Monday, March 10, 2014

Compass Spring 2014 - Who's Who? Partial Listing

What a thrill! I picked up the first batch of the new Compass this afternoon.  Mark Amos at Bux-Mont Stationers in Hatboro, PA, printed it out.

"I think it looks great, Ruth," he said.

Cover photo is by Carl Yeager. Here's his photo from Facebook, taken by his son Matt.

Photo: Pops 2014, photo by Matt Yeager. Canon PowerShot G14. Photoshop work by Pops. After this photo I had my hair cut.

This is the third or fourth cover Carl has done for us. We profiled him in a previous Compass.

Here's his Artist's Statement:

Since 1975 I have been battling a neuromuscular disease. I live with a tracheotomy tube, and a ventilator to keep me alive. a gift of life from my fine doctors. I have several limitations taking photos. Because my hands shake, I can only use a tripod. My long field trip days are over now, when I feel good it is a block. In the last few years my vision has been affected to a large degree were I do not see detail at all. This has only slowed me down. 

Carl writes on Facebook that he took this pic at Curtis Arboretum after he had something like 18 teeth pulled. Such beauty after pain. 

Take a look at his wonderful work on FB. I noticed that Frank Wolfe is one of his new friends.

Frank Kelso Wolfe painted the back cover. It's of his dad, Bob Wolfe, eating at a diner. Before he retired, his dad was assistant superintendent at Graterford Prison.

Speaking of Graterford, one of our contributors - Latif - Arabic name for Thomas Williams - spent many a year in that particular slammer. He converted to Islam in prison. Read previous post about Latif here.

Tommy's daughter is a pediatrician at CHOP, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. I met Latif back in 2004 when he stole my wallet and extracted my credit card, then put it back. You'll love his story "Twenty Years a Prisoner."

Oh, sorry, Stephen Stahl, you came out  blurry. Stephen and I knew one another in the past but reconnected on Facebook. His story, "First Man of New Hope" details his journey as a troubled child to an incredibly successful career as writer, playwright, producer and acting teacher.

Norman Cotterell, PhD, is a charismatic teacher and psychologist who wants to make sure no one falls asleep in his classes at the Beck Institute in Bala Cynwyd. His story, "What to Do with Victoria," is his way of helping Victoria thru cognitive behavior therapy. Beck Institute is a world authority on CBT.

Dear Lithium, is a goodbye letter to the once-gold-standard for bipolar disorder, wrin by 'Hailey James.'

As you know, I was on lithium for 16.5 years, when I learned that my kidneys had lost about 80 percent function. There were no symptoms! My daughter Sarah donated her kidney to me on April 1, 2011, and both mom and daughter are doing fine.

Judy Kroll, a member of a 12-Step Program, wrote "To Be or Not to Be," an essay about an acquaintance of hers, who took his own life, after he began to use again. Heartbreaking! She and I met at New Directions.

BTW, there is an extremely toxic form of heroin that is making its rounds on the East Coast. Many people are dying.

"Neuromodulation" The New TNS" by Ian Cook, MD, found its way into the Compass thanks to our Ada Moss Fleischer.

Here's Ada at one of our free seminars at the Giant. Oh! There's Joe, a psychotherapist, behind her. Gotta send him an email. 

Ada emailed Ian a question and when he answered, I snagged his email address. Originally from the UK, he's now at UCLA. From the fog and the rain to the sun and the drought.

Ian Cook, MD. Oh, look! He's even got a Wiki article about him. 

Great British middle name - Ainsworth. 

"Uncle Bernie's Kitchen" contains three delicious and healthy recipes. Freda and Bernie are both in their late 80s and doing great.

Freda and Bernie are wonderful people. Freda found me when ND and I were written up in the former Neighbors section of the Inquirer. She called me up, I came over for dinner and we've been friends ever since.

Here's Phil Nerges when he worked as a contractor in Iraq. His true story "An American in Iraq" details the terror he felt there, which he gradually got used to, some of the time.

Phil and I met when we were in a writing group in Lambertville, NJ.

Phil's story is one of three on post-traumatic-stress-disorder, PTSD. Has there ever been so much of it around? A woman in New Directions wrote a story about her own experiences. She was battered and bruised by her husband, a Philly cop, who was so angry and irrational, and protected by other Philly officers, that he tried a double suicide. Fortunately she survived, but remains severely traumatized.

The last article in the Compass - before our lit section - The KaleidoScope - is always "Pursue the Wonderful" by Carolyn Constable of Chalfont, PA.  We met a dozen years ago at a writers' group in Lambertville, NJ.

A retired naturalist, Carolyn writes about the joys of spring, in particular, wildflowers. Enter the innocent state of wonder when you observe any wildflower, even a dandelion.

A favorite section is KALEIDOSCOPE, our literary journal.

Most of the people in our writers' group are represented in The KaleidoScope. We meet weekly from 1:30 to 3:30 pm at the Willow Grove Giant Coffee Shop. Adryn and Kiana set up our beverages.

Here's Allan M Heller, the new Poet Laureate of Hatboro, PA, succeeding his buddy Ed Galing, who died at 96.

We have a wonderful poem by my friend Iris Arenson Fuller

Iris and I met at Goddard College in Plainfield, VT, almost FIFTY years ago! She also contributed a deeply moving story about losing her young husband in a house fire in their CT home. Kim Abbot, one of the smartest and most charming men I've ever met, was severely disabled by MS. She could not get him out in time.

Iris is a life coach. See her website here. 


How did I meet Cynthia Marcolina? She's a psychologist and poet but I can't remember how I met her.

One year I had a Compass party at my Willow Grove home and Cynthia came, I believe with her mom Gloria, as did the late Elaine Restifo, editor of the marvelous River Journal, which, alas, is no more.  Elaine came with her friend Amadeus, a terribly handsome man of 80, courtly and gentlemanly.

A fellow by the name of Craig S arrived. He'd written some beautiful poems about Janice, who was confined in Montgomery County Emergency Service - the psychiatric emergency service - in Norristown, PA.

In an attempt to include Craig again in this issue of the Compass, I contacted another gentleman with a similar name -

Craig Slingluff, Jr. We corresponded via email and he apprised me that, as unusual as is his last name, there is another Craig Slingluff and it is he!

Craig wrote some very stirring poems for this issue. Plus I asked him to tell us a little about how he got into writing. He's a surgeon at the University of Virginia.

So, yes, Virginia, there IS another issue of the Compass. And it's brought to you by the Patricia Kind Family Foundation and Independence Blue Cross, who we were fortunate to get grants from. Plus year-end contributions - thank you Roberto! - and the generous folks at New Directions Support Group. 

PS - All of our contributors get free copies of the Compass, as many as they wish. I write each of them a letter, the kind of letter I, myself, would like to receive. A letter of praise and appreciation, for I am truly grateful for all of their hard work and incredible talent.  


  1. It's fabulous. Check out my post on Facebook. I tagged you so it appears on your page also, Ruth. Great job! Thanks for letting me be a part of it.

  2. thanks, sarah lynn! can't wait to SEE YOU!!!