I Live in a Madhouse-The Next Generation

•April 5, 2013 • 3 Comments


This weekend I had the privilege of spending time with my two grown children and my grandchildren. I say privilege, because with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is indeed difficult to find time to spend with my children, much less my grandchildren. To find a time when we all can be together is priceless.

About a month ago I saw an ad on Facebook for tickets to the White House Easter Egg Hunt. They were to be given out in a lottery and there were only two days until the deadline to apply. So I thought, “what the heck? Let me send in my email address.”

Low and behold I was chosen.

Two weeks later four tickets arrived in my email box. For two weeks we talked on the phone of nothing else and made plans for our big trip. We discussed the possibility of seeing the Obama family. Easter baskets were bought and everyone on my children’s jobs and my grandchildren’s schools and day care knew that we were going to the White House for Easter.

I was amazed when on the day we left, I told my 3-year-old grandson that we were going to see the president, and he said “Oh, we are going to Obama’s house.” I don’t think I knew who the president was at 3 years old. Sorry, Ike.

The journey was flawless and hotel was great. We found out after we got there, that the Easter Egg Hunt is not an Easter Egg Hunt. There was a series of tables and tents set up and many activities for the young and old.

The most disappointing aspect of the excursion was the fact that we had just missed the Obama family. You would think they would have waited for us.

Nevertheless, this was a once in a lifetime experience, I don’t think anyone would want to brave the crowd a second time, and a good time was had by all. The best part was family time. As it has been said on a television ad … PRICELESS!



I Live in a Mad House-You just never know!

•March 17, 2013 • 5 Comments

I have known since the fourth grade that my profession would be teaching. The only detour to this plan was the type of teacher I would be. I wanted to be a teacher of handicapped children. In my childish mind anyone could teach “normal” children, I believed I had that special gift to teach special children. The name of the detour was Hampton Institute, now Hampton University. I saw the Hampton Institute Concert Choir perform while I was in the later grades of high school. One concert, and I was in love. I wanted to be on that stage one day in the worst way. The only problem was Hampton did not have a special education major. Thus my plans were changed and I majored in music. Vocal music to be exact, and it was everything I wanted it to be. I loved chorus in high school, (La Guardia High School of Music and Arts) and Hampton, under the direction of Roland Carter took my love to a new level. Upon the completion of four years, I was standing in front of my own music class. I was told: “We got rid of three teachers already, how long you gonna be here?” Not exactly the greeting I was expecting. Not one to be defeated, I stayed in that school for thirteen years, and things did get better.
In the second school things got even better. Here when you told a child to sit down, they really did it. The first time this happened I was in shock, but that subject is for another blog.
Recently I opened my old tweets, and noticed one that I did not think I had responded to. I took a chance since it was over six months old, and was delighted to receive a quick response. The tweeter was a former student from the second school. He informed me that not only had my influence had an impact on this life, but that he had become a very successful vocal music teacher in his own right. Of course that was one of the best tweets I had ever received. I estimate that over a thirty-five year career, I have taught about ten thousand students. To each one I hoped to bring a love of music. I tried to let them know that there is a world of music beyond what they hear on the radio or at the local club, or at a party. I am more than gratified to know that I made a small difference in the life of at least one of my students. This particular former student is a junior high school chorus teacher with a chorus that has been rated superior by the state in which he teaches. This old retired teacher is mighty proud. You just never know where your seeds will spread and take root. The fact that I spread them is enough.

As a postscript, I would like to add that within in past year I made contact with my former junior high school music teacher. She seemed a little disappointed that I was a teacher, she was also a former opera diva, and thought that I should have had a career  on a stage. What she failed to realize was I was on a stage for thirty-five years  with the best audience a person could have. To teach a child is to change the world.

My student's students.

My student’s students.

Sometimes the Madhouse has a Window

•March 6, 2013 • 4 Comments


Dear Friends, and all of you who have been kind enough to follow my musings for almost a year now. Today I have something very special to share with you.

Today I opened my mail and found a very special letter. I have seventeen new friends. Last week I visited the second grade at Maurice W. Downing school and it was my delight to regale them with Rag Doll Tales. Today I received thank you notes from one of the classes. To say that they are precious is an understatement. Each one has a beautiful picture that can only be appreciated by the eyes of a parent or teacher. Lucky for me, I am both. Most said the same thing, “Dear Mrs. Augustin, Thank you for visiting M.W. Downing school. However three students from the Brave New World of thinking stepped outside the box and wrote their own thing. I would like to share these with you.

On the first one, the outside has a flower and the words True Friend. The inside is as follows.

Dear Mrs. Augustin, Thank you for visiting M.W. Downing school. I really like you. I am wondering that if you can make more books, so I can read them. You are kind, funny, and a good story teller. I wish that you can stay at our school much more longer. You are a true friend.  Your friend “C”

The second one has a picture of two people on the front. One person has an arrow and says Mrs. Augustin, the second person has an arrow and says “H”. The inside reads as follows.

Dear Mrs. Augustin, Thank you for visiting M.W. Downing school. I wish you could come to our school another day. I love reading the book Rag Doll Tales, it was really fun having you here!!!!!!!!  Your friend, “H”.

Last but not least, the cover of the third one says, ” Thanks for coming.” with a big smiley face. On the inside I found:

Dear Mrs. Augustin, Thank you for visiting M.W. Downing school. I really liked your book The Rag Doll Tales. I order one of your books! Thanks for coming. Your friend “B”.

Now if you are reading this and, it doesn’t melt your heart you must be made of stone. Of course Kudos to the teacher for encouraging these children to be so kind to an old lady. If I ever wondered why I write, I received seventeen good reasons today. These letters have touched my heart and I hope they have reached a little part of yours.

Leaving the nest

•February 22, 2013 • 5 Comments

A year and a half ago, my youngest moved out. It was time, she was grown and working. Most of her friends had moved out of the nest years ago. Her brother had left years ago, and both my husband and I survived. As father time creeped up upon us all, I remembered a poem  I had written many years ago while she was a teenager. I would like to share it with you now. It is especially for the parents who are facing the end of their children’s childhood.

My childern of yesterday.


Letting Go

My mind tells me I must let , although my heart resist.  The object of my clinging heart, will never know how much she’s missed.

I never truly realized my mother’s great sacrifice. But now with my own daughter, I pay the difficult price.

My mom and I were as close as a mother and daughter could be. She was a loving mother who took such pride in me.

I did  my best to for-fill her modest expectations. Although my dirty bedroom did often test her patience.

She said ” You will go to college” of that there was no doubt. She supported all my dreams to help me take that route.

But I never realized the price till now, she paid. When she packed me off to college and sent me far away.

The loneliness she must have felt, she never said a word. And when I finally married only jubilation was heard.

Now my own dear daughter is yearning to stretch her wings and grow. I know it’s only natural, but at times I must say NO!

I know that villain father time will all to soon take her away, But as I rise each morning, I pray, ” Father not Today!”

My children of today.



Cherish your children while they are young, they grow up much too fast.


•December 3, 2012 • 15 Comments


This past weekend I had an extraordinary  experience. I had a book signing in Philadelphia.  This was not exactly my first book signing, because the week before I had a book signing in church. However this was my first book signing in a real bookstore.

When I arrived I was greeted warmly and given a table to display my book. I sat and waited for the public to  discover me and extol me with praised for such a fine work. I waited, and I waited. It soon became evident that this was going to be a LONG afternoon.

About an hour into the process my relatives began to come. God bless them. There were hugs, congratulations, and lots of conversation. This might not be such a long afternoon after all. Then…….. my niece Tippy came.  She entered the store and immediately announced that ” This will not do. No one can see you from the hall, people are walking by and don’t know you are here!”  Unlike most people who see a problem and tisk, tisk, and do nothing about it, she took a book in her hand and proceeded to extol the virtues of my book Rag Doll Tales to everyone in hearing distance. In my mind she was the answer to a prayer. She stopped old men in their tracks, young men out for a stroll in the mall with someone special, families, children, and everyone who dared to walk down that section of the mall. Many came in the store to take a look, some even bought books, some even bought MY BOOK! At the end of four hours I was almost out of books. Add to this scene more relatives, some of whom I had not seen in many a day, and the afternoon literally flew by. Not only that, Tippy made such an impression on the store owner that he took her phone number and asked her to come and “work” all his future book signings. Now that is what I call a good day.


Rag Doll Tales is available at: Amazon.com. Booksamillion.com and Barnesandnoble.com. 

Rag Doll Tales is on Facebook, please stop by and click LIKE.

Good Bless and good reading.

Rag Doll Tales

•August 4, 2012 • 11 Comments

I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a retired teacher, and I AM AN AUTHOR

Rag Doll Tales.  

The night was cold, as cold as her feelings. A young slave mother named Mabel sewed all night. Her candlelight creation yielded a crude Rag Doll, a gift for her youngest daughter, Natty. She knew when the sun rose, she would see her child for the last time. Her heart was heavy. She named the doll Eugene, the name of Natty’s father. This way, she thought, the child would always remember her roots.
As the wagon drifted out of sight the young child said, “Her name is Eugene Mamma Mabel”—a remembrance of both her parents.
Thus began the story of a Rag Doll named Eugene, and the legacy of a family from slavery through civil rights.
Rag Doll Tales follows our little heroine Eugene from her creation during slavery, emancipation, jim crow, and finally civil rights. Through her eyes we see the history of an African-American family, their struggles and triumphs. It is an easy and most enjoyable read, that I hope will give many children and adults pleasure. Rag Doll Tales is available at: Barnesandnoble.com, Booksamillion.com, and Amazon.com.
Recommended for ages 8-12
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who have been reading my blog these past three months. Your comments have been wonderful, and inspiring. To clarify one thing, I do not know how to do anything but write. I use wordpress.com and they do everything for me.  All I do is pick out the background and write. I have not ignored many of your questions, I just don’t know how to answer them. Also I ask you please not to repost my original work. Everyone is invited to my blog to read and hopefully enjoy. Several readers have asked about this. I would also like to invite readers to visit my other blog:vonniesmuse.wordpress.com This is a blog of inspiration.  May God bless you all.
For further information about Rag Doll Tales, or any questions I can be reached at:
Facebook-Yvonne Augustin (authors page) Please visit and LIKE
Sample Rag Dolls for free. The first story, The Rag Doll is available at:
If you like it try the book, available on Amazon.com, if not, thank you for trying my book. In any event God bless.

I Live in a Mad House-OMG, it’s a ….

•July 27, 2012 • 32 Comments

New cell phone owner and family.

We have all had those moments when someone surprised us with something that was absolutely the best thing we ever thought we could get. Reaction was anything from dropping to our knees and thanking God and the benefactor, to an uncontrolled explicative that you didn’t mean for your mom to hear.
My OMG moment came at the age of 20. I had gone to europe with my college choir, and upon my return my mom met me at the airport. As we walked through the parking lot, I could not located her reliable old green Ford and my bags were getting heavy. She suddenly stopped behind a little gold car and said “here it is!” My eyes nearly popped out of my head, and I had to cover my mouth so she wouldn’t hit me in it, as I gazed upon a brand new Plymouth Gold Duster. My first car. I screamed, I cried, and hugged her all at once. It was truly a moment I will never forget.
I was reminded of that moment yesterday, when my son presented my eleven year old grand-daughter with her first cell phone. She was sitting in the back seat of my car, and needless to say, I was glad we were not riding in a convertible. I do believe she would have jumped right out of the car. This was definitely her OMG moment, one that she will remember the rest of her life. As we traveled down the hot streets of Brooklyn, she regaled us with: “OMG, it has a stylus just what I wanted, OMG it has a touch screen”, and “OMG it’s an Android, ” not to mention that she mentioned about one hundred, eleven year olds, that she would be adding to her phonebook. I smiled to see her so happy, but before we parted for the day, I reminded her of a saying I originated when her dad and aunt were small. ” Good girls/boys get everything, and bad girls/boys get nothing” Of course there were qualifications to that statement, I explained that if they wanted a pony, or a car at ten years old these things were not going to happen. However as long as they did what was expected, their best in school, and tried not to be monsters at home, their dad and I would do everything in our power to make their lives happy. I remember it took awhile for this to sink in, especially with my son, but once they realized that we were serious it was a system that worked well in our house. My grand-daughter was already familiar with the saying, because my son had already passed on these words of wisdom to the next generation.
The ah-ha moments, the OMG moments, the once in a lifetime opportunities, they are what memories are made of.

When was the last time you gave someone an ah-ha, or OMG moment? These special moments benefit not only the receiver, but the giver as well. What could be better.


A definite OMG moment. As a nation we should all be proud.