It was nighttime and a little girl about five years old was sleeping peacefully in her bed, with gentle breezes from an open window caressing her smiling, angelic face. The night was warm, and all was quiet, giving way only to the chirping sounds of a tropical night, with myriads of birds and insects cavorting in their usual manner of mating. The little girl lay in a deep, untroubled slumber, hugging a cherished old rag doll with a repaired tear in its head where the family dog had once tried to wrestle it from her arms. All seemed well on this quiet night on December 7, 1941, for an innocent little girl so unaware of the unstoppable events into which she would soon be plunged, sleeping away the last peace seconds of her young life... Closer and closer the sounds came, growing ever louder and determined, causing the little girl in peaceful repose to begin tossing and turning in bed. Suddenly, the constant droning sound gave way, mingling with many high-pitched whistles that began to scream as they got even louder. The startled little girl abruptly awoke and almost immediately was forcefully thrown from her bed as if by a huge unseen malevolent hand that entered her life with a loud- thunderous crash, followed by another and another, each violently shaking her house as the cool blackness and soft melodies of a serene night suddenly gave way to a deafening cacophony of sounds, accompanied by bright flashes that lit up her small room as brightly as daytime. She froze in terror being unable to move--casting a wide-eyed state out the open window fixated on the flashes now engulfing the homes of her neighbors and friends. "My dolly, where's my dolly" she cried, frantically looking for the little cloth ragamuffin she loved. Finding the doll amid some debris now coming in through her window, she clutched the doll to her chest and began to cry. The noises got still louder, the shaking of her house more violent making it impossible for her to stand, and amid her uncontrollable tears and sobbing, she pitifully cried, "Mama, make it stop! Please, Mama, make it stop! Stop it! Stop it! Please!" But it didn't stop...
Hell to Heaven
Leticia has written her story in a fictional third-person format that makes it so much easier for readers to enter her world. For instance, Leticia is a beautiful woman, but with the story written as it is, Letty is just the main character and is described as any character would be. She is able to share her pain, inner turmoil and feelings in an open, more realistic fashion. Readers will learn that this is a true story, written under a pseudonym for protection of the real people involved...
I found the novel very believable, so much so that I had/have a question for the author. Why did she subjugate her own story under her husband's in the second half of the book? Perhaps as a single woman, this was much more apparent to me, but since we are about the same age, it immediately struck me that her life was lived much more traditionally than my own. While I was troubled that Letty did not continue her wonderful work as a nurse after marriage, or if she did, it was not covered, I realized that in the role she was then in, it was, perhaps, entirely appropriate... Still, readers should be aware that the second half, in my opinion, which, of course, is not an appropriate way to evaluate the book, is really the story of Letty's husband, Ron. While her husband led a extremely challenging life, I personally would have like to have seen the entire story from Letty's perspective. Perhaps since my life has never been merged into one, it does make a difference...LOL??? Still, for many professionally involved women who are leaders and innovators, this is pointed out for their benefit as well... And, it makes the third-person choice a brilliant alternative to a true biography.
Another thought that crosses my mind in thinking about the book is that the title is probably not the best choice. Leticia was never a Letty-type of person and you will quickly ascertain that. She's intelligent, ambitious, street-smart--a survivor, and a very determined woman of God...
She was just 5 when her home was bombed by the Japanese and her world changed completely. At first she was all alone as the building was struck and it was only later, after the bombing stopped, the planes left, that help came to rescue her from her room...
She had endured everything alone, hurt, until the loud sounds left, so that what she now heard was bells, sirens, and...never-ending screams! Innocently as she went looking for her lost doll, she found herself right in the midst of those that we walking the streets, looking for love ones, and more...
...as if awakened from a dreamlike state, she said, "Where's my dolly?" ...She slipped out of auntie's house and started to walk home but was able to only walk slowly, partly because her legs hurt and partly because there was scattered debris and crumbled houses everywhere and that smell that now was mixed with smells of ask and charred wood. There were many of her neighbors milling around, some of whom had their faced locked in blank expressionless stares and who just gently pushed her aside when she asked if they had seen her dolly, and still others who were crying and either didn't answer her or became angry with her when she asked... Then, she saw something shining through the haphazardly strewn boards and debris, the bright sun glittering in all directions off it...She moved the wood away and saw a beautiful golden bracelet on a woman's wrist that did not move. Somebody was in this large pile of wood! If she could get the woman out, maybe she would help her find her doll. Excited, she began to dig and move the debris, and then she grabbed the woman's hand--it was stiff and did not respond to her touch. She pulled harder, and suddenly the hand and bracelet were free, coming straight to the little girl and landing in her lap as she fell backward...The little girl screamed incessantly, panic- stricken. There was no one attached to the hand! Her sobs were uncontrollable... ~~~
It was after it was announced that MacArthur was leaving Manila, that Leticia's story changed again...
First, the Japanese came and school became a place to learn the culture, and demands, of that country. Bartering was the only way to keep alive and Leticia quickly became adept at both making bargains and then, as she called it, "taxing" the Japanese for what food they were taking from the family... Soon, though, her father decided they needed to leave and go to their parents' farm. But then, Leticia was left alone and both parents had left to go back to the city.
The only thing that saved that time for Leticia was that she had discovered the desire and power in reading... As well as a grandmother who loved her...
There were family issues that kept coming up and Leticia found herself being shipped around to the homes of various relatives. She was able to pick up some knowledge of nursing, which was to lead to her future career...but, even that, had a tragic incident to overcome. She was only 11 when her aunt started sending her out to homes needing health assistance--the need was too great for just one person. But she was told to first visit a family with a very ill child. It had died while she tried to save it...and the parents knowing how hard she had tried, asked her to baptize the baby! Even then she was wise enough to know that it was more important that it be done than who was saying the words, so she repeated what she'd remembered from the one baptism she'd attended...
Leticia looked upward and raising her eyes to heaven said, "Please, God, forgive me for everything that I have ever done to displease you, and please allow me to help this little baby come to you without sin." Leticia then put her thumb in the water and with it, made the sign of the cross on the baby's forehead, saying at the same time, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. May God have mercy on your and receive you into His loving arms free of sin, amen."
Almost at the moment Leticia finished, a last breath was heard from the baby, its body went limp in her arms, and the tiny hands and arms that had so desperately clung to Leticia's white coat slowly fell away to dangle lifelessly toward the floor. The little baby was dead...
After she left the little cottage, Leticia began to walk faster and faster, and then she started to run, dropping her medical bag to run still faster. Eventually, she could run no more and just flopped down to sit on the roadside. With tears still streaming down her young face, she just sat there looking down in the dirt.
Then, she looked up into the sky, her eyes searching the clouds for the face of her God. Her own face slowly became contorted in anguish, her mouth hung wide open for many seconds without uttering a sound, and then letting out a long, pitiful cry of pain that came down from the very depths of her soul, she screamed, "Why-y-y" that seemed to hand onto the wind, echoing in the countryside forever.
Leticia pushed herself hard and finally made it through nursing school and quickly moved up until she was charge nurse...That's when Ron, her future husband entered her life... Her
reaction at that time was to call him an idiot... But he persevered and soon they were spending all of their time together, ultimately marrying. Ron's story becomes predominant at this point, with him going through years and years of schooling, each time completing everything successfully and gaining a professional reputation that was hard to match... But then his parents and his brother died from illnesses that he could not cure... What should have been many years of a successful practice and marriage changed into another world... When the stock exchange collapsed, the couple was faced with bankruptcy as others in the nation. It was clear that Ron was a brilliant man--Leticia was his greatest fan and supporter... The ideas came rapidly and continued...and some readers may benefit from some of this part of the story regarding "Money..."
Truly, this is an amazingly inspirational book that will touch individual readers in different ways, I am sure. One thing that is undeniable was that this couple was totally committed to God, each other, and to having a loving successful life.
If you enjoy reading real life stories, biographies or memoirs, you should check this out right away... An unbelievable revelation of a woman who tackled every obstacle that was thrown at her, and kept playing defense on behalf of her husband whenever he needed--and vice versa, as well! A truly romantic and heartwarming love story!
Leticia is a registered nurse who was trained at Hahnemann, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Martland Medical Center, Newark, New Jersey. Her current residence is Missouri. She has been married for 44 years.
These children have been saved from the streets of Peru and given a chance of a new life...
Enjoy While You Visit Matica and Talon!
Waking up again, Matica opened one eye to see if it was morning. Since she could make out some shapes, it was the crack of dawn, but no rays of the sun shone into her room, yet. She closed her eyes again and listened. Everything was quiet, but she could hear from far away some birds twittering, singing their mystical morning songs. Recalling the dream she had in the middle of the night, she pondered about it. Where do dreams come from? Are they telling you what you think, what you will have, the future, what you want to have, what you fear? Is it the conscious of oneself, the mind of yourself, what you think can happen? Or is a dream telling you what will happen, without you knowing that you think about it? Or is a dream just coming, not at all telling you what will be, or what should be. Or is a dream telling you something and is warning you of things to come, or not to come? Or should you dismiss a dream at all? Oh, I wish I knew, because that dream of mine was strange. Changing into animals? But I have to say it was a great dream. Particularly being Talon. Flapping my wings. Yeah. Talon. Only the ending. What does that mean? ‘All will be fine’. Will something happen on our trip? Shequickly prayed that God would protect her and her father, that God would have his arms around them on the way to Cajamarca and back. Talon: Flight for Life Book Three of the Talon Series
By Gigi Sedlmayer
I loved this third book in the Talon Series! I guarantee you will too! If you haven't already read any of the series, check out my reviews for the first two:
Matica is what we call in America a "Little Person." She is the daughter in a family of four who have moved from Australia to Peru to be missionaries. It was very hard for Matica because the Indians were either afraid of her or thought she was possessed...They didn't know that there were other people like Matica... Well, actually, during the stories, there is one little boy, but that is a sad part of the books, but does emphasize how the Indians reacted to Matica. Until... two large birds came into her life and, later, Talon, was born... Now the key thing was that, because of her size, Matica was able to fly on the back of Talon! That's now a long time ago and the three condors are just like members of the family, except for Matica's father who is not to sure about them...
Crayn said, shrugging his shoulders, "We don't know where dreams come from or why we do dream. I think that the mind is working out something. Unconsciously. But the thing is when you thought the dream might come true, the dream told you not to worry. So don't worry." Mira nodded then kissed her daughter, saying, "That's right. It's nothing to worry about." Mira grinned at her, but she knew she was kidding herself. She was worried and fearful but didn't dare to show the fear in her face to her husband or her daughter...Mira prayed a quick prayer in her mind: Lord, watch over them. Let Tamo be with them and keep them safe. She said, "Dad has walked that route do many times already. Nothing will happen. ~~~
By now, everybody knows about Matica and her condors! At least those who are Indians, because the news spreads rapidly through their communities... But, in the third book, Matica is scheduled to go to visit a large city, Cajamarca, with her father. The trip will be for 5 days...they will walk there...
Because of how she was treated when they first moved to their village, Matica is worried about traveling to other places, but they are planning a trip home to Australia, which she's not sure about either, and they need to go, make arrangements, and get supplies. In the past, only her father has made the trip.
The main fear, however, is that Matica will be away from her friends, the condors. She has seen them every day and flown with them. She knows she will miss them, but what will they think?
The first thing readers will discover is that the condors are very intelligent. Of course, we don't know how they are truly, but in the story, most of what Matica says is understood and acted upon!
The other reason was because of the dream she had--she told her parents about it, but they didn't want Matica to become afraid...
But was the dream really foretelling something? And then it was time to set off, but this time, Matica's sadness made the time much longer...She was hugging everybody as the condors watched. But even Matica was surprised when it happened! You see, they had been watching all this and then jumped down to participate. Matica hugged Tamo and Tima, planning to save Talon for last...but he wasn't waiting!
She embraced them both, having her arms around their necks, but still her head was hanging onto her chest. Talon stood still in front of her, just looking at her. Suddenly she felt someone pushing and squeezing between Tamo and Tima. When Tamo and Tima stepped aside, Talon grunted and purred into her face , poking at her nose. But it didn’t cheer her up. Then he watched the flow of her tears as they ran down her cheeks like little streams. He licked them off. Next she fell around his neck, embracing him tightly. ‘Oh, Talon,’ she mumbled with a broken voice into his tummy, surrounding it with her arms and pressing it hard. But then Talon lifted his wings and embraced her again with his wings, pressing her into his tummy. ‘Oh, Talon,’ she said into his tummy again. ‘I love you so much.’ Her mumbled voice touched Tamo and Tima’s hearts and she could feel their beaks poking into Talon’s wings. Matica mumbled out of his wings, ‘It’s so great, wonderful, glorious, outstanding, superb, magnificent, splendid, brilliant.’ Her tears mingled with Talon’s tummy feathers. Minutes later Talon slowly opened his wings only to let Matica drop into Tamo’s embrace the same way, as he stood ready to receive her. Matica’s voice broke down. ‘Oh, Tamo. You like his cuddle. So do I. I love you so much. Thank you.’ Staying in his embrace for a while, she felt somebody knocking at Tamo’s wing. Matica peered between Tamo’s wing feathers and saw Tima with spread out wings ready to embrace her. Delighted, she said, ‘Thank you. You really know I’m going with Dad tomorrow and comfort me. Thank you so much. I love you so much.’ All three birds nodded in unison and grunted. Tamo let go of her and she fell into Tima’s embrace . For a second she saw that Talon shook his head in surprise. But she didn’t say anything to him yet because she wanted to enjoy the embrace with Tima. ‘I love you, Tima.’ But when she let her go after several minutes, she went to Talon and said to him, stroking him over his face, ‘Why are you surprised that your parents want to give me that wonderful embrace as well? Don’t be. They love it because they love me and certainly I love it from all of you, because I love you all so much.’ She embraced Talon. ‘I know you started it. But let them do it to me as well. I certainly love it.’ Next Tima and Tamo went to Talon and kissed him. It looked to Matica as if they were thanking him for showing them how to embrace their best friend. Talon just grinned, playing naive. ‘Well, I think it’s time to depart now,’ Matica said sadly, letting her head drop again. ‘That’s it.’ The tears flowed once more. She couldn’t control it.
Ok, a little mushy, but they all loved each other! LOL And, because this was the very first real embrace from the condors, Matica was hoping, although not totally confident, that they would join them sometimes on their trip. And they did! An interesting thing happened for Matica's father, Crayn, as they started to walk. After Matica had gotten past being sad, she started noticing...everything! Crayn admitted that he'd not seen most of what she called attention to, since he had just walked, watching the ground. Well, there was just so much that Matica had never seen, her head must have been turning all the way around! Birds to the left of them...
And Spider Monkeys to the right!
Until one brave little guy decided to find out more...
Watching the monkeys and eating their lunch, Matica was on her last one when one monkey suddenly came running along the long, fat branch that was nearest to them. Hopping over another monkey that was sitting there grooming itself, the running monkey stopped short of the end of the branch and, bending down, it stared at them, making hilarious faces. Matica laughed. Crayn grinned. ‘Isn’t he cute,’ Matica said. ‘He? Oh, right, yes.’ Next Matica stretched out her arm towards him with the last piece of bread and, opening her mouth, she wanted to say, ‘You want this?’ But before she could say the words, that movement had frightened him. The monkey jumped up then ran screaming back over the branch, bumping into the other monkey. The other monkey lost its grip and fell, screaming. But quick as it was it curled its tail around the branch, dangling until it pulled itself up. Screaming, it ran after the other monkey who was running away. Catching up with him, it slapped him in the back. The bold monkey stopped and turned around then slapped the other monkey in the face. And now a screaming and slapping fight broke out between these two monkeys. But soon they both disappeared between the others. Disappointed, Matica pursed her lips. ‘That was a bold monkey, but now he’s gone. I can’t make him out between all the others. Do you think he’ll come back?’ Crayn shrugged his shoulders. ‘If he’s curious and bold enough, he’ll come back, if he’s finished fighting. Well, that was hilarious, wasn’t it?’
‘Yes, that was.’ And then she called, ‘Here monkey, monkey, this bread is for you. You can have it when you come back before I eat can have it when you come back before I eat it.’ She waited for a few seconds but nothing happened. ‘He’s gone,’ she said, disappointed and wanting to bite into her bread when her father said, ‘Don’t give up too quickly. We have a little time.’ Not biting into her last piece of bread and closing her mouth again, she held it out again. Matica prayed silently: Lord, let that one come again. It would be so much fun. Then she sang out, ‘Here monkey, monkey, monkey, I have nice and delicious bread for you. I know you would want it. But you have to come to get it...can have it when you come back before I eat it.’ She waited for a few seconds but nothing happened. ‘He’s gone,’ she said, disappointed and wanting to bite into her bread when her father said, ‘Don’t give up too quickly. We have a little time.’ Not biting into her last piece of bread and closing her mouth again, she held it out again. Matica prayed silently: Lord, let that one come again. It would be so much fun. Then she sang out, ‘Here monkey, monkey, monkey, I have nice and delicious bread for you. I know you would want it. But you have to come to get it.’
So do you think Matica made friends with that monkey? You bet she did, and she even saw him on the return trip...
Now one important thing I'll mention before I move on...Matica had been very young when they moved to Peru, so she had forgotten any of the modern conveniences that were found in a large city. But the best was that all of the children already knew her and were very friendly! Readers will enjoy her reaction to, for instance, the hotel where they stayed...and the grocery store where they could find so many different varieties of the same thing... Just like I always think--how do you make a decision which to buy?!
Ahhhh, but the excitement hasn't even started and it certainly surpasses all the amazing things Matica and readers had already learned about!
Only one clue before I close... I'm just not sure which is the bad guy...but...if you're in Peru, walking along, watch out for the Spiders!
Give the Guy A Chance!
There is an underlying story in this series about the need to evaluate people...and animals...by more than just their looks! How many of you have loved Beauty and the Beast. If you enjoyed the TV program as much as I did, surely you won't mind meeting... Talon and his family!
In case you haven't realized it since I'm sharing so much! I loved this book and am adding it to my personal favorites for 2015...So much to discover--in so many wonderful ways! Don't miss this one...It's a long novel but older children and teens, I think, will enjoy it just like we adults!
By the way, Matica and her father also visited the Rain Forest and Machu Picchu in this book. We visited there yesterday, remember? So, if you haven't seen the pictures for these beautiful places, as well as my review of the children's cultural program and visiting Peru, do check it out before you leave!
Gisela (Gigi) Sedlmayer was born on 19 May 1944 in Potsdam, a suburb of Berlin in Germany. Her family escaped to the West just before the infamous wall went up. They moved around in Germany until finally settling in Munich where Gigi studied architectural drafting and met Albert in 1965, marrying in December 1967. She worked as a civil draftsperson in various private consultancies in Munich. Since her uncle was a writer, she tried to write short animal stories herself. Nothing further came of it, but she developed a love for the written word and started to consume books. In May 1975, Gigi and her husband moved to New Zealand. Because of language challenges, she started a handicraft business. As a specialty, she made colourful parrots of which she sold thousands in a few years. In 1988, they decided to adopt and became adoptive parents of twin girls the year after. They lived in New Zealand for eighteen years and moved to Australia in September 1992. Two years later Gigi was diagnosed with cancer. After operations and radiation, she withdrew, thinking that she would probably soon be dead, like her friend who died of cancer, but her two little girls gave her the courage to keep going. After a few years, still among the living, her brain started to work again, so she thought, 'Get a grip on yourself and do something good with your life'. She remembered the time she wrote short stories and got inspired again, seeing her husband Albert writing the story of their adoption. Her English became increasingly better so she pressed on to develop her creative writing. Albert taught her how to use a computer and she wrote many short stories. She entered them in competitions and often got very good reports back, which gave her confidence to go on writing. One day the idea for the TALON series came to her and she spent the next several years bringing the story and the characters to life. She now loves writing and spends most of her time at the computer, developing new story lines. She also loves travelling, 4x4 touring, swimming, gardening, handcrafting, reading, fossicking and enjoys good adventure DVD's or going to the movies.
Did you know that Amigo and Gremlin, who now live on the Hobby Ranch we visited yesterday, are originally from the Andes in Peru? I was so excited because today, we're introducing Peru to your children...and soon, maybe even tomorrow, we're going to visit with a family of missionaries who live there! That will be next book in a series and it is sooooo good, I can't wait to tell you about it! But now, get your ponchos on cause we're heading there to check out...
If You Were Me and Lived in...Peru: A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around the World
Carole P. Roman
If you were living in Peru, you would be living on the western coast of South America toward the Pacific Ocean. It has many different climates from the dry plains to the wet Amazon Rain Forest, and up into the high mountain range called the Andes... Check out the two llamas in this beautiful pic!
Peru is home to some of the world's oldest civilizations. People have lived there for over ten thousand years. If you lived in Peru, you might live in Lima, the capital of Peru. One third of the Peruvian population lives there. It is a large city with nine million people! What I found personally interesting to me was the older parts of the city which included many of the restored buildings and the beautiful displays! People have lived in Peru for over ten thousand years and Peru has been home to some of the world's oldest civilizations.
The word Lima comes from an old Indian word, limaq, which means "talker." (Check out the included pages for Pronunciation...)
Many of the populations still live from the early Peruvians... So, your names may reflect those different heritages, such as... Hugo Fernando
Girls may be named Rosario
As you can see, many of the children play with the various animals, including..ta da!
If you're a little girl visiting though, you might want to have your parents buy a Munecas to bring home! Yes?
Lunch time and more Nuevos soles if needed!
Papa rellena and Picarones for me please!
Don't they look delicious?!
Well, there's lots more you'll learn about, but for me? I'm anxious to explore Machu Picchu - Want to Come?!
Machu Picchu is a beautiful and ancient city built high up on a mountain by the Incas in about the year 1450. Its name means "old peak" or "old mountaintop." The Incas used the sides of the mountains as farmland and made terraces to grow their food. Terraces are strips of land cut into the sides of the mountain so they could farm the rocky soil.
Check out a closer view during our visit! Of course nobody still lives there, but you can see how they effectively used the land to make their living!
But still a lot of activity since it's a major tourist site! I'd need about a month for the visit!
Kudos to Carole P. Roman for her continued enthusiasm and research to create an introduction to the cultures around the world...for children and adults alike! Meeting the kids of the countries is a special treat for many of your fans! Highly recommended!