Tara's Thoughts

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

In 2009 my husband Art and I were invited to attend the wedding of Aaron & Helen Glass in Dunedin, New Zealand.  Aaron’s parents, John & Judy Glass, have been extended family since I was 18 years old.  So we were honored to be included and made our plans to travel to New Zealand with John and Judy.  After the 14 hour flight from Los Angeles, CA we landed in Auckland.  Our itinerary was designed around a plan to drive through as many cities as we could, spending 2 or 3 days in each, as we traveled to Dunedin to attend the wedding.

It was a spectacular adventure!  Naturally, I took lots of pictures.  We saw many sites, met wonderful people, stayed in wonderful places (including a sheep farm – quite a departure for a city girl from Los Angeles)  and found, what I still believe to this day, is the best cup of hot chocolate I have ever tasted! 

The wedding night was everything you’d want a wedding to be. But one night stands out even more in my memory. Our last night on the Northern Island was spent in Wellington with Gillian Bibby & Roger Wilson, family members of the bride. They welcomed us into their home and shared a meal with us.

Roger, a celebrity of the opera world who has been a soloist with New Zealand’s major opera companies, orchestras and choirs, sang for us and told us of his creation of an album of songs, poems and music composed by his maternal grandfather aboard the ‘Morning’ which sailed to the Antarctic in 1902.   Gillian, a renowned musician and award-winning composer, teacher and lecturer, played some of her original music for us and showed a genuine interest in the local folk/rock band I am a member of in Los Angeles. Upon learning that I had just begun, at this very late stage of my life, to learn to play the piano, she grabbed a copy of a book of piano exercises she had written and gave me that gift with the enthusiasm of a passionate, open heart.

After returning to Los Angeles I was organizing the photos of our trip and, of the many splendid sites we encountered, I stopped at the image of the Bibby/Wilson house in Wellington where I had felt so welcome.

The photo, and the memories that it brought back, inspired me, right at that moment, to write a short essay about the home on the cliff  in Wellington. My story is nothing to speak of from a literary standpoint, but it is a night and a family that stands out as a cherished memory.

Now, 12 years later, in honor of Gillian and Roger’s Anniversary, I share that essay with you with thanks for a heart-warming memory that has lasted all these years.

They live on the edge of a cliff overlooking Wellington harbor.

Green hills reflect back from the still, blue water. The path up to their house is steep, a fifty foot climb up to a set of cement stairs that take you another thirty feet up the side of the hill.

Inside the dark wood house three pairs of rain boots, “Wellies” they call them, sit by a small, carved wooden bench by the front door.  Across the hall Gillian Bibby sits at her grand piano using the songs of native New Zealand birds to compose new music. Roger Wilson, her husband of thirty years putters about in the kitchen preparing lamb stew, kumara and warm, dark rolls for the dinner party that will fill the dining room with warmth and laughter later this evening. His operatic voice sounds clearly as he sings along with the music coming from the CD player – a recording that features his voice telling the tale of family ancestors who crossed the sea by sailing ship a hundred years ago from England looking for the shores of New Zealand.

Gillian is one of New Zealand most well-known composers and Roger one of the country’s most famous opera singers. But their happiest moments are not in the concert hall.  Their spirits soar when their son, Charles, comes home from work and tells them stories about his day teaching Spanish to high school students.

A few minutes away from their portion of the city is a narrow peninsula that winds forty minutes out into the cold water. No fence protects drivers from the edges of the road that lies at sea level.  It is a wild, dangerous, beautiful place that they live in.

And the best moments are all about family.

Written by Tara Sitser

Los Angeles, CA 

2009

Today’s post is a call for each of you to hop over to our fellow blogger Sean P. Carlin’s page and read his latest post about President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan.  Even if politics is not your thing you will find yourself built into this plan. Mr. Carlin explains why we, as a country and as fellow human beings sharing this planet, need to support this plan and why it is critical that we each do what we can to convince our Congress members to get it passed.

“U.S. President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan is the politically ambitious, morally imaginative piece of legislation we need to tackle the ever-worsening climate crisis by rebuilding our country and rebooting our economy through grand-scale public-works projects.  Whether we actually get it, however, comes down to how hard we—all American citizens—are willing to fight for its full passage and implementation.”

Sean P. Carlin

So writes Author Sean P. Carlin, Climate Activist and Leadership Member of The Climate Reality Project. The central focus of his blog piece is a credible and clear analysis of current geopolitical, environmental, and economic realities that have brought us face to face with a global crisis that, if left unchecked, will spell the end of life as we know it on this planet. Mr. Carlin properly places this set of interconnecting issues at the top of the list of critical concerns for our civilization.

Politics is in everything. But this is about fighting a global crisis that threatens to make portions of the planet uninhabitable. It is also about raising wages for essential home care workers and creating good jobs for people from disadvantaged communities. It is also about clean water for everybody. And child care programs.  And modernizing public transportation and our power grid. And so much more.

This is not about whose bumper sticker makes you feel better. It is truly about do you want the human race to survive the next 50 years? Do you want your children to have clean air to breathe? Replacing old paradigms about job creation and getting past old, short-sighted attitudes that are literally poisoning our planet and our population will be our only path to survival.

President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, currently on the floor of Congress, will be crucial to getting America on the right road to building a healthy, sustainable future for you and your family. The depth of the research done by Mr. Carlin as a basis for his conclusions is impressive and his investment of many years learning about these issues from the likes of former Vice President Al Gore and others lends credibility and clarity to his descriptions of the issues at hand.

There is no guarantee that President Biden’s American Jobs Plan will pass. So, please, lend your support.

FOR THOSE READERS WHO MIGHT NOT HAVE THE TIME TO READ THE ENTIRE PIECE: PLEASE JUMP TO THE BULLET POINTS TOWARD THE END OF THE BLOG POST.

Mr. Carlin has made the process of making your voice heard super easy.  He has done the work for us providing a handful of ways you can jump right in:  Links to send petitions, content to help you write to your local officials and members of Congress, a pre-written Tweet you can copy and post complete with hash tags and handles, and even simple instructions on how to share the word about this effort with friends and family.

Beautifully summarized by the author, Mr. Carlin says:

“I want nothing more than for you all to share the profound hope I feel for what comes next—for the fairer, more just, more sustainable world we’re about to build.  But hope requires action.  We can’t just trust that this will get done; we have to ensure it does—with the fullest degree of moral imagination possible.  We have to, every single one of us, demand it…. I do believe we will get meaningful climate legislation this year, and that, consequently, President Biden will be able to go to the COP26 conference in Glasgow this autumn in a position of profound moral and geopolitical authority on this matter, but it isn’t going to happen unless every citizen in America plays their part. None of us are singlehandedly responsible for solving the climate crisis, but we all have a moral obligation to contribute what we can to the solution. There’s a path forward on the table. Let’s take it.”

Sean P. Carlin,
Author, Climate Activist,
Leadership Member Climate Reality Project

This week, just in time for your holiday shopping, I offer a book of poetry from Author, Poet, Lyricist, and Artist, Ann Vincent Vila.

“Grieving Healing Accepting: 25 Sympathy Poems of Loss”

Available on Amazon

Ms Vila has written an eloquent book of poems for friends and loved ones suffering loss, a circumstance too many of us have had to live through recently. In place of sympathy cards or flowers, this book is a gift to anyone you know who is experiencing loss. Ms. Vila’s poetry offers the comfort and companionship of knowing you are not alone in your experience of loss or grief. Once read, these poems can be revisited again and again as your journey through grief takes the all-too-common unexpected detours to acceptance.

Available in paperback and Kindle editions, this collection of heartfelt thoughts for “the darker moments” solves the question of what to give to someone you care about that will acknowledge their suffering and offer support when you can’t be there to hold them close.

From the Author:

“It is a book for those suffering around us when we are left speechless and can find no words from our hearts to soothe those grieving souls. An array of work that speaks to the darker moments of life when despair arrives in the wake of loss leading from the darkness of grieving to the healing light of acceptance.”

Ana Vincent Vila, Grieving, Healing, Accepting

Jacob Sitser, 91, passed away on Saturday, January 28, 2018  in the city he grew to love, Siesta Key, FL where he spent the latter part of his life enjoying the view of the beach from his 5th floor sunroom balcony and the company of the love of his life, Helena Pimenta Sitser.

Jacob, known to friends and family as Jack, was born in 1927, an only child, to Yetti Richter Sitser and Mauricio Sitser in Saõ Paulo, Brasil.

A professional musician from an early age, Jack mastered both the viola and violin.  At the age of 21 he was granted a scholarship to study music in the United States of America.  After graduating from music school Jack chose to stay in the US and became an American citizen. He married Dorothy Perlberg (divorced in 1973) and served four years in the US Airforce as a member of the Airforce band – an experience that provided him lots of amusing anecdotes about musicians being led by an Airforce Major who knew nothing about music!

During this time he became a father to Sheryl, Tara & Gerald.

Always concerned about being a good provider for his family, Jack made his career in the banking industry.  An amusing turn of events that happened when he saw a job listing in the newspaper for a “teller”.  His minimal English language skills led him to believe the job was for someone who could tell stories.  But take the job he did and he moved quickly up the ladder to become bank Vice President of major banking institutions including Union Bank, Lloyd’s Bank and Banco Do Brasil, eventually, taking the position of Bank President for Banco Real.

Jack never gave up his love of music and stayed connected throughout his life to a worldwide network of chamber musicians with whom he played regularly.

Jack’s favorite music partner was his wife of 43 years, Helena Pimenta Sitser, an accomplished cellist and pianist.

Jack is survived by his beloved wife, Helena, his children, Sheryl Sister, Tara Sitser Brickman and Gerald Sitser, his step-children whom he adored, Maria Lucia Machado Martin (married to Tom Martin) and Eduardo Machado (Married to Maria Beatrice Hadler Machado), his seven grandchildren Phillip, Marcos, Ricardo, Fabio, Mariana, Guilherme and Artur, plus more spouses and great-grandchildren than can be listed here. All of whom were treasured by Jack and brought great joy into his life.

Jacob Sitser was a man of grace and compassion, a support system to many, and a wonderful family man.  He will be missed.

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SOME ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS FROM MY BROTHER, GERALD SITSER:

Among nearly a century of accumulated photos of my father, the one I cherish most is a portrait from his college days, joy and contentment on his face, his beloved violin in hand. Throughout his life, music was his refuge — from a turbulent world, the stress of work, the bittersweet onset of age. Most importantly, it was a passionate bond between himself and those he loved.

I’ve always maintained an impossibly ideal image of my father. But I’ve also seen how others admired and respected him: This thoughtful and generous man who was always available to offer a comforting shoulder, to share a few wise words, to calm any rough waters, and to bring a smile to every face in the room.

Dad was rightfully proud but never vain. He was a bastion of civility in a world that’s forgotten politeness. He was a patient teacher whose greatest lessons were to think for yourself, to remember that your actions have consequences, and that the world owes you nothing that you haven’t earned for yourself. He gave of himself freely with no thought of personal reward, knowing all the while that there is no greater reward than knowing you’ve made a difference. He understood the value of a moment of sorrow, but only for a moment and no more; for he also understood the need to shrug off your troubles, pick yourself up, and move on.

I can only try to emulate my father, but perhaps that’s enough. If there’s any part of his legacy I can pretend to claim, let it be his quiet strength and unwavering sense of dignity. There was only one of him. The world was lucky to have that; and his family, the luckiest of all.

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ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS FROM MY SISTER, SHERYL SITSER:

My father had a magic touch with people as a result of being generous, caring, empathetic, wise, funny, and fair-minded. Almost everyone who knew him wished that he could be their father and we were the lucky ones who could claim him as their own.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

When I was a child it seemed that few of my friends had fathers who were as compassionate, wise and loving as my father. As each went through some minor crisis (they didn’t get the party invitation they had hoped for, their mother wouldn’t let them wear make-up, typical teen-aged angst,) they obviously wanted a grown-up to talk to and didn’t feel their parents would be responsive or sympathetic enough. I offered to “lend” them my father who was not only the world’s greatest listener, but also gave the best advice. He always knew exactly what to say to cheer them up let them know that things would get better and my friends were always amazed and grateful that they had the opportunity to talk to this wonderful man.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

In the 70’s when my father was the president of Bank of America at downtown Los Angeles, he chose two proteges he would train to take over management positions. He recieved a suprising amount of resistance from the other bank executives because one of those trainees was a woman.  He was told that Bank of America had never had a female executive before and that woman weren’t competent enough for management. My father perservered and was eventually able to promote them both. This, and many other stories, show why my father was my hero.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

My friend Marsha was acknowledged by everyone who knew her to be a beautiful girl but because she was overweight, society was extremely cruel to her. One day she was sitting in church talking to friend when a man approached them. He told them he was an artist and wanted their permission to draw their likenesses for possible use in a Christian magazine. Marsha was extremely flattered as she had been lead to believe no one would ever be interested in a picture of her. Several months later she received a copy of the magazine with a beautiful drawing of the two girls. She called her father who didn’t seem to think it was very important or significant. She was crushed to think her father didn’t care.

Since my father knew Marsha pretty well, I told her to call him. As expected, my father was excited for her and told he was not only proud of her but was not at all surprised that someone would recognize her beauty and want to use her image.  In a matter of minutes, my father cheered her up and helped repair the damage done by a cruel, unfeeling parent.

These are examples of why Jack Sitser definitely qualified to be named “Father of the Century”.

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Tara Sitser - Leadership Member of Al Gore's Climate Reality Project

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