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Hello! I'm a writer from central New York who has bipolar disorder. Among other topics, I write about mental illness and writing. I have short stories published in Lynx Eye, Lost Coast Review, The Outrider Review, Sliver of Stone Magazine, The Mondegreen, The Linnet's Wings, Cobalt Review, Breath & Shadow, The Round Up, Postscripts to Darkness, Masque & Spectacle, and several other journals. I have a poem in The Poeming Pigeon, essays about mental illness in The Ram Boutique and Amygdala Literary Magazine, and an essay in Parts Unbound: Narratives of Mental Illness & Health, a book that was published by Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective. My story "Santa Lucia" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I've written three novels entitled Purple Loosestrife, Hoping It Might Be So, and Dark and Bright, all of which are as yet unpublished. I'm working on a memoir about my experiences with bipolar disorder. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Buffalo and an M.A. in English from SUNY College at Brockport. I hope you enjoy your visit to my blog!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Emil Eckhardt and the Top of the Flagpole

I posted a little while back about my Great-Great-Uncle Emil. Now I have an Uncle Emil story to tell.

Uncle Emil was an atheist. On his property, he had a flagpole that flew the American flag. There was a ball at the top of the flagpole that was silver. He told my mother, who was a child at the time, and the rest of the family that when he died, if there turned out to be a God, he would come back and paint the ball at the top of the flagpole gold.

Uncle Emil died in 1957. His cottage on Honeoye Lake was sold. One day, my mother and her family got a notion to drive by and look at the cottage... and the top of the flagpole. Instead of the silver it used to be, the ball on the top was gold.

To this day, there is no explanation for this. Did Uncle Emil indeed come back to convey the existence of God? I don't know, but it certainly makes for a good story. It's become part of my family's lore.

And now the old flagpole and the ball on top of it has become part of my family. My Uncle Bob, who has a cottage on Honeoye Lake, recently went over to Uncle Emil's cottage. It looks very different today; obviously the owners over the years since 1957 have changed it, updated it, reconstructed it. But sure enough, the flagpole with the gold ball on top was still on the property. My uncle told the current owner the story about Uncle Emil. Upon hearing it, the man told my uncle that he could have the flagpole.

The flagpole is rusty and the gold ball is chipped, but the flagpole and that gold ball are back in my family. I saw the gold ball not too long ago and thought about Uncle Emil and his promise to come back if there was a God. Do I believe it? I don't know, but it gives me pause.

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