Book Report


John Robbins, the son of the founder of Baskin-Robbins, grew weary of the effects of eating ice cream daily and felt destined to change his whole life style, much to the chagrin of his father, who very later in life embraced his son's decisions.   Robbins wrote a book called, "Healthy at 100" .   If you haven't read it, it is a great book that delves into healthy living styles of different cultures.

The book is not so much about eating, diets, exercise as I thought it would be.  It's about the effects of changing of his life style. The whole overview of his book focuses on how you can dramatically increase your life span and your health span - at any age. That is enough to get anyone's attention.

Robbins' discovery in a new life found that diet and exercise alone do not help people live beyond 100. "The quality of personal relationships is enormously important".  He cites medical evidence about our personal interactions, and proclaims that loneliness has more impact on our life span than smoking does. His book is about wisdom, hope, courage and common sense. And dispersed generously along the way, it is about love.

And how love can save your life.

I focused on a brief synopsis that Robbins uses to make a point about love. It only takes three paragraphs and three sentences on page 277 in a section called "What Matters". Having never heard of this story before, I researched it because of its love impact and offer it to you in the 'matter of love'.

This is an old story, perhaps even a legend, although the Castle of Weinsberg exists to this day.

Weinsberg is a town in the north of the German state Baden-Wurttemberg.   Founded around 1200, it is noted for its wine. The town's name is derived from the German word "Weinberg" which means vineyard.   Around 1000 AD, the Weibertreu - or Wein Castle was established on a mountain trade route running from Heilbronn to Schwabisch Hall.   Whether this a legend or true story, the  castle was founded around 1200 and is situated in the Heilbronn district.

One day in the royal court in Germany, nearly a thousand years ago, the Duke of Welf accidentally brushed the foot of the Queen when he bowed before King Konrad III. The king became so angry at this insult, that he admonished the Duke in front of the Duke's men. Offended and embarrassed, the Duke declared he would never again pay any tribute or tax to the royal crown. Furious, he stormed out of the palace.

It did not end there. In retaliation to punish the Duke, the King sent his royal army to surround the Duke's castle. Since the castle provided home and shelter for their entire families, servants and followers, the King knew it was only a matter of time before the people trapped inside would run out of fresh food and water. Then they would have no choice but to surrender.

The trapped Duke of Welf, an ancestor of Charlemagne, prepared for a long siege. He had already stored a fortune of gold and silver inside the castle, and they were well supplied with food and other provisions.

The Duke planned to use secret tunnels to the city of Weinsberg to buy whatever they needed. He hoped his friends in Weinsberg would send word of his plight to opponents of the King and they would bring a force of soldiers to come to their aid and rescue.

King Konrad III and his troops, became impatient after a few weeks, and sent a messenger to the Duke demanding the surrender of everyone in the castle - all of the Duke's men would have to die by the sword, but the women and children would be free to go.

The Duke of Welf flatly refused these terms. Furious, the King ordered all roads and pathways surrounding the castle to be barricaded. He sent soldiers to search for tunnel entrances and when they were discovered, he filled them, blocked them, and stationed soldiers by each one.

Back inside the castle, food and other provisions were quickly running out. From the top of the castle the Duke could see that soldiers guarded all the pathways. A quick inventory revealed that the stores were nearly depleted. The outlook was grim - the people inside the castle knew they faced starvation.

A frustrated King Konrad III sent another message . If everyone in the castle did not surrender that very day by nightfall, he would set the entire city of Weinsberg on fire and subject all its inhabitants to the sword. The situation was desperate.

It is not known who hastily gathered a meeting or who came up with a certain plan. It may have been the Duke of Welf or it may have been his clever wife, the Lady Uta. It may have been anyone. But before sundown, a messenger emerged from the castle with a letter addressed to King Konrad III. The letter read:

We, the women of the castle, humbly realize that our fate is in your hands. We ask only that you allow us to leave at sunrise tomorrow with our children and whatever we can carry on our backs. For this we entreat you and submit our lives to your mercy.

The King Konrad considered the proposal and the fact that he had pledged that he would let the women and children leave in peace. So what If they took a few pocketfuls of valuables. He would be hailed as a wonderful and merciful king. Besides, he would have the vast fortune of the Duke for his own use. He sent the messenger back with his royal approval.

The next morning at sunrise, the castle gates creaked open. Out stepped the women with their children behind. But that's not all that emerged from the castle. Carried on the backs of the women were their own husbands, while on the backs of unmarried women were their own brothers or fathers. Each woman staggered under the weight of her burden while the men, sputtering with embarrassment on the backs of their womenfolk, struggled to keep from slipping to the ground.

The King found this funny and laughed but his soldiers were outraged and called for their execution. But the royal word was given and the women were allowed safe passage as well as their beloved men.

According to legend, the Duke and his men were so grateful that they renewed their loyalty to the King and the King renamed the castle "The Castle of the Faithful Wives," the name by which the castle is still known today.



Marie Coppola  Revised January 2018


"I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 15, 2018,  as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday.  I encourage all Americans to observe this day (on 3rd Monday in January) with appropriate civic, community, and service programs and activities in honor of Dr. King’s life and legacy."

 Martin Luther King, Jr., was a minister, activist and a prominent leader in the African American civil rights movement.  He was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929  and  was assassinated on April 4, 1968,  in Memphis, Tennessee at age 39.

His legacy was realizing civil rights in the United States and he is known as a human rights icon.

Some of the highlights of his legacies are:

the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and buses began to operate on a desegregated basis in 1956.

He was a co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

He led the 1963 March on Washington where he delivered his famous "I have a Dream" speech to over 200,000 marchers.  This speech is as potent now as it was then.

In 1964, he became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination, through non-violent means.

He was anti-Vietnam War and anti-poverty, based on religious principles.

He was posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977.

He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.

In 1986, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established a U.S. national holiday.

This peaceful, equality and rights Baptist minister had a dream of a world where discrimination would be changed and be made illegal. In the 1950's,  Ameica was not a place where all men were created equal. In many places in the country, discrimination against minorities was legal. Dr. King preached nonviolence and urged all people to be peaceful in their efforts to change inequality in America. His focus was on the future of America's children.

There is a children's book, entitled “Martin Luther King, Jr. (My First Biography)” by Marion Dane Bauer, published the end of 2009 and is a slim, 32 pages long.

In keeping with Dr. King's focus on the children of America, the book explains how Dr. King believed what his mother told him as a boy, that 'he was just as good as anybody'. That encouraged him to want to spread that message to everyone and this book is designed to repeat that message to kids 5 years old to eight years old.

And he did bring about the change that allowed all children to go to the same schools and eat at restaurants regardless of their skin color. Dr. King, in his work and acts, allowed that all children could play in the same playgrounds, and dine in restaurants that previously would not let them. And the laws were changed. All children could drink from the same water fountains and use the same restrooms. People became strong in believing that 'they the same as anybody by showing them they could have any seats on buses, in school and lunch counters where it was not allowed before.

This book is excellent for all children and especially for those who feel left out or different or don't believe that they are not equal or the same as others. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed that he and all persons were just as good as anybody else and this book relives the legacy he left to all of us.


© Marie Coppola Revised January 2022

There are events or occurrences in life that make us wonder if they are really coincidences or is God talking to us through "godwinks".

I have read a book titled  "When God Winks at You" by SQuire Rushnell. It is a great, little 232-page book of short stories about famous and not-so-famous persons who experience what they believe are "special messages from God ~ a godwink ~ to let them know that He's there and that He's listening".  And maybe telling you something.

Sometimes it's directed to the person and sometimes it's through others. We all experience these moments - a connection through someone or a chance occurrence that makes one think, "that was strange." We can learn to recognize and appreciate them as messages - if we only keep our minds, eyes and heart open to them.

I just had one.   At a church fair recently, my eye spotted a necklace at the jewelry booth. It was a rose replica that was the exact design and material of a pin that my mother used to wear many years ago. Recently, too, I gave this pin to my sister because her middle name is Rose ~ the same as our mother's name. I had kept my mother's pin for over 20 years and this vintage necklace was the same style rose as hers.

I put the necklace down thinking that I would come back with my purse and buy it later.

I went back to the area where I was working with a church parishioner named Carly.  Carly mentioned to me that day that her marriage broke up after over 20 years, and her husband was seeing someone else. She was going through a rough time. She felt that her faith was helping her through this stressful time by giving her signs that it would all work out. I mentioned the "When God Winks at You" book ~ how it might help her ~ and if I saw one I would pick it up for her.

An hour later, I took a lunch break and perused the used books tables and the first book I saw was "When God Winks at You".  Thinking this was a godwink as I had just mentioned it - I purchased it and brought it to her. She was surprised and thanked me profusely. We joked that 'it was a godwink"!

A short while later, I went back to the jewelry booth to see if the necklace was still there. It was off the display where it had been hanging. Feeling disappointed and turning to leave, I looked down and there was the necklace at the tip of my shoe. I picked it up and marvelled that it was not only still there ~~ but right in front of me. I just stared at it.


The seller looked at me and asked if something was wrong, and I just said, "This is just like the rose that my mother used to wear." She told me to enjoy it as a gift from her.

Returning to the room I was working in, I told one of the ladies there what happened. Carly heard me and rushed over - she looked at the necklace and exclaimed, "That's the necklace I donated to the church for the fair!"   A double godwink?

All throughout my lifetime, I experienced what my mother always said to me, "When you give someone something, you get it back threefold." This has always happened to me. Once I lent a dress to a neighbor who had even less at that time than I did. She was going to a wedding and I offered my dress to borrow. My mother had bought it for me (it was my only formal dress at the time).

The neighbor came over before the wedding, all dressed up in that dress and looked beautiful. It did such wonders for her esteem and she was so happy that when she returned it a few days later, I impulsively told her to keep it - that it looked much better on her.

A few days after that, my mother, who knew nothing of this, stopped by with three new party dresses for me that she happened to find on sale.

I never think about getting something in return when I give, but it always happens in some way. I gave my sister my mother's rose and I got my mother's rose back. A coincidence or a godwink?

Marie Coppola  © November 2012