issue #20



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!





8th grade graduation           APRIL 27 2019

Look what I found! I just had to send it to you.

I recognize you, me, Donna K., Janet S., Joyce H., Paula K., Philip T., Richard A., Marianne Polom, Nancy Fitzgerald ….
Is that Teri somebody in the front row?

LOL at the styles! SO retro
Who else do you see?

Have FUN!

Re: 8th grade graduation           APRIL 27 2019

OH MY GOODNESS! I LOVE THIS! Don’t remember all but remember a lot!    Bruce Joss, Teri Zubak, Don Lulich, Frank Filipkowski, Dan Piazza, Richard James( had a crush on him.), Bob Sowers, Matt Walenburg. Judy Heimbuch (Mom was bus driver Miss Amanda), Linda Mancilla, Jeanette McDonald. Karen Capriotti( no relation), Ron Skubitz, Ed Hureau, Judy Gabor. Dan Williamson( another crush), Vicki Janowiak( died in her sleep about a year ago), Gerardo Gonzalez(Jerry), Christine Chism( died after 8th grade graduation, liver, kidney problems), Brian Quarcini, Michelle Martin, Tony Satalic, Steve Hatfield. Jackie Farren, Ramona Lindsey, Bob Cann( was sitting behind me on school bus on a field trip and he kept on reaching over the seat to put his hand down my blouse! Got busted by Mr Zachary.), Carl Biehler( he and Christine Chism were step bro and sis),Ruth?(Father was a pastor), Janet Blakey, Ricky Hoover(bad boy), Diane Lockman. Russel Bosich, Laverne Dozier, Bob Maxwell, Suellen Bult, Bob Lee( married Celeste Glowacki from our Bloom class and has a band), Jean Smallwood, Randy Salisbury (YUCK!!! locked me in his bedroom but,THANKFULLY, let me go!!!!), Nina Zlamal, Marilyn Douglas, Lance Trompeter, Pete Callahan, Kimberly?, Leslie Larkin, Dan
Fronzak, Bob Tomeczski. Will be writing soon! THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!!!💞💞💞 And that hair-do of mine… I look like I should be tied to railroad tracks yelling- SAVE ME, SAVE ME!!!




dribs and drabs           MAY 7 2019

Finally, Hello !  I have caught my breath after the big push to get MUSE out, yea! It’s always another week to catch up on errands chores etc., and we had all the preparations for the Cinco de Mayo party Sunday on top. My house is a mess. But now I am taking the rest of the morning to write to you, leisurely, while the sun shines in the garden. This will be a long letter – I may have to break it into two!

WOW, I had NO idea what was going on in your house …  it sounds just awful. Even now I feel like I want to rush in and cry with you over it – I’m sorry I couldn’t be there then. How helpless we were. I’m angry for you too. I’m sure that’s because I am unforgiving towards my parents, so I relate to your ongoing discomfort and irritation. Omg you are a saint to still be a dutiful daughter in light of what they made you suffer.

Of course as adults we can recognize the pain our parents must have been in, and the bad parenting they no doubt received, and maybe this is where your generosity towards yours comes from. My parents just never stopped. The mistreatment of me (and my brother Rick) continued into my forties and I just had to finally say No to them. It wasn’t as hard as you may think, and the amazing thing is my life got better when I did. From that point on I began to say no to every person and everything that attacked or undermined or ridiculed or manipulated or hurt me. It has been a long journey, but now I can see assholes coming a mile away – I know every tell (poker word!), and so I easily avoid, deter –ignore – them. Just Say No, is my motto. (thank you Nancy R.) to all the bad friends bosses neighbors and any other jerks who cross my path.

My house and life were orderly growing up – you were right about that – and all the structure conferred some advantages down the road. But the order was due to my mother’s severe and twisted control issues and it carried a cost. So much bad with the (little) good. Underneath the facade of suburban perfection were the deep emotional chaos and psychological dysfunctions of my parents and they visited it all upon us kids. Screaming and yelling too, at 319 Patricia Drive. A lot of it. The worst that I remember is my mother being competitive with me – how sick is that? I was never allowed to be pretty, or to have nice things (until I could buy them for myself). The color pink was forbidden, as was long hair. Her favorite trick was to “tease” me, and make me the butt of every joke and snide remark, in front of my brothers, and especially in front of my friends. Trying to take my friends from me and make them hers. It was such an obvious pattern and technique that I was really really frightened for her to meet Bruce, afraid she would enjoin him in it – and he was all I had. She came to visit us (the first time, in Lexington Ky) and I had to prepare him, inoculate him so he wouldn’t fall for her envious bitter ploys, to catch her hatefulness in the act. I told him to watch out for jokes made at my expense and invitations for him to agree – and asked him to please not engage. Sure enough, in the car, right when she got there, I mean two seconds in, she started. And God bless him, he said nothing. The best awkward silence ever: her nastiness just hung there in the air, apparent and ugly. I felt vindicated and so grateful for Bruce. That was the beginning of the long process of me learning to stick up for myself. But omg the pain I carried for so many years. All I ever felt was lonely and anxious and trapped and lost. So so hard to grow up without love.

But we – you and I – made it to better places. We have stability and love and friendship and work we love (like?). I count my blessings, just as you do. I’m glad to hear your siblings are all well, and that you’ve stayed close. My brother Rick died in March of 2001, and we were not really in touch at the time. I’m not sure what happened to this day. I was told he was found in his car, having had a seizure of some sort, because he did-or-didn’t take his medication. But I think there’s more to the story. He struggled with drugs (cocaine addiction), and was the most maltreated of the three of us. He married a girl from Sauk Village, and had a son Mike, but they divorced, and Mikey just fell out of the picture – another sad sad family legacy. Rick suffered a lot, and I don’t think he ever healed from the family abuse. His death was/is painful for me – another case where I wish I could have done more, understood more, helped more. I don’t talk with my brother Michael, either. Our relationship mirrored that of mine and my mother’s so I had to let it go too. The last I knew he and his wife and kids were in Arizona, living the good life. He made a bundle with his own advertising firm.

Btw, where are you living? Are you still in Chicago Heights? I just assumed so since you have kept in touch with so many old friends and your folks. But maybe you moved? Boy, accountancy is about the most financially stable profession you could have chosen in a spouse – a far cry from failed bookie businessman! LOL. Bob must be such a rock, a good provider and a loving partner. Lucky you! I’ve always thought I could have been an accountant in another life. I liked math from forever and problem-solving too, and even now I do the house finances, and investing, and taxes. And I’ll be in charge of all that if the bakery/catering business ever happens. I may need Bob’s services and advice! Bruce will draw on his years as a restaurant cook to run his kitchen (high school and college jobs). He was always a good cook, within his specialties – breakfast! and some dinners – but I cooked for us most of our life together (with his help) until I just got sick of it. Now he is cooking more, and learning to bake. His predilection for precision will be put to another good use.  I bet he and Phil have that trait in common?

I am in awe of your memory regarding all the faces and names in the graduation photo, and the others you mentioned here. All those names are familiar once I read them but I’m getting no mental pics – old age? But here are some questions and remarks that your memories provoke … Did Keith O. ever date Reva? Or was that another Keith? And Marianne P., omg a book about motherhood sounds just like something she would do …. boring ….. She was always a little too butter-won’t-melt-in-my-mouth perfect, wasn’t she? (Maybe she just grew up in a well-adjusted family, lol.) But so sad to her about Vicki J. And Kathy S. – the name really jumps out at me, but was she from Brookwood or high school? Was she in our class or ahead? And was Reva friendly when you saw her? Or a little nose in the air-ish? I have to say when I heard from her it felt a little like she was reporting (bragging?) trying to impress me with her wonderful life. It made me feel not a bit close to her, and not at all like I wanted to keep in touch.

We are excited about Hawaii, but I am dreading flying. I just hate being cooped up in an airplane, and don’t get me started about airplane bathrooms. We broke the trip down into three flights each way to give me some breaks. Even so we should have a wonderful time once there. I’m sure it will be worth it! Will we hula? I don’t know, but I promise video if we do! I’m still trying to understand that we have been together for 44 years (married 40). What did we do with the time? I guess I’m still looking forward, focusing on the next adventure(s). 

To answer your question, we did have a nice wedding: a traditional church (not Catholic!) wedding, and a fun festive celebration afterwards with food, live music, dancing, and alcohol, and so many of our friends. About 100 guests, including parents’ must-have invitees. But it wasn’t traditional for the South (Kentucky) – most people there have a a church ceremony + reception in the church basement with cake and punch. For years afterwards Bruce’s parents were told repeatedly, by many people: “That was the best wedding I ever went to” (Hear that in a Kentucky accent, lol!) A good memory!

The photo-collage is almost done – Bruce will be adding a picture of him and me dressed up like our favorite Mexican artists. It will go into the next MUSE issue, but you will get your preview first. Hang on!

Ok, I have to stop now, and make something to eat. I’m not sure what’s left unsaid, but when I remember I will send PART II.
It was GREAT to hear from you, write again soon!
I miss you!


Re: dribs and drabs           MAY 12 2019

WOW! Everything you say you’re going to do… YOU DO!!! Good for you Deb! Live that life that is intended for you!!!

I, also, am so sorry for everything YOU endured in your life too. I think if you and I ever got the chance to meet up, we could cry BUCKETS of tears. Some sad ones and many happy ones! How great it would have been for all of us to have been there for each other because many of us were going through the same things basically. If only we knew then what we know now… many lessons learned the hard way. Saying NO, for me, was hard, for a long time but eventually it became easier and easier and it made my life much better. DAMN IT!!! WE WERE JUST KIDS!!! IT JUST WASN’T FAIR! Yet now, I DO count my blessings EVERYDAY!!! And while I would have loved interaction with my mom without yelling… competitiveness would NOT have been it. I can’t even imagine what you do with that! I am so thankful you ended up a STRONG woman through it all!!!

A little info on how I found you. I’m not savvy with the Internet or even e-mail! I NEVER e-mail!!! Well, THAT’S in the past thanks to you!!! Lol! I didn’t see you on FB but your nephew came up with a pic of your mom. Since I didn’t see your dad I thought maybe he could have passed and there would be an obit for him and I could see if you were married and your name. Well, I was NOT prepared to see your precious brother Rick’s obit. Shock and sadness came over me, especially being way too young. I really liked Rick. I remember him being a good kid. I am so sorry for your loss Deb and the hurt and pain you’ve gone through about Rick. I didn’t want to bring it up to you until YOU were ready to tell me, if you even chose to. I was also sorry to see your father’s obit too. I hope you understand that I was doing all this to locate YOU, not to be “snoopy”. I saw Bruce’s last name but still couldn’t find you. Then, I googled your maiden name (duh!) and there was MUSE- and your name possibly? Hurried to it and read Cuento, saw your Gram’s name, which I recognized in your dad’s obit as your moms maiden name and I knew it was you. I cracked the case! I found her! Now… does she want me to find her? Do I dare find out? Maybe I should let her be. I was so anxious, sad, happy, giddy… well you know what my decision ended up being and you couldn’t have been more receptive!

We lived in Chicago heights from ‘91-2003. We live in a town in Indiana now which is east of Dyer about a half hour from the heights. It’s a growing community and we are content here. Many from the Heights are moving out this way. You’re right about Bob and his precision.  He’s also very handy around the house. Can fix pretty much everything himself. His dad made him and his brothers work right along side him with every project! Bob had a great childhood and a good family. His dad was a stern, strict man but Bob always speaks fondly of him. Bob’s  mom was a FANTASTIC woman and a sweetheart. She was a very good cook AND baker too! Bob was VERY close to her and I admired their relationship.

I think that was a different Keith that Reva dated but not sure. I think Kathy S. did go to jr high with us but was a year older. She definitely was at Bloom. The rumor was that she stuffed her bra with toilet paper? Can’t confirm that one though!!! LOL!!! I want to say she lived by Paula K? I half expected Marianne P. to walk into the reunion with her Mary Jane shoes (remember those) on for sure! SHE had a VERY domineering mother! I think Marianne just went along with it though. Everything was perfect, perfect perfect!

As for Reva, I don’t remember her being braggy or snobby. I couldn’t talk to her for long because I had customers. I do remember her giving us bags of peanut butter m•m’s that she was promoting.

I’m with you on the flying bit! I do not like it but will do it if I have to. That’s great that you can break it up like that.

I’m waiting patiently for the pics. I’m so lucky! So wonderful of Bruce to do this. THANK YOU BRUCE!!! Oh, and I want you to know…. as much as I LOVE hearing from you, you write at your leisure and when the mood hits you. I know you’re busy with all the fun things you like to do. I will ALWAYS wait patiently to hear from you! No pressure. My response from part 2 will come soon…

Re:Re: dribs and drabs           May 10 2019


So, a few things I remember … first about the Tannenbaums. I always loved their house and yard – so big and overflowing with children and stuff and activity, and the garden so wild and full. They were fun! and creative I think in retrospect. I was always wide-eyed with wonder when I visited – such a rich environment.  Mrs. T. and my mother were Girl Scout leaders and we had our Brownie meetings at her house. Of course my mother always complained about them, I especially remember her disdain for Mr. T.’s solution to losing a tooth – he put an eraser in its place! And she characterized Mrs. T. as an airhead (to use a more contemporary term). I think she didn’t respect either of them at all. Maybe it was chaos over there? but as a kid I was entranced. I don’t recall your home being chaotic either, maybe I never noticed because it didn’t bother me, the artist-to-be. I have to say I really don’t remember much of your parents, as people, or much of any of my friends’ parents. Looking back from this long distance most of the women – your mom, Mrs. T., Mrs. K., Reva’s mom – all seem faded, background figures. Janet S’s mother stands out, but not in a good way – I remember not liking her.
I do remember Donna’s father kindly.

Did you know we lived on the corner across from the Tannenbaum’s? Next to Reva, before we moved to 319 Patricia Drive. I just had to look up the neighborhood on Google maps with all this reminiscing, and the satellite view shows a lot of change – is the Tannenbaum’s house now a business? And I couldn’t see Donna’s parents’ house at all. Wasn’t it two doors down from the T’s, on Holbrook? The brick pile is gone, do you remember that lot at the bottom of Judith? The street view of 319 shows a rather shabby house now. The whole subdivision looks down-at-the-heels … Holbrook on the whole looks much better. I looked for your house but can’t remember which it is – on a corner, no? Peoria and 195th across from the park? I got sick once on the merry-go-round there. I do remember the overpass to St. Kiernan’s … my friend Kathy N. and I once picked a zillion dandelions and stuck them through the wire mesh to spell out HI! for all the traffic underneath. And we stood there and waved, while trucks honked.
She was a lot of fun – did you know her? But they had to move. My mother told me years later that Kathy’s family had to move because father was alleged to have been ‘inappropriate with children’ !!??!?!

Other memories – Joyce H. went off the deep end, while we were in our early twenties. She started dating a man from the wrong side of the tracks – and you know her family went beserk at the idea – and then just got involved with drugs (minor) and counter culture, for lack of a better phrase. I guess her family disowned her (or she them). Neither she or the boyfriend worked, they were always broke/poor and she went begging to my mother in Flossmoor once or twice. But my mother said no, and I never did hear what became of her.

My family had a VW Bug, and once Kathy N. and I made a pot from modeling clay and stuck it to the roof of the car. We filled it with wildflowers and made my father drive us around, while we shrieked about ” the cabbage on the car’ … !!??! Tween or teen, I’m not sure, but wacky either way.

I seem to have a lot more childhood than high school memories …. so glad you are filling me in!

I was happy to hear you all are a dog family! Bruce and I had dogs for most of our life together – Punkin, Boog (Jesse), Cookie, and Pepita who we brought home from Puerto Rico one winter.  But not any for a good ten years now, it just became too too painful when they passed.  We think about getting another or two – Bruce is more ready than me – and then we realize we have traveling to do and moves to make, so we put it off.

Good news! Bruce made a proposal to the senior partners at his firm, to transition to consultant status. They are agreed in principle, details to be determined. Yea! He will be able to make his own schedule, focus on the parts of the profession he still loves (mentoring, making an idea a building, specs) and give up what he does not like at all (endless in-house meetings, office politick-ing LOL).
This means we are mobile, because he can work remotely. As can I. So we may buy a vacation home in New Hampshire next year, and spend half our time there. Just 4 or so hours away, which keeps us close to our ‘adopted children’ Keith and Emilia (Emilia’s dad has a house nearby in Maine, BONUS), and also to our god-grandchildren Printha and Adeline, who are now just about old enough to come and stay with us on their own.  Although Printha turns twelve this summer and she is already becoming a mystery. ! The last time I saw her she was chattering about I do not know what. I said, “Who are you, and what have you done with Printha? Come back when you’re 18.” I told her mother, Britt, ” You’re on your own through adolescence.” I was kidding, but omg …We have a few years left with Adi, who is just 9.  (You will have photos of all my people and dogs too, soon.)

Ok, my dear, this is all that floated up after I wrote last. I’ll save anymore for next time, after I hear from you.
All the best to your boys!



Re:Re:Re: dribs and drabs           MAY 12 2019

Lol!!! Okay… I’m laughing about the Tannenbaum house and how we perceived it. Now, know that I have very weak artistic genes, if any at all. To me it screamed HAUNTED, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Adams Family, The Munsters, and HOARDERS!!! IT CREEPED ME OUT! To be fair it was more Mr.T than Mrs. T. When he passed the Mrs. got rid of everything! Mrs T was a very kind sweet person and air head is a good description because one could NOT have their “ducks in a row” picking Mr T for a spouse!!! He was a KOOK!!! Nice man but an absolute KOOK!!! Kind of like uncle Fester from the Adams family. Your story of the eraser stunt proves that point!!! Lolololololol! Does not surprise me a bit! I’m surprised your mother didn’t rent out a hall for the meetings to avoid going to the T’s house! Having said that though they were very easy, chill people and Meg and her brother Rick were friendly, good kids. So SOMETHING was working in that house. Now you’re making me reflect on the potential, possibilities and short sightedness of that house! Lol! There were 2 older sisters too. Meg’s house is not a business but the house behind her is/was. Auto repair shop.

I think I payed more attention to moms/families because I compared them to mine and every family seemed so much better than mine. You’re right about Janet S mom. She was a SNOB! Very strict with Janet and her older sis, Patty, was the golden child.

I did not know you lived by Reva. So, it brings up some questions. When did you come to Chicago Hts? When did your fam move from the Patricia house? Did you ever attend St Kieran school or religious ed? Or were you even catholic? My parents put me in St K for 2nd grade. I HATED IT! They had mostly nuns teaching and I had the MEANEST one! I faked being sick and I cried all the time. THAT was another one of my memories that affected me and not in a good way. Amazingly, my mom was on top of THAT situation and put my brother and I back at Brookwood. We continued with our religious Ed classes and made our sacraments. We went to R. E. classes and then church every Sunday… my mom and dad stayed at home. So messed up! Didn’t go to church much after I graduated grade school and my parents no longer forced me. At the time it wasn’t important to me. Didn’t make sense to me. Confused. It seemed like it was all a fairy tale, not real. It wasn’t until I met Bob (Catholic) and my neighbor (ex-Catholic, Christian) that my faith was ignited. Only took about 40 years! So, I don’t want to bore you with the details but I am Catholic and a believer. I don’t believe I was born to have a religion (Catholic) but born to know and love Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. OMG! THERE! I said it! You don’t know how I’m contemplating deleting this whole paragraph!  But no, I wanted to get this out of the way. I know you’re not a believer but I also know you are not judgy and I read in one of your writings that you were glad believing was there for those who feel they need it! Or am I making that up in my imagination? It’s one of the BEST things that have happened in my life so I can’t deny it. Catholic wise- I don’t agree with everything but it is important to Bob and it works for us. We belong to a WONDERFUL, FUN, MORE PROGRESSIVE HAPPY CLAPPY CATHOLIC CHURCH. I also attend my friends non-denomination church when time permits. I had to laugh to myself when you were telling me about your wonderful church wedding being (not Catholic!) Believe me, I understand!!!

Back to the neighborhood… Donna lived right next door to Meg. Btw, Donna was not allowed to eat at Megs house either! Lol! Her parents didn’t trust that the eating utensils would be clean enough! True story! I do remember Kathy N. but can’t place her face. That was a lot of dandelions you needed to make your hi sign. I also remember the brick pile. We used to go there and dig up old bottles. Eventually a very nice home was built there. Do you remember the blind paperboy/man Gene T. that delivered newspapers every morning with his wagon?

What the heck with J. H.?! I’m SURE her parents disowned her! They were pretty snobby too! I tried getting ahold of her for that reunion but no response. Do you remember having a sleep over at Paula’s house? Her mom was sleeping in her bed and she brought us all in there to wake her up. I don’t know if she was on meds, drinking or both but Paula dragged her out of bed in her night gown. She sang and danced and performed for us ALL NIGHT!!! She was a hoot! We laughed all night long!!!

We only became a dog family 2 1/2 years ago. I always loved animals and brought home any stray I could find. Phil decided he wanted a dog. I hear you about the loss of your precious animals. I’m already stressing about the day that Arya dies! Crazy me! Yes, a lot of responsibility. Can’t just pick up and leave.

Sent from my iPhone

Re:Re:Re: dribs and drabs           MAY 12 2019

I accidentally sent my letter! I wasn’t finished! Almost, but not quite!

Great news about Bruce and the possibilities of your future  with your adventures. You both have worked so hard so CONGRATULATIONS!!! And to be able to work on what you want wherever you are- that’s wonderful!

These children you talk about sound so interesting. I’m glad you have them in your lives AND they have you! The name Printha- do you know where that name comes from or anything about the name? I love it!!! And yes, you will see sooo many changes with these children as they are growing older! Never a dull moment for you.
Can’t wait to see them in the pictures.

Oh, and my house was the second house from the corner.

A funny (?) story. Do you remember DAVE F. from Brookwood/ Bloom? In grade school he was super quiet and super shy. In high school it was rumored he became a drug dealer! He dated a girl named CARLY GEORGE. Nice, sweet girl at Bloom, our age too. Well at some time before graduation DAVE F. allegedly gave her bad drugs or too many and she died of an overdose. He wasn’t charged with anything. Don’t know how that situation all went down. Flash  forward to Bloom 25 year class reunion- Bob and I went with Donna K and Mike. Donna and I were talking to DAVE F..In my mind, with a few drinks in me, I’m thinking his name is GEORGE. I kept on calling him GEORGE! ALOT! Finally, I called him GEORGE one more time and he yelled at me… THE NAME’S DAVE!!! And he walked away! I looked at Donna and asked her what his problem was? She said – you called him GEORGE about 10 times, his name is DAVE! I’m like- why was I calling him GEORGE?! Donna says- because you’re thinking of his dead over-dosed girlfriend Carly GEORGE!!! THAT WAS A FOREHEAD SLAPPER!!! Ya, just leave it to me, I’ll fix everything! Lol!

Alrighty! I think I’ve covered everything for now! Til next time you two!!!

💞💞 💞
Sent from my iPhone

Re:Re:Re:Re: dribs and drabs           MAY 14 2019

My dearest Pam,

I am writing back quickly, so as to put your mind at ease, because I just know you will fret and worry about alienating me by sharing your faith. Because of course our re-connection is new, and so maybe a little less secure. But please be reassured, your spiritual life would never put distance between us.

You may think that because I (we) am (are) living in the Northeast among the Coastal Elites that we suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome, and are in favor of unisex bathrooms, and transgender sex education, hijabs at the beach and socialized medicine …. Ummm NO!  I would position myself in the center politically and culturally – but anymore my (our) views seem to align with ‘conservative’ politics. I am always out-of-sorts with the goings on here in New Haven, what with all the crazy Yale students and progressive posturing. Most upsetting to me is the demonization of the middle of the country, as ignorant, backwards, deplorable etc. Because I grew up there (and lived in Kentucky with Bruce for many years), and know the goodness and strength and humility of its people. I have written about this more than once, for MUSE. I am comfortable in the kind of community Midwestern-ers make – careful and kind and respectful – which is anchored and fostered, fundamentally, by faith.

Beyond that, we are closer than you might think spiritually. For one thing, I do believe Jesus Christ walked this Earth, and everything I know that he preached and said and believed about how to live, and especially How to Treat Others resonates. Who could be at odds with his teachings? I just do not feel the personal connection you do, rather a philosophical (and spiritual ) one. I am not a church-y kind of girl either … no doubt due to my Catholic experiences. Your St. Kiernan’s journey is exactly mine! My mother pulled me out of our second grade class too and sent me to Brookwood. And I made my first communion and did the catechism for confirmation, and then that was it! I told my mother it just didn’t make any sense to me, and I wasn’t going to church anymore, and she said OK.

My spirit is most charged and alive and aware in nature. This is when I feel connected to the immense infinitely bigger-than-me universe, it a part of me as I am a part of it. Bound to all living (and non-living!) things, and to the Greater Force, with awe and love and gratitude for life and the marvelous wonderful inexplicable world. I think other people have an experience like this in community, which is to say, church. You and I share this knowledge/understanding/awareness at the least, and differ only in our devotional expressions. For me, everything I make – art, essay, story, garden, friendship, community – is a prayer, an offering, an homage to the great Creative Force. The one true thing that stayed with me from the Catholic church: that life is a precious gift, not to be wasted, but rather shared and augmented and reveled in.

So, just as you have room for Bob’s Catholic framework of these most important truths, I have room – acres! – for yours.

I have to tell before I sign off, you had us IN STITCHES with your Tannenbaum memories, and then again with the David F./Carly G. story (not that she died, of course – so sad, – but the reunion encounter). We were ROTF, LOL – really I was laughing like a 12-year-old, Bruce was doubled over. You are a breath of fresh air! You sound like so much FUN, I can just imagine you at Backyard BBQ’s, and Coffee with the Girls, laughing and happy and sharing. Your joyous and generous spirit comes through so strongly. I wouldn’t want one thing about you to change. Please be free to be you with me!

Last bit – Bob’s last name sounds so much like a Polish surname – Is Bob Polish? OMG, if we both ended up with Polish men. Bruce is handy around the house too – really he can fix/make/invent ANYTHING. Man with a Toolbox + 10, am I right?

I have more to say in response to your last letter, and more questions, so I’ll come back to this later in the week. I imagine we will write furiously for a while until we are caught up, and then taper off to a more sober and sedate pace.
But probably not any time soon!


Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: dribs and drabs           MAY 14 2019

Thank you, my friend, for your quick response. I needed that. How do you do that?! Your words so carefully and thoughtfully chosen?! I guess that’s why you do what you do! Your words are a gift and so are you!


Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: dribs and drabs           MAY 18 2019

Guess who! Just wanted to finish up a little more on this e mail.

I LOVED what you said about Jesus and his teachings and that your spirit comes alive in nature and your creative works. It’s true, I was a little apprehensive about bringing up faith AND politics. I knew you would be great with anything I said to you but a small part of me DID worry about it and yes, because of our new re-connection. But, again, you put my mind at ease.

So… talk about TDS… Bob took me to the first Trump rally being held at the University of Chicago (who in the world picked THAT location?) Stood in line for 4 hrs. Met a lot of nice people and a beautiful day. There were a handful of protesters, peaceful, banging on a drum across the street. We’re thinking… oh THAT’S not bad, we’ll be fine. We were then allowed to go in, where we sat for 3 more hours until Trumps arrival. Again, talked to many wonderful people, the place was packed, we had signs that they were passing out. At 7:00 a guy came on stage and announced due to security reasons they were cancelling the rally!!!!! WHAT?!?!?!?! We’ve been here for 7 HOURS!!!!! I want to see THE DONALD, MY DONALD!!! All of a sudden people took off their shirts which exposed their “Bernie”shirts underneath!!! People ran on the floor and started yelling and fighting all over the place! Bob grabbed me and said- let’s go! I’m thinking to myself- didn’t I go through this once before?! It was like the Bloom riots all over again but on a much bigger scale. We rush out the doors and that handful of protesters, that I mentioned, turned into THOUSANDS!!! Streets were blocked by people, ambulances can’t get through, people screaming and spitting in the policemen’s faces, fights, helicopters flying overhead. Yep, pretty darn scary!!! We made it safely to our car but saw many cars being damaged. UGH! And then, yes, eventually we would find out we were deplorable, smelly Walmart shoppers!!! Lol! We enjoy listening to people’s opinions. Maybe we don’t always agree but RESPECT the right to have an opinion. Violence is something I despise!!! I don’t get that… AT ALL!!! MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR!!! Haven’t they ever heard of this?!

So, were there two classes at St K for 2nd grade because I don’t remember you in class. I had the VERY MEAN SISTER LUANNE. A few teachers from Brookwood… Mrs Nielsen, her sister was the principal, Mrs Hampton, Mrs Paycik, Mr Jehling, Mr Early, Mrs Eleffson, coach Sudar. Any of them jog your memory?

Bob is Slovak but he said it’s close enough! Lol! And  you’re right about the tool box. He has spares of everything!

Okay, going on to your latest letter



The Middle of May

The Middle of May

More!           MAY 17 2019

Hi again, here I am starting the next leg of the marathon – so much to say, so many questions to answer and ask!

First, I am glad to hear Reva was her old self when you saw her. I hated to think she’d changed, especially in that way. Somehow it ruined my memories of her, which were good ones. But all is restored. Thanks for that.

To answer one question: we moved to Coolidge (next to Reva) from Serena Hills, between 1st and 2nd grade. We were there a few years I think, then we moved to Roosevelt for a very brief time, before we ended up on Patricia Drive. I’m not sure what all the bouncing around was … maybe we were renting until the ‘perfect’ house became available? I have NO memories of Roosevelt, some from Coolidge, most from the house on Patricia Drive. I do remember our house in Serena Hills (and my 1st grade teacher Miss Kasuba); my father semi-finished the attic for me as a playroom, where I had a kid kitchen complete with an EasyBake Oven.

I have a lot of food memories, I guess mostly from junior high/high school. A fantastic pizza place – Cipriani’s? sausage and peppers omg – and another Italian deli that made the BEST steak sandwiches with roasted green peppers. Do you remember Prince Castle? We used to hang out there after school – they had crinkle cut french fries, and delicious chocolate milkshakes. I remember kissing a Greek boy (name gone forever), in the back of his car in Prince Castle’s parking lot. He rode a motorcycle, and my father was really upset about that! LOL, at the teenage years.

I do remember Mrs. K (and that party, vaguely), but mostly because she was always ‘laying out’ getting a tan. A deep dark tan that looked very strange to me, because she was so wrinkly (from sun exposure no doubt!). Why do that? I thought she was a very odd woman. I am not too surprised her daughters went a little fringe – so many homes hiding so much dysfunction.

I’m curious about your life – did you work outside the home after Phil was born? Are you working now? And do you all have plans for retirement? You said you were happy in Indiana, so I’m guessing you will stay there after retirement? I Googled your town to locate it, and along with the map a few blurbs came up – #48 in the list of best places to live, planned community etc. The few images I saw looked beautiful, very prairie, with nice suburban neighborhoods. I didn’t see many trees though, is that because the subdivisions are new? Or maybe the pictures are old …. or maybe that’s just the prairie, which I only faintly remember.

About our “kids” – Britt (+ hubby Nathaniel) were our neighbors (and then friends) for 5-6 years,(they lived three doors down), when the girls came. Printha first and Adi two years later. Britt always worked – for her own sanity and fulfillment – but mostly from home (as a medical writer). I was at home too, and it was easy to help out when she needed. Which she did! Printha was/is a most intense child – brilliant and active and demanding of attention and time. So Britt definitely needed breaks! But Printha and I had an instant rapport, and it was a joy to spend time with her, for both Bruce and me. I wrote about our relationship for MUSE – look for Love Letter, you will like it, it describes everything. Printha is 11 now, she’ll be 12 this August. Adi (9 years old) is a different person altogether, but she and I have also found our space. She is a VERY good writer (!) and actor, and she loves fashion and jewelry, and theater, and word games, esp Bananagrams (which she plays with me) and Boggle (which she plays with Bruce). They are together the greatest gifts, and I guess they occupy the space in our lives that grandchildren would. They have expanded us, with love and amazement and gratitude and the joy that only children can bring. We are so very lucky to know them. Oh, Printha was Nathaniel’s mom’s name – she died in a car accident before P was born, so terribly sad – but beyond that no one really knows its origin. Britt found a few references in Mormon genealogy. Nathaniel’s parents are British English though so no one can really figure it out. But yes, a beautiful name, and it fits her.

Keith and Emilia, both 30, are a young couple we got to know through work – they are architects and worked at Bruce’s firm for several years. Again, an instant rapport with the two of them – they are SO SMART, and fun and open and caring. So we love them too, like children who have grown up and become your friends. We know all their friends, who are also amazing and genuine. We will keep them close! Hawaii should be a most wonderful experience to share with them.

Ok, I am out of time (but not words or stories or questions, LOL!) The rest will have to wait until next time. It is a 5-star girl day! I am having tea with Britt, to catch up and gossip and start imagining a garden for her new house – still here on Eld Street thank God, but now seven doors down. Which will probably save my sanity during the teenage years!

Write soon!

Re: More!           MAY 18 2019

Here we go!!!

First off… I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU HAD AN EASY BAKE OVEN TOO!!! It was my favorite thing! You had a FULL kitchen too! (Jealous but happy for you) lol!

I don’t remember Cipriani’s as a pizza place. Not that it didn’t serve pizza but it was more known for Italian food/ nicer dining place? It was on the corner of 10th Street and Halsted? Is that the place you’re talking about? Anyway, THAT place is a funeral home now. Was Marnell’s the steak sandwich place? That is also on halsted. I belong to this site called- You Know You’re From Chicago Heights… they talk about Prince Castle all the time. I don’t remember it at all! I don’t know where I was at the time but everybody else remembers it. AND MISSY….  what’s with you kissing all these guys?! Reva’s boyfriend, a Greek guy on a motorcycle… I’m sure more to be revealed as we go along here. The only guy I kissed was Donna K’s boyfriend, Bob L.! She let him kiss me because I had never been kissed yet. Wasn’t that nice of her? Lol! It was pretty uneventful though. Was your dad/mom strict about dating? Mine didn’t have the chance, I never dated!

MRS. K.!!! YES!!! That woman was addicted to the sun big time! Maybe THAT’S what was wrong with her… her brain was COOKED! I don’t know why I’m laughing so much about you thinking that she looked strange with her dark tan and all those wrinkles and WHY WOULD SHE DO THAT TO HERSELF. Lolololol! You’re right! I think we children had more sense than the adults! In fact, I’m convinced! I know there was a Mr. but I don’t remember ever seeing him. So, so far we have a missing husband, an “air head” mother, a competitive mother, a depressed mother, a bookie dad, a couple of snobby moms, a sun worshipper mother AND… a father with pencil erasers for teeth!!!🤦🏽‍♀️🤦🏽‍♀️🤦🏽‍♀️ OMG! Nope! No reason for ANY of us to have had issues!!! You know, they have those BIG long erasers. If Mr T knew about them he could have had a full set of dentures!!!!!!!!! Lol!!! It’s late, I’m tired and being silly! (in case you couldn’t tell)

You’re curious about my life? Are you sure? Lol! I was working in a salon up until I had Phil. I wanted to be at home to raise him. I decided to work out of my house. It worked perfectly for all of us. He was in his swing, walked around in his walker, slept in his play pen and had plenty of people to give him attention. I did that until he was 11. We moved to Indiana and I went to work in a salon in the heights because I needed to stay where my clientele was. I only work on Thursday and Friday now about 8-10 hrs a day. With my mom and dad needing help and dr appts frequently between the 2 of them and home stuff I had to give up some days. Bob is a diabetic and has to watch his carb intake to stay off meds so we’re very strict about his eating. THAT MEANS I have to plan his meals and cook quite a bit. I also cook for my mom and dad blah blah blah. You both certainly know how that all goes with trying to keep a household going and working and anything else that comes up. And then there’s Arya… I don’t want her cooped up in a house for 10/12 hrs a day. I make it a point to take PHIL’S DOG to the dog park early, almost everyday, to run and get her energy out so I can then do what I need to do. She goes to day care twice a week just to socialize with other dogs and exercise. She’s beat when she comes home from there.

No plans for retirement yet. With me only 2 days a week, I’m good with that. Bob will stay working for a while yet. His company was bought out and he will be taking on a new position. Not sure about the details yet but I’ll know soon. While we are happy in Indiana and I would be content to stay here, Bob would LOVE to move back to PA. He’s a hunter and his family has a couple of small cabins in the mountains. He goes hunting there for bear one week and then deer the next at thanksgiving every year. If he gets a chance he’ll go in the spring/summer. THAT’S where his heart is so it’s a possibility that is where we would retire.

We live in a beautiful area. There are trees all around. Many new sub divisions going in so yes, that might be the reason you don’t see many trees there. The man we bought our house from had about 20 trees put in. Everything placed perfectly. We have, little by little, lost some. One of our HUGE evergreens blew down in our front yard in a snow, sleet, wind storm. Lost 5 of our smaller evergreens in our back yard. We have a lot of water that settles back there. Don’t know if that was the problem. We have a lot of clay instead of dirt? I know nothing about this stuff! There’s a couple of others that need to come out this year. It’s become the yard of the misfit trees!

Yes, Love Letter is where I first learned about Printha. She was named after her grandmother that passed?! What sadness for the loss but such an honor to his mother. I will now go back and read it again. So happy for you two that you have these SPECIAL friends.

So, I MUST sign off ONLY because my words are blurry. I don’t stay up late UNLESS I’m writing to you! It’s become one of my favorite things to do!
Good night to you Deb and to you Bruce…



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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