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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Hi Friends: I read a portion of my memoir about the Alaskan wilderness in a yellow panel truck with Joan, me, and our black Lab, Shiva.The occasion was IWOSC’s Reads Its Own on Sunday August 9, 2015 In the picture you can find me in the back row with a grey hat. Everyone brought their own unique, creative style. We all enjoyed the day.
Our first night we stopped at a beautiful lakeside campsite just across the Canadian border. After parking our camper at the top of a hill overlooking the expansive lake surrounded by pines, and conifers, we walked out with Shiva on a leash attached to her red collar as California Law required, gold name tag dangling, her black coat shimmering in the sunlight, and she whined and tugged.
“Take that leash off that dog!” the burly husband said with a smile, “You’re in British Columbia.” After unleashing Shiva she dashed down the hill and plunged in the lake with a glorious SPLASH. A flock of Canadian Geese scattered honking and cackling. Each black head and neck, white chinstrap, light tan breast, and brown back rose in the sunset transforming the spectacle from tranquil to cacophonous, yet picturesque. Shiva swam around, lunged out, and raced back to me panting with her pink tongue hanging out. “Good girl, Shiva,” I said, scratching her neck and petting her black shiny head. She looked up in gratitude and shook water all over me. Joan and our new camp friends laughed and then made a fire for a BBQ. A feeling of freedom, fresh air, and the smell of pine trees, filled us with vigor. A crackling fire, basted chicken breasts, and corn on the cob, put us in the mood for sky watching. The twinkling stars we barely saw in California cities burst forth in the Milky Way galaxy. The “Tea Pot” in Sagittarius and Scorpio’s tail sparkled. We soon were in sleeping bags with Shiva at our feet.
We drove through the pristine roads of British Columbia dotted with pines, oaks, and maples on our way to Prince Rupert. A Tlingit village that featured tall totem poles was celebrating a holiday and offered a canoe trip with a guide who told us their version of the creation story known as the Raven Cycle:
“Raven steals the stars, the moon, and the sun from Naas-sháki Shaan, the Old Man at the Head of the Nass River who kept them in three boxes. Raven transforms himself into a hemlock needle and drops into a water cup belonging to the Old Man's daughter. She becomes pregnant from this and gives birth to a baby boy. Raven cries until the Old Man hands him the Box of Stars, another with the moon, and a third with the sun. Raven opens the lid and the stars escape into outer space. He rolls the box with the moon in it out the door where it flees to the heavens. Raven waits until everyone is asleep, changes into his bird form, grasps the sun in his beak, opens the box, and the sun breaks free into the blue sky.”
“That’s a beautiful and interesting myth,” I said.
“It is not a myth. This is our truth. We teach our children what our ancestors shared with us. Never call the Raven Cycle a myth,” she reprimanded me angrily. Realizing I had put my foot in my mouth while seeking to learn about their culture, it occurred to me in awhile my clients in Alaska had their traditions and stories, which I would respect, and apologized to our Indian guide for using the word myth; but I had caused some damage. You can’t unring a bell.
Once we reached Prince Rupert, we boarded a ferry for the Inland Passage to Haines. We slept on deck chairs outside when the crew secured our yellow truck alongside other vehicles. After ninety miles we arrived at Ketchikan, known as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” home of all five species of salmon who inhabit the streams and waters of the Tongass for spawning, leaving their roe on the gravel. We took Shiva out for a walk along Ketchikan Creek, which flows through the town.
When she saw salmon leaping up the “fish ladder” they climb to spawn at the top, she barked and raced to the edge filled with an electric charge of energy. I feared she would jump in and directed her back on the path that followed the creek through the primeval forest. The gravel beds are the end of the salmon’s struggle and are so thick with numbers the shallow streams were black with fins and twisting fish. Shiva smelled the dying salmon that had spawned, hurtled over logs, and bolted through underbrush in a frenzy searching for wildlife. Sand hill cranes, trumpeter swans, black-tail deer, porcupines, and wolves roamed the area. Red cedar, yellow-cedar, mountain hemlock, spruce, and shore pine were everywhere. Nature had aroused Shiva and us with such energy, we chased our black bouncing streak laughing with joy. We rested under hemlock and spruce and gave our Lab food and water next to an alpine meadow covered with pink fireweed, blue lupine and yellow poppies. A Ferry whistle brought us back to reality.
After we got underway we saw killer whales and porpoises jumping and playing alongside the ferry. Bald eagles soared on thermals. Dall porpoises have black backs and white bellies resembling killer whales, but are much smaller, and generated a “rooster tail” spray visible for twenty feet. They were “bow riding”—a pressure wave like the blast of wind that follows a passing truck—they sidled up under the surface and rode inside the pressure wave.
At the next stop we left the ferry to see the capital of Alaska, Juneau. The mountains sloped down to the water where it rests along the shoreline. The Tlingit Indians used the adjacent Gastineau Channel as one of their favorite fishing grounds for thousands of years. The native culture, rich with artistic traditions, included carving, weaving, orating, singing, and dancing.
The Juneau visitor center presented a spectacular view of the Mendenhall Glacier, a massive mountain of ice with cracks and fissures that revealed tints of blue and gray. The sound of ice chunks tumbling into the water roared as the waves caused from violent forces shook floating icebergs sending ripples in the surface. The Mendenhall reached its point of maximum advance in the mid-1700s, while its terminus rested almost two and a half miles down the valley from its present position. The mighty glacier started retreating as its annual rate of melt began to exceed its yearly total accumulation. Its bulk now retreats at a rate of one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet a year. Global warming has accelerated the process so the glacier will disappear in several centuries.
(Excerpt from All the Difference, by Daniel C. Lavery)
Daniel C. Lavery's All the Difference, a tortuous path from a pawn in the military to a crusader for justice, will be featured and he will sign his book for buyers with other authors in Pasadena August 9, 2015: The author is pleased to announce he has been selected to appear at Vroman's famous bookstore in Pasadena for a book reading from IWOSC's (Independent Writers of Southern California) bi-annual event titled "IWOSC Reads Its Own"with other authors from 2-4 PM at Southern California's Oldest and Largest Independent Bookstore... Vroman's Bookstore-695 E. Colorado Blvd- Pasadena, CA 91101- Tel: 626 449 5320.
Dan's Memoir is available at Amazon.com and will be offering a discount on his memoir for a limited time on line. (Stand by for that announcement with details later). His book is available at Crown Books, 6100 Topanga Blvd. #1340, Woodland Hills, CA 91367, at the local authors section.
As a featured author on Amazon.com, the first six and half chapters of Dan's Memoir are available to thousands of readers to sample free of charge:paperback is available at http://www.amazon.com/Daniel-c-Lavery/dp/1482676532/. It is also available for the same free look inside on Dan's website at www.danielclavery.com and for Amazon's Kindle version at http://www.amazon.com/dp/BOOBNXHV9Q. Thirteen five star reviews are posted on Dan's website that features poems,short stories,commentary from a wide audience on pertinent issues, excerpts from his memoir, and media. Where appropriate his offerings include a wide variety of photos.
Ruthie’s Nature Lesson, by Daniel C. Lavery, an excerpt from All the Difference, Dan read at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena Sunday February 8, 2015 at "IWOSC Reads Its Own" presentation of various authors from 2-4 PM
Grampa found a large property he bought in North Miami he called “the ranch.” Mom took me there when I pleaded to take my new BB gun to use on a visit. I took target practice on mangrove and palm trees, rocks, and fences as I wandered around a few acres of undeveloped land with many trees, shrubs, and swampy areas. I imagined my adventure took me through a jungle.
Something blue covering the ground moved under some white mangrove trees near a saltwater swamp as I approached. Blue land crabs congregated there in the thousands appearing at first like a blue carpet. They frightened me because many had a large claw that looked dangerous, scurried around more quickly than I imagined, and resembled large spiders. Bigger than tarantulas, they had an outer covering that appeared a kind of armor. They scattered when I ran at them and shot my BB gun at the moving targets. War movies taught me about soldiers fighting with their rifles in World War II. Mom and grandmother Ruthie cheered me on when I marched around the dinner table singing military songs with my toy gun on my shoulder pretending I was a soldier. In the wild foliage, I carried my BB gun as if in battle and ran after the enemy crabs. They retreated lifting their claws in hopeless defense and scuttled under trees in a moist boggy area that reeked with an odd smell like dank garbage. Pursuing my fleeing enemy determined to win the battle, I aimed at these moving targets and learned to shoot ahead of the direction they scooted. Accurately killing many creatures, I stalked them around trees and shrubs in torrid heat. My face became sweaty and the putrid odor emanating from the wet marsh was annoying.
Backtracking in an easterly direction, I heard a lively chirping sound. The source came from a partially hidden small dark bird sitting on a branch in the shade. Silently creeping past a thick stand of hardwood trees about twenty feet away, I feared it would fly away soon so stopped my heavy breathing trying not to frighten it. With my rifle butt in my right shoulder and the barrel pointing at my singing target, I took careful aim and squeezed the trigger slowly when I saw part of the bird in my sights. POW went the gun. The bird fell to the ground without a sound from my direct hit. Silence followed. I raced for a view of the target of my spectacular shot.
As I approached the fallen bird, I saw his colors slowly display themselves, lifted his limp body in my hand, and held him in the light of the sun. He had a deep blue head, a blotch of bright yellow on his back, and green on the wings followed by a patch of black. His chest was red. An orange circle wound around his black eyes and his beak was white-gray. None of these colors was visible from a distance. My shot had killed the most beautiful bird I had ever seen. Sobbing because my shot killed one of nature’s most splendid creatures, and miserable for my cruelty, I stumbled home.
Ruthie saw the tears rolling down my cheeks and hugged me. “What’s wrong dear?”
“I just killed this beautiful bird with my BB gun.”
“Why that’s a painted bunting. I can see you are sad for ending its life. We must never kill anything nature created unless it is truly harming someone. That bird contributed his beauty and singing to our backyard. All living creatures have a place in nature we should respect.”
“I feel bad I killed it.”
“I know you do. Come, let’s bury the beauty.”
We dug a hole in the moist ground close by, placed his body in, and covered it with dirt. Ruthie put a tiny wooden cross on the spot from twigs to remember him.
“At first I used my BB gun just to take target practice, but then shot some blue crabs in the back pretending they were my enemy.”
The expression on Ruthie’s face changed. "Oh Danny!" She pulled out a book from her library, thumbed to an article: “You killed quite an interesting specimen that delivers its babies in salt water as larva who become baby crabs in forty-two days. The blue land crab determines direction using vibrations, landmarks, prevailing winds, and light during the day, and by identifying the brightest part of the horizon at night. Females carry their eggs on their skin for two weeks before depositing them in salt water. Aren’t they amazing? Promise never to mistreat our land crabs again.”
“I’m sorry I killed any.”
“Now look out the front window and tell me what you see between the rose bushes.”
“A giant spider in a huge web! It looks scary.”
“Use this paper, sit at the table, and sketch the Golden Garden Spider’s web.”
After drawing for a few minutes, I realized my fear of spiders might have made me kill it if Ruthie hadn’t caught my attention. Spending three hours depicting the web that wound in different directions and shimmered when the sunlight reflected off some of it, caused me to admire the fascinating insect. Ruthie saw the care I took in drawing the complex strands and patterns the large spider had woven.
“You have captured that Golden Garden Spider’s magnificent web. Let’s frame your drawing so we can appreciate what you drew. Now you won’t ever kill something man could not create.”
Knowing Dan had a life story with an important message of how one could change from a pawn in the military to a champion for the poor and powerless, motivation was never a problem. He retired as a civil rights attorney for farm workers and the poor from 1972 to 1976 and opened a private practice concentrating on civil rights, consumer protection, employment discrimination, and criminal appeals. Beginning with an autobiography for his outline he discovered from informal critique groups that he had much to learn about the craft of creative writing. This enhanced his understanding of authoring a book that would reach a wide audience. Creative writing classes at local community colleges enhanced his memoir as the writer developed his art from authors of many genres including memoir, poetry, and fiction. After five such courses he winnowed his sprawling story to a focused forty chapters and an "Afterward" that received strong support from writers, professors, friends, his editor, and many readers who wrote five star reviews. All the Difference will resonate with many readers, especially the baby boomers who lived through the same period, and is pertinent to all readers showing how a naval officer cheated death and defied the odds learning determination, integrity, tenacity, resilience, and litigation expertise regardless of what obstacles confronted him on his path to a productive life assisting others less fortunate.