Gleaning Truths from The Fifteen Houses, a Novel By Jeanne Claire Probst

17274257Julianne Marguerite

Julianne Marguerite was one of many children born to her parents, Gerard and Edith. Unlike her other siblings who were always active and engaged in living their lives, Julianne Marguerite was a child who preferred the atmosphere around her to be silent…and rightly so for many reasons. One, she did not hear like her other brothers and sisters, and two, she liked being alone…it was quiet…and there was moments of contentment that came with being able to think while she observed the world around her.

Born into a bi-lingual family, hearing impairment made it difficult for Julianne Marguerite to make either language one she could call own. Although she was able to master her languages, it was done at great cost to her image as Edith would often punish her for not being able to repeat her lessons as quickly as her siblings leaving her to struggle with low self-esteem and feelings of shame.

With the aid of a hearing aid and being a visual person , as Julianne Marguerite grew, did master a language of her own, one that involved the words she did hear , body language and facial expressions and most importantly…the other person’s lips. She learned early on in life that even the eyes have a language all of their own.

When she became a teenager, Julianne Marguerite was given a guitar. At first, she had no idea how to make the strings work together to produce the music as she could hear it on the radio. Just twangs and more twangs. The guitar was a burden for her at first because it was another something she did not understand, and any sounds made were heard differently than when her siblings were hearing the same sounds.
It took a while, but with the aid of a music book with chords illustrations for guitars, Julianne Marguerite was able to learn where her fingers should be placed, how the strings should be strummed and eventually the miracle of these newly found sounds made their way to her heart. Finally, she had something that would allow her to express her feelings, good or bad. Even better was the fact that the guitar did not ridicule her because she played a wrong note or chord.

Julianne Marguerite was now also able to put music to words she had written and created her own songs. When she sang these for others she reaped a sense of joy and pride that comes from knowing you have something to offer to others…she had a “gift.” In time her sisters Chloe and Aude and eventually her mother Edith joined her when singing these songs together. It was the only thing they ever did that made them “look” or “feel” as if they were a family. It was the “strings” that allowed them to break down the barriers that prevented them to bond when they were younger…music.

The quite times Julianne Marguerite once enjoyed were now spent with her best “friend,” her guitar. Placing her ear on the body of the guitar when she played allowed her to feel the notes and when she learned to sing along with these, there was a kind of peace that only could be had when a person found something that they could connect with.

It would be thirty more years before Julianne Marguerite was able to understand her hearing impairment. With reconstructive ear surgery and the support of her doctor, she came to realize that she was not “deaf,” as she was often made to think. She was also not “stupid,” she had to learn differently. She was hard of hearing and simply did not hear as the rest of the people in the world around her. This knowledge had a profound impact on her future. More importantly there was the liberation from the chains of the lack of self-esteem and shame that encased her like a pea in a pod for most of the earlier part of her life. Music allowed Julianne Marguerite the strength and courage to eventually find the “real” person she was meant to be. The truth and her bond with music had set Julianne Marguerite free.

Jeanne Claire Probst
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~ Love Survives All ~

~ Love Survives All ~

By Jeanne Claire Probst

Tears fell from Elizabeth’s eyes, as she tried to catch them with her already wet tissue. She tried to hold them back, to be brave, but she could feel her courage wavering. The anesthesiologist left her bedside after going over her medical information, her surgical plan and the options that were available for her to make her comfortable during surgery.

She could see the surgical team gathering in the room across the hall and suddenly, despite having had weeks to prepare for this moment, she was scared. Even though her surgery procedure had been done successfully on hundreds of thousands of people, at this moment, it did not matter. She was still scared. Even down to the last few seconds, Elizabeth wondered if she had made the right decision.

A few weeks ago, she had fallen down the stairs and had broken her ankle. With the aid of screws and pins, the orthopedic surgeons were able to piece her shattered ankle bones back together.   But her troubles did not end there. Because she was a diabetic, infection had set in and evidence of gangrene was appearing around her wounds. Even with the strongest antibiotics available, it wasn’t enough to fight off the infection and the doctors made it clear that the area was dead; no life was left in the tissues. Her leg was going to have to be amputated to keep the infection from complicating matters that would eventually lead to her death. Continue reading

A Motivating Act. Poetry from Jeanne Claire Probst

Thought and Poem

 

I can’t tell you how many times I have looked around my neighborhood to see if there was something I could do for any of my neighbors, to see if there was a need. And I can’t tell you how many times I have held back from lending a hand because I just assumed that they had family that would help them.

 

Other times I have noted that, fear prevented my neighbors from interacting with anyone around them and to avoid contact, they would just hustle into their homes when they saw someone coming toward them. I understand their fear, because of the increase of break-ins and violence around us, so people are finding it hard to trust anyone…even a neighbor. So different than what it was like fifty or so years ago when I was younger and everyone knew their neighbors, their children, their pets and if they were sick or had a need.

 

As we get older, our pride may also get in the way of accepting help from someone else, especially a stranger. But worse than any of these, is the guilt one carries when they see a need and do not offer to help. Today I decided to do something nice for one of my elderly neighbors who recently had had a stroke. His smile was priceless and I had no trouble sleeping when nighttime came around.

 

What about you? Are you one to offer assistance when you see a need in your neighborhood? Share your thoughts with us…Jeanne Claire Probst

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