TEERA, A LIFE OF HOPE AND FULLFILLMENT

TEERA,

A LIFE OF HOPE AND FULFILLMENT

BY TEERA DE FONSEKA AND PATRICK MEISSNER

Review by Daniel C. Lavery (Bio follows)

map_of_sri-lanka

This unforgettable memoir takes you deep into the life of a woman born into a family of ten children on the island of Sri Lanka, thought of as utopia for those who travel. For Teera, named after a male child who died in infancy, Theodora, it was a youthful paradise, and later one of unspeakable tragedy. She changed it to Teera and was known by family as “Bubby.” Her parents escaped from Japanese zero raids on the island at Colombo near the south-western part of the island in 1942. They took refuge in a warm cottage near a beach with coconut trees. “Sea Breeze” was carved in a sign that gave tribute to the ocean and the serenity of home where Bubby was born in November of 1943.

SRI LANKA BEACH

Her parents were a loving, church-going couple, who joked that they were royalty because Papa was named Charles, and Mom, Victoria. They didn’t care that King Charles and Queen Victoria had died decades ago, or Prince Charles was a baby then. Her dad was an energetic architect who drove one of five genuine Honda motorcycles on the island. Of course he parked it in the living room to protect it from thieves. Her mother complimented him with her loving personality, grace, singing voice, swimming skill, and beauty.

Postage stamp King Charles

Teera’s active athletic youth was followed all too soon by a savage attack on her and her husband that changed everything. It killed her loving husband and left her with a hideous scar from cheek to cheek, “like a brown frown” that no plastic surgery could hide. All because of a piece of property a jealous criminal wanted for himself. That beast used a machete thinking he had hit her husband in the dead of night but slashed Teera’s face luckily not cutting her head off. Then he killed her husband, his intended target.

Ceylon Stamp 1954 with Queen

Her extraordinary memoir is also about deep religious faith that inspired her determination to make her painful journey to freedom despite repeated brutal episodes with her new husband, Maxie. He could not hold a job, was a liar and a drunk, beat her, and repeatedly threatened her life and put fear into her children.

Ceylon and India

The GOOD SHEPHERD SISTERS, especially Sister Finbarr, the Welcome House, the All Saints Church, some parishioners, and a few of her relatives, came to her rescue time and again from Maxie. This repeated abusive pattern usually involved his binging with alcohol instead of using Teera’s hard earned money from work to pay for the children’s school, followed by paranoid false accusations that Teera was seeing another man, a brutal beating, and forced relations. He created such an atmosphere of fear, Teera had to move from rental house to house to try to avoid him and send her children to relatives for protection. Despite this she worked for seventeen years for Browns Group.

Eventually, her elder brother Cyril, living in California sized-up the dire situation. He proposed she get a divorce finalized granting her custody of the children. Maxie had to sign his consent so she could qualify to come to the United States, and Cyril would sponsor her for immigration that would never happen otherwise. Eventually the plan would allow her to then sponsor the children after she had a job, a place to call home, and begin a new life.

Ceylon  image water and building

Surprisingly, Maxie agreed under pressure in jail, and off Teera sped on a flight to Los Angeles. Recall of her first view of freeways, shopping centers, and a metropolis is breathtaking—a classic example of a person used to a simple way of life in natural surroundings, suddenly transported into the modern world. She struggled working odd jobs, learned to interview better and drop her English accent, cleaned homes, but always keeps her faith strong by constant contact with a local church. Parishioners helped her find a solid job, she developed confidence, and invited her children to join her once they qualified for immigration. Her strength, constantly challenged by circumstances beyond her control, secured by her faith, and friendships, helped her climb an auspicious mountain. What a remarkable scene she creates when she welcomes her children to a new life in a country that promised opportunity to all willing to better themselves.

From the depths of despair to the height of euphoria, Teera’s life story presents how one woman overcame tremendous life-threatening challenges. She never gave up despite the odds against her becoming successful and her children ever finding a chance to flourish. This feel-good inspirational memoir grips us from the beginning and carries us through to the end as a page turner one cannot put down. Nothing compares to the truth of our human struggles in a real life story to grab our attention and shout “Hurrah” as Teera accomplishes a miracle beyond belief.

Bio: Daniel C. Lavery graduated Annapolis, navigated a Navy jet, and a ship, turned peace activist and became a civil rights lawyer for Cesar Chavez's UFW. His memoir, All the Difference, describes his experiences. www.danielclavery.com.

NOTE: Teera, is having a book signing Saturday  Sept. 5 from 2- 4 PM at Crown Books 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd #1340, Woodland Hills, CA 91367

PHONE 818 404 2291

There will be authentic music, refreshments, and Teera to share her inspirational story:

Here below is Teera and Dan at her book signing today where she and Patrick Meissner addressed the audience and a wonderful Sri Lankan soloist bellowed melodiously three popular vocals, at Crown Books. Sue served authentic food, with cookies, and refreshing drinks to a crowd of about forty. Teera's website is where you can find her book as well as on amazon.com: www.teeraslifejourney.com

Teera and Dan at book signing 9515

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