May into June

May into June

Re:Re: More!           May 22 2019

Good morning!  I am taking a few minutes to write now, because for the next two weeks I will be busy busy busy with MUSE, and the holiday, and the girls and the kids and everything else I have to do! Just so you know it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t hear from me for awhile. But you write back right away!

Bits and pieces – I was wrong about Cipriani’s then, I think the pizza place was north of Chicago Hts, maybe Homewood, or Hazel Crest? I’m not sure just where, but yes Marnell’s! Yum! And all of those teachers are familiar to me, except for Mrs. Eleffson.  I had Mrs. Nielsen for 3rd grade, Mrs. Sanagan for 5th (?) – who were the 4th grade teachers? Jehling (math?) I have a visual of him, and a vague picture of Mrs. Paycik (English?) Was Mr. Early science? And yes I had the VERY MEAN SISTER LUANNE, I’m almost sure! You just don’t remember me because you were hiding under your desk! And so was I!

We were at the edge of our seats reading your story about The Donald’s rally at U of C (yes, what a thoughtless site choice!). OMG you are such a good storyteller, we were feeling everything you felt. How disappointing to wait all that time and not get to hear him. But even more disheartening – frightening! – is the behavior of all those idiotic protesters. Of course you were flashing on BTHS’ race riots (PTSD, no doubt),  behavior like that comes from the same ugly place inside people. I’m with you about violence – I just will NEVER agree that it is the right way to disagree. After years of dealing with TDS here, and all forms of political correctness run amok, I have come to the conclusion that a lot of strongly political people are emotional thinkers – which is to say, they DON”T think, they just feel and react. Which is not adult or rational or productive, and always leads to violence, name-calling and … stereotyping. My break came with the Michael Brown incident in Missouri, when I found only one news article that told the truth about what happened (written by a Columbia professor of journalism, who happens to be black). I couldn’t accept the idea that facts and truth would be bent to serve narratives, especially by the press. Since then all news is fake to me, until proven otherwise. Yet no one around here objects, rather everyone mouths the forced narratives and underlying philosophies of the left. Really I can’t take it, and I am so glad I have you to vent to, and discuss ideas and policies and politics with. Thank you! For being you! And finding me!
Anyway enough of that –

So you may come to Pennsylvania in the next few years? !!! That’s close – well, closer – to us! Bruce is guessing northern PA, near upstate NY? OMG just a few hours away, we can visit! So if I have a vote, I’m casting mine for Pennsylvania too. That would be TOO MUCH FUN!. I’m sure the boys would get along. Bruce doesn’t hunt, but he grew up in West-by-God-Virginia, and he knows his way around a gun. Taught me to shoot a long time ago too, but it’s nothing either of us have kept up with. What a hoot it would be to see you. btw, does Bob bowl?

Boy, what a little Peyton Place our neighborhood was, and yes, it’s a miracle any of us got out with any sanity and capacity for love, and made respectable lives. I just hope each generation gets healthier and happier, learning from all the pain and mistakes. I’m glad you made it, and me, too.

Your life sounds like a big crunch right now, and it worries me a little that you are shouldering too much responsibility. I know firsthand the burden that special diets can be having to eat gluten-free. That added to primary caregiving for your parents, AND the basic chores and tasks of a household … and pet. And you are working? It seems too much, can you get some help? I know of agencies here that provide in-home care for older folks – but it can be expensive – still, maybe you could hire someone to give you a break once or twice a week? I’m speaking to you now woman to woman, because we tend to think of others before ourselves, and put ourselves last. So just a friendly reminder to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. I struggle to keep a balance, too, and that’s with fewer responsibilities than you have.

So Bob is in transition, what with the new company, I’m sure that makes everything a little harder … A very challenging time of life this is with all the changes, some expected others unplanned. I feel you! We are riding the waves here, trying to plan and shape the next ten years while negotiating an increasingly complex world. I have six months to figure out Medicare …. Bruce is younger than me by nine months, so he has no answers. Ugh!

Two questions before I go, one that has been consuming me: Just why were you looking for me? and why now? I don’t think I told you, but Bruce heard from an old W. Va. friend a few months back, and we both have had other inquiries (no one in common with you, except for Reva). It seems a pattern, of 60-somethings? I’m curious what your reasons, motivations were.

This last request just came to me, in fact, after reading aloud your letters to Bruce. Because he said, “It’s like sit-com with you two, every week a new episode!” And so I thought, omg maybe my readers would like to hear/read the letters too …! How do you feel about publishing them on MUSE? As a series, of installments …. Letters From Pam !!!  I can edit and change names if you want to preserve privacy. All subject to your approval, don’t worry I would never do it without your ok! Lmk what you think.
Maybe as a podcast …. I could read the letters aloud …. you could too … me yours, you mine! or the other way around. Hmmmm …
Doesn’t it sound like FUN?!

Sending you love energy and peace
Your Crazy Artist friend,


P.S. Btw, I find it necessary to tell you that even though I am an artist, my house looks NOTHING like the Tannenbaum’s, LOL – It’s as neat as a pin! The garden too! Really!  well, except for studio …

PPS Oh and yes, the clay soil and poor drainage are no doubt giving your trees fits. Not sure what you can do, but if you could find an arborist, he/she might have suggestions. All for a price, natch.


Re:Re:Re: More!           May 29 2019

Have some time to just sit with my cup of coffee, write to you,watching Arya spilled out on the driveway (looking dead actually, lol.) She has this very regal way of posing out there, so beautiful, but not today!)

As always, great to hear from you! I understand all the busyness so when you can write, you write. I will wait patiently. Don’t worry about me. Now that the warmer weather is here I have the outside things to do too. I’m pretty fussy about the yard so I’m always out there doing something. Trimming, edging, weed pulling, grass cutting. The guys help too but they are not as concerned about finishing touches.  We have had SO much rain which makes it hard to be out there for any length of time. So behind from planting my flowers and stuff. Trying to find the right time to break it to Bob that a couple of trees need to come down. For him, if there’s one branch left with leaves on it, it’s good! Lol! Doesn’t work well for the fussy person! Lol! With all the rain, the grass needs to be cut, but it’s too wet! I LOVE the yard work much more than the housework. We had a tornado touch down in Sauk Village and Dyer. Affected 100 homes in various ways. Bob and Phil were at a baseball game. I went in the basement with Arya, waiting for my tv and bedroom set to fall in on me. Luckily we were spared.

I’m wondering if you’re thinking of Aurelio’s pizza? Now THAT’S good pizza! Mrs Ellison was the other 5th grade teacher. I had her. Mrs Brown was a 4th grade teacher but can’t remember who the other one was. Mr Early was Social Studies. Mrs Harrington was Science. Young, pretty and had a Southern accent. A real sweetheart. If she had to yell, it still sounded soft and sweet. Lol! And Paycik, older, blonde hair always pulled back and BRIGHT RED LIPSTICK! AND lol on Sister Luanne and hiding under the desk. My brother had Sister Helen Marie for 1st grade. She was beautiful, (even in her habit) and a sweet heart. She ended up running away with one of the priests.

It brings a smile to my face to hear your views on politics. Regardless, would love you either way, but nice to hook up with someone who is sensible and shares your views. AND… I have every intention on coming to visit you someday, if you’ll have me! It would be crazy not to! I don’t know when, but I will figure something out. Life is too hectic now (although, I don’t know when it won’t be). A lot of weddings going on this year in the family (still close to cousins). My sister, Gina’s son, is getting married in Tennessee. Bob has his 45th class reunion in August too. He’s also younger than me by 11 mo.! He married a cougar! UGH!!! What comes after cougar I wonder? Never mind, I probably don’t want to know!

You couldn’t be more right about shouldering too much responsibility. It’s funny you mentioned about getting help. My parents REFUSED anyone coming into their house. I talked to a college student, Libby, to see if she would be interested in going over to my parents house 2 times a week, take my dad to grocery store and anything else and just visit with them for 2 hrs each time. She lives right next door and they’ve always loved her so they were VERY agreeable to it. She stays for 4/5 hrs each time! I told her she doesn’t have to be there that long but she WANTS too! I don’t get it! I want out after 5 minutes! But, YOU GO GIRL!!! Why didn’t I think of this a long time ago?! I feel so much FREER!!! (free-er) not sure about the spelling but it must be okay cuz it didn’t auto correct! AND I appreciate your concern and understanding about my situation. Couldn’t squeeze any time in your life for becoming a Psychiatrist? You would have made a good one!

I think 60 has something to do with wanting to find you.I have been looking for you, off and on, for 40+ years! But again, not having the skills for looking someone up, I couldn’t get very far. Why was I looking for you? (And it was you more than anyone.) CURIOUS! I was always interested in what you accomplished with your life. You were always SMART but KIND! Meaning… even though you were smart, you NEVER bragged about it, I never felt  “less than” with you and you were just a nice, kind, FUN person. You seemed very cool in your own skin. Seeing and reading MUSE made me want to contact you even more so. Your stories had some sadness in them but MUSE offered insight to so many topics of wonderful things!  I’ve got to tell you though… your book (analysis?,explanation?, not sure about the word to use) are DEEP, WAY OVER MY HEAD… have NEVER read any books like that!!! Lol!!! Danielle Steele romance novels used to be my level of reading! However, I read what you write regardless, and pick up what I’m capable of. But that’s what I mean, MUSE is full of everything! How  lucky was I to read about your life to get an idea of what you’ve been doing all these years. You were STILL the Debbie Zervas I remembered with a lot more life experience AND accomplishments! I’ve seen a few people on FB but haven’t had the WANT to contact them.

As far as letters from Pam… I certainly wouldn’t want to alienate your audience!  I think it would be a blast but just know that I am handicapped with computer and anything else. I text with my index finger, that’s it! I think it’s more like Madam Curie reunited with Lucille Ball!!! And yes, I’ve said some not so nice things about a lot of people so do we put that out there?  You said names can be changed? Is that a lot of work for you? Hey Deb, you know what you’re doing, if you think it’s a good idea, I’m all for it! OMG! What if someone wants to make a movie out if it, then my cover will be blown! Brookwood and Bloom people would be after me!!! But I’m INTRIGUED! YIKES!!! BUT YES!!!

Bob and I were laughing! He does NOT bowl. When Phil was younger, he bowled for him because Bob will do ANYTHING for Phil. But Bob is an awful bowler. I, on the other hand, love it but haven’t bowled in years. I told Bob, learn to bowl, if we ever get together, they’re going to want to bowl!!!

Hope you’re able to accomplish all the things you need to get done! Until next time!

💞 💞💞


not quite URGENT, but …           MAY 31 2019

Hey, a quick note/question for this upcoming issue of MUSE

I will include one (edited) letter that I wrote to you. It fits this month’s theme really well. Can I use your name (Pam) or would you like me to use an alias? If you want to stay anonymous, I can use your middle name. But you have to remind me of it because I don’t remember. I am OLD.


Re: not quite URGENT, but …           MAY 31 2019

Lol!!!! It just so happens… I DON’T HAVE A MIDDLE NAME (which I’ve had an issue with all my life! Lol!) Everybody else got one but me!!! So, it looks like you’ll have to use my only name… Pam! You go girl, I’m perfectly fine with it! 💞💞

It’s up!           JUNE 4 2019

Look for 50+


more tomorrow

Re: It’s up!           JUNE 4 2019

Oh, the tears right now! The girls, the letter, Puerto Rico, searching, your friend’s
family…The collage REALLY sent me over the edge! THANK YOU SO MUCH BRUCE! One of the most precious gifts I’ve ever received! Oh, I’ve got so much to say but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I feel another long letter ahead.



Re:Re:Re:Re: More!           JUNE 8 2019

Finally, I moment to catch up with you! Thanks for waiting to write, so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed and backed up.

I was worried about you all when that tornado-laden weather system went through Illinois + Indiana, SO glad you sent me the we-are-safe news. Again you had us laughing with your description of taking refuge in your basement, and Bruce was ROTF when I read him your Madame Curie/Lucille Ball comparison. Such descriptive (and HILARIOUS: “Bob married a cougar”) pictures you paint with your words! Keep them coming! I see Arya just as though I were there with you, drinking coffee, watching her …

YES of course you (and the boys!) are welcome here whenever you want to/can get here! Or close by, we can always meet you halfway or at some interesting point between, maybe when you travel to PA? It will happen! We might be in northern Kentucky in October,, for another chance. Of course I will keep you posted. About bowling – Bruce has trophies from his high school league (OMG) but anymore he is just average, and I’m no good at all, just a beginner, so it is not high on the agenda. But if we do go bowling just for yucks, you and Bruce cannot be on the same team – just not fair!

Aurelio’s is IT, the best pizza ever, even Bruce remembers from our few visits to Flossmoor forty years ago. YUM, none better anywhere since. And yes now I remember Mrs. Harrington, and Mrs. Paycik’s red lipstick and blonde blonde blonde bun. And Mr. Early.

It made me smile to hear of your garden and property care-taking – we are exactly the same. I do most everything like you (Bruce does the insect control and tree pruning and grass-cutting) and like you I would rather be outside, fussing than do almost any indoor chore. For the longest time I had a house cleaner who came once a month to do the deep cleaning, I hated it so much. I’ve never minded straightening up – it’s how I start my day, putting the clean dishes away, making the bed, plumping cushions etc., and pulling a few weeds on my morning walk-around, so all is in place before I go up to studio to write. I don’t mind doing laundry either (mine and household, Bruce does his own), but dusting, vacuuming and bathrooms UGH. For the past few months Bruce and I have been cleaning ourselves, not minding the chores we chose too much. But we are close to hiring someone again. Very close.
Still my house is neat and clean always or I just can’t work! Fussy! Like you!

As far as Faulkner goes, well he is a most difficult author to read, meaningfully, without guidance. Which is why Mark’s course. Even so, Bruce and I struggled with every page and lecture to get our minds around what Mark shared – all the research and historical perspective and ideas that he and other experts have about literature, and what it means to us today. Good opportunities to learn are so rare as we get older, I just have to jump at all of them. What I like about Mark is that he always presents his ideas as just that – ideas. Not facts or truth, but other new ways of seeing and knowing that are worth considering. He encourages discussion, disagreement, and debate. So unusual in today’s world, especially from an (ex-) academic. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why he left academia. But anyway, yes Faulkner is over almost everyone’s head! Including ours! Still, an enriching experience.

Feeling free is a wonderful thing; I am glad you are at peace with your parents AND your responsibilities to them, and that you are mindful and strong enough to set boundaries, to keep yourself sane and steady and happy. Your parents are probably experiencing Libby as a do-over, a chance to parent in a more healthy way than they could with you and your siblings. So Libby is good for them. They are still growing and making amends, and maybe she is re-writing a personal history, too. A good story! For all of you. Choose health, in all its forms.

NO I could never be a psychiatrist – people DRIVE ME CRAZY. I am constantly fending off psychos and weirdos who want things from me that I just don’t have to give. Except to friends, in loving conversations about life, which are two-way streets. Ministering to others is just too one-way, I can’t imagine getting anything out of it except FRUSTRATION and EXHAUSTION. I am an introvert, big-time – I expend energy to be around most people, rather than receive any. It makes me VERY choosy about friends. The one reason I can write and write and write to you,without exhausting myself is that I get so much back! You make me feel free, to say what I think and to be who I am. Thank you for that marvelous gift.

The next issue of MUSE will be Letter From Pam. I have the shape of it in my head, and next week I will put it together as a first draft. I’ll need/want your feedback, so look for something at the end of next week. We will publish the weekend before Hawaii. So that I can take it easy while there, and after I return. Mostly we will have to decide what names to change, to protect the innocent. And our privacy!

My last note – I have good news from Kentucky – it seems a recent conversation I had with Meg GOT THROUGH. Omg, the changes just this week! I am hopeful! I will probably write an update for MUSE, so I’ll share more as that comes along.  Thanks for your kind and understanding words. Oh, and Bruce is tickled that you love his photo collage so much. 🙂

Ok, I give you permission to write back to me, LOL, now that my plate is cleared.
Really, I can hardly wait to hear from you!



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