May 30 at 7:53 PM
I guess when you have lived a long time, as I have now, you have the perspective of watching the worst of history repeat itself before your eyes and are unable to do a thing to stop it.
I remember the original riots our country witnessed for four days in July 1967. In the NJ city of Newark, near where I live, a beautiful city founded by the Dutch in the 17th century, with beautiful architecture and many buildings on the Register of Historic Places, with a city park designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the same landscape architect of Central Park in NY City, and adorned it with more cherry trees than Washington DC; a city that was second in excellence only to neighboring NY City in school achievement and health care delivery accomplishments, and site of the State on New Jersey’s first state medical college, where I got my first job after college in the medical school library, launching my career as a research librarian in 1972, where I worked for several years, the foundation of a forty year career.
Newark and other NJ and US cities around the country endured four days of intense rioting in 1967. I was 17 that year, and I assure you the rage that provoked it may have been legitimate but the destruction the riots created almost 50 years later has never been recovered.
Ghettos are the legacy of riots, with the exception of the revived downtown areas, with big office buildings, sports arenas and performing arts centers. For some reasons, urban planners believe building office building complexes, sports areas and performing arts centers in an urban downtowns are a good thing but I don’t get it. It creates an illusion of prosperity that does not exist once you drive down a side street. Instead, I think riots further polarized and divided the races. They deepened despair that lead to drug abuse, eliminated jobs that never returned, created welfare states in the cities, and broke down family structure in the absence of the jobs that left never to return. I believe the riots had the unintended consequences of further marginalizing the races as it widened the income levels between Black’s and whites.
Fast forward to today. There have been many incidences of injustices against our Black human family members and they have never really stopped. Now, they have erupted into a country wide mass action of rioting once again 50 years later. 50 years……
Until we recognize we all belong to one human family where all of our lives are intertwined with and interdependent on one another, where one person’s sorrow or joy becomes our own, and every human life has equal dignity and worth and is blessed, rage, racism and riots will not stop.
Stephen Metzger, Yvonne McGehee and 27 others
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I remember the riot at Rahway NJ State Prison,in the 60s, my Dad was on duty and Mom and I feared for his life. Protests were here in Charleston SC, last night destroying many buildings. What purpose does it solve ? None !
Well said, Lorene.
I remember the riots. I lived in Newark at that time but on the other side of Penn station. The only part of Newark that was safe and still is
Lorene very well written.Stay safe in these sad times
I’m just me.
I’m not perfect. I’m me. I’ve made bad decisions and wrong choices, but I’m me. I’ve said the wrong things, I’ve said the right things, because I’m me.
I don’t like everything I’ve done but I did it because I’m me. I’ve loved the wrong people and trusted the wrong people and I’m sill me. If I had the chance to start over again, I wouldn’t change a thing, Why? Because I’m me.
There are a lot of good things about me, you just have to look past the imperfections to see what’s right. If you can’t do that, then it’s your loss. I’m the best I can be. I’m me!
It has occurred to me, one day late, that yesterday would have been the tenth birthday of my beautiful borzoi bitch, Jelly, CH Kasharra Bibikov, that I received about five years ago from Frances Wright of Cross River, NY. She has been gone one year, and my grief from losing her has been terrible. I almost did not survive it. My weight loss has been extreme. I was not planning on replacing her, but my physician and I agreed that a Silken Windhound might be in order to help me feel not so alone and be of comfort to me at this time. So, I purchased “Kinsey”, or Gr CH Wind ‘nSatin It’s My Party, from Mary Childs and the rest is history! She is an angel and a dream, and I am feeling much better. It is difficult for me to move on from loss, or from the death of one of my dogs, as we know. It does not get better. It stirs something primal, deep in my heart to lose a dog, something I cannot feel for a human. I have lost parents, two husbands, and many close friends to death, without feeling a twinge of anything amiss, and I can accept it as natural. However, if any of my dogs die, my heart is torn to shreds with an agony that requires a high dose of a serious anti-depressant. Recently, I was graduated to several hundred milligrams of Seroquel as maintence. Not for the faint of heart. Still:
“We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our
own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,
never fully understanding the necessary plan.” —-Irving Townsend.
So I hold Jelly’s memory close and still. The longer we were together, the more she reminded me of Opal. I felt perhaps Opal had returned. I began to sense Opal’s presence with me. A great deal of my pain went away. However, it quickly returned again and grew stronger every day after Jelly died. Dear God! Let me be with my adored and beloved Opal again, and all the other Blyss borzoi, when You call me home!
It has been a while and I am derelict in not writing sooner of the death that is visiting us all over the world. In particular, in the United States, it is particularly devastating here in New Jersey. Here, one finds so many beautiful, precious borzoi at places such as Majenkir Borzoi in Swartswood and those that previously lived here at Blyss Kennels in Mountainside that could be found running in play throughout the Watchung Reservation, borzoi with names like Paris and Opal, and Mikhailya and Casanova. Still, as of the Westminster KC dog show in February, which had three Mikhailya progeny in the ring, every dog show has been or will be canceled. But worst of all, we must all stay home and stay home alone, in quarantine. It is with tears that I contemplate these realities.
I feel like I must be a dog of past times trying to enter England. But no, I am in the USA and I never left home. I am in quarantine. I just cannot go out anywhere safely. To be safe, I must stay home and be alone. However, walking around town is allowed if safe social distancing of six feet is maintained. With so much time on my hands and because I am so good at procrastinating leaving my lawn not mowed and my flower beds not weeded, tonight I have decided to write on my blog at Blysskennels.us
What is it that I see on my walks?
It began in mid March and now it is early April.
No one knows when it will end. It could be a very long time from now.
Although it remains cold and windy from winter,
There are splashes of color: yellows and pinks, from flowering bushes and trees, breaking through.
I contemplate them, having seen only grey, dark branches for so long that appeared to be dead.
It was an illusion, I thought, that this was a death of the flora, on the shrubs, on the flowering trees, and especially, on the mountain.
Do I see a tiny splash of green there? I am not sure….. But I know it will be there soon,
And then the green will be dotted with white Dogwood blossoms although not nearly so many as in years previous, before they were afflicted with their own virus.
We live in the day of viruses, and all we can do is take walks.
Walk them off, walk them away,
walk them until we tire, walk them until we die.
Walk them with our children, walk them with our dogs,
walk them with our friends, with our fathers, with our mothers and with our lovers.
Remember to say hello and to admire your neighbor’s dog even if it is a rescue and yours is bred true.
How can there be so many places to walk to and so many places to walk from,
And learn so many people’s stories
For each and every one has one, a story that is, that is not about the virus that always lurks behind us now
But about themselves after the virus goes away.
These days, I walk with a Silken Windhound, Gr Ch Wind ‘n Satin It’s My Party, Kensey. She could not be more wonderful or perfect a companion. She is up for every walk I want to take her on, either on the winding, hilly roads of Mountainside or the hiking trails of Watchung Reservation. She has a way of transcending her little body and cuteness as if to reach out to all whom she sees and often times elicits and glowing accolade of complements and praises. Some people have even asked me if she is a Borzoi!!! She truly is my companion and Guardian Angel.
I have been very busy these days after months of lethargy and depression catching up with work that had been put aside. When the weather become warm, I want to start gardening and taking care of the lawn outdoors. I need to be very disciplined however I can be most tempted to stray when a film I truly love comes on the schedule for Turner Classic Movies. Last night, when I should have been sleeping, the movie scheduled was among my top 5, Splendor in the Grass, directed by Elia Kazan, starring a very young Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty, made in 1961. Another lifetime ago, I may add. I know I can write volumes about this movie and why Iike it so much, but now is not the time. I will say, even having seen it a dozen times, each viewing is as new and raw and shocking as was the first time. It is difficult to watch the growing pains of two young people who love each other trying to do the right thing while everyone around them is acting badly and the world as they know it is undergoing profound social changes, even in the Nebraska heartland. And yes, it is excruciatingly painful to watch them as they come undone and become unrecognizable people from whom they were at the beginning of the story. Together, once so close, they launch their adult lives in such different places, determined not to think much about happiness anymore, and say a simple good by before setting off apart.
As actors, the careers of Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty exploded with stardom and success, including Oscars. It is always a joy to watch their films, each one so different yet rewarding. They talents are boundless. Natalie was taken far too prematurely with a tragedy that defied all logic, as if it were part of the plot of the movie she was making. It never added up to me…… But the death of a great movie star usually does not. They never really die. The movies and the stars I love so much share my heart with the dogs and the horse I have loved so much. I am so grateful for the technology that enables us to watch, rent or stream virtually any movie we want to watch almost anytime for a very small amount of money. They are my companions in loneliness.
After dogs and horses, I guess I love film and photographs as an art form more than anything else.. I love good films, how they are made, who their directors are, the writers, the fashion, but most of all, the stars themselves. I think a good movie will reflect the culture in which it was made. I also believe a great movie fills what an audience needs at the time. A film maker is judged by how accurately he makes that judgement call. Tonight, the Academy Awards is being televised. I usually love to watch it. I was just settling in. Suddenly, on an imulse, I flipped over to TCM (Turner Classic Movies). I found a film had just begun that happened to be among my absolute favorites. I wanted to stop everything and watch it. That is exactly what I did. I had no power whatsoever to resist it. The movie was National Valvet. It was made in 1944, and in color. It starred Elizabeth Taylor in one of her earliest movies (her fifth). It also featured a very young Mickey Rooney. Also featured was Anne Revere, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her noble performance as the simple mother who encouraged her young daughter to ride her horse, The Pie, in the Grand National Steeplechase Race. As it was, she shared the story with her daughter that she had swam the English Channel when she was just a teen-ager and wanted Velvet to experience something special and comparable for herself. Another treasure in the film is the debut of Angela Landsbury in her first film role as Velvet’s eldest sister. You can find a lot of quotes on the Internet from National Velvet but the one that is my absolute favorite is not there. There is a very similar one, almost verbatim, in the film, Black Beauty, by the young mistress who loves him. It goes something like: I would as soon not go to heaven than see The Pie unhappy.
That about sums it up for the way I have felt and still do feel about the way I love my own dogs and the one horse I had the privilege to own in my life. The movie underscores the sentiment shared by so many young woman almost universally, that there is nothing better than a horse. To believe anything else is an illusion.
When I think of my own life and the dogs and horse I owned, I diminish in worth compared to theirs. They are so precious and dear to me. It is that by loving them, somehow I am loved in the way I was never loved by those who failed to love me. Or, it is that by loving them, it does not really matter anymore that significant others did not love me. My ability to love my horse and my dogs became my victory over pain and rejection, my gift to myself when others took away their gifts: my joys, my acceptance, and then even God himself, who took even more from me….. as in the death of Opal…… the loss of Bob.
Undoubtedly, National Velvet is among one of the best movies ever made for its drama, excitement, beauty and values. But not to go unmentioned, all of the Lassy movies, some of which Elisabeth Taylor also did a superb job acting in, are equally excellent. So, whether the Academy Awards are on TV, or the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, or another truly excellent movie, I think if either National Velvet or a Lassie movie appears on the TCM schedule, I will just change my plans impromptu and make myself comfortable. Truly, I cannot resist them.
Today, Sunday February 9, 2020, the Westminster KC dog show began judging breeds for the first time on Sunday at Pier 94, making breed judging a three day event. The Group judging would remain the same, at Madison Square Garden, Monday and Tuesday night, with Best in Show on Tuesday night. Borzoi were judged in Ring 1 at 9:30 am, so I was sure to be awake and up, ready to watch the judging via live streaming through the Fox News app. It was wonderful and magical to watch it live from the comfort of my easy chair in my living room without having to leave the house and travel to NY City. Upon making myself comfortable, imagine my surprise to see not one, not two but three descendants of my own beautiful Majenkir bitch, “Mikhailya”, Ch Majenkir My Ksar Mikhailovna, in the ring through her son, Int Jp CH Majenkir Magnus of Blyss “Max”. One bitch, Majenkir Circle in a Spiral, was handled by a Borzoi Club of Central NJ member, Mami Shuma. She was a “Max”/”Magnus” daughter and a “Mikhailya” grand-daughter. In addition, Shota Hirai was in the ring handling CH Belisarius Jp Wild Rumpus “Lam”, a daughter of “Candy”, who won Best of Breed, down from Magnus. And, a third Majenkir borzoi, who won Best Opposite Sex, GCHB CH Majenkir Bookstore Spellbinder “Vigow”. Yes, I have been lonely and heartbroken for the loss of my own beloved “Mikhailya” in June 2013 and nothing can ever make up for her loss. But seven years later, to see three of her progeny in the breed ring for the Westminster Kennel Club dog show truly brought her to life for me again. As the poet once wrote:
A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
It will never pass into nothingness but still will keep
a bower for us and a sleep
Full of health, sweet dreams and quiet breathing.
Although everything ended for Mikhailya and me when Bob, my husband, died suddenly in March 2011, she lives on in these borzoi and the many others who carry her genes forward through her son, “Magnus”/ “Max” after she diedl. I had asked the Borzoi Breed Archive to compile a reverse pedigree for her going out five generations. They complied, showing that “Mikhailya” has approximately 150 offspring located around the world mostly because of her son, “Max”/”Magnus”.
In addition to BOB and BOS, the next dog selected was Select Dog, GCHS CH Belisarius JP CI My Big Boy
Select Bitch was GCHB Crown Jewel Princess Eugenia
Award of Merit was CH Justart Majenkir Status Symbol
Award of Merit CH Estet Classic Timofei
It was a very strong class, one worthy watching and cheering. Good luck Monday night in the Hound Dog Group!
I have endured much since Jelly’s death nine months ago, trying to accept my decision not to acquire another dog, or at least not another borzoi. It has been a long time to be alone and unhappy, and I will admit to having made some grave mistakes. They were followed by a very difficult period of serious health problems, more than one, but not excluding a worsening of a depression. I sought relief where I had done so before, with my physicians, and it was agreed that the time might be right to consider bringing another dog into my life but a breed other than a borzoi. After much consideration, I decided to acquire a beautiful Silken Windhound from Mary Childs of Wind ‘n Satin Kennels in Ohio. She is a long time borzoi breeder, and active, life time member of the Borzoi Club of America. In recent years she has taken to breeding Silken Windhounds. When she learned I was interested in acquiring one, she contacted me. She happened to have the most perfect individual in her kennel for me, a four-and-a-half-year old bitch, a Grand Champion who had recently whelped a litter and was ready to place in a regular home. After the sharing of some photos, it was confirmed that this perfect angel would come to Blyss. Her name is Kensie. Immediately upon her arrival, Kensie knew what she was there for, and that I was her person. She never whimpered or looked back, she never uttered a sound of disturbance or complaint, or put a foot wrong. She simply adored me upon entering my home as if she knew she had a reason to be there, mainly being to heal my broken heart.
Lorene, Karen Ackerman, and Mikhailya’s grand-daughter, Hawk Eye
There are no words to describe the loss and grief I feel knowing all of the Blyss borzoi are gone. And even Jelly, so wisely chosen from Bibikov Kennels in Cross River, NY, and destined by Frances Wright to come to Blyss ever since she was born, has joined them in farewell. I wander around as if I were a blind person, bumping into life’s obstacles, not knowing how to get out of the way of pain. And at the end of the day, every day, I ask myself, “Why am I here?” And I have no answer.
I can only contemplate that as alone as I am in my humanity, even a higher being does not want me.
I had the joy in May of attending the Spring borzoi specialty shows in NJ and PA, and was honored to have Wendy Finlayson of Mayvale Borzoi, in New Zealand, be my houseguest for one week. After the shows, we were invited for a day to Majenkir, a true high point. The last time I was there, it was all of nine years ago, to deliver the puppies of the one Blyss Kennels litter to Majenkir, the inimical “Magnus”, and his littermate who was lost, “Zephyrus”. I say “Zyphyrus” was lost because he was sold to a family on the west coast and was not heard from again after the male owner of the couple died suddenly and he and the wife went to live with one of the adult children. Not long after, “Magnus” was sold to Belisarius Borzoi, in Japan, to the Ozekis. Therefore, after nine years, I had the joy of being invited back with Wendy and other guests, Frances Wright of Bibikov, Don Foran from the UK, Karen & Howard Spey of Bookstor, and a few other guests. It was a lovely May day, and many wonderful photos were taken. We were then treated to a wonderful dinner at a nearby restaurant, The Lake Edge, on the shore of Swartswood Lake, that had the misfortune of burning down a few months later. Karen had many new young dogs to show us that day. The place looked as lush and gorgeous as ever, as if with the passage of time, it only got better. The borzoi never looked lovlier, as if she had honed her craft to such a degree that she no longer bred mere mortal canines, but canine deities. More would be seen of them at the fall specialties four months later. I cannot hold back the piece of intelligence that those particular specimens, a sire and his daughter, are direct descendants of my Magnus, the very borzoi pup I delivered to her on that day in March 2009, a grandson named “Vigow”, and a grand-daughter named “Symbolic”. At the Borzoi Club of Central NJ Specialty Show on September 7, 2019, “Vigow” won Best of Breed, and his daughter, the puppy-bitch shy of 18 months, “Sympolic”, won Best Opposite Sex. I was so totally over the moon happy!
While I was at the Borzoi Club of America Specialty Show in May, in Gettysburg, PA, from May 11 – 18, I renewed my acquaintance with the regional governor in the west, Karen Ackerman, who happens to own a Mikhailya grand-daughter, and a Magnus daughter, “Hawk-Eye”, who courses and does Open Field Coursing. I met her with her husband and Hawk Eye several years ago at the National in Huron, Ohio so I was thrilled to see her again in Bethlehem, PA. I just learned that she has a littermate of Symbolic, Lyra, who courses with Hawk Eye, and I was absolutely thrilled to learn of that, because I know that she has a second progeny of Mikhailya and Magnus, and that puppy bitch, too, has a great life.
I know that Magnus, and therefore my Mikhailya, have progeny all over the world. This makes me so proud, but I wanted to know who they were, how many there were, and where they lived. In order to obtain this data, I needed a report known as a “reverse pedigree”. Therefore, I requested one from an organization that compiles this information, Borzoi Breed Archive, in Vienna, AU. At first they said they did not have this capability and therefore could not provide it to me. Then, I received traumatic, tragic news about Magnus from a most unlikely source.
One day in June, I received a letter from Keizo Kaida, the former employee of Belisarius Kennels and handler of Magnus in Japan. He shared some very unhappy news regarding Magnus, and included photographs. Interestingly, Wendy Finlayson was in all of the photographs. He maintained that in August 2017, Magnus died suddenly, a day after Wendy left Belisarius Kennels after a visit of several days. That I had known, and always thought was “strange”, like, why did my borzoi die because Wendy left? But, Kaiza maintained that Magnus was not well kept in his retirement, he was kept in a kennel that was too hot and damp for him, and he suffered for it. My feelings regarding his death in connection to Wendy is that he heard English spoken. She doted on him, and showered him with attention and affection. She gave him a bath and blow dried him. This was shown in many photos I saw. Surely he looked happy. Then, she left, leaving him behind. My beloved Magnus believed he was going home, and when he realized he was left behind, he died the very next day. Wendy did take two of her own dogs out of the kennel that day when she left, but she left Magnus behind. If only she had taken my Magnus, too.
I had been told when he died that he was a house dog since his retirement, an unfortunate mistruth. How sad….. How sad he was not sent home when Belisarius was finished with him so he could die in New Jersey, where he would be loved. He deserved to be sent home. He made great amounts of money for both Majenkir and Belisarius kennels, and earned them a great many titles.
When I learned about this, I contacted the Manager of Borzoi Breed Archives, Karin Schellner, and told her about the Magnus’s story. I told her how much it would mean to me to get his reverse pedigree. I told her about how he died a slow, sad death, alone, unwell, and in exile in Japan. Karin ran the report for me, with the data she had at the time, going out four generations, all the data she had at that time, gratis. I was overjoyed to receive it, and sent her organization a donation of $100.00. She said the Borzoi Breed Archive was going to make this report available to everyone very soon. The report showed Magnus had 123 progeny all over the world, going out four generations.
I am so proud of this great borzoi whom I call “Magnus” instead of “Max”, his undignified Japanese call name. Such a bitter loss as this can never be measured for the depth and breadth of the pain of it. Let it be a cautionary tale. Guard them well. They give us so much when they trot around the ring and look so pretty doing it. It is not what they would ever do naturally. They do it for us, because we ask it of them, and because they love us. We owe them at the very least the very best of our care when we are through with them.
If anyone wants a copy of Magnus’s Reverse Pedigree, please contact me, Lorene Connolly, at Lorenecon@gmail.com, and I will be happy to share it with you, along with some of his beautiful photographs. He was one of the most handsome borzoi ever to be bred. But his dam was one of the most beautiful borzoi that ever lived…
for photos and information about CH Majenkir My Ksar Mikhailovna “Mikhailya”, the dam of “Magnus”. When My husband, whom she adored, was taken suddenly from us, Mikhailya was inconsolable. I tried to make a good life for her, but in my heart, although I did my best, I know I failed her. I have to live with that knowledge every day. It is one of the biggest regrets of my life.