Leaving Fire Island


T H E F I R E I S L A N D N E W S P A P E R •  A u g u s t  3 1 , 2 0 1 8 •  P A G E           4 9


Leaving Fire Island

By Brenda Grace de Jong • Illustration by Charlotte Bravin Lee


1520 hours, Seaview Marina, NY

THIS DAY IS DIFFERENT. It is unlike the thousands of previous ones in which I sat on the dock waiting to board ‘the’ last boat back to the mainland. Today, I am lodged on a bench beneath a weatherworn overhang sheltered from the sun’s afternoon rays where I await a ferry that will transport me from what was to what will be. This is a voyage that no one can, or will, take with me, and although a bay of water and a sea of people surround me, I am alone on this, ‘my’ last boat off Fire Island. Continue reading “Leaving Fire Island”

This Old Desk

While doing some housekeeping on this blog I viewed what is my cover photo with a different set of eyes.   I don’t know how or why these eyes appeared, but they allowed my heart and a part of my brain to travel back in time while my body and the remaining portion of my brain remained solidly grounded in the present.

Yes, this is my actual desk, Continue reading “This Old Desk”

Falling in Love with a Man of the Sea

Below is a telegram that my father sent to my mother some seventy years ago.

“Dear Toots, just a few lines, but don’t know if it will go ashore or not, as this place is only a port of call. I don’t know where we are going from here, but I don’t think it will be a long trip, so I hope to see you soon.”

 ~ Simon J. de Jong (Somewhere in England, January 28, 1945) 

I, like she, fell in love with a man of the sea. It was through reading his correspondence to her that I have become able to identify the characteristics of these men, and possibly better understand us, the women who love them. His letters to her have shown me that love is eternal and cannot be limited or confined to a specific time in history. This is my story and I believe it was my mother’s also. Continue reading “Falling in Love with a Man of the Sea”

Color Outside the Lines and Become Your Own Woman

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; but who is going to stop me.” ~ Ayn Rand

Many of us women defer to the wants and needs of those who matter most to us, and so we learn to adopt roles that will accomplish those tasks. We grow up thinking this is what is expected of us and, therefore, what we should do.

The world sees us as wives, partners, mothers, daughters, sisters, employees and friends, Continue reading “Color Outside the Lines and Become Your Own Woman”

Taking a Detour – Crossing the Pond

Meet Brenda The Detourist! #LoveMyDetour

Why Not Wednesday

 And with that in mind, I’d love for you to meet Brenda, the Detourist!

“This is the story of every woman who has ever lost herself and her dreams to those of another.

“This is a tribute to all of the women who have found themselves and their dreams by crossing their own ponds.”

A pond, and several blocks, separated my then current home from the one I had once shared with a husband, a dog, and an extended family. We had lived together on the north side of the pond but life’s circumstances, and my choices, would ultimately shift me south. Continue reading “Taking a Detour – Crossing the Pond”

That ‘f’ Word

[I would like to share this beautiful comment I received from a dear and long-time friend on one of my blog posts.  Included here is my response to her.  I assure you there is a motive to my madness.]

“Brenda you’re a beautiful writer and for extra few bucks I know you can make people laugh. [I am]Laughing so hard at your witty sense of humor surrounding I know to be very real events. Your ability to take on these Continue reading “That ‘f’ Word”

Missing Noogs

It has been five months since my canine companion of more than sixteen years has departed this earth, leaving me empty and grieving.  I did not expect, and therefore I am unprepared for, the depth of sorrow I feel at the loss of his presence beside me.  There seems to be a bottomless well of memories and triggers that waft

Continue reading “Missing Noogs”

Transformation, Progression, and Evolution

“When does a boulder become a rock? When does a rock become a stone? A stone a pebble? And a pebble a grain of sand?”

(8 August 2010)

And, so is the evolutionary cycle of life for a scrap of hard, non-metallic matter.

This is not that dissimilar to the progression of a human being’s existence.  Whether it be throughout the course of one lifetime or over hundreds, how different is it?

The soul that is birthed, or re-birthed, into their current body does so laden with unresolved issues and unlearned lessons, which the physical and psychological form inherits, and so begins another ‘human condition’.  Individual circumstances of this origin and its ensuing years have been mapped out long before the soul enters a new human vessel.  Its parents, siblings, geography, education, employment, income, status, Continue reading “Transformation, Progression, and Evolution”

The Hokey Pokey

Growing up, my mother had a collection of plaques with different and interesting sayings on them that she displayed throughout our house, but primarily they were located in the kitchen. Even as a child I was fascinated by the written word, but  I was also confused at their appearance on these pieces of wood along with, what I believed to be, their unusual placement on the walls, rather than in books.  Despite my confusion I also found a certain pleasure in being able to access these messages at any time by simply walking into a room and scanning the walls.

As an adult in my own home, I have chosen to continue my mother’s custom; however, I expanded on it a bit.  I have splattered the walls of my Sleepy Hollow like apartment, with its small rooms, dark wood and seven-foot ceilings, with a variety of sayings that suit my individual tastes in the here and now.  Although I am a bit unconventional in nature, I still find comfort in being surrounded by various words of wisdom and encouragement that are timeless and always accessible. Continue reading “The Hokey Pokey”