Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Tribute to Ron "Pappy" Papaleoni

A Tribute to Ron "Pappy" Papaleoni

Everyone has been posting their memories of Pappy. It has taken me awhile to decide what to say. Words do not always come easily. I met Pappy when we were working on the Patriot Guard Rider (PGR) Video with Cindy Smith. He was a great organizer and motivator. We grew closer when we started the book PTSD No Apologies, a book that Pappy was a part of creating. We then worked together on George Woodruff's book, Just Before Taps. We spent hours hidden away in windowless rooms at the legion going through edits and discussing/arguing over comma’s. Of course the oxford comma is correct. Discussing Pappy’s death with George was one of the hardest things I have done.
I was greatly saddened about three years ago when Pappy invited me over for dinner. Pasta of course. He told me that he had received news from his Dr. that his lungs were greatly damaged and they only gave him about 4 years to live. Again, words escaped me. I hugged him and cried.
Pappy knew he was dying. And he was as productive as possible with what time he had. He accomplished much. He wrote a riveting story for the PTSD book, and I encouraged him to write his own book. But time had other plans. It slipped away, and so has he. I will miss his yearly phone calls to assure me that I made Santa’s list. Pappy explained that there was only one list, the nice one, not two which is a common misconception.
Life is short and we are not always given advance notice of how much time we have left. Love people while they are here. I love you too Pappy, and your story will go on forever.
Hugs, Lynn

This stuff only happens to the living (Excerpt from PTSD No Apologies)

Ron Papaleoni USN CPO Retired

Having grown up in an era where the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) never existed and those suffering with that yet to be named disorder were commonly referred to as having “shell shock” or “soldier’s heart”. Most folks (mostly military) were labeled as malingerers or cowards. Civilians having the same symptoms were “having an episode” or “nervous breakdown” or just plain crazy. It wasn’t until I retired from the military (1981), that the term PTSD became a part of our common language.
My early childhood was filled with getting beaten up at elementary school because I was fat and a “goody-two-shoes”. This is what led me to become the class clown. I didn’t get beaten as often and actually made some friends. The beatings weren’t exclusive to school. My dad was an alcoholic and sometimes would beat me with his belt due to, what he called a “smart ass remark”. He was a binge drinker and as such, these incidents were infrequent but memorable not the less. But it was enough for me to move out of the house at 16 and join the Navy at 17.
As we have learned, this documented disorder has been around going back to Egyptian times and mostly involves the military and war. However, as in my case, it is very likely to occur following ANY type of serious emotion trauma. My time in a “war zone” was brief and uneventful and yet during the three years that bracketed that event was the worst the war had to offer. In the mid 1960’s, I was serving a non-medical assignment at one of the largest military hospitals in the Far East.
I watched the daily patient count rise from just over a hundred, most of those being not combat related, to over 700 at the height of the Tet offensive. I witnessed wounds that were the worse man could inflict on another human being. Our doctors, nurses and corpsmen had to finish to work that began in the field of combat. Repairing severed limbs; doing plastic surgery; rearranging vital organs; performing physical therapy; dealing with both the physical and mental anguishes of war while some of those patients lay waiting in the passageways to be seen or waiting weeks for a bed.
As non-medical personal, we were obliged to perform “duties” of a non-medical nature such as ambulance driver; baggage room and customs (this meant going through a patients personal effects when they finally got around to send them). This that all of their personal belongings were sent to after their arrival. We had boxes filled with weapons; drugs; unauthorized souvenirs (like gold trinkets) and just plain weird crap like human scalps.
We were called upon to perform other duties like human tissue removal from the Operating Rooms. Not pleasant but necessary. If after the every six hour bed count, someone was missing, we had to secure all the exits and search for the missing patient.
Usually it was uneventful but sometime they were passed out in the head (bathroom) or sleeping in the wrong place or one time, under the hospital. Our hospital was elevated due to close proximity to the ocean. One evening while manning the “After Hours” desk, we had a report that one of our patients from the Psych ward was missing, we secured all the exits and began our search, and my team (per our SOP) had to search one of the four exterior quadrants.
We spotted our patient underneath the hospital about twenty feet in. As the senior ranking team member, it was determined that I needed to go in first to evaluated the situation. With four able-bodied Hospital Corpsman five feet behind, I crawled in and as I got closer, I observed that he was kneeling and looked like he was playing with marbles in his hand. A few long seconds later, he slumped over to the side and we discovered a single edge razor blade in one hand and his testicles in the other. Despite the massive amount of blood loss he survived. If we hadn’t found him, he would have become another victim of this war. During the mid-60s through mid-70s, I lost a number of friends; classmates and shipmates in the Vietnam Conflict.
Throughout my life there has been trauma. Motorcycle accidents, numerous surgical procedures to correct motorcycle injuries, dealing with our mother’s Alzheimer’s, my parents’ death, my 5 year old nephew dying while in heart surgery, my best friend’s debilitating fall of 50 feet, a bull goring my leg, my daughter losing her leg below the knee, an ex-wife’s death, a divorce, and losing a son to suicide when he was 17.
After my son’s death in 1982, my therapy involved drinking massive qualities of alcohol. Not only to ease the pain, but to deal with “What could I have done different?” It didn’t help. I spent most of his insurance money on things I didn’t need; couldn’t afford; to impress people I didn’t even like. It did however, put me into a different kind a trauma. The trauma of being an alcoholic, just like my father. I never beat anyone; only drank on occasion and never stopped at just one drink. Why? After a few years of sobriety and therapy, it seemed that the trigger for the “binge” was usually related to a significant event or trauma. My deceased son’s birthday, anniversaries of his death, any major event were I was expected to attend were some of the triggers. I would go out with a couple of buddies after work, have a few and when they went home to their families; I stayed and had a few more. This caused many encounters with law enforcement.
I’ve been sober from over 25 years. Still have MANY issues regarding family, anger, health, aging and visions of the past. After many years of packing those traumatic incidents in a box and hiding them in a closet, I’ve come to realize that is not the best thing for me to do. I know that in the past, counseling has helped, but I still resisted because……I still can’t find the answer to that. I try my best to stay busy, but lately health issues has interfered. I want to have patience, but struggle with anger.
I’m a work in progress, and as my mother would often say when there was a crisis, “This stuff only happens to the living.”

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Champion-The Movie

Champion-The Movie 

Champion is not like the normal movies I watch. If it were not for my friend inviting me to come see it, I probably would have overlooked this movie all together. No CGI, no special effects, no blood & gore. However, it had something more. Something from the heart.

Shot in Georgia, Champion follows a racetrack driver and how his life interconnects with others. The main focus of the movie is FORGIVENESS. Everyone makes mistakes. Life is about choices. But your life does not have to be tied to that one action. You can rise above it. You can forgive and BE forgiven.

Forgiveness comes in all sorts of ways. Time helps. However, sometimes it takes more. In Champion, we learn that forgiveness is not just for the person that harmed you. But to forgive someone, frees yourself.

Life is too short to hold grudges, to live with regret, and to keep bitterness in your heart.

I had a depressing morning and I cried through much of the film. Very few movies can touch one's soul, but Champion does. It was brilliantly written and had wonderful actors, such as my friend’s son Liam Peeples. .

Take a leap of faith, and go see this movie. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Well, it is that time of the month again!

Well it is that time of the month again. The one most women avoid discussing. You guessed it! Dying your hair.
I loathe dying my hair and would prefer (and suggest!) to leave it to the professionals but my bank account disagrees. So while on a Bread mission for the American Legion post I did some side shopping.

Now I am pretty spontaneous. I play with color a couple times a year and since it is fall why not red? Now I have done red many times in the past so picked up a box of Feria POWER RED by L’Oréal.
Now you can’t just dye your hair. You have to prepare first. So I gathered up my dark towels and cell phone and new box of joy and headed to the bathroom, where I planned to camp out for about an hour.

Most women use an old t-shirt to wear. I am the messy sort so I color in the nude. I rip open the box and dump out all these tiny little bottles and tubes into the sink. I break open the instructions and am quite surprised to find BLACK GLOVES. I carefully read the instructions and pre-set my phone timer for 25 minutes.

I try to match the bottles and such up to the horrendous drawings in the instructions. There is writing but I can’t read it without my glasses and you can’t wear glasses when you are dying your hair.


So I put on the gloves and start my mad scientist project. Now I am familiar with hair dye. Normally when you get done mixing all of the bottles and ripping tubes open with your teeth, you get a whitish purpley or brown color. But no. This was POWER RED and it had the same color and consistency of BLOOD. So I start immersing this goop into my hair. It runs down my face and I am having Carrie flash backs. Or the Shinning perhaps. I look into the mirror and am expecting to see “Redrum.”
I do notice a bloody hand print on my neck and try to wipe it off before it too becomes permanent. SO with my head and upper body covered with red smears and goo I hit the timer on my phone. 25 minutes.

Looking around I notice my bathroom resembles a crime scene. What is a gal to do?
Take pictures of course. Now I am NOT good with selfies. My arms are not long enough. In fact I just bought a selfie stick the day before. But I am not running through the house naked and bleeding down stairs to get it.

SO 15 bad pictures later and one I could salvage, I am happy. So I sit on the toilet and play Plants vs Zombies 2 until the timer goes off.


Hop in the shower (this is when the naked part comes in handy and you don’t have to strangle yourself trying get a t-shirt off over your goo saturated head.)

I am rinsing out my hair and glance down at the dark red bloody water around my feet. I forgot to open the drain. And I really wish I had my camera! But Alias you will have to use your imagination.
Hop out and dry off. And let me tell you when they say POWER RED, they mean POWER RED. It looks like my head is on fire.

‘Till next time…

Sunday, April 5, 2015

PTSD- No Apologies Open Call for Submissions

22 Soldiers commit suicide every day.

That needs to stop.

It is our wish to share your story with others, so they know that they are not alone. I believe that PTSD is far more rampant than is projected.

Many dwell in silence. Living one day to the next.


For me writing is a release. I think it could help others as well. To purge your soul, free your heart and mind.
To tell your story.


We accept stories, poems, songs, art, photos. Anything you would like to share.
 Anonymous submissions are accepted.

Or if you need help writing, I have authors available to help.


Lemon Press Publishing
PO Box 459 Emerson, GA 30137

Introduction- By Lynn Hubbard

Some memories stay with us forever. I used to live in New Jersey. There wasn’t much self-sacrifice at our school. In junior high we had a guest speaker. The entire school was herded into the auditorium to hear him speak. There was much chatter ad mayhem as we fumbled for seats next to our friends. Once more or less settled, the Principal introduced to us a man.

He was different from the typical stiff tied puppet that was usually announced. This guy was not perfect, he had scars. This fact in itself caught our attention.

Then he began to speak, and we listened to his story. 

He had been injured in Vietnam. He was on a patrol boat on a river. The air was thick with smog and the river was even filthier. He stood on deck keeping watch, An enemy boat approached and fighting commenced. A phosphorus grenade exploded in his hand and ignited him. . He was thrown free from the vessel, and into the oil filled river. The river burned and so did he.

He ducked under the water to escape the flames, but the water was so polluted they would not extinguish. He started to sink, yet the fire still burned. He burned all the way down, and all the way back up as he swam for the surface.

Even then he had a zest for life. It would have been easy to just give in and be engulfed. But he wasn’t done yet.

Guided by the flames above, he broke through gasping for air.  He was pulled back onto the boat and the flames were beat out.

I can’t imagine the agonizing pain he must have went through just to live. But live he did. He recuperated, slowly. And fate brought him to my school. 

By now the room was silent. Each lost in their own thoughts. And then he started to yell. To yell about how we are wasting our lives. Lives that we have, due to the sacrifices of our soldiers.
It was at this point in time that the staff started to evacuate us from the room. They escorted us out and I could still hear him shouting out his message.

For us to Live.

That we have a purpose.

And then we were rushed down the hallways, and back to our safe little rooms.

Then it happened.

The teacher apologized to us.


I was pissed then, and I’m still pissed now.

So this book is being written for him. And for anyone who needs to be reminded that they have a purpose. 

That they need to live.

Living is so much more than just surviving.

Surviving is the easy part. 

Living is hard, but oh so worth the effort.

No Apologies.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Welcome Spring!

Welcome Spring

As a romance writer, I contemplate love a lot. It’s my job. 

In paper world it is easy to spot the hero. In real life not so much.

Everyone has a façade. Sometimes you have to dig down deep to find the real person inside. Sometimes they are even more beautiful, but sometimes they are blackened souls.

Every relationship is a risk. You risk losing a bit of yourself, or even your heart. Hearts are terrible sensitive things and are easily bruised or broken.

Too many people give up too much of themselves, and are left empty when it is over. Life is the eternal test with no right or wrong answer. It just is.

I am older and wiser than I used to be. I’m not as trusting, but I am trustworthy.

Relationships are not all about Love. They are about honesty, loyalty, companionship, passion, and fun. And should be a combination of such.

A good analogy is my dog. When I get home from work, my 50lb dog is ecstatic! She is so happy to see me. EVERY SINGLE DAY. That is the kind of relationship I want.

When a relationship is going south, you are not happy to see that person. They become an annoyance. And then dread. If you dread seeing your special someone it is time to move on. Seasons change and so do we.

People change. It is inevitable and not all relationships last. 

And your heart breaks. And you feel dead inside.

Like winter.

And like winter, coldness creeps in, and you lose hope. 

You doubt yourself. And everyone else.

But after winter comes spring. Spring is a time for change. To step out from the darkness and lift your face to the light. A warm breeze caresses your skin, and you realize that you are still alive.  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Dog Ears

Dog Ears

No no no. 

Not puppies. I’m talking about books.

It’s the things that make librarians and teachers cringe.

But I can’t help myself. I’m a flapper.

After every section I read I turn down a corner to mark my place.

Yes, yes, I know it is detrimental to the book. But it is MY book. And I like to use it as a guide, to mark my spot and see how far I have come. A milestone (or timeline of sorts) of my journey through the pages.

Each flip marks a section in which I had to return to real life. Some crisis or another like sleep, work, etc. Those pesky things that ruin our reading.

I like to read with no distractions. Very difficult these days. But, I read when I can. And when I need to stop.

 I Flip.

Yes, yes of course I have bookmarks! I love bookmarks, I collect bookmarks. But bookmarks are fallible. A book cascading from a sleepy hand to the floor and bam! Your place is lost. And much fumbling and searching ensues.

With dog ears, you can simply find your last point and move forward. It cuts out the chance of peeking too far ahead and ruining everything!

Plus, bookmarks are glorious things! They come in all shapes and sizes and wondrous colors. 

Why would you want to hide them in a book?