Wednesday, February 28, 2018

1940 ,,, a shocking disclosure !


I was 7 years old in 1940 and living in Plainfield, New Jersey. My fathers family was there too and I loved visiting the grandparents. I've written quite a bit about Papa Lee in my blog posts. He was an author with 3 published books and we children loved to be around him. He was like a big kid himself and, when not pecking away at his typewriter, he would tell us stories or just romp around with us.

Grandma Lee, on the other hand, was a completely different type of person. She adored Papa but she was the one who always took care of the everyday problems of living.  With his head constantly in the clouds she had to be the one with feet planted firmly on the ground and she handled it very well.
I was always a bit in awe of her.   She was warm and loving too but in an entirely different way than Papa. We frolicked with him, to our delight, but if a problem arose we'd turn to her.  We always knew that she was the one who actually ruled the household. 
And grandma was not a complainer, even when her attacks of asthma would have put others to bed she persevered ... but it was difficult to hear her gasping for breath.   I'll never forget the day when I heard her struggling for breath and rushed to see if I could help in any way.  Was I ever shocked when I saw her lighting up what looked like a tiny cigar !  Here was my God-fearing Grammy smoking !  She must have seen the dismay on my face and was quick to explain that it was a new found cure for asthma and she was trying it out. My memory is not as good as it once was so I checked to see if they actually had those in the 40's.  Imagine my surprise when I learned that the main ingredient in those little cigarillos was  MARIJUANA !

Friday, February 23, 2018

NPR's “1A “ hosted by Joshua Johnson

One year ago Diane Rehm retired and her popular NPR morning radio show was replaced by “1A” … hosted by Joshua Johnson, (a name unknown to me). I thought I'd give it a try and I am so glad I did. The show is broadcast from Washington, DC and is 2 one hour segments back to back. In my area they air from 10 am to noon.
Joshua's topics are extremely varied and run the gamut from movie reviews to medical research to just about anything that's worthy of a good discussion and each Friday is devoted to that weeks news roundup.
One thing that I really like is that he includes the views of his listening audience as well as having hand picked guests. Over the past year I've actually had two of my emails read on the show so I can attest to that.
I am constantly amazed at the depth and knowledge that Joshua displays. He's either extremely well informed or he has a very thorough research process for the topics that he introduces. In typical NPR style his show does not tell you how to think. It simply presents each topic in a fair and well balanced manner and you take it from there. If you haven't listened to him yet I hope you will give it a try





Sunday, February 18, 2018

Hubcap Mania …

For some reason I've become enthralled with hubcaps. It all began with my last car. This was a pre-owned Acura that had wintered in Massachusetts and the wear and tear really showed ... mostly on the hubcaps. I figured this was no big deal because I would just replace them. Wow, little did I know how pricey that would be.   Even the little (less than 3”) center cap for the car I had was priced at $25 each. 
As it turned out it's a good thing I didn't waste the money because shortly after I bought the car I totaled it.  Luckily only my pride was injured !  Now I've replaced that car and my current hubcaps are in good shape and even include the cute little emblem:

 So now I’m all set … right ? Wrong !
I find that now I've developed an obsession with hubcaps even though the immediate need for them is gone for me. It’s become a game that I play while I am on the road. I am fascinated with the fact that a round circle could have so many configurations. Just when I think I’ve seem them all, I spot a new design. It’s endless.

  I really do need to get a life ...

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


The last two blog entries have been about my first jobs and my much anticipated move to NY City in 1957. I am not about to follow those with the “story of my life” (as exciting as it's been for me) since my long time readers pretty much know it already and the rest of you can simply check out the “Archives” if you are interested.

I do want to say HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY to each and every one of you and to thank you for all the good reading and the feedback that you have provided for me over the years. I also want to share that tomorrow I enter into a NEW LIFE PHASE !!  

I was born on February 15th, 1933 and that will make me 85 and holding. I don't take this lightly. Many of my friends have not made it to this age and, although I can thank my mother for good genes, I know that it is up to me to be diligent and to do the very best that I can to stay healthy from now on.

I gave up alcohol 29 years ago, never smoked and try to eat right and to keep active. The one thing that I hope to NEVER GIVE UP however is this blog. I think it's pretty clear by now that I love this way of expressing myself and it helps to keep my mind active. So, stay tuned and keep those comments coming !

Thursday, February 08, 2018

1957 ... Living it up at the Ferguson, NY City

As you read in my last entry it had been my dream for years to work in NY City and, finally, here I was !  However, the first thing that I needed was a place to stay. I had very little in the way of savings and no clear idea as to what jobs were in the offing. When I heard of the Ferguson Hotel for Girls (billed as a “safe haven for young ladies new to New York”) I was thrilled.    It was in a 6-story brownstone and not only was the location great (the upper East side in the 80’s) but it offered both breakfast and dinner as part of the very affordable weekly charge.
My enthusiasm was dampened a bit when I saw the actual rooms. There were three of us sharing a small bedroom on the fourth floor; but, it was clean and the other girls were pleasant. The rules were stringent and included… no drinking, no smoking or cooking in our rooms & definitely NO MALES ABOVE THE FIRST FLOOR !
Little did I know that my roomies were out-of-work starlets and they thought nothing of breaking every one of these rules if it could help pay the rent ! I’m not sure how they got everything past the “house warden” but finding a strange male in MY BED was a shock to say the least. Actually it was the last straw and I asked to be transferred to the first single room that came available. 
That room and getting hired to work at WABC Radio actually became a reality on the same day. I took that as a good luck sign then: but, looking back at it from the distance of 60 years I wonder how things would have been if I’d stayed with the starlets. I’ll bet my blogging memories would be a bit spicier!


Saturday, February 03, 2018

Was I ever this young?

The year was 1956. I was 23 and just two years out of BU with a Bachelors in Journalism. I had worked for a short while in an Advertising Agency and a year as a promotional writer for WWNY Radio in Watertown, NY, but I was getting itchy feet and decided to head to California.

Coming from the East Coast was a huge plus back then and I’m sure it played a large part in my getting an interview at KEY-T television station in Santa Barbara and then actually landing the job. The picture above accompanied the press release which read:

Colin M. Selph, President & General Manager of KEY-T has appointed Virginia Lee as Advertising & Promotion Manager of the station. Miss Lee, formerly with Shattuck, Clifford & McMillen Advertising in Boston and WWNY in Watertown, NY will head up KEY-T’s trade press advertising and publicity, sales promotion and agency contacts. 

When I read that in the paper I realized I was in way over my head, but with the hubris of youth I felt I could fake it.  Actually those were the very early days of TV and the station was just getting off the ground so in a way we were all undergoing a learning experience.

In the long run it didn't make much difference since Mr. Selph got an "offer he couldn't refuse" and he sold the station within the first year that I was there.  The new owners brought all their own people so that left a bunch of us without jobs ... but my time spent there was definitely not wasted.

That short stint at KEY-T really beefed up my resume and helped to pave the way for my next BIG stop ... New York City !