Tag Archives: Mason Loika

Nearing the Finish Line

When I started my memoir/love story, I was numb from loss. Yet I was given a mission.

The love of my life, Alice McCormick, had me promise “to write” ONE DAY before she left this planet. I was not about to let her down.

Then the Aphasia Network stepped in to comfort my loss. Sixty-three days after discovering Alice’s lifeless body, I was invited into a grief session on Zoom but paired with two naive, early-year students. With nothing else to talk about, I sought their input to determine a politically correct way to identify a racial epithet that neighbors and my grandfather used in the 1950s.

The two of them had no clue. They hit the PANIC button. Then they disappeared into the comforting arms of a supervisor who condemned my speech.

Welcome to cancel culture, and the scourge of it. I am anything BUT a racist; yet that word was hurled later at me. Is it because I emerged from that world and wanted to report on it? Do we choose to ignore how much African Americans have evolved since their squalid beginnings?

It makes me wonder what qualifies as history.

I learned about discrimination firsthand in Princeton, New Jersey, because I could not travel with much-whiter boys to perform in 1950s Ohio. That kind of stupidity never fails to enrage me, but I persevere.

I’m running on the fumes. Maybe reviving my Go Fund Me account would help.

No matter what, I’m writing the last two chapters. They’re about Alice.

My Amazon love

Three-year progress report

The gazebo appearing above was Alice McCormick’s pride and joy.

Ever since her passing three years ago, I’ve been working on the book she wanted me to write. It’s called How I Became a Lesbian (and other stories).”

Chapters 1-17 are complete. Chapter 18 finishes up life in Bucks County before Alice. It will include prime concerts, Grandfather Many Crows, meditation at Pebble Hill, Danawa Buchanan and revisiting the American Boychoir in Princeton.

I’m now 80 years old. Once I finish #18, I’m able – finally – to write about Alice.

That’s the latest. I’m preparing to look for an agent and see if a professional is suitably intrigued. Soon after that happens, I anticipate this website will be overhauled.

A Birthday to Savor

Thanks to everyone for your enjoyable birthday remembrances. Facebook is, indeed, a social medium.

The photo above was made possible by my one-time sister-in-law, Mary Schenck, who called a Longview bakery on Commerce Avenue named the Sugar Pearl. Mary asked if they could prepare an Amaretto liqueur cake to make my 80th milestone birthday a special one to remember.

Boy, did they! Not only did I receive a VIP-worthy delivery from the bakery’s owner, but this sweetheart of an all-natural-ingredients marvel measures 8 inches in diameter and 4¼ inches in height. That’s mammoth!

I attempted to take a selfie sitting next to the cake, but it doesn’t do justice to either of us. I’ll post it anyway, because the pressure now is on. I must make a dinner worthy of this sweet introduction to my dining room. What about spare ribs? And what about a sauce that celebrates my father when he functioned as a sous chef at the Waldorf-Astoria? Over egg noodles, of course.

I haven’t left this plane of existence, yet. I’m sticking around, because I have to finish this book-length homage praising the pitfalls of life. I survived because of some dedicated women who loved me, and it’s time I give something back.

Thanks for my great birthday memories!

Anticipating the first bite of a bakery’s masterpiece.

Over the Hump

Why did I leave the “Gold Coast” of South Florida? I had to examine that determination, and chronicle why working for the Miami Herald disaffected me.

The hurdles of writing about those times are behind me now. I’m getting ready to document some amazing experiences in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and its flagship newspaper, the Bucks County Herald.

The photo above of an unidentified Quaker salutes the mission of Pebble Hill church, the closest thing to heaven on earth. What an interesting assortment of photos I have.

An Electronic Greeting

Amid the Christmas/Chanukah cards you see this season, this one’s being promoted on Facebook: the social medium we love to hate.

Well, considering how much we pay for Internet service, it’s time – since I am one of billions inhabiting this crazy planet – to get on board.

So this is my humble card, with a little news.

Over the Christmas holidays, Kremlin-based Russians who hate my liberal ass have been trying to hack this website over the Christmas holidays, because of a previous post characterizing Vladimir Putin as an elite troublemaker.

That’s too bad. He’s making a nasty bed for all Russians to lie in, and the country has to change from within.

As you might infer from the photo above, there’s only a place-setting for one. Nevertheless, I dine at an Alice McCormick-inspired holiday table, and I thought you’d like to see it.

I have one wish for the approaching New Year, keeping in mind America finally left Afghanistan. Russia should leave Ukraine alone.

That is all. That is enough.

May we have peace worldwide in 2023.

A big shout-out to all the volunteers who spent Christmas supporting the Salvation Army.

On the Trail Again

On the first day of September, my Acer computer crashed. Although my files were backed up externally, I was well on the way to learning a brand-new computer, a brand-new operating system, brand-new software with upgrades, updates, and more importantly, money.

A new Dell computer was supposed to arrive over the Labor Day weekend. At least, that’s what Dell promised. But after a business day came and went, a computer geek gave me the bad news: It won’t arrive for seven weeks.

That’s when Creator (and Alice) stepped in. Next to Alice’s mirrored closet is a working computer with the same operating system. Since her connection with the electronic world still worked, could we find a way to marry our two computers, including my data?

I posed the question to a local (Longview) nerd, whose employer, Hamer Electric, makes IT house calls. Pictured above is Michael Bryan, who worked in my townhouse to cause my words and equipment detailing a life’s journey flow better than before.

After a 33-day departure from Chapter 14 of my book, and after absorbing a quick consultation about the correct functionality of using different backup programs, I’m humming away. I’m on the trail again!

This time, my life is enhanced by Alice’s Rolls-Royce of a computer. And you guessed it; her spirit will live in the words I type. What more could I want?

Accordingly, I continue my book’s journey to honor love.

Touched By an Angel

While perusing Facebook to check on Native friends, a name from Bucks County popped up frequently. I saw she was friends to many people that I knew from that lovely section of the world. And before I knew it, I became in awe.

This person evolved partially through Pebble Hill, a multidenominational church south of Doylestown, Pennsylvania. She is a spiritual leader, honoring sacred places where Native Americans suffered mind-numbing massacres. She has an active website documenting her self-guided mission: soulofcynthia.com.

Her name: Cynthia Greb. Not one word can describe her journey other than “holy.” And her journey took her into the heart of Weed, California where a raging forest fire decimated the Lincoln Heights section. Also affected was the Shastina Lake community where a close friend lived.

Cynthia survived. So did her friend who was able to evacuate with her pets, despite roads being closed. “Divine providence,” Ms. Greb reports.

On her way from Northern California to the Seattle area, Cynthia shared my apartment for rest and recovery. While spending quality time here, Ms. Greb perused part of my book’s manuscript and revealed some helpful changes I should make. She’s a natural-born editor who is able to hone into the purpose of a book.

Ten years with Alice is crucial to revealing whom I’ve become; therefore, I should no longer use the title, Confessions of a Boy Soprano. Instead, my pending tome should wear the mantle: How I Became a Lesbian (and other stories). Talk about sprinkling fairy dust. Wow!

Juneteenth 2022 Book Progress Report

When I started writing my tell-all book, I had an agenda to chronicle my childhood, teen, 20s and 30s years, landing in Hollywood, California. (That’s where I became a disc jockey in West Los Angeles’ first and only pirate radio station, K-POT where you were “always one hit away … from another hit away … to another hit away …”)

Yeah, I excelled in that experience best explained by magician Jimi Hendrix. But why, oh why, am I befuddled by the 1970s?

That’s when I returned to Miami, regained my skin color, got married and divorced twice. Concurrently, I wrote for the iconic Miami News’ entertainment section while The Miami Herald engineered the News’ demise. Next, I became part-founder for a successful weekly business newspaper named Miami Today. But eventually, I left Miami, realizing Wife #2 was more married to Miami than to me.

Southeast Pennsylvania, specifically Bucks County, becomes the ultimate cherry in my life, where I hobnobbed with the rich and famous. That should be fun to recall.

It’s taken more than a year to restore a semblance of normalcy after the fire here. But everything is back in place, and it’s past time to pick up where my story left off. What happened before Doylestown and Alice? True-life moments happened in the blink of an eye, so how should I chronicle them?

Just start writing; that’s what. A vivid recall of life-changing scenes during those tumultuous years 1972-2003 is proceeding and has a deadline in mind: the 4th of July.

Wish me luck.

Vladimir Putin: A Despot in Drag

As the first-born child of a Hungarian émigré, I had two reasons to avoid my father, Virgil. The primary escape was to avoid him, because he would spank me for no reason at all. Lately, though, I remembered a second reason. I had so much respect for his talent arranging music for big-band jazz bands that I gave him privacy.

I learned about politics when I was admonished to play “duck and cover” at Hialeah Elementary School in 1952 Florida. Russia presented itself as an alternative to the “evils of capitalism,” threatening a holy nuclear war, while chiding the U.S. around the world for the sanitized “I Like Ike” way we treat black folks.

That resonated with freedom-loving people I knew. Unfortunately, anyone who licked at the mud puddle of freedom expressing sympathy for the unprivileged could wind up accused of being a communist, a cruel twist of logic. This version of America hid its own dark history. Since then, I’ve grown up, resisted various forms of deception, and I’m not ashamed to say I became a liberal.

You, Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, have shown yourself willing to use the dark forces of deception to hide a shameful childhood.

Your grandfather was the personal chef to Joseph Stalin. Joseph Stalin! And what did he teach you? A message directly related to bigotry.

You regard Ukrainians to be an inferior race compared to pure Russian royalty. Inferior! You’re doing the same thing you philosophically attacked America’s conscience for practicing in the 1950s. In 2022, you advocate a new dark policy for your people, resulting in an invasion. An invasion!

So I see through you. For a long time, I’ve been around people who carry racial hatred and speak with a politically correct tongue. Don’t try to fool me.

You’re a despot in drag. And you just woke up the world.