My Year with Sammy by Libby Sommer

Have you ever had, or known, or heard tell of a child who was amazing, beautiful, special, and ... difficult? Not just difficult, but impossible? Impossible to discipline, impossible to educate, impossible to fit in ... tearing her families apart ... yet unable to be slotted into any medico/psychological framework? And she was the most amazing, beautiful, gifted child that ever walked the face of the earth?  That was  Sammy. If so, I'm sure you'll want to read Libby Sommer's novel, "My Year with Sammy". It's just been published by a small publishing firm, Ginnindera Press, in Australia, but can also be bought as an e-book from Amazon.

There really are FEELINGS IN YOUR HEART you don’t even know exist until you have a child of your own. It’s a sensation without description. When our first-born finally arrived, it was the greatest day of my life. A fortnight after the expected time of birth, my wife was put into hospital, as the doctor was worried: the baby was too long overdue. Five days later, with still no signs of action, and on the doctor’s orders, the nurses began inducing the delivery. Two days after that, the baby finally deigned to arrive, but only after some twenty-four hours of labour. I was teaching the two dozen students in my one-teacher school at Cobbora when the phone rang just before the lunch break that day. It was Doc Campbell ringing from Dunedoo Memorial Hospital telling me I was the father of a boy. He also said both mother and child were well, but very tired due to the protracted labour. I had spent a week batching, but had known THAT day would be THE day; it was Friday the thirteenth after all, when else would it happen? dunedoo-hospital

River Girl

I lived at a place called Waterview, a lush, fertile valley, with a river swollen like a pregnant woman coursing through it. Despite the name ‘Waterview’, the Clarence River was hidden from sight at the point where I was brought up, because of the lie of the land. The irony was that there was water all around us, and yet none to be seen from our place. You could sense the water, though, caught in the humid air that wrapped itself around our bodies, buried deep inside the rich alluvial soil, and trapped inside plants and bulging green tree frogs.

About Rumi

Born June 03, 1207in بلخ / Balkh, Afghanistan Died August 20, 1273 From Wikipedia: Mawlānā Jalāl-ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī (Persian: مولانا جلال الدین محمد رومی), also known as Mawlānā Jalāl-ad-Dīn Muhammad Balḫī (Persian: محمد بلخى) or Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi, but known to the English-speaking world simply as Rumi, was a 13th century Persian (Tādjīk) poet, Islamic jurist, and theologian. Rumi is a descriptive name meaning "the Roman" since he lived most parts of his life in Anatolia which had been part of the Roman Empire until the Seljuq conquest two centuries earlier. Rumi's work are written in the new Persian Language. New Persian (also called Dari-Persian or Dari), a widely understood vernacular of Middle Persian, has its linguistic origin in the Fars Province of modern Iran. A Dari-Persian literary renaissance (In the 8th/9th century) started in regions of Sistan, Khorasan and Transoxiana and by the 10th/11th century, it overtook Arabic as the literary and cultural language in the Persian Islamic world. Although Rumi's works were written in Persian, Rumi's importance is considered to transcend national and ethnic borders. His original works are widely read in the original language across the Persian-speaking world. Translations of his works are very popular in South Asian, Turkic, Arab and Western countries. His poetry has influenced Persian literature as well as Urdu, Bengali and Turkish literatures. His poems have been widely translated into many of the world's languages in various formats, and BBC News has described him as the "most popular poet in America". (Wikipedia)

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way (Leo Tolstoy 1878)
Tolstoy's Impact
Tolstoy is a philosopher/narrator within his novel Anna Karenina.  He invites the reader to philosophize about happiness, as they read the doings, the thoughts and the feelings of his characters. The Oblonsky family's happiness  is destroyed by adultery and financial problems; the Kareninas' reputation is ruined by scandal; and even Levin’s happy marriage suffers from jealousy and ongoing arguments. “Love at first sight” is still popular in romance novels of our own time, as it was in Tolstoy's time.  Vronsky and Anna are immediately attracted one to the other. However, the narrator, as well as utilising traditional symptoms—red lips and shining eyes—adds a mystical and philosophical dimension to the lovers' first meeting. 

A Happy Childhood ... by the beach

Memories of Freedom and Security
As a kid, I lived in a treasured place and time. It was the forties and fifties in Brighton-le-Sands. Life was simpler then. Kids could—and did—play outside all day. The crime rate was lower, we were happy with simple things, and only came home when the street lights went on. The streets were much safer places and were the venue for many games. Back then, we drank water from the tap or from a hose, not from bottles;  nobody knew about the dangers of lead poisoning, or asbestos, let alone worrying about fluoride. We ate white bread, biscuits, cheese, real butter and bacon, untrimmed beef or greasy lamb chops, and we drank whole cream milk without any health issue qualms. Those were the days when we knew and trusted all of our neighbors, when we either walked or rode our one family bicycle everywhere we went. [caption id="attachment_12869" align="alignright" width="730"]historic-photo-of-brighton-school Historic Photo of Brighton-le-Sands School[/caption]