Neighbor of My Youth

As previously mentioned, I grew up in a rural neighborhood. This could be a challenge when selling Girl Scout cookies, which we did door-to-door back then. In March. In Upstate NY, where it snows a lot. My cousin and I, the same age, next-door-neighbors, would sell together. She’d sell one house, I’d take the next. A team effort.

That’s how we knew people. Or of them. Like Bill Peavert. Mr. Peavert lived in a shack. He heated the shack with a wood stove. He had a note thumbtacked to his door: “If you hear music, I’m home.” Mr. Peavert didn’t drive, that I recall. He always bought cookies from us, carefully counting out his money from a change jar.

My mom and one of her friends up the valley used to joke about wearing their “backless frontless gowns” and going out with Bill Peavert.

When he passed, I think we were all surprised to learn he had a son.

I have two other memories of Mr. Peavert. One night, my step-grandfather, who lived next door to us, called because someone was trying to break into the house. Dad grabbed his twenty-two and went to take care of the matter. Turns out Mr. Peavert had gone on a bender and thought he was home and was upset he couldn’t get in. Dad loaded him into the car and drove him home.

Several years later, my folks had picked me up from a party one Friday night. As we were turning off the highway onto our road, we saw something flailing in the ditch.  Dad pulled over to investigate. Mr. Peavert was drunk again. I scrambled into the front seat with Mom. Peavert recognized my father. “Ain’t you the sum-bitch who tried to shoot me?” “Yes,” Dad replied, as he folded the man into the backseat. We drove Mr. Peavert home again.



Motherhood Memory: Child Imagery

When my children were young, we periodically took overnight family vacations. One of the first ones was to Niagara Falls. Y-Chromo was about five. This may have been the first time we were away from home for something that wasn’t family-related. Yes, we’d stayed in hotels for Thanksgiving visits, but there was always the distraction of seldom-seen relatives on those occasions.

Y told everyone we met where we were staying: “Family-friendly” name of the chain.  He always seemed to speak in advertising slogans.

The first morning, we were waiting to go to breakfast–my husband was probably in the shower or watching the news or something. Y turned to me. “Mommy, look at how the sunshine is spreading like butter on the wall.”


“Where did you hear that?” I asked him.

“Oh, I just saw the yellow sun on the wall and that’s what I thought of.”

Y inherited his mathiness from his dad’s side of the family, but that imagery came straight from his maternal genes.




Moment for Valentine’s Day

Dating has changed drastically in my lifetime. Nowadays there are dating apps. I know several couples who met that way. Before apps, there was video dating. You went to the company’s office, made a short video about yourself, then hoped someone would read your profile, watch your video, and want to contact you. Before that were the personal ads in the newspaper. The randomness of the personals created all sorts of creepy, if not dangerous situations.

The best story I ever heard about how one couple met is a variation on the theme.

The woman was sitting at home one night listening to a radio call in show. (This was before podcasts). She found herself drawn to voice of a divorced father of two,  a medical doctor, who was looking for a nice girl to date.  So she called in.

The rest, as they say, is history. They are a lovely couple, with a lovely family, including grandchildren. He’s retired now. They travel around the country visiting their far-flung family.  Because she picked up the phone and made a call to a radio station.

Book Review-Karen Robards: The Midnight Hour

Image credit: tieury / 123RF Stock Photo

The Midnight Hour  is one of my favorite Robards books. It takes place in autumn, which always makes for a great, spooky setting.

Single mother Grace Hart  is having a difficult time with her teenage daughter, who has been newly diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Although Grace is a respected judge in her community, her life hasn’t always been comfortable. She dreads her daughter repeating the same mistakes of her own youth, especially now when some excesses could be deadly to a diabetic.

And of course, isn’t that when the consequences of Grace’s misspent youth comes around to haunt her and her daughter.

Enter police detective Tony Marino, a single father who lost his own daughter to a deadly disease and who finds himself attracted to the lady judge even though he’s not sure some of the “pranks” upsetting Grace are as serious as she wants him to take them.

Great romance, great suspense, and a twist at the end you’ll think you should have seen coming.

This book defines what romantic suspense should be.

MJ Monday-Movies: People Will Talk

Someone on Facebook recently mentioned People Will Talk was airing on TV. I mentioned it to my husband, who recorded it. Neither one of us was familiar with the film. A few weeks later, we sat down to watch and were more than pleasantly surprised.

It stars Cary Grant, Jeanne Crain, with Hume Cronyn and Walter Slezak along with and uncredited appearance by Margaret Hamilton in one of the early scenes. It’s billed as a romance/comedy/drama. All three categories are correct.

I didn’t realize the complexity of the movie until after I watched it. The plot lines are so finely woven together the stories make complete sense. One plotline involves a doctor (Hume Cronyn) trying to discredit another doctor (Cary Grant). Another is  the romance Cary Grant carries on with an unwed mother.

You read that correctly. This movie was released in 1951, after the Hayes Code was put in place. An unpunished heroine unwed mother?  Even the family of director Joseph Mankiewicz aren’t sure how he slipped that one past the review board.

There are several laugh-out-loud moments.  The romance is delightful. There is political intrigue and honor.

Five stars.