Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mom's Yahrzeit

According to the Jewish calendar, tonight is the night Mom died. So, tonight, I'll light a candle and let it burn 24 hours. Of course, I always have my little bereavement lamp on in the kitchen with her butterfly clip on the top. I see it (and her) every day.

Sleep well, darling.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The End Of An Era - Town Hall Liquors Changes Ownership

Mom and Dad's estate finally settled, 2 years after my Mom, Gertie's, death.

Years ago, my Dad tried to prep me for what might be ahead regarding the estate. Dad and I had many conversations about his wishes, and I tried to do as my Dad asked me and believe that he would be proud with how I handled myself. There is, however, a book in the making over the settlement of the estate.

Regardless, Town Hall Liquors in College Park, Maryland has transferred ownership and is no long my 'Folks' bar' which is how I always talked about it for the past 54 years.

When I was young, I literally grew up in the back room of Town Hall. There was an office there which remains to this day. I remember playing back in the office as Dad was doing payroll or putting together the next weeks order. During the long days of football games at the University of Maryland, all hands would be on deck helping run the bar and liquor store. I was generally delegated to the back room, that is, when a regular wasn't watching me. There was even a cot back there for naps or evening snoozes.

Dad had a saying that I know to be true:

When times are good, liquor sales are good.
When time are bad, liquor sales are better.

I remember the 1966 riots in DC. I was only 8 but I well remember Dad worried about other places in DC that he had an ownership interest in. All of those places survived the riots - mostly because the locals took care to made sure they were protected from looting or flames because 'Mr. Joe' always took care of them. That's who my Dad was to the locals, Mr Joe and then his wife, Miss Gertie.

Town Hall, back in the days I remember, was teeming with locals - it was one busy place, day in and day out. The locals there remind me today of the crowd in the TV show Cheers. Everyone knew everyone else. Ah, those were the days. Those were the days when Mom would run the store and Dad would run the bar. When Maryland was playing games, Town Hall was swamped and my folks handled the crowds flawlessly.

I remember that we always had an ample supply of 'Peters' jackets. Back in the 1960's, Peters jackets were status symbols; if you didn't have at least one jacket, you weren't cool. The buttery yellow jackets were light and warm at the same time. I remember my Dad telling me how we ended up with so many jackets - whenever someone was caught trying to steal from Town Hall, Dad would frequently bar the stealer and grab his jacket on the way out. Yes, indeed, we had a whole lot of jackets. We even had those nice leather sports jackets from the Maryland football players. Dad would give them the option of giving up their jacket or calling the police when they were caught stealing. Yep, we had jackets all right.

My parents were of the era when long hours of work yielded their success. And, they sure did work those long hours, along with raising a family.

My parents success at running Town Hall funded college for two of their four children. And, I, for one, am forever grateful for my college education from Frostburg State University. I've leaned on my biology background all my life and my eldest brother, Mike, is now retired from aeronautical engineering. We have Town Hall to thank for the family riches, in many ways.

But those days have officially passes as Town Hall moves onto a new owner and I myself move into retirement age. I shall look back with nostalgia at those 'good old days' and remain grateful that I was born of parents who understood the value of family and friends and passed those values onto me. Thank you, Mom and Dad. I will be forever in your debt.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Congratulations Miss Lowe!

Well, my BFF Bobbi has been very successful in selling her house in 3 days flat! Even when I was a realtor working full time, this would have been considered to be a record but, once I turned her onto the best realtor ever (Carolyn Yeakle), the sale came faster than anyone expected. I couldn't be mor excited for her and can't wait to visit her in her new digs. Congrats, Miss Lowe! You deserve to start on the next half of your life. Yahoo, babe!

I shall see you in Key West!

Monday, May 20, 2013

So perfect a piece of artwork

I found this piece of art in Bisbee, Arizona and was immediately drawn to it. It's the perfect representation of my Mom and me - even down to what looks like a sandal anchoring the hands and the butterfly. I was transported to a time when I clipped Mom's butterfly barrett to her hair every morning, to a time when she was with me in body and in spirit. But, make no mistake - the woman still follows me around! I hear her and Dad all the time - particularly last week when I made some large decisions about the future of my life. They continue to lead me down an ever evolving path. A fascinating, incredibly rewarding and warm path. They prepared me well to step out as an adult and, for that, I'm forever grateful. Not everyone is as lucky as to be prepared for living their own lives. Thank you, Gert and Joe!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Writing continues

Now that Mom is no longer with me, I've been finding ways of keeping her memory alive; here's a few of my latest articles:

Because of her - a tribute to Gertie
Pictures of Gertie - life with my 95 year old Mom

I also was consulting full time but that gig is over so I'm floating 'free' at the moment. I doubt I'll stay 'free' for long as I think I probably will be bored not working so back to work I go - but, I'll probably take the summer off anyway. There are a lot of travels booked for the future; I might even recreate the folk's cross country camper tour! We shall see. We shall see...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Another milestone has passed....

Well, today found me in Berkeley Spring, WV where I sold my cabin (full price, in 10 days, thank you very much...). As I sat at the closing table across from the adorable buyers, my thoughts floated back to the wonderful times Mom, Dad and I had at the cabin. Dad called it the "Beach House," and, indeed, it did have the serene feeling of our beach house on Kent Island years ago.

Nightfall at 'Mansion West' would find Mom, Dad and me pulling chairs up to the front of the porch overlooking the mountains. As dusk fell, we'd turn on the light in the front yard and watch the bats swoop down and catch the moths. The three of us would be on which moth would be the next one to go (Dad was always right - it was the largest, whitest moth....). I lost a lot of money to that man.

Ah, but, after Dad died, I could rarely get to the cabin. It was a bit too remote for me to take Mom alone so we stopped going about a year before she died. In fact, I hadn't stepped foot into it for a full year. I missed it sometimes but I was grateful to just be with Mom.

So, today, another milestone has passed. The cabin has been passed to a couple whom I believe will love it even more than I did. And, I think they'll have many wonderful times up there too. I hope they build the memories like we did.

Here's an article I wrote tonight:

How to say goodbye to a dying loved one.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My newest Kindle eBook is up!

Senior Citizen Caregiving 101: Things I wish I had known

Well, after an incredibly sad day yesterday of mourning the first year anniversary of Mom's death and putting to sleep yet another dog (thanks John - there was no way I could have done it yesterday, and it had to be done), today is dawning brighter. I immediately felt better upon arising from a long sleep, snuggled in with 3 remaining dogs. Oh well - "These things happen."

I spent most of the day unpacking from the latest excursion to Dominican Republic while planning the next trip for the month of May. Six loads of clothes later and I'm almost repacked and dreaming of the next trip. I'm certainly making up for the time I was Mom's caregiver and couldn't get away for very long! I know she'd be proud of me.

I also managed somehow to get my new Kindle eBook done. The title is "Senior caregiving 101: Things I wish I had known." There's 15 chapters about stuff I mostly figured out on my own, with a little help from my friends, and a whole lot of guidance from my Mom.

Here's the link:

Senior citizen caregiving 101: Things I wish I had known

It's free from the Kindle lending library so, if you have a Kindle, go for it. It was really cathartic to write and a whole lot of fun to finish! Thanks loads to Sharyn for editing it for me and for John being my second reader.

Note: if you do read it, please leave me a comment on I'd really appreciate the leg up.

Onward and upward....