How to order my Books:

April 25th, 2020

HOW TO ORDER COPIES OF “Then and Now”:

Send $17 to: paypal.me/patriciahernangrube
a. Price includes shipping
b. In the “Notes” type: Then & Now
c. Make sure to include your shipping address.

TO ORDER “Chickens in Africa”

Send $28 to: paypal.me/patriciahernangrube
a. Price includes shipping
b. In the “Notes” type: “Chickens in Africa”
c. Make sure to include your shipping address.

The books are also at BOOK SHOP SANTA CRUZ.

Getting Through Customs

February 26th, 2020

 

We were headed for San Francisco but first we had to clear customs at LAX. The line was long and the children were impatient and tired, yet excited to be back in the United States.  Two years can be a long time. In 1972 the system was quite simple: just rollers on long tables to move our boxes, luggage and individual small private cases containing each child’s treasures. It was our turn and the official with a stern face and a big badge looked at our assortment.

 

It would be a challenge to go through everything and we wondered where he would begin. We could see that the bags of the passengers in front of us in line were being closely examined even exposing their personal items. We tried to be patient as we waited for him to begin.  Chris was fidgeting and reached for my hand. Alice was serious as she watched. David, the teenager with arms folded, observed the whole process with a critical eye.  Donald put his hand on his small case as if to protect it. After a minute, which seemed like an hour, the customs official began by asking where we had been and how long we had been gone. I said, “We’ve been in Zambia for almost two years. My husband is stationed in Ndola and has six more months of duty.  It was necessary for us to return early.”

 

“Now, to examine your bags,” he said as he eyed everything. I wondered how I would be able to repack the boxes, which were bulging and held together with strong twine tied in tight knots. The man reached for Donald’s case and Donald reluctantly removed his hand. The catch released easily and as the lid was raised, feathers floated into the air.

 

An astonished look flashed on the man’s face as he quickly closed the case, engaging the catch. He smiled at Donald; then in a stern authoritative voice, “You can pass on.” He signed a paper and handed it to me.  A few feathers floated above our luggage as it rolled down the long table.

 

Happy the Unadjusted for Theirs is the Kingdom

December 24th, 2019

The adjusted cannot hear.
Mediocrity, passivity plug their ears.

Hollow people, not feeling
or finding themselves, let
Madison Avenue dream their dreams
decide their diets and deodorants.
Credit cards, computers chart
their course, conformity.

To adjust is to assent to what
should not be accepted.
to stand aside as forces surge
to war, not knowing or feeling
‘till brother lies mutilated.
Mankind, emasculated, cries Mercy.

Alas for the comfortable, the satisfied.
The Beatitudes condemn conformity.
The unadjusted person questions
the complacent, commonplace, corrupt.

Happy those who know who they are
and refuse to submit to uniformity.
They will belong to themselves.

Happy those who do not wear masks,
who let others see them as they are.
They will find Truth.

Happy those who cannot accept
a social order where some are feasting
while others beg for crumbs.
The new order of love is theirs.

Happy those whose lives
are disturbed by cries for mercy.
They will be shown mercy.

Happy those who weep
and do not close their hearts
to the misery of the world.
They will become human.

Happy those who work
for justice, who put their lives
on the line for social change.
They will find fulfillment.

Happy those willing to face
the mob for what is right.
They will become strong

Happy those who help
brother to love brother.
They are children of God.

You will be happy when
you leave the crowd.
ignoring gossip, insinuations.

The prophets before you
stood alone, jeered by the crowd.
They would not submit
to the world of their day.

Rejoice: persons who own themselves
receive the great reward.

meaning is not static

November 9th, 2019

meaning changes over time
like water in a brook
that becomes a raging river
or flows into a lake behind a dam
or trickles into a desert
and disappears into the sand

some things that change perhaps
are love or faith or family
what about community or neighbor
this is not a quiz and this morning
I am not asking myself these questions

actually I am thinking about my garden
full of weeds, the grass has grown so long
it will challenge the lawnmower
the overgrown shrubs, the thirsty plants
look forlornly to the sky for rain

I am looking at the piles of papers
on my desk, unfinished poems,
stories I want to write
time fleeting, what does life mean
when I waste the days
and does it really matter

11/13/2009

When I was Twenty-three  

October 31st, 2019

When I was Twenty-three

I wore a watermelon pink, wool dress

that fell just below my knees

it was slim, with a slit at my neckline

I can’t forget my black felt hat

that let me tilt the very wide brim

so, I could peak from under it

in a very seductive way

but only in my mirror

when I think of this now

I am filled with happiness

but looking at a picture

is not the same as remembering

Devil’s Slide

May 29th, 2019

From our house in Pedro Point, we could look across the bay, along the beach and across a fertile valley where Portuguese farmers grew artichokes. Just beyond was a hill where sheep grazed on wild grasses. Our house faced north and looked down on the two-lanehighway that connected the little coast towns to San Francisco twenty miles away. To the south, the road cut through the mountain behind us to reach Montara and Half Moon Bay. The narrow road was close to the edge of Devil’s Slide, a rocky cliff that dropped straight down to the open ocean.

One Sunday afternoon after a few drinks, my Dad decided it was time to teach me to drive. He told my little brothers Joe and Pete and my sister Mary to climb in the car. He opened the door on the driver’s side and told me to sit behind the wheel. In those days, there was no need for a learner’s permit. I climbed in and sat down.

I remembered a few things Dad had shown me the week before; so, I did some practice exercises, going through the five gears from neutral and low to high. With a few directions I was, able to back up and shift into low for the short distance to the corner where I stopped. We were high on the hill with a steep road down to the cross-road below. Dad said, “Go ahead. Keep it in low. You’ll be all right.”

I gripped the wheel and headed slowly down. I wanted to close my eyes but knew I had to keep them open as the road was narrow with ditches on either side.  When we reached the bottom, I stepped hard on the brake and let out a loud sigh. The kids began to laugh; they didn’t realize how close they were to disaster; Dad never should have put them in the car with me.

When we reached the main road, Dad said, “Turn right,” and I wanted to argue because that was the way to Devil’s Slide. He said it again, so I turned the car onto the highway. Suddenly cars were honking as they passed me. The kids were yelling and Dad had fallen asleep. I kept my eyes glued to the white line on the road; I didn’t want to see the steep drop-off close to the pavement on the right side.  I knew there was no place to stop and say, “I don’t want to drive.”

Finally, I reached a safe place to park. Dad was still asleep. I needed to find the courage to get back on the road and go home. The lane going north was next to the mountain and the car wouldn’t be near the deep cliff by the ocean. If I stayed in low gear and tried not to listen to the honking cars and screaming kids; if I tried to put Devil’s Slide out of my mind; I might be all right.  After all these years, I don’t remember what happened next or how we got home. Probably when Dad realized the situation and sobered up enough, he drove us home. I don’t know, but somehow, we did get home.

Patricia Hernan Grube
March 6, 2017; May 21, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Grandma Gazilda’s House

May 8th, 2019

Drapes of rough monk’s cloth
were held by heavy rings
on twisted metal rods.
Black daggers at each end
kept  everything from sliding off.
Thin lines like spider webs

on the unbleached fabric
made a dramatic background
for the rusty orange and brown
geometric design. My muslin
curtains also slide back
and forth on black metal.

On a bureau, was a sculpture,
probably pewter, of a knight
in full armor. He and his horse
both gleamed like silver, both
at attention, ready for action,
sword unsheathed.

Gazilda’s carpet was a garden
of flowers with a border that kept
the blossoms where they belonged.
I lay there every afternoon at five
to hear my favorite program
“coming to you from radio station

KTAR, atop the Heard Building
in Phoenix Arizona”.
I was enthralled by the exploits
of Little Orphan Annie, a girl
of courage and imagination. She
and the knight, both seekers of justice.

Looking back I think that Annie
and Don Quixote have been models
for my life. I have no interest
in Miss Muffet, who was easily
scared by a spider. Although
I did, and still do like curds and whey.

© Patricia Grube
May 3, 2010


Our First Christmas Together

December 20th, 2018

We were married September 17th in 1943, in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Bakersfield . Les had met Fr. McGrath when he came out to  Minter Field to say Mass. The ceremony was on Friday evening and Les had to report back to the base on Sunday evening. I found a job in a china shop to fill the time each week and made friends with other service wives. Because this story is to be about Christmas, I need to skip ahead to the time when the Cadets in the Flight Training Program were moved from Minter Field to Williams Field in Chandler, Arizona.

In Bakersfield, I had hooked up with two other wives to follow the troops and by December the three of us, Irma Aspinall, Loretta Bailey and I had found temporary jobs and were sharing a room in the ­­­­El Portal Hotel in Mesa. During the week, after work the three of us would take a bus and ride for an hour over a very bumpy road to Williams Field, 25 miles away. There we could visit with our husbands in the Cadet Day Room where there was no privacy. Our marital bliss could really only be expressed on weekends when the boys would get a 24 hour pass. We girls were quite comfortable in the large room with three single beds but on weekends  one couple would keep the room and the other two would rent other rooms for the night.

A week before Christmas  we bought a scraggly little tree and made some crude ornaments. Our room looked very cheerful with our sad little tree and we kept saying to each other that we were really feeling the Christmas spirit. Inside we were feeling an empty space because never before had any of us been away from our families. We were all very “in love” and thought that should fill up any void. We three gals looked forward to having our hubbies with us for 24 hours to celebrate Christmas. We drew straws to find out who would keep the room.

On Christmas Eve Les and I went to Midnight Mass at the Field and then took the bus for the long ride on the bumpy road to Mesa. It was a magical night following the moon over the desert. We thought we were to have the room but then we discovered that on this holiday, every room in the hotel was booked. What to do? Remember the movie where a blanket made a wall between Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable? That’s what we did; we hung an intricate system of blanket walls to make three rooms. Ok, that settles the visual effects, but I have to tell you that private intimacy was not preserved.

This memory is from long ago
and it is still vivid in my memory;
Patricia Grube, ©2010

 

Bonnie’s Julia Child Moment

November 16th, 2018

Thanksgiving  started for me long before the date on the calendar, as Lester’s family was coming to our house for dinner. In a composition book, I recorded all the traditions that were expected: mince meat pie for Aunt Eleanor, pumpkin for Auntie Maude, brussels sprouts for Nina, candied yams for Bonnie, my new sister-in-law, and especially creamed onions for Grandma Christine. My extensive lists described the week’s tasks of cleaning and shopping and looking for recipes; and the day itself was planned minute by minute. This was my initiation into this family.

On the day, everything went very well through cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. The turkey was out of the oven, Waldorf salad was on the plates, the rolls were browned just right; I took the onions off the burner at just the right moment of doneness. Bonnie volunteered to help me put things on the table while the others talked.
Bonnie Grube

As I drained the onions, the lid slipped and they all toppled into the sink. My heart sank, my perfect meal was ruined; it would be a disaster if Grandma Christine didn’t have creamed onions. Bonnie saw  and quickly scooped up the onions. This was our bonding moment. She held out the pan of drained onions, and said, “No one but you and I know this. Where is the cream and what bowl shall I put them in?”

Whenever I watch reruns of Julia Child’s cooking demonstrations and she scoops up the chicken that fell on the floor, I think of Bonnie. From that day forward we were friends.

Getting Through Customs

October 29th, 2018

We were headed for San Francisco but first we had to clear customs at LAX. The line was long and the children were impatient and tired, yet excited to be back in the United States.  Two years can be a long time. In 1972,  the system was quite simple: just rollers on long tables to move our boxes, luggage and individual small private cases containing each child’s treasures. It was our turn and the official with a stern face and a big badge looked at our assortment.

It would be a challenge to go through everything and we wondered where he would begin. We could see that the bags of the passengers in front of us in line were being closely examined even exposing their personal items. We tried to be patient as we waited for him to begin.  Chris was fidgeting and reached for my hand. Alice was serious as she watched. David, the teenager with arms folded, observed the whole process with a critical eye.  Donald put his hand on his small case as if to protect it. After a minute, which seemed like an hour, the customs official began by asking where we had been and how long we had been gone. I said, “We’ve been in Zambia for almost two years. My husband is stationed in Ndola and has six more months of duty.  It was necessary for us to return early.”

“Now, to examine your bags,” he said as he eyed everything. I wondered how I would be able to repack the boxes, which were bulging and held together with strong twine tied in tight knots. The man reached for Donald’s case and Donald reluctantly removed his hand. The catch released easily and as the lid was raised, feathers floated into the air.

An astonished look flashed on the man’s face as he quickly closed the case, engaging the catch. He smiled at Donald; then in a stern authoritative voice, “You can pass on.” He signed a paper and handed it to me.  A few feathers floated above our luggage as it rolled down the long table.

6/11/11