Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Story of the Ring

Since I first started doing book signings and school visits back in 2010, I have often been asked about the gold ring I wear on my right hand.  I am also frequently questioned about my connection to England and the reason I support a few British charities along with the American charities on my list.  With today's blog entry, I will endeavor to answer both questions with the story of the ring. 

When I was a teenager, my dream was to attend college in London with a secret desire to live over there for an extended stay.  In the summer of 1988, I spent two wonderful weeks over in England.  But unfortunately, for many reasons, I never did get to fulfill my dream and was unable to return.  During that short stay, however, I did spend a day attending Royal Ascot.  On a grassy field near Ascot, I glanced down at the childhood ring I had on my finger.  In one swift, impetuous moment, I removed the ring and tossed it up in the air.  It was a symbolic gesture on my part; it was my youthful way of promising that I would return again someday and that part of my heart would remain in England. 

Many years later, in 2009 I started Be the Light of the Party Foundation ( as a service project to uplift the spirits of the homeless and other disadvantaged groups by sponsoring special parties.  And twenty summers after that memorable ring toss, I made the decision to broaden the mission statement to include sponsorship of charities in England.  In the spring of the following year, my husband made a business trip to France.  He took the Eurostar train to London, got on the Tube, walked a few roads, and ended up on Brook Street at Links of London (  After some serious thought, he selected a beautiful gold cocktail ring from their Brit Lines Collection.  The Brit Lines rings with their famous links highlight the connections and bonds in a Londoner's life.  It was the perfect gift to celebrate my upcoming birthday, or so he thought, until he discovered that they did not have my size in stock.  But the very nice sales lady in the store took her own journey on the Tube to another Links of London.  An hour later, she returned with the ring that now rests upon my finger. 

So you see the ring, in many ways, is a labor of love - the love of a husband for his wife, the dedication of a woman in a jewelry store who loves her job, and the loving loyalty of a teenager who twenty years later fulfills a promise to "return" again to the land that holds a piece of her heart.  Today, a part of me "lives" in England through my involvement with British charities.  I have come full circle and have claimed back my ring from that grassy field and replaced it with a bond of servitude.  The knowledge, that children from Dandelion Time and Heel & Toe are benefiting from my books and that the homeless guests from West London Churches Homeless Concern (WLCHC) had a great party in 2010, is worth more than the weight of the beautiful gold links which now decorate my right hand.  Priceless! 

I included some photos with this post.  There are some photos of me wearing the ring, one of the store where my husband made the purchase, and one of two swans forming a heart that he took in London while waiting for the ring to be brought to Brook Street.  I also included a copy of a poem I wrote in 2010, celebrating Be the Light of the Party Foundation's first transatlantic event at WLCHC.  You can "click" on the photos to enlarge them.

Well, there you have it, the story of the ring!  I am now planning to visit England again for the first time since 1988.  My trip will most likely be near the end of 2012 or early in 2013.  I am looking forward to meeting all the wonderful people at Heel & Toe, Dandelion Time, WLCHC, and the British Stammering Association (BSA).  The BSA will be one of the dedicated charities for my next book.  And so the story continues .... 

The Ring

Today I give my ring to bind my heart,
A girl of eighteen
A grassy field in Ascot is my painter's palette
And the wind is my brush.
With a toss of my ring in the air
I paint love, eternity, and loyalty to this land.
Today I claim back my ring, to fulfill the promise.
The years have wrinkled my finger.
A city street in Chelsea, I am miles away and yet there
I am the white rose and the table is my canvas
It is colored with gold on chocolate and decadent buttercream cake
And I give my ring for the smiles of those in need.
Today I wear a new ring to remember.
It is bright gold with citrine and smoky quartz
It came from Brook Street, but now resides on my finger
Linked forever to the mural that decorates my heart.
It binds me to the girl on the grassy field in the land she loves
And to the forgotten, whose faces remain unpainted.


Toe Jam Book Launch

Hello Everyone,

Happy New Year! Hope you enjoyed the holidays. BounceU in Horsham hosted a special book launch for Toe Jam on Tuesday, December 20th. Children enjoyed "jamming" during Cosmic Bounce. Readings and signings were held throughout the night. My illustrator Carolyn Boscola and I had a great time. We received a fabulous response from all the kids. They loved Toe Jam and thought the story and illustrations were really funny. I had a photo taken with my special fan, Bronwen (see below). She remembered my visit and reading of Peacock Parade at her school and was excited to be a part of the Toe Jam reading and Cosmic Bounce. Thanks Bronwen and thanks to BounceU, Carolyn, and all the children and parents who attended the launch! A portion of the profits from the sale of Toe Jam benefits the children's charities Heel & Toe and Dandelion Time.