Tag Archives: Writers Quote Wednesday

Writers Quote Wednesday Unity

Being different was something I totally understood my entire childhood. It was pointed out by nearly every adult and most of my peers on a regular basis. As a result, I spent quite a bit of time alone, wishing I could belong.  Once I got into high school, I found many ways to “belong” one of which, was that I was completely accepted by the drinking crowd who hung out on the steps of our massive school building. It wasn’t that they thought me to be special, they were simply so caught up in their stupors to the point where they didn’t care who was out there, as long as they weren’t trying to kill their buzz. Considering I could chug a bottle of vodka, swiped from a nearby liquor store like the best of them, I found UNITY in the form of drunkenness.

We relocated in the middle of my junior year and there was no such crowd with which to hang during school hours at the new school. Alas, it was shoulder to the wheel until I realized that the theatre crowd in which I was immersed, were also hearty partiers. Sweet!  I not only belonged and but found UNITY in creativity and drunkenness once again!!

Okay, my drinking days are l-o-n-g behind me and that’s material for a whole other post. I have seen the errors of my ways, I promise.

 However, on the topic of UNITY, there was this one time in my “just coming out of my mid-teens”, era, when I found that belonging to something that served others more than my addictions could be so fulfilling that my heart would want to burst with joy. That something was volunteerism!

We lived in what was called, a sub-division, which was basically a collection of houses that were all the same (and no one seemed to care – thank you Carole King). It was streets and cul-de-sacs of three-bedroom brick ranches, surrounded by beautiful trees.  These houses were filled with families and the trees were well marked by many friendly dogs. Around the corner, literally, was a park. On one end of the park and across the street, was an elementary school. At the other end of the park and across a street were more family-filled houses. In one of those houses was a family whose children never got to go play in that park, at least, not the way the rest of us could. All three sons of this family had Muscular Dystrophy (MD).

They had ramps instead of stairs leading in and out of their house. The family drove specially equipped vans instead of sedans or station wagons. The boys missed a lot of school so we rarely, if ever, saw them at after school activities such as football games or dances. They spent most of their free time at doctor appointments while the rest of us had part time jobs or were hanging like year-round Christmas lights at the local shopping mall. Talk about a feeling of not belonging…

One of summer day after I graduated from high school, someone came to our door, collecting donations for MD. I had very little cash but because of the personal connection to the local family, I smiled through my tears as I handed over my cigarette money. I apologized saying that I wished there was more I could do for them. The volunteer smiled and handed me a piece of paper that changed my life.

This piece of paper had a name and phone number of a Regional Director for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, who was asking for volunteers. I was dialing the number before that canister carrying volunteer was done at the next house. Next thing I knew, I was agreeing to be a Neighborhood Director. Guess who was pounding the pavement the next week, carrying a canister and a stack of flyers? It was my honor to walk for those who couldn’t and might never know that freedom. Before the month was out, I had replaced the Regional Director who moved up to the local telethon crew. Whoa, the LOCAL telethon crew? I never knew such a thing existed.

Of course I had seen the annual Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, hosted by Jerry Lewis. It was entertaining as well as exciting to watch the tote board numbers grow. I’d chain smoke myself into oblivion with concern over whether or not Jerry would make it through the entire show and of course if they’d make MORE money than the year before. Not only was there this big national production but they’d “cut-away” once an hour to our local affiliate for updates of what we had collected in our area. We were promised that most of what we raised locally, would stay here to help the local families. It was heart wrenching and yet more thrilling than anything I had ever experienced before. Watching all these people come together, from all walks of life, to form a unified front against this monster of a disease.

Our local telethon segments were produced in Detroit, where we used to live. What I didn’t know was that there was also a local pledge center set up in the basement of the shopping mall where I had spent so many hours just wasting time with my friends.  And it NEEDED VOLUNTEERS!  People to do everything from answering the phones, to running the pledge sheets to the accounting room, to cleaning up, even manning the food room. I signed up!

I walked the one and a half miles to the mall the Sunday night before Labor Day that year. My energy was visible and I just knew this was going to be an amazing experience. Once I walked in, I could tell that everyone else there had been part of this crew for years as they were completely focused on their roles. I hung back a bit until one gentleman took pity on me and assigned me the task of clearing filled pledge sheets from the baskets in front of those answering the phones. YES!  I was on it like whipped cream on an ice cream sundae!  And that was great for the first three hours, until the calls slowed down…

Wandering around like lost sheep was how a couple of us spent the wee hours of the morning. We tried to look busy, sweeping floors, cleaning the food room and tried NOT to fall asleep. That kind gentleman suggested that I might want to just go home, as there wouldn’t be any real activity for several more hours. No, no, I was part of the crew!  I was in it for all the energy I could give!  I was determined to stay until the last numbers went up on that tote board.

 Boy, was I glad I did…

There is nothing more thrilling than seeing efforts pay off. The tympani played and the numbers jumped higher than the year before. We were monitoring the national broadcast of course, and our hearts burst with pride to know that a part of that total was contributed by our fellow local citizens.  For me and many others in that center, it was knowing that a local family was going to have whatever it needed to make the lives of their sons as comfortable as possible, that brought the tears.

Sheer elation carried me as I walked the mile and a half home nearly 24 hours after my adventure began. I don’t recall being able to feel my legs and didn’t care. I had been a part of one of the greatest crews and found UNITY in the common cause of truly loving thy neighbor. I stumbled in the front door, made it up the one little step into the living room and collapsed on the floor under the picture window. When I woke nearly 24 hours later, I realized my mother simply covered me with a blanket and left me alone.

While they have not found a cure for MD, they have made tremendous strides in treatments and services that they provide for families. All of this has been possible because of the UNITY of hundreds of thousands, probably more accurate to say, millions of people who gave and continue to give more of their time than money to raise awareness. The families affected by MD benefit, but so do those who come together in UNITY to volunteer.

My story took place 42 years ago and I have been back in our house for the past four years. The family around the corner have all passed on. The boys actually passed by the early 80’s and the parents stayed until they, too, passed. Their house is still there. No more ramps, in fact, if you did not know they had lived there, you would not know.  As I drove past that house today, I felt a tug on my heart strings. It was as though I was being asked, by that family, to use this story to illustrate UNITY. I hope I have succeeded in honoring that request.

Please accept my help

To stand with you in your quest

We’ll lift another

Shoulder to shoulder

Through the hours and the dark

Until we see light

(c) 2016 Annette Rochelle Aben




Writers Quote Wednesday Strength

It’s that gentle touch

It’s a friend’s quiet presence

Space in between breaths

Where we find our strength

It’s always there inside us

Gently summoned forth

©2016 Annette Rochelle Aben


#WQWWC – Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – “Strength”

Writers Quote Wednesday BELIEVE


Your dreams… YOUR dreams…  your DREAMSYOUR DREAMS!!  The power of your dreams is remarkable. That power is what gives you the feeling of POSSIBLE.  That power is what gives you the feeling of CHOICE.  That power is fueled by your BELIEF!  To BELIEVE in the POWER of your DREAMS, is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself.

You were born to CREATE all that your ENERGY feels compelled to SHARE. You came to this life to SHINE the LIGHT of BEAUTY that emanates from your very core. To BELIEVE in the POWER of YOUR DREAMS is why you are here.

You have everything inside of you to BRING the DREAMS of your ENERGY into fruition. You have enough CREATIVITY.  You have enough TALENT.  You have enough POWER.  When you use the POWER of BELIEF, you will find the FOCUS, the ENERGY and the TIME to MAKE IT HAPPEN!

You will DREAM the DREAMS that are so PERSONAL and UNIQUE to YOU! Each and every one of YOU can DREAM your own PERSONAL DREAMS and in doing so, you RAISE the VIBRATION of each and every DREAM that each and every other person DREAMS. The HIGHER you see your DREAM going, the HIGHER the VIBRATION. The higher YOUR vibration goes, the more everyone else’s DREAMS can climb!

You are CONTRIBUTING to the greater VIBRATION of every DREAM ever dreamed.  You are offering SUPPORT to every DREAM seeking to MANIFEST.  By BELIEVING in the POWER of your DREAMS, you are MENTORING CREATIVITY in the most LOVING of ways.

The IMPORTANCE of BELIEVING in the POWER of your DREAMS is farther reaching than you might ever IMAGINE.  You are a CREATOR, therefore, you MUST CREATE!  The GIFT you give to yourself, actually GIFTS all life. By OWNING your POWER and CHOOSING to BELIEVE in your DREAMS, the future is yours! A MAGICAL future.  A HAPPY future. You DESERVE to EXPERIENCE the MAGIC of your DREAMS coming TRUE! You DESERVE to OWN your POWERBELIEVE in the POWER of your DREAMS and MANIFEST!


Because I can choose

I can always choose to choose

To believe in me

 It’s my “NOW” power

Sets me free and gives me wings

So my dreams can soar!

(c) 2016 Annette Rochelle Aben 

#WQWWC – Writers Quote ‘Thursday’ Writing Challenge – “Believe”


Writers Quote Wednesday Memories


 In the clouded mind

We seek to choose memories

Perhaps they choose us

(c) 2016 Annette Rochelle Aben 

 Okay, those who know me, know that music has always played a HUGE part of my life. My parents were rabid record collectors and there was always a stereo in our home.  Even if we didn’t have a vehicle, we had music. I can even recall the very first 45 rpm vinyl record I ever purchased with my allowance. “We Ain’t Got Nothing Yet” by The Blues Magoos!

 Ah yes, I remember it well.

 Okay, I am from Detroit, Michigan and there are several amazing venues for music here in the “D”. My folks always took us to concerts. As a family, we would attend the Detroit Symphony, have summer picnics in the park whilst being serenaded by The Detroit Concert Band and enjoy various chamber orchestras at The Detroit Institute of Arts on magical Sunday mornings.  We’d even catch the free musical acts, such as Count Basie when they played the Michigan State Fair. Most enjoyable!

 Ah, yes, I remember them well.

 Okay, so as I grew up, the arenas for music shifted from the free, family-friendly fare to the stand-in-line to plunk down your hard-earned money to snap up tickets to see everyone from Neil Diamond to Elton John and Wayne Newton to Billy Joel. A few of the others included,  Heart when they first began touring as well as that up and coming duo, Hall & Oates. Naturally, Detroit rock and roll was well appreciated, for whenever Bob Seger or Alice Cooper were in town, I was there!

 Ah, yes, I remember them well.

 Or do I?

 Okay, so I am having a chat with my dear cousin Peg one evening and we were playing “remember when” about who we saw, where we saw and when we saw” when she dropped a bombshell. “Remember when we saw Queen?” 


 Okay, so we went rounds on this, I mean rounds.  “Annie.” She calls me Annie. “Annie, I saw them and you were there with me, so I believe that we did, in fact, see Queen in concert.” 

 Crickets on drugs.

 Okay, the next day I am relating the obligatory love and kisses from cousins to cousins to my sister when I chose to share this ridiculous conversation about seeing Queen with Peg. To which my darling little sister, Lorraine, replies, “Yeah, I was there with you two. Billy Squire played first. Don’t you remember when that girl jumped up on stage and chased him around until security dragged her off?

 Don’t crickets have predators…

 Okay, she continues by telling me we were sitting w-a-y up in the nose bleed section, off to the left a bit. All at once, I had this thought. “Were we at the Joe?” The Joe Louis Arena in downtown Detroit was what I meant.  And I got this vision of people 3 rows behind us who stood up and were able to touch the metal rafters at the very top. Must have been, because she smiled.

 Ah, yes I remembered THAT!

 Okay, as I was not the world’s most ardent Queen fan. However I was a most obnoxious Billy Squire fan.  In fact,  probably drove everyone around me nuts singing along with him, at the top of my lungs at the top of the Joe. So why was I not able to remember all this?  Probably because I was quite the alcoholic who was cross addicted to drugs as well.  And a concert (where I didn’t have to drive) meant getting w-a-s-t-e-d.  Naturally my sister confirmed that I was completely trashed, thank goodness Peg was driving that night.

 Okay, so I did an internet search and found that yes indeedy, Queen and Billy Squire were at The Joe Louis Arena, in Detroit, Michigan on August 6, 1982. Apparently, so was I.

 The crickets have been replaced by the rumble of thunder outside my home right now.  We are about to have a storm. I have yet to catch up with Peg to let her know that while I still do NOT remember the actual concert, I do have a couple of random memories about that night. Once I pondered it, I could see Billy being chased by some love stuck fan while he kept right on singing, dashing about the stage like an athlete.

 Ah yes, I remember that well.

 Okay, to bring this even more into the present moment.  Recently, I had a casual conversation with a friend I have only known about 3 years, who happens to be the ultimate Queen fan. We were talking about her birthday, which just passed. She was waxing nostalgic about the best present she ever got, when her boyfriend took her to see Queen when Adam Lambert was touring with them. She remarked that while he was good, nothing compared from that night back in the 80’s when she saw Freddie Mercury and Queen at Joe Louis.

 Since I didn’t know her then, should I be able to remember that?  

 Oh well…

They said it was so

Memory, don’t fail me now

Cue the crickets please

(c) Annette Rochelle Aben 2016

 Cue, Maurice Chevalier, please…  

#WQWWC – Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – Memories

Writer’s Quote Wednesday Beauty



When so inclined to admire 

The heart sees beauty

(c) 2016 Annette Rochelle Aben

#WQWWC Theme for the week is “Beauty”.