Saturday, February 02, 2019

My Obituary 7 years later


When I die I won't ask why. At the age I'll be, obviously, mortality will have its fill of me. But I wonder when  I'm six feet under will I still hear thunder, will rain seep down and dampen me in my sleep? Will I hear footsteps above my head or hear words falsely said for the brand new dead?

I'll miss the bliss of sleep, knowing I'll awake to watch the sunlight creep into my sky, that I'll still be there to smile good-bye to a sunset rainbow hue that will return anew as a sunrise after all my days are through. 

I'll miss  tuning in on the morning news, any network that I choose, to tell me if my stocks are up or down and how much did I win or lose. 

I'll  miss my favorite nurse who likes to listen to my verse. Will I start that awful cough on her day off when she's not here to comfort me? Will I die before I've said good-bye? Will she cry or just sigh and go her way? 

I'll miss my friends and family and hope they miss me now and then. I'll miss my kids and grandkids who I'll never see again. Will I soon be with my wife who waits for me in a place I hope is heavenly?

What will become of my writings  when I am dead? Unpublished, most not ever read.  My novels begun, left undone? My Page One by-lines in the press, highly praised but brought no big success. I did my best.  Had my share of scoops, it's true. But what good did all that do? A moment's fame flickers like a dying flame. 

Words hold power for just an hour or a day, then fade away. It's a shame. But that's the newspaper game. All this said, now that I am dead, let this be my obituary.  Now have  a laugh as you read my epitaph:
When I die do not cry. Just turn and walk away. 
I want to be alone so I can quietly decay.
ED (WEGADS) WEILAND - 1923 - 2012

Friday, February 19, 2016

What is Death?

     Death is a repository of interrupted dreams, of unwanted questions, of unfulfilled hopes and desires, of unresolved problems and perplexities, of regrets and remorse, self hate, self love or unjustified guilt and shame.
     Death is an incomplete autobiography, a novel with a plot that hangs in the air of one's for ever silenced in completed dream. Death is an unfinished biography, a bundle of lies never admitted, of sins never confessed, of love and hate turned inside out. Death reduces everything to nothing, leaves suspended memories that can heal the soul or break the heart, can distort the truth or justify the intentions of the survivor's imagination.
     Why does death mean so much and life mean so little? Why is death a million miles away and just around the corner? How can death be unwanted, unanticipated for some, welcomed as long lost friend, a conquering hero for others? Why is death both the question and the answer, the problem and the solution?
The  beginning of the end and the end of the beginning. 
     Why must death join religion and politics as a subject to be avoided? How can ministers preach so convincingly about death and damnation when they have never experienced it them selves? When they must rely on the words of a long dead God whose writings fill thousands of pages and are subject to as many interpretations?
     Who can be more knowledgeable about death then those who have been there and have experienced it at first hand? Can they return to share their experiences and their expertise with the living? Why should the resurrection of Jesus be resurrected, rehashed and reexamined by scholars who don't know what they're talking about?
By mystics who depend on dead spirits floating in the afterlife of the hereafter? By intellectuals who display their stupidity every time they open their mouths with one hand on the Bible and the other outstretched, waiting to grasp the hand of God?
     Who invented God and religion and all the gospels and the angels and even the horned, long tail devil who preaches from a pulpit of fire and brimstone? Who invented heaven and hell? Who invented it's occupants? Why were they put there? Why should anybody care?

     When I die pleas do not cry, just turn and walk away. I want to be alone so I can quietly decay.

Thursday, December 04, 2014


Once upon a time in the little town of Bethlehem there lived a little boy and his name was Jesus. Now, as a toddler, Jesus used to run and play with the other little boys and girls and nobody every asked him his last name. It was not until his first day in kindergarten that he realized he was supposed to have a last name.
The teacher clapped her hands for attention and said: "Boys and girls, we're going to play a game called 'What's my name.' I want each one of you to stand up and tell us your full name".
One by one the kids did so. There was Sally Jones and Tommy Smith and Willie Brown and Harry Finkelstein and so on. Then it was Jesus' turn.
"My name is Jesus", he said.
There is a long silence as the teacher could stand the suspense no longer.
"That's a very nice name" she said patiently. "Now, Jesus, tell us, what's your last name?"
"My last name?" Jesus asked confused.
"Yes, you know...your father is Mister...? The question trailed off into silence as the teacher waited for his reply.
"Father?" Jesus asked, hanging his head. "I don't have a father. Just a mommie named Mary."
"Oh, I'm sorry," said the teacher sympatheticically . "But you did have a father once, didn't you? And a father's last name becomes the mothers last name and your last name, too. Who was your father"?
"Gee teacher" Jesus said, "I don't know".
"Well when you get home today ask your mother. Then tomorrow, you can tell us your last name".
When Jesus got home from school he told his mother what had happened.
"So she wants to know your last name and who your father was," scoffed Mary.
"Well you tell that nosey teacher it's none of her god damned business. I don't even know who your father was. It could have been Joseph, or Tom, Dick or Harry. And none of these guys ever told me their last names".
"But what am I going to do mommy?" Jesus asked, tears welling in his little blue eyes.  "All the kids in school have last names. If I tell them I don't have one, they'll make fun of me".
Mary put little Jesus on her lap. She had long feared this moment. She had hoped she would never have to tell her son that he was a little bastard.
"You see sonny," she began, "it was like this. When I found out I was going to have a baby, the doctor asked me who the father was.
I was a stupid kid and I didn't even know how babies were made. So I said it was an act of god".
"well, the doctor said something about how it wouldn't be fair to let you be born without a father so they cooked up some cock and bull story about me having immaculate conception."
"Im-ack-u-late consheptson?" Little Jesus asked, not understanding these strange words.
"Yes that means I am a very clean girl and I have no conception of what you had to do to make a baby. So, because I am innocent, they figured they'd give me a break and the doctor wrote down on my medical record that it was an act of God and that you were the son of god."
Jesus felt better. At least now he knew he had had a father. "But then", he asked, "what is god's last name? Because, like the teacher said, my father's last name is the same as my last name."
Mary became irritated. Why did she have such a inquisitive young brat? She shoved Jesus off of her lap as she muttered, "Christ, I don't know."
The next day Jesus went to school a happy little boy. When the teacher asked him to tell the class his last name, he got up proudly and said:" My name is Jesus Christidontknow."
And that's the story of how Jesus got his name.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Dear, sweet house, are you ready for the nursing home or am I? Have you lived out your usefulness or have I? We're at crossroads you and I to sell or not to sell.
We have shared architectural and emotional highs and lows. Your walls have seen me laugh and cry.
You have heard quiet serenity and the screaming intensity of discord.
You have enveloped me during times of illness and times of health and happiness.
If you could talk, what would you say?
Do you remember when young Larry left us to explore the world at 17?
He did not allow us to drive him to the airport, only the limo down the street.
How painful that was. When I got home I found a note saying all the things he couldn't say, that he loved me so much and didn't want to hurt me, but he had to do this.
So the children left us, as it should be. And we have these people empty rooms and the constant talk about "we don't need this house".
So here we are, my husband and I, still  mouthing the same words, "Where should we go?"
We don't have playful, chattering grandchildren running through the rooms. So you, too, house are being cheated.
You're comfortable, old fashioned, old hat, plenty of filled nooks and crannies to avoid throwing things away. What do you do with old books, manuscripts, pictures, furniture long outlived, drawers filled with scarves, jewelry, belts which no longer fit, clothes wearable but no longer worn, clocks that still tick---are they telling us to go?
Do you remember all the attempts we made to beautify you? When we used black paint instead of white? Or green instead of blue? Did you laugh at our attempts at interior decorating?
And what about the spacious lawn around you? Did you feel inferior, surrounded by the lush, green chemical-fed lawns of our neighbors?
Or the vegetable garden that grew square cucumbers and we wouldn't tell the difference between the weeds and the flowers.
So here we are ready to give up and nobody wants you. You are old and tired and drab.  But please don't die. There's still time for these walls to reverberate with the job and laughter of children and relatives and friends and parties.
Somewhere out there is a family looking and waiting for you, to rejuvenate you and update you.
That's real estate lingo. Will you be happy to be slick and white with walls coming down and windows going up?
It's time to get rid of the typewriters and replace them with computers. So this is my tribute to you, dear house. You have been a home to me and I know that when the time comes I will miss you.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Life on the Lower East Side

Written by Betty Weiland, Ed's wife.

We lived on the sixth floor of a tenement on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
There were three rooms for the six of us. The toilet was in the hall shared by two families.  The other family includes two or three “bad” men, Communists. The largest middle room was the hubbub of activity. It was where we ate, bathed and generally spent our time.  My  parents slept on a rollaway bed in that room. My sister and I had one room and my two brothers had the third room.

My saving grace was the fire escape where I spent hour after hour reading books, looking at the landscape and daydreaming of a better life somewhere else. I was a lonely isolated child. Once I made a friend at school and she invited me to her home which was as poverty stricken as my own. I saw something there I had never seen before---a chamber pot.  When I got home I told my mother that some people had a bathroom under their beds. She said, “Don’t ever go there again”. I didn’t.

My next friend was the janitor’s daughter, a bubbly, out going, dynamic black girl. My mother said, “Is that the only friend you can find, a schvartze”? I don’t remember ever having another friend. I went back to my books on the fire escape.

There was a large circular staircase leading to our sixth floor walk up apartment. You could look down from any floor balcony and watch the janitor’s wife cleaning the marble floor on her hands and knees.  Just then small heads appeared from a lower floor. A large rock was thrown, hitting her. They disappeared and I was accused of throwing the rock. I denied it, insisting I was innocent. Nobody believed me. That’s when I first learned treachery and deceit.

I was a thin emaciated child, always sick. My brothers and sister were robust and energetic, never seeming to have the time to be sick. I used to fantasize that the blood circulating through my veins was dark red and lifeless while my siblings had rich red blood, fast moving blood coursing through their bodies.

Once my class was assembled for a picture. Right after the picture was taken, I fainted. This ghastly picture showed a sickly, unhappy little girl for all to see. An investigator was sent to my home to see if I was getting enough to eat. My mother never forgave me for that. It was decided I needed country air. The political party in power sent me to the country and when I returned to my family they had relocated to the Bronx. I had missed the excitement of the “Big Move”.

I remember living with Aunt Clara, my mother’s sister. She was rich and we were poor. My mother used to clean her house for food money. She would bring me with her and leave me indefinitely. I never asked, do you want me to stay with Aunt Clara?
My aunt had flaming red hair, beautiful clothes and drove a car recklessly down country lanes with me on her lap, steering. We had fun, the only fun I ever remembered as a child.

Once Aunt Clara brought me home to my mother and left me. I cried over and over. I told my mother I wanted to go back to Aunt Clara. She beat me with a strap. I never complained again about that.

When I was 60 years old I finally worked up the courage to ask my mother how she could have given her child up so easily. She said simply. “I thought you’d have a better life and she could do more for you than I ever could.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


A handshake for old times sake. A firm embrace. A smiling face. The bliss that comes from just a kiss.
Joyful tears, sharing, caring, declaring love, the birth of lifetime memories.
Talking, walking hand in hand, leaving footsteps in the sand.
Laughing, dashing through a summer rain. The gentle landing of a plane.
Slipping, falling in the snow. Sleeping through a movie show.
Watching little children grow.
 How can you explain these moments of pure ecstasy embedded in memory?
Owned by one or two alone.
To savor a favorite ice cream cone or a candy bar, a good cigar.
To revere the taste of ice cold beer, a cream pie chocked with killing calories.
Filling up on wine and cheese. Sipping rare, exotic teas, stopping by a deli for delicious delicacies.
These are pleasures beyond measures you will treasure as years go by.
A Sunday at a sun-drenched shore, reading, eating, swimming some, hoping that rain won't come.
Skin burning, turning lobster red. A pillow of sand beneath your head.
Hearing children scream of glee, joyfully romping by the sea. How much better could life be?
Memory, oh memory, please do not abandon me.

Acting silly or insane as you hum and old refrain, so absurd you can't recall a single word.
The nagging will not go away. What did it say? Memory is a sometime thing.
It comes and goes like rain time in spring.
Life's a repeating, self- defeating, adding, deleting, rarely conceding mystery.
Like a precious flower. It blooms but for an hour, then it's gone.
So too the dawn and fading light of the day.
Revere, endear time. It soon will pass away.
So little time to do the things that mean so much to you.
 So much to say, so much to hear,  so much to share while you are near.
So much to loose if you choose to let life pass you by. It can be lost in the blinking of an eye.
Let life's meaning be defined. Let it remain in your brain until your dying day.
Never let it's message go astray. How can you know the tragedy, the sudden sorrow that can strike tomorrow.
Life's a gift that lifts the spirit of your day. It can be lost and tossed aside like a worthless debris into a cold, uncaring sea.
Let this be part of your legacy. Let life and love be your philosophy.
Let it be the creed that guides your destiny.
Life comes and goes and who knows when we'll take our final breath and go unremittingly to our death?                                  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I went to my funeral for I was dead.
My family was there and everyone said
There lies the man who used to be Ed.
But the strangest thing I happen to see when I went to pay my respects to me
Was a corpse as live as a corpse can be.
All of the mourners were wiping their eyes.
And all of my friends were telling nice lies
About the once me who was there in disguise.
All my survivors were greatly annoyed
That one who was I was now in a void,
Unwanted, unloved and now unemployed.
My soul was uncertain just where to go.
To the place up above or that down place below,
Aflame with the fires of hell all aglow.
And so I said with a smirk and a sneer
In a voice that I'm sure the mourners couldn't hear:
"If you don't mind, I'll stay right here"

Monday, May 20, 2013


The older we get, the more we fret about this and that.  I remember the time I told my wife I couldn't find my favorite hat, "It's on your head," she said. just like that.

 "I can't find the pie I baked to donate to the county fair," she said in great despair.  "Get up!" I said. "By gosh, you're gonna squash it. You're sitting on it. It's right there beneath your bottom on the chair."

"Who took off my clothes last night?" I asked, turning on the bedroom light.

 "You might remember, It was I," she replied with great delight. "Your " passionate yawn turned me on. Your peck on my cheek  made me weak. Ahh, but when we did IT, that was IT!" 

"What Was IT?" I was confused.

She was amused. "Don't you recall? You squeezed me tight, turned off the light and.."

“How could I forget? It was the first time our  bodies met,  We tried,  clumsily. I feared if I had a premature manipulation it might dampen my lover’s  anticipation of satisfaction, a reaction to two who enjoy mutual physical attraction.

“We were awkward at first, but our thirst for each other convinced me we were destined to be lovers forever. We quickly  wed and went straight from the preacher  to the  bed, as court sanctioned legal husband-wife relations, and continued our nightly sexual celebration. 

“I remember, when I was  eighty two and you had just turned seventy nine. What we did was just divine. I looked at  yours,  you looked at mine Those valentines  said it all.”

“We  shared a glass of wine, undressed and went to bed, lay close together cheek to cheek, vowed our everlasting love and went to sleep, counting sheep.”

Our sex was through, but something new has taken its place. A soft embrace,  a smiling face, fond memories of the used to be that is no more, Isn’t that really  what old age is for?