Friday, January 18, 2019

40+ years later … a British sailor returns.

In a recent blog entry I wrote of the British sailors that my family entertained in WW II. A total of 126 visited during those years and we enjoyed them all. However, most of them had a very short stay in Boston (while waiting for repairs to their ships) and we never heard from them again. That was not the case with Ron Brown and Bert Entwistle (the two boys pictured here with me, age 10).

They were stationed at the naval base for the duration of the war and, whenever they got leave, they would hop on the train from Boston to Wellesley Hills, where we lived. They shared their lives with us and I remember in particular how Bert loved to tell us about his infant son John who was born just days before he was sent overseas.

We stayed in touch with the two of them for years and in 1976 Bert and his wife Dora flew to Massachusetts from England to help my Mother celebrate her 80th birthday. I hadn’t seen Bert for 32 years and had never met Dora so you can just imagine the fever pitch of emotions displayed. It was a glorious reunion and although my mother, Dora and Bert (and even his son John) are all gone now the memory is still with me.

(* blog alert) If the name Entwistle rings a bell be sure to check out my next entry … to be posted in 5 days.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Vegetarian dinner ... or a great side dish

I’m always looking for simple recipes and this one really hit’s the spot. It’s great as a side dish with meats, fish or poultry but can also make a filling and satisfactory lunch without any additions.       BROCCOLI SPAGHETTI

1 BUNCH of BROCCOLI (separate flowerets and cut the stems into 1” pieces)


1 stick of BUTTER



Bring 4 quarts of water and 1 tbsp. of salt to a boil. Add the spaghetti … cook 2 minutes.
Add the broccoli to spaghetti and cook 8 minutes more.

Meanwhile mince the garlic and brown in the melted butter.

Drain spaghetti and broccoli and toss well with the garlic-butter mix. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.


Tuesday, January 08, 2019

1943 … Paddy, the Welshman, reads the tea leaves

In 1943 I was 10 years old, the youngest of 5 girls and living in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. World War II was in full swing and my family was doing it's part by entertaining some of the English sailors who were stationed at the Fargo Naval Base in Boston. They would come out by train on the weekends and it was not unusual for us to have 4 or 5 of them at one visit. We loved it ... and them. A special favorite was Paddy, the Welshman.

It was also the time of “brown outs” and no lights were allowed to show at night. Luckily our old Victorian home had an inner hallway with steps to the 2nd floor. It was completely enclosed so we'd congregate there nightly to tell tall tales and just generally chill out. It was a special treat when Paddy was among us. He was a great story teller and he loved to practice the art of telling our fortunes using the age-old method of reading tea leaves.

We would choose our favorite spot on the staircase, fill our teacups to the brim (making sure that we got a good share of the leaves) and sit back in anticipation. Then, one by one, as we finished our tea, we'd hand the cup to Paddy. He'd make a great show of turning the cup upside down and twirling it around. When he finally looked at the tea leaves he would express astonishment and wonder at what he saw there. More often than not it would include a handsome man for the gals and gobs of money for the men.

There was a war raging and those boys knew they would be back in the thick of it soon … but for a short time that was all forgotten as Paddy, with a bit of blarney and a cupful of tea leaves transported us all to a magical place filled to the brim with love.

PS: I don't like that only Google members can post on my blog. If you want to leave a comment feel free to email it to me at  &I will post it.  

Thursday, January 03, 2019

1985 . . . TINY TIM Tiptoes thru our small town BIG TOP

Tiny Tim enjoyed international stardom in the 60's after his first big break on the TV show "Rowan and Martin Laugh-in". He was a novelty to say the least but his popularity had dwindled considerably by 1985 so I was surprised to see that he could draw a huge crowd.  He was the star attraction of a small time circus being held in my home town of Vass, NC and the "Big Top" nearly burst it's seams when he came on stage strumming his uke and singing his signature rendition of "Tiptoe thru the Tulips"  

I only stayed for that one song however since I had to be up by 6AM  when my shift began at the emergency room of our local hospital.  Little did I know that I would see a far different Tiny Tim then !

The minute I walked into the ER the next morning I could see that everyone was upset.  There was Tiny Tim holding a small paper bag and pleading to have the ER Dr. see him "in private".  He was refusing to be registered so the Nursing Supervisor had been called and she finally determined that he was carrying a urine sample that he swore he had obtained from a girl in Vass (!).  She, according to Tiny  Tim, was accusing him of getting her pregnant and he wanted the Dr. to prove her wrong.  Remember, this was back in 1985, long before you could get a pregnancy test kit from a drugstore.  

The whole scene was getting more and more bizarre and now both the ER Dr. and the Supervisor were telling Tiny Tim to calm down.  This just seemed to make him more agitated and he started yelling about "my rights as a citizen" and "people taking advantage of me because I am a star", and it was at this point that a local news photographer arrived.

It didn't take a genius to see that this was all a set-up.   Tiny Tim got a big spread in the local paper, as well as those in Raleigh and Fayetteville.  The "un-named girl from Vass" conveniently disappeared and Tiny Tim, with a big "gotcha" smile on his face, tiptoed his way out of our lives. 


PS: I don't like that only Google members can post on my blog. If you want to leave a comment feel free to email it to me at  &I will post it.  

Saturday, December 29, 2018

A sweet memory ...

Recently a dear friend unexpectedly lost her husband.  It was a shock but it also reminded me how often something like this can bring out the goodness of those around us.  In September of 1990 my own husband passed away.  His death was no surprise since he'd been sick for many years but it was still traumatic for me. I managed to get through the first week but in the back of  my mind I knew I would have to return to work and I dreaded it.

I was a secretary in our local ER and, on the first day back I was assigned to working next to Dr. M.

(shown here working one of the Christmas shifts).  "Moose" (as we irreverently and affectionately called him) ran a tight ship and, other than a quick hug in the morning, there was no indication that he was aware of my sadness.  It was the usual hectic day and I found comfort in the hustle and bustle of things I was used to doing.

That was one of the longest days of my life.  I found that if I concentrated on each task as it came up I could get through without crying but it was very taxing and I was exhausted when my shift ended.  I also dreaded returning home and once inside the house I headed for the bedroom.  It was then that I noticed the light was blinking on my answering machine.  I was so tired I almost didn't listen to it but I did … and here's what it said:

"Hi, Ginnie,  this is Moose.  I knew you'd be walking into an empty house and just wanted you to know that you're not alone.  We love you and are here for you.  See you  in the morning."

I have never forgotten how much this simple message meant to me.  I've kept it close to my heart and I bring it out on occasion when the healing process falters or when I need to share it  with others.

Thanks, Moose.


PS: I don't like that only Google members can post on my blog. If you want to leave a comment feel free to email it to me at  & I will post it.  

Monday, December 24, 2018

“Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus” …

Ginnie is my nickname but my Dad (shown here working on a crossword puzzle) always called me by my actual name, Virginia, and he loved reciting that phrase to me every Christmas morning when I was a child. 

He was, of course, referring to the famous letter that little Virginia O'Hanlon sent to the Editor of the New York Sun in 1897.

"VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. … Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.” 

 … and then dad would pause dramatically and putting his arms around me he would repeat the next line in a deep and loving tone. “Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS.”  

Dad has been gone for 58 years but writing this reminds me of that twinkle in his eye and of the many  Christmases spent with mother and dad and my four sisters.

PS: I don't like that only Google members can post on my blog. If you want to leave a comment feel free to email it to me at  & I will post it. 

Thursday, December 20, 2018


When my father died in 1960 my sister Barbara inherited a large box of Christmas stamps that he'd been collecting for years. They dated back to the early 20th century and were from all over the world. She decided to make use of them and very creatively designed the plate that you see here. It was her Christmas gift to me that year.

Among the stamps were Christmas seals. The United States ones were dated from 1907 and sold for a penny each. The proceeds went to the Red Cross and the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis.

In 1920 the Red Cross withdrew from the arrangement and from then on it was conducted exclusively for TB. The real break through came when, in 1936, President Roosevelt, who suffered from Polio, endorsed the campaign.
PS: I don't like that only Google members can post on my blog. If you want to leave a comment feel free to email it to me at  & I will post it.