When I die, I want to go peacefully like my Grandfather did, in his sleep -- not screaming, like the passengers in his car.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Sometimes someone tells me a story that just strikes a chord, you know what I mean?  It is almost like driving along and hearing some song on the radio and having to pull over and cry.  You do not really understand that emotion, cannot really remember a specific moment when something memorable happened while that song played, that tugs at your heart strings.  You just know that it does. 

My granddaughter, Abigail, received a stuffed dog for Christmas from my brother.  It plays songs and teaches the child things if you press its paws, feet, ears, and so on.  There is a little song that it sings when you press one paw that says, “I love you, I love you, I do love you.”  Every time that song plays, Abigail’s bottom lip starts sticking out, and she cries a heartbroken cry, almost like she’s hearing from another world we do not see or hear. 

That is the way I felt when I read Pam’s story about her life moments.  So, without any further ado, here are her words.

“Oh, wow, my most memorable moment.  Well, I'm quite sure most memorable moments are yet to come. Like watching my  children and grandchildren grow and thrive and live long happy lives.  I must say my most memorable moment to date was meeting Tim, my husband.  Because without him, none of my fondest memories would exist.  Tim is the most caring, loving, helpful and tolerant person in my world.   Together we had two beautiful daughters raised with care and love and values.   We are blessed.

And my favorite things to do as a kid?  Oh my, where do I begin?  I guess at the beginning.  I was raised in a small coal mining town in Eastern PA.  This is hard coal (Anthracite) and not that soft coal (bituminous) coal from out in the western part of PA.  I had the best parents ever.   My mother was the nurturer my Dad was the adventurer.  I lived a great childhood.  We didn't have much, but always happy, happy, happy.   We lived across the street from a school yard with a great playground and part of it was  a hard surface where they used to flood it in winter and make an ice skating thing.  Well, as you could imagine, kids flocked there.  Who wouldn't?  Kids get hurt while skating.  So, the hurt ones would come to my house and mom and dad would clean them up.  Their parents always knew where they were.  They were in good hands.  Soon after they stopped flooding the yard.

Then, almost every Sunday afternoon my Dad would take the neighborhood kids on a hike up the North Mountain; however, only in Fall when there were no snakes.  We would hike up that mountain and cook potatoes at the top and hike back down where my mom would meet us at about 4pm on the other side.  How cool was that?”

I would say that was VERY cool, Pam!  Thanks for taking the time to share with us all here at My People! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


One Saturday afternoon about fifteen years ago, my son and his best friend approached me while I was doing dishes.  I can remember Ian saying, “Do you still have the football tickets for next weekend?”  I said, “Yes, I do, why?”  Chris, Ian’s friend replied, “Do you know my dad?”  Again the answer was, “Yes, I do, why?”  “He likes football,” Chris said, and the boys left.

About an hour later, my phone rang, and who do you think was on the other end?  After talking for about half-an-hour, Don said, “I would like to go to that game with you, if you would ask me.” 

So I did, and the rest is history.  We have been fast friends, confidants, parents, and in love ever since.

Tonight I asked Don what his most memorable moment was.

Well, that’s easy.  It was July 1, 1970.  I was going to school in St. Louis.  I was nineteen years old, about to turn twenty.  I had classes from six p.m. until ten p.m. every night and had just gotten home and turned on TV in time to see the second lottery draw for the draft for the Vietnam War.  While I was sitting there drinking a beer, I heard, ‘Congratulations, July ninth, you’re the winner!’ and there it was, big as life, my birthday and a big red “1” beside it.  I couldn’t believe it.  I just sat there staring at it then yelled, ‘I’ll be damned, I WON something!’”

Of course, he and I laughed at that memory, but soon became very sober when understanding exactly what that meant.  It gave me chills, the thought of being a child, practically, about to be loaded up and sent to war, thousands and thousands of miles away from family, friends, and home.

Soon, though, we were smiling again when Don told me about swimming everyday as a kid with his brothers. 

We would walk to the pool absolutely everyday!  There were six of us boys, and we would get there when it opened and go home for dinner when it closed.  Back then if you had a big family, you could get a patch sewn on your swimming trunks so you could get in everyday without paying, and we took advantage of that!  Boy, did we ever have a great time!”

So if you would, salute a wonderful man for serving his Country and for loving ME, neither of which has been an easy road!  S A L U T E, Don…and at ease! 

I love you, Mr. Gramelspacher!


Monday, December 28, 2009


In my life I am so blessed to have people surrounding me who are such loving, generous, kind, and caring folks. 

One, however, is honestly, I believe, an angel on earth. 

Eileen works tirelessly and endlessly to help find shelter and services for the homeless in Boston.  And as difficult, stressful, and tiring as that is, she still finds room in her heart for her friends. 

Say hi to Eileen O’Brien.  Words really cannot describe the capacity of her heart, so I am just going to publish her story here and let you all meet her and enjoy her words.

God bless ya, Eileen!

“I have two extremely memorable moments. The first has been mentioned by a few others, and that is seeing and hearing The Cowsills in 2000 at TORI. I remember sitting there before the music started, wondering will it be as good as I remember? How could it be? And then hearing those beautiful voices singing together again, realizing it was better than I remembered, and just feeling pure joy. And at the end of the Saturday show, when everyone was cheering wildly, having Billy come back to the front of the stage and say, "we really love you guys, too, and that ain't no bullshit!" It was such a lovely moment.

The second was watching the Boston Red Sox win the 2004 World Series, the first championship for the team in eighty-six years, with my dad. Earlier that evening I had received an award for my work, so my parents were in town. After the ceremony, we went back to their hotel to watch the game in the bar. Seeing this long awaited victory would have been sweet under any circumstances, but to be able to experience it with my dad, who had taught me about baseball, and more importantly, about how to be a Red Sox fan, was a moment I will hold in my heart forever.

As for childhood activities, I grew up in a semi-rural part of town with lots of wide open spaces. In the neighborhood there were five other families with kids all around the same ages and we often played all together as a group. Sometimes we played regular organized games, like baseball or tag, but much of the time we played games that we made up together. There was a big overgrown field behind were our houses were, and we would go into the field and set up camps and create our own adventures. There was a little brook running through the field, and we would hike the brook in the summer, and ice skate there in the winter. Our mothers knew we were together, so they pretty much left us to our own devices, knowing that we were safe together.  We often pretended we were all brothers and sisters; in retrospect I realize that we were a tribe. We spent as much time as we could outside--with no sunblock or bug spray!

My other favorite activity was reading. I have always loved to read and still do. I can remember waking up very early on Saturday mornings so I could read for as long as possible until I had to start doing my chores. My paternal grandmother gave me boxes and boxes of books when her cousin passed away, so I read a lot of novels that took place in the 1940s and 1950s. I still have some of those books today. Classics!”

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Another cowsill.com friend of mine is from the original Cowsillland, Rhode Island.  It’s a tiny little state that has a huge personality!  The people there are just all genuinely nice East Coast folks who love their state and prove it by leaving nice, cozy, warm, Southern California and returning there time and time again. 

I love Rhode Island, too, and a lot of friendships have been formed and bonded on its beautiful shores. 

Colleen used to work for Continental Airlines and we nicknamed her Continental Colleen.  Having a pal behind that desk has been a lifesaver for people traveling to Cowsill events out there now and again.  If it wasn’t for Colleen, some of us might still be living in Rhode Island, whether we wanted to or not! 

So I’m introducing my friend, Colleen Long, here, by asking her to answer a couple of questions.  I was warmed by her answers, and I think you will be, too. 

When asked about her most memorable moment, this one sprang to mind for her with no thought having to go into it at all:

There have been many!  But the one at the VERY top of the list is of the day the adoption agency finally called after a wait of seven years and said they had a baby girl for us to ‘consider.’ Seriously? Does anyone ever say, ‘nah, not that one!!??’  Twenty-six years later, and the memory of that day is as sharp as the moment it happened.  My beautiful daughter will be married on September 18, 2010.  Where does the time go?”

What a touching story, Colleen, thank you for sharing that with me and our readers!

I asked her, then, what her favorite thing to do as a little girl was, and she answered, “To play with my dolls.  We’d play school for hours at a time.  I really loved those dolls!”

A lot of women can identify with that pastime! 

Here’s wishing you and your daughter a very happy 2010, and it certainly seems to be gearing up to go in that direction! 

Cheers to you both!

Friday, December 25, 2009


I will never forget the first time I met my friend, Santa Claus, or S. C. as his closest friends get to call him.  It was a few days before Christmas, and my mom had evidently pulled some strings to get him to come to visit my kindergarten class.  I have to admit that I was sort of wavering between excitement that this jolly old elf could keep track of millions of kids and afford to give us all a gift on Christmas morning and fear that he could keep track of millions of kids and afford to give us all a gift on Christmas morning! 

He and I have been best friends ever since!

I said, “You must have had a great childhood, what was your favorite thing to do when you were a littler elf, S. C.?” 

He said, “My favorite thing to do when I was a littler elf was feed the reindeer with my father! Oh, those were magical times, the sun glinting off the frozen tundra, sparkling like diamonds! My dad, Santa Claus, Sr., is why I love to give gifts and honor Christmas now, and I hope to pass it down to my son, Santa Claus, Jr., Jr. I also really loved sledding and making snowmen with my brothers and sisters, Andy, Donald, Amy, and Caroline Claus. 

“Santa?” I asked while sitting in his cozy living room sipping Holiday Spiced hot tea one day recently.  “What was your most memorable moment?”

He said, “Oh, Kathy, there have been so many! But probably the one thing that always fills my heart with joy is the memory of the Christmas morning that I delivered a very unexpected bicycle to a very special child.” 

I said, “S. C.  You must have delivered millions of bicycles over the years!”

He replied, “And every one of those bicycles became very special memories for me. There was one for Johnny, David, Claire, Chris, Michael, Bradley, Alice, Bill…”

His voice trailed off, and when I awoke, there arose such a clatter, that I jumped up from my chair to see what was the matter!  What I saw was amazing, beautiful, and such fun!  I saw a man in a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer taking off toward the heavens and I heard, “Ho, ho, ho!  Making more memories!  Here I come Tyler and Rose and Christopher and Michael and Nicholas and Emily and Tony and Laurissa…”

So tip your hat to that bearded man in the red fleece suit and hug your families close and hold your friends near your heart!  Santa Claus is watching!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Sometimes, just about the time you think you may be the only person in the world who enjoys sleeping in a lounger on the patio all summer so you can gaze at the sky, make wishes on stars, and fantasize about what it might be like on one of those distant planets, you meet someone who understands and embraces the same things.

That happened when I met Jamie.  We went from enjoying a weekend of music in the same club at the same time, to swapping photos and our dreams of time travel and zipping around through the Milky Way.

Applause, Jamie, for your heart-felt stories!  And undoubtedly one of the most patient people I know, judging by the below EPT wait-out tale!

“I have had so many memorable moments, but if I had to pick only one, it would be the day that I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I had just graduated college and my husband and I decided it was time to start our family. Only a few weeks later, I suspected that I was pregnant. It was the weekend, and I was going nuts trying to wait for Monday to get an appointment with the doctor.

On that Sunday morning my husband went out to play golf, and I went out for an EPT test. This was 1981, and the tests were somewhat new and not at all like the ones today. I took the test and it said if you were pregnant that a little black ring or "donut" would appear in the bottom of the cup. This took several HOURS, and I waited impatiently for the results. Finally, it appeared, a perfect little donut in the cup! I was so excited I wanted to run and call everyone I knew, but of course I had to tell my husband first. There was no way to contact him out on the golf course, so I sat at the window and waited for his car to pull in the drive.  Many hours later, I finally got to run out and tell him the news! It was absolutely one of the most exciting days of my life! My "little donut," Nicholas Andrew, arrived on April 5, 1982.”

When I asked Jamie what her favorite thing to do when she was a kid was, she was more than happy to relive this:

“My favorite activity as a child?  That's easy!  My Papa made us a tire swing out of an old tire and tied to a tall pine tree. It was back in the woods far enough that when I was on it I felt like I was in my own little magical world. I would swing and spin for hours, singing and dreaming. What I loved most was when Papa would come out and push me really high. He always said ‘One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and away you go!’ Then with that last mighty push I would fly through the air and throw my head back laughing. That was pure joy. What I wouldn't give to do that again!”

Thank you for sharing, Jamie!  May you have an awesome Christmas, my stargazing buddy!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I have a friend I turn to when I need to find a new band whose music I cannot live without.  Somehow, he just always knows what I cannot live without, and I have bought several downloads for my iPod based on his ideas.  He is always so enthusiastic about music, and now I have learned, he is just enthusiastic…period! 

Daryl set out to answer those two questions and then found he could not stop the memories once he began writing.  Luckily for us, he just let the music flow, and here is what music man Daryl came up with.  I found not only could he not stop writing, I could not stop reading! 

Say hey to Daryl Nagamine, and enjoy his stories!

I’ve got two favorite memorable moments that I’d like to mention.  The first event took place in June of 1982 when I was still in high school.

My friends and I went to see the Peace Sunday antinuclear rally and concert at the Rose Bowl which featured these headlining acts:  Jackson Browne, Stevie Wonder, Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash.  I had not been to many rock concerts, so getting to see six great artists in one day was going to be a real thrill!  However, that was merely the beginning.  There were shorter sets scattered between the headliners, but these were not just a bunch of no-name filler bands.  Those sets included the likes of Jesse Colin Young, Donovan, Bonnie Riatt, Dan Fogelberg, three of The Eagles including Don Felder, Timothy B. Schmidt, and Joe Walsh, as well as Gil Scott-Heron, Tierra, and several others I cannot remember.  I did not know them at the time but probably do now.

Some of the headliners brought out friends to help them, too.  Stills and Nash, for example, brought out David Crosby for a brief CSN reunion set which served as a preview of their successful “Daylight Again” album and tour later that summer.

Then the trio announced another surprise guest!  For a moment I was hoping it would be Neil Young, but it was ONLY Joan Baez!  The crowd was still buzzing about that when Joan announced a surprise guest of her own, Bob Dylan!  Other surprise guests included Tom Petty, Nicolette Larson and Gary “U.S.” Bonds. 

The nonmusical portions of the event featured speeches by Jerry Brown, Jesse Jackson, Jane Fonda, Muhammad Ali, Ed Asner, Patti Davis, Bette Midler who, by the way, performed an awesome a capella version of “The Rose” due to overwhelming crowd demand for her to sing.  Also there was Cesar Chavez, Michael Douglas, Mike Farrell, and many others.

The best part of this incredible mind-blowing day of music?  Tickets were only $12.50!

My second moment is a two-parter.

Part one:  I was in Anaheim for Game 6 of the 2002 World Series, watching the San Francisco Giants beating up on my favorite sports team, the Anaheim Angels.  With a 5-0 lead and a mere eight outs to go, it looked like the Giants were going to clinch the Series 4 games to 2.  I could not believe that the Angels’ attempt at winning their first championship after 40-plus years of misery was going to end right in front of my face!  However, the angels staged a miracle rally to win 6-5 and force a seventh game.

Part two:  I was in Anaheim watching rookie starter, John Lackey, leading the Angels to a 4-1 Series-clinching win, also right in front of my face, and on my birthday, no less!  Can you say, ‘Best present EVER?’”

Daryl told me that he cut his favorite childhood activity answer short, thinking nobody was going to read that far anyway.  I think he underestimates our entertainment thirst!  So here’s Daryl, finishing it up. 

My favorite thing to do as a kid was going on summer vacation trips with my family and relatives.  It was so fun traveling around seeing cool sights with them.  Here are some off the top of my head:  Hearst Castle, Winchester House, Petrified Forest, Meteor Crater, Grand Canyon, Royal Gorge, Pike’s Peak, getting soaked on the Maid of the Mist boat ride at Niagara Falls, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the White House, Capitol, Washington Monument, Arlington National Cemetery, the Smithsonian, Proctor and Gamble Plant in Cincinnati, Hershey, Pennsylvania (I loved those street lamps shaped like Kisses), and Hawaii. 

I just double-checked and was surprised to see that I visited 20 different states back then. I have since been to four more, and that is only half of this great nation.  I still have a ways to go!”

Better start booking tickets, Daryl!  We are waiting to hear about your next adventure!


Monday, December 21, 2009


Several months back I read a book called, "The Poisonwood Bible."  It was about a family of missionaries taking on South Africa, their trials and tribulations, and it opened a new window to me.  

I had always been interested in Congo and the situation there, had always followed that around the fringes, always making sure if there were interviews or specials on TV about the desperate nature of things in that country, but "The Poisonwood Bible" made me even more thirsty for information.

Then, along came Georgianne.  

Georgianne is a writer for The Huffington Post, and her area of expertise, and the place where her soul resides, is that little country of horrors, so to speak, and she loses sleep over its people.  

Because of her writing, as well as her willingness to share all she knows with me, a person who knows nothing in comparison, about the atrocities there, I have opened my heart and gained a thirst for knowledge, too.  I will never be as highly-charged about the situation as Georgianne, I am sure, but her descriptions, pain, and beautiful writing bring readers to teeter on that edge with her.

The questions I asked her probably seem so unimportant, but here are her answers:

What is your most memorable moment, Georgianne?  "Giving birth to my daughter, Sarah, of course." 

And as a child, what did you enjoy doing more than anything else?  "Climbing my favorite tree (an elm) with a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book and spending the day reading." 

Having had a few in-depth discussions with Ms. Nienaber, I am sure that I would have thoroughly enjoyed spending some days in the elm with her and a couple of good books!  

Have a very merry Christmas, and a prosperous and happy new year, Georgianne!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I was very lucky to have a huge and supportive extended family when I was growing up.  There were aunts and uncles and cousins, all just waiting to either love each of us, discipline us, or, in the case of the older cousins, send us wailing to our parents! 

Tom, who we called Tobe, and I don’t have any idea why that was, is Tracy’s older brother.  Being way older than me (ahem) meant that we never had a very close relationship in the sense that kids of the same age have, but I always felt protected around him. 

We have all moved to different corners of the Country, mostly, and Tom lives in Tucson and is a desert dweller and one of the funniest people I know.  I love him, and here are his answers to what will forever be known as “The Questions.”

“Tom?” I asked.  “What is your most memorable moment?”

He said, (and I have to admit I am a bit disappointed by this), “Actually it wasn't when you were born.  It was when my first son, Chad, was born. I remember going to the hospital to see he and Donna. I stopped at the Dairy Queen to get Donna a milkshake. I proudly proclaimed to the DQ guy that it was for my wife and newborn son, and he profoundly stated:  ‘That will be 35 cents. Thank you.’”

“Two things I loved doing when I was a kid was playing in my tree house across the street from my house on King Street. (where i fell and broke my arm, only bone I ever broke in my body), and roller skating at Harper's roller rink.”

So there is a little information about Tom Cox with memories of a time when you could actually buy a milkshake for thirty-five cents!  The guy who was always willing to give me a hand! 

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Just wanted to stop by here and tell you all how much I appreciate you participating in my blog!  I love you all so much!

When reading back over the fantastic musings of ya’all, I started thinking about the questions myself, and they are not easy ones to answer, are they?  But you guys did so so poignantly!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And the least I can do is try to answer my own interview questions.  So, here goes…

I have questioned many times, if maybe I was not a good kid.  I know I must have just driven my parents bananas!  I was confrontational, talkative, sometimes sassy…not an easy child.  And because as an adult I am able to admit that truth, I spent a lot of time wondering if there was anything I had done that really overrode that attitude I possessed in my parents’ minds.

One day not so long ago, I was showing my dad a photo album I had made. I had meticulously printed out my favorite photos I had taken over the past couple of years, of the clouds, sunsets, moonrises, planets, and even the dark blue nothingness.  He seemed to enjoy looking at those pictures.  Then one day, when the nurses came in to care for him at his nursing home he said, “You should see my daughter’s pictures.  She is the best photographer I have ever seen!” 

While Dad did not realize what an impact that had on me, it turned into the most memorable moment of my fifty-two years on earth.

When I was a little kid, my favorite thing to do was play tennis.  From morning till night I could be found either on a tennis court or waiting for one to open up.  My favorite opponent or partner was my cousin, Tracy.  We were little tiny scraps of girls who could knock a backhanded tennis ball across the court and win the point easily, or serve up an ace without blinking. 

I also loved Barbie dolls…and boys.  I admit it.  I was a little boy-crazy for awhile there! 

Give me a hand!  No, I mean, seriously, give me a hand…I’m sitting on the floor and cannot get up!  From 0-53 in the blink of an eye!  Adios, ya’all!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


My folks and I lived in a little square house in a little square town when I was little.  I remember loving that house, that yard!  But one of my most vivid memories is of my cousin, Sharon, who sometimes stayed with us.  I loved her so much, still do!  She was a big sister to me, and there are old photos of us standing together in front of the house, her smiling her pretty superstar smile and me beside her, looking up at her admiringly. 

This past couple of years have brought us back together, and when we’re sitting together drinking coffee, talking, it is almost like there was never a lull. 

I love her, period.  Here’s her story. 

“I have lived a very full and memorable 62 years. Even though my memory is not as sharp as it used to be , there are still many moments that I will never forget, and some I am still trying to. Most parents say that the birth of their children are high on their list . But  if I am honest here I will have to say ( with much regret ) that the death of my son, David, is mine.

After watching Dave battle serious health issues for nine years and being his full time caregiver He took his LAST Breath in May, 2008 at the age of 34 yrs. old. I was standing at his bedside with my hand on his heart and heard the flutter of angel wings as his spirit left his body ... Most parents die before their children and that's the way it should be!

And now, I’ll switch gears and answer your other question:  What was my favorite thing to do as a kid?

As a little girl I loved two things the most.  Even though I enjoyed swimming at the Fairfield Pool, going to the Strand Theater every Saturday for a movie, the roller skating rink with my cousins, and riding my bike (that is another story) , my favorite of all was spending time with my Grammy Iva Cox and going EVERYWHERE with my dad, George Shoultz. I was his shadow. In the summer he would take me to work with him in his Oil Field Truck. Bless his heart, I would chatter for hours and I still DO! They are the two people I strive to be more like, even though our entire family is a groovy bunch and I am proud to have had them all in my Life!!!”

MOM, SHARON CALLED ME GROOVY!!!  (Imagine a little girl looking stars-struck here).  Nothing meant more to us little girls than to have the older ones include us and act like they liked us. 

I can hardly wait to hear the bike story.  We’ll have Sharon back in the future to tell us that!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Last night I was giving Jamie a ride to work. Being stuck in traffic, I struck up the conversation about her favorite memory and her childhood. 

As we crept along, she was lost in thought.  Finally, I turned the radio up for company, thinking she was just too tired to talk.  I am so proud of her.  She has taken a labor-intensive job to support her family, and she might only be 25 years old, but what she is doing is tiring work, so I decided if she could answer my questions, I would make this cold Wednesday day hers.

After 20 minutes we arrived at the door of her factory.  She unlocked and opened Myrtle’s door, put one foot out, pulled that leg back in, shut the door and said, “The time you took us to Disney World.” 

Huh?” I asked, having almost forgotten the earlier conversation.

The time you took Ian and me to Disney World is my most memorable time. It really WAS magical!  And as a little kid, I used to go to the basement with Ian and we’d take Dad’s dolly that he used to move heavy furniture, put it down on its wheels, use tape to tape those tomato cages on the front, and then set up those big plastic bowling pins and push each other like it was a go-cart and knock down those pins! We’d wear helmets and dress up like super heroes and…”  Here, I had to remind her that the buzzer was about to go off and she was going to miss getting clocked in on time if she didn’t go.

Is it not amazing how you can start thinking about happy moments like that and your whole day goes better?  I hope that those thoughts sustained Jamie last night as she worked her little tail off.  I know her family appreciates how hard she works. 

I plan on learning more about those little basement dwellers on our trip tonight!

Top of the mornin’ to ya, Jamie!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Say hi to my friend, Colin.  I have never actually met him, but I was acquainted with him through cowsill.com.  One great thing about the Internet is that I know people from all over the planet, and I love that global family that exists!  Colin is another pal of mine from England, and this winter he is making his first trip to the United States! 

It was a rather rough couple of years for him, as he lost his dear wife.  I still have such sympathy for him!  This time of year can be especially tough on people who are facing Holidays, or even just winter months, missing someone so terribly, but even with that truth, Colin was able to discuss his heart-felt answers to the interview questions.  And now, next up, Colin Hill. 

What was your most memorable moment, Colin?  “The day I started at my office in 1974. I just knew on day one I had chosen the right place to work. The girl who made my first coffee there that morning is now a very good friend and I see her once a month when we go to a cinema club. I would never have guessed that four years later I would meet my wife there and more importantly that many of the people there that day in 1974 (and of course those that came later) would sadly go to her funeral in 2008. I will have been there 36 years next month and I have been incredibly lucky to have been able to stay so long.”

“My favourite activity as a child - its very English - trainspotting. All the boys at school used to write down the numbers on the sides of locomotives as they passed the school or on Saturdays cycle out of town where lots of trains passed and write the numbers down. We then bought a log book of all of the locomotive numbers in England and crossed them off as we saw a locomotive. They were giant steam engines back in the 1960s - the idea was to see every locomotive there was, but of course we never did. You do not see boys doing it today but it was good fun then. Even now when I see a train I always wonder where it is going or where has it come from.”

Every time I see a train now, I will think of a little Colin trainspotting in 1960s England!

Hoping for you a very peaceful winter!

Monday, December 14, 2009


One day I was perusing a website I enjoyed and was stopped in my tracks by a post there that made me laugh.  I cannot remember now what the subject was, but all that mattered was that I laughed out loud and then laughed out loud later when her husband posted a response. 

The next day the fun continued, and finally, since the things she was saying were almost like listening to my own words echo off the walls, I decided to send her an e-mail.

“Dear Erin,” it began, as most letters are wont to do.  “You don’t know me, but I have to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your comments on that message board, and your hubby sounds like a hoot!”

That short message began an e-mail relationship that continues to this day, just giving credence to what I always say about friendships and people in your life:  You don’t have to see them everyday, hear from them everyday, or even have met them, but you can still be as close to them as if you lived as next door neighbors!

Here is what Erin has to say about family, memories, and childhood.  Welcome Erin to our world!

“I think my most memorable/favorite Christmas moments as a child were when we would receive our Christmas package sent to us by our grandparents, aunt and uncle in England. It would typically arrive in very early December, since my Grandmother had sent it by surface mail in October, to arrive in time for Christmas. We would all begin looking for it in late November! Oh, happy day when it arrived! I always knew immediately when the postman walked up our walkway with it, that it was from England. All the postage stamps across it bearing the Queen’s image! We would always say we were going to wait until Christmas to open it...but, we never did, and to tell you the truth, I think it was more our mom who could not wait that long! She missed her family in England very much. Into it we would tear, with the beautiful scent of a far away land drifting from the package and filling the room, and Mom would begin passing things around! We all got our own Cadbury Milk Trays, which were wonderful because we lived in a very small town and could not even buy Cadburys chocolates like we now can. Grandma always packed Mom some PG Tipps English Tea and the kids "Rock Candy" bought on holiday in Blackpool. I especially remember a beautiful sweater I received, made from glittery royal blue yarn. I was so sad when I outgrew it! I loved wearing it...it was as if it were my grandmother’s arms lovingly wrapped around me all the way from England. Also, each Christmas box contained a beautiful Tea and Saucer set, made in England, which are now some of my most cherished possessions.

I think my favorite activity as a kid was just being with my family! I had a perfect childhood and anything we did was always fun. My older sisters doted on me. We were always laughing and playing. I just remember lots of happy times and look back on my childhood with extremely fond memories! The best times were our annual week-long trips to the beautiful Oregon Coast. We are very close to this day and I look forward to our visits.”

Ahhhh…doting sisters and a perfect childhood!  Makes me want to hear a little more about that!  Thanks for sharing, Erin! 


Sunday, December 13, 2009


Where I grew up, there was not a lot of excitement in our little town, but there was plenty of excitement in our little neighborhood. 

I lived outside the city limits in a ranch house which sat on about half-an-acre of yard, and our neighbors, who lived just up the lane, consisted of two very out-numbered parents, Ken and Theresa, and five well-behaved, well-mannered children.  (Yes, I snickered). My mom took care of all of us when we were in our yard, and Theresa took care of all of us when we were in hers.  Occasionally they took care of each other’s kids whether they were in one of the yards or not, and could bring us down several notches just with a look.  Not that we ever did anything to cause any trouble, mind you, but just in case we might consider it, we were well aware of what fate might befall us once we were in proximity of my mother, or theirs.

Kris was the next to youngest in that sibling constellation.  She was always such a sweetheart!  I often mention, even today, that she was like a little imp floating around, just gracing us all with her presence.  I always think of dimples and sugar and spice and everything nice when I think of “little” Kris. 

Kris grew up, married, had children, and has battled cancer most of her adult life, but she never stops, never gives up, and always portrays hope, elegance, and grace.  I am so proud and humbled to be sharing space with her.  A nod to you, Krissy. 

“My most memorable moment(s) have to be when my boys were born. I feel these moments were the happiest, the hardest work I had ever done, (they were both sunny side up and required forceps), and the best and most awesome thing Tom and I could have ever done.

My favorite activity a child? I would have to say just playing outside. Riding our bikes up and down the lane road, at night playing big foot tag, sneaking over to the county lot and playing in the sand all day. That was awesome when they would have mountains of sand as tall as our house. (You know now that I think about that mom never complained about having sand in the house and I know she had to have a ton)! And just playing out side all day long in the summer. For snacks we would eat fresh peaches and apples off the tree. And you know it was not just the five of us kids. Mike was always in the thick of it with us. And you were there too, occasionally.”

Say hi to Kris, one of the bravest women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Tracy and I are cousins.  We grew up in a little town in Illinois, really like sisters.  Her mom baby-sat my brother and me, so we were at her house all the time. 

Knowing all the younger kids, who were not as “cool” as we were, were cramping our style, her mom would send us off on grand adventures:  The tennis courts, the library, or the local swimming pool. Spending all that glorious, school-free summer time together, we became inseparable. We lost each other for a time, though, as young adults.  I was off to college, being a hippie, and then having babies, and Tracy was marrying her high school sweetheart and traveling the Country as a Navy wife, so we drifted apart.

One day, though, and I remember just about the time of year, late summer, when I was hugely pregnant with my son, we ran into each other while out shopping with our moms, in Spurgeons Department Store, the stars having aligned just right, bringing us back to the same space at the same time.  I got her address, wrote her a long letter, and we picked up where we left off, as if the years between were only seconds…and thank God for that!  She’s been my lifeline, and I’ve been hers, for many, many years! 

Tracy is not big on talking about herself, but with a little arm twisting, I was able to get her to say a few words, and here they are:

To the question, what was your most memorable moment, Tracy answered, “Going to DuQuoin to see The Cowsills with you or going to LA to see The Cowsills with you or getting that first letter from you after we hadn't been in touch for several years.”

There is that common bond among so many of us, again, The Cowsills.  I made her like them when we were growing up so I would have someone to share them with.  I don’t think she minded, though!

As far as being a child and what she liked to do as a little girl, she replied, “Hanging out with you. I waited every morning for your Mom to drop you and Mike off, and I was always so disappointed on the days you didn't come.”

And there you have it, my cousin, Tracy, who I love and adore!  Good morning to you.  Here, let me throw open the curtains so you can see that sun shine in! 

Friday, December 11, 2009


Several years ago I found myself sharing a small office space with a girl named Bev.  I had been working several years already at a hospital as a transcriptionist, and the administrative staff decided we needed to hire a new one to help keep the workload under control, so they hired a CHILD, a girl young enough to be my daughter. I fretted about that, and it took about one night for us to form a bond that has never broken. 

Now, the way things have turned out, I almost need to say “I’m sorry, Bev,” but if she had not come in to occupy that office with me, working night shift, I would not have known her, and that would have been a tragedy.

Bev is a brilliant young woman with three gorgeous kids who decided she was taking up farming, and did.  She recently bought pigs, chickens, and no telling what else, and began raising her own food.  Recently when I called her, she and her mother were canning.

We have spent many long evenings together in Medical Records, me working, Bev dozing…haha!  Thank God she was placed in my life!  I will let her tell her own stories here:

“I think back to all the things that I should have done better. As a "mature" adult (quit laughing Kathy) I think about the connection of my adulthood to childhood.

My mom and I took walks to the woods, that we now live next to, discovering paw paw trees and hollowed out cut trees that we invented into "loggy dog houses". Our beagle spent many happy years there.

Now we live in a "loggy human house" and we basically are in the process of reforesting our what use to be farm ground into paw paw trees, pecan trees, and you name it we got it trees. No, we didn't spend much they are 50 cents a tree at IDNR.

Spending time outside, building snowmen and trying to build a go cart with my cousin. We gave up after about 20 minutes. Climbing the one tree in my front yard and watching the birds and all the cars and coal trucks go by. I remember all of us kids standing out waving our arms so they would honk at us.

Our kids now love building snowmen and I still love watching the birds and now have chickens and pigs to boot. I can't build anything to save my life so I married a "Boomer" and he is my electrician, farm hand, and mechanic. We got a 4-wheeler because go carts are dangerous especially when I'm building them!! I also married a truck driver, who knew.

I loved playing Atari (does everyone remember Pacman and Frogger?) and any video game available.

Now I love computers and I love my transcription job, but I really love the people I work with!!

So, most favorite moment and activity as a child is being with family and exploring. And I have to say getting married and having each one of my three beautiful children. Raising them is quite exciting, too!!”

To one of the most genuine, honest, loving people I know, cheers, Bev!  Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


When I think of Deb, I think of a person who is connected to all things spiritual.  I enjoy reading her posts and looking at her photos.  Deborah was married to Barry Cowsill, and what chick my age does not think of bass-playing, cute, cute, cute Barry and just sigh, may he rest in peace and take over Heaven (which I am pretty sure he has done by now)?

I don’t know Deb well, but she somehow manages, just by BEING, to make me feel that everything will be okay. 

A spiritual, pretty, fun-loving, surviving woman from California, say hiya to Deborah!  Her answers to the questions made me sigh.  I could tell she was reliving some cherished memories when she sent the following:

“I have many “most” memorable moments, like when my kids were born, and when true love happened to me, but of all, my most memorable moment was when I first saw Barry.”

I asked what her favorite thing was to do when she was a little girl and she said, “My favorite thing to do as a child…well I love nature so seeing the change of seasons and playing with them, like, in the spring seeing all the new green buds and smelling the cherry blossoms, and summer, running around in a swim suit in big thunder and lightening storms, the fall colors and diving into a pile of crunchy leaves, and winter, the first snow, making angles in the snow while the full moon sparkled on it like crystal and looking at the snowflakes.”

Thanks, Deborah, for stopping by.  Here’s wishing you a happy winter solstice about to arrive, and you and your awesome kids a very beautiful, warm, and peaceful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I have a friend, Barb Meade, who is one of the most interesting people I know.  She is the chick I turn to if I need a Bible verse to get me through, or just a few inspirational spiritual words.  Barb has a strong faith in God and will not waver from that, no matter how many people try to drag her down over it.  I admire that.

You might notice that a lot of my friends were acquired because of a band we adored as kids, The Cowsills.  We love them still!

I also admire her son, Nathanial, who is serving in Iraq.  SALUTE!

I am just going to copy and paste Barb’s answers to the “My People” interview questions because it is just exciting to read.

Say hello to Barb Meade! And by the way, I had lunch in Cuba, Missouri, just this past summer! Talk about a coincidence!  It is not exactly a place you seek out…oh, okay, yes it is, who am I kidding?  I was getting my kicks on Route 66!

“Alrighty, then. You ask me what my most memorable moment was. Wow, that's tough because I've had tons of memorable moments...being a Pom-pom girl in high school (don't laugh, I loved it!), being a DJ and meeting several celebs, getting my own apartment complete with slutty roommate and newlywed upstairs neighbors, getting married, the birth of my children...and each one of their births has a story to go with it...moving finally to Colorado where I've always wanted to live, going to Hawai'i, and meeting so many wonderful people through the internet (like YOU!). But, because of the internet and those friends I've made, I'd have to say my most memorable moment so far in my life was meeting my teen idols, The Cowsills. And more specifically, Barry. I was so fan struck and in awe of their talent the first time I saw them on stage almost 10 years ago. Then, meeting Barry and having him tell me he knows me already, well, that both puzzled and floored me at the same time. I am still so thrilled to be able to see them now and then. And another big thrill is that they remember me! LOL! I know it's silly for a grown woman to do and feel these things, but it's great fun...because now, it's not just all about them...it's about the people I've met because of them. Great times and great people.

My favorite activity as a child? That's another tough one. One of my favorite things was riding my bike in our neighborhood. There were a bunch of us who would ride at the top of our street and pretend our bikes were either cars or horses. We'd have filling stations or run races and everyone named their bikes, of course. Sometimes, they were flipped over and used as ice cream machines. Even though it was probably very bad for us, we loved it when the 'bug man' came through our neighborhood. That was a guy in a jeep who literally fogged the neighborhood with bug spray to keep the mosquitoes down. We'd ride through the sickly sweet smelling fog and think it was cool.

I think one of my very favorite things as a child was where my parents and I went on vacation every year. Being an only child, we asked my cousin, Kathy, to come with us. We'd go to a lodge just outside of Cuba, Missouri on the Meramac River. We'd have a blast on that river! We built dams, tubed on the rapids that changed every year, fished for crawdads, floated up and down the river in jon boats, tried our hand at fishing, or just go down and watch the sunset before the evening activities started. Those included everything from square dancing to turtle racing. Yep, racing turtles. You had to be there. LOL! There was a swimming pool on the grounds, but my cousin and I and the friends we made preferred the river. Our old worn out tennis shoes served as river shoes by August. The lodge was great. The woman who owned the place would go through everyone's names every Sunday at the noon meal which was always fried chicken. All you could eat. Volleyball games every night after dinner, too. It was a great place to vacation. A great place for a kid.

Monday, December 7, 2009


In the year 2000, the year that was supposed to change life as we knew it with major computer crashes and who knows what else, I was lucky enough to go to Newport, Rhode Island, for the famous Taste of Rhode Island weekend.  Not only did I get to go, but big groups of fans of The Cowsills, that 1960s power pop family band who had big hits under their belts while still in middle school, or even kindergarten in the case of Susan Cowsill, went there too.  The Cowsill family originated from Newport, Rhode Island, and the city was more than happy to have their native sons back, bringing plane-loads of their fans with them, to celebrate a weekend of seafood, sounds, and the sea.  

I met there, a woman, a fellow fan, who I connected with immediately, and her name was JoAnn Paolino.  Her husband's birthday is the same as my boyfriend's birthday, and they are the same age, so we sort of thought we had another reason for that connection, and we have stayed pals ever since.  

JoAnn LOVES chocolate, and she can really, really bake with it, but really, that's not why I love her, seriously...no, really.  I don't just crave her friendship for her chocolate!  :)  

JoAnn is a genuinely sweet person with a beautiful new granddaughter and I asked her my interview questions and could "hear" the passion in her responses.

1.  What is your most memorable moment?

"Definitely the birth of my first child, my first son, Barry.  I wanted to be a mommy since I could remember.  I always loved children and still do!  I just can't imagine life without them around!"

2.  What was your favorite activity as a child?

"All my childhood memories are of my time at Salisbury Beach, MA.  We spent every summer there.  So many friends made, so many fun times...playing outdoors all day everyday, morning till night!  Sand castles, swimming, mud pies, dodge ball, tag, going to the penny-candy store, the amusement rides and games..."  

I sure wish I had known JoAnn and shared that childhood with her!

Say howdy to JoAnn Paolino! 

Saturday, December 5, 2009


I came from a family of 3 children:  An older sister who passed away before I was born, leaving ME, the middle child, and yes, I do still claim “middle child syndrome,” and my little brother, Mike.

Mike is facing some health challenges right now, and I am right there in the thick of it because even though I wanted to injure him when we were kids, the big sister mode has kicked in and I’m in protect and kick-ass mode. 

He has always been a sports-loving dweeb with a sarcastic sense of humor, and he did not have to answer the questions I asked.  I decided I will answer them for him.

Mike, what was your favorite thing to do as a child?” 

Well, Kathy, that’s easy.  My favorite thing to do was make your life miserable.” 

My second question, “What is your most memorable moment?” would undoubtedly be this:  “When you left.”  (I know he would say it but not mean it because…well…I just know). (Right, Mikey)? 

Last night I was talking to Mike on the phone, on his birthday.  Yes, he is only five years younger than me for more than a month!  I told him I had ordered a tube of ants for my grandson’s new ant farm. I mentioned that it was like buying those little critters first-class tickets on American Airlines to get them here, and without even taking a break, my little brother said, “I hope they don’t put them on the plane with a cage of anteaters.” 

There was a moment of silence as that sunk in, then we both started laughing those good, comfortable belly laughs that only siblings share.

So a tip of my hat for Mike’s comic relief episode on his 47th birthday!  Cheers!

Friday, December 4, 2009


My friend, Ginny, is from Birmingham, and she is, I think, an angel on earth!  We have gone to concerts together, taken care of one another, and drank lots of wine together!  I am not going to change the beautiful narrative she sent for me to post here.  Here it is in it's entirety:

"Oh wow, there are so many memorable moments in my life. Some are wonderful, some not so wonderful. Going to the beach with friends families as a child, climbing the big black walnut tree in my front year in the rain trying to find my little sister's parakeet after she accidentally took him out of his cage and he flew out the front door, the 100 year snow of '93, meeting the Cisco Kid at the State Fair when I was six, his kissing my cheek and me fainting dead away!! I have a thing about cowboys! LOL. So many memories but I believe my most memorable time was the birth of my frist grandchild. That sounds like something all women might say, but, and I think all would agree, the birth of your first grandchild is unforgettable.

We arrived at the hospital and spent time with the kids before the 'show' began. I was amazed at the changes in the 23 years since my youngest son Kevin was born. My daughter-in-law was in a suite and a really nice one at that. Ashley's aunt was there with me as her mom had passed away the year before. We were really excited, chattering away like magpies. I think we may have irritated the mom-to-be. LOL. After a while, it was time for the baby to be born and we were ushered out to the waiting room. Connie and I were so animated that night. We couldn't sit still. We walked back and forth from the waiting room to outside Ashley's room listening for the sweet cries of a new born. There was also a teensy little window on the door that we would peer in to see if we could see something. After about 4 visits, we noticed that someone had covered up the window! We also got the evil eye from the nurses station.

Finally, Todd came out with the biggest smile on his face! Luke was born. We went in the room. Connie and I were feeling some timid at this point. Why I could not tell you. After all the hyperness we shared earlier, we stood there like stone statues. When I held Luke for the very first time, I felt a warmth I had never felt before. Not even with the birth of my own 2 sons. This little boy is my heart. I was completely under his spell. Even now. Almost 3 years later, his sister Lily arrived. Her birth was special as well and I love her every bit as much as Luke, but his birth will always stand out in my mind.

I had so many things I loved to do as a child. I loved to swing, roller skate, play with my dolls, ride my bike, read, write and play kickball with the neighborhood kids. I especially loved climbing trees. The big Black Walnut in the front yard was a major part of my life. I was not a tomboy, though, I was a daintly little thing, but I would climb to the top of the tree, scaring the daylights out of my neighbors, though my own family just shrugged it off. I loved to sit in that tree and write in a notebook. I was a daydreamer as a young child and I could close my eyes and place myself wherever I wanted to be. It started out as a means of escape that has lasted to this day."

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I have a “little” brother.  He will be 47 on Friday, and there is a short window between then and January 18, when I can tell everyone I’m only five years old then him, instead of six years older.

We had pretty separate lives growing up with that age difference, but I remember going home from college and encountering his friends.  I spent many summer days parked on a bench at the baseball field in Fairfield, Illinois, watching them play baseball on teams and in leagues.

One of Mike’s friends was Jeff Wise, and after all these years, the age differences have melted away as he has helped my brother and me cope with some pretty rotten situations the past year, so I wanted to spotlight Jeff here and say thank you.

I asked him the same questions I have put out there for everyone else so far, and these are Jeff’s answers:

1.  What was your most memorable moment? “My most memorable moments were the births of my children.  Those were such proud moments in my life.”

2.  What was your favorite activity as a kid?  (This should be no surprise to anyone who knows Jeff):  “Playing baseball in little league.  It was the Best of Times!”   

Tonight I raise a toast to someone who means an awful lot to me!  “Clink!”  Thanks for all you’ve done!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


One of the people wandering around in my life is Mariann.  I had the good fortune of meeting her because we were both big fans of The Cowsills as kids and met through their website as adults.

I have always known Mariann as “Ponygirl” since she used that as her log-in name.  It fits!  Besides being a fan of The Cowsills, she absolutely loves horses!

Because of our passion for that power pop music, and her passion for everything equestrian, it came to no surprise to me when I posed my interview questions to her, and received the following answers:

Mariann?” I asked.  “What was your most memorable moment?”

She answered, “Seeing The Cowsills in Newport, Rhode Island, at Taste of Rhode Island, in 2000, and the other one is Cowsill-related, too:  Driving around New Orleans in Susan Cowsill’s mini-van when she took us on a "Katrina tour” in November 2007.”

My second inquiry to Mariann was regarding her favorite activity as a child.  No surprises here…”My fave activity as a child was the same as my fave activity as an adult:  Anything to do with horses!  Ride, brush, even shovel manure.”

Hats off to Mariann!  A sweet, fun woman I am happy to have met!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I have a friend who lives across that big pond that we know as the Atlantic Ocean, who was kind enough to take the time to answer a couple of questions for me concerning her life.

Cynthia is a compassionate, caring woman who has stood there and allowed me to vent to her many times, and I think the world of her.

I asked, "Cynthia, what was your favorite activity as a child?  What do you think of first?"

Cynthia said, "My favourite activity as a child? My mum had some very particular ideas about the "right" things to do, which included piano, tennis and girl scouts. All I wanted to do was ride horses and learn figure skating. Believe it or not, I think she viewed skating as the more expensive (or possibly just less socially advantageous). SO the riding won. Was never terribly good at it, not even twice weekly from age 6 until around 11 or 12."

I asked, "When you think back over your life, what was your most memorable moment to date?"

After thinking for awhile, she told me this story:  "Impossible to say. Perhaps the most momentous was when I was given a stack pass in the Library of Congress. I had waited patiently for 2+ days for a rare original source, for a college paper on the instigation of the Glorious Revolution, and the pony-tailed desk clerk (the sort you see these days working in "real" bookshops while they toil as budidng writers) finally gave up and handed me the pass, then took me down 11 floors (city blocks) to the section AE-AH (the Library of Congress system, natch). I never found the book I was looking for, but I did spend an enchanted afternoon browsing."  A story about browsing in the Library of Congress, suits the Cynthia I know.

Stay tuned to read her description of her favorite Christmas gift on December 25!