grandfather, one with him holding “Ousi” his pet cat, and a painting of a fly fisherman in a river.

    A porch was constructed outside, with a far-sighted view of the river. There was a little “frog pond” where a few spotted leopard frogs found their way to, a sign above the pond with the word “Timberdoodle” which my father had made. My aunt had also a tool shed which was close to a large white hammock, tied between two large trees.

    The property, instead of green grass had white gravel, which made a crunching sound beneath my feet when I ran outside. Out there in the fresh, country air, I would play with “Ingeborg” my aunt's little black Dachshund, whom she lovingly called “Inky”.

    My aunt would sometimes tell us of local happenings, of different people in the area. She told us of the “Tyner boys” whom she called “no good lazy louses”. One of them returned from Vietnam with a snake in his rucksack she claimed. She always spoke good of old Joe Paddock, who helped her build her house, and of “Sophie” her best friend, who a lovingly called “Aunt Sophie” who lived down the road near the swimming hole.

    Sophie was a stout sort of woman who I always saw wearing farmer's overalls. Sophie's house was similar to my aunt's. Her house also overlooked the river, and she also had a hammock strung between two trees. Inside her house, there was a stuffed moose head on the wall mixed in with a lot of ornaments of nature.

    And so, it was in that small section of the world called “Squeedunk”, that little place tucked away next to a quiet rocky river, surrounded by woods and nature's wild things.

    I remember it was one summer morning when mom, dad, and I were there visiting that my dad woke me up very early in the morning. It was still dark outside, and my dad and my aunt got together some fishing gear and a heavy box-like lantern. It was one of those 60s lanterns that you could open and put in one of those big, heavy batteries. It had a handle with which to carry it and swing it here and there. I got dressed and put on my favorite “Sock-it-to-me” shirt which reminded me of the TV show; ‘Rowen and Martin’s Laugh-in’

    We started walking down the dirt road that ended at the swimming hole, and that's where the road ended. Yes, it was kind of scary dark, at least it was for a young teen like me. My dad reminded me, “keep your eyes on the light, walk in the light of the lantern, and you'll be safe, you won't trip and fall.

    So, we walked down the road to Sophie's place first to do a little early morning fishing, and after that, tried our luck at the swimming hole. There we were, the three of us, three pairs of shoes, walking in the beam of light that came from Mackie's lantern. Mackie and dad talked about, well, things that adults talk about; work, friends, about the times with “Momsen and Popsen” (their mom and dad) I just listened and walked with them.

    I was reminded of the scripture, which speaks of light, of walking in the light, the light being God's Holy Writ, the presence of the Almighty God among us, that substance which chases away the darkness. That early morning fishing walk reminded me of 1 John 1:7;

    “BUT IF WE WALK IN THE LIGHT AS HE IS IN THE LIGHT, WE HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER, AND THE BLOOD OF JESUS HIS SON CLEANSES US FROM UNRIGHTEOUSNESS”

    Yes, indeed we did indeed have a nice walk that early summer morning so many years ago. My father, my aunt, and me, walking down the dirt road, fishing gear in one hand, lantern in the other, walking and talking, just having a nice early-morning time for fellowship. I remember that we caught a sucker. We threw it back into the river on account of it being a “garbage” fish. My aunt had baited the hook with some pieces of bacon fat. Well, what can you expect? Not so kosher bait brings in not so kosher fish.

    So many years have passed, yet this memory is as clear as glass. Mom, dad, and Mackie are all buried, but their memories are still alive, their teachings still alive, and the love and respect I had for them still remain in my soul.





    Last edited by JacobBenAvraham; 01-12-2021 at 11:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User JacobBenAvraham's Avatar
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    The radio

    THE RADIO


    As far as I can remember, the radio was always on top of grandfather's oak cabinet downstairs in the basement. The basement in our house in Chappaqua, N.Y. was a lonely, quiet place of boxed up memories of the past. A place of boxed up stuff, this-and-thats, decorations, furniture pieces, what-knots that somehow did not make it upstairs to the living room. Things that found a place in our house in Elmhurst, N.Y.C. now slumbered in silent solitude within 4 concrete walls.

    I had gone up and down the wooden steps that lead to the basement many times during my childhood there in Chappaqua. At the bottom of the steps to the left stood about 5 metal shelves where my parents stacked all kinds of canned goods, right next to those shelves were the washer, dryer, and sink where mom would do the wash.

    A fuse box that held the old type circular screw on-and-off fuses found its place against the concrete wall next to the sink. Quite a few times I remember my dad changing a fuse or two which had given up their ghosts.

    Across from the washer and dryer were the oil burner and hot water heater. In-between those two down-stairs residents stood grandma's two-wheeled shopping basket, no longer in use anymore. It just stood there as a reminder of the many trips she must have taken back and forth from the local food markets in New York City so many years ago.

    On the other side of the basement, there were boxes and boxes of things like old Good House-keeping magazines, Field and Stream mags, piano sheet music which belonged to my mom, Eskimo garb, and grandma and grandpa's “1906” trunk. This was the trunk that they used when they came to America from the “Old Country. I say “1906” because stuck to the bottom of the trunk was a piece of newspaper with that date under the headline.

    The basement was divided in half by a center concrete wall. On the other side of it, dad had built me a “train table” where his Lionel trains lay, lined up on the train track. I used to turn on the power and run them for a while, putting “smoke pills” in the chimney of the locomotive and watch the engine bellow out puffs of white smoke. These trains were one of those “hand-me-downs” that fathers sometimes give to their sons. I saw some more trains in other boxes that somehow, never left their cardboard housing. Those were the ones dad bought back in the 1930s.

    At the other end of the basement was the wall that divided our house from the great outdoors. Right next to the back-yard door was my wooden toy-chest with out-grown toys, some broken, some still in good shape. Once outside there was a steep hill that ended at an oak tree and my swing set. This was especially good during winter when there was icy snow. I would “belly-flop” and slide down the hill on my belly until I stopped at the swing-set.

    On the other side of the back-yard door was grandpa's oak cabinet with 4 pull-out drawers. The bottom two would open vertically, the top two would open horizontally. The bottom two had a piece of cardboard wedged between them so as to keep them close since the key was lost long ago. I don't recall much of the contents of that oak cabinet, only that the bottom part had a shoebox with some silverware with the monogram “P” and the date “November 1914” engraved on the knives, forks, and spoons. This was the date of grandma and grandpa's wedding.

    In the top-left drawer was a folded-up ship's flag with the stars and stripes and an anchor amidst the stars. This belonged to the Texaco Tanker “Ohio” when grandpa was captain back in the 1930s. Guess he took it as a keepsake.

    On the top of the cabinet sat, “The Radio”. It was unlike our small yellow plastic kitchen counter radio, which had a clock-face and a swivel dial which was permanently set to WFAS-1230 AM. The radio in the basement came in two parts. There were two black, metal boxes, one on top of the other. The larger one was full on knobs and switches with three half-moon windows with lines and numbers on their faces. Below the windows were two large dials with the markings; “main tuning” and “band-spread”. On the main tuning dial was the letter “h” and the letters and numbers; SX-25.

    The other knobs and switches had other letters on them like; BFO, AF Gain, RF Gain. The speaker lay inside of the smaller black box on top of the radio. The back was hollow with just some folded-up wires hanging out. The radio just sat there with the three half-moon yellow eyes staring lifelessly at the iron food shelf which stood across the room.

    I imagine that in the years past, these dials must have lit up many times with the speaker vibrating with music from the Benny Goodman band, the Andrew Sisters, the Amos and Andy show, news from different announcers. I can imagine the famous speech made by president Roosevelt coming through the speaker of that radio so many years ago; “Yesterday, December 7th, 1941, is a day that will live in infamy.......”. My dad told me about that day, it was the day he was recalled into the army for extended service.

    Now it was still, a quiet sentinel of the past, now a home for spiders and dust. I had passed by that radio many times on my way out the basement door to the back yard. I often wondered what it would sound like with the switch turned to “on”. I tried it once, but the radio still remained silent, dead to the world, a quiet ghost of past melodies, songs, and news broadcasts.

    Then came the day when I found myself looking at the radio when my dad came downstairs. He came behind me and put his hands on my shoulders and said;

    “That's a Hallicrafters SX-25 Communications Receiver, a short-wave radio. It can pick up radio stations from all over the world. I bought it way back in 1937.”

    He continued to tell me how he used to tune in stations from different parts of the world. He especially listened to “HAMS” (amateur radio operators). He told me how once he heard a “HAM” transmitting from “Little America” (The South Pole).

    “I hope I can do that too someday dad, hear stations from other parts of the world,” I told him. I was really interested in this now. I can't really recall, but this was around 1966 when we had that short conversation.

    “Maybe someday Jimmy” he responded with a smile, “Maybe someday.”

    Moving day came early in June 1966. School had let out, I was a 6th-grade graduate, ready to go into Jr. High. The Santini brothers ‘moving van came and packed up all of our stuff, all the odds and ends, furniture, etc., including dad's radio. All went into new boxes, they went on the truck, and we said our final “goodbye” to Chappaqua, N.Y.

    We moved to Yorktown Heights, N.Y. My parents enrolled me in Yorktown Jr. High School and after that, I sat back to enjoy the rest of the summer. Our new house in Yorktown Heights didn't exactly have a basement, it had what one could call a “downstairs den”. All our stuff was off-loaded and grandpa's oak cabinet ended up next to the house entrance door in the back of our two-car garage. Beside the cabinet was his “1906 trunk”, but there was no sign of the radio.

    I figure that it must have been still packed in one of the many boxes lined up alongside the walls of our garage. For a while, I gave no more thought of the radio, out of sight, out of mind.

    The months passed. The 1966-67 school year started. I entered into the awesome world of 7th grade. December turned into January 1967, then February 9th rolled around, my birthday. Mom and dad greeted me with their “Happy birthday Jimmy” with a chocolate cake, my favorite. I also received that year a “Craig reel to reel tape recorder”. 'Now what in the world would I do with this I asked myself?' Would I record myself just to hear myself talk? No, not likely. But mom and dad had another surprise awaiting me.

    “Come downstairs, I have something to show you.” my dad said, as we both went downstairs to the den. He pointed to a medium-size bookshelf under a window. It was divided into an upper and lower shelf, and there was something on those shelves. I went to get a closer look.

    “Happy Birthday Jimmy,” my dad said to me smiling, “It's yours now.”

    And there it was, the Hallicrafters SX-25. It has re-appeared. It had found a new resting place, from on top of grandpa's oak cabinet to a bookshelf. My dad had cut a hole in the back of the bookshelf to slip the power cord through to plug into the wall socket.
    “I gave it to Mr. Tebbit to fix. It works fine now.”

    Dad commented that Mr. Tebbit was a friend from work. He was an “Old radio fix-it guy” He took the Hallicrafters, opened up the top and cleaned out the cobwebs, changed a few tubes, and brought it back to life. Dad showed me how to work the dials, what they were used for. He told me about the “main tuning” and “band-spread” dials. The “BFO” switch was a “Beat Frequency Oscillator” control that was used to “un-garble” all the “garbled” conversations of the HAM radio operators.

    Dad told me about the RF Gain and AF Gain switches (Radio-Frequency Gain) (Audio-Frequency Gain), and of course the knob that changed the frequencies. It had Medium Wave (AM) and short-wave frequencies.

    Dad showed me the multi-strand copper wire that was screwed on to the back of the radio and ran up the curtain and was tied off on the curtain rod. This was for the reception. later on, he hung a 50-foot-long copper wire in front of our house which was tied off between two ceramic insulators. I turned the radio on, and the half-moon dials came to life.

    Different sounds came forth from the speaker; bleeps, blahs, different and strange sounds. Dad explained the different sounds and their meanings; Morse code, carrier waves, radio teletype, time-frequency stations. We stopped to listen to the first station. It was radio Station WWV from Fort Collins, Colorado, it announced the time every minute giving the minutes GMT, (Greenwich Mean Time)

    Soon after that, I found CHU-Canada, from Toronto, another Time-frequency station, announcing the time by minutes in both English and in French. Now, the short-wave radio listening bug had really hit me. I picked up the first international radio station, HCJB from Quito, Ecuador; a Missionary radio station transmitting an English language broadcast. Later on, I picked up more stations; Radio Havana, Cuba, the BBC World Service, Radio Moscow, Radio Peking (China). The Voice of Free China, from Taiwan, Radio Cairo (Egypt), Radio Nacional de España, (Spain) Radio RSA (The Voice of South Africa from Johannesburg)

    As the months and years went by, I heard more stations. Dad showed me how to write down the information from broadcasts to send away for QSL cards, (postcards that verified reception from those stations). The first one I received was from radio RSA, from South Africa. I felt like someone important now, getting mail from overseas. Dad moved the radio upstairs to my bedroom for one year.

    In 1970, when I turned 16, I got my first summer job working as a gardener at a community college. All the workers called me; “Young Jim” since I was the youngest. With the money, I saved I bought a short-wave radio of my own, a “Hammarlund Communications Receiver”. It was somewhat like the Hallicrafters, but a newer model. The two radios sat side by side on my dresser drawer, right next to my bed.

    As the years went by, I had collected many QSL cards, then I tried to see how many “out-of-state” AM stations I could pick up. Nighttime was the best. The farthest I heard was KFI in Los Angeles, CA. I also heard a lot of AM stations from Cuba and Canada. I put all my QSL cards in an album, even the AM stations sent out QSL cards, some wrote back with personal “thank you for listening” letters. This was indeed an exciting hobby, I had learned a lot about the geography of the world and about other countries.

    High School graduation day came in June 1972. The Army recruiter had visited me a few months before graduation. I signed up, so by the end of June, I would embark on a new adventure with Uncle Sam. This adventure would last eleven years, a soldier's adventure.

    July 1st came, I had a small bag ready with some clean underwear and toilet articles. It was seven AM in the morning. Dad would take me to the bus stop. I left my bedroom for the last time, took a final look at my radios, closed the door, and was off to Fort Dix, N.J. for basic training.

    Many radio stations have come and gone in the past years. Some die out due to a lack of listeners' support, and some keep on going strong. There is one station that is still going strong, a station that got started about 3500 years ago. This station, unliked by some, yet loved by many, is radio “Voice of God”.

    It started with quill and ink, by a rejected prince from Egypt, who became a shepherd of millions of human sheep. He Wrote down what God told him to write, then passed on the scripts to others who would write down more stuff from God and would pass on those scripts to others, and so on. The station scripts became printed in book form, then when the airwaves were subdued by man, the Voice of God was heard by both radio and TV, and now by the internet. Today we can both “read” and “listen” to the broadcasts. There are 66 programs. YHVH-Adonai-Elohim is the station owner-president-manager.

    The 66 programs are broadcasted day and night, 24-7. There is the Genesis program, the Exodus program. The station announcers are long since gone, yet their voices are still heard. There are news programs, history programs, programs of songs, poetry, and wisdom which are on radio Psalms and Proverbs.

    The station manager started this station thinking of mankind who he loves. Years of preparation went into the programs. His voice has been echoed into all 66 programs, and all talk about YESHUA, the Son, God become flesh and blood. There is, however, QRM (interference) and a lot of static at times. It comes from radio Satan, it wants to jam the Voice of God, but it is up to each and every listener to tune it out. We have to use our bandspread carefully, tune out all distractions, fine-tune our built-in antennae, or our faith walk will be hindered.

    So, keep tuned to the “Voice of God” it is essential to our spiritual growth and it will lead you to the knowledge and acceptance of Yeshua (Jesus Christ) as your Savior and LORD.


    AUTHOR’S FINAL THOUGHTS:

    Many years have gone by. These days the short-wave radio listening hobby has almost disappeared. No need to tune-in stations on a radio. Just go to the Internet and look for the “Tune-in” Web site and you can find all the world stations to listen to. The challenge has gone. Too easy now.

    The Hallicrafters returned to my father when I left for the Army. I had also bought a Hammarlund Short Wave Communications Receiver. Dad sent it to me, never got to me though. The QSL cards? Lost somewhere in Mexico. Today I have a small digital “Grundig” SWR. I never use it though, it stays in the night-table drawer next to the bed. I’ll take it to the beach or pool sometimes to listen to an FM station.

    There are times when I stay up late and just out of curiosity, turn the dial on a 1930s replica of a table radio just to see how far I can tune in. I’ve heard a few stations in Mexico and Cuba, but that’s about it. Sometimes I think that I might get a HAM license. (Amateur Radio License) but who knows. The hobby was great while it lasted.

  3. #3
    Registered User JacobBenAvraham's Avatar
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    In my cousin's house

    IN MY COUSIN'S HOUSE


    My cousin John lived in a nice, quiet suburb in Flushing, N.Y. His house, or rather my aunt and uncle's house was, to me, neither small nor big, rather medium size, as seen in the eyes of a child back in the early and mid-1960s.

    It lay nestled in a nice, little neighborhood, amidst other houses on a neat and quiet street lined with trees and green lawns. There was a park nearby where I remember my grandpa took me once to swing on one of the many swing sets, and afterward, he put me on a slide and caught me as I slid down.

    So, my Aunt Nina and Uncle Ces, my cousins John, Gene, and Anita lived peacefully there for many years. Of my three cousins, I related more to John since we were almost the same age, John being one year older than me.

    My mom, dad, and I used to visit uncle Ces and aunt Nina during the Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas holidays. We would drive down to Flushing from upstate N.Y. in our 1960 red “Studebaker” called “the Red Lark”. I would stretch out in the back seat and try to take a small “siesta” while hearing dad mention words like; “Taconic State Parkway”, “Ossining”, “Nyack”, etc...

    About two hours later we would arrive at Uncle Ces and Aunt Nina's house. There was a front entrance on an elevated stone patio which opened up to a coat closet on the left-hand side. In front was the living room with a few items of furniture; a sofa, an ornament shelf where uncle Ces kept his reel-to-reel tape recorder, and a piano. But for some reason, we always used the kitchen entrance. I guess the kitchen entrance was closer to where we parked the car.

    In front of the kitchen entrance were my aunt Nina's houseplants, and then...the aroma of an oven-baked turkey would greet us together with my aunt's “Happy Thanksgiving” or whatever the holiday at hand. The kitchen led into a very small dining room which had some small pictures of snow-capped mountains in Chile hanging on the wall. There was also a wooden décor piece with the words, “The Dog House” and the names of my cousins on little pieces of wood. I remember the words on the plaque; “To stay out of the doghouse, obey the rules, to get into the doghouse, try some shenanigans”.

    The kitchen led to a short hallway with a guest bathroom to the left. I remember a little ceramic cat on top of the toilet with a pull-out tail made of some perfumed fabric to keep the bathroom always smelling sweet and fresh.

    Around the corner from the bathroom led to the basement. This was a place of enjoyment and relaxation, where the family and guests would go for a bit of “chitter-chatter” and TV watching. When you went down the stairs, your shoes would echo a hollow “clack-clack-clacking sound. The bottom of the staircase ended in front of a corner shelf with grandpa's globe-lamp on top.

    With a flick on the wall switch, the globe lamp would light up with a soft glow, illuminating the oceans and the continents of the world. The rest of the basement consisted of John's race-track table with little electric racing cars on a track. There were two lean-back easy chairs in front of the console TV set. Usually on the arm of one of the chairs rested a TV guide clipped onto a small clipboard.

    Uncle Ces had his work area in the back of the basement with all sorts of tools and gizmos. There was a bar with all kinds of drinks, and souvenirs from foreign countries hung from the top of the bar ceiling, even a shrunken head (fake of course).

    Near the bar, on the basement wall hung a black and white ink drawing of Uncle Ces, sitting on top of the world cross-legged, holding about twenty different foreign flags, places that he had visited. These were in memory of Ces having worked for many years at IBM World Trade Corp.

    During the holiday seasons, the basement saw many guests sitting in front of the console TV set watching football games, or on a Sunday, there would be bullfights on channel 41. Uncle Ces especially liked the bullfights, since he was from Venezuela. Once he told me that as a kid, he had fought a young bull in an arena near Caracas.

    John's room was near the guest bathroom. There were two beds, a dresser drawer, and a clothing closet. On the bedroom door, he had hung a funny picture of a UFO taking off and a little alien running after it yelling, “wait for me!”. On top of his dresser were many little army soldiers all lined up with a sign on the wall that read; “watch out!”

    Another thing that made an impact on me in John's room was a little “glow-in-the-dark” Jesus on a cross which hung over the head of his bed. I thought that perhaps this crucifix had some special powers because of what he said once when I slept over. One thing I'd like to make clear is that our families were religiously different. Uncle Ces and aunt Nina and my cousins were Catholics, while my adoptive family who raised me were Lutherans. I followed the way, of course, of my adoptive family since that was all I knew. This was many years before the Jewishness which I inherited from my biological father's ancestry, awakened inside me.

    During one of the holidays, Uncle Ces and aunt Nina invited us to sleep over. Mom and dad were in the guest room, and I got to sleep in John's room. I was perhaps seven or eight years old at the most, probably in 1962 or 63. Well, that night John and I were laying in opposite beds talking about this and that. He told me how his friends were pestering the “parkee” (the guy in charge of the neighborhood park) when he paused for a few seconds, pointed at his clothes closet, and said;

    “At midnight, the devil will come out of that closet and try to drag us off to hell unless we take hold of Jesus.”

    Then he looked above his bed and pointed to the “glow-in-the-dark” Jesus on the cross. Now my evening was ruined. Fear gripped me, imagining that at the stroke of midnight, the closet would fill with smoke and a hideous clawed hand would push the closet door open. I could just imagine a horned devil in a bright red suit followed by some “imps” jumping on top of me and my cousin. Then they would drag us both, kicking and screaming, into the closet, down the corridor to hell. Somehow, I thought, there was a corridor that connected hell with John's closet.

    In a way, I felt sorry for John that his closet was a passageway to hell. At home in Chappaqua, I also had a clothing closet and the devil never came out of that one to drag me to hell. I remember my dad telling me a little about hell, how bad boys and girls would end up there. Kids that were disobedient to parents and teachers would end up in the devil's hell, together with all the thieves, muggers, thugs, burglars, and killers.

    My dad continued to tell me that down in hell, everyone would have to work for the devil, shoveling coal to keep the fires going. I thought about shoveling coal. I decided that it would be harder than shoveling snow off the driveway in wintertime, and it would be a lot hotter too. I decided that shoveling coal would not work for me.

    Poor John, I thought. The reason that he is still here is that he is still awake at midnight. At midnight, he would grab hold of the crucifix and foil the devil. I could hardly imagine if he were to be asleep at midnight The devil would grab him and drag him off saying;

    “Too late, too late John, midnight has gone by, and since you didn't grab Jesus, now you're mine”.

    I really hoped that this wouldn't be the case. I wondered if my mom and dad would hear our cries, Ces and Nina too, they would have to hear something I thought. But so far, so good, midnight was a few hours away.

    So, there we were, John was in his bed and I was in the other bed across the room. There was a little clock on John's dresser. It was 10:00 pm, two hours until “devil time”, so close, only two hours until the closet door would open and the devil and his imps would come out and drag both me and John down to the fires of hell. Then John and I would have to shovel coal to keep the hellfires going. That would be one “hell” of a future for both of us, not to mention our parents who would be worried sick about us, as to where we both were. Well, I thought, John knew what he was doing. I mean, he was nine years old, almost all grown up. He would just have to wake up on time before the stroke of midnight. He wouldn't dare oversleep because the fate of both of us was at stake.

    I turned over in bed and tried to get some sleep, yet I kept turning back over to look at the clock. I just stared at it, the clock hands kept moving, ever so slowly. I heard the “tick, tick, ticking” of the clock in my mind's eye, echoing in the semi-darkness of John's bedroom.

    The minutes ticked by, and the little hand was pointing to the twelve, and now the little hand was on the eleven, five minutes before the closet would fill with smoke, followed by a red-suited red devil with a pointy tail. The suspense was too much, and my cousin didn't seem to be worried too much. I jumped from my bed onto John's bed and I shook him;

    “John, John, wake up, it's almost midnight!”

    “Oh, yeah,” my cousin said, slowly sitting up in bed.

    I saw him reach for the 'glow-in-the-dark' Jesus on the cross. He took it down from its hook on the wall. We watched the clock, it was now midnight. We both held on to the crucifix, with John mumbling some prayer. I don't remember exactly which one, probably a Hail Mary. We both held on to the cross for a full minute, keeping our eyes on the closet. It didn't fill with smoke, nor did the devil make an entrance into my cousin's bedroom to drag us to hell. Now I breathed easier.

    “It's OK now,” my cousin said, “We can go back to sleep, the devil probably knew we were holding on to Jesus, so he didn't even try to grab us”.

    John put the 'glow-in-the-dark Jesus' back on the wall. I climbed back into the other bed and we both had a good night's sleep.
    As the years went by, I grew in knowledge and wisdom. The Apostle Paul even wrote that when we were a child, we thought as children, yet when we grow in knowledge, we put away childish things, ideas, thoughts, as we come into spiritual maturity. I learned that there really wasn't a passageway between hell and my cousin's clothing closet. Perhaps my cousin was just jesting all along and just wanted to have some fun with his younger cousin.

    Yet I learned, through God's Word, that there really is a place called hell, a real place made especially for the devil and his fallen angels, and that sinful, unrepentant mankind would join them for all eternity. The Bible describes it as a place of 'wailing and gnashing of teeth, where the worm dieth not and the fire never quenched'. It is a place of eternal separation from God, absent from his eternal love, of eternal separation from one's loved ones, a place of sorrow, of remorse, of past memories of times on earth, lost chances and opportunities of salvation, never to have a “second chance”, since it is “appointed unto man once to die and after this, the judgment”

    Grabbing hold of and trusting in a plastic 'glow-in-the-dark' Jesus on a cross will not keep a person from going to hell, neither putting a magnetic Mother-Mary statuette on the dashboard of ones' car will keep a person out of hell. Trusting in icons, statues, holy images, doing good deeds, or in anything material will not keep a person out of hell.

    The only thing that will keep a person from going to hell is faith in the LORD Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach), trusting in his onetime only and eternal atonement for sin on the Cross of Calvary. Trusting that He took upon Himself ALL of our sins, past, present, and future, taking those sins with him on the tree, giving to us his righteousness, in exchange for our sinfulness. The Bible states that God is not willing that ANYONE should perish, but for ALL to come to repentance and have our fellowship with God restored through Messiah Yeshua.

    It makes no difference if a person says; “I don't believe there's a hell!” because God says there is! It is mentioned by different names; the Abyss, Gehenna, Hades, Sheol, the Pit, a place of outer darkness. Hell is a holding place, like a county jail, where unrepentant sinners will wait until God's final judgment, then “Death and Hell were cast into the Lake of Fire” this is the second death (Revelation). But scripture also says, “For God is not willing that anyone should perish, that while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us” (2 Peter 3:9)

    Anyone who dies and goes to hell goes there because he or she has chosen to go because that person has rejected the free gift of salvation which was freely given to all mankind. So, all in all, staying out of hell does not depend on touching or holding certain objects or icons, it DOES depend on holding on to the promise of Messiah Yeshua, Jesus the Christ;

    For God so loved the world that he gave his Only Begotten Son, that whosoever that believes in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life!” (John 3:16)

    By J. Ben Avraham (Jimmy)

  4. #4
    Registered User JacobBenAvraham's Avatar
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    Tante veeps

    “TANTE VEEPS”


    My parents didn't tell me much about Tante Veeps. I only remember her as a very old lady with short, white, curly hair. When she talked, it showed that she was missing a few teeth.

    I sat beside her once at a restaurant. I don't remember the occasion, but my mom and dad had invited her out. So there we sat at some elegant restaurant, me, mom, dad, and “Veeps”. When she talked to me, she would call me “Yimmy” since she couldn't pronounce the letter “J”. She must have been a relative on my paternal grandmother's side of the family since she was from Denmark”. I am thinking that perhaps she was my grandma's sister but I can't be sure.

    My father told me her story. She was a nurse for the Danish Red Cross in Greenland. She was stationed at Godthaab (pronounced “Gut-Hub”) the main city in Greenland. According to dad's story, she had fallen in love with another worker, or it might have been a patient in the hospital. Well, either the patient died or the worker died, or the patient or the worker didn't correspond with the same affection as Veeps. Whatever the story, she was broken-hearted. She never married nor did she ever give up her Danish citizenship. She remained a Dane till the day she died.

    My memory of Veeps is limited to that specific day at that restaurant. I was sitting next to her I do remember that. I heard dad mention her name from time to time, and afterward, her name went into oblivion, yet the memory of her still stays within my mind and soul.

    When I think of Veeps, I often think of contrasts and comparisons with our Messiah Yeshua, Jesus the Christ. Unlike Veeps who never married, Our Messiah is now preparing a great wedding feast for his bride. He is the bridegroom, the Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world, is preparing a place for all of us, his called out “Kehilah” (congregation) so that one day, where He is, we will also be. We will all partake of his wonderful marriage supper, accepting Him as our Husband, Redeemer, Savior, and King Messiah.

    Messiah was also broken-hearted when he came to his own, yet his own received him not. It is sad to think what our Messiah did for us all, for all humankind, taking upon the sin of all mankind, yet many reject him as Savior and LORD and do not esteem his sacrifice for sin and eternal death. Nothing else could break our Savior's heart, save only a Roman soldier's lance.

    Tante Veeps esteemed so much her Danish citizenship that she never gave it up. How much do believers esteem their citizenship in Heaven? In the New Jerusalem? It is more precious than gold, silver, and all the precious stones in the world. Our citizenship is “forever” What we do now, as believers on this earth, will determine what we will do “forever” in the LORD's service. Our future rewards will be determined by our works now, as “gold, silver, and precious stones.” How do we serve Him now? In which way or ways to we render service to King Messiah now? In whatever way or ways we serve him, let's serve Him with our whole heart, mind, soul, and spirit.

    By Rabbi Ben Avraham

    P.S. My Aunt Mackie (Tante Mackie) never married either. She lived all her lilfe with Inky, her pet Dachsund. When Ink died, she got another dog.

  5. #5
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    Josephine

    JOSEPHINE




    Thinking of Josephine brings back old memories, memories of the early 1960s back in a little town called Chappaqua. This town was my childhood home in the state of New York. A time when gas was cheap and neighbors got along and looked out for each other. In some places, they still do.

    We had three house cats; Shan, Tiger, and then there was Josephine. First, we inherited Tiger through a neighbor, Mrs. Milford. When she died, she willed “Lobo” her dog to a neighbor down the street, and we inherited “Tiger”. Tiger was a big, fat orange and off-white mix-breed cat. He loved the outdoors. Sometimes he would disappear for days, only to return all scratched up as a result of fights with other cats and forest critters. He hardly ever “meowed”. If he “meowed” 5 times a week it was a lot.

    He came to us with a chewed-up black collar which never came off. He wore it until the day he died about ten years later. My dad often referred to Tiger as the “Big Oaf” (whatever that meant). He would come and go as he pleased, but none-the-less, very much part of our family.

    Shan, on the other hand, was the opposite of Tiger. She was a pure-bred Siamese who I found on the street as a kitten. I brought her home and she became part of our family. In time, she became involved with a neighbor’s cat and as a result of that feline love-affair, she had two kittens; Sammy and Suki.

    Shan was very talkative, especially at mealtimes. She was very picky with her food, eating only “Puss-in-boots” cat food, and of course, fresh chicken livers which mom at times feed her. Shan was an “in-door” cat, venturing outside only during the Springtime and summer. During the winter snow time, she went outside on the side-porch only to shake her head and come back ten minutes later.

    I sometimes imagine how they would have been if God has created them as humans. I imagine Tiger as a big, fat, Hill-Billy, redheaded, tobacco chewing rough-guy, always ready for a bar-room brawl. Shan, on the other hand, I would imagine as a “lady of society” with polished nails, well-dressed, only the best food, impeccable manners, and a chatterbox. I could imagine the two of them together at the table. Shan would have been telling Tiger the latest news and gossip. Tiger, on the other hand, would be listening, hand on chin and elbows on the table, replying with just…” uh-huh” (is that it? Can I go now?)

    Josephine, however, was different from Shan and Tiger. I remember bringing Shan home. I don’t remember what year we got Tiger, but Josephine, well, she was “always there”. Ever since I could remember, Josephine sat on the edge of our kitchen counter and never moved from there. She would sit there on the edge of the counter looking straight ahead. At times, her head was facing toward the refrigerator that was next to the side patio door.

    At times, when I went out the patio door to the great outdoors, I would look up at Josephine and smile at her. Josephine would never move, but would always have that “Mona-Lisa” type smile on her lips. Her eyes, well, they would always be shut but she did have long painted lashes. You see, Josephine was a “Ceramic Cookie-Jar” cat.

    Mom and dad would take her head off and stuff Josephine with all kinds of what-knots, bric-a-brac, this and thats, little paper receipts, milk bottle caps which had the faces of the presidents, from Washington all the way to JFK. There were also paper-clips, pennies, nickels, and who knows what else ended up inside of Josephine’s ceramic body. But never, did any “cookies” end up inside of her, only inedible stuff.

    People, unlike ceramic cookie-jar cats, have to be careful what goes inside the body. Our Heavenly Father created us in His image. Our bodies were created with perfection in mind, awesomely and wonderfully we were made. In the image of Elohim, we were made. In the beginning, man was made to eat only fruit, nuts, vegetables, grains, clean water, and juices of the fruit of the trees. After the Genesis flood, mankind was allowed to eat only certain kinds of animals based on Leviticus 11.

    Many might ask why we are limited to what we can eat? Who knows better than our Heavenly Father what should go inside our bodies? After all, He is the designer and maker of our earthly temples. Yet man does not live by bread alone, but must also feed his spiritual self. One thing is to feed our physical bodies with the physical food from the earth, but then we must think of our mind, soul, and spirit. What we listen to and what we see and read affects our internal being.

    Josephine was fragile, she could have broken easily if she had ever fallen to the kitchen floor. Our bodies are also fragile, they will not last forever so we must do what we can to care for our bodies. More important though, is the soul which inhabits our fragile bodies. That will live forever. Have you ever thought of where you will spend eternity? Do you know for sure that Heaven will be your home? Having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach) is the answer.

    Josephine is probably in someone's home today, if not broken during all these years. I'll never see her again, but I know that I'll see the saints of old, and above all, my Messiah and LORD. Who knows, maybe I'll see you there too. Just tell me that you read "Josephine" then I'll know.

    By J. Ben Avraham

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