September 28, 2017

My Stroke: I'm Still Here

It is interesting that my last blog was posted on April 15, 2017. I suffered a stroke the next morning on, of all places, I-95.

It was Easter morning and I went to pick up my mother. En route home, traffic was light.

I remember looking down at my hand shaking on the console. In the distance, I heard my mother screaming, "Bonni, pull over! Bonni, pull over!" Unbeknownst to me, I was having a stroke. She pulled the car over and we crashed on the side of the highway.

Two Good Samaritans stopped. They were college-age - the man had long hair, and the woman had a knit cap on - ran up to the car. The only thing I remember was watching them run back to their car. They must have seen us slowly crash on the side of the highway since it was my right side that was numb. They called 911.

They saved my life. (Seriously. THEY SAVED MY LIFE. If you see anyone in a white car with the description above, please let them know.)

Watching them run back to their car is the last thing I remember, except for a brief rush of an ambulance crew running me into the hospital. I watched this from above. Was I dead?

I awoke in ICU. Two days later. Unable to move or speak. My family was around me waiting for me to wake up from the surgery. I later learned that I initially went to Stamford Hospital. They gave me a "clot buster" and I was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital who could better handle a stroke like mine. They used something called a Lazarus procedure whereby they use a tool which goes up through the groin and captures the clot in a mesh net. Yale-New Haven has only been doing the procedure for two years. TWO YEARS!

So much has transpired since: ICU for 3 days, 4 days where I graduated from diaper to walking assisted to the bathroom, and then walking (assisted) in the hallway. This followed by 2 weeks of in-patient recovery at Phelps Memorial Hospital.

My rooms have been like a floral shop. I received so many flowers and gifts. I have a pile of cards, literally, 8-inches high. Once home, beloved friends have visited me. I feel the love.

I am five-months out (really six, but I was on my butt for an entire month). People tell me that I look good and that they would never know I had a stroke. I'm in speech, PT and OT. I have weakness on my right side. My right arm is killing me. I am fluent in my head but not when I speak. I feel stroke-y. But ...


April 10, 2017

So Inocentes

My close group of friends and I are tethered to one another's film and television recommendations. 

One of the friends in this club of cinephiliacs recently recommended "The Innocents" as a must-see movie, that it was powerful and poignant, and that it was now available on Netflix. I searched the Netflix line-up and could only find "Los Inocentes," which takes place in 19th century Argentina when a man returns to his family's plantation after 15 years and relives a violent past, slave abuse, and evil spirits.The movie was better than meh, but I don't highly recommend it.

In a later comment the following day, my friend wrote something about the doctor being incredible. I quietly wondered, "What doctor?" 

It was later clarified that my friend was recommending "The Innocents." (Not the other one.) And yes, I completely agree. The film is powerful and poignant. The cinematography and lighting are superb. The story is inspired by a real story about 1945 Poland when a young French Red Cross doctor who is sent to assist survivors of German concentration camps discovers Benedictine nuns in advanced states of pregnancy during a visit to a nearby convent in Warsaw, Poland. 

Now I know what doctor my friend was talking about! (Because the one in "Los Inocentes" was a walk-on with no real character development. The one in "The Innocents" is a brave savior.) 

This Innocent story reminds me of another one when a good friend from college invited me and Andrew to the Broadway show, "The Book of Moron." Although we had already seen "The Book of Mormon," we thought "The Book of Moron" would be a parody. Let's go!

When we got to the theater, the marquee read, "The Book of Mormon."

It turns out that my friend had made a typo in her subject line. She left out the "m" in "The Book of Mormon."

So we saw "The Book of Mormon" a second time. I highly recommend it.

April 6, 2017

Joan Silbersher, La Doyenne du Funk, Closes Her Legendary Antiques & Tools Shop in Scotts Corners

Did you ever discover a shop where you could find everything? And if you couldn't find it, you didn't need it?

That was Joan Silbersher's shop, Antiques and Tools of Business and Kitchen, a mainstay on Westchester Avenue in Scotts Corners, Pound Ridge, N.Y. since 1990. You could find antique pulleys; mid-century casserole dishes and match books from long-closed nightclubs and restaurants; fishing equipment; sail boats; musical instruments and sheet music; medical tools from the dark ages; rotary dial telephones; and more and more and more. To welcome both collectors and browsers, Joan had a jar full of gummy candy on the right as you walked into the shop. On Sunday mornings, you'd hear WNYC radio blasting with either classical music or host Jonathan Schwartz and his retro selection of show tunes.

In my book, POUND RIDGE PAST: Remembrances of Our Townsfolk*, Joan said people enjoyed going to her shop because "... they like the feeling of things that are old -- really old -- no reproduction, and no phony stuff. You go to some places and there are ten urns, all identical. You know it's all phony, brand new, reproduction. So the kind of person who likes my place is sort of down-to-earth."

As Joan closes the shop's doors for new ventures, we salute her many successes as a contributing resident and businessperson of Pound Ridge. She galvanized the group of people who created the Pound Ridge Tennis Club; started The Country Shopper newspaper; launched an early beautification effort to have flower boxes on the avenue; initiated the Sunday farmers' market, second Sunday antiques markets and the annual town-wide yard sales (including maps with sale locations/days/hours). For pedestrians, cyclists, and a general rest spot, Joan instituted the fountain and benches in front of the former Bank of America, as well as the restriction for a 3-hour parking maximum in the town's business district. And ... who didn't bring their children to her annual Halloween parade and Christmas walk?  

A dedicated and outspoken Democrat, Joan also encouraged everyone to be participating voices in American democracy, both on the local and national levels. 

Joan Silbersher -- La Doyenne Du Funk -- will forever be a Pound Ridge icon. Her spunk, sassiness, intelligence, and wit will surely land her into an exciting new chapter. 

We send Joan a million good wishes!

#  #  #

POUND RIDGE PAST is available at

Booksy Galore in Pound Ridge; Red Fox Gallery in Bedford;

 The Reading Room, and Little Joe's Books in Katonah.

April 1, 2017

Tree-Bearing Pasta ... Who Knew??

On this first day of April, we are grateful to Ticino, Italy, for the sheer magic and brilliance of their culinary discovery, the Spaghetti Tree.

Click here ... and grazie!

                                                                                                                                          (Happy April Fool's Day ;-)

March 28, 2017

My Huffington Post -- "My Husband and His Car Keys: Not a Good Marriage"

“What’s for dinner?” “Has anyone fed the dog?”, “Where’s the other sock?” are frequently asked questions in many households. In mine, though, the most asked question (by my husband) is, “Has anyone seen my car keys?”

To read more, click here or forever hold your peace.

                                       You'll laugh!       

                                                                              You'll cry!

               You'll wonder, "Why did she marry him in the first place!??"

March 20, 2017

George Bria, Longtime Pound Ridge Resident & Gentleman Extraordinaire

I'm saddened to hear the news that George Bria passed away. It was my honor and privilege to interview him for my book, POUND RIDGE PAST: Remembrances of Our Townsfolk.  In the chapter, "On 'Stone Steps' and Remembrances of Mary," John talks about his adventures as a journalist for The Associated Press in their New York bureau, and then overseas as a correspondent in Italy during World War II.

"In Rome, during the war, I met up with Paul Brauer, a doctor in the U.S. Army, who was then Arlette's husband. We were in Rome together for about a year. Out families knew each other from stateside," he recalled.

As fate would have it, Arlette was George's wife Mary's best friend. They grew up in the city and together attended Brooklyn Friends, a Quaker school. Arlette came to Pound Ridge as Mary's best friend in 1929. George came to Pound Ridge as Mary's suitor in 1937. After Mary's passing, it was almost destiny that he and Arlette, then a widow, would marry in 2000.

George was a master gardener and storyteller. It was my pleasure to write about him in Pound Ridge Past. Here are a few pages from the interview ...

* To read more about George's remarkable life, copies of Pound Ridge Past are available at
Booksy Galore in Pound Ridge; The Reading Room, and Little Joe's Books in Katonah.

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