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I WRITE IN MY SLEEP

I don’t know how many times I have used the expression, “It’s so easy, I could do it in my sleep,”?  Well for me – it’s true: I often write in my sleep.

Sometimes it’s a continuation of projects I’m working on for clients – blogs, memoirs or a book I’m ghostwriting. Other times, it’s not the actual writing that I’m doing in my dream; it’s about me quoting a rate for a project or following up with someone who asked me to work with them previously. In each of these instances, work does not end when I turn out the light and go to sleep, but rather, continues into the different stages of the sleep cycle when my creative thoughts are swirling around in my head.

I believe this process is very common for those in the arts. I remember Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones mentioning that he often came out of dreams with songs already partially written. It was during the dream state that ideas would come to him for melodies or riffs and he would pull out his tape player and put it down on tape in the middle of the night, then go back to sleep.

Another things that I sometimes find myself doing is typing keys on my imaginary keyboard when I’m asleep. I’ve been told that my fingers move and I’ve also woken myself up doing this. Rather than this being a nervous impulse, I think it’s, again, related to what I’m dreaming about.

The late, great Stevie Ray Vaughn used to play guitar in his sleep, according to one of the biographies I read about him. He was known for practicing all the time and sleeping with his guitar next to him in bed, so that if he wanted to work out some new instrumentation in the middle of the night, he could do so without much effort.

I’ve always been able to remember my dreams – often with great detail. I’m fortunate in that this process helps me sort things out that I’m trying to resolve. Sometimes, it provides the seeds of creativity for a project, while other times, it enables me to work out complex feelings.

In last night’s dream, I was writing a blog for a former client and it was a good one, from what I can recollect. Why was I writing this blog for a former client? I have no idea. I haven’t spoken to her in a long time and I don’t recall thinking about her recently.

Does everyone act out in their dreams what they do for work? Do our dreams actually have meaning, or are they just projections of stress that we are creativity trying to sort out?  Are our dreams filled with meaning, or are they made up of random thoughts?

You decide.

My Family’s History: The Morochnicks of Massachusetts

Introduction:

This is the story of my maternal grandmother, Anna Morochnick Kramer, her family – the Morochnicks of Massachusetts – and the values they taught me that stay with me to this day.

This story is the combined result of many months of research on Ancestry.com, phone calls and extensive interviews with members of my family, some who I met while on this journey. With their help, I have sorted out conflicting facts and built a series of stories about each character (yes, they were “characters!”) to resurrect our family tree. This is a multi –layered story that includes everyone’s perceptions, opinions, thoughts and maybe facts about what life was like – over 100 years ago – when the “original” Morochnicks set foot on Ellis Island. Some started their transcontinental voyage from Russia by foot, horse and buggy or train to the docks in England where they boarded a steamer to America. Others came via China, Israel, Canada and other parts. Together, they built this family and its descendants.

From what I have been able to establish, life back then was incredibly difficult and money was scarce. Yet, the family stayed closer than we do today (even with all our devices to help us do so) based on a mutual love, respect and a genuine interdependency that existed between family members living in close quarters in a strange country that was often hostile to Jews.

My story is just that – my story. It is a compilation of many remembrances of people to whom I am very grateful for their time, willingness to share information, and the desire to have our family’s history set down on paper so future generations can know from whence we came.

Chapter 1:

My grandmother’s father, Boroch (Barney) Morochnick, was born in the Ukrainian village of Shepatovka, as were five of his seven kids. Barney or “Zeide,” as he was known (1877 – July 1956), died a year before I was born. His wife, “Bubbi” or Sarah Ainbender Morochnick, gave him seven kids then died at the age of 66 (1878 – 1944).

Zeide Morochnick came to the U.S. by himself at age 27 on June 11, 1904. It took six years for him to send for his wife and five kids to come to America in 1909. This included my grandmother, Anna Morochnick, who was eight when she arrived at Ellis Island with her mother and four brothers: Abe, Louie, Isaac and Murray. After settling into their first home, an apartment in the old West End of Boston by the Esplanade, they moved into their longtime home at 99 Winthrop Street in Roxbury (now an African-American neighborhood).

Although I never got to meet my great – grandfather, I often heard tales about Zeide Morochnick. We knew that he had two brothers in the U.S., Max (Mottel) and Shia, but he may also have had two sisters, and a brother who was deaf-mute, who stayed behind in Russia. Barney’s father (my great, great grandfather) was known as Yankul David (Yankul is English for Jack.) His mother’s name was Tabila (Thelma). We believe that Thelma and David never left Russia.

Chapter 2:

MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER, “BUBBI MOROCHNICK”

(Photo: Sarah Morochnick with Isaac Morochnick)

Sarah Ainbender Morochnick was born in Beresdiv, Russia. Sarah had two brothers – both named Samuel. One later became known as “Fehter” (Yiddish for uncle) Sucha, a Kosher butcher and cantor in Boston; the other brother was known as Sam Aines. (Sarah may have also had two sisters who stayed in Russia).

Sam Aines was fondly remembered by the Morochnicks as a wonderful man. He married a woman named “Goldie” and they had three sons: (Isador) Joseph Aines, Maurice Aines and (Adolph) Andrew Aines. Andrew, who married Bea and lived in North Springfield, Virginia, was said to have worked for the State Department in some high-ranking position at the Pentagon. Joseph was married to Virginia (“Ginnie”) and they lived in Sharon, Massachusetts. Maurice also lived in Sharon but no one seems to remember much about him or his family.

Samuel “Fehter Sucha” Ainbender married Zelda (Celia) Kauffman and settled in Peabody, Massachusetts where they had five kids: Sarah, Abraham, Louis, Sol, and Hyman. During my search on ancestry.com, I met my third cousin, Ellen Zirin, who was Abraham Bender’s grandchildren (after shortening his last name).

Ellen provided me with a wealth of information about her family, who we never knew.  She and I have since become friends and actually got to meet in person in 2015 on one of my trips back to Massachusetts.

Her grandfather, Abe Bender, married Frances Abrams and they had three kids – Louise, Ralph and Ann Gail. Louise and her husband, Philip Epstein, were Ellen’s parents.

Back to my Great Grandmother Sarah: By all accounts, was not a healthy woman. My 3rd cousin, Sylvia Loman, recalls that she suffered from asthma and as such, everyone was instructed not to smoke around her. My 2nd cousin, Jerry Curley, who grew up in the same house with Bubbi and Zeide, had this memory:

“My grandmother was always leaning against one of those big, black pot-bellied stoves. She would make me fried latkes in the morning and we’d sit and talk, but she was a very sick woman. She had a bad heart, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Bubbi was a very quiet, gentle woman and though full -bodied, she was weak and frail so she spent quite a bit of time in bed. When she was up, for family occasions, I always remember her wearing a housecoat.”

Chapter 3: 

SARAH’S BROTHER FEHTER (ISSACHER) SUCHA

Fehter Sucha, the Kosher butcher, was mentioned every now and then by my father, Lester Kramer, and my Uncle Arnie Kramer. They talked about him being a very traditional Eastern European Jew who was kind of scary and shouted in Yiddish when he spoke.

Ellen had similar memories of her Great Grandfather: “He died in 1963 when I was 15, so I have memories of him. He had this big, long white beard and he used to wear a black silk kippah (skull cap). He was scary. I believe he spoke English but not willingly; mostly he spoke Yiddish. When I saw him he was either in his butcher shop or praying. I remember going to their home in Peabody for different Jewish holidays. They lived in very small quarters; their dining table was basically in his bedroom and he was reclining (as you are supposed to do on Passover). I don’t believe I ever had a conversation with him but I remember that I disliked it when he kissed me, and to this day, I detest beards because of his.”

As for her grandfather, Abraham Bender, Ellen says, “He was bald and he owned a liquor store that my father worked at on Main Street in Peabody. I went in there often and when he came to visit me, he always brought Beechnut gum. He had a beautiful voice but what I remember most about him is that he refused to speak Russian because he left the country under fear of probably being conscripted and he didn’t want to recall Russia. He was here in America and he was American; that was it.”

Chapter 4:

ZEIDE’S BROTHER: MAX (MOTTEL) MOROCHNICK

After Zeide arrived in America, he sent for his brother, Mottel, who was known as “Max.”  Max eventually married Anna Behm, a Polish Jew, and they had two daughters, Mary and Sylvia. Max’s family lived at 57-55 Lucerne Street in Dorchester in a three-story building that housed six families. Sylvia, who is now 89, says her father occasionally spoke with contempt about Shepatovka, the community he was forced to flee due to pogroms, which were quite common in the early 1900’s.

“My father was a handsome guy with black hair and blue eyes,” says Sylvia, “very typical Russian looking. He was the most gentle soul and of high integrity and moral character. Like many of the Morochnicks, he was a Union housepainter. During the winter he didn’t work much, so money was very, very scarce, but I never thought I was poor because we always had food. I do remember, however, that one year, my father told me and my sister Mary to write to Santa Claus for toys – and on Christmas morning, there were toys – this from a man who was a member of the Reform Synagogue!”

Locally, Max was a member of the Shepatovka cemetery keepers. When he died, Sylvia received a telegram from the Independent Sons of Shepatovka acknowledging his loss. Max only lived to be 69. He died of a heart attack in 1958 brought on by years of heavy smoking. Max is buried with the rest of the Morochnicks in West Roxbury beside his mother, father, and brothers: Shia and Barney.

Max’s oldest daughter, Mary, married David Berlyn and the two lived in Tarrytown, NY. Mary lived to be 83 after surviving breast cancer for twenty years. Their daughter, Debra, has two daughters, Anna and Katie, while their son Steven lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Max’s younger daughter, Sylvia, (who was my dad’s 3rd cousin) married Mel Loman and had two sons and a daughter. After 55 years of a loving marriage together (including a rededication ceremony for their 50th anniversary), he passed away in 2009. They had two sons, Harold and Lee, and a daughter, Marci. Harold is divorced with a son, Kyle, and a daughter, Taylor. Lee and his wife had two children: Sam and Carly (an Emerson graduate like me!). Their daughter, Marci, married David Cohen and had two children, Douglas and Lauren.

Chapter 5: 

SYLVIA MOROCHNICK LOMAN

 Sylvia Loman is the last remaining Morochnick of that generation. Meeting her has been one of the highlights of my research into my family roots. Sylvia is an active senior citizen who uses Skype and Facebook, as well as email, to keep in touch. We spoke about her memories of my great-grandmother, Bubbi Morochnick, in whose lap she remembers sitting when she was a little girl. She loved her aunt very much for it was she who brought her parents together:

“My grandfather – my mother’s father – was a religious Jew and just before my parents first met, he was run down in the streets of Skokie, Illinois by the KKK and killed. After this tragedy, my mother went into mourning – and it was at this time that my father first met her, all dressed in black. My father told his sister-in-law, my Auntie Sarah, that he thought my mother was very pretty but she wasn’t interested in going out with him. After about a year, Auntie Sarah told my father to go see her again. Back then there were no phones and it was proper to have someone announce your visit before you arrived. So Auntie Sarah sent her two little girls, Sophie and Jenny, to the house where my mother lived to tell her that their uncle wanted to see her. When he arrived at her house, my mother’s heart was beating so fast that it led to a romance that lasted for many years. While they didn’t have much money, they were deeply in love.”

Her mother, Anna Behm Morochnick, lived to the age of 75. After Max died, her daughter moved her to a senior development in Peabody where she lived for the last five years of her life. Although she was the only Jewish resident there, she was well-loved for her easy going personality.

Sylvia, who was 26 years younger than my Nana, was raised with my father’s generation. As a young woman, she wanted to be a cantor but her father discouraged her telling her she would never “wear the robe,” so she never pursued her knowledge of Hebrew. However, in her later years, she came back to it and at the age of 85, she completed Hebrew school and got to carry the Torah at her temple. Says Sylvia, “I sang in my temple choir for 20 years but I never learned Hebrew. Learning Hebrew and going to Israel were big turning points in my life.”

Sylvia’s sister Mary also achieved her educational aspirations later in life, enrolling in college at age 50 where she earned a teaching degree and a Master’s degree. She was working toward her Ph.D. when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, but survived to live another twenty years.

Chapter 6:

SHIA, MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER’S MYSTERIOUS BROTHER

Shia, Zeide’s brother, came over last to America after his brothers paid for his passage from Israel. The story is that Shia had escaped from a work camp in Siberia. Sylvia Loman recalls Uncle Shia telling her that he had climbed over an electrified fence to escape and didn’t know why he hadn’t been electrocuted.

After making his way to Shanghai, Shia married and had a son, Alex, who was later killed during a bombing. It’s unknown what happened to his wife – whether she also died in that bombing. He later married, Sima, who he met in Israel after making his way there from China. Sima had a son, Abraham, who took on the name Morochnick. (My Cousin Ruthie says Abraham later showed up on the doorstep of Zeide’s home, years later).

After arriving in America, Shia worked with Murray Morochnick, painting and providing maintenance services for an apartment complex. Jerry “Curley” Morochnick remembers: “Shia was good friends with Murray; the two worked hand-in-hand together. They were like Laurel and Hardy but they got along well.”

Shia lived in the attic of Jerry’s family’s home at 99 Winthrop Street. While Shia was residing there, his wife Sima was living in Canada waiting to enter the U.S. to join him, but due to immigration restrictions, had to stay there for many years.

Cousin Sylvia remembers Sima as a nice, soft-spoken Russian woman and Shia, as somewhat of a womanizer. “He was not as good looking at my father but he had money. He liked life and he liked women. He was always good to my sister and I and would tell me stories about his servants in Shanghai.”

My own memories are few of my Great Uncle Shia. I remember meeting him at my grandfather’s funeral when I was eleven and being in awe of him after my dad told me that he had escaped from Siberia. I viewed Shia with great respect and regret that I didn’t get to know him better as he was the last of that generation. What I do remember was that one year after Shia died, Sima also died. People told me that she died of a broken heart.

Chapter 7:

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

My Dad’s mother was Anna Morochnick Kramer and her family were a huge part of my early memories of growing up in a large, extended Jewish family. My “Nana” had several brothers and sisters whose names, my brother Bob and I, used to like to memorize: There was Abie, then Louie, followed by my grandmother Annie, Isaac, Murray, Sophie, and Jenny. Everybody was lovingly referred to with an ‘ie’ at the end of their name. (This tradition continued with myself, “Patty,” and my brother “Bobby,” while my sisters Nancy and Julie naturally had the ‘right’ ending – so it didn’t need to be changed).

Friday nights were always spent bringing in the Sabbath with a large dinner at my grandmother’s house at 88 Longfellow Road in Worcester, Massachusetts. My grandmother, like many women of her generation, was a fantastic cook of Eastern European culinary delights. Dinners were several courses long and lasted for hours. They always began with matzo ball soup followed by a green salad, chopped liver and crackers, a tray of pickles and other condiments and Challah. The main course was usually roasted chicken or brisket with potatoes, carrots, onions — and my favorite – mach bones! For dessert, there was always jell with canned fruit or baked apples.

How I enjoyed those Friday night dinners when I was a kid! The men would discuss politics, business and the news, while “we” kids would stuff ourselves to the gills then search for the chocolates that my grandparents hid in their polished wooden armoire.

My other beautiful memories were of walking Reggie, their black toy poodle who I loved so much, and of cutting fresh flowers from my Nana’s vibrant and aromatic gardens. My grandmother was a very skilled gardener and her gardens were always full of beautiful flowering plants including three, tall lilac trees that rose to the second story of their home outside of my Aunt Ronnie’s bedroom windows. The lilacs were lavender, white and purple and their aroma was intoxicating to me as a child.

For Sabbat dinner, my grandfather, Harry Kramer, was always seated at the head of the table with my dad, Lester, and my Uncle Arnie seated on either side of him. My Aunt Ronnie was living in New York (and later, Los Angeles) at that time so we only got to enjoy her presence on special occasions. But I remember that she would call, long distance, all the way from wherever she was and everyone in the family would take turns speaking to her. Back then, it was very expensive to speak to someone long distance so the calls were often abbreviated to “Hello Patty. How are you? Do you like school? Okay let me speak to your Dad now.”

My “Papa,” Harry Kramer, was only in my life until I was eleven but my memories of him are large and well established in my memory. He had a great sense of humor and spoke with a Russian accent. He was kind to me, loving and protective & I loved him like I loved no one else.

Chapter 8:

FAMILY VISITS

When the entire Morochnick clan was present, my grandmother’s home really came to life. It was noisy, the men were smoking cigars or pipes, the women were sharing stories in the kitchen, and Aunt Ida was usually playing the piano and singing. Those memories of family gatherings are most precious to me.

My grandmother, Anna, was very family-oriented. Everyone who knew her always mentioned how she would keep in touch by phone and by mail with everyone, never forgetting birthdays or anniversaries. She really valued the family bonds and instilled those same values in all of us.

At any family gatherings there were always a lot of people in the house. As kids, we weren’t all that interested in talking to the adults, so we would sneak away on an exploratory trip to the attic, which was only accessible from my Uncle Arnie’s bedroom. It was dusty with creaky floorboards but contained real ‘gems’ from WW2 (his Army uniform and various weapons). It was definitely a great place to hide out and let our imagination run wild!

The other great playroom was my grandparents’ cellar which contained a large family

room with a full bar, an antique telephone that hung on the wall and high, red barstools. Often, we kids would play ‘bartender’ and pretend to be mixing drinks for each other – although I don’t think we actually opened any of the bottles.

Besides the main room (or rumpus room, as my grandmother called it), was the room that contained the furnace, which was dark and scary. I only went in there when we were playing ‘Hide and Seek’ and then only for a short period of time as I believed my brother’s tales that it contained ghosts or demons and that they were going to ‘get me’ if I went in there alone.

The final room in the basement was the laundry room, which was the ending point for a chute that started on the second floor of the house, directing dirty laundry down to the basement where it landed in a cart by the washing machine. This made for a great play-tool for my brother, sister and I. Often, one of us would run upstairs and stick our head in the chute and the others would wait down below to see if we could see them. We also would toss items down the chute on whomever was waiting below, not suspecting that the balled up toilet paper was coming their way until it hit them square in the face!

My Cousin Steve Morochnick Curley recalled: “The house at 99 Longfellow Road with curling steps that led to the attic was filled with Arnold and Lester’s comic book collections. They had tons of funny books and we could sit and read for a long time!”

He adds, “You’re grandmother was a great cook and Sunday in Worcester was a great treat for all the Mishpocha from Boston, cause we knew we would get great food and desserts.  And Uncle Harry was the best joke teller (sometimes even a little racy with spicy Russian words).”

This story continues for about another 20 pages, but because it is about living people’s personal information, I will end this story here, as this is just an example of the type of family histories I create as a writer.

ALL I WANT FOR BREAKFAST IS TOAST WITH SLICED CHEESE: A TRIBUTE TO MY DAD

As I was eating my toast with sliced cheese this morning, I had a flashback to my dad, Lester Kramer, sitting across the table from me at his home in Framingham, Massachusetts ten years ago. My dad was sick with cancer and nearing his last year of life, but I remember so well his simple contentment with a breakfast of toast and sliced cheese. I realized in that moment that I had taken on some of my dad’s habits – not only his culinary “likes” but his speech and expressions, and also his appreciation for nature, birds, and the beauty that one tends to see when we aren’t preoccupied with everything else in our busy lives.

But getting back to the toast, I started thinking about the different kinds of toast my dad loved: light rye, dark rye and pumpernickel – all reflections of his early life in Worcester, MA during the depression years. It was a very different time: loaves of bread probably sold for ten cents and sitting at the table with your family in the morning and having breakfast was a real event.

I thought about how my dad and my grandfather tried to pass on these traditions to me by taking me, as a small child, to Water Street – then, the Jewish commercial section of Worcester, where there were two bakeries (Lederman’s and Widoff’s), a produce market (Sheppie’s), and two good delis (The Broadway and Weintraub’s). I have fond memories of shopping for produce with my grandfather when I was six or seven years old.

Many years later, I got one of my earliest jobs working at Widoff’s Bakery as counter help. It didn’t last long – maybe three months – but I got to be a part of what was a very important business in my community and of course, I got to learn humility by working very hard for minimum wage!

What I know now, as an adult, is that bakers are a very unrecognized and under-appreciated profession. These are people who are up at 3 a.m. to bake fresh bread, muffins, pastries and other delicacies that we take for granted. They don’t make much money and it’s very hard work as well as very long days.

So today, I’m reflecting on the memories I still hold dear from my childhood of that time from the past when my dad and I got to share breakfast and he commented that all he really wanted for breakfast was a piece of toast with cheese (not melted) and a sliced orange – and that was enough.

Today, I’m so grateful that I can relive these memories. They are all valuable reference points to who I am as a person and the values I carry forward.

–       ###-

Pat Kramer, aka “Writer For Hire,” is a professional business writer, ghostwriter, and content & social media writer who helps individuals better express themselves and improve the visibility of their business branding campaigns. For more info, see: www.writerpatkramer.com.

Congressman Adam Schiff Holds Climate Change Event at CalTech

By Pat Kramer

Congressman Adam Schiff addressed a full house at Cal Tech’s Beckman Auditorium on Friday, April 21, 2017 to speak about Climate Change. The U.S. Representative is a strong environmental proponent and, as such, is working hard to hold the line on the divisive comments about climate change and global warming by the current administration.

Speaking about their research on that subject were Alex Hall, Ph.D. – Professor of UCLA’s Department of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences; Francesca Hopkins, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Climate Change & Sustainability at the University of California, Riverside’s Department of E Sciences; and Tapio Schneider, Ph.D., professor of Environmental Science and Engineering at California Institute of Technology. Each responded to questions posed by audience members, which included scientists, environmentalists, and students interested in the future of our state.

The Congressman stated that we have taken steps backwards in our former progress on Climate Change with cuts by the current administration to Clean Energy programs and research. Professor Hall pointed out that if things keep going as they have, by the middle of this century the number of “extreme heat” days (95 degrees and over) will increase from 50-55 days at present to possibly 100 days per year. That would then impact our water resources, the sustainability of our water supply, and could lead to rising sea levels and more wildfires.

If, however, steps can be taken to reduce carbon emissions, the scientists agreed that our climate will stabilize.

Congressman Adam Schiff is the U.S. Representative for California’s 28th District. He’s been a member of Congress since 2001. You can contact his Burbank office at: (818) 450-2900 or go to: http://schiff.house.gov.

Animal Lovers Pull Together for an Abused Dog

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

For more info. please contact:

Pat Kramer, (818) 353-5699

Pat@writerpatkramer.com

 

Los Angeles (February 10, 2010) – “Toto,” a 7-year old Chihuahua/Schipperke mix, spent his life tied up in a locked garage before a neighbor alerted L.A. City Animal Control.  He then spent another five months sharing a kennel with three other dogs at the West Valley Animal Shelter before a concerned dog lover noticed him and initiated a massive media campaign to find this dog a home.

Writer For Hire Pat Kramer spotted the 14-pound Chihuahua mix with the ‘huge eyes’ last November while visiting the Shelter to adopt another dog.  At that time, “Toto” was on the shelter’s ‘Green List,’ one step away from being euthanized.  Due to being kept in the dark for so many years, his little eyes bulged from exposure to sunlight.  But according to the Shelter’s staff, he was one of the sweetest, most loved dogs there.

Pat recalls, “With the number of dogs needing a home, I was afraid he might get ‘put down’ before I could help him.”

When she returned to adopt him a few weeks later, Toto had kennel couch and was not expected to survive.  However, a few weeks later, he pulled through and on January 5th, Pat began fostering him at her home until a permanent home could be found.  “I was intent on seeing this through,” she says, “no matter how inconvenient it might be.”

To help her along, the local animal rescue foundation, New Leash on Life, pitched in donating a sleeping crate for Toto.  To help socialize him, Jami, a local animal trainer, began teaching him basic social skills.

Over the next few weeks, Toto’s photo and story were posted by on Facebook, Craigs List, and animal rescue sites: New Leash on Life, Second Acts Foundation and Pet Adoption Fund with  Animal Control Officer Gabi Hartel and Mae Ross of 321 Talent Showcase helping with the postings.  Through these efforts, thousands of people were acquainted with Toto’s plight and on January 26th, a local family adopted him.

Today, as a result of many people working together, Toto is now a ‘pet’ for the first time in his life.  No longer tied up or left alone, he has a family to love.

Says Pat, “In the process of helping this little guy, I became aware of the many wonderful people out there who give of their time to rescue unwanted pets.  These people are real ‘saints’ for what they do!”

She adds, “For those who can adopt, please do so now. It’s so critical that these animals get some help.  The love you get back will more than compensate for your costs — and as we know– no act of kindness goes unpaid, especially as it relates to animals.”

Addendum: In April 2017, Pat learned that Toto passed away recently from a heart condition. But during the six years that he lived with his “forever family,” Toto was one of the most loved pets, ever. He grew to love his “little sister,” a Chihuahua, and had a fenced yard to play in and a bed to sleep on inside his family’s San Fernando home.

–       ###-

Pat Kramer, a freelance writer living in Los Angeles, is the founder of Writer For Hire® and a proponent of animal rescue work and charities supporting humane treatment of animals.

Writer For Hire® Pat Kramer to Share Life Journey with Los Angeles’ Inner – City High Schoolers

Media Inquiries:  For more information, please contact: Pat Kramer

818 353-5699 pat@writerpatkramer.com

Los Angeles, CA (March 23, 2016) – Writer For Hire Pat Kramer, a veteran business copywriter and ghostwriter, today announced that she will share highlights of her 30 year career journey with inner city high school students at Oscar de la Hoya High School on Wednesday, April 20 and at Animo Inglewood High School on May 18th.  The two, one hour presentations are in partnership with the Youth Business Alliance (YBA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that focuses on bringing critical 21st century business skills and perspectives into the classroom. Pat will be presenting tips on how she went from a “wanna-be writer” in high school to a professional journalist and corporate copywriter in Los Angeles.

The Youth Business Alliance invited Ms. Kramer to share her experiences and achievements over the time she has built her career in an effort to provide high school students with a broader perspective of what it takes to be successful. The YBA was formed in 2012 with one disadvantaged school and has since grown to include 14 high schools serving roughly 350 disadvantaged students each year through its year-long after school course “Introduction to Business & Careers.”

Pat started her career as a radio news broadcaster and journalist working for radio stations in New England. To get her foot in the door of this incredibly limited and competitive industry, Pat had to work every shift around the clock, including all-night at one radio station in Newport, Rhode Island and then a split-shift at the next where she covered both “morning drive time” and “afternoon drive time.”

“I have never worked as hard in my life as I did at the start of my career,” says Pat, who notes that hard work and determination are the winning formula for anyone starting out in the job market. “Most people in their early ‘20s opt out when the going gets tough, but I stuck with it and advanced in my career to the point where I eventually got to call the shots.”

Looking back on her career of 30+ years as a news writer, ghostwriter, and marketing and public relations consultant, Pat believes the challenges she faced led to a tenacity that has helped her succeed in business when other writers have closed down their shops. “I believe all the challenges I have had to face ultimately gave me a wealth of experience in life and now, I’m giving back by helping the youth of today get started on their own career path.”

Speaking before the public is not new to Pat. Over the years, she has presented workshops and seminars for business leaders in a wide variety of industries on how to better communicate their branding messages by using news-oriented press releases, professionally-written articles for trade publications, and blogs on the social media. Pat is a recognized business leader and an active member of her business community in Sunland-Tujunga. She is also an advocate for humane treatment of animals and the ghostwriter of several books and memoirs.

For more information, please visit: www.writerpatkramer.com

About Writer For Hire 

Writer For Hire® Pat Kramer specializes in developing informational, editorial, promotional and ghostwritten content for companies and individuals all over the world. Her press releases have helped first-time authors reach “best seller” status on Amazon.com, while her media outreach campaigns have elevated formerly unknown business professionals to “thought leaders” in their industries. Known as Writer For Hire® since 1990, Pat has written more than 1,000 articles for local, national and well respected industry publications.

 

 

Write About Your Experiences

          When I was a young woman in college, my journalism professor asked me to write about a life experience that had influenced me to choose my major in Mass Communications. I remembered how moved I was, as an elementary school student, in reading about the life of Anne Frank as written in her diary during WWII. Anne’s honesty about her feelings and experiences, living with her family and neighbors in close quarters, hidden behind a wall, captured my interest and imagination. It was from that experience that I decided to become a writer.
           So my question to you today is: what experience do you recall from your past that acted as a motivator for you to do what you now do for a profession? Was it a person, an event, someone you met or spoke to, saw in a movie, read about in a book or article, or was it some other influence that touched your heart?
           We all have life experience from the work that we now do and that life experience makes for good stories. Telling a story is the best way to capture the attention of your audience as it brings to life an experience that others can relate to or learn from.
           The next time you are thinking about writing a blog, just think of a life experience that you had or are having — and then write about it.
            If you need help in putting your thoughts on paper, I am always happy to collaborate with others to capture the essence of what they are trying to express. Writing for me is a labor of love. Please contact me if you have any questions about something that you would like to write – for business or personal use. I’m always willing to listen and provide feedback.
            For more information, please visit: www.writerpatkramer.com or email: pat@writerpatkramer.com.

What Makes You Different or Better Than Your Competition?

This morning I attended an interesting presentation by Eloqui, which is a consultancy that helps business people improve their speaking presentations. As part of a group of 30 or so business people, I was asked to recall from my background anything that could have contributed to my success in my career as a writer for businesses.

I thought about it and recalled that, as early as 8 years old, I loved to read. Not only did I love to read, but I also loved to write. Reading expanded my vocabulary and writing helped me put into action the words I was learning from the many authors I read. Consequently, I learned to love stories about people, their lives, their experiences, and their difficulties and challenges. Mostly, I loved reading about how people had overcome their challenges and learned to use them in ways that were truly inspiring.

My interest in reading and writing led me to Emerson College where I graduated with a degree in Mass Communications. I then used my education to land a job as a radio news reporter – and later as a print news journalist – to tell people stories. That’s essentially what news journalists do: they tell stories about what they see, hear, or experience. Of course, there’s a formula that we have to use in distilling that information to the public, but broken down in its simplest terms, I learned how to tell stories about my subjects, both as a writer and a speaker.

Today, I use my love for story telling in writing about my clients: their accomplishments, their challenges, how they solve problems for their clients, and how they use their experience in unique ways to differentiate themselves (and their companies) from their competition.

Today’s exercise was a valuable one: it reminded me why, as Writer For Hire, I am unique and different from other writers in my field. I know that if you are reading this, you also can use your experience, challenges, and love for what you do in your business.

Writer For Hire Pat Kramer is a business writer, ghostwriter, and social media pro with 30 years’ experience in the news media and as a business writer and marketing/PR strategist. For more information, please visit: www.writerpatkramer.com.

LOCAL RESIDENTS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT EFFORTS TO COMBAT METHAMPHETAMINE USE IN SUNLAND-TUJUNGA

Drug-fueled crimes and fear-inducing encounters with methamphetamine users in the Sunland-Tujunga community will be the focus of the next Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Watch meeting, taking place on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 6 p.m. at North Valley City Hall, 7747 Foothill Boulevard, Tujunga. This meeting brings together residents who have experienced run-ins with those on drugs and families who need resources to deal with their meth-afflicted family members, with the Los Angeles Police Department Senior Lead Officers, and their SMART and PET Teams which provide services to those with mental health issues and drug addictions in Los Angeles and L.A. County.

Whether or not a resident has reported a crime, this information can be very valuable as it will provide direction on what to say and what “not” to say to amped-up individuals whom they may encounter on their street or property. “Knowing what to do to protect one’s property and to ensure one’s peace of mind is the utmost concern of our community,” states Jon von Gunten, Neighborhood Watch representative to the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council. “Of course it’s always best to document individuals who may be committing a crime, but if that puts you in harm’s way, then it’s best to protect your safety first.”

This meeting was organized along with Region 1 (Sunland) representative Pat Kramer, who has received numerous calls from stakeholders in north Sunland, as well as in other parts of the Sunland-Tujunga community regarding this growing issue. “Residents are angry and they have a right to be,” says Kramer. “In some cases, their property has been damaged or stolen or they have personally been threatened by individuals who we suspect were trying to generate money for their drug habit. We can’t turn our backs on this issue any longer. There has to be a course of action that makes people feel safe and if it isn’t being addressed by the LAPD, then it needs to be by some other agency.”

The Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council holds regular board meetings on the second Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at North Valley City Hall. Additionally, the Neighborhood Watch, which is a division of STNC, holds three monthly meetings to address crime issues:

The Tujunga – specific Neighborhood Watch meeting takes place on the first Tuesday of every month at McDonald’s restaurant, 6510 Foothill Boulevard, in the children’s play room, at 8:30 a.m. with Senior Lead Officer Gloria Caloca.

The Sunland – specific Neighborhood Watch meeting takes place on the first Wednesday of every month at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices training room, 8307 Foothill Boulevard, in Sunland at 8:30 a.m. with Senior Lead Officer Cesar Contreras.

The combined Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Watch meeting takes place on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at North Valley City Hall, 7747 Foothill Boulevard, Tujunga at 6 p.m. Parking is in the rear parking lot on Wyngate.

For more information on what STNC can help you with, contact Jon Von Gunten, STNC Neighborhood Watch Rep at: jonvgstnc@hotmail.com, Pat Kramer, STNC Region 1 Rep at: patkramerstnc@gmail.com or Ana Orudyan, Region 1 Rep at: anaorudyanstnc@gmail.com.

To report a crime, call: 911 for any emergency or a crime in progress. Otherwise, call the LAPD FOOTHILL STATION: 818-756-8861, for guidance, admin & follow-up. Additionally, you can contact 877-ASK-LAPD (877-275-5273) for other non-emergencies.

Additionally, here are some helpful phone numbers and emails to have on hand:

Call Senior Lead Officers for non-emergencies like suspicious or dicey people, excess noise, illegal parking, and speeders: 818-756-8866.

GANGS, DRUGS: Lt. Solano: 818-897-6081 or email: 26339@lapd.lacity.org

NARCOTICS: Det. Coyle, 818-834-3136, 33128@lapd.lacity.org

TRAFFIC: Officer Flores, (818) 644-8142, 30658@lapd.lacity.org

Remember to report every crime factually to LAPD: Accurate reports help with getting more police cars and officers!

 

DURING WINTER RAINS, PAY ATTENTION TO THESE SAFETY TIPS

Southern California has had a higher than average rainfall this winter and with the rain comes trouble:

While heavy rain and flash flooding is uncommon for our local region, when those storms do come – as we have seen during February’s rains – the consequences can range from heavy traffic with accidents to property damage from flooding. With the fires many areas experienced in 2016, hillsides are now unstable and this promotes the possibility of landslides, mud flows and boulders in the road.

While state and local officials from the weather service and other agencies continue to warn people of dangers from moving water, there is a curiousity factor that brings certain people during major storms – while still others just continue to ignore the warnings.

Why it is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters
Most people underestimate the force and power of moving water. According to the National Weather Service, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50% of all flood-related drownings occur from a vehicle being driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths comes from people walking into or near flood waters.
Did you know that a mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult?
Twelve inches of rushing water can carry away a small car while 24 inches of rushing water will carry away almost any type of vehicle.

Many of the deaths from drowning occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded.

When a major storm with rainfall has occurred, motorists and hikers should be extra vigilant. Here are some safety tips from the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management that will help keep you safe through the winter’s rains:

• Listen to the local radio stations or watch television for warnings about storm and/or heavy rainfall in your area regarding emergency public information and instructions.

• Be aware of any sudden increase or decrease in water level on a stream or creek that might indicate debris mudflow upstream. A trickle of flowing mud may precede a larger flow.

• Look for tilted trees, telephone poles, fences or walls, and for new holes or bare spots on hillsides.

• Listen for rumbling sounds that might indicate an approaching landslide or mudflow.

• Be alert when driving. Roads may become blocked or closed due to collapsed pavement or debris.

• If a landslide and/or debris flow occurs, danger is imminent, quickly move away from the path of the slide. Getting out of the path of the slide and/or debris mudflow is your best protection. Move to the nearest high ground in a direction away from the path. If rocks and debris are approaching, run to the nearest shelter and take cover.

• If your property is damaged or compromised, consult a professional geotechnical expert for advice on the landslide and or corrective actions you and your loved ones can take.

By using caution and staying off the roads during heavy rains, you can avoid the increased risk of being involved in an accident this winter.

Pat Kramer, aka “Writer For Hire,” writes marketing, public relations and communications materials, helping businesses gain more visibility. Pat is a business consultant, ghostwriter, and a contributing writer to the Crescenta Valley Weekly. For more info, go to: www.writerpatkramer.com.