Category Archives: Rockport

Green Choices for a Better World


One summer morning of my 16th year, after eating a delicious large breakfast

with my Aunt Marie, she said we had a ‘chore to do.’ We were in my Aunt

Dot’s kitchen in Rockport, Massachusetts.

I put some beat up tennis shoes, raggedy jeans shorts and a dark t-shirt

on. Aunt Marie wore a red bandana over her golden hair, with a blue pair

of, what we called then, “pedal pushers” on and a red light weight blouse


We stashed, in the ‘boot’ of  Aunt Marie’s little red, sports car, paper bags

of recyclables, a large box of technical equipment, that had a few television

parts and cords thrown in.

On the way to the area of the city dump, Aunt Marie explained about

composting and recycling. She also told me something I had never

thought about and here is the ‘gist’ of her lesson:

“Out on this Eastern seaboard, we have limited space, we’re very concerned

about the Atlantic Ocean, mercury’s effect on our fish, gas and oil discharges

from fishing and recreational boats. We want to make sure we all have a

clean place to live and swim in.” (This was 1971.)

We were heading up a great hill, to where there were various sizes of sheds,

dumpsters and piles of discarded items. This was my introduction, seeing

this process in ‘full swing,’ to thinking more about environment and ecology!

My Aunt Marie had me grab the box, while she took two armfuls of paper bags,

and we headed towards the designated areas. Technical equipment, including

cords, cables, computer screens and ‘motherboards’ were in a large shed.

If one wanted to ‘shop’ in amongst the discarded equipment, you were not

going to be prevented. They actually encouraged recycling and re-using.

We then took the glass bottles to an area, with a lot of shelves, and a woman

sitting in front of a small table with an old calculator figured out our pennies

earned and gave us money for the soda bottles ‘returned.’ The glass jars that

were from spaghetti sauce, mayonnaise, and other condiments did not receive

monetary payment, but I already became aware that recycling these would

preserve the local environment.

Over forty years ago, when Bay (Village) High School held fundraisers

for different clubs, associations and team sports, we would collect bottles,

cans and newspapers. I have a photograph of myself, with a felt pink hat,

resembling Annie Hall or some other cultural style leader, so I thought!

I am wearing a ‘maxi”length beige coat, and am in front of the truck Science

Club would rent. We were piling newspapers, magazines and other paper

products. I am with some of my good ‘geek’ friends. Although, not included

in the yearbook photograph, we girls are laughing at the ‘boys’ who were

pawing through the “Playboy” and “Esquire” magazine donations.

We were equally aware of the environment and the financial value of this

monthly fundraiser. Unlike I am as an adult, who is reluctant to volunteer,

I was always in the midst of such functions. As a member of Science Club,

Thespians, Publication staff and Marching Band, along with the certain times

of year, (as a Girl Scout), we sold donuts in the Autumn and cookies in the

Spring, I volunteered. Although only in the photos of Science Club in my high

school yearbook, was I featured.

When I think back on those times, I felt involved and essential in many

ways. I also found out, over time and conversations, this was more rare

than not, from my friends who I met in later years.

I wonder, do you remember being involved in ecological, environmental

volunteering or fundraising during your school years?

It is a pleasure to feature some local and global “Green Choices” available

recently, here in Central Ohio.

It is not as “helpful” as volunteering, but it feels good to share that we

are still in this together, trying to make ecologically ‘correct’ choices!

The founder of a local skin care company, “Juicy for Sure,”  Valerie

Dupree, talked recently. She was suggesting trying products that are

free of chemicals, such as paraben and phthalates. (Not sure what this

is, but I rechecked spelling twice!) Her company features body care

products made from natural sources. They are unscented and stored in

glass containers. A reminder given, those stored in plastic packages are

more likely or are believed to create chemical ‘contamination.’ The

natural skin care company, recently added a new men’s lotions line.

They claim many of their products “leave no greasy ‘after-feel.'” There

was a Worthington, “Green on the Green” function that my youngest

daughter attended, believing that what she puts into her body and onto

her body, directly affects her outbreaks of eczema and inflammation of

rheumatoid arthritis.

You may also purchase “Gardener’s Lotion” and a sweetly scented

body lotion, “Dew Drop.” My youngest daughter is not involved in this

business and would not purchase any scented products. Look for these

products and more online, at Juicy for Sure. Their skin care line promises

“artisan crafted,” “eco- conscious” products while feeling “luxurious.”

Solar panels have been considered great conduits to natural forces for

quite some time now. There is a local Central Ohio, Columbus-based

company who won a recent award for being one of the top 3 National

winners in the “Green Homes” category. The quarterly “People and Planet

Awards” find eco-conscious companies and hand out different categories

of awards. The name of this national nonprofit, sustainability organization

is “Green America.”

Kevin Eigel, who is the President of “Ecohouse” will use the $5000 award

to help fund a solar installation for a co-op building called, “Third Hand.”

Ecohouse. com is one that I am proud to list as nearby. I wish I could build

a home having Kevin’s company install solar panels on my roof.

My Dad was very interested in having solar panels on their retirement

cottage in Vermilion, Ohio, believing in both the wind and sun as being

important natural contributors of energy. I have to admit, they did not

complete this project.

Soybeans in Iowa were recently researched in a study found in “Food

Chemistry” journal. The foods we ingest are very important to know

more about, as our society and world has changed the processes. The

study tested soybeans grown from seeds that were genetically modified

(GM) to be resistant to the herbicide, Round Up.

Thirty-one different Iowa farms were participants in this study. The

results found that GM soybeans contained significantly higher levels

of  the toxin, glyphosate. This is one of the main chemicals found in

Round Up.

Of course, this is the reason to ‘buy local,’ as often as possible, from

farmers who use natural ways to grow their soybeans.

I am learning more about being aware of non-GMO soybeans and other


Organic foods are the best ones to put into our bodies. Also, they have

found there are higher levels of good ingredients in naturally grown

soybeans, higher levels of protein and zinc, along with lowered levels

of saturated fats.

Global recognition is my final thrust in this going green article. There is

an international rise in sun-generated power in the United States, Italy,

Germany, China and Japan.

They were named as countries producing more than “10 gigawatts of solar

products” to promote a greener economy.

In India, villages are switching to solar power, also. Their environmental

‘watch group’ is called, “Earth Hour.”

IKEA, Scandanavian produced furniture) has sold over $10,000 worth of

solar panels to 17 British outlets. England is aware of the reason for using

solar energy to generate warmth and heat.

Peru is also starting to install solar panels in a National Photovoltaic

Household Electrification program. This began last July, 2013. (Boy, I

had to check the spelling three times on that mouthful of words!)

The conclusion of this varied report that included personal experiences,

research on soybeans, solar panels and local companies that have been

shown to incorporate natural products is to encourage more awareness

in your area of the world.

There are so many parts of our lives that we ignore or procrastinate

in. I recycle paper, glass, cardboard and plastics. At work, our

boxes get put on a cardboard line, which compacts them into

flat smashed ‘boxes’ that get picked up by a recycling company.

Our discarded plastic goes in another location, where it is collected

and corded together with its compaction process, too.

What kind of changes are you already making to help make your area

of the world a better place?

I am interested in any new ‘green’ products, natural foods that have

more nutrition that you would recommend, and any other suggestions.

What are some changes that you have made to become more involved?







Single Ladies Unite!


On June 4, 1948, Marion Richards placed a greeting card and a corsage on

some of her coworker’s desks. Inside each card, she left a special message

and in honor of her choice of words, there is a holiday on June 4th to celebrate!

She had chosen, you see, women who were over thirty years of age and were

unmarried at the time. She wanted them to feel loved and cared for, despite

their status.

This day is called, “Old Maid’s Day!!”

Oh my! Let’s see, in that time period my Dad was 16 years old and my

Mom was 20 years old.

Both my parents had aunts that were unmarried, due to choice, situation

or loss of a husband. They lived in separate homes, leading active and

productive lives.

My Great Aunt Marie had lost her husband to death while young. She had

worked until she was 67 years old at Gorton’s Fish Company in Gloucester.

She was one of the ‘highlights’ of my 16th summer in 1972. She had a little

red sports car and would take me to the drive-in movies, pick up young (and

cute) hitch-hikers when we were heading out of town. She would carry on the

liveliest and most interesting conversations. She was a good ‘role model’ for

my future dates by being independent and leading a positive life. I remember

one of her favorite outfits that she wore. She had a bright coral blouse and a

beautiful silk scarf with a floral design that included the color of turquoise.

She showed creativity and good fashion sense, which I liked to think about

as time went by She showed a ‘joi de vivre.” She will always be, in my eyes:

Forever young!

When my Great Aunt Marie was 92, I went to visit her. She still had her

own apartment, liked to walk to Bingo, to McDonald’s and the stores

in Gloucester.  When I woke up early to hear her lilting voice raised in

song, I walked slowly and quietly into the kitchen to find her dancing.

There she was floating on her toes, gracefully pirouetting and spinning.

When that song that says, “I Hope You Dance” came out, I carefully copied

all the words and mailed it to her. We were pen pals, and although she

never remarried, she always professed love for Pete, her husband who

had died. She never expressed regrets for not having children and truly

seemed interested in mine. I kept some of her letters, since they hold

such amazing positive words of encouragement. She was not lonely and

made friends up until she died at age 96! No worries for her being an

“Old Maid!” Not in her vocabulary or sensibility.

My Great Aunt Harriet was also a widow, a little older than my Aunt Marie,

but still would take her easel out Bearskin Neck and paint boats and the

infamous Rockport, Mass. red boathouse, Motif Number 1. She also was one

who would hop on her bicycle and go to the other ‘coves’ or inlets to use

her drawing pad. She was quite lively, intelligent and could get my 16 year

old self intrigued in everything from conservation, sea life, and politics!

Mom used to talk about her “elderly old maiden aunts,” which in reality

were cousins of hers. They were retired school teachers. They were not

related, so there were times, much later in my life, that Mom said one


“I think they may have loved each other, choosing to spend their retirement

days, reading and volunteering at the library in Middletown, Ohio.”

Still later, while watching Sean Penn acting as the gay character with the

same name as the movie, “Milk,” she expressed thoughts that her maiden

aunts “may have been” lesbians adding,

“I guess we will never know for sure, since they never told anyone, that I

knew of, in the family.”

Tomorrow, (June fourth), is “My Day!” It may be “Your Day!”

In this world of crazy reasons to celebrate, rejoice in the feeling of being

‘free to choose whatever you wish to do,’ as long as you don’t go out and

break any laws, I don’t care if you even ‘play hooky from work!’

Many women, in today’s society, choose to remain unmarried well past

their 30’s. There is no ‘time limit’ or restrictions or even suggested age

that one must marry now. When women choose to focus on their careers,

their own paths in life, and possibly having children with no marriage

license. . .

I think, “Whatever works for you!”

If you haven’t found Mr. Right, he may just be around the corner.

(At least you have not settled for Mr. Wrong!)

If you are looking for Ms. Right, she may also be just around the corner.

(I hope you catch her eyes!)

If you are content in your ‘Single-dom,’

May it be a kingdom filled with

Joy, Independence and Tranquility!

Who needs an excuse to celebrate being single?

No one needs one, but it is fun to do so, anyway!

Any excuse for a Party of One!

In case you have forgotten the beautiful and inspirational lyrics of

Lee Ann Womack’s song’s lyrics are written by Mark D. Sanders

and Tia Sillers in 2000.

“I Hope You Dance”

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,

You get your fill to eat, but always keep that hunger.

May you never take one single breath for granted,

God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed.

I hope you still feel small

when you stand beside the Ocean.

Whenever one door closes,

I hope one more opens.

Promise me that you’ll give faith

a fighting chance,

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,

I hope you dance..

I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,

Never settle for the path of least resistance.

Living might mean taking chances but they’re worth taking.

Loving might be a mistake but it’s worth making.

Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter.

When you come close to selling out– reconsider.

Give the heaven above more than just a passing glance,

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,

I hope you dance…

I hope you dance.

Time is a wheel in constant motion,

Always rolling us along.

Tell me who wants to look back on

their years and wonder where those

years have gone”

(A couple of repeated stanzas and the “I Hope You Dance” repeats.)

If this song isn’t energetic enough, check out Martina Mc Bride’s

song, “This One’s for the Girls.” Of course, you can always rely on

the fun song, even sung by the little Chipmunks’ girlfriends can

be silly to dance to: “All the Single Ladies” by Beyoncé Knowles

and others.

A totally different song, a rowdy and controversial song with

anti-violence message and ending domestic abuse is called,

Independence Day,” sung by Martina McBride. This was not

played on radios because of the difficult subject matter of a mother

fighting back against abuse by burning her family’s home down.

The reason I support this song is due to Martina McBride’s being a

dual spokeswoman for the National Domestic Violence Hotline and

the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

“Independence Day” contains a powerful message for those who are

needing an ‘anthem’ to give them ‘backbone’ to get out of abusive

situations. I like it just to shout out the lyrics, “Let freedom ring!”


Letters from Our Soldiers


A man who collects letters from those wartime men and women

who died, gathered them together to donate a huge amount to

a university. Andrew Carroll, editor of the New York Times

best-sellers, “War Letters” and “Behind the Lines,” donated

his collection of 100,000 letters to Chapman University in

Orange, California.

For those of you who liked “Reader’s Digest” magazine and

their equally valuable reading place, “Reader’s Digest

Condensed Books,” I would like to share that I dreamed of

having a position and getting paid for working for one of

those highly esteemed reading sources. I always thought

what an interesting job it would be to ‘cull’ and ‘sort’

through newspapers, magazines and newly published books to

discover which ones would be worthy of being condensed and

read by millions of readers.

After all my days in doctor’s offices and hospitals with my

youngest daughter, (who has lived with JRA since she was 11,

diagnosed at age 13) I would like to nominate those special

and easily read magazines for some kind of Pulitzer Award!

The books were ones I could take to a babysitting job, while

12 and up, read one or two of the ‘books’ encased in those

esteemed volumes and feel I was ‘in the know’ for a time, on

what was considered popular literature, nonfiction and other

kinds of writings. They sometimes led me back to the library

to get the complete book, wanting more details.

What I am doing today is presenting you with an article and

a lead on some books, which may ‘whet your appetite’ for more!

I am considering myself, ‘duly elected’ to this position and

consider finding these ‘gems’ to share with you. In each letter,

there is a story.

Had my cousins written during their Viet Nam War experiences and

shared the letters with my mother, she would have kept them. I

wish I knew more of their experiences.

I will always remember when my twin second cousins, Johnny

and Eddie, came back from the Viet Nam War. My cousin, Ed, went

back to being a pharmacist at Tuck’s Pharmacy, located in the

small, notable town of Rockport, Massachusetts. My cousin, John,

came back to California, briefly found out that his wife had

been unfaithful, and left the West coast permanently. It was my

16th summer, the one my parents let me go work at the candy

counter, learning how to be independent since my Great Aunt Dot

and Great Uncle George, gave me working hours, dinner hour and

the curfew of 10 p.m. during the week, 11 p.m. during the weekend.

I learned firsthand about PTSD, through deep and dark discussions

with Johnny. He was not happy with his war experiences. I wish now,

that I had written notes down, during that three month period.

His life irrevocably changed, whereas his twin brother, who had

been in the ‘medic’ field tents and not in direct contact with

weapons. No, he just handled their aftermath results, seemingly


Andrew Carroll has collected letters from the Revolutionary War,

the Civil War, WWI and WWII, Korean War, the Gulf, Afghanistan and

Iraqi skirmishes, too.

1. A Revolutionary War letter~

Writing from father to son, James Williams began a letter to Daniel,

on June 12, 1779:

“This is the first chance I have had to write you. I am, by the cause

of Providence, in the field in defense of my country.” He describes

missing his children and wife. I love the way he shows his emotions

about her,

“Your mother, who sits like a dove that has lost its mate, having the

weight of the family on her shoulders.”

Sadly, James died at the Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina.

He had written these foreboding words,

“The uncertainty of life ought to induce every man to prepare for


2. A Civil War letter~

When a soldier has been mortally wounded, their words are even more

heart-breaking, since time is slipping away from them. Here is a part

of a letter from John Ross Wallar, who volunteered to be a drummer boy,

in the Civil War. This is most sad, since he was only 15 years old.

He dictated these words in a short letter, sent to his family:

“Dear Sister, Father, Mother and Friends,

I received your letter, but I don’t think I ever shall see another

that you write. This is Friday night. But I don’t think I will live

to see morning. But my kind friends, I am a soldier of Christ. I

will meet you all in Heaven. My leg has been taken above my knee. I

am dying, at this time. So don’t mourn after me. For I have bled and

died for my country.

May God help you all to pray for me. I want you all to meet me in

Heaven above…

My wound dresser is writing this letter.

Write to Alexander Nelan, for I won’t live till morning.

So goodbye, my friends. May God be with you

all. God bless my poor Soul.”

3. A WWI letter (in France)~

On September 11, 1918, a Columbia University student who had volunteered

for service, leaving school. Sgt. David Ker sent a letter to his mother

the day before the attack on Saint-Mihiel, France. He wanted to keep his

family’s spirits up:

“Tomorrow the first totally American drive commences, and it gives me

inexpressible joy and pride to know that I shall be present to do my

share….Should I go under, therefore, I want you to know that I went

without any terror of death and my chief worry is the grief my death

will bring to those so dear…”

4. A WWII letter~

Tommie Kennedy, 2nd Lt., only 21, knew he would not come home alive.

He was captured by the Japanese at Corregidor and spent nearly 3 years

as a P.O.W. He was ‘fatally malnourished and incarcerated on a ship.’

Kennedy scribbled a farewell message to his parents on two family


“Momie & Dad:

It is pretty hard to check out this way without a fighting chance

but we can’t live forever. I’m not afraid to die, I just hate the

thought of not seeing you again.

Buy Turkey Ranch with my money and just think of me often while

you are there… make liberal donations to both sisters…

I guess you can tell Patty that fate just didn’t want us to

be together…

Hold a nice service for me in Bakersfield and put head stone

in new cemetery…

Loving and waiting for you in the world beyond.”

This letter was smuggled from one POW to another and it was

finally mailed, getting there in late 1945. Four years after

Tommie had left home to be in the service.

5. A Vietnam War letter~

Lt. Dean Allen wrote to his wife, Joyce, on July 10, 1967.

“…Being a good platoon leader is a lonely job…” Pondering his

position and not being able to discuss things with her, he said,

“I guess it (writing a letter) helps a little though because you

are the only one I would say these things to. Maybe sometime I’ll

even try to tell you how scared I have been or now… Sometimes,

I wonder how I’ll make it. My luck is running way too good right

now. I just hope it lasts…”

He tells his wife, “I love you with all my heart.” Four days later,

Dean stepped on a land mine.

6. An Afghanistan War letter~

Mainly during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, service members have

usually ‘Skyped’ or emailed letters. There have been some exceptions,

for which it helps for posterity’s sake, to have them as examples of

this period in wartime. Sgt. Josh Harapko, with the 10th Mountain

Division, preparing to be part of coalition forces, for Operation

Anaconda, was 23 years old. A major assault on the Taliban and al-Qaida

was planned, before advancing into one of the worst Afghan campaigns,

he wrote this letter to his mother dated March, 2002:

“Dear Mom,

I’m writing this letter before I leave. I couldn’t say what I

wanted to over the phone. First I want to say I love you so much.

You were always there for me even though I would never talk about

my problems.

Second you gave me the options to be a man, giving me slack in the

rope to try to make the right decisions. No matter what you always

believed in me, no matter how much of a punk I was to you…

I don’t want you to worry about me. (I know you will cause I’m your


Mom, I’m not afraid to die for something that is right… I just hope

that I made you proud… I’ll always be with you…”

This young man, Josh, survived combat in Afghanistan but died exactly

one year later, on March 11, 2003. His Black Hawk helicopter crashed,

during a training mission at Fort Drum, N.Y. Shortly before he died,

he had given his mother this letter. She cherishes it.

The words of the nearly dying and the ones who fought for our country

are very brave and sure in their convictions. I am in awe and amazement;

there is such selfless-ness through their written correspondences.

Andrew Carroll’s words are good ones to close this article and to give

a summarization:

“On a more personal level, these correspondences provide a tangible

connection to the past and humanize our men and women in uniform,

capturing their distinct personalities, experiences and aspirations.

Through their words, we see them as more than just soldiers, Marines,

airmen and sailors. They are a parent, a sibling, a child, a spouse,

a fiancé or a best friend.”

May this fine and early tribute, through Andrew Carroll’s words,

to all of our servicemen and women, living and gone ahead, a week


for Memorial Day, 2014.

An Old Fashioned Clam Bake!


I was thrilled to have my younger brother, Rich, stop by on my first Fri.

evening at Mom’s. I also was happy that the two of them had ordered

Prime Rib dinners “in” and we picked them up shortly after I arrived.

I set up three t.v. stands and we looked at the nine movies to see which

one we would like to watch after dinner.

Rich told me another exciting meal to look forward to: On Sunday,

October 27th, two days from then, Susan’s and his church was having a

Clam Bake! He had proceeded to order five tickets, hoping Mom and I

could “round up” two people from the senior apartments who would

enjoy a meal out with entertainment. (Side note: Susan is in either

Scotland or South Africa with her Baldwin Wallace college students, or

if reading much later, home by Thanksgiving, 2013.)

Freshly rested at noon the next day, Mom put her little dog, Nicki, on

her leash. We had eaten the breakfast that I go downstairs to get while

she sleeps the last hours before waking. I usually am downstairs by 9,

check or write a post in the Pub, if the computer is not occupied by

a Solitaire player or a savvy email resident and then get our food

before the dining room “closes” at 10 a.m. Mom NEVER ventures out

of her apartment to eat breakfast or lunch, just dinner. However, she

does eat her own cereal, two large, healthy “doses” of peanut butter

and drinks her own store bought milk. When we shop, she does buy

a few microwavable lunches. Having not been there since mid- Sept.

she had gone shopping once with my brother, Rich, and once with

her fellow bus riding resident friends.

I had chosen oatmeal, topped with brown sugar, cream, raisins and

butter, too. I had chosen for Mom, a raspberry filled donut and apricots.

We both have coffee, hers black, mine with cream and sweetener plus

juice. We alternate between four flavors of juice as the week progresses.

Cranberry, tomato, orange and prune juice.

Yes, I am now definitely a member of the Senior Citizens group, when

prune juice is now able to pass through my lips, into my mouth and

swallow without gagging,  starting at the sight of that weird, brownish-

purplish goo!

After breakfast, we found a “taker” who was very enthusiastic to the idea

of going out: Lois! After dinner, while we were waiting to take our meal

from the dining room, “to go,” Lois beckoned us. I sent Mom into the busy

dining room. I was content while sitting next to the gentleman who told us

such a fine, unique scary Halloween story, Felton. We had many chances

to chat over the 7 meals that Mom and I did not go out to eat nor get out

with my brother to eat.

To let you in on one of his daily “jokes,” Felton would greet us very loudly,

proclaiming, “Good evening, folks!”

Then he would let us in on what he called,

“My one and only main Job of the Day is to pick up my wife’s and my


A lot of the young servers would stick their heads out the door into the

hallway where there were at least 5-6 chairs for the purpose of waiting

to enter the dining room or picking up food. They would wave and say,

“Hi Felt! How are you tonight?”

Well, my Mom finally came out of the dining room at almost 7 p.m.

which Felt called the “witching hour” because even though we were

supposed to be able to pick up our “to go” dinners anytime after 6,

Felt said they were never going to “release the food until they were

good and ready!” He would have a pile of mail or a newspaper opened

across his lap, but he chatted and cheerfully regaled stories to us, or

any other listeners around.

Mom was excited to tell me that one of Lois’ table mates, Laverne,

was interested in coming to eat at the Clam Bake on the next day,

Sunday. She told me to go into the Pub behind the bar and find the

pad the bartender or barrista would use to take orders, bring it

back to her to write a reminder note for Laverne. This is my Mom’s

famous, favorite thing to do: we are always writing reminders and

she loves to hand them out, too!

Mom sat down, borrowing one of Felt’s magazines from his mail pile,

carefully lettering this note:

“Don’t forget to go to the front of the building at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday

evening to meet Rosalie, Lois and get a ride to a FREE CLAM BAKE!”

Honestly, I was sure that Laverne would remember.


At 4:25 p.m. Mom and I arrived at the front of the senior apartments,

we went to the desk and cancelled her dinner. We checked to see if

Lois and Laverne had also cancelled their dinners. This is “crucial”

when you live here, otherwise they show up at your apartment with

a makeshift dinner, knocking at your door! The very nice woman, we

“love” her the best of all the receptionists, Marian, checked each of

the names, somehow Lois and Laverne had remembered to cancel

their meals! (Lois, we weren’t too concerned with, she is “on the ball!”

At 4:35, Lois arrived and the doors whisked open to reveal my brother,

Rich, dressed up in a suit, with a nice dreas shirt and tie, too. He had

come from his teaching at Cleveland State, looking very handsome,

I may say. Lois was very flirtatious with Rich the whole night, she is an

above average looking woman who is very beautiful when she smiles

and glows. She started glowing when she had Rich talk to her. He

recognized her from sitting at a table nearby my Mom’s (when she used

to eat in the dining room more often.)  We waited until around 5 p.m.

Then I went up to the desk and asked Marian to please call Laverne’s

telephone number. She did not answer the apartment one, but did

pick up her cell phone. She told Marian she was working on a crossword

puzzle, then asked how was she?

I could hear her, everyone speaks much louder on their cell phones

than needed! I asked to speak to her and Marian passed the phone.

I announced myself as Rosalie’s daughter and told her that her friend,

Rosalie, her other friend, Lois and my brother were ready to take her

to the Clam Bake!

Laverne, of course, had forgotten! She was happy, said she was dressed

for the dining room, would that be appropriate attire for the Clam Bake?

I told her I was heading up the hall and would meet her at the elevator,

that we “needed to go NOW!” I am not a yeller but am firm with the

elderly. I was much more quiet and soft-spoken in my forties, when I

first worked in activites at a nursing home. It took me all of a week to

get my “kind but firm voice” turned on a little louder than I used with

anyone under the age of sixty!

At the St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, a band was playing what I term,

“blue grass” music which was very catchy and lively sounding. There were

people waiting in line, tickets in hand and many moving around within

the gymnasium turned into a dining room.

What wondrous aromas and scents were wafting through the air! All of

our senses were engaged, hearing the violin, the cellist, the guitarist and

singer, smelling barbecued chicken, clams, shrimp and sausages, along

with the other accompaniments to the meal, seeing a widely diverse

group of friendly people, chattering, calling out to one another, and

little ones weaving around, comfortably “knowing” everyone here.

I was looking forward to my final sense, TASTE, coming into action!

Let me tell you about the big bowls of clams, they were in plastic

woven nets that look like a white version of the bags you get onions

in. They were laid on top of two sausages and 8 shrimp.

Lois, Rich and I went to the kitchen area, stood in line and each of us

took two plates that included cole slaw, half ears of corn on the cob, a

barbecued leg quarter, french fries and baked beans.

We had decided while in line to carry 6 plates. This would allow someone

(Rich or Lois) to add another portion of whatever one desired more of! I

went over to the beverage table and brought back 4 cups of coffee.

One for each of the “lades” present, myself included. I brought the

various coffee ‘fixings’ over and took them back.

Let me tell you, Matt, the chef for the day is a professional chef and

caterer. The meal he prepared was as endless as you would want. The

taste was more delicious than any clams or shrimp I had ever eaten


This is saying a lot to give him credit for, since I had been a frequent

visitor, in my younger years, with a few trips back as an adult to all the

states leading to Massachusetts and back. I have eaten at quite a few

actual beach clam bakes! I spent my 16th summer in Rockport, Mass.,

working in my Great Uncle’s pharmacy and candy shop, too. My weekly

errand, after work, had included running down to get a fresh seafood of

some kind. Sometimes being given only $5 to buy a lobster on Bear Skin


This was 1970~ when money went far!

I cannot attest to Matt’s lobster baking or broiling skills, but his boiled

clams and shrimp dipped in butter sauce were “to die for!” I managed

to eat one bowlful, getting a baggie out of Mom’s purse.

Isn’t it amazing how well older people “fend for themselves?” My Mom

always has several baggies in her purse, along with a sundry of effects.

Lois and Laverne consumed all of their clams, Lois ate all of the rest of

the other foods, including getting up and bringing back another bowl

of clams! I was looking at her small frame, picturing how full she must

have been! Laverne, Mom and I “packed up” our chicken and sausages.

This was one of my favorite meals “of all time!” The atmosphere was

so pleasant and the windows in the gymnasium were opened, the back

door leading to the barbecue grills and the side door leading to the

parking lot. We all had sweaters on so did not get chilled at all.

Lois brought her purse out and asked Rich to give a donation of $10

to the church. Laverne asked Lois if she could borrow $10 and she

could donate it to the female priest who was going around, introducing

herself to all who were there. Lois quietly told me, “I don’t expect she

will remember this tomorrow?” I said, “Just give $10 and she won’t know

it is a twenty.”

Rich had purchased all of our tickets and I would have given him gas

money or a donation, but did not know how the week would progress.

It was only Sunday!

This story is out of sequence, but glad to share it with you!

Hope you got some chuckles out of those sweet little ladies, the way

Felton tells us daily his “chore” is to get their meal and any other little

bits and pieces I have shared.

Wish you could have all been there!

Hauntingly Elegant Sites


If you would like to come to Ohio to see where Midwestern ghosts may

roam, there are several locations in our state. Many can be found in quite

elegant inns and you may stay overnight to get the full experience of such

unearthly spiritual encounters. If you already have plans this year, you

could always plan a visit next year, perhaps…

My youngest daughter, who graduated from U.D., visited the Golden

Lamb Inn once on a date. I was taken once for a “fancy dinner” and envy

those who would stay overnight to experience the ghostly encounters,

this Halloween season. The Golden Lamb Inn has the right to boast it is

“the oldest inn” claims to have three ghosts in residence. They appear in

guest rooms and in connecting hallways, too. This is a four story, brick

Colonial style inn which is both authentic and lovely in its interior

furniture and decorations.

One of the supposed “specters” is a small girl. This may possibly Sarah

Stubbs’ inner child since she did live a long life. She was the daughter

of an early owner of the inn. I would be sad to see a child’s ghost,

especially if it were one who had died young.

Another spirit that roams the halls is thought to be one of Charles

Sherman, father of the Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman.

The elder, Charles, was a well respected Ohio Supreme Court justice,

along with being a renowned lawyer known for his legal decisions and

opinions that have been cited for years after his death.

This Charles, a cigar smoking man, died while staying at the inn due to

a sudden illness, leaving his wife with 9 year old (general) William and

TEN other children, aged 18 and younger! I would think the penniless,

widowed wife would be the one haunting the place, with such a large

family to tend! I would think Charles, with such an active sex life, (proof

in a family of 11 children) would have been able to live longer due to

the exercise and blood flowing through his fertile body! Supposedly,

Charles’ whiskered face with the accompanying smell of cigar smoke

is often found in the inn’s hallways.

Another “ghost” of The Golden Lamb Inn is the one of Congressman,

Clement Vallandigham. As  a U.S. Congressman running for Ohio

Governor, he spoke up against the Civil War. This anti-war stance was

frowned upon and he was ‘expelled’ from the North. When he returned

to Ohio, he was staying at the Inn while serving as a defense attorney in

a murder case. The poor, klutzy lawyer was planning a demonstration

for court the next day proving his client innocent and that the victim had

committed suicide and was not a victim. While practicing the use of a how

a gun could be used to commit suicide, he accidentally shot himself in the

abdomen. He died the next morning. If not of embarrassment, then of the

actual self-inflicted fatal wound!

The Colonel Taylor Inn, in Cambridge, Ohio, is a beautiful place to stay. It was a

frequent overnight place of many famous guests, including congressmen, as

the owner was Congressman Joseph D. Taylor. Among the notable guests,

the trio of presidents from Ohio were James A. Garfield, William McKinley,

and Rutherford B. Hayes. (He was a Delaware, Ohio resident and our high

school is named after him.) Although dead Presidents may be inclined to

haunt the White House, the strange noises, unexplained footsteps and

wafting pipe tobacco smoke are all attributed to the Colonel.

The 1861 Inn in Batavia, Ohio is one built during the Civil War to shield

and protect travelers along the Underground Railroad. (Side comment:

Delaware has a corner where North Franklin and Lincoln Roads cross

where there are two tunnels criss-crossing under the roads. The Chi Phi

fraternity House has a scary haunted house that annually plays up this

strange area where ghosts may pass through…) Anyway, the alleged

haunting spirit of a woman named Jennie Penn, can be found in the

hallways and rooms in this inn. The woman graduated in 1885 from

Batavia High School and lived in the 1861 Inn until her death in the

1940’s. Her spirit wanders through, seen and heard here. She was

an artist, so a self portrait of Jennie is hung in the lovely dining room

of the inn. Many of her personal mementos can be found throughout

the building she called home, as a grown “spinster” woman.

The following is a brief list of other hotels and places to find Ohio

ghostly apparitions floating around and creating mischief:

1. Punderson Manor (found at Punderson State Park Lodge) where

rumors of paranormal visitors abound, including an eerie laugh in

rooms and halls, water faucets that turn on and off, and doors

opening and closing.

2.  Rider’s Inn (Painesville, Ohio) In 1812, built and also used in the

Underground Railroad stop. Gentle spirit of Suzanne Rider passes

through the rooms and halls here. There is  a Suzanne Suite, Room #11,

which you can book, to get the whole experience of her ghostly


3. Buxton Inn of Granville, Ohio. Ghosts are of both the innkeeper and

his wife that haunt these hallways together. That couple probably

creates quite a lot of mischief!

4. Lofts Hotel in Columbus, Ohio. This is a beautiful Victorian style

building filled with the possibility of that era’s “lady ghosts,” roaming

around it.

5. There are oddities and unusual sightings in the Marietta Hotel,

Lafayette, Ohio. Personal property goes missing from guests’ rooms.

Shampoo and conditioner bottles are found dumped. There are

sometimes upside down or suitcases that have been tipped over

and contents strewn. This is the most active set of spirits reported

in all the hotels and inns in Ohio.

6. In Cincinnati, the Hilton Inn at Netherland Plaza, has a “Lady in Green”

who occupies the place. She is surmised to be the wife of a construction

worker killed during the building of the Inn, in the 1930’s. There is an

elegant Hall of Mirrors, to view in this location.

At Halloween the best place to visit to get the whole range of emotions,

of course, would be to head towards New England and go north to

Salem, Massachusetts.

Salem has a lot of spirits roaming and everyone, whether they are one

or not, likes to parade around in witch or warlock costumes or actual attire.

I have seen this place during a less cheery time of year, in Winter, while a

young teenager with my family. The grim, freezing cold weather gave my

view a whole different twist on the witchcraft and the various museums

we explored. My family valiantly traveled there to see my Great Aunt Marie,

Great Aunt Dorothy and her husband, Great Uncle George. We spent time

with my second cousins in the town of Rockport, Massachusetts. The trip

was beautiful from the inside of our old station wagon. The icicles,

beautiful antique features of the Victorian and Colonial homes along with

the confectioner sugar coating on all you could see are sights I will always

remember fondly.  As long as we were in one of the family member’s

homes with fires blazing in the fireplace or tucked in with blankets, in the

car driving through the towns winter is a wondrous sight in New England!

I would like to see the town of Salem, MA again, on a warmer, less dismal

day! That is the direction that makes the most sense to head while observing

the holiday of Halloween!

This is Not a Commercial!


This is going to be a fun post about name brands that mean a

lot to me! Hope you will join in a conversation about what

products have meant to you and attach a few memories to them,


I have wonderful memories of the following products that I

am compelled to list their names and why I like (or loved)


1. Everyone asks me this simple question, what products do

you use on your face (sometimes with the attached compliment

that my face looks younger than my age, even without makeup

on.) Here are a couple of products that I have used for years!

Jergen’s face and hand soap. The white bar opening the package

emits a lovely smell of almonds. I also use Zest soap in the shower.

I like that green angular soap bar and it is gentle on my skin.

2. In the kitchen, I used to always use what my mother used: Ivory

Dish Soap. It was a great all purpose product that many times went

in the children’s bath tub at night to create a lot of bubbles. I recently

am attached to any brand that is on sale, that contains citrus scent,

especially liked one with grapefruit in it! (Ajax Triple Action with

antibacterial currently in the kitchen!)

3. I have serious and conflicted emotions when I smell the cologne

or scent of Brut. It is the kind that a special young college man wore

around me and we never went beyond friendship due to meeting my

first husband freshman year. We hung out a lot, though, and I will

always wonder…

4. I wore all through my high school years a scent that I hope will

get a lot of reactions, like “I used that too!” or “My girlfriend used

to wear that, too!” It is called “Love’s Baby Soft” perfume and it was

so sweet and misty. I liked it a lot.

5. Mom wore “Muguet des bois” which smelled like Lilies of the Valley.

Interestingly enough, the couture House of Coty, originally designed

this fragrance in 1941. I am amazed that the story of the scent my Mom

wore is on wikipedia and lots more details, if you have the same memory

of an aunt or grandmother who wore this fragrance…

I loved it when my parents moved to the lake, because they dug huge

buckets of real lilies of the valley from the side of our Bay Village

house to transplant and grow there.

6. Mom used the lotion, Noxema, which frankly kind of smells not so

wonderful! But she suffered from Eczema and felt this lotion solved

her itchy, red and irritated skin problems. She wore it caked on at

night sometime on her hands, then put cotton gloves on to keep

the itching at bay. (I am sure that she found ways around this to

have romance since I have mentioned in much earlier post, my

parents were very passionate!)

7. I have to say for many years, my Mom bought Charmin bathroom

tissue. I think we all remember those, “Please don’t squeeze the

Charmin” commercials, that a gentleman named “Mr. Whipple”

would complain about customers…

8. Talking about commercials that were funny, creative and had a

nice “jingle” or music to it, I loved the Benson and Hedge’s 100’s

commercials! Those were so amusing and I have to say they probably

can be found on Youtube or somewhere on this internet, if you are too

young to have seen cigarette commercials on television! The “gimmick”

was to have the person smoking that extra long cigarette and somehow

it would be caught, in an elevator door, or in some other fashion. My

Dad smoked regular cigarettes and usually not a typical kind. My 16th

summer in Rockport, Mass. I would sell a lot of the hard box red

Marlboro’s to a sweet looking 16 or 17 year old. My great aunt Marie

picked him up one time when he was hitchhiking, all I had to do

with that crazy, beautiful auntie would say, “Oh, there’s that cute

guy that comes into the pharmacy and buys cigarettes.” She

would veer her little red, sports coupe over to the side of the road,

pick him up and try to get him to go with us to the drive in, to

Ipswitch to get clam rolls or somewhere. We saw him a lot on

the road… memories of cigarettes and boys! So inappropriate

and “not politically correct” these days! Smile!

9. Another commercial that sometimes irritated the piss out of

my Mom was the one with a nice red haired woman named

“Madge” who would soak clients’ hands, particularly their

fingernails in green Palmolive liquid dish soap. She thought

it was very bad since if you had sensitive skin (like she did)

it would make the person’s hands itch.

10. Last but not least, my Dad wore the Original Scent Old

Spice. I loved that so much since he would splash it on quite

liberally. Probably to counteract his smoking habit or because

his nose was a little less sensitive. I liked this especially when

he would come to my Father Daughter Square Dance night for

Girl Scouts! I have to share one more memory that is not

directly scent related but it is of my father who was not only

the “absent minded professor type” but he was a little dyslexic!

We all hooted and hollered at our little hoe downs because when

the square dance caller would say “alla man left” my Dad, God

bless him, would almost always go the opposite direction!

I can think of so many other products that have memories attached

so maybe this is going to be just part one, for now!

I am not paid, nor am endorsing any of the above products! This is

not a commercial, but a stroll down memory lane… Hope you will

have a few memories to add to mine!

Great Aunt Marie’s Love Story


I had a wonderful 16th summer up in Rockport, Massachusetts. I was a candy clerk

at Tuck’s Pharmacy where my Great Uncle George and his wife Great Aunt Dorothy lived

upstairs. I simply called my great uncle, “Uncle George” and my great aunt, “Aunt Dot.”

My other house mate was Great Aunt Marie. She was much younger than the couple

mentioned. She was 16 years older than my mother! I will tell you that my mother was

42 and so, Aunt Marie was 58 years old. She was a former beauty queen!

Aunt Marie and I were the best of pals when I was off work and she was off work from

her job at Gorton’s Fish Factory. She would come in singing and greet me. I sometimes

would leave her a note that I went off with my friend, JoEllen, who lived in Rockport and

was in her senior year in high school. We would sometimes go to a nearby quarry or one of

the many wonderful beaches along the coast.

Aunt Marie would take a lemon from the refrigerator and cut it in half. She kept the other half

for the next day. She used 1/4 of the lemon to add to her sweetened tea, the other half to scrub

her hands and cuticles daily. “This ritual,” she told me, “started when I was married to your

Uncle Pete.” My antenna went up and I waited patiently for her to tell me about him. My Mom

had filled me in on some of the details but I wanted my Aunt Marie’s “embellishments!”

My Mom had always been enchanted by my Aunt Marie and now, I had become so attached to

her and  enjoyed her stories! Everywhere we went, even as far as Gloucester, everyone knew my

Aunt Marie. She had won, in her twenties, the crown title of “Miss Cape Ann.” She had also gone

on to be in the running for Miss Massachusetts! She was one of thirty finalists but never made it to

the ‘real finals of that beauty pageant.’  I am not sure if they stopped at twenty contestants on the stage

or if her memory of the numbers had faded. This would have been in the days of radio shows!

But there, in all its glory, was a huge almost 3 foot tall silver Trophy in her special antique curio cabinet

with the leaded glass doors!

I was waiting for her love story first and her pageant story second!

Aunt Marie got a misty eyed look over her face when she mentioned Uncle Pete. She usually was silent

about him. She said that he had been sitting at a diner in Gloucester, a typewriter propped right on the

table, eating scrambled eggs, toast and bacon. He had a jaunty hat on his head and looked so rugged

and handsome that while Aunt Marie was chatting to her good friend, Elizabeth, she tried to catch his


“I raised my voice just a little octave higher and louder, trying to still sound sweet and genteel.”

(This is true, my dear Aunt Marie almost sounded British at times, not the typical New Englander!

She had come over as a baby when my Grandpa Mattson had come over as a teenager from Sweden

with their whole family. His accent was entirely different from Aunt Marie’s.)

Anyway, she stopped rubbing the lemon on her fingers and took her shoes off. She got a wash cloth,

filled the sink up with bubbles and hot water, then came back to the bed where I was perched. Aunt

Marie was so sentimental and she was not looking sad while she told this tale. She proceeded to wash

her feet and add a thick lotion to them, along with a pair of white cotton socks, telling me her story.

“Your Uncle Pete stopped typing to hear my voice, I could just tell I was getting his attention and making

an impact!”

I inquired with anticipation, “What were you wearing, Aunt Marie?”

This is an important fact if you are a young woman of 16 years old and have seen the beautiful wardrobe of

a “legend” in your personal life. I always coveted some of Aunt Marie’s fancy clothes and told her often that

she had a closet that would compare to a movie star. I had already been in high school drama for 2 years

and felt that her style and grace equaled many movie stars! If you saw her when I was 22, 6 years later, you

would not believe she was 64! She is in many of my first wedding pictures because the photographer just loved

her looks!

My Aunt Marie walked over to the closet and brought out a pretty light mint green filmy blouse (she had auburn

hair like my mother’s with green eyes: this would be so perfect to bring the eyes out!) and showed me a flared

skirt that was a pastel floral one, it reached below her knees.

She said, “I had my hair back from my face with a pink scarf so while we drove around the countryside that day,

Elizabeth was the driver, I didn’t have my hair go haywire!”

I gave a little sigh, said, “That was a perfect outfit! It would compare to Audrey Hepburn’s in “Roman Holiday!”

Well, finally she got to the details of when Pete got up and leaned over the booth from behind her head. She said,

“I always wondered if he was being coy about his looking at Elizabeth while he chatted with us!”

His conversation revolved around “What had they been up to this fine Saturday morning?” along with,

“What were your plans for the afternoon?” and finally, “Are you two beautiful women going to the dance tonight

at the square in Rockport, by any chance?”

Each time they answered, “Not much” or “We don’t have any plans.”

But, my Aunt Marie being born gutsy, burst out at the last question, “Only if you will meet us by Tuck’s Pharmacy!”

Pete answered, “Why certainly! I could pay for you gals’ ice cream sundaes, if you like!”

She continued to tell her love story about the much older newspaper journalist who asked her to “live in sin!”

She also said, “No, thanks!”

She did manage to get a proposal after only 2 months of dating and handholding with no romance allowed.

Aunt Marie has told me that she was proposed to and asked to live with at least 25 men over the course of her

life up until this conversation!

When they married, she moved into his large house and she helped him to rent some of the rooms. She would

cook when she got off work and clean on weekends. She said that her habit of singing in the morning and also,

at bedtime were, “some of Pete’s favorite moments. He would grab me around the waist and swing me around to

the music on the radio. If it were a slow song, we would just sway back and forth. He would make me swoon all

over again!”

Aunt Marie told me that Uncle Pete was a “creative type” and had been around the world, she felt fortunate to have

him as her husband. She did not fuss over his drinking every night whiskey ‘straight up’ nor did she get upset that

he went downhill earlier than she would have liked. She felt the compensation of having been “well loved” made

up for his “sickness.” He died only ten years after they married. They never had children nor did she ever consider

another marriage proposal again.

(The pharmacy although run by Uncle George Tuck as the pharmacist, his brother Roger made candy and ice

cream for which I have met people who remember how delicious those treats were. By the time I worked there, in

the summer of 1972, the soda fountain no longer existed but I sold candy there behind the glass cases. Of course,

the ice cream was there when Aunt Marie met and was courted by Uncle Pete. It also was there when WWII ended

in Europe and Mom was serving up the lots of celebratory ice cream cones then.)