Saturday, May 26, 2007


This weeks Sunday Scribblings Submission

Being a Baby Boomer means that millions of us share similar childhoods in the 1950's and 1960's. It seemed like there were kids in every nook and cranny all over every neighborhood. All of us were outside in the afternoons, swarming in packs divided by age and sex.

We all had younger brothers and sisters who wanted to tag along. The common command given by the General (your Mother) was, "Watch your younger brother!!" Which you would reluctantly obey, keeping him in the corner of your eye as he played in dirt and made mud pies hoping that he would try to eat one so that you could go slap it out of his hand. Or have him tag along so that when you needed to know if there was hostile animals in the brush at the base of the jungle, you sent him in first. And the best, send him unsuspecting to someones front door to see if So and So could come out to play, knowing full well So and So was under "house arrest" for some crime, like talking back, and not allowed to come out and play. He was good for chasing down errant kick ball shots, and running home for some forgotten "tool" to be snuck out of the garage (like the hedge clippers).

When he would graduate from tricycle to bicycle, he would be made to stand command and watch over the bikes lined up in front of Giles store, so that no one would inadvertently come along and knock them over. For his services, he might get a piece of penny candy, or a ten cent ice cold pop from the Pepsi machine in the front of the store.

When the afternoon began to turn into evening, when our Dad's began to arrive home and the traffic in the streets began to pick up, our Mom's would step on the front porches of our homes and begin to call us home for supper.

Their voices could carry over from one block to the next.

"Your Mom's calling you!"

Mrs. S was the best, because she bellowed! We all would snicker when she called in Tommy and Debbie. I can here it now still in my minds audio replay, ...


We would scamper home, disappearing into those warm inviting homes to a hot meal waiting for us, homework and bed.

The next day we did it all over again.

The only terrorist we had in our midst was the teenager Torchie King, who terrorized our mothers with his red hot rod, which he would tear down the kid lined street at 50 miles per hour throwing dirt and rocks and having us all running for cover.

Back, back, back many years ago when life for a kid was that simple.

Friday, May 25, 2007


The way I have lived my life for the past two years in North East Indiana has certainly been altered and there is more to come.

I was having my hair done last night and I was telling him how people were telling me how great my hair looked, "Of course you told them that you have a new man in your life! Your Hairdresser!!"

And it only took me a year and a half up here to find him. Damn. Now I have to start all over. Where will I ever find someone to sing Herman Hermit songs to me while styling my hair?

Last year, at the very end of the summer, I discovered the 'Botanical Roots Outdoor Concert Series' every Friday night beginning in late July in the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. We were able to attend only one in the series because we found out about it so late. Yet, the experience left me yearning for more. A $5 entry charge and you have the conservatory, which smelled divine and intoxicating, several bands playing, and beer and wine! Does it get any better than that? The outside garden patio was alive with people from all generations including families.

And dancing!

I have a new crush too that I will be bidding adieu in several weeks. It is the greeter at the small neighborhood hardware store, Patterson's Do-It-Best. In the past weeks I have run in there knowing he is stationed at the entrance to say, "Hello! Welcome! Can I help you find anything?"

"I need to have a key made."

"Certainly.....FRED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Help this young lady out!"

And, they have a special section of the store, in the East corner, under a decorated grape arbor, devoted to wine and beer making! I have been saying to myself every time I run in there, "Hell! Mary! You need to buy one of those kits and get Mr. Paterson to teach me how to make strawberry wine."

I'm running out of time. I simply am running out of time.

I have a million things to do as I play hookie from work this afternoon, but the first thing I am going to do when I lift my butt away from this computer is to run to the Hydroponic store on Wells Ave. I first became aware of this small hole in the wall store front on early morning television. A grandma and grandpa type standing proudly in front of their menagerie of plants telling of the marvels of growing indoor tomato plants in water! I think they are aging hippies who are in the know. I must find out.

When I finally got there during their business hours (beginning at noon) they were closed due to "an emergency". The hand written note was taped to the front door. I fretted that one of them had taken a fall or worse.

The Shipshewana Flea Market opens up this week-end I believe. Anyway, it's a place I have been dying to go, since I am one of the worlds best stuff collector. Oddly enough, the only days you can go are like Tuesday-Thursday. Why are they not opened during the tourist driving week-end? I have been told, they could not handle the crowds.

Before I hand over the car, the car keys and that magic gas card, I'm getting over there this week!

Once again, I am running out of time.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Frugal Daughter

How did I live to be this ripe old age and avoid setting foot in a Bed Bath & Beyond until today?

I wish I could have put it off longer. But I am in desperation mode. I had already been to some of my favorite bargain stores to find a Comforter for the bed. Tuesday Morning had some gorgeous things, but it was the first store and I didn't know any better at the time.

The wall of comforters at Value City was enormous. Up to the ceiling. I could not grab the attention of any staff working the floor, so I found a step ladder and got it myself! That certainly should have brought the staff running, but nay.

Once I got it home, the package marked Queen was not a Queen. It was some weird size, maybe a Queen size in Lilliput but not at the Maryrosa. So I took it back.

That's how I ended up at BB&B.

Christ, what an intimidating place! Too many choices! Too many things I had no idea what they were!

What the hell is a duvet cover? Is it like a table cloth for a bed? I examined the pseudo bed on display and the cover was fat and plush. It contrasted with the flat small package I held in my hand ($129). "How does it become big and fluffy" I turned the package over and over seeing if I needed to add water or what!! (like those magic sponges).

I was hesitant to take it out of the package because I had already taken a curtain "scarf" out of the package to ascertain why it would be $69.99 when the panels were only $19.99. Wouldn't one purchase a third panel and make do? When I tried to stuff it back into the plastic bag I realized it was not going to be pretty!

I hid it on the bottom shelf behind some other stuff.

I finally ran across an all inclusive set, comforter, shams and skirt and not a moment too soon as I was feeling my face begin to flush from the sheer absurdity of myself in such a store.

I have too much of my frugal Mother in me.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My Thoughts Runneth Over

Driving down State Blvd. this morning I was watching a slew of kids walking to the High School. My first thought was this, "It's 945am!! What time do these kids go to school?" I began reminiscing about getting to high school, I believe it began around 8am and I think we got out around 3pm.

That sounds about right,doesn't it?

I wish I could have a conversation with my Dad about those mornings dashing to the Catholic High School they forced me to go to in another city. Me and Dad are far beyond those conversations as he is almost totally deaf and suffering from Alzheimer's. I could write him a message about it, but he would read it and only look puzzled and confused and frustrated and shake his head no. "No, I do not remember taking you and your brothers to Lexington each morning for school." That's what I would receive, a terse head shake.

(God I miss my Dad)

But, I remember. And my brothers remember.

My mother standing at the bottom of the staircase that led up to the dormer that was the bedrooms for my brothers and myself.

"Time to GET UP!!"

Moaning and groaning, "Five more minutes." I would wail and cover my head with a pillow. No doubt I had been up half the night listening to the radio, reading unauthorized books (Peyton Place, Valley of the Dolls, Joy in the Morning, The Crowd and the such, heady stuff for a Catholic school girl). My Mother, the librarian, encouraged reading but mainly Lives of the Saints and Alice in Wonderland type stuff, she would have died if she knew what I was able to check out of the library(....before computers, Thank God!).

If I wasn't staying up reading in the huge closet where she could not see the light still on, I was perched on the bottom stairs watching tv in the reflection of the front door. HA!! HA!! HA!! She never knew about that!

And so it would go for about a half hour or so, "GET UP!! You leave in five minutes."

I'll never know how I did it, being a self conscious teenager and all. But I would pull those rollers out of my head, brush my teeth (God I hope so), apply a thin application of Maybelline eyeliner, the kind that you licked the brush and swirled it in the cake, throw on my uniform. Never a worry about what to wear, because it was always the same, navy pleated shirt, white blouse, and navy sweater, white bobbie socks with saddle oxfords, or knee highs with Bass Weejuns. They had to be Bass Weejuns.

I would stumble downstairs and head to the door where my father and my two brothers and the two other kids who car pooled in the morning, Brian and that Drury kid, would be waiting in the car, in the driveway with the car running and my Dad revving the engine.

Miraculously I would have my school books and a cup of coffee, that was breakfast for me and barely have the door shut before my Dad was already backing out the driveway.

He was late for work everyday for four years.

I remember him shaking his head and smiling about that.

He use to remember what a handful I was.

Sunday, May 6, 2007


I had a brilliant idea several years ago, right before making the monumental and life altering move to North East Indiana. I am an avid reader of the independent newspaper scene. Lexington has ACE, Indianapolis has NUVO, Cincinnati has CIN, and Louisville has LEO ("the Louisville eccentric observer, keep Louisville weird"). I believe I have picked them up in Dayton and Cleveland too. I know they flourish everywhere because they are just that, eccentric observation.

What does Fort Wayne have? They have WHATZUP. Different from the above mentioned papers that it is much smaller in the sense of less pages and scope, totally focusing on music/movies/video games with the occasional article about cultural events.

Being the naive visionary that I use to be, I contacted them about a possible series of articles focusing around a new comer arriving in Ft. Wayne and what they discover about the city documenting their observations. I pitched it as Stranger in a Stranger Land.  I was trying to appear clever.

It did not work out and I have mixed feelings about their rag ever since.

It would have been perfect. I would have told these type of stories.

It was nearing the time to purchase my Mom a box of chocolates. In the past it was a simple task, running to the nearest candy store and picking up a box of her beloved Bourbon Balls. Bourbon Balls do not exist above the Mason-Dixon Line unless they are smuggled.

Time to find a new candy store.

The most popular and well advertised store is DeBrand. The stores are simple to find, at the airport and in a stand alone store front on a main artery leading to the interstate.

It is beautiful chocolate presented and packaged similar to Godiva Chocolates.

I was hesitant because no prices were marked and I tentatively chose a 1/2 pound box to test the waters.

Holy S***! I was too embarrassed to cancel the order, so I paid it in stunned silence and left the store.

(Now I see why WHATZUP wouldn't want my observations! lol!!)

Sometime later I ran across Abby Browns Chocolate Shop. This little store front sits on another well traveled main drag in town. After I first noticed it, as Chocolate does have a habit of jumping from the clutter of the annoying barrage of advertisements that we become immune to, I knew I had to get in there and check it out.

It was worth the effort of figuring out where to park. (Right under the "for Library Patrons Only" sign)and marching into the intoxicating smell of thick dark chocolate. Here, on the shelves lining the walls, were simply wrapped boxes with price points clearly visible.

The lady behind the counter is the same lady every time I go in. The same lady I have long conversations with about this and that, this last time the Kentucky Derby where she advised me to go on line to pick my horse because the OTB parlor would be too packed for man or beast. ( is she ever right!!I ventured up there last year!).

I got several boxes of treats (my Mom and Aunt M.), a 1/4 pound of fudge (I am going to start that diet soon) and decided against my weakness, the Licorice Allsorts, because I am still a little sick from the last time I devoured a bag of them.

After my "You're a Mother" discount of 15%, less than $30.00

I'm going to miss Miss Abby.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

I've Been A Bad Girl Today



My camera accompanied me today on the trip to Ohio. I began to document the area I have been calling home for the past two years. The above photo is typical of US 24 and the agonizing long drive to Defiance on the two lane highway that the trucks use as their main passage from Ft. Wayne to Toledo.

As luck would have it, a train came along and made the trip that much longer.

And the sun did not shine until much later in the day.

I decided that I was not in the mood to work. Imagine that! So I came home and did yard work. Some people may call it playing hookie, I call it my lunch break.

It rained again yesterday. Our back yard has yet to be mowed due to the saturation level and spongy quality of the ground. There use to be an in ground swimming pool back there. It will take a bush hog to get the grass cut if I wait much longer.

The weeds came up easily enough. If only dandelions were accepted flowers, I would have the greenest thumb on the block. I think the rose bushes are dead. I have no idea what went wrong! If I looked at something long enough and was not certain if it is flower or plant I figure it's a weed and up it comes. I hope I'm not pulling up too many perennials.

I went to the best Garden Center in our area, Mains, and purchased three hanging plants and several begonias for the front of the house. It looks fantastic!

On a sad note, the tree in the front yard, the beautiful majestic ancient tree that stands guard over our entry way is causing havoc with the drive way. I am to replace it, (the driveway that is), which does not make me a happy camper. The estimates I am hearing are making me sick. Not only the cost, but that they will have to damage the trees root system to lay a new driveway.

"But that will kill the tree!" I exclaimed

"You're moving, what do you care?"

I care a lot. The tree makes this house stand out, as does the beautiful landscaping Beth did and I have just about ruined. That tree makes this house special.

That Tree Killer just does not get it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


..... or No Man Is An Island for Long

You would think that being in a customer service/sales environment I would be interacting with people all day every day. And perhaps I am, but it has been like living a surreal dream.

I recently acknowledge that I have been just going through the motions, cast in this role of  Southern Belle adrift in the corn fields of the American Heart land. I have made few, if any, friends. Just a few acquaintances as I do my time up here.

The past few weeks have been a wind whirl of activity. Meeting with inspectors, appraisers, Realtors, plumbers and in the immediate future more Realtors, electricians, and concrete people! It's impossible to operate as if I am submerged underwater moving in slow motion with deliberate squirming. I have emerged from the deep end and have climbed the ladder to the top of the high board where I take dive after dive after dive. And the occasional back flip.

The Realtor who is going to sell this house is a character. Already I know that she is going to be great for me. Not only as the agent for my home, but as someone I can lean on, ask questions without feeling like a nim-rod, and she has already offered to help me do the fix up work, if needed!

No man is an island, and I have tried to not become attached to anyone nor anything in this area. I do not think I started out that way, but it evolved.

I'm climbing back up the ladder for a huge swan dive right now.