Miz Shoes

Purple Clover Queen Anne’s Lace

Today is Bob Dylan’s birthday. It is, as I have often said, one of my personal high holy days, the others including the Oscars, Bruce Springsteen’s birthday and the opening day of the major league baseball season. I’m planning a bar-b-que, and if Bob’s in the area, he’s welcome to drop by for mango pie and green tea ice cream (that was a hit around here, so we’re reprising it). Don’t get me wrong, if Bob wants burgers, he’s welcome to come for the whole party. Oh, there’ll be the usual potato salad and cole slaw, but I’m pretty sure that the mango pie will be the part my guests remember.

Speaking of memory, I took a quiz that I saw on RJ’s blog: What Flower Are You. Much to my surprise, I’m a snapdragon. My grandfather grew snapdragons in his garden in Newport. He was not much for tender moments, my grandpa, but I remember he used to show me how to make snapdragons snap. And I remember his garden. He had flowers and vegetables. There were pear and apple trees, and of course, there were the raspberries.

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

“Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh.”

Miz Shoes

Teach Your Children Well

My mother always read to me, and it spurred my desire to read on my own. My very favorite book was the 1948 edition of the Anthology of Children’s Literature with color plates by N.C.Wyeth (which also stirred my interest in art and illustration). She would read the same poems every night to put me to sleep, starting with Mr. Nobody and including The Duel, and her favorites by Robert Louis Stevenson.

At the Sea-Side

Robert Louis Stevenson

When I was down beside the sea,

A wooden spade they gave to me

To dig the sandy shore.

My holes were empty like a cup.

In every hole the sea came up,

Till it could come no more.

I took my tattered old copy of the Anthology with me on Sunday when I went to visit her. She was hunched over in her wheelchair, and had just finished eating. As usual, I kissed her hello, and said her name and got no response. So I opened the book, and started to read. First I read Mr. Nobody and surprised myself with how quickly it brought me to tears. But I soldiered on. And as I got to the RLS, all of a sudden, my mother’s head came up and she fixed me with the most intense stare. She knew I was there, and she was there in a way that I hadn’t seen in at least four years. She tried very hard to say something, but her speech center is shot, and only a garble of things that might have been words came out. But there was intent. She held my hand tightly.

Next week, I think we’ll read again, and maybe I’ll try some Just So stories on her.

In less maudlin and heart-wrenching news, RJ came over on Sunday afternoon to help me establish a bird watching area/sanctuary in my back yard. We put in a suet feeder, a hummingbird feeder (under the red hibiscus and over my old cat’s grave), a bird bath, a seed feeder and a squirrel feeder. Whew. Today, the squirrels discovered that there was a huge pile of corn and sunflower seeds to be had for the taking. I’m chuffed.

Finally, tonight the Sussex Spaniel came out of retirement to win Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. It was the first time in show history that five of the seven dogs competing for best in show represented breeds that had never won best in show. They were the Scottish Deer Hound, the Sussex, the Pulli (I was rooting for the Pulli), the Brussels Griffon, and the Giant Schnauzer (in black)(and that was another thing, of the seven dogs, five were black or dark grizzled grey). It was a gorgeous set of finalists, and good to see some under represented breeds win their groups. The Sussex is named Stump, and he’s ten, which is a Grand Old Man in dog show years. Yeah for dogs. Jojo, the dog of very little brain, watched with me, but the Noble Dog Nails was having none of it. He went to bed with the RLA.

And now, so shall I.

Miz Shoes

I Need a Big Weekend

In the history of weekends that suck, this one is taking the proverbial cake. I took Friday off of work to go and see my Auntie. She knew me. We talked. I took her putlejon, but she was too weak to eat it. Yesterday I went to see Mummy for the first time in two weeks. I hadn’t been because of the chest cold from hell, and I didn’t want to visit her while hacking up lung and sniffling. With the Auntie, what the hell. She was actively dying, so what was a cold germ going to do…kill her? Hah. I was so shocked at my mother’s appearance, that I went straight to a bar and downed a shot of scotch. She had knocked her shin on the wheelchair and had a bruise that went from her knee to her ankle, and was highlighted by a skin tear about two inches long, in a v-shape…She had a blood blister on her big toe the size of a dime. Her “good” eye was weeping and half-shut. The psoriasis had come back on her scalp with a vengeance. She was grinding her teeth. And then, she said the Girlcousin’s name. Whee. Drink!

Today, I tried to sleep in, and got a phone call around ten from the family at my Auntie’s bedside. If I was on the road, they said, I should put the pedal to the metal, because it didn’t look like there was going to be much more time. I woke the RLA and tossed on my clothes, all the while moaning that three days of this in a row was taking its toll on my mental health. And before I got my jeans zipped up, the phone rang again. Never mind. Dilemma has been solved. Auntie is gone. We’ll all meet at the funeral. Tomorrow or the next day.

I keep telling myself that I can’t possibly be an alcoholic, because the shot of single malt I downed at 10:15 this morning nearly killed me.

I have locked myself in my studio for the remainder of the day. I’m going to rearrange the space and make it a sewing room again, instead of my computer lab/knitting storage.


6:00 p.m. I lied. There was just no way I could concentrate. Instead of organizing, I washed three skeins of yarn and hung them to dry. I finished a book. I did the crossword. I changed the bedding. I smoked cigarettes and stared into space. Time to feed the dogs.

Miz Shoes

Sometimes You Gotta Be Strong

Well. How did this happen? For the first time in my life, I find myself without a place at the Thanksgiving table, surrounded by friends and family and food. Thanksgiving in the early years was held at my grandparent’s home. My grandmother made kasha and lima beans. Not together, but those are the two foods that I remember that were not found on others’ tables. Kasha varnishkas with bowties, and with a splash of turkey gravy/juice are one of heaven’s treats. Grandma’s lima beans, on the other hand… well, except for my Grandpa, I think I was the only person who ate them. She made them from dried beans. They were not baby limas, either. These things were the size of baby shoes, and about as tasty and tender. I swear that you had to cut them with a knife and fork, too. They were grayish, and there was nothing in them resembling a flavor. Still, I loved them. I have no idea why.

Anyway, as my grandparents aged, the holiday moved to my mother’s home, and as the kids grew up and moved away, she and my father filled the empty spaces with their friends. The event expanded until it was a huge buffet, with multiple tables and all sorts of family and friends. My mother and father hosted the “widows and orphans” and it was a magnificent excess. The lima beans disappeared. The kasha varnishkas was supplied by my Auntie Em. My brother and I fought over the turkey skin, and my father brandished his razor-sharp knives to keep us at bay until he’d finished carving.

In time, that scene shifted to the GirlCousin’s home. The RLA and I would arrive with our ice-crusher and he would mix drinks until the elders were giggling like teenagers, and the teenagers were surreptitiously snagging cosmos. The GirlCousin’s husband discovered the glory of the turkey deep fryer, and since that side of the family avoids poultry skin like the plague, my brother and I were happily left to devour ALL the fried turkey skin with no competition and none of Daddy’s flashing cutlery to hamper us.

This year, the GirlCousin has had to take a pass, because sometimes life gets in the way of hilarity. Her sister-in-law has taken up the standard, and the family feast moved another 60 miles north. Which, unfortunately, puts it a tad beyond my reach. There are dogs. There are no dog sitters. There is the 4 hour drive. There is just no way.

So, I called my friends. Star is heading off to her family’s annual Turkeypalooza, taking with her the Surrogate Daughters. RJ and MJ are heading to Homestead to hang with other friends. MizPearl has plans with the Southern Ladies Auxiliary. My brother in law is off the to the northern end of the state to HIS in-law’s lake house. I called my recently orphaned boy cousins, thinking that they would need to be fed and comforted in the bosom of family…they had their own plans. The Renowned Local Artist and I are on our own.

It is, to be honest, freaking me the fuck out. I love him, and I love the dogs and the cat, but this is not the holiday I’m used to. I expect to be surrounded by family and friends and raucous laughter and tall tales and competitive cooking. Wish me luck, because I’m going to cook for two, and then we’ll go spend time with my mummy. Maybe I’ll take her some kasha varnishkas.

Miz Shoes

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

A moment of silence for Paul Newman, please. A fine actor, a fine human being and a fine looking man. I got to see him race once at Limerock. He was a fine driver, too.

In other news, it seems like Senator Obama actually read the Rude Pundit’s play book regarding the first debate. At one point, I even high-fived the RLA for the way Obama made McCain get a little squirmy.

Finally, regarding America’s Next Top Model: with the departure of Isis, the show has lost all appeal for me. Sorry, gentle readers, but there will be no further Miz Shoes Reviews of that show. You’ll have to get your laughs from Potes on Television Without Pity, instead.

Miz Shoes

End of the Line

I am not the seventh son of a seventh son, but I am the only daughter of an only daughter of an only daughter. My maternal great grandmother was married twice. Her first husband was named Rub. That was his last name. Nobody ever knew or remembered his first name. They had a single daughter. Her name was Lillian. Lillian had only one child, a daughter. Her daughter was born on May 11, 1918. Lillian died in the Great Flu Pandemic of 1918, on December 7. Her daughter was only 7 months old. With her second husband, my maternal great grandmother had more children: Ann, Marilyn, Harry and Aaron.

Ann and Marilyn were my mother’s half-aunts, but they were closer in age to being her sisters. Aunt Ann took my mother to see Cab Calloway up in Harlem in the 30s. Aunt Ann took my brother to Coney Island in the 60s. Aunt Ann is long gone.

Aunt Marilyn was, in a word, formidable. She was a milliner who became a multi-millionaire selling hair ribbons and silk flowers. She was a self-made business woman, sharp as a tack. She had advice for everyone, whether you wanted it or needed it. She was a force of nature, and one to be reckoned with. She was also only about 5 feet tall. But her personality ran much, much larger. I guess the women in my family are all a little out-sized, personality-wise. When Marilyn was in her mid-80s, she decided she didn’t want to wear glasses, so went in for Lasik surgery. She was not a good candidate. Nevertheless, she not only had the surgery, she had outstanding results. I told my cousin that it was because nobody, not even G-d or a machine, would dare to do less than what Marilyn demanded.

That being said, Marilyn left this world yesterday morning, one month shy of her 101 birthday. She had a long life, and an amazing one. There are not many people like my Aunt Marilyn left in this world. I mourn her passing, and rejoice at having had her in my life. She was not easy, my Aunt Marilyn. I acknowledge that she was dictatorial and demanding and difficult. But she was the last tie to the mysterious and lost woman for whom I am named. With Marilyn gone, there is no one left of that generation. It is the end of our line.

Miz Shoes

Chapel of Love

Yesterday the RLA and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. It’s totally been all hearts and flowers and sweetness and light every minute of those seventeen years, and if you believe that, I’ve got some dry land under a bridge on Alligator Alley that I’d like to sell you. In any event, we haven’t killed each other, and we haven’t even left permanent scars, unless you count the wedding tattoos. He didn’t propose to me until 15 years after we wed. We got married on Bastille Day, because I knew that I’d get one decent French meal a year, at least.

On our tenth anniversary, we did the Paris to Dakar Rally, after a fashion: we had dinner at EPCOT Paris, and spent the night in the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

This year, we stayed home, and cooked dinner together, then blew off some illegal fireworks (Purple Haze, to be exact. My rule of thumb for buying fireworks is that the words “Shoots flaming balls” should appear somewhere on the label. Also, “Light Fuse and Run Like Hell”. The mulberry tree has a few scorch marks, but the roof and the screens over the pool are still intact, which cannot always be said when the RLA and I get our pyrotechnics on.

Tonight, I am taking him to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (10th row, eat your hearts out). My gift from him was this:

image image

A Kid Robot dunny, hand covered in beads by a Huichol tribe in Mexico. In the traditional peyote pattern, no less. Awesome. Does my man buy good gift or what?

Miz Shoes

You Are My Sunshine

I have this memory. I am very, very small. My mother is holding me in her arms. We are sitting under the arbor at the back of the house on the St. Lucie River, behind the kitchen. There are yellow flowers blooming on the vine, maybe they are alamandas. She is singing to me. She is singing “You Are My Sunshine.”

Wednesday, I took her to a dermatologist to see if we can heal this mysterious rash she’s had for 8 months or so. The previous dermatologist gave her creams and ointments and they have done nothing. She continues to scratch. The rash is spreading. I have to go with her because I am her healthcare surrogate, and if the doctor needs to biopsy anything, or inject her with anything or do anything at all other than look at her, I will need to sign the permission.

Her aide wheels her in. My mother is dressed in her favorite color: purple. I tell her she looks pretty today. The aide smiles at me. My mother is unaware of where she is, I think. I put my knitting in her hands, so she can feel it. You taught me to knit, I remind her. The other patient in the waiting room smiles at me. My mother is unaware of the knitting. The nurse calls us in.

We have to put a gown on my mother, and her aide calls her name, and tells her that we’ll be changing her. After 45 seconds, my mother says “What?” But, delayed reaction or not, she’s responded to her name. We take off her shirt and camisole. She covers herself, aware of her own nudity. We slip the paper gown on her, and she grabs my finger, and holds it tight. I cry silently. The aide pretends not to notice.

The dermatologist gives us four prescriptions and asks us to return in 10 days.

My mother begins to chatter. Numbers. My father’s name. The aide returns her to the home. I take myself to the knitting store, and then home. I manage not to buy a pack of cigarettes.

Miz Shoes


There was a little sniffling over in Ravelry, as a young woman went to her parents’ home and sorted through her childhood room. Another Raveler commented that she has the same closet full of crap that she doesn’t know what to do with, and asked what may have been a rhetorical question:

Lots of it i have drug around for 20+ years. I wish it would just disappear, so i wouldn’t feel the guilt of ‘throwing my past away’. But really…why do we feel the need to hold onto these things?

I responded:  You answered yourself, she says from the vantage point of 53. You hold onto these things because they are your life. Good, bad, indifferent. This “crap” that we all haul around is the visual aid to our oral history. In clearing out my parents’ home, I found every birthday card my mother had ever given my father. And all the cards anyone else he loved gave him, too. I found souvenirs from their travels. I found a journal my mother had kept when she was 15. I found photos and postcards from relatives I never knew I had. We save these things to remind ourselves that we, and our friends and our families, are real. That we live and we matter.

At some point, you have to cull the herd, but you should never get rid of all of it.

Miz Shoes

We Are Family

I love my cousins. They have rallied round. Mummy will be getting a party.

On another note, I just watched Bee Movie, and it didn’t suck. Best joke? When the cow asks the mosquito if he, too, is an attorney and the mosquito (Chris Rock) says: are you kidding? I was already a blood sucking parasite, I just needed a briefcase.


Miz Shoes

Lifting Me Higher

It was a nice weekend at the Casita de Zapatos. We went to visit my mother on Saturday, and she was as awake and alert as I’ve seen her in months. She held my hand, and told me I was a good one, and then she delivered these two gems: “There is another life elsewhere.” Oooh-kay. And “If you want that (she gestures blindly at something somewhere over our heads), I’ll lift you up on a windmill.” And allrighty, then.

There is a new resident at my mother’s place, and she is mean. Really, really mean. She uses the N word to demean the help, and tells everyone to get the hell out of her home or her country, depending on how evil she’s feeling. A couple of weeks ago, she was really making the RLA and I feel sad and uncomfortable, when she turned to us as though we were her cronies, and asked us who all these other people were. Without batting an eyelash, the RLA and I said, what other people. It’s just the three of us here. We don’t see any other people. Then the RLA said that we were angels. God sent us to tell her not to be so mean. The nurses tell us that she’s been a lot less ugly to them since then.

Yesterday, I went to one of the last u-pic fields with Star, and picked a bushel or so of little green tomatoes. Yesh! It is little green tomato time again, and I have 18 quarts of little green tomatoes pickling away on my kitchen counter. I also have blackened, grimy nails and cuticles on my right hand which no amount of scrubbing has done anything to ameliorate.

Last night, we headed off to hang with MJ, RJ and The Other Couple (and other of The Other Couple’s friends) to watch the Super Bowl. What a game! What a great time! What good food! What a play! When Eli Manning ducked the sack (and how did he DO that?) and still managed to hurl one miles down the field only to have his receiver catch the ball on his HELMET!!!! (and how did he do THAT???) What a game. It really was super. And the best thing? (other than the baby who underestimated the creepy factor of the clown) was that the Miami Dolphins got to hold on to their record for one more season. And the next best thing? Eli Manning beat Tom Brady.

Miz Shoes

Rainy Days and Mondays

I went to visit my mother yesterday. She’d fallen on Friday, reaching out for something that wasn’t there, that only she could see. Face plant by an 89 year old lady onto a tile floor does not a pretty picture make. Mummy’s got two shiners, and the whole side of her face is black and blue, and yet, there is only the smallest skin tear on her forehead.

The last three weeks, she’s not opened her eyes when I visit. She’ll hold my hand, or maybe, more accurately, let me hold hers. Yesterday I took her a Starbuck’s Caramel Frappuccino, which she seemed to enjoy.

I called my GirlCousin to tell her about Mummy’s fall, and she told me that my nephew had been spotted at the Gator game over the weekend. Nephew lives in North Carolina, so coming down to Gainesville for a game is a bit of a trek. Still, being only 6 hours from his Grandma, one could hope that he’d call to see how she’s doing. But he’s his father’s child as I am mine, and so he did not. In fact, in the two-going-on-three years (a full three in December) that my mother has been here in this Alzheimer’s home, neither my brother nor my nephew has come to see her once. Nor has either of them called me to ask about her. They don’t send her flowers for her birthday or Mother’s day. They act as though she is already dead.

But she isn’t. Somewhere inside that fragile little eggshell is a wisp of the soul that used to be my mother. It’s hard to see. It’s even harder to look for. I’ve often said that my art education can be summed up in one phrase: I was taught the difference between looking and seeing. I guess that applies to my mother, too. I still see her, but it requires a good deal of looking to do so.

I wish I knew where she is inside her head. I like to believe she’s somewhere where she is happy. The other old ladies, they cry out “Help me, momma” or they sit in their chairs and cry and can’t tell you why they are crying. Some of them squirm and twist in their chairs, or suck on their blankets. Not my mother. She doesn’t cry. Sometimes, even, she’ll laugh or smile.

I ask her if she’s seen my father, or her father. I tell her gossip. I pretend that I believe she can hear me and understand me. I hold her hand. I kiss her forehead. I tell her I’ll be back next Sunday. I bring her presents, which I also unwrap for her, and put them in her hands. And then, I go outside, and I smoke a cigarette before I even get in my car. Then I go home and have a drink. Today, though, it’s Monday morning, and it would be wrong to pound down a shot of whiskey before I get to work. By tonight, I will have gotten myself together, and I won’t go home and drink. I’ll go home and cook dinner. Laugh a little with the


. Pretend that my heart isn’t breaking at the same slow-motion pace that my mother is dying.

Miz Shoes

I Loved You Once in Silence

Star, the number 1 and number 3 surrogate daughters and I went to see the revival of Camelot on Sunday. With us was one of Star’s nieces and the man who broke my heart when I was twenty-one.

The Number 1 and I waited outside the mini-van for him. I was smoking a pink cigarette, and had already put down a quick martini in anticipation of our meeting. Last year we saw each other for the first time in almost 20 years, but the RLA was with me to remind me of who I am and what year it is.

I started by saying to the N1SD “do you remember last year or so, we took you to dinner at the middle eastern place and as we were leaving, you mentioned in passing that you thought perhaps you had been in love?”

She didn’t. I reminded her that she had just broken up with someone and wasn’t sure if her heart was broken too. Oh. Yeah. She remembered now.

“Well,” I replied “it seems certain that you weren’t in love, or you would have known. This man we’re waiting for, he was my first love. Your father would have it that I left him for this guy, but that isn’t the whole truth. This is the man who broke my heart, the one who got away.”

I put out the pink cigarette, and looked up to where he was crossing the street, his grey hair longer and his bald spot larger than last year. He’s wearing a wheat-colored linen suit. I smile and say to her, “Hard to believe, huh?”

But oh, those salad days when we were together. We were the king and queen of cool…at least until he walked into my dorm room, took me by the hand, stared deep into my eyes and said “Hey. When nothing’s there anymore, nothing’s there. What are you going to do?” and walked out.

It was a week before finals. I managed a 4.0 that semester, but I’ll be damned if I can remember anything from that moment to when my parents picked me up to take me home for the summer.

My last semester at school was painful, because I saw him everywhere on campus, and with him the stringy blonde who had taken my place. I graduated. I moved to New York City. And then, a miracle happened. He called me out of the blue to say that he was passing through town and would I like to have dinner with him.

So I did. And he moved in with me and spent the summer before graduate school living in my first apartment with me. We walked to Chinatown. We saw avant garde films projected onto sheets in unmarked galleries in a nascent SoHo. We argued. We loved each other. And then summer ended, and he went on to film school and then we drifted apart.

But always and ever, I wanted him to return. I married the Antichrist praying for a “Graduate” moment, when he would show up and take me away. And I would have gone, gladly. I would have walked away from any and every relationship I was ever in, to go away with Bruce.

Until I married the RLA. And then, like looking into Schroedinger’s box, reality became fixed. There is no longer a shoulda woulda coulda. There is only the RLA, and our life together.

And this life I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Oh, yeah. Camelot. Michael York was wonderful, the woman who played Guinevere was wonderful, the giant who played Lancelot had a beautiful voice. As always, Jenny leaves Arthur for that tool, Lance. I cried, thankful that at last and at least, I know when I’m in the right place.

Miz Shoes


Yesterday was the third anniversary of my father’s death. Last night I lit a candle. Today I went to temple and sat through an entire, albeit informal and short, service. I said kaddish for him, and I said his name out loud.

I say to myself, this is what he wanted; that this is what he expected of me, expected without hesitation or question. I would go to temple, and I would say kaddish for him.

This, the third year after his death, was the first time that I could. Don’t get me wrong, I sat on my haunches at the back of the room, holding his gold chain with the tablets and the Lions of Judah, and cried the whole time. It was not easy.

But the torah says that this is holy: to honor thy father and mother, to give comfort to the sick, to visit the grieving, to rejoice with the bride and the groom. To honor thy father and thy mother.

The tallis I made for Daddy, the one in which he was buried, has that as its collar prayer. Tomorrow I will continue my quest for holiness and visit my mother.

After shul, I went to a bead show with Star and the Number 1 Surrogate Daughter and indulged in some heavy retail therapy. My grandmother, the mother of my father, always said that I had golden hands, that I had a gift. In doing my retail therapy, I merely honored Grandma Ida, as well.

I’ll make things, and I’ll sell them and the honorable chain of my family of artisans and merchants will go on.


Miz Shoes

I’m Still Standing

Sorry about the big gap in witty entries, here, but you know? Sometimes even I can’t find life amusing.

And I have been working on something special for you all, really I have. My little scanner and I have been very busy with this project.

It started two weekends ago, when I went north to the home territories for my Auntie Em’s birthday. The RLA and I planned to go up for her party, and come straight home, not getting sucked in to working on the parental units’  home dismantling project. But then my brother came by and poked around in a cabinet in the garage that I hadn’t gotten to yet and he discovered a major lode of vintage photos of family members we had never seen. Both the family members and the photos. Neither were ever mentioned. Of course, that set off a new push in the genealogy*.

But he also found three large boxes of other stuff. My childhood stuff, to be precise. My Barbies. My lavender Ken doll case. Watch for that bad boy on E-bay. And two things which I thought had been lost forever in the mists of time and parental tossing of childhood crap, and another two things which I have no idea why they were even or ever saved.

Item 1: A twenty-foot chain of chewing gum wrappers (why?)

Item 2: A small box of Creepy Crawlers, made one vacation when the Sistergirlfriendgirl got a Creepy Crawler maker for Christmas. I had a lovely color sense even then, let me tell you. The black newt with the red tail is very nice, and so is the yellow and lime green caterpillar.

Item 3: My collection of Beatles trading cards. Almost a complete set of Series 3 (black and white). Memory does not play me false, as I have more John Lennon pictures than anyone else, so I wasn’t impressed with Sir Paul-The-Cute-One even at the age of 10. Although this discovery got me excited, a quick perusal of E-Bay reveals that this is one more Boomer toy that is more valuable in theory than in practice. Guess I’ll be keeping those.

It is Item 4 which turned my world upside down. I thought this object lost forever. I had searched for it for years. There is only one other thing I could find in the house which would make me as elated by its discovery: and that is the drawing of “My Father’s Store” that I did when maybe 7 years old and which features the shoe window (every pair different and includes a pair of bunny slippers) and a view of my father through the doors (where he is fitting a pair of shoes)**

No. What I found, and what I have been scanning in for the greater edification of my readers, is a small box that originally contained coconut patties. I didn’t and don’t much like coconut patties, but my Great Uncle Nat did, and he gave this particular box to my mother when we went to Europe in 1966. I may have mentioned that trip before?***

What the box contains now, and what it held all during that Grand Tour was my special collection of European souvenirs. What I chose to collect, and why, has been the subject of debate around the office since my discovery. My boss, and the PDB both consider this to be a major marker of my mental instability and innate peculiarities (Hello?? Mr. Pot, I’d like you to meet Mr. Kettle). OK, OK, so get to the point already, right? What was it that I collected that long ago summer when I was 11?

Toilet paper.

I had never seen anything quite like the variety and quality of European toilet paper, and I knew that none of my friends would believe me when I told them that on a Swiss train, the paper was hot pink/magenta and as thick and textured as a paper towel. Or that in a French hotel (a four-star hotel, no less) the toilet paper was pre-cut into little squares and the paper itself was thin, stiff and crinkly like tracing paper, or waxed on one side… No wonder the French are always pissed off about something.

So I collected samples, labeled them assiduously and saved them in that little coconut pattie box. They were a hit with all my friends. I haven’t seen that box in 20 years at least, and lamented its loss every time I thought about it.

I’ve been scanning them in, and will post them soon, I promise.

* The Rubes. From Yonkers. They were my maternal Grandmother’s family. Also cousins/uncles to my maternal Grandfather. Somehow. I think through his mother. Is it any wonder that certain members of my family have 6 toes?

**Shoes. Go figure.

*** Yeah, like one or two HUNDRED times.

Page 2 of 7 pages     < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›