OMG!           April 7 2019

Pamela C••••••••, is this you? Such a wonderful surprise to hear from you, on MUSE.
Your comment was really touching, thanks …

My favorite (and persistent) memory of our girlhood and friendship is of the time we painted my bedroom wall, to match an Aries poster I had … do you remember?  Even Bruce knows the story, after all these years, lol.

You have all my news – send me yours! I have a million questions –

I hope you are happy and doing well

Re: OMG!           April 8 2019

I DO remember the wall! It was the coolest!!! Another thing that sticks in my mind, but wasn’t cool, was having a cake fight in your kitchen with your brother Rick and I got cake on the wall. Needless to say, Your mother WAS NOT HAPPY with me and deservedly so!! She was very calm but firm. What possessed me to do that, I’ll NEVER know!

So, readers digest version of MY life… Certainly NOT as interesting as YOURS but life worked out okay for me and I am happy. I was so lost growing up as I’ve looked back on it and had no direction. My mom and dad had their own issues as you find out through the years. I guess they did their best and I love them but I needed them and neither of them were emotionally available. I look at it as …if I didn’t go through the life I had I wouldn’t be where I am TODAY and I wouldn’t change my TODAY for anything! They are both still living but slowing down considerably and still in the same house.

I went to beauty school right after high school and I’m STILL doing it today. It was a good move for me at the time. I didn’t feel college was a fit for me. Besides, my parents couldn’t afford it and certainly didn’t encourage me! Remember the A,B,C classes at Brookwood?! Nothing like labeling children as to their ability! Who came up with THAT idea?! Lol! I was always in the B class at Brookwood, 6b, 7b, 8b. I so wanted to be in the A class but I guess I wasn’t willing to do the work to try and achieve it! And I would have been MORTIFIED to be in the C class! Those were the dumb kids! That was terrible for me to think like that but wasn’t that what one would think?

I married in ‘74 to the first guy that found me attractive (and sad to say, I wanted to get out of my parents house) Divorced 9 years later. No children, wasn’t sure if I wanted that.

Remarried in ‘91 to my husband Bob. He is originally from PA. and is an accountant. I changed my mind about having children, I now wanted 3 girls. (YIKES!) We ended up having 1 son. His name is Phillip, he is 24 and also an accountant. He still lives at home. We have a 2 yr old husky. Her name is Arya and she sheds A LOT!!! It’s funny how our lives center around her now.

Through all the years since I’ve seen you, I have stayed in contact with Donna K. She lives in Texas near her daughter now.  I see Teri Z. once in a while. I have seen Janet S. and Phil T. on FB but made no contact with them. No info on Paula K., Joyce H.

I also have so many questions for you. Im wondering when, exactly, I lost contact with you. Did you graduate early? Did you go off to college right away? I read in one of your writings where you got on your brothers banana bike and went to a different school to take your SAT test! Look where that ride got you!!! Where did your DRIVE come from? You KNEW what you wanted and you went for it and then some!!! I’m so amazed, happy and proud of what you’ve done with your life Deb and you found the right person to spend your life with. I’ve also listened to your readings on The Easy Chair(?). The first time I listened to you I was in bed, your voice is so easy and calm… I fell asleep! Lol! Best I listen during the day!

Well, so much for my RD version. I would love to keep in touch!


Re:Re: OMG!           APRIL 9 2019

Thanks for the short version! It fills in the big blanks – I can at least place you in space and time … pictures next?
It’s so good to know you are happy and well, with love all around you.

Too bad you are not closer – I could use your professional services! Under all the applied color I am completely white-haired now, lol. My stylist is super at covering every bit with the most flattering deep brown – she is only a little younger than us and faces the same battles, so she is quite expert at that part of it. But not so imaginative with cut and style. 🙁
The truth is getting old is no fun. Don’t get me started about eyebrows!  Do you have your own business?

I never had any idea how much you struggled growing up, doing without what every child needs to thrive – I’m sorry for you, even now. As I get older I’m realizing that our parents’ generation was really challenged with a changing world, and had little capacity to nurture and guide their children through it – they probably never got what they needed as children either. Phillip, at any rate, has likely benefited from the losses of your childhood – you are undoubtedly a GREAT mom!  Ayra too, lucky girl! From reading MUSE you might get a more idealized take on my journey – I am careful about what I share in such a public way.  I alone, and together with Bruce have had many painful, rough times. But as you say, our paths, however difficult, got us to this mostly safe and peaceful place, with some joy along the way.
I do feel lucky and grateful that I have been able to spend much of my adult life creating, thinking, exploring – it is the truest expression of me.

A few more memories … I think we lost touch starting sophomore year, because I attended the old Bloom Township H.S., to take advanced Spanish and play in the band, while most everyone else went to the new school in Sauk Village. And I did graduate early, in January of 1972. I spent the following spring and summer taking music lessons in the city, at DePaul University, and working at Marshall Field’s in the record department. I went straight to college that fall and really never looked back. There was no home to go back to. I spent a summer in Lexington, Kentucky with a classmate, and met Bruce there. He started architecture school at UK shortly after we met, but transferred to Cornell University in upstate NY after his second year. We were married by then, and so I went along. I guess our life together started then …

One sad thing about my/our life here in the northeast for these past 30 years, is that it has not been rich in friends. I allude to this in many of my writings, about my homesickness for the Midwest, and the gentle humble caring careful ways of people that I remember (maybe through rose-colored glasses). But I think your friendly, kind, cheerful, genuine, out-of-the-blue note and letter bears me out in this belief. I could not stop smiling as I read your rich and newsy words – Bruce too, when I read it aloud to him. And no, he didn’t fall asleep! Lol

I’m not surprised to hear you have been keeping up with everyone from Brookwood (yes, a disaster of a system, children are always limited by labels), since you bothered to find me! The only person I have heard from is Reva – and that was quite a while ago. Do you remember her? One or two grades ahead? She lived across from the Tannenbaum’s, down from Janet S. She is married, living in North Carolina (Georgia?), working, no kids; her note seemed happy, fulfilled, content. Nothing since then though.  I remember Donna K. being engaged, and given her (deceased) aunt’s house as a wedding present, but I don’t remember her husband-to-be – I assume he is the L in Donna K. L., and that they are still married? (I can’t imagine her getting divorced). But fond memories of everyone, including Phillip T. and Richard A.! Janet S. I heard never left home … dropped out of college after a year or two and went back to her mom. This from some girl named Nancy ? that lived over in Glenwood. Oh, it’s all a jumble.

I do not remember the CAKE FIGHT, omg awful to be on Lydia’s bad side!
However did we survive our families and childhoods?

Really, Pam, I am so happy to hear from you – so yes we WILL stay in touch!
And feel free to pass along hellos from me to any and everyone else in our old gang.

(+ Bruce!)

Re:Re: OMG!           APRIL 13 2019

I’m glad you and Bruce enjoyed my letter. I was having a melt down here. I’m thinking, how in the world do I write to someone who writes so well?! Paragraphs, punctuation, proper words. Bob, Phil, help me! They were laughing and asked if they were going to have to help me every time I wanted to write to you. They said from everything I had read and told them about you, you were going to enjoy and appreciate anything I wrote. I knew they were right. Anyway, once I started, it just all flowed out in my way. My joker of a husband also told me that if I didn’t hear back from you then I would know not to write any more letters again… TO ANYONE! Lol!!! (as you will see, I like to use exclamations and capital letters.)

I did own a salon in Sauk Village about 40 yrs ago. Reva came into my salon. She didn’t get her hair done so I don’t remember why she was in there. At the time she was in sales for Hershey’s?
She came in a couple of times and then I never saw her again. She looked wonderful. In fact, your mom used to come into my salon. One of the other girls did her hair. I know we had conversation but can’t remember how or when she stopped coming. I may have just closed the salon. Donna is still married to Mike. She has a daughter, son and 2 grandchildren. I haven’t talked to them much since they moved to Texas.

Here’s one for you… Meg T. married a guy who committed suicide, they had a son. She remarried and it just so happened it was Rich A.! Have NO clue how they met.

I went to old Bloom too for Sophomore year. I guess to take general math!!! Lol!!!  A lot more “disruption”, shall we say, in those classes. Vietnam Nam, Martin Luther King, drugs, racial tension all going on. Do you remember the riots? I was in study hall one day which was in the lunch room. The doors were locked. A group of kids broke the glass in the doors, reached in and opened them and came in, hitting people over the head with chairs. Many of us ran out the other side and I ran all the way home. Very scary, something I’ll NEVER forget! I think I remember you had a boyfriend and I would see you walking down the hall with your long dark hair, slim legs(still waiting for my legs to look like that),with all your books in your arms and your boyfriends arm around your neck, not in a choking fashion but more of a resting spot. I never met him but it was cute as I look back. I think I remember you playing the flute?

Something else that I DID NOT KNOW… you are PUERTO RICAN!!! I thought you were ONLY GREEK, NOTHING ELSE, JUST GREEK!!! I learned that in your Cuento story. How did I not know that? That would explain why you rolled your R’s so PERFECTLY!!! I could never roll my R’s (and still can’t) and OBVIOUSLY was impressed that you could seeing how I still remember that!!! Funny how certain things stick in your memory from so long ago and yet MANY times I can’t remember what was said to me five minutes ago!

Well my friend, until next time…

Re:OMG!           April 20 2019

OMG you look amazing!  How is it that you (we) are 64??!!?!?!!
Everything in that photo says warm, open, genuine, happy …. just like your Letters.
They are now an event here. I check my email, and if you have written I save it until Bruce is around: “Letter from Pam!”, I say. And we sit on the couch together while I read it aloud.

I’m laughing at your preoccupation with grammar and convention, when every writer (and each of your boys) knows what really matters – authenticity, and emotion. Both of which your words convey beautifully and artfully. So don’t change a thing or even consider it – just let it flow. I (we) LOVE to read (hear) your words.
(btw, I am not a judgy I-can’t-say-it but-it rhymes-with-rich!  I’m from the Midwest, remember?)

So about my Puerto-Rican self: I DIDN”T EVEN KNOW UNTIL I WAS 12 or 13. This was my mother’s doing; she was so self-hating and troubled that she hid it from us, telling us always that we were Greek, and pretending herself that she was too. When I was old enough to realize Nana and Grampy weren’t Greek and that heritage came from both sides, I asked about hers, directly, and even then she said “Spanish.” Maybe she was shielding us from discrimination that she had experienced, but I don’t know. She is smiling in high school and wedding photos with (pale, blonde) friends all around, and she was happily employed by insurance companies out of school, so the reasons were/are not apparent. I couldn’t then and can’t unravel it now …  in the end I just needed distance from her control and anger and all the pain she caused us. Really, to this day, I suspect she was a lesbian and of course closeted and therefore miserable. But again, who knows?  I had to build a wall, just to have a self and a life.

Wow, it is so interesting to me to hear about the gang, and how it stayed together all this time, through marriage and friendship and persistent contact. For me, everyone and that time are dreamlike, faraway. (Except for you, now!) Such a sweet remembrance you have of me in high school … For the record I was never really that into my boyfriend, he was mostly a ticket into the older, cool kids clique; I do remember having crushes on his friend Dickie, and Reva’s boyfriend Kevin, who I kissed once! It surprised him too!  But ooh la la it felt amazing!

The rest of high school is a blur, but I do remember the riots (I was never caught up in any violence though. Your experience sounds terrifying!) and ditching school to listen to Pink Floyd (on 8-track, natch) in someone’s green car, or going to the the Forest Preserve to sit around a campfire and drink apple wine. And hanging out at McDonald’s …
Mostly, I remember being REALLY bored.

Yes, I did play the flute – all through college and beyond. It’s how I met Bruce, as a matter of fact. That’s a cute/funny story I’ll tell you some day …

The news here – this June we celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary (how can this even be? I still see the boy I fell in love with – as long as he shaves his white beard daily, lol). We are going to Hawaii!!! OMG, my first time there. And we will be there for the wedding of a young couple we know, who used to live down the street. Our dearest friends Emilia and Keith (friends in common with the bride and groom) will be there too. A lovely time will be had by all!  I can hardly wait.

And ….. Bruce is semi-retiring this summer. He will continue to work as a consultant, but part time.  We hope this will give us opportunities to travel and just relax a little more, spending time together and on laid-aside interests, and maybe even to start a business. It turns out I have celiac disease (gluten is an enemy) – one of the reasons for my too-thin legs when I was young! But Bruce has become an excellent GF baker, and he wants to open a bakery/catering business. More work than he expects, I think, but we’ll see where it goes …

Sorry this response took so long to get to you. It is Spring! here, and a beautiful one. So I have been outside every day, all day in the garden, making up things to do, lol. But today is rainy, so I have to time to write, and make homemade soup … yum

I owe you photos – I am (ok, well Bruce is) making a slide show from all the photos you missed over the years, up to today!
Be patient, it’s coming!

Happy Easter, Happy Spring

p.s.  when is your birthday?


Re: OMG!           APRIL 27 2019

So, you’re going to Hawaii… how WONDERFUL is that?! I’m happy for the two of you. So beautiful and a place I’ve always wanted to go. You will have a GREAT time I’m sure. Maybe the two of you can learn to hula or maybe you already know how? It wouldn’t surprise me seeing how adventurous the two of you are! And if you do, I want a video! Watch those hips, you don’t want to throw anything out!

I will be 64 on June 7th. YES, It IS hard to believe! Just don’t know where the time has gone! How about yours Deb? And a 40 year anniversary for you?! Congratulations! Where did you marry? Big wedding? Since I had been married once before, and this was Bob’s first, we decided to get married back in his hometown, PA, and celebrate with his family. My close family and friends came out.

I was surprised to hear about issues with your mom. I would have never known. I remember your mom. My memory was her being classy, organized, no nonsense and wise. The house was always kept up and I always got a sense of calm when I was there. Something just popped into my head, not sure if I have it right, but did your mom and dad like Peter, Paul and Mary (not the Bible people, the singing group)? LOL! I’m almost SURE they did!!! I think they were playing their record? If THAT’S true then THAT’S weird that I would remember THAT! I liked your family. Your house was what mine wasn’t, at least in MY mind. My house was messy and the people in my house and the house itself were/was very DISORGANIZED! We kids fought ALL THE TIME! It was CHAOS! 45 years later, looking back on it all, things have started to make sense to me. My mom suffered with depression (never knew). My dad owned a liquor store when I was 2-5 years old. The story was that my dad was such a nice guy he loaned money to people who didn’t always pay it back, blah, blah, blah. Well, he filed for bankruptcy and had lost his business.  He then went to work in a factory and sometimes had part-time jobs in addition to that. We NEVER had money. EVER. We had a roof over our head and got by but it was a struggle. About 35 years ago I find out my dad had a bookie joint in the back room of his business! He ran into trouble with all of that and not being able to make good on the bets any longer… THAT’S how he lost his business. My father was a gambler and not a very good one at that AND not very truthful! My mom was a weak person, she was not a happy person. She was frustrated with my dad but took it out on us kids. She was a yeller and a screamer. THAT’S what I remember about my mom. I’m so disappointed in both of them. Somehow though as I, my brothers and sister grew up we KNEW what we didn’t want to do was be like our parents. We wanted to be better in what we did with our lives AND do a better job raising our children. Not that we would be winning any parent of the year awards but we didn’t want to make the same mistakes as they did. So, we’ve all stayed close. Everyone lives in Texas, Tennessee and Oregon. We all get together once a year at Thanksgiving and then text,talk, or visit this one or that one throughout the year. Everyone seems to have forgiven and moved on. I’m the one that still gets bugged about it occasionally but since I’m the only one that lives close to my parents I’m the one who takes care of them and they’re not always cooperative. However, if I need anything, they are there for me. Grateful for that.

Speaking of wine… at one point I hung around Karen B. and Kathy S. and we would go to the drive-in and drink Boones Farm Apple wine and Strawberry Hill. Keith O. (remember him?) he was about 9 ft tall and looked liked someone’s dad. He would go into the liquor store and buy everyone’s liquor. Yep, drinking and driving! Lucky to be alive.

I got a kick out of the class pic. About 24 years ago the Brookwood class of 68/69 got together and had a class reunion. Marianne P. came. She looked the same. She wrote a book in 1991(?) on motherhood. Do you remember Vicki J. from Brookwood? I hung around with her for awhile. Funny thing, my mom had some health problems and had to go into assisted living for a bit and her roommate was Vicki’s mom. I saw Vicki there one day. She had messed with drugs in  high school and never stopped. She did not look good and was having many issues with health. It was good to see her though. A couple of weeks later she died in her sleep. Sad to hear. A lot of family issues at her house too that I had NO idea. I thought my family was the only one.

So … on the much brighter side…Bruce can cook and bake too?! You hit the jackpot with him Deb! Congratulations on the semi retirement which possibly leaves you time for venturing into other interests. Hope it works out for you guys!

I cannot wait for the slide show!!! I’m crying (happy tears) already! I’m afraid you’ll have to settle for my few pics here and there as I have no idea how to do anything else. We had our friend, Sasha, take pics of us for Easter. He probably took about 30 of them and there wasn’t ONE good one!!! Who’s stomach looked too big, who had a double chin, who’s lips were purple from drinking wine (of course, none of these applied to me, lol!) and a dog that WOULD NOT COOPERATE!!! We even had him on a ladder because that makes you appear thinner (not sure about that!) when the camera is looking down at you. Bob was giving Sasha a hard time about taking bad pics of us. Sasha, who speaks broken English said… It is not my fault! This is what you people look like! Lololololol!!! Good times!

I guess I should wrap things up here. Didn’t realize it was so late! Have a great weekend!



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