Writers of the Round Table
The Harriet May Savitz Writers of the Round Table
In February of 2001, author Harriet May Savitz, at a Senior Citizens meeting, extended an invitation to any interested persons to come together and form a creative writing group. That was all that was necessary. The rest is history.
On February 14, 2001 a group of eight Senior Citizens, namely Rose Cirelli, Milton Edelman, Mildred Koweek, Ann Marzano, George H. Moffett, Elia Reyes, Harriet May Savitz, and Edna Wilkins met for the first time under the enthusiastic leadership of Mrs. Savitz. They decided to name the group, The Writers of the Round Table of Bradley Beach.
As the writer’s group continued to meet weekly, a bond formed amongst the members and we knew we were here to stay. So many exciting articles and essays are being written by our group, that we decided to go out on the internet and share them with you.
We are not professionals and we do not pretend to be. We are a group of creative Senior Citizens who are promoting the motto of our organization: “Let’s not look back! Let’s give back!”
We welcome new members at our weekly meetings on Wednesday at 10:00 A.M. at the Carmen A. Biase Community Center in the Municipal Complex, 719 Main Street, Bradley Beach, N.J. 07720.
THE AMERICAN FLAG
Ruth J. Abramowitz
The American Flag is a symbol of courage and freedom that continues to wave in good times and bad, through war and peace and at half-mast at times of tragedy and loss.
America is known as the melting pot of society. We are a nation of all faiths, color, race, ethnic culture and the American Indian. Our founding father’s wisdom and foresight provided a Constitution that has guided us for over two centuries. We are a Democratic Republic and will continue to use the laws and values our founders provided to live in a free and open society.
Most Americans fly our flag during memorial and holidays, as we remember and honor those who were lost and the heroes who gave their lives to save others. We pledge allegiance to a Flag that represents the land of the free and home of the brave. May it forever fly high and wave through the winds of time?
A Troubled World Ruth Abramowitz
The majority of the world’s population lives by the laws and rules of civilization. In times of war and crisis we reach out to help the suffering. We don’t ask what their color, nationality or religion. We bind together with money and resources during times of disasters, tragedies and destruction. As people who care, we unite to help fight those who want to destroy our freedom and security. History shows that, as a united people we have overcome what many thought could not be won. It is the political views we often have to fight as well as floods, hurricanes, bombs and wars. America has been a leader in these tragic and financial times. Questions arise asking are we strong enough to win the present battles? The tragedies of nature have destroyed and disrupted thousands of lives in America and other countries adding to the burdens of the past twenty years.
Technology, scientific research, and medical achievements, may have improved our daily lives. However those brilliant minds are unable to find a solution to stop acts of terror, hatred and evil that fester within some human minds. All we have accomplished materially have not given us safety or peace. Communication without human contact leaves us disconnected. A machine shows no emotion. I find it disturbing that all our great achievements during the past two decades have divided us. I am in my 90th year of life and would like to live long enough to see a world where the human race, regardless of nationality, color or religion will live together in unity and peace.
I believe our cultural behavior needs re-evaluation to help change our troubled world.
Aware and Indignant Veronica Cullinan Lake
There are two people I’m very annoyed with. Two people I don’t even know have invaded my life. One is the person in the early 80’s who injected substances into Tylenol capsules. I believe they never did find out who was responsible. To insure consumer safety every container of medicine, packs of soda, even tissue boxes are now mummified in plastic. More people cut their hands opening containers with a knife than were ever affected by the original product tampering. That tamper-proof: screw-turn-pushup-squeeze slits on either side at arrow tops are an impossible chore for senior citizens with arthritis. It is a safety and caution issue subsistent on paranoia.
The second person on my list is the man who boarded a plane with a bomb in his shoe. Millions of people daily in the New York area alone could be asked to perform the “take off your shoes” ritual in his honor. At the worst possible moment nearing completion of a journey to the airport and the tiring security line where you heave all baggage on the conveyor belt to be x-rayed, you dutifully jettison all metal objects: keys, cell phone, and belts into a plastic bin to be inspected. Standing on the other side, a helpless waif minus your belongings, you are then asked to remove your shoes and socks. I witnessed a mother with an infant on her hip and two other whimpering children having to take off a thin soled pair of sandals- sandals mind you. This situation has traveled to a place far ahead of any common sense. My comment to people in the airport is, “Be grateful he didn’t hide the bomb in his shirt or we’d all have to stand here naked from the waist up.”
Here is a baffling phenomenon that starts with an unknown person. Who is responsible for phrases that pop up and infiltrated public conversation for months on end? Remember “No problem!” I believe it originated in the Caribbean and was made popular in a subsequent song. Any complaint or inquiry you addressed to the phone company, druggist, sales clerk, etc. was covered with those two words,” No problem.” Remember “Have a good day “which morphed into “Have a good one.” Most recently, it is the younger generation’s favorite “Whatever” with a grown-up version “It is what it is”.
There are two conventions, contrary to the others I mentioned, that have disappeared, namely, that of the public telephone booth and big beautiful hats adorned with veils, feathers, and flowers. I suppose with the advent of cell phones it doesn’t pay the telephone company to maintain public phones. That reminds me how much I miss the body-enclosed booths with folding doors. It was a time when privacy in public still needed to be honored.
I truly miss spring. Today it lasts a few hours. On Easter Sunday I felt joyous wearing new patent leather shoes, a pastel colored fancy dress with matching hat. I’d wear this delightful outfit only on Sundays through April to June, then next year inherit my older sister’s outfit.
In the 60’s I noticed in church women switching to mantillas, ala Jackie Kennedy, and then wearing nothing on their heads. Hats had disappeared. I was waiting for the priest from the pulpit to announced “Ladies, you don’t come to church without a hat.” He never did. Was it because the younger generation started growing hair- huge amounts on their heads and faces? Maybe hair became their hats.
Again, I can’t help wondering where some behaviors come from, and why some stay or not stay long after they are relevant.
THE CAR POOL Veronica Cullinan Lake
A black 1990 Toyota Corolla with grey upholstery riding north on Broadway out of the city is picking up the third and last passenger.
LIST OF CHARACTERS:
DOROTHY is driving the car and wearing a good-looking, grey mohair coat. She has long bangs, glasses, and is slim with a child-like appearance, although she is easily 40 years old.
CAROL around 25, is wearing a black coat with pie-shaped vinyl shoulders. She has long, black, premed hair and is wearing reflective sunglasses.
JOAN is wearing a fuchsia coat, and is carrying a lunch bag, and Walkman with opera tapes. She has a lock of grey hair in front and is beginning to look middle age.
MARYANNE is in a black down coat, and wearing a black beret studded with glass and jewels. On her lap is a pink nylon bag with a Velcro flap, a newspaper and thermos. Around 45, she has a pear-shaped body, and wears a flowered scarf tied gypsy-style around her head.
ACT 1, SCENE 1
(CAROL is seated next to driver, looking straight
CAROL: Good morning!
(DOROTHY sips her coffee, places the cup down into the
circular plastic holder between the two front seats.)
DOROTHY: How are you this morning, Joan?
(JOAN gets into the back seat behind the driver,
walkman in place and coffee in hand.)
JOAN: Fine thanks, and you?
DOROTHY: I'm a little tired, actually. I've been having some
(MARYANNE leans forward hunched over her pink nylon
bag and speaks in a soothing voice.)
MARYANNE: I understand those herbal teas are worth a try.
Have you ever used any of them? They have delightful
names such as "Sleepy Time" and "Restful Place".
(DOROTHY opens a bottle of orange soda and takes a
DOROTHY: I don't trust these "faddy" foods! They contain
all kinds of crazy ingredients. I've read that no one
really understands too much about herbs, and besides
they aren't regulated by any agency as yet.
JOAN: (shuts off her Walkman) Actually, Dorothy, they are
good for you and so is yoga. Have you done any exercise
to relax yourself in the evening?
DOROTHY: (Sips coffee) If you consider eating pop-corn,
drinking vodka, and watching TV. exercise.
(CAROL raises her hand up to eye level, inspects her
nails coated in pink paint.)
CAROL: God, would you believe these nails! I just had them
done yesterday and already one of them is chipping. Do
you like the color? (Raises her hand in the air for all
to see.) It has the obnoxious name of "Barbie Doll
Heaven". But it makes such a statement, and it goes so
well with this blouse.
DOROTHY: That's funny. (Looks over at CAROL.) I was at Jane's
yesterday too! What time was your appointment?
CAROL: Probably around 6, because right after that David and
I went downtown for dinner.
DOROTHY: (Glances over at CAROL in the front seat.) Dinner!
You mean you actually stayed out in that freezing
weather. I just went home and boiled myself a hot dog.
MARYANNE: (earnestly) Why a hot dog? Some of those frozen
dinners are quite tasty and very reasonably priced.
Dorothy, stock up on a few the next time you visit the
supermarket. (Pause) That reminds me ... Joan, have you
been using your juicer lately?
JOAN: (Shuts off her Walkman) Now that I know I can't have
fruit juice; it elevates my blood sugar, I'm
experimenting with vegetables. (Pause) But I don't know
what to do with all that bulk that shoots out as waste.
MARYANNE: (in a low and sweet voice) Throw it into a
pot with a little bit of chicken. It would make a
delicious soup. Nice and warm for this time of year.
(Looks in DOROTHY's direction.)
Well Dorothy, I won't be teaching my 8:00 class any
more. That will give you a few extra minutes of sleep
in the morning. It might help.
DOROTHY: (Turning her head jauntingly toward the back seat)
Actually, Maryanne, I think my problem is I'm still
suffering from jet lag. What I need to do is take
another trip to Hawaii. That would straighten me out.
CAROL: (Slouches down into her seat) I'm pretty tired myself
this morning, David and I went to Pen & Tell last
night. His company gave him some free tickets. They
weren't the best of seats, but the show was
DOROTHY: (Takes a big sip of orange soda) Gee! A play! That
would be a change. I just hit every VCR store in the
neighborhood. Rent two or three a night in case one's
a dud, then I can keep forwarding until I get to the
JOAN: Oh, Dorothy, let me tell you now before I forget about
it. I won't need a ride Thursday or Friday. I'm taking
a one long weekend and going home to New Jersey to see
MARYANNE: (Opens her hand bag, hunting for a napkin to give
to JOAN whose coffee just spilt over her hand and onto
the floor) How is your father doing these days?
JOAN: Unfortunately, we've just received some bad news.
They've found out that the ulcer is ... cancerous. And
at his age - he's over eighty you know - and in his
general condition - the asthma and all- an operation
would be quite risky.
MARYANNE: Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this news. How is your
Mom taking it?
JOAN: (Sighs loudly): Not well, she's panicking! Her whole
life has centered around my Dad. She can't see beyond
his death. She's a very dependent person, controlling
and nasty to boot. I'm really not looking forward to
MARYANNE: (Roots into her bag and moves things around.)
Here's some inexpensive tranquilizers. It will take the
edge off of your stress. Don't worry, they're not habit
JOAN: Thanks, but walking usually works for me. It clears my
head and help me feel in control again. I think it's
because I can get so easily distracted by what I see
CAROL: Speaking of walking, David and I are going up to
Mohaunk next weekend. They have some great walking
trails. David is excited by this. I told him next time
to sign up for "Chocolate Lovers Weekend", then it will
be my turn to get excited.
DOROTHY: All I want to do this weekend is to curl up with a
good movie. See any lately?
(Radio is playing “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries” as the lights dim.)
ACT 1, SCENE 2
(It is now Tuesday. A gloomy day with a slight drizzle. The roads are a little slick. Everyone's loaded down with rain gear.)
JOAN: (Stepping into the car) Good morning! Right on
CAROL: (Flings back her head back and speaks with some
What's good about it! I've got some terrible news!
David's lost his job. We're so upset. I'm so upset. He's
thinking of cancelling homecoming weekend: our trip to
Ohio. The trip to Mohaunk is still on, thank God! We
really need to get away, especially now.
DOROTHY: stating matter-of-factly) You better face it,
Carol, in this economy, it might be a while before he
MARYANNE: (Speaking reassuringly) Don't worry! With his
background a job will find him!
DOROTHY: Speaking of jobs. Last night I figured out how
many days I have left to retirement - 2,220. Twelve
years 180 days a year. (Sigh) I need 30 years of service
that'll bring me to the ripe old age of 58. Sounds
like a god-damn prison sentence.
MARYANNE: Well, there are two ways you might handle this.
Leave! (pause) Think about it, really think about it.
There might be a wonderful opportunity waiting for you
out there in that great big world. (Another deep sigh
from DOROTHY.) If that doesn't appeal to you, just take
very day as it comes.
CAROL: Talk about coming. I have two friends coming in from
Upstate for the holidays. And my roommate had better
clean up that bathroom. She's a slob! She's an out-and-
out slob. I made it perfectly clear to her what her
responsibility to me was. Imagine having to get into
this. Like I don't have enough to think about right now.
(looks into the back seat) We're baking Santa Claus
cookies this afternoon!
JOAN: (Glances over to MARYANNE, looks startled.)
Maryanne, what happened to your wrist? I just noticed
MARYANNE: (Nods her head and speaks softly): I slipped on
the ice once I left the car yesterday. Didn't anybody
see me? It's only sprained. I'm taking Tylenol.
Unfortunately though, it still hurts. When I went to the
school nurse yesterday, she said she was moving my
folder into the high- risk file.
DOROTHY: Speaking of high risk! I'm really afraid to be alone
in my apartment now that Stan has moved out. You're
aware that I live in a borderline neighborhood. (sigh)
So ... I play the radio a lot, and walk around in
circles. The apartment is small. It's only a studio. A
studio with no view at that.
JOAN: Maybe it's time to start using that Y membership. Don't
forget they have that great pool and jogging track! Come
to think of it, I haven't seen you there lately.
DOROTHY: I let my membership run out.
JOAN: Well, renew it!
DOROTHY: (speaking indignantly) At $870, that's not an easy
decision to make. And I only used my card
about 5 times last year.
CAROL: That reminds me, they have a $75 special at Macy's.
You get a complete make-over: facial and hair style.
It's a great bargain. I intend to take advantage of it.
MARYANNE: Sounds like a lovely idea to me. I'd go for it!
Dorothy, maybe you could treat yourself. It might help
you feel better.
DOROTHY: Actually, my class mothers gave me the same thing as
a gift certificate at the end of last year. I came home
made-up like a clown. I couldn't wait until I washed my
face and shampooed my hair. You should have seen it all
curly and sticking out. I hate it when they use all
that hair spray. Besides I'm not use to being without
CAROL: Well, if you wanted to look the same way, why did you
bother going? A make-over should be a make-over! Right?
JOAN: It's good to try different things, and treat yourself
when you need to. After my visit home I'm going to
check in at Kripala, that yoga retreat near Lenox,
Mass. I'll need some quiet time. I don't like being
emotionally strung out. It's too exhausting! Families
can kill you.
(Radio is playing “You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby” as the
ACT 1, SCENE 3
Today is Monday of the following week. Car pool is on its route. Picking up the last passenger.
(DOROTHY turns around in her seat to flick the switch
that opens the door.)
JOAN: (looks around): Where is Maryanne? You didn't forget
her again, did you?
DOROTHY: (Looks straight ahead, sipping on coffee) No, I
didn't! Friday was just a bad day. I was distracted that
morning. I stopped at Chemical Bank's cash machine and
realized I didn't have my card. I had lost it! It
happens every now and then. I suppose I'll call this
morning and report it. After all, I've given someone the
weekend to try a few thousand combinations. I sometimes
have fantasies of people in Chemical banks all over the
city randomly playing numbers hoping to hit my code for
some big bucks.(laughs)
JOAN: Kind of like sponsoring your own lottery.
DOROTHY: Thank goodness the rest of you are here to keep me
on the straight and narrow. It was Carol who told me to
go back and get Maryanne. But speaking of schedules, I
think Maryanne's is getting to her. She's having that
wrist x-rayed today. It might be more than a bad
sprain. It's difficult working in two places where
schedules and philosophies are so different. You know I
read in Time magazine that stress can cause accidents,
You become preoccupied with trying to balance everyone's
concerns. It becomes a hassle and you loose it.
JOAN: (loudly) Red light, Dorothy. You just went through a
CAROL: (Glancing over at DOROTHY) Speaking of hassles. I, out
of concern for David's feelings, agreed to pay for dinner
last night. I realize he's worried about money. But if he
thinks I'm going to compensate for his loss, he's
mistaken. I was brought up to expect the man to provide
financially. It's funny, I'm liberal in some ways but
very traditional in others.
(Puts hands on the dashboard as DOROTHY rushes through a
This situation with David could get awkward. I like him a
lot, but I can't be making too many concessions. It's not
my fault he doesn't have any savings, and I didn't move
into the city just to sit around in my apartment every
night doing nothing. I'm paying astronomical rent, when I
could be living free at home, bored silly.
DOROTHY: What do you say we do something different this
morning! We have time. Let's go to Hobo’s and get some
CAROL: (in a loud voice) Look I've been up since 5:30. It
takes me an hour to get my hair and make-up right.
Besides I've eaten already. I don't want to spend any of
my time at HoJo's.
(Car swerves into another lane. Everyone jostles to
maintain an upward position.)
DOROTHY: Sorry, I'm not my best in the morning hours!
JOAN: Look Dorothy you need to be more careful. There is a ...
DOROTHY: (Interrupting and parking the car next to the curb
rifling thorough her purse): Do you mind if we stop here
for a few seconds, I want to get some coffee. Oh, damn! It
looks like I left the house without my wallet. We're going
to have to double back.
JOAN: I'll lend you the money. Here's $20.00
DOROTHY: Thanks anyway, but I don't need to get another
ticket just for driving without a license. Look, girls,
I'm sorry! I'll try to make up the time when we get on
CAROL: (dejectedly: If it isn't one thing it's another.
(Radio is playing “Is Life Troubling You Bunkie?,” lights
dim then brighten. The car is back at DOROTHY's
apartment. The passengers are parked and waiting for
JOAN: You know, Dot's behavior is beginning to concern me a
little. Do you suppose she has a drinking problem?
CAROL: I was thinking the same thing. Sooner or later we're
going to have to confront her with this.
JOAN: Let June do it. She's usually so cheerful and
accommodating. As soon as she's feeling better maybe we
can suggest it to her.
DOROTHY: (Re-entering the car): O.K. ladies, let's get on
with this little adventure.
(Radio is now playing “Friends”.)
DOROTHY: Oh God, we're coming to a red light and those guys
are going to slap my windows with all that dirty water.
(Pulls up to the red light, two black men stride up to
each side of the car and start to wash the windshield.
The light is almost turning, DOROTHY rushes the motor.)
CAROL: (Goes into her purse, looks around for money to hand
them when they're finished): Open the window, will you
Dorothy, so I can give them some change.
(The men start kicking the tires, banging fenders and
ONE OF THE MEN: All three of you and you can't afford a
DOROTHY: (Locks the doors and blares the horn. She then opens
the window and yells): Why don't you get a job like
everyone else. Get away from my car!
MAN: (Reaches in the window and slaps her face with the wet
rag.) You firkin bitch. What do you know about life!
CAROL: (Bolts out the door of the car and starts yelling):
Help! Help! We're being attacked!
(The car behind them speeds pass, hitting the open door
and knocks CAROL down. Radio is still playing “Friends” as
the lights dim.)
ACT 1, SCENE 4
(It is Tuesday and DOROTHY stops to pick up her only
DOROTHY: Hi, JOAN
JOAN: (Looks inside the car.) Where is Maryanne?
DOROTHY: Well, she's taking the Metro-North. She claims it's
safer, and she can use the time to do some reading.
Carol is home because of the accident. I'm sure everyone
is going to hear about this, knowing CAROL. Look, if she
had stayed in the car she wouldn't have gotten hurt.
It's as simple as that!
JOAN: She's saying you aggravated the situation by gunning
your motor at them and blasting the horn.
DOROTHY: (angrily) Look, they started banging on the fenders
and pulling on the door handles. Carol panicked and
bolted out of the car. If she had waited a few seconds
we would have cleared the light.
JOAN: She's badly bruised. If her hip needs to be operated
on, she claims she's going to sue you.
DOROTHY: (screaming) Sue me! For what? I was stopped at a red
light; she got out of the car. The car behind me hit
her. I had nothing to do with it.
JOAN: She claims you were drinking.
DOROTHY: Drinking! It's her word against mine. No, actually,
it's slander. Did I get the ticket? No! Neither did the
other driver. I tell you Carol caused her own accident.
I'm sorry she's hurt, but liquor had nothing to do with
JOAN: If it isn't liquor, Dorothy, then what the hell is it?
What's going on?
(DOROTHY turning on the radio, speaks with indignation.)
Nothing is going on!
JOAN: You know, if things don't change, you're going to lose
all your riders.
DOROTHY: I could use the peace and quiet!
JOAN: What are you going to do about Carol. Besides being
physically hurt, she's badly frightened.
DOROTHY: She's so pampered anything would frightened her. She
needs a little toughening up. If Carol wants to live in
the City so badly, she better get use to crises. Look,
do you mind if we change the subject! I've done all the
thinking about Carol I intend to do for one day.
JOAN: (muttering under her breath) I give up! (pause) Listen.
I have some tickets to the City Ballet on Saturday. Do
you want to go? I'd offer them to Carol or Maryanne, but
right now they're a little "under the weather". Sally
and I had plans, but I'm going home instead. The
doctors are talking about the possibility of radiation
treatment for my Dad's tumor.
DOROTHY: You know I was talking to Stan the other night and
the prognosis for your father isn't that good. Cancer of
the esophagus can bring a horrible death. In his
opinion, your best bet is to hope for a successful
JOAN: (sarcastically) Thanks for your concern.
DOROTHY: (talking in a singsong, carefree voice) I'm going to
pass on those tickets. I've never really liked the
ballet. After awhile it becomes rather repetitive. Once
you've sorted out their personalities, it gets pretty
routine. But thanks anyway. (Leans over and turns up
(The radio is playing “When You Wish Upon a Star” and the