Tuesday, December 16, 2008
My God. I had not seen Jim since Joe and I left Mayberry to move to Hoosier Land three years ago. The cancer he had been valiantly fighting for 15 years was finally winning. The strong, friendly, tall, lawyer, who knew everyone in Mayberry, born, raised, went to school here, left to attend college, returned here to teach, left again to get an advanced degree, returned here to practice law, married, raised his own family here,coached the youth leagues here, was a surrogate father figure to many here, adopted a child from the orphanage here, became a pillar of the community here, opened his heart and wallet to many here, and last week died here.
This is the type of man he was...
From the Funeral Home guest book.
".......Peggy, we have never met but I own Neighborhood Grocery on Clifton Road. Just wanted you to know how good Jimmy was to Wajeeh and I. When we first bought the store and were having a hard time, Jimmy would come in the summer carrying fresh tomatoes and other things we could sell in the deli just to help us out. He would come in hot and tired, carrying produce and other items and tell us, "just hang in there. I was thinking about you all and brought these for you'll to use in the deli and sell on your sandwiches." Your husband's kindness and wishing good for everyone will be greatly missed. If there is ever anything Wajeeh and I can do don't hesitate to ask us."
It's good to know that people like him do exist. The greatest gift about living in a small community is this, we all know each other. Even as our little Mayberry town grows and embraces all the new blood from places far and wide (as my family entered over 50 years ago)there will be people like Jim to meet them and make them feel welcome and at home.
Unfortunately, there will never be another one quite like him.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Like book-ends, my Aunt and Uncle sit on this fence with friends a long time ago. I would speculate that both are teenagers, at least Aunt Maureen. She passed away in the spring of this year, so she is no longer available to quiz.
She has been on my mind a lot in the past several weeks. My S-I-L brought a small plastic shoe box filled with the last of Aunt Maureen's effects (the story of my SIL and Aunt Maureen is long and complicated. SIL opened her home to Maureen in Maureen's last months. She and my daughter nursed her to the end).
That small box has bothered me ever since. How can ones whole life be reduced to one small box? No one wanted anything from the box, so I took it home with me. Inside is a set of silver wear, her PhD, her dissertation, her published work, and a pearl ring she bought in Japan, on one of her numerous sojourns into places wild and unknown.
I miss her. I miss the way she had such an honest and at times intense interest in what you were doing, how your life was progressing, and her wonderful inquiry, "What fabulous things have you been doing lately?"
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
That face eventually was featured on milk cartons so that her features were known to many more outside of the Louisville area. The search turned cold, the face began to appear less often. In time only on the anniversary of her disappearance the story was resurrected and speculation once again was the subject of conversations.
I was stunned along with the rest of our community. My daughter was only two years old the beginning of that summer. I would look at her and understand the horror that the Gotlib family was feeling for their lost daughter, Ann. Abductions and kidnapping happened SOMEWHERE ELSE. Not here, not to us. Not to one of our children!
Could it be that abductions and murder of random children was not reported to us? Or was the plight of Ann Gotlieb the first national "mystery" that gripped our nation?
Because they had no leads, there was no ransom note, there was nothing...nothing! that it was thought she had run away. Her parents vehemently refused to believe that their 12 year old child had left her beloved bike behind. They refused to give up.
Last week, 25 years later, the police broke the news that they had a suspect. And that the suspect had died in 2002 after being released from prison on a medical release. His crime had been assault against a 13 year old girl, also in the Louisville area. They were confident now, with the addition of some new information. Actually some very old information that had never delivered to them but held in the silence for 25 years.
Finally the missing piece of the puzzle. Finally the missing girl, which had gripped Louisville for so long, was explained, if not found.
I double they will ever find her tiny 12 year old body after all these years. The monster that killed her has left this world to meet his fate with God. Maybe all his victims will be standing along side as his eternal judgement is handed down to him.
As for Ann Gotlib's parents? They were offered an apology from the police force and the detecives that were working on the case. Maybe if they had tried harder.....
When I heard the news Thursday night I cried for Ann Gotlib. I cried for her family and I cried for the world that had changed so quickly and without warning that first summer night in 1983.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Once again a Wistful Wednesday thanks to Far Side of Fifty who came up with this idea of posting old photo's that tell a story. This pic is circa 1955. My grandmother is next to my blond half German/half Irish cousin E. Grandma did not problems with M. marrying a German but refused to attend J's (the blond seated on the couch holding my bro N.) when he married an Italian girl in the late 1960's. Therefore, she could attend no weddings afterwards. I wonder why she backed herself into such a cold corner. When J. was 12 she took him to Ireland for three months to show him off.
I am next to E. and K. looking towards something in the wings.
This is all the women on my mothers side of the family. The three sisters and the sister in law, the Grandmother and all the kids born so far.
Most of us are still here. Grandma went on in the early 1970's and my one of my cousins was killed in a freak accident in the early 1980's.
And...there are quite a few more than are in this picture. My Mom had three more and the Sister in Law had two more.
Here is a picture of most the women from that side of the family 50 years later! Some Grand kids added and some missing. But, once again, the women.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
It made my mouth water.
I ran to the kitchen to locate the package of yeast that I purchased some time ago under the delusional assumption that I would make some bread. It was still in date! I quickly re-read the recipe and knew there was no way I could follow these instructions. It involved one of those very expensive mixers. I have an old hand held mixer that has a mind of its own.
So, I pulled out my cook books and using two of them , I began my venture into uncharted territory.
I am a visual type of learner. I love to read, but I am kind of thick headed. Show me how to do it!! I had to have two books to get the job done!! How long does it take for the dough to rise? One book says, "...until it doubles in size." I have to know how long! The other book provided the answer, about one hour. One book said, "...add the flour until it will knead with out sticking". Okay good, it is not sticking, I put it in the oven, with the setting in warm, because there is no "warm" place in my house! None!! The dough appears to rise, but in one hour, it did not double.
I referred to both cook books again.
Knead? The first one did not say, "knead the dough" it said, "until it does not stick..."
Doh! (pun intended).
So, I took it out and kneaded it and divided it, and rolled it out, applied the brown sugar and butter mix, rolled it up into a roll, and cut it up and brushed it with butter and laid in on a glass pie pan. Covered and back in the over, on warm.
They rose! I baked them.
They were divine. Sweet cinnamon heaven, they were wonderful!
The next morning I woke up and my first thought was, "Cinnamon roll for breakfast!" When I saw the plate that housed the rolls lying in the sink I began to have a bad feeling. My husband was standing there trying to look innocent.
"Where are they?" I questioned him. He shrugged and threw his head towards the outside. "In the garbage. I ate all the tops off of them and tossed the rest. It's for your own good."
Five hours down the drain! I was shocked he would do such a thing!! I thought about killing him, but then on second thought I shrugged it off.
It more than likely was for my own good.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
And then in 1964 I got my wish and my parents finally handed over a baby sister for me and my three brothers!
Kitsyboo was my Nana's favorite because they both arrived around the same time, Kitsy as an addition to the family and Nana as a transplanted New Yorker to tiny Mayberry. I guess they bonded immediately.
She grew up to be a holy terror. A real prissy princess.
Only I can say these things!
(As you can see, another Kit!)
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I am really looking forward to Wednesday these days thanks to Far From Fifty and her idea of posting old photo's that tell a story.
For my birthday many years ago, I got a new baby brother! All 11 pouunds of him. He was the biggest baby born in the local Mayberry hospital at the time! He was a chunk as is evident in this photo!
Now, looking at the picture I realize it is Palm Sunday because of the small crosses on the T's shirt. T is the one mugging for the camera. Every picture we ever took, T is mugging and playing the camera.
I had two brothers, I truly wanted a sister and look what I got! Another brother. Mom told me he was my birthday present! Not only did I not get a sister, I now had to share my birthday! Well, almost, he was born the day before my birthday.
The picture is taken in my parents bedroom with the baby bassinet behind T's shoulder. Mom hired a lady, Mrs. Cassidy, to come help her out for a month or so, because three children, all at home at the time, and an infant...well, who couldn't use the help! Behind Mrs. C is Mom's dresser. It is loaded to the ceiling with her "stuff". Nothing ever changes, my Mom's house to this day is piled sky high with her stuff, stamps, rare books, newspapers about stamps, the Irish Echo, the Messanger, her begging mail (pls. send us money for the missions) ....well, the list is endless.
So the gang of Three is now the gang of Four and I now have Three Brothers.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The reason it had been so long since I had seen him is he was a No Show in 2002 when I went to Churchill Downs to meet up with him and my buddy from Florida who was in town for a visit.
My friend from Florida could not make the service and I assured him I would represent us both. I recognized no one at the funeral. I commented to the woman siting next to me, who knew the Departed from working with him during the 1980's, that everyone needed to strip off 20 years and then I might know a face or two.
I called my Florida friend afterwards and described the service, what was said, and described the people who were there. "I didn't see So and So" I said, "but, I did see this guy who looked familiar and he had salt and pepper hair......blah blah blah......" and he would know who that person was. I did it several times and he would say, "That was So & So's daughter."
I was really hard on myself afterwards, that I could not recognize anyone and then I had a revelation of sorts. I was raising a small child at the time! I was not running with that crowd every week-end and every chance I got. It was every so often at the Butchertown Pub that I would run into the crowd. And the Departed was the boy friend of my room mate at that time, so it would make more sense that she would know the people at the service. That made me feel a little better about my lack of face recognition and fuzziness of memories that my Florida friend was reminiscing with me. And I without a clue.
But my lack of memories made me sad.
The next day was the grand babies birthday and I was, as always behind the camera instead of in front of it. When I came home and powered up the chip and began to crop and remove red eye I had a second revelation. These are memories that I will never forget and if my rapidly shrinking brain needs stimulus, I am able to whip out the photo album and have the day return to me in a warm fuzzy rush.
I picked up a camera in the early 1990's when I found a Nikon Series F in a pawn shop with several lens and a beat up soft leather butter color bag for $150. Big bucks back then, but it gave me my own memory catcher that was certainly more reliable than my flesh and blood personal CPU.
Still, I have my memories of the 1980's, being a single parent with one of my best friends as a room mate and the struggle of working, going to school in the evenings, and trying to raise a child.
Is it any wonder my brain is fried?
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Things certainly have changed over the years. Especially when I was a kid and my Mom was the stay at home kind. We lived on a shoe string. I realize that now. We never felt deprived of anything. Our Christmas was just like everyone else. Our parents were the Depression Era Kids, so we were never lavished with gifts. Under the tree always looked plentiful because there were so many of us! Usually each of us received two gifts from our parents and several more from Aunts and Uncles. Christmas was wonderful and I remember each Madam Alexander doll,my first bike, the year I got the Barbie (!),the Beatle albums, the Chatty Cathy doll! Each one was very special. Even that small itty bitty sewing machine. The clothes were quickly forgotten though when I see the Christmas pictures from those long ago days, I realize I am wearing some brand new clothes and remember those were part of my Christmas loot.
Birthday's were the same. One or two gifts and a great birthday party where you received gifts from your friends. Usually coloring books and junk like that. Still, highly anticipated and oh so sweet.
Remember the Christmas when the favorite toy was the large box it came in?
I recall with vivid clarity how I loved to play with my Mothers "costume jewelry". That was what she called it, not to be confused with the real jewelry...which I don't think she ever had! I would sit on the floor and take each piece out, examine it then lay it next to the box. Everything out, put on, taken off, respectfully put back in the box in the proper place and returned to the top of the dresser where I would beg to play with it again on any given day.
One day Joe came home with a bunch of costume jewelry that had been blown into the front yard. (I kid you not!). As I sifted through it all those cheap baubles I recalled that lovely memory. I remembered how thrilled I was when I hung all those necklaces around my small neck and attached all those fake gem brooches to my blouse and had the heavy bracelet's sliding down my arm.
The seed of an idea began to grow.
This is what I am going to give the Grand baby for her Third Birthday! A box of jewelry! She always is wanting to wear whatever I have on and...it's just perfect.
Above is a jar of colorful bits of glass and beads I found at the Goodwill.
Look at that Indian Beading!! To die for when I was a kid. And three rosary's in there too!!
All for $6.00.
Now all I need is to find one of those jewelry boxes with the little ballerina that twirls around to Lara's theme.
I hope she likes it. I have a strong feeling her ten month old brother will.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Thanks to Far Side of Fifty I am continuing with posting old family photo's and telling the stories!
This is how I remember my Mothers Mother! A no nonsense get to work kind of lady. Mom was 19 when she graduated from college and Grandma thought she was too young to go on to graduate school so she took her to Ireland for six months.
So, there is about 15 - 16 years between the pic last week and this one. Man, did she ever age bringing up three girls and my wild Uncle!
Here she is, getting ready to toss the hay I think.
Here is the a story told to me by my Aunt Kitty from Ireland, who is around my Mom's age and her first cousin. Kit is also my Grandma's name (lots of Catherine's in my family...to this day even, still Kit's too)
Sitting around the table, having a spot of tea and talking, Aunt Kit's mother says, "Kitty is first in her class this year!"
My Grandma Kit responds, "My Tess was first in the school!" (Tess is my Mom).
Undeterred, Aunt Kitty's mother says, "My Kit has a boyfriend this year who is taking her to the dance!"
Grandma Kit responds, "My Tess had three boyfriends."
Undaunted, (since they are sister in law's and in great competition and Aunt Kit's mother is beginning to realize she may be in over her head), "My Kit was the goalie for the winning team of the Ashbourne Trophy this year!" (how could Kit trump this!)
"My Tess won the city wide Irish dance contest in all of New York! Five years running!"
Aunt Kitty's mother had to give up in defeat.
My Mom, Tess, and my Aunt Kitty sat at the table, sipping their tea, not daring to utter a word under the glare of the clashing titans.
"Everyone was in awe of your Mother", Aunt Kitty confided to me with a rolling of her eyes!
And I thought, "They probably In awe of my Grandmother too!"
(it looks like she is wearing some kind of plastic apron! Maybe leather? Maybe she is getting ready to slaughter a sheep or a chicken. Also, what does she have in her hands? Looks dark and ominous.......)
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
(The astronaut looks like he is carrying a rodent!)
Last year I stumbled across a blog that was artistic in nature. I really enjoyed it and when she announced a postcard exchange I jumped at the challenge. It was only after I had committed that I realized you were suppose to create the post card!! Horrors! It took me forever to come up with a workable, passable, presentable end product.
I did it again this year! And once again, it was like giving birth to a creation. The above is the result after weeks of prototypes and luckily a chance encounter with a National Geographic from the walking on the Moon era.
I have to hand it to people who create for a living, it is a tough job. Like writing or even keeping up this blog. I wanted to participate in the National Writing thing that is going on right now, but I know it is too hard and I take my hat off to those who are dedicated enough to finish it!
Like I said, I can barely keep up with this blog.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
My Mom and her Mom and Her two sisters
This old photo blows me away for the number one MONSTER reason, my Grandmother is smiling. In all the pictures we have of her, this must be only one of at the most three, where she is smiling.
And she is so pretty!! I now see where the high apple cheeks come from, and I see why my Grandfather defied his family and married her. You see, they came from different sides of the tracks. Too much to go into right now, maybe later when I check the facts and get it straight in my mind.
My Mom is the one in the front, her Irish twin, Aunt Pat is behind her with the boyish looking mop of hair. She always was a Tomboy and at one time could could name all the players of the Brooklyn Dodgers, their stats and out talk anyone about her team. Aunt Mary is the blond, AKA the Blond Bomb. At one time the boys in the neighborhood went door to door and sold a paper they had written. There was a whole column dedicated to her, called the Blond Bomb, which kept all the males abreast on what she was up to, who she was going out with and how long she would be in "jug", which is what they called detention. I think she spent a lot of time in "jug".
I love this old photo thing, thanks to Far Side of Fifty!
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
I had voted earlier in the week. As I sat and waited (approx. 45 min.) I was surrounded with the hum and buzz concerning the pending appearance of Sarah Palin in our community. The women sitting next to me, more than likely in her 70's, with her eyes bright with anticipation talked of sending her husband to stand in line to secure tickets so that she could be one of throngs chanting.
The gentleman to the right of me was practically giddy talking about Palin and how she was going to clean up Washington the way she cleaned up Alaska. I made eye contact with a gentleman of color who was sitting in between us, he smiled slightly.
Last night as I watched the election results I was surprised by the emotion that overcame me when CNN announced, with the closing of the polls in California, that Barack Obama was being declared the next President of the United States. I became choked up and tears began to stream down my face.
I was transported back to my Civics Class in 1968, with Mrs Tibbs, when the door to our classroom flew open and startled us. We were more started by the news, Martin Luther King, Jr. had been shot in Tennessee.
What a far way we have traveled in the 40 years since that moment in time to this moment.
As I voted for Obama I prayed that my vote would mean something.
As the next president of the United States carried my state of Indiana by a mere 20,000 votes, I know it did.
Monday, November 03, 2008
We were visiting with my Sister-In-Law this past week-end and she related this story to us.
She has some property that she rents to a friend who was visiting her with his family, which included his wife and two daughters, ages 6 and 15.
The six year old asked S-I-L, "Who you voting for President?"
S-I-L replied, "Baby, I'm not sure but I think I am leaning towards Obama."
"You a "N word" lover?" she asked.
S-I-L looked at her father, who would not meet her eye. "Where did you hear that?"
"Well, you should not call people that not matter what they say at school. It's a bad thing to say, Baby."
"You should vote for McCain." the six year old continued.
"And why is that?"
"Because when he dies then a lady would be President!"
S-I-L just looked at her Dad again and shook her head, "That is not a good reason to vote for someone."
"Better a woman than a 'N-word'", she resumed playing and lost interest in her political conversation with S-I-L.
And we wonder why the world is going to hell. Ignorance is taught, not inbred.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Thanks to the inspiration from the Far Side of Fifty I am going include an old picture from my archives that I have been scanning into my computer. I may do it on another day than Thursday, it depends on how I feel.
I love this picture for many reasons. First, it's my Dad holding my Sister in the back yard of the "old family homestead", the first house my parents ever owned and I grew up in.
Secondly, I love the expression on my sis's face. She always has had a serious side to her, which hides her sinister side. More on that later.
I love the background (and wish I had the newer version of Blogger so that I could enlarge this) and the upside down bicycle on the driveway, probably a flat tire being repaired or oil applied to the chain, or the chain being reattached, or maybe baseball cards being added to the spokes for that sweet rat-a-tat-tat sound.
The car in the driveway is my Nana's Ford which she was having trouble with and the service department could not fix it so Nan wrote Mr. Ford and complained. Needless to say, it got repaired! She became so feeble she could not drive any more, so Dad inherited the car and it was wrecked off Clays Mill's Rd one morning.
Also, Herself is on the back porch watching Dad to make sure he does not drop the baby! (My sis was always Nana's favorite, she had a tea party with Nana every day).
And I just love the feel of the black and white and how this little photo holds so many memories of life in the 1960's.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I could write a thousand stories about Wild Thing. I have always had cats thrust upon me, not by choice. Once I have them, I fall in love with them and can not imagine life with out them.
Enter, Wild Again. My daughters cat. Once I stop calling the cat "Cat" and tag it with a name, I'm a goner.
Wild Again is a three legged cat. He lost his leg in an accident several years ago and somehow managed to live through the operation that saved his life. he is a blessed cat. And real purdy.
So, he has been hanging out at my house while Bridget gets her life back in order and I have been feeding this Wild Again thing and ever so gingerly been allowing it to go outside. I did follow the cat around, but he usually did okay and ran back when he got tired of hiding from me and I suppose it was just no longer any fun hearing me plead, "Kitty come back!!"
So finally I am comfortable with just letting him out and leaving the back screen open enough where he can run in.
Something must have happened out there yesterday. He is laying in the patch of sunshine that engulfs the back patio doors, but does not whine to go out.
He has eaten, but not like normal, which is his weight in dry food and a daily dose of the good stuff. He has laid around on the couch in the same spot for hours!!
He finally went outside and stayed for a few minutes,not nosing around, or running off to scare me.....
I guess I will let it go another day and if Wild Again is not acting Wild enough for me, I guess its vet time.
Phew.....I had forgotten about all this angst.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Mean mistreating, loving heart
Or how I've saved at least $127.92 + tax
Or...how I have nothing....so this insane post will have to do.
Have you ever found yourself loving a song that you heard in the midst of a movie. Did you ever find yourself sitting through the credits to the very end just so you could look over the music list and try and pick out the song you fell in love with? Have you ever stood in front of your TV and slowed down the DVD so that you could read the song list?
Well, I have and it is a hard thing to do. Made more so when you realize you have no idea which one (out of the 20 - 30 songs listed) just might be the one!
Then, I discovered imdb. And praise the lord, they list the sound tracks on their site when you research a movie!! And if there is not sound track I have found they have a message board where you can ask!
Since I am in control of the NetFlix queue these days, I have had lots of chick flick movies that have superb soundtracks that I have been able to track down through imbd.
Has anyone seen "Bonneville" with Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates and Joan Allen? If you have (wonderful movie about friendship) then I bet you will remember the song "Cha Cha" by Chello.
Or, "Bella" (a sweet movie about redemption)that had a song called "Sway with me" (I naturally had to look that up!!) by Rosemary Clooney!! Who knew I would fall in love with Rosemary's music! She is great!
Then there was Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, a movie I normally never would have rented but I can't remember why I did and when it arrived I just struck it in thinking I would give it 10 minutes and then send it back...but something happened!! Not the greatest movie, but I found myself drawn in by the Cinderella like quality. And I found "If I didn't Care" which made me cry when performed. I found it on MP3 by the Ink Spots and it still chokes me up when I hear it.
I was on a roll by then and found tons of songs from movies that over the years I kept in the back of my mind.
Such as, "Ain't got no Home" by Clarence "Frogman" Henry from The Lost Boys.
And "Cry to Me", Solomon Burke from Dirty Dancing that I once had on the Second Dirty Dancing album that I purchased (on vinyl!) in the height of the DD craze and could never find again! Thank you imbd.
The Full Monty gave me the bring you to your knees version of "You can leave your hat on" by Tom Jones.
Finally, because this insane post is becoming too long and too revealing, there is The Thing Called Love, which featured the gone way too soon River Phoenix singing Blame it on your heart. Took me awhile to find this tune on MP3, but when I hear it I recall how much I liked River and how this song always made me run into the room to watch it performed.....(my daughter was young and watched this movie over and over. Much like she watched Dirty Dancing over and over and I would run into the room when I heard, "No body puts Baby in a corner" because I knew what was coming).
I'm Mary and I reluctantly approved this post.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
It began innocently enough with our flight leaving at 715am. Still sipping coffee at 635am she announces that we should leave in six minutes. (I have no idea why six minutes was used, not five, not three...but six minutes). The airport is a mere 10 minutes away and so I did not think much of it.
I drop her off at the front and then, glancing at the clock and seeing it is now approximately 645, I step on it to find a parking place in long term parking. As I enter the lot I see it is packed!! WTH is going on? Why are there so many cars in this damn lot!! Where are all these people going? Why are they making my life complicated!
I finally find a spot on three floors up, against the far wall in front of a trash can, obviously a spot rejected many times before but there is no time for being choosy...it is now about five till seven.
I grab my suitcase, which I need to check and take off running. I have not checked in yet!!
As I hit the lobby and run towards the check in counter a young clerk reaches for my baggage and throws it on the scale and tags it in one grand swoop. The lady says, "Are you Mary?" as she hands off my ticket as if we are in a relay race in Beijing "Hurry, they are boarding!" she advises me and points towards the security line, which mercifully is empty except for a bored looking officer who makes me take my sandals off and then I have to return to take off my watch, and then I glance at the clock and it's now after 7am!
I'm in a cold sweat thinking I may miss the plane if they will not allow me to board!
I run up the moving escalator and round the corner to the gate at a fast clip, my purse and carry on bumping furiously against my thigh and I am on the move with my ticket clutched in my outstretched hand.
I pass a steward, "Your Mama is waiting for you" and he points to a wheel chair that is sitting in wait for boarding on the plane. "Hello dear, you made it! I was beginning to get worried!" she says as she clutches her carry on to her chest and has the death grip on her cane.
We are loaded immediately and I breath a sigh of relief except I only have my boarding pass, she has put hers somewhere in her luggage and is unable to lay a hand on it. I put her in my seat and head to the back of the plane and tell the attendant my take of woe. After everyone is seated (the plane is packed and not an extra seat anywhere, except my Mom's) I am seated in a row of three seats with a handsome couple from Bermuda with an 11 month old daughter, who slept from the moment her mother returned from the bathroom till we landed in Atlanta. And then she still was asleep as we left the plane!
At Atlanta they were waiting for Mom with a new fangled wheel chair! Race car Red and with fancy brakes that were applied the moment you took your hands off the back.
Of course all my worries were for nothing. Mom was treated like royalty with wheel chairs waiting for her at each leg of the trip down and back. On the last hop to Lex from Cincinnati we had to board the plane from the tarmac.
This was not a problem for the airline, as they rolled out a lift and Mom was raised to the door as I watched from the ground, with a worried expression on my face! But, I should not have worked myself up because she was treated with such respect and so gently that I was pleasantly surprised and very appreciative.
We boarded first, left last, got to sit up in the front section on most flights and they even let Mom have double treats!
I have to travel with her more often!
Monday, October 20, 2008
(Uncle Barney and My Dad in the back) (I am the in the dress second from the left)
My people are Irish. My fathers people came over through Ellis Island in the early 1900's. My mothers people arrived in Canada first, and then NYC where my mother is the only sibling to have been born on American soil. Both my families are solid New Yorkers as far as I am concerned.
Mom and Pop were married for several years when her brother informed them that IBM was hiring and that Dad should go apply for employment since they needed chemists. The story of Dad landing the job is legendary, where his soon to be boss came into the waiting area and unbeknowenst to Dad he was the head honcho, conducted the interview that subsequently landed Dad a job.
Everyone who has ever worked for IBM knows that the it does not stand for International Business Machines, but I've Been Moved.
And our (at that time) little family was moved from idyllic New York State to the Bluegrass. We left our entire families behind. All my Aunts and Uncles, Grandparents, cousins, and tons and tons of relatives that form the spider web of relations that had fled Ireland in the late 1800's and early 1900's for the promised land.
We became Kentuckians in no time, immersed in the culture. I am certain made my Mother's hair curl when we would use the term "ain't" and our northern accents suddenly took on elongated vowels. Our memories of New York faded. The land of our origin may as well have been a million miles away.
Every where around me were the families of my friends that included Aunts and Uncles, cousins and Grandparents. Mine were a million miles away. And somewhere in the heart of a little girl I missed my family that engulfed me and surrounded me as a much younger little child.
And so began the anticipation of every summer either we would load up the family station wagon and head up North or Up North would come to visit us! And the most reliable, the one that you knew you would see every year no matter what was Aunt Pat's family.
Mom and Aunt Pat had a special bond. Mom was Pat's first birthday gift, born exactlly one year apart they shared a birthday.
(Pat on the left, Mom with the more beat up leg)
And you can tell for the multitude of photo's that the angels were inseparable. That bond ensured that we would see Pat and her family every year. Aunt Pat and her husband Barney and our three cousins would make the trek in their variety of recreational vehicles which varied wildly over the years.
This one is my favorite.... (I am the girl on the left) (in the dress)
I refer to this camper as the Silver Bullit, but I think it actually is called something else.
To make a long story short, Aunt Pat passed away in 2003 and Uncle Barney passed away last week. My sister and I along with her husband made the trip to Florida (where pat and Barney had retired to during the 1980's) with my Mother for the funeral. We joined the shrinking members of my extended New York Irish family on my Mom's side.
This is the second time this year we have gathered to mourn and celebrate the life of one of our own.
And it is two times too many.....
As one of the grandsons said in his eulogy, "They say only the good die young, and he died 89 years young".
Sunday, October 19, 2008
The Round Robin Challenge this time is to photograph your Home Town. At times I feel I have no home town. I live in Indiana and claim Louisville because it's easier to say to people, they all have heard of L-ville, but not the Indiana town I live in across the river.
And when I think of Home I think of Mayberry (my fictitious name for the Hometown), So, I have this picture of a flour mill that is not exactly in town, and actually not exactly in the county, but it is on the border on the Elkhorn Creek (which is lots bigger than two of the "rivers" in FW).
I happened to be in Mayberry today and made an effort to get a pic and compare it to one I took several years ago on a foggy day in winter.
I like the contrast.
Go here to see all the entries!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The usual suspects, public intoxication, trespass, terroristic threatening,(astonishingly from a Grandma looking person) (she claimed not to have had her medication that day),concealed weapon, theft by deception, possession of marijuana, and several prostitution! (interesting, they look nothing like you would think a prostitute, excuse me, an alleged prostitute would look like! They look like the worn out house wife who lives across the way). The prisoners were shuffled in last because they did not have representation yet and had to wait their turn.
Every time I find myself sitting in a court room it seems so ripe and seething with the drama of living that I could sit there and be fascinated for days. yet, I understand it also represents pain and sorrow, despair and desperation, poverty and bad judgement.
It brings back the first time I set foot in a court room because I had received a ticket while racing to a wedding that was in another city and I went under a yellow light and was pulled over. I also had an open beer with me....this was over 30 years ago when I was very young and stupid, very stupid.
I was so scared. I had no idea what was going to happen as I had never been in such a jam. I was reluctant to tell my parents. I suppose I forgot they would read about it in the Weekly Mayberry (fictitious name for my home town) Newspaper. The Police Report is what every body reads. It's right next to Church News. (I swear).
I went to my parents house and grabbed some lunch to fortify myself. As I sat at the kitchen table the door opened and my Dad walked in. He had come home from work to have lunch.
In the 25+ year Dad worked for IBM he never once came home for lunch that I could remember. It was so out of the ordinary. I had to tell him what I was doing and together we went to Court. He went to the front of the room, swarming with lawyers and abuzz with activity and spoke for a few moments with one of his lawyer buddies, the county prosecutor.
Mr. G. went to speak with the judge and in a matter of moments we were leaving the court room as the case had been thrown out.
I had not thought about that afternoon in....over 30 years. Now that Dad is gone I find that I have these random memories just bubble to the top of my consciousness.
Sitting in that courtroom I suddenly remembered that day, how the sun was shining and the whiteness of the inside of the courtroom, the huge windows behind the judge and my Dad walking with that calmness and determination that defined him to get his wayward daughter out of trouble.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I thought I would just sit in front of the computer and just let my fingers wander where they wanted. And it worked for a solid week! I am uncomfortable writing anything of personal substance, at least the dramas of my life that are going on now. Naturally in maybe a year, they will make some very engaging entries, but not now.
Yet, I will post this picture of my darling grand daughter when we went to the St. James Art Fair earlier this month. She is a handful and growing in leaps and bounds, which makes it extremely difficult to keep her in clothes! As a result, her outfits are a bit, shall we say, snug.
Since she is the first grandchild, there is not a soul to send her hand me downs!! I asked Joe if we could make a trip to the Second Hand Store, Once Upon A child (isn't that clever) or just the consignment shop in the ground floor of Mid-City Mall....just because the best Dive in Louisville the Back Door is also located in the mid City Mall has nothing to do with it! But Joe says that for some reason second hand clothes from strangers is out of the question.
So we all must suffer. And smile.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Here is my entry for the Monday Photo Shoot titled Fences and what's behind them hosted by Ellipsis!!
I remembered this fence behind the garden shed being unusual. My compost pile is hidden back there and when I pass the bicycle and board I always smile. There is a dog that lives back there, but he is a gentle dog and only barks at the birds. He is not a curious dog, as I hoped he would come back and check out what I was doing. It would have been so cool to have the dog along with the sunset.
Alas, its just a fence with a sunset behind it.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Changes - brought to you by the 1st Community Photo Challenge
I am surprised at how invigorated the AOL-Community has become since tearing up roots and relocating. Maybe its just me making the reconnection with this vibrant and diversified group. Over the years I have half heatedly tried to keep in touch, like changing jobs or cities. It's hard. I have said it so many times that it tastes like ashes in my mouth and my fingers feel heavy typing the words, but I dearly miss the AOL-J-Land of pre-advertising days. Before the 2005 mass Exodus. So many wonderful writers and personalities left never to be heard from again.
But this is a new dawn and new era. All of us have been banished from AOL-J-Land, all given the proverbial boot.
And so, I embrace the new Community by actively participating in the many activities that I have over looked or was unaware of. The first being this photo challenge!
This week's challenge.....CHANGE!
Last night I was talking on the phone to my husband and glance at the front door, which was bathed in the diminishing golden light of October and saw the tiny hand print of.... my grand daughter. She had left this mark behind to remind me that she had been there.
Actually she has followed Bridget and myself outside as we were about to leave on a trip to the store and she was to stay at home. Once she understood we were returning (she is two, almost three)she turned to go back into the house, but could not reach the door knob!
"Jo-Jo! Jo-Jo!" She hollered, "Let me in!!" and Bridget ran to open the door for her.
This little imprint reminds me that as things change and evolve an impression is always left behind.
As my little sweeties hand print.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
When I was a kid the whole wide world was contained in the confines of our small town. It held everything we could ever wish for. It was the 1960's and the world was still slightly innocent and wholly uncorrupted. Life was bicycle rides, snow days, idyllic days at the local swimming pool, Halloween without razor blades but nickles given out by the ex-Governor of the state along with home made popcorn balls, walking downtown to purchase a cherry coke, the corner grocery store with penny candy jars,gigantic leaf piles we could burn in town and kick ball games in the lone empty lot in the neighborhood.
It was okay to jump on your bike and truck several miles across town. My brother tells of an ongoing BB gun game where he and several of his buddies would dress in layers and layers of padding and chase each other around town for target practice. Life was good. We felt safe and unthreatened. Except maybe by the Russians dropping the bomb on us, even then we were well educated at school on how to survive a nuclear attack (squatting under your school desk...what if you are st home? Bomb shelters.)
There were several places you had to beware of. Like the park downtown. That is where the "bums" hung out. Bums were bad and to be avoided at all costs. Naturally we always flocked to the park when ever we could on the look out for the these deviant bums. I never saw one. I never met another kid who did either. I have to think that maybe once upon a time some kid got flashed or something similar.
But, the worst of the worst, never to go, always FORBIDDEN and off limits, and you got your butt spanked but good if you got caught at this mother of all evil places in my home town........
THE TUNNEL! (as viewed from the church!!!!)
The tunnel was an abandoned train track that went under main street. The tracks were removed and the jungle had taken over.
The temptation was so powerful that resistance was impossible. The tunnel was next to the small Catholic school I attended. An entrance to the top of the tunnel was directly accessible across the street, next to the church, on the corner where we waited for the afternoon buses to take us home.
How many times and how many hundreds of kids climbed on top of the forbidden curved dome of the top, lay down and dangle their heads over and look into the black dank smelly cavern of doom and destruction. The darkness promised adventure and hidden treasure. No kids ever fell over that I ever heard of, and I would have heard.
To access the tunnel you had to enter the abandoned track by the old depot located a block from Main Street. The homes on Broadway backed up to the overgrown train track. Many eyes followed you if you attempted to approach the opening from that angle. The only way to make an unobserved approach was to slide down the back (because the bank to the track bed became steeper as you drew closer) was at Flea's house. (His parents worked).
There were bugs, albino crayfish, spiders and poison ivy, and a drainage hole that dripped and spewed chilly clear water at all times.
If it were not forbidden, it would have been ignored. But the forbidden part....Oh how sweet.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Yeah!! I made it on time to participate in the The Round Robin Challenge!
The subject mater is end os summer. I always try and make it to the Lexington Cemetery around this time of year to see the wonderful colors of one of the most magnificent landscaped botonical cemeteries in the area.
Check it out here to see the other particpants!
Friday, October 03, 2008
The houses in the new neighborhood are larger and the yards are larger. There are very few back yard fences and lots of open garage doors and people sitting in the shade of their suburban caves watching the coming and goings of street.
My door gets knocked on a lot. The usual sullen kids from out of town selling magazine subscriptions, the ATT guy trying to woo me away from Insight, the tree service people trying to get me to let them take down my damaged tree, the insurance sales person who wanted to cut up my fallen tree, the Girl Scouts, the UPS guy, Joe who has locked himself out and then once the Mayor assuring me that they were going to stop everyone from running the stop sign in front of my house (yea right!!).
The best was yet to come last week when I heard that familiar Tap Tap Tapping on the front door (no one uses the door bell...can't figure that out) and I throw it open to find a blond haired large eyeglass adorned kid wearing shorts and a dirty white t-shirt, to match his scraped up legs, balanced on his bicycle (for a quick get-a-way?) kind of looking like the kid from Jerry MaGuire, only 10 years old. He blinked at me several times as I opened the glass storm door and smiled at him in what I hoped was a non-threatening manner (after my encounter with the next door kids and the resulting cold shoulder I received from their mother, I am very cautious).
"Hey, you wanna buy a candle?" he asked.
"A candle?" I repeated. Like I said, he was sitting on a bike, had no mother standing on the sidewalk guarding him from danger, no selection book with the usual ungodly marked up crap for you to choose from. No, I was only offered a candle.
"Yea, we have....." and he bit his lip trying to remember the selection and smiled when it came to him, ".....Hawaiian Tropical Breeze."
"What about vanilla?"
"No, just Hawaiian Tropical Breeze."
"Can I write you a check?"
"No, just seven dollars."
"Well, come back tomorrow then, okay."
"Is this for your school? Do you live around here?"
"Yea, down there", he waved his arm to the east,and then he began to ride off my porch waving over his shoulder, "see ya tomorrow".
"What's your name", I cried after him, like some left behind sweetheart.
"Joseph T. XXXXXXXXXXXX". And he turned his bike and was tearing off down the road.
My lord, he was cute.
I remember the next day only after I got home and rushed to my purse to see if I had any money for him. Saints be praised, seven dollars exactly.
A half hour later I heard a knock at the door and there he was, perched on his bike, craning his head to peer into the front room to watch my advance.
I opened the door and handed him the money, which he took, licked one finger and began to count, one...two...three...four...five...six...seven, and nodded at me in confirmation of a sealed deal.
"Don't I have to sign something, like my address."
"Nope, I'll remember." He pocketed the money and pushed off on his bike. I felt like I had just been scammed by a the cutest little grifter I have ever seen.
"What's your name?" he called to me from the street. "Mary" I shouted back at him, he turned his bike towards the East and gave me a wave, but no backward glance.
I think I am in love.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
At first, when Sarah Palin was paraded out at the RNC for the country to fall in love with, (and we fell hard) I had an immediate and intense dislike of her. First of all, she looked like every sorority girl who ever black balled me from their stinking secret society and laughed behind my back about my large fake gold hoop earrings (bitches) (I know this because one of my dear friends told me .....??). Her voice made me want to put my hands over my ears! She sounded like Roseanne Barr in a slightly less nasal tone, but Roseanne all the way (sorry Roseanne).
So, my dislike was all irrational and unsubstantiated. Then my good fiend (oddly enough, the one who told me about the gold earring dislike all those years ago) asked me what I thought about Sarah and it was as if a dam erupted.
"Am I suppose to admire her or get behind her because she is a woman? I feel insulted if the Republican Party thinks woman are that shallow. If its only about being a woman, why didn't we get behind Hilliary? Because she was not pretty enough, young enough? We can't relate to her because she is smart and a lawyer and forgave her husband for his indiscretions and publicly humiliating her? If I had my choice, I'm a Hillary supporter."
I read with glee all the bad press and laughed along when she was stumped by Charlie regarding The Bush Doctrine. The Bush Doctrine! Ha!! Everyone knows the Bush Doctrine...(It's "Fool me once, shame on...shame on you. Fool me, you can't get fooled again".....isn't it?)
I read everything the Courier Journal, a well know liberal paper, (in a state that has always historically voted conservative)has written about her. They truly tried to balance it with the Op-Ed page and Letters to the Editor but it was hopeless. Sara was being branded as a gun toting baby making bimbo.
The other night I watched Katie Couric once again gently grill Sarah. I was cringing when Sarah answered, when asked what newspapers magazines she read, "All of them" and when pressed to name even one, she once again replied (with some exasperation) "All of them."....
Oh, Sarah I began to feel sorry for you. Couldn't you wing it? Couldn't you just say your staff hands you the Wall Street Journal among others?
When asked about Roe vrs. Wade I wonder if she has even read it, which (natch) I did while completing a business law class during the 1980's. It's all hinged on viability outside the womb. Pro-Lifers believe that a soul enters upon conception. And when questioned about the morning after pill, did any once else get the idea that she had never heard of it? Maybe it's because she does not read any publications or magazines or newspapers.
At least none that she can name.
Oh, well.....let's hope that when a woman is finally elected to the White House, it is someone who deserves to be there.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
This time I was a rotten teenager. Or rather I was 20 years old. I know this because as I slipped on my ten ton back pack, my half ton purse loaded with all my essentials, my lunch which was a sandwich crammed into a tiny plastic Tupperware thing and the top didn't fit and my sandwich got wet because it was raining I calculated how I was too old for this....at 20. I decided to skip school and was farting around looking for the text books thinking that "Dad" would leave to go to work and I would be home free. Only Dad was Gabriel Byrne (wow!) and was on to my tricks, reluctantly I struggled into that damn back pack when this witch arrives on the scene and says she is Gabriel's fiance and that erupts into a shouting match of some magnitude. Then I wake up and go "Wow!" and I was exhausted.
This is one of those many times when I really miss Joe (who is on assignment). He always listens patiently to my rambles about the dream and inevitably the questions, "What do you think it means?" or "What do you think about that?" and the usual one, "What brought that on?"
I suppose I was just unsettled because of the forced evacuation of AOL Journals. Yesterday I began to back up my journal by engaging in the laborious task of copying and pasting into Microsoft Word. In a way it was soothing to revisit many of those entries. Some I had sought out, like the one about the Jesuit who told about the possessions of people and places, but most were tiny gems of the necklace of my AOL Journal. I was prolific at the beginning and I breath a sigh of relief knowing that I slowed down in time!
I am lucky because I have been blogging on both AOL and Blogger since the beginning, so the majority of my entries are also parked in this journal, which has assumed many names, the beauty of Blogger, you can change your name!!
And as many of my AOL friends will find out, Blogger is a safe haven. And as they become more comfortable they will marvel at the tools available to them to continue the community outside the confines of AOL.
Number one, your counters will always work!! You can manipulate your pictures to insert them into different areas of your text. You can write an entry and save it rather than publish it right away. You can link up to Flickr and Slideshow and a multitude of other fun stuff that was unavailable on AOL. You can take on advertising yourself and reap the benefits rather than AOL using us and our journals for gain.
The list goes on and on, but I have not had my coffee yet.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Yet, I still must go to Walmart and grab the essentials. Usually I'll keep a running list of things I need and I always fail to grab it on the way out the door. What that means is as I run through the store I am trying to recreate that absent list! Bottled water, laundry detergent, Crystal light etc. etc. etc.
Heading towards the check out counter, after three (three!!!) return trips down the aisles I realized I had forgotten cheese! Damn!! I must have cheese.
And there it was in the, piled high in "action alley" calling to my inner child with a yellow comforting beacon.
I tossed the two pound brick into the jumble of items in my basket and felt a surge of pleasure at the sheer recklessness of my decision! I remembered those oozing cheesy margarine soaked artery clogging grilled sandwiches my Mom use to make for us kids on those days when school was called off due to snow. I love my Mother dearly, but that woman can not cook! And her grill cheese sandwiches, usually burnt on one side and undercooked on the flip were delicious.
Ah, Velveeta! How I've missed you.
Friday, September 26, 2008
I am really and truly a marketer. I see this as a huge opportunity to make a lot of money and I see a ton of avenues to do it! I just wish I had been hired in that capacity...you know telling every body else what to do.
Instead of walking up and down the streets cold calling and what I consider panning for gold in the ocean, I am going to put together a presentation and book myself at local "chapter" meetings.
When I worked for the Beverage Monster people were always asking me if I could give a talk to their clubs or bring along a big truck, stuff like that. People love to hear about subjects that are not the usual run of the mill rubber chicken lunch fodder.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
300,000 homes may have been knocked out of electricity when the remnants of Hurricane Ike blew through here but the Valhalla Golf Course was put back on line within moments. The Show must go on.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against golf. I just had to be educated that the Ryder Cup is Super Bowl to their fans. I know lots of people who worship at the alter of the Golf Links. I even tried it once, was horrible at it and quite frankly, did not like it much.
I have endured the golf metaphor for years. My boss once developed a "score card" complete with a boogie and a birdie and all that jazz that had to be explained to me. "Now a boogie means its good?"
It has even spread to the sermon I sat through at church this week end. First a video was show of the pastor participating in the Ryder Cup (this church has remarkable editing staff!) that was hokey and too long....but I got it, I am in the minority when it comes to my boredom with golf. Then we were delivered the sermon which was good, but still the golf metaphor began to get on my nerves.
I did like the part about a Mulligan. I did not know those existed in golf! Every body deserves a Mulligan now and then (which is a do-over) and I certainly agree with that.
Yesterday I was in conversation with two guys. Two golfers, don't you know.
"Golf is like life, a metaphor for life." one said the the other.
I interjected, "I though Baseball was a metaphor for life."
They turned to me and shook their heads, "No, it's golf." Like I was really asking a question!! I was making a statement.
I prefer baseball. You keep swinging until you get it right. If it's a foul you keep swinging until you get it in the ball park. Sometimes you strike out, sometimes you hit a home run. You work as a team and everyone plays their part. You run really really fast to be safe! You get your manager to go nose to nose with the authority if they think you have been done wrong. Then at the seventh inning everyone gets to stand up and stretch and sing! You get to eat hot dogs and throw back beer!
Yup, baseball sure seems more like real life than that golf game.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I was on the way back from the trip and about 20 miles into I-71 I realized the wind was blowing kind of hard. The gusts were pretty strong. Another few miles and the leaves and debris began swirling all about and the gusts were becoming stronger.
About 10 miles outside of Louisville I was very concerned and driving as fast as I could to beat it home. I didn't know what I was beating, or if I just wanted to get home.
But first, I had to go to a birthday party. In the Highlands, which is a very mature neighborhood in the Loo. Beautiful trees line the roads, beautiful big old trees. And as I exited off the interstate and headed into the city I realized it was very bad.
Was this a hurricane or what? Wait, I have lived through a category 4 hurricane...this is just some high wind, I reassured myself, keeping a sharp eye for flying foreign objects.
It was slow going and it required many detours to arrive at my destination because of this...
.........And oh yea, this!
Taking care, I pulled my car in a parking lot without a lot of trees about. It was very windy!
Very windy. I flew into my brothers house. Literally!
Thursday, September 04, 2008
That signals that it is time.
And just like when it was time to settle down and do my homework (while attending college at night school) I would begin to find every little thing outstanding that needed to be finished and put to bed before I would finally begin studying!
So, I find I am blogging a lot and spending inordinate amounts of time picking fallen leaves and rose petals from the mulch under the rose bushes.
Being home alone all summer has entitled me to watch a lot of Netflix movies. Unlike the years before, I am in charge of the queue and it has been less men style movies and has emerged as kinder and softer.
Take the movie "we" watched this week-end. SON OF RAMBOW. Now at first you may think, man movie. But wait, Rambo is spelled incorrectly! I have waited several months for this foreign film and put into the queue the moment I became aware of its existence and impatiently awaited its availability and immediately moved it to the number one spot the week it was released.
And I was not disappointed. It was sweet and a slight tear jerker. Very entertaining and you never lost interest in the characters. Which, mainly, were all children.
As my buddy in grammar school would conclude his book reports, "Read (rent) the book (movie) and find out what happens!"
A very welcome surprise because it is not uncommon for me to rip open a movie sleeve and think "WTH?", is a movie called "Under the Same Moon". Foreign (there is a pattern here) and in sub-titles I loved this movie. It was full of sentimental b.s. and as the film progressed you could feel the conclusion building, but I just loved it.
Rent the movie and find out what I'm talking about.
Oh crap, guess it's time to go to Walmart and buy some hair dye.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
I worked for the J. Peterman Company.
Actually it was part time, on week ends and some evenings during the week around Christmas. It was short lived and in the height of the J. Peterman popularity. Before Seinfield, yes, there really was a J. Peterman. It is not that guy that pranced around on Dancing With the Stars. But, we all know that, don't we?
J. Peterman somehow ended up in Lexington, Ky. Not sure why or how, but he did. His empire blossomed on the North side of town, pre-Internet. It's funny to think that anything was before the Internet! It has become so much a part of our lives and infiltrated every aspect of it! I know that I have altered how I spend my hard earned bucks.
Back in the day, there was a large building that housed the J Peterman warehouse. UPS loved the J.P. company. The US Post Office loved J.P. No telling how many catalogues he mailed out all over the world. For years. All over the world!
Before having a part time job for J.P. (call me Elaine Jr.) I ran across him in the back pages of a magazine I was reading in the mid to late 80's. It was an advertisement for the Duster. It was how he got started, selling the Duster because whereever and when ever he wore it he was stopped and questioned. The question always was the same.... "Where can I get one?".
And the J. Peterman Company was born.
I rummaged around in my closet for a hat to shield my head from the death inducing rays thrown down from the relentless heavens that was frying my brain. I found this...
My Panama hat, or as I like to think of it, my Miss Blue Hat. (it was called several names depending). And when I placed it on my head and was into the mind numbing process of picking out yellow black spot leaves I remembered the Peterman Empire and my little part in it.
First of all, I was young! And everyone working there was young. We were all so young I guess that would answer the question of why we would work for such low wages and have such high standards demanded of us! The J. Peterman company was noted and praised for being the BEST in the business, which was mail order. Any given night, 100 customer service reps manned the telephones and were placed in the cue. There was no telling who might call on any given evening/night as the phones remained open till 1am. Celebrities called all the time. I never caught a celebrity call, but when it happened THAT person always stood up attracting the attention of everyone in the room and would gesture wildly towards the phone and mouth the name of the caller.
Standing up was common, as it hurt the ass to sit all the time through out an eight hour shift. I would love to ask the customer on the line, "Would you like me to get the garment so I can describe it better for you?" and with that, would un-plug and trudge around the "show room" and pick out the item. J.P. was great about having all the merchandise available for the CSR's to have at their disposal. And it was quite an affair, for he had thousands of items. I would gather the garment and go sit in my chair and begin to describe it to the person on the other end of the phone. Description was essential and we were coached and thoroughly refreshed through out our tenure with the company. He was not the BEST for nothing.
It was fun. But it did not last for long, just that one Christmas season and into the spring of the next year. I remember this vividly because it was 1996 and UK won the NCAA Title that year. We listened to the games much to the despair of the customers calling in! The final four...that Saturday night I'm certain J.P. got more complaints than ever before. I remember it as if it were yesterday (doesn't every Cat fan?)
"Okay, do you have a tape measure, now bend over to the right .... that's your waist, measure it. (a pause) Okay, what does it say?" The customer replies with his/her waist measurement and UK hits a 3 pointer against U-Mass in the final four game and you forget you have not muted the mouth piece and you yell out loud, "THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!"
Truly, it was fun and I was shocked when he went bankrupt and exhilarated when he got his company back!!
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Which reminds me of my school bus days. We had to walk to the end of the street, also by the stop sign, to catch the big yellow machine driven by Shorty.
Did I say walk? Oh no, I do not remember too many walks towards the stop. It usually was making a mad dash across five yards to hop on the crowed sweaty screaming mass of Baby Boomers.
The bus had a route that entered our subdivision on the street that ran behind our house. One of us kids would be stationed at the end of the kitchen table as the look out. When he (as it was always one of my brothers, never me) spotted it making its first stop he would stand, grab his book bag, his lunch and yell out to the rest of us.......
And then the mad dash would begin.
If you missed the bus? If you were dragging your heels and could not participate in the running of the procrastinators, well you just had to walk to school! (No worries, it only took 10 minutes if you went as slow as possible).
Which reminds me of another story.
My Brother-in-Law's family owns a piece of property on a TVA lake. In February about 10 to 15 men (no women) make the pilgrimage to participate in their version of an Iron Man competition. It is a long week-end of drinking beer and a horse shoe competition where only the winners do not have to jump into the frigid gray water of a late winter lake.
It is about a three hour drive to reach the Lake House. As they approached their destination this past winter, they saw a bar open along the way. It was around 3pm and the place was packed!
"Wow", they thought as they ordered their beers, "this place is really hopping for so early in the afternoon". Just about this time someone jumped up yelled.........
And the entire place cleared out as the bus unloaded its cargo and they clamored into the waiting pick-ups for the ride home.
Somethings never change.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Usually I am out there in the mornings as the heat of the day has not yet hit. Anyone living in this area knows we have had a very hot summer and little rain. At least little rain as of late. My roses have suffered from a multitude of circumstances including but not limited to the heat, the Jap beetles, and the dreaded yellow spot. I have inherited approximately 21 rose bushes/plants and have not, to date, killed any of them! As a matter of fact, since the heat has broken, and the Jap beetles have died off for the season, the roses are looking very spiffy!
Please do not point out the black spot disease! Only this year (because I am a slow study) I have learned how it happens and how to treat it. The other day I spent hours picking out the dropped leaves from the mulch. Mindless work that allows deep cracks in the brain to appear.
My back patio area is nothing short of a Sahara-like heat bowl. The southern sun beats down all day long! Nothing survives on the patio of white concrete and sand colored wall. Since I have been traveling back and forth from Memphis all summer and relied on the daughter to water .... well, there were horrible deaths of many hardy plants.
As I said, I am a slow study. It took a while to realize succulents were the answer! They come from the desert, right? So, I was spending yesterday afternoon replanting the resilient remarkable succulents when my back neighbor comes across the yard.
He was so nice! He had brought along a bucket of planting soil as a gift. We chatted a bit about the things neighbors chat about when he suddenly changed the subject and waved his arm towards a corner of my yard and bluntly asked, "Is that a marijuana plant you're growing up there?"
As if!!! How funny! It does sort of look like one if you never have seen it before! So I assured him it was a bamboo plant that a very nice person in west Tennessee had given me and I was trying to get it to thrive in southern Indiana. And behold! It is throwing off a baby shoot.
A little later my next door neighbor came over and we chatted about my tomatoes.
And my roses.
And I assured him I was not growing marijuana and he laughed. He was more in the know because he told me I would have been busted long ago if that was the case.
It was only when I went inside I realized I was not wearing a bra under my t-shirt.
No wonder I had so many male visitors!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
When the refuel light comes on and I see his tension rising I always say, and I mean always, "I'm good for 20 miles".
And then I looked it up in the vehicle manual and found out I had an extra gallon adding another 30+ miles I could now say, "I'm good for 50 miles", but I do not want to give him a coronary.
On my way home the other day the refuel light came on and I felt that touch of annoyance rush over me. I hate to fill up with the gas prices being where they are now! Who would have thought that finding gas under $3.80 would be cause for celebration? While in Memphis over the week-end I gassed up at $3.31 and loved the feeling of not feeding over $50 into the proverbial black hole. The prices in Louisville are much higher than in Tennessee. A lot higher. So I fired up the computer and found the lowest gas prices in the metro area, which was $3.51 at the station located at Bashford Manor Mall.
I'll be damned! I was heading over to my brothers for dinner and the Mall was fairly close by! I could save big money by heading over there! And by big money, I mean approximately $3!!!!
And with my new found discovery that the reserve was around 50 miles, I was confidant that I could make it.
After my visit I flipped the trip and began to pay attention to the mileage thinking that I had not actually looked and the gage was **gasp** under the E.
4.9 miles to the Mall and I felt a rush of what must have been relief as I pulled up to a gas pump.
But only momentarily.
I turned my purse upside down and poured out all the contents on the passenger seat. Horrors and double horrors I had no wallet!! I could see it plain as day sitting next to the computer as I had ordered something on line before leaving for my mothers birthday.
Now I was in a cold sweat.
I had two one dollar bills on me. In the ash tray was another $1.25 and checking under the seat and in the trunk I could another 75 cents.
Enough for a little over one gallon. Needless to say, the needle did not move very much and kept its secure little home under the bigger than life E.
50 miles did not seem like much of a life line on the drive home.
This story ends well, as I made it and the trip says it was only a 26 mile gamble from my bro's house, a little gas added, to my the comfort of my drive way. A huge sigh of relief escaped from my clamped lips, my hands relaxed from their death grip on the steering wheel and the paralyzing fear of running out of gas on the I-65 Spaghetti Junction Bridge becoming a faint memory I sashayed triumphant into the house.
I guess Joe wins this one, but don't tell him.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I have no idea where I heard this, but it stuck in my head because Joe threw out all my unframed prints I had stored in an old, old, old trash bag. Like from the 1970's it was that old. And it looked like something important was in it, laid up against the kitchen wall. Oh well, ...oh well....I heard something that went like this, "You forgave them for throwing away your concert ticket collection".
Which made me check on my collection, which I have spread out in several places. (so that if he can only throw out part of it)and I fingered the Alice Cooper ticket from the mid-70's and remembered. (which is exactly why you hang on to stuff, for the memory bomb).
I was living in Mayberry* while I was waiting out an academic suspension from college and working at some minimum wage job (that should have convinced me to straighten up and fly right...but that is another story) and Alice Cooper was the hottest thing on the concert circuit.
It was when he was chopping off his head in a guillotine. Rock theater. I think he invented it, didn't he?
Naturally we had to drive to Louisville to catch the show. I am thinking Rupp Arena was not yet built. (damn I'm old) (but younger than Alice). I say "we" because I had talked Bad Bob into going with me.
How I hooked up with BB I do not remember. More than likely I just drove around Mayberry* determined to find someone to make the trip with me because someone else had bailed on me (?) and found him. More than likely smoking cigarettes by the convenient store and trying to pick up chicks.
I met Bad Bob at the swimming pool years before. The swimming pool was the place for summer fun and everyone went to idyll away the summer heat. Bad Bob was from the wrong side of the tracks to put it politely. I'm not certain if he/his family had a membership to the pool, but who was going to stop him? He did not earn the name Bad Bob for nothing!
Joe has known Bad Bob since elementary school. Bob was held back, much to the horror of Joe's class. Joe had gotten a brand new knife, (I know I know, this is boy stuff from long ago)as a gift, maybe a birthday gift. Anyway, Joe was at his locker when Bad Bob comes up and tells Joe he is going to swap him a girlie magazine for his new knife. And that was all there was to it. Joe was in no position to disagree. He handed over the knife and received an girlie magazine from the 1950's (or so he says) that was so looked over the cover was gone and most the pages were missing. The new knife is gone but Joe is left with his teeth (he would have had to fight Bad Bob to keep the knife and Joe is no dummy).
Anyway, for some unfathomable reason, Bad Bob and I were friends back in the pool day. We played chess while I was watching the front desk (oh yea, I was a lifeguard) and stuff like that. He hung out with the most popular kids in Mayberry* High! We drove around, which was about our only form of entertainment when the pool closed, and drank bourbon straight from the bottle. (I think this was the summer of Easy Rider, nick nick)
I once ran across Bad Bob, who had become a respected (of sorts) builder in Mayberry* at the church carnival. He was with his wife and children. We smiled and acknowledged each other, but the eyes, his eyes told me this was no time to have a conversation. His blond beautiful wife looked on, blowing smoke from a lit cigarette. As I said, we nodded.
The last time I saw Bob was at a small bar. We were tossing back beers and arm wrestling, of all stupid crazy things. We ended up in my car and he was driving me somewhere and we were pulled over by the police. High School all over again. The police drove me to where I wanted to go and Bad Bob went to jail.
(This is the strange weird part)....There is this noon mass that is held at a church in Lexington that I use to go to when I felt the need. I was sitting in the back and realized that out of the 15 or so people there I knew one of them. A guy from Mayberry! During the mass it is asked if anyone has a request for prayer and my friend asked for prayers for Bad Bob.
He took my hand after mass and told me Bob was dead, had killed himself. He had put a paper bag over his head and shot himself.
Alice Cooper's show in Louisville. Bad Bob tolerating it for me, his friend.
I have a small collection of old concert tickets.
*Ficticious name for a place that could have been Mayberry back in the day.