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Author of POUND RIDGE PAST, Stroke Survivor memoirist, HuffPost contributor, and “Bonni Brodnick Blog” -ger (

Scissor Kicks Make a Splash

I felt weightless as I scuttled to the edge of the pool. With my speech at a new, slow cadence that I had trouble getting used to, I explained to the water aerobics teacher that I had a stroke.

So, if I was a little slow with the lunges, twists, and v-kicks, that was why. She assured me that the class is perfect for rehabilitation and total body strengthening.

On any Monday and Wednesday at nine o’clock in the morning, you would catch me standing in four feet of water with a bunch of ladies in one-piece swimsuits. Was water aerobics that alluring that I found myself in a class at the exact time my colleagues were getting to the office? What would they say if they saw me? Probably something encouraging, like “Brava, girl. Go get ‘em!”


Photo by Bonni Brodnick

“Blue Skies,” “I’ve Got the World on a String,” and “Hound Dog” were all part of the singer’s repertoire hired to entertain residents of The Maplewood at Strawberry Hill, where my 90-year-old mother lives. (She’s the one on the left.) The garden was a sea of wheelchairs and walkers as he sang to an audience of octo- and nonagenarians. When he got to “New York, New York,” I lost it. This year, this song has been especially evocative.

“These vagabond shoes
They are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it
New York, New York

I want to…

Make It a Snap for Those You Leave Behind

Photo by Pero Kalimero on Unsplash

It was an uneventful Thursday until my best friend called to say her mother had died unexpectedly. My friend and her brothers were in shock … and totally in the dark about what to do. Their mother, who had divorced years ago, left no instructions, no plan, and no direction of her final wishes. What kind of funeral did she want and where did she want to be buried? What do they do with the house and the cars? At this time of great grief, my friend and her brothers were overwhelmed with next steps.

After the funeral and burial…

Talking on the Phone is Cool Again

Photo by Patricia Santos on Unsplash


It was my best friend calling. Another BFF called late-afternoon. Two in one day. Then another best friend called the following day. My hairdresser even called me the other night.

Notice I’m saying “called,” not “texted” or “emailed.” They actually did what we used to do before the advent of cell phones or computers: Talk on the phone.

They called to see how I am. What am I doing? How’s work going? What are the kids up to? How is your 90-year-old mother? The conversation was a general schmooze for ten or so minutes to distract from everything we are all facing: a Coronavirus pandemic that brings us to ten-months-plus in near-lock-down-panic and more than 410,000 souls passed.

Speaking with friends in real-time is a great diversion…

The First Rule is: Make pretend there’s no Coronavirus

The Big 3–0! It was my daughter’s thirtieth birthday. Since we’re in the mix of a pandemic, we decided to have a “Spa Day” at home. Our outfits included matching satin (shiny polyester) pajamas, a white bathrobe (with the waffle fabric, just like a real spa), and, to top it off, terry-cloth turbans. Soothing spa music and aromatherapy diffusers were blasting. Decorations included “Happy Quarantine Birthday!” and “Made in 1990” banners dangling from the stairs. Signs that read “Stay Home Stay Safe” and “Happy Quarantine Birthday” were reminders of the 2020 time and place. On every flat surface, i.e., …

Gratitude Lights the Way

Photo: Michael Kogen

It was Easter Sunday morning almost four years ago. I was picking up my then 86-year-old mother and bringing her to my place for the afternoon. On the way home, while driving on Interstate-95, I had a stroke. I wasn’t feeling stressed. I had no numbness or weakness in my face, arms, or legs. I was fit and healthy. I wasn’t stressed, confused, lightheaded, or dizzy. I didn’t have a headache. The truth was, I FELT NOTHING.

As the stroke was happening, my mother, who was in the passenger seat, panicked. She snapped her fingers in front of my face. There was no response as I kept driving, my hands gripped to the wheel. She screamed, “Bonni, pull over! Pull over!” I did hear that in the distance, but didn’t react. I wondered why she was telling me that, and looked down at my right hand, shaking in the console. Then my mother did something heroic: she highjacked the wheel and sent us crashing into a guard rail.

Such began my long journey into the strangeness of…

Celebrate SQUIRRELS on their own special day

Photo by Yiran Yang on Unsplash

Just when you thought the Biden-Harris inauguration ceremonies were enough of a high for one January 20th, don’t put away the champagne glasses just yet.

The party continues into the next day! On January 21, every year, it’s Squirrel Appreciation Day.

I’m thankful for many things, and my list runneth over, but I never thought squirrels could be counted among the top. It was Christy Hargrove, a wildlife rehabilitator in North Carolina, who founded Squirrel Appreciation Day to make us aware that food sources were scarce for them in mid-winter. …

Photo: Bonni Brodnick

I woke up this morning feeling paralyzed. Unable to move. Wondering, “Why does it feel like the beginning of the pandemic? In early-March 2020, when all the world stopped and we were forced to close down our lives and go into lockdown? When it was sort of adventurous to have my husband work from home every day. When there was that video that went viral showing how to wipe down groceries and rid them of Covid germs. Packages just delivered were either left outside or in the car for a few days until they were safe. …

Bonni Brodnick

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