Samantha’s 17th Birthday

Dirge Without Music

Edna St. Vincent Millay

img_3118smallI am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

photos-07-18-06-002smallThe answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.


Is That You? (Veronica’s 15th birthday)

Is That You?Veronica

© Robyn O’Rourke

Published on March 2011

Is that you?
The falling star in the night
So pure, so bright.

Is that you?
The breeze gently blowing through my hair
Telling me that you are still there.

Is that you?
The golden ball rising in the east
Bringing hope that a new day, the sorrow will ease.

Is that you?
Setting in the West
Bringing a night of peace and rest.

Is that You?The castle she dreamed of building
Who dries my tears
As I gaze towards my future fears.

Is that you?
That makes me smile at life’s irony
That other people often cannot see.

Is that you?
That gives me strength to carry on
Even though you are gone.

Is that you?
Yes. It is you. You are with me always.



The Answering Machine (five years later)

The Answering Machine


I call and hear your voiceHoward Family
on the answering machine
weeks after your death,
a fledgling ghost still longing
for human messages.

Shall I leave one, telling
how the fabric of our lives
has been ripped before
but that this sudden tear will not
be mended soon or easily?

In your emptying house, othersSam and Veronica
roll up rugs, pack books,
drink coffee at your antique table,
and listen to messages left
on a machine haunted

by the timbre of your voice,
more palpable than photographs
or fingerprints. On this first day
of this first fall without you,
ashamed and resisting

but compelled, I dial again
the number I know by heart,
thankful in a diminished world
for the accidental mercy of machines,
then listen and hang up.DSCN3064small

To Sam on Her 16th Birthday


by Margaret Postgate Cole

IMG_4171smallWhen men are old, and their friends die,
They are not so sad,
Because their love is running slow,
And cannot spring from the wound with so sharp a pain;
And they are happy with many memories,
And only a little while to be alone.
But we are young, and our friends are dead
Suddenly, and our quick love is torn in two;
So our memories are only hopes that came to nothing.
We are left alone like old men; we should be dead
But there are years and years in which we will still be young.

Coco Chanel


IMG_0786-1401464521-OsmallBorn August 19, 1883, Coco Chanel is one of the most famous fashion designers ever. She is famous because she was the first to make very comfortable and elegant clothing for women. Before her designs became popular, women had to fit into very tight, uncomfortable dresses to be considered fashionable. Some of her unique ideas were developed in World War I. For example she designed the little black dress because of all the deaths in the War and the Spanish flu epidemic, which forced widows to go out in black. Also during the War she made her fashions with cheap material but made each design with the same piece of material to avoid any color variation. Because of ideas like these her business survived the war and she went on to greater fame. She died January 10, 1971.

Coco Chanel and I have some similarities as well as differences. One way we are different is that she grew up in an orphanage after her mother died her father left to go to America. When he came back he had remarried and had another child. When Coco was 18 she left the orphanage and never saw her father again. I did not go to an orphanage and I live in America not France. Another way we are different is that she does not like designing fashions on paper, unlike me. She prefered to design them on a mannequin. We are also similar in some ways. For example we both like to design women’s fashions. Another example is that we both have four letter nicknames. She got her nickname after a song she sang at a dance club. My nickname, Nica, is part of my given name Veronica.

  1. I am famous because I made comfortable and elegant clothes for women.
  2. I am from France and my mother died when I was young. I went to an orphanage with my sister. When I was 18 I left the orphanage and became a seamstress.
  3. The most significant event in my life was when I started my own company. It was the most significant event in my life because I was successful in doing so and I was tired of being told what to do. I want to make my own fashions and decisions.
  4. I would tell them that it is ok to be different. You don’t have to blend in. I am successful because I was different and I wore plainer, but elegant clothes.
  5. Most people don’t know that my real name is Gabrielle Chanel. I got my nickname, Coco, from a song I sang at a dance club, where it became my stage name.