In Memoriam – Matthew Morgan – Jan. 5, 1927 – May 4, 2020

Matt on the Great South Bay
Matt on board the Lauren Kristy, a paddle wheel boat at the Great South Bay, Long Island on one of his friend’s wedding anniversary parties.

It is with sadness that I announce the passing of Matthew Morgan on Monday, May 4, 2020. He was 93. He is survived by his wife, Rosalinda Morgan and their two sons, Matthew R. Morgan and Alexander R. Morgan and a daughter by his first marriage, Marianna Paolini and three grandchildren, Nina Paolini, Beth Paolini and Claire Paolini.

Matt was born in New York City to Robert W. Morgan and Carol Kobbé Morgan, daughter of Gustave Kobbé, an opera critic for the New York Herald Tribune and author of Kobbé Opera Book. He was named after his great uncle, Matthew Morgan, first minister to Russia. He grew up on the Long Island South Shore, in East Islip, NY. After he married the second time, he moved to the Long Island North Shore, in Oyster Bay, NY.

At age 8, he went to boarding school at Malcolm Gordon School in Garrison, NY and then to prep school at Storm King School in Cornwall on Hudson, NY. Upon high school graduation, he enlisted with the U.S. Navy and served on U.S.S. Fiske for three years. After the war, he went to Harvard University, Class of 1950 and then to New York University where he obtained his MBA in Finance.

He worked on the floor of the American Stock Exchange, and then the New York Stock Exchange as a floor broker. After 25 years on Wall Street, he got tired commuting and went on to become a tax accountant.

He loved the water and his family always had a boat when he was growing up. He loved cruising on his boat on the Great South Bay. His last boat was Alice V., a 45-ft clam boat, now on exhibit at the Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville, NY. He was well-traveled and loved to read. He was the only person Linda knows that read the whole series of The Story of Civilization by Will Durant, all 11 volumes.

Matt was not a rich man but possessed great wisdom, rich in character and integrity. He was a great disciplinarian to his sons, very strict with their upbringing and their school activities and taught the boys excellent work ethics. Linda remembers the time when in elementary school, he told the boys’ teacher that if they misbehaved in school, they were authorized to punish them. In high school, all their tests had to be countersigned by the parents and so Matt will read them and signed off with comments to take points off if their spelling and grammar were wrong. You could hear the boys said, “Dad!” “They had to follow grammar rules, not just in English class! It’s the only way, they’ll learn how to speak correctly.” At home, table manners were important at family meals. He reminded the boys all the time to sit up straight, no elbows on the table and chew your food with your mouth shut. Matt was that kind of parent and it paid off in later years.

 

Alex Graduation Party
At Alex’s Graduation Party in the garden

 

He was kind and enjoyed helping others, always volunteering and very supportive of his wife in all her volunteer work, especially with the rose societies, both in New York and in Charleston. Matt took pride in their rose garden of about 200 roses in NY which was the venue of fundraising events at their Annual Ice Cream Social for 20 years in Oyster Bay. He did his part in the garden, digging the holes and Linda took over from there. He enjoyed sitting in the garden and loved the beautiful roses.

He was a member of the Sons of the Revolution (descendants of those who were in service during the American Revolution in 1775-1783) and an active officer of the East Norwich-Oyster Bay Kiwanis Club for years. He served at various school boards, from his boarding school and prep school to his children’s school boards. He was involved at their sons’ sports teams, having coached his sons’ winning teams. He was a tough coach but they always won and the team loved him. He was the treasurer of the interreligious group in Oyster Bay, where they had toy drives and food drives during the holidays. When we left for the south, some of their friends said, “What will Oyster Bay do without the Morgans?” of which he replied, “They’ll survive!” At Whitney Lake, after they moved south, he was a member of the Finance Committee of Whitney Lake during the early years. He would be more active had it not been for the fact that he was diagnosed with Acute Kidney Disease five years ago.

He was easy-going, had a great wit, had loads of hilarious verses which he recited in unexpected moments. He possessed a quick and dry sense of humor. He was at ease in the company of both the poor and the rich and made it easy for them to talk to him. He had that infectious laugh that everyone loved. He’ll be remembered by some people as “Lou Holtz” which he had an uncanny resemblance. He even got a picture from Lou Holtz himself last year after Lou found out about Matt being mistaken for him.

Never in his life did Matt thought he’d make it to his 90s, but Matt made it to 93 and had a great run. He died a few days before their 50th wedding anniversary (May 29).

Due to coronavirus social distancing, there will be no wake. J. Henry Stuhr Funeral Home is handling his cremation and he will be buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY at a later date.

He’ll be greatly missed!

THE IRON BUTTERFLY – A Memoir by Rosalinda Morgan

THE IRON BUTTERFLY – Coming Soon at Amazon.com

Release Date – June 12, 2015

You can pre-order your copy at http://www.amazon.com.

butterfly_front

The Iron Butterfly is a gripping tale about the intense devotion and ordeal of Regina Buendia, a young mother who suddenly finds herself all alone and penniless with nine young children to support after her husband died in the pre-WWII era. Facing a bleak future, she has to find a way to tackle a male chauvinistic society where men still rule the business world. Will she be able to break through the barrier?

As the Great Depression affected the colonies, she is now faced with new concern – how to survive with business suffering and money being so tight. She then finds herself in a new adventure but not all is rosy. As her children grow up, she is faced with new dilemma about her children’s changing attitudes towards married life.

Just as she thinks she is getting ahead, a major natural disaster happens with terrible consequence to follow. Then her problems become insignificant compared to what was about to happen – the attack on Pearl Harbor and how the war in the Pacific affects their very existence.

An inspiring story of faith, hope and daring ambition.

MY FIRST YEAR AS A WRITER

It has been a year since I published my first book, “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”. In the course of the year, I have learned a lot about the publishing industry and how it works. I subscribe to the Writer’s Digest, read blogs and books about writing and publishing.

I’m a late bloomer. I published my first book at 69. I wish I had done this when I was younger. This is my third career. I was an accountant for 32 years, a real estate agent for 11 years, and now a writer. I have a lot of catching up to do and so I want to make the most of my time. I enjoy writing and seeing that finished product is a joy unto itself.

I am proud to see my book in print. It was originally intended for my family to chronicle the life of my parents, how they met and their life during the war. It ended up as a historical novel based on their story. It is a big achievement for me to have done it while my mother is still alive. She’s 91. To see how happy she is reading her story is worth a million dollars.

Last November, I joined the group for the NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) challenge. I sat by my computer banging away the required 50,000 words in a month for my second book – “The Iron Butterfly”. I finished at 56,607. I’m now in the process of editing the book and it has grown to 65,500 words so far and I’m half way editing it.

A year later after I published my first book, I did another milestone. I have been thinking of creating a website for my neighborhood for a while and I finally launched it. That makes two websites with my name on it: my personal website and my neighborhood’s website. I have three blogs: my author’s blog, my gardening blog, my local rose society blog and there are other countless websites and blogs I’m involved in. My name since I started real estate business in 2000 has been on the internet and more so now that I am a writer. I read, write and blog as much as I can and on my leisure time, I garden and take care of my 40 rose plants. It’s a wonderful life!

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS ON JAN. 1 THROUGHOUT HISTORY

Throughout history, there are some significant events that happened on the first day of the year.  Here are few of them:

1622 – Papal Chancery adopts Jan. 1 as beginning of the year

1660 – 1st entry in Samuel Pepys’ diary

1673 – Regular mail delivery begins between New York and Boston

1772 – First traveller’s check issued (London)

1776 – General George Washington hoists the Continental Union Flag

1788 – Quakers in Pennsylvania emancipate their slaves

1797 – Albany replaces New York City as capital of NY

1808 – Congress prohibits importation of slaves

1818 – Official reopening of the White House

1847 – Michigan becomes the first state to abolish capital punishment

1852 – First U.S. public bath opens in New York City

1862 – First U.S. income tax goes into effect

1863 – Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery issued by President Lincoln

1880 – Building of Panama Canal begins

1892 – Ellis Island becomes reception center for new immigrants

1902 – 1st Rose Bowl game (Pasadena, California) (U of Mich-49, Sanford-0)

1907 – Theodore Roosevelt shakes a record 8513 hands in one day

1908 – First time ball signifying new year dropped at Times Square

1912 – Sun Yat-sen forms Chinese Republic

1913 – Post Office begins parcel post deliveries

1914 – First scheduled airline flight, from St. Petersburg to Tampa, Florida

1934 – Alcatraz officially becomes a federal prison

1935 – 1st Sugar Bowl & 1st Orange Bowl

1954 – Rose & Cotton Bowl are 1st sport colorcasts

1960 – Johnny Cash plays first of many free concerts from behind prison bars

1968 – Evil Knievel fails in his attempt to jump the Caesar’s Palace fountain

1971 – Cigarette advertising banned on radio and television

1975 – Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell, and Mardian convicted of Washington Watergate crimes

1977 – First woman (Jacqueline Means) is formally ordained as Episcopal priest

1978 – Pres. Ford signs 1st major revision of copyright law since 1909

1985 – U.S. first mandatory seat belt law goes into effect (New York)

1990 – David Dinkins is sworn in as the first black mayor of New York City

1993 – Cigarette advertisements are banned in NYC’s MTA

1994 – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) goes into effect

1995 – Last “Far Side” by cartoonist Gary Larson

1998 – All California bars, clubs & card rooms must be smoke-free

2000 – Gisbourne, New Zealand population 32,754 is first city in the world to welcome in the new millennium

2002 – The Euro becomes the official currency for most of Europe

2008 – A New Hampshire law legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples comes into effect.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!

Joining the National Novel Writing Month Challenge

I joined the throng of writers for the National Novel Writing Month competition for November 2013. I heard of it last year late in November but it was too late to do the challenge. This time, I was determined to challenge myself.

This challenge is a way of making you stay focused on writing. You have to write, write, write, every day until you reach your goal of 50,000 words at the end of November. When I have a certain goal staring at me every day, I am forced to do something about it. The challenge is to finish a 50,000-word novel in a month. That means you have to write an average of 1,667 words a day. 50,000 words is no small feat but if you break it down to a daily count, it is quite attainable. I have written essays of 1,667 words or more but a story of 50,000 words is a bit of a challenge in a month’s time and you have to write daily. This is where I have to stay focused on my story. My brain has to work constantly on my story but I’ll still have to try to blog also when I have a free time. The reason for this exercise is to get you in the habit of writing every day. 

I had an idea on what to write before the clock rolled in on the night of Oct. 31 at 12:01 AM. Putting it on paper was another matter and 50,000 words were a lot of words in a month. I started writing on Nov. 1st when I woke up. Early morning is the best time of writing for me when the house is very quiet and I am all alone with my thoughts.  So on Day 1, I typed in 1,742 words. Not a bad start. Yesterday I put in 1,983 words for a total of 3,725 so far. We’ll see what happens next.

So cheer me on. I need some encouragement from my friends.

Copyright © 2013. By Rosalinda R Morgan, author of “BAHALA NA (Come What May”.

All rights reserved.  Joining the National Novel Writing Month Challenge 

If you missed the free promotion of my book on Oct. 20, 2013, you can still borrow “BAHALA NA (Come What May)” at Kindle Lending Library anytime.

SAMPAGUITA, The Philippine’s National Flower

Image Countries have adopted flowers as national cultural symbols. The United States has the rose; the Netherlands, the tulip; Japan, the chrysanthemum; Austria, the edelweiss and Ireland the shamrock. The Philippines have several national symbols: the carabao (water buffalo), the narra tree and sampaguita. Sampaguita or kampupot was adopted by the Philippine government as its national flower in 1934 by the then American Governor General of the Philippines, Frank Murphy, through Proclamation No. 652. Filipinos string the flowers into leis, corsages, and crowns. In warm climates, the flowers bloom all throughout the year and are produced in clusters of 3 to 12 blooms at the ends of the branches. The species name “sambac” seems to derive from “zanbaq,” the Arabic word for jasmine. The name sampaguita evolved in turn from “sambac” through the Spanish colonizers of the Philippines, where this name was common.

 Below is a conversation between Benjamin and a florist that appeared in “BAHALA NA (Come What May)” about sampaguita:

 “What a lovely scent!” Benjamin muttered. “Is that sampaguita?”\

“Yes, it is,” the florist said.

“I thought they only have one row of petals. This almost looks like a rose.”

“The plant bears either a single flower, a row of petals, or flowers with doubled petals, bundled at the top of the branches and look like small white roses and are exceptionally fragrant.”

Benjamin put his nose again on the bloom and asked, “Do they bloom year round?”

The single flower of sampaguita blooms year round, has white, small, dainty, star-shaped blossoms, which open at night and wilt in less than a day and has a distinct sweet fragrance. It does not bear seed, so it is propagated through cuttings. The Philippines have different domestic species of jasmine growing wildly.”

“How long have they been around? I always remember seeing them everywhere I go.”

“Sampaguita was believed to have come from the Himalayan region during the 17th century. Sampaguita has taken root in the Philippine folklore and religious rites.”

Sampaguita or jasminum sambac, the Philippine’s national flower, is a subtropical evergreen creeping vine reaching up to 2 to 10 ft tall and very fragrant and is used extensively at Flores de Mayo as a garland and in arrangement. It is mentioned in many legends, stories and songs. It symbolizes a whole series of virtues: fidelity, purity, devotion, strength and dedication.

Benjamin looked around, seeing there were no customers around, put on his beguiling smile and asked, “Isn’t there a legend about sampaguita?”

“Yes, there is and it is fascinating.”

“Tell me. I would love to hear it.” He looked around again and still there was no customers yet except him.

“Gladly. Since we are not busy yet, why not.”

The florist began…

There was this young beautiful princess called Lakambini and after her wise father died, she had to take over his kingdom. But she did not know how to govern and there was a danger that the kingdom would be invaded by the neighboring rulers. She fell in love with a young unselfish prince, Lakan Galing, from another kingdom who was ready to defend her kingdom against the invaders. On a hill above the sea when the moon was bright and full, they both embraced each other and promised to love thru eternity. “Sumpa kita.” I promise you.

Lakan Galing was not satisfied with just watching and guarding the kingdom of the princess. He wanted to pursue the enemies. “If the enemy does not come, then I will seek them.” He left with his men on his ships and looked for the enemies. Lakambini was anxious for his return. Every day she went to the hill looking out to sea to find if her love was coming back. However, she waited and waited in vain. Lakan Galing never returned.

A short time later, she died of a broken heart. On her deathbed, she asked to be buried on the top of the hill where she always waited for him. Shortly thereafter, a vine with small white, pearl-like blossoms grew on her grave with a very sweet fragrance. When the moon was full, the leaves rustling in the wind echoed the word of the princess, “Sumpa kita.” The flower was then called sampaguita. This is what the people saw ever after during the month of May.

“That was very sad but totally romantic. I love it. Thank you for telling me about the legend.” Benjamin sighed and bent his head and smelled the flower one more time. He thought of the lady in his wallet.

“You’re welcome. Maybe you might want to buy your girlfriend a plant.”

“I wish I can. I’m sorry. I have no girlfriend. None yet anyway.”

“I can’t believe it. You better get to work on that one.”

Benjamin smiled and waved goodbye.

Copyright © 2013. By Rosalinda R Morgan, author of “BAHALA NA (Come What May”.

All rights reserved.   SAMPAGUITA, The Philippine’s national flower

 

 

Book on Batangas

I’ve  always been looking for books about the Philippines and came across “Battle for Batangas” written by Glenn Anthony May while reading “Honor in the Dust” written by Gregg Jones. I thoroughly enjoyed both books. This was the first time, I saw a book written about Batangas besides my book “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”. I might be wrong but I noticed that not much has been written about Batangas and this book was an eye-opener for me. I learned some history of my hometown that I never knew.

There were people in the book that I’ve  never heard of. In school while I was growing up, we learned about Apolinario Mabini, the sublime paralytic and Miguel Malvar, the brave warrior that fought the Americans to the end but there were other important people from Batangas mentioned in the book who fought bravely against the American invaders. Basically I was interested in looking up if my great uncle was mentioned anywhere in the book. My mother’s uncle was shot by the Americans, I was told by my mother. Interesting enough, my husband’s uncle was mentioned in the book. He was a colonel stationed in the Philippines at that time. What a small world!

All the events from the time Aquinaldo surrendered and the subsequent struggle of Malvar to keep the war going was detailed in the book. The struggle that the Batangas people had to endure fighting for their independence are well written. While most provinces were already under the American rule, the people of Batangas remained steadfast on their belief to gain their independence and fought to the end.  While “BAHALA NA (Come What May)” deals with WWII, “Battle of Batangas” and “Honor in the Dust” are about the Filipino-American War. A very interesting trio of history.

Copyright © 2013. By Rosalinda R Morgan, author of “BAHALA NA (Come What May”.

All rights reserved. Book on Batangas

Taal Volcano – A Complex Volcano

Taal Volcano, a complex volcano and known as the lowest volcano is one of the smallest active volcanoes in the world. It is situated in the midst of Taal Lake, in the southern part of Luzon in the Philippines, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Manila, in the province of Batangas. It is located between the towns of Talisay and San Nicolas in the province of Batangas.

Taal Volcano, was once a huge volcano towering at 18,000 feet. It seems small now but it was one of the largest volcanoes in the world. The volcano has erupted several times, causing loss of lives and devastating damage to the areas surrounding the lake. Thirty three eruptions have been recorded since 1572 at Taal, mostly on Volcano Island. The impacts of these eruptions were largely confined to the nearby areas with occasional violent eruption such as the 1749 eruption that reached the Metro Manila area and accompanied by strong earthquakes.

Taal volcano has a crater containing several lakes of many-colored boiling liquids. Taal Lake is often referred to as “the lake on an island on a lake on an island”. Right in the center of the island is the main crater of Taal Volcano that holds a sulfuric lake. Taal Volcano is one of the active volcanoes in the Philippines, all part of the Pacific ring of fire. It is famous for having an island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island in the Pacific Ocean. Quite a description and that’s what makes Taal Volcano unique.

Since the formation of the caldera, subsequent eruptions have created another volcanic island, within the caldera, known as Volcano Island. This island covers an area of about 23 km., and consists of overlapping cones and craters. Forty-seven different cones and craters have been identified on the island. Volcano Island contains a lake about 2 km across, called Crater Lake. Within Crater Lake is another small volcanic island, called Vulcan Point. Vulcan Point is frequently cited in the Philippines as the world’s largest volcanic island within a lake on an island within a lake on an island, namely, Vulcan Point within Crater Lake, on Taal Island within Lake Taal, on the island of Luzon. Are you confused yet? It’s a brain workout!

Within the island are four craters. The main crater is in the center of the island while the dormant volcano crater can be seen at the edge of the island. The third and fourth craters are called “Twin Craters” which were formed during the eruption of 1965. I was still in the Philippines at that time when that happened. I remember when I heard the news. I was working for Upjohn Inc in the Philippines when the president of the company who was an Australian rushed out of his office with a camera and said he was off to see the Taal Volcano erupting. He said it was a rare opportunity for him that he did not want to miss. You can view the eruption from Tagaytay ridge. Actually, Tagaytay Ridge is the rim of the volcano! When the volcano was 18,000 feet high, Tagaytay ridge would have been only about a sixth of the way to the top of the volcano!!

Copyright © 2013. By Rosalinda R Morgan, author of BAHALA NA (Come What May.

All rights reserved. TAAL VOLCANO

Little unknown part of Philippine-American War

Honor in the Dust is an eye opener. I lived in Oyster Bay for 40 years and I never heard about the events mentioned in the book. All I heard was TR’s role with the Rough Riders in Cuba. Honor in the Dust changed the history. This is an unknown and hidden part of Philippine history and I am appalled at the atrocities of the U.S. soldiers stationed in the Philippines under Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency and the way it was ignored and covered up for fear of political fallout. After reading this book, I look at Theodore Roosevelt in a different light.

The events in Samar, the resettlement camp in Batangas, the “water cure” are things generations of Filipinos should know about and be a lesson not to be repeated. Tyranny is the worst thing a country cannot and should not endure. Filipinos are freedom loving people. I can say that wholeheartedly about the people of Batangas where I came from. They are known for their bravery but they are the friendliest and most hospitable people on earth. They will share you everything they have – their food, even their shirt if you need it.

By Rosalinda R Morgan, author of BAHALA NA (Come What May).

Excerpts from BAHALA NA (Come What May)

Here is an excerpt from BAHALA NA (Come What May), a WWII novel of faith and survival:

On the evening of December 22, they made it to Paniqui, Tarlac on the way to the provincial capital of Tarlac. It was a good decision that they did not take the road to Lingayen. Delfin had the right instinct to avoid the area. They could be right in the face of danger. They were extremely lucky because that day, Dec. 22 at 2:00 A.M., General Masaharu Homma, Commander-in-chief of the Japanese forces in the Philippines, with his large fleet of warships and 43,000 soldiers landed on the palm-lined shores of the Lingayen Gulf, 120 miles north of Manila. There was heavy fighting but in the end, the American and Filipino troops were outnumbered and overpowered by the Japanese. Some of the Filipino scouts retreated to the mountains.

By this time, Benjamin and his group were already way ahead of the Japanese. But the Japanese were advancing toward Manila.

At 4:30 PM the same day, Dec. 22, Gen. Douglas MacArthur decided to declare Manila, an Open City in a futile attempt to save it. He ordered all supply depots and storage tanks razed. Manila was known as the Pearl of the Orient because of its majestic buildings and palm-lined boulevards. To be an open city, it meant it would not be defended and hopefully could be saved. In the meantime, stores were being looted of everything. Manila was in total chaos.

On December 23 Gen. MacArthur finally decided to implement War Plan Orange that called for withdrawal of his forces to the Bataan Peninsula where they would wait until help from America arrived. He didn’t like the idea but he had no choice. He had to abandon Manila so thus began the withdrawal as lines of trucks and troops moved along the dust covered roads leading to Bataan.

General MacArthur together with President Manuel L. Quezon would later retreat on Christmas Eve to the rock fortress of Corregidor, an island at the entrance of Manila Bay where he would direct his troops. It was a moon-lit balmy evening but Manila was dark and quiet when MacArthur and Quezon sneaked out and headed for the safety compound of Corregidor. It was not a safe haven, they found out later on.

Benjamin and his group walked at a steady pace for another two days. As they were nearing Tarlac, they were hearing explosions close by. There were more explosions it seemed. Looking further out, they could see clouds of black smoke billowing up in the sky, then more explosions. Every so often, they would stop on their trek and waited till the explosion stopped. It just went on forever, it seemed. It could not possibly be too far because it sounded too loud. They were getting very nervous. They knew heavy fighting must be going on somewhere nearby. They could smell the gunpowder. They were hoping they would not encounter the enemy on the road. The road was very busy at certain sections but they had not seen any Japanese troops. They were mostly American soldiers and Filipino soldiers going the other way. At around 4 PM, they hastened their pace before it really got dark. They were determined to reach the provincial capital of Tarlac.

The name Tarlac derived from a tough weed called tanlac or tarlac growing in the wilderness north of San Fernando. Tarlac was founded in 1686 and in 1860, the Spaniards made Tarlac a constabulary zone to protect the settlers from the mountain tribes. However in 1896, Tarlac was one of the eight provinces that revolted against the Spaniards. In October of 1899, General Emilio Aguinaldo, the president of the revolutionary government transferred the seat of government to Tarlac. A year and four months later, the United States took over the province and established a civil government there.

When Benjamin and his group arrived in Tarlac, there had been heavy fighting there for at least two days. That explained the explosions they were hearing before. Over 700 American, Philippine and Japanese soldiers died in that battle.

They were looking for the municipal building where they usually stayed for the night when they heard the roar of army trucks and a band of Japanese soldiers approaching in their direction. There was no time to run away or hide from them. They knew the Japanese soldiers saw them. If they ran, chances were the Japanese would fire their guns. Better to stay calm. Still, there was that fear that they could get shot. Some of the Japanese soldiers got off the trucks and with their bayonet-tipped rifles brandishing away waved at Benjamin and his group and told them to stop.

“Stop.”  Benjamin heard them say.

‘BAHALA NA (Come What May)” is available at http://www.amazon.com/author/rosalindarmorgan, http://www.amazon.co.uk in paperback and Kindle.