STRINGS: A LOVE STORY by Megan Edwards Reviewed by Daniel C. Lavery


STRINGS: A LOVE STORY by Megan Edwards  Reviewed by Daniel C. Lavery

I devoured my pre-publication copy as a classical music lover, and one who had an immediate connection with my wife the moment we met some refer to as a soul-mate. Megan Edward’s creative writing shown by spectacular descriptions and themes followed by a phenomenal ending makes a powerful combination. This review is but a skeleton of a much greater whole spanning the lives of two lovers in high school through many years of professional life, marriage, an ugly divorce and many vibrant surprises. STRINGS combines these with a unique classic musical instrument: "The Violin of Angels." We are soon greeted with an unusual love that survived extreme hurdles. Ted Spencer, a rich boy fell for a cleaning lady’s daughter, Olivia de la Vega. They played Lancelot and Guenevere in Camelot at a private school called Haviland with interference from his family who thought he deserved better, and much fickle fate thereafter. His mastery of the violin admitted him to Julliard but separated them when his parents interfered making her doubt his love as one of the many “strings” that obstructed their romance.

Olivia, a stunning beauty, and talented actress, introduced Ted to a different world of Celtic harps, a music festival, and hippies instead of the upper crust of society in which his parents sheltered him. This helped free him from the rigid control his parents and Classical music teachers stressed. At his home his Dad produced a sparkling diamond he had cut for Ted when he married someone acceptable. Soon Ted announced he wanted to marry Olivia and was going to Julliard, not Yale as his father wanted. Taking two cigarettes to lite, he handed one to Ted and informed him if he did, that was the last thing he would receive from him! His parents ensured Olivia would leave the scene by lying that Ted had a girlfriend he planned to marry and had a diamond ring for her. Naturally, she failed to show at a time Ted asked for her to join him at their secret shelter and disappeared.


(Megan Edwards)


As fate would have it, Olivia found work in Television and soon became a talented actress in Los Angeles, married, and named her daughter, “Theodora.” Meanwhile, Ted developed his violin expertise at Julliard, played at Carnegie Hall, and became Concertmaster with the Vienna Philharmonic. Fast-forward nineteen years when Olivia met Ted at a concert where he played Paganini’s “Last Caprice in A major,” his audition piece for Julliard, “he consigned to his heart along with memories of Olivia too melancholy to open.” Later when she visited during a contentious divorce, he bought a tiny porcelain ballerina that pirouetted before a mirror to “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” as a present for her seven year-old daughter, Teddy.


After another hiatus, Ted met Sophie Reinhardt who helped his career take off while they lived together noting her “pale blonde hair swirled in soft unruly curls to her shoulders” while “her confident grey-blue eyes met his gaze.” Divorced five years, she was free and helped his career blossom during their extended affair. So successful his career became from their liaison, he bought an eight bedroom three story home with four fireplaces at Westchester County in Sleepy Hollow next to his Rockefeller neighbor!


Soon Olivia’s letter from Malibu re-connected them. Her husband of ten years had died leaving her the entire contents of his study which contained an extraordinary violin: Joseph Guarnius…1742 HIS! She asked him to appraise this gift since he had become a violin expert and exclaimed, “It wasn’t the amazing Violin that made his head damp, but Olivia returning to his life!” When she arrived he set up his fiber optic camera. The remainder of the process unfolds like a Sherlock Holmes mystery revealing a violin, The Merino Rose, worth millions. Ted generously made a bequest of this gift to Teddy for her future. The spectacular ending on a beach at sunset, waves crashing, the sand turning gold, and the wind blowing in Olivia’s hair, left this reader in tears with Ted’s final words: “You and I have a symphony to finish.” Readers will want to order a copy to fill in the amazing details of this extraordinary and unforgettable fictional romance novel.


BIO: Dan graduated Annapolis, navigated a Navy jet, was carrier qualified, and earned NAO wings in Florida, and then a ship to Vietnam with 300 marines. He resigned, turned peace activist, and became a civil rights lawyer for Cesar Chavez's UFW, the ACLU, and private civil rights practice. His memoir, All the Difference, describes his change from a pawn in the military to a crusader for justice. (Author website)

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A Lucky Love by Chance

Dan and Joan with Shiva in Berkeley


We were both at Long Beach State

Met by chance for a blind date

Each of us was passing through

Looking for something to do


I saw your enchanting smile

And became quite beguiled

Wanting to explore its source

Pulled by your magnetic force

McGrath State Beach Sunset

We strolled down the sandy beach

Afraid I would over reach

Showed many a photo slide

Music for us to collide


We kissed I massaged your skin

Spent the night unrav’lin

I was leaving for Frisco

Asked wouldn’t you like to go?


You smiled and said yes I would

Our eyes and hearts understood

We had touched each other’s heart

Didn’t know we’d never part

Batman Aleksey at Two with Dan 1976

Three children all made us proud

Each gave their best to the crowd

Almost fifty years it’s been

Yes we would do it again!


Happy Birthday

My Dear Joan

Love Dan


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Farewell Barkley Devoted Friend


Squirrel Barkley

                        Wet brown Lab shakes and shimmers in the sun

                        Leaping from pool water streaks from brown blur

                     Teeth clutching red ball he lands on stone deck.


                        Rippling muscles over sleek fur jostle spraying water

                        Strutting chest out wagging raised happy tail

                        Brown eyes sparkle leaving paw tracks when he runs.

Squirrel Ginger and Barkley together near garden

  “Release! Drop!” We implore for another toss.

                        When set to retrieve he opens his jaw

                        Panting, and whining, urging us to throw.



We grasp and whirl curled rope of cherry sphere.

                        He dashes, leaps, and hurtles legs spread,

                        Crashes the surface his teeth on its mark:



                        An obsessive wild dance with reckless abandon.

                    His moist broad head fur glistens like a Grizzly’s.

                     He pursues the target into a rosemary hedge.



   Returns wafting a spicy aroma and

                        His intense glare demands, “Throw it again.”

                     He hears a siren and coyote-howls to the sky.





Tame, lovable, tenacious, and instinctive.

Loves all family members and friends

           We will pine for you pure devoted friend



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At an Old Hand I Sat Today

My wife was cleaning out some papers from her desk and ran across a poem that our eldest son wrote the year his grandmother and grandfather died. It still brings tears to our eyes when we read it. Just wanted to share it. We feel blessed to have such a sensitive and remarkable son.

At an old hand I sat today.

Listen Listened to the winded way

Leaves unfolded in their day

Once needed not let free

Once needed next to me

Once needed bodied lair

Once needed needless care

Grandpa can you hear me

Spoken words miss their goal

Hours, minutes take their toll

Lasting moments now go

Message in your bottle

Sent out at sea,

Find your destination be


Looked into her frightened eyes,

Saw her far and distant skies

Listen, Listened as she spoke

Many times my heart was broke

Many times I have awoke

Many times are many still

Many times enough to kill


Grandma are you grandma still,

Or does the life take that as well

Will you find me out one day

When my hair is light and gray

Hold my hand in lullaby,

Sit here by my side

Whisked away in rising tide.


At an old hand I sit today

 Listen, Listened to these songs

Twitching itching down my throat,

Fiddle fiddled up this note

Broke the candy coated coat

I need them as they pass their ways

Dancing, singing in their days.



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Billy Mitchell Jazz Pianist at the Sepulveda Universalist Unitarian Society

The Sunday Service of the Sepulveda Unitarian Universalist Society at the “Onion” June 21, 2015,  was marvelous. Billy Mitchell, a Black jazz pianist born in Buffalo, N.Y., spoke on his perceptions having grown up as the only Black in all his schools until his father, a Baptist minister, sent him to Atlanta, Ga. at 16 to grow up and find out first-hand about the "other" America out there. Billy refused to agree that it is all about race when people discriminated against him or others. His first experiences he would ask to be served a meal, or a drink at an all-white establishment. They would ignore him. He kept asking for a meal. He tried to make personal contact but noticed they would not look at him. Eventually, after he persisted asking for a meal the waitress served him one that was full of salt inside! Despite such experiences and his active civil rights life working with Stokely Carmichael, the horrendous shooting to death of 9 Blacks at the Charleston Church and years of other outrages directed at the Black community, he has a very positive attitude. He maintains it is all about perception and explained his optimism by first playing "Wonderful World" so beautifully to a standing ovation. He said that he is a student of history and that knowledge shows to him we have more people in our world now than ever who are trying to make a positive change for the better. "Oh yeah, there are so many bad incidents, it is awful, but is getting better. When you remember where we were in history not long ago. Slavery, The Civil War, World War I and II, and segregation. So much more hatred and killing have preceded where we are today. So don't let anyone get you down." He lamented the lack of music for our children in kindergarten, middle, elementary, and high schools where in the past our governments had music programs. He said that is a dismal development that he is addressing by funding scholarships. His website is He sponsors a Preparatory Academy at He will hold a concert in Pasadena July 5 and hopes many will come for an enjoyable afternoon.

Peace, Love, and Joy,

Daniel C. Lavery

Billy Mitchell.jpg

Billy Mitchell

Sepulveda Unitarian Universalist Society Onion        

The "Onion"

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