Monday, November 29, 2004


As if my avocado trees didn't have enough to contend with, they now have to deal with below freezing temps. Just before I went to bed last night, at 11:30, I learned on the news that the whole area had a severe low temperature warning. In years past, this would mean that I would take my piles of old sheets outside and cover the myriad of plant pots for the night. At this point, my "garden" has become so huge that it would take an hour or two to do this. I was up at 3:00 A.M. that morning to get ready to go do the antique market, and most of all, I could only think of going to bed.

The wind was blowing, and anchoring the sheets would also be a problem. Most of the plants and small trees have become so tall that the weight of sheets would bend them right over. I was hoping that the breeze would continue and blow away any potential frost. The large ferns are under the porch roof overhang, along with the newly potted avocado trees; the Christmas cactus are on the porch, as are the cyclamen, although they can handle the cold; and hopefully the rest of the plants would keep each other company and cuddle in the night.

I brought the one huge house plant inside, watered the porch plants as they didn't get rained on Saturday and supposedly if the plants aren't dry they'll withstand cold temperatures better.

Well, we did get a frost, although I didn't get up in the night to see how bad it was. I woke up a few times, but was too exhausted to do so. There is still a bit of frost on the van - too early to know about the fate of the plants. The avocados are really drooping, but who knows what the reason is at this point.

Saturday, November 27, 2004


I am so proud of them.

Allie is in Spain, studying Spanish and Art History at a University in Madrid. Those are her majors. This is her third year at Duke, and she is a fantastic student. Allie is half Greek, and speaks the language. She also is studying German, and has since High School. There are more languages in her future. Allie went to Greece with her father and Greek Grandma, as soon as she became a teenager, toured Europe as part of a People to People group, went to Spain with her High School Spanish class, and is now really getting to know Spain. She has also been visiting other countries while there. She received a perfect score on her SAT's, 1600, and was Valedictorian of her Senior Class. If she reads this, she will most likely become angry.

Grace is the second grandchild. She is 12, and is in 7th grade. She is a wonderful student. She is in advanced classes, in Florida,and is in the Duke TIP program for talented students. Grace was just accepted into Florida All-State Chorus, and is also in several music groups in her school. She will go to Nashville in April to perform with one of the groups.

Meghan, her 10 year old sister, is also an exceptional student, and is doing great in school. Emily, the 6 year old in that family, attends the same school that Meghan does. She is a gifted student - reading and writing beautifully.

Carolyn is 4,and is number four girl of the Kelley girls. She has blonde curls, big blue eyes, and is tall for her age. She is a character.

Lissa is Allie's 6 year old sister. She is also a very bright girl, very pretty, with dark curls and gorgeous dark eyes that sparkle with energy and mischief.

James, the only grandson, is Allie's and Lissa's 4 year old brother. This child is a real talker and always has been. He started speaking in paragraphs, not individual words. I am sure he'll go far. He also has curls and dark eyes, sort of hazel. Allie has dark hair and eyes, therefore my blue-eyed daughter has all brown eyed children. I love their eyes.

Grace, Meghan, and Carolyn are blue-eyed blondes, and their sister Emily has brown eyes, like her dad, although they are not as dark as the eyes of Coral's clan. Carrie, their mom, has blue eyes.


Oops, I made a mistake. Emily and Lissa are 7 years old, not 6, as I stated above.

Days After

...and still eating turkey, even though I didn't cook one.

I went to see "Alexander" yesterday. Interesting movie. Entertainment for a rather nasty afternoon. I won't spoil it for those of you who plan to see it. The new Ground Round near Century Theatres was offering a deal - give them your ticket stub from a movie and they would reduce the second entree on your bill by $8. If you have steak, it still is more expensive than going to Home Town Buffet. OK to try it once, though.

Had turkey for lunch today, and I have made turkey salad sandwich material for tomorrow for while we are selling at an antique market. I hope I can sell more books and get rid of a lot of other stuff, too. The weather may be a hindrance.

I have been going through my collection of coffee table CATS books, and I'll try to sell those, also. I love reading them and love the photos, but how many do I need? I would go to a cat show today, but it is quite a drive from here and I also want to be rested for tomorrow. I have to get up at 3:00 A.M. or so.

Friday, November 26, 2004

It's Been Touch and Go

...and they are not out of the woods yet. It may have been a mistake transplanting my avocado trees. There are six of them and I grew them from avocado pits. I have been meaning to dig them out of all the flower pots they are in. I had stuck the pits in separate pots where other plants were already growing. It took a long time, but eventually they sprouted, and some of them became fairly tall, nice trees, crowded into pots with plants that had also grown a lot.

It was quite an operation digging them out of the pots, or in some cases, totally emptying the pots and transplanting everything, after separating the avocados from the other plants. This involved chopping off some of the roots, and the trees did not respond well to that. I planted them all in a huge, very tall container, to make an avocado grove. Almost immediately after planting them in the container, they started drooping, and then I came in the house to look up everything I could find on avocados, or transplanting trees, to see what I did wrong. I did read that tree roots can not be allowed to dry out, even for a few minutes, but these trees had a fairly good amount of dirt around the roots when I planted them.

Every day they droop, especially the top leaves, then they perk up during the night, only to droop again the next day. At this point, it is a longer period between droopings, so maybe they'll make it. I sure hope so. They are attractive trees, and I would like to have all of them survive. I'll find out whether or not I have a green thumb at all.

Thursday, November 25, 2004


It has been a very pleasant day for us. We went to Pt. Richmond to our friends' (Barbara and Jose) house. From their place, we walked to the Methodist Church on the hill. Pt. Richmond is an adorable town, filled with Victorians and neat stores. It is on hills, and from the top of them, there is a view of San Francisco across the Bay, plus all of the bridges.

The Thanksgiving dinner was homecooked and free, with donations from all local businesses. A couple met us there and we all sat together. We had a great time, good conversation. There were not as many people in attendance as there have been in the past, and we were there at the end of serving time, therefore the church members basically insisted that we take leftovers. They gave all of us another dinner and dessert to take home. That will be for tomorrow.

Eventually, we walked back down the hill to Barbara and Jose's place, and spent time outside with a neighbor cat. Jose and I were lagging way behind Barbara and Jim. We were busy looking at plants along the way. Jose does yardwork, so he is used to dealing with flowers. He speaks more English than he did when I first met him, and we have a good time communicating. I do understand a lot of what he and Barbara talk about, though. Jose is from Peru, and my opinion is that Peruvians speak differently than Mexicans. I have known several people from Peru out here.

Yesterday was a busy day, and a filling one. It was lunch at the Senior Center, followed later in the day by Thanksgiving Dinner at Maple Hall (Civic Center). This was also a free dinner, with 200 seniors in attendance. Local stores provided the turkeys, which were cooked by the Culinary Arts Dept chefs at the local college. Other food was cooked by volunteers, including the Vice-Mayor, who had worked all afternoon on the meal. Nations, a local restaurant, provided the pies. They are noted for their great pies. We sat with friends, although we knew a good share of the people there, so everyone could be considered friends. Live music, dancing, a festive occasion, a great atmosphere - it made me happy.

The Civic Center is a splendid group of buildings of Spanish architecture, erected like a two-story hacienda around a central courtyard, with side courtyards here and there, including a liberal splashing of fountains. The gardener does a great job; there are beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers surrounding the courtyard, and the perimeters of the complex. The tile roofs, huge windows, French doors, balconies, all contribute to the luxurious feeling. The various city offices are in some sections of this grouping, and Maple Hall is at the back. Behind Maple Hall, there is a footbridge over the creek, leading to the Senior Center. There is an Art Gallery above Maple Hall. Also part of the complex is the Alvarado Adobe, a reconstruction of the home of the first governor of California. This is beautiful, and a very interesting museum.

As dusk approached, the icicle lights were turned on. They are festooned all along the edge of the roof over the walkways along each side of the courtyard. There are steps down to the central fountain, and with the lights on and the fountain in operation, it was indeed a beautiful sight. Some of the very large trees had clear lights wrapped around their trunks, so it looked very exotic. Luckily, I was seated so that I could see the lighted courtyard through the large windows, and I felt as though I just wanted to stay there. I dreamed of having a house just like the Civic Center. Wouldn't that be marvelous?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

I Want to Talk to My Mother

I would not necessarily tell her what is bothering me, but I need to hear her voice.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Trouble Writing

I haven't been able to write for the past few days because blogger wouldn't let me post. I had thoughts in mind, and now they are probably lost. Frustrating.

I was in the Sutter Creek area today. It is so pretty there in the fall. Actually, it is great in any season. The day started off really cold, for us, but improved as time wore on. Walking to the area where we catch the tour bus, it felt like winter in the Northeast. Luckily, we were offered a seat in someone's car - the bus was very late. It is mild tonight.

Yesterday, the San Pablo Lions Club served an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at the Senior Center. Tickets were $5, and included a free ticket to the Thanksgiving dinner at the Civic Center on Wednesday. The dinner will be cooked by the Culinary Arts Dept at Contra Costa College. Last year, San Pablo city employees served the meal. We are even having entertainment - violin and cello, supposedly, but I don't know what type of music. I hope it is not old people's stuff. Classical would be good, but I doubt that will happen.

Contra Costa College has agreed to offer another semester of the writing (journalism) course that I have been taking this semester. You can't beat the price - $0. I have truly been enjoying the class, as has everyone else. It is fun to read our musings to each other. There is usually a lot of laughter, plus amazement at the things that people have done in their lives. One of the members is 86 and grew up in the mountains of Colorado. Her tales of her childhood are so colorful - definitely "back in the old days".

We have a man in the class who loves it as much as I do. Neither of us has missed a session. His writing is very "tongue-in-cheek", very clever, and is the stuff of newspaper columns. He does his writing assignments a few minutes before class starts and always manages to submit a wonderful, hilarious paper on the most mundane of subjects. He is an artist, also - actually made a living doing just that. Before lunch is served at the Senior Center, he spends a lot of his time drawing on his placemat. He wrote his "homework" on his placemat last week because he left his writing pad at home.

Hopefully I'll be able to write on here again before too long, if blogger will let me.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


I have not always been a good mother. In the beginning, when my children were very young, I performed all of the tasks that a country woman would tackle. I made my children’s clothing, grew my own fruit and vegetables, canned and froze the food to last until the next summer. I baked them a pie every day, from pumpkins I grew, berries and apples I picked on my own property, peaches and cherries I picked in orchards, and also did other baking. Chili sauce, relish, catsup, pickles, were all canned or bottled. We had a side of beef in one of the two freezers, along with a whole hog. These I purchased from my sister and brother-in-law, as they raised them on their farm.

Along with clothing and feeding the four children, I worked at enriching their minds. I provided them with books and workbooks to study, even before they started attending school. Trips to the zoo, science museum, and other interesting locations aided their learning experiences. After they started school, I became very involved in each child’s education. Special schools for gifted children, enrichment programs that I organized or helped run, educational committees to improve the schools, all these were a very important part of my life at the time.

Some time after this point, everything fell apart. I became too interested in various jobs and groups to pay enough attention to my children. I had eventually left their father, or, in reality, asked him to leave. Then, each child in turn became torn between living with their father or staying with me. At one point, they all left. The oldest had basically run away, moving in with friends, the second one married, and the last two went to live with their father. My youngest was around twelve years old at the beginning of this downhill slide, and he was sixteen when I finally left the area to “seek my fortune”. I was just as unhappy as my children were, and hoped to find a better life somewhere else.

I did not find a better life, although I had many interesting, and at times, harrowing, experiences. After traveling across the country, I eventually ended up in Texas, where I remained for five years. During these years, I returned to Buffalo many times to visit my children. A good share of the time, this involved driving alone, although my two daughters took turns living with me for a while and made the trip. My youngest son also visited, but wanted to return to his father. I was very lonely, and at one point I saw a photo of my first grandchild as a baby, being aided in standing by a young man. I asked who that man was – it was my son in California and I didn’t even recognize him. I cried.

I returned to New York State, to the area where I grew up, and eventually my youngest son moved in with me. We worked at the same business, and spent much time together. We had many things in common, and enjoyed being together, at that point. My two daughters lived two hours away, and were having their own children by then. It was possible for me to visit them fairly easily. I was living near my mother and siblings, so, for awhile, life was not too bad. My oldest son was still in California, though, so I did not see him very often at all.

I moved to California in 1991, after visiting my son and deciding that I loved the area. Now, there is the dilemma of being separated from the others. One daughter generally stays in the Buffalo area, but the other one has lived in Virginia, and is in Florida at this point. The youngest son is in Buffalo, although he lived in California for three years, and was living with me part of that time. I suppose it is impossible to live near all of them at the same time, and children will not necessarily remain near a parent, but I feel so alienated so much of the time. The phone is good, the internet is great, but I feel a real need to be a more important part of each child’s life. I should have realized that when I was thinking only of myself and running all over this country.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

More About Onyx

I neglected to tell you about Onyx when he is playing. He is so entertaining. Since he was tiny, he has chased his toys while scampering around the linoleum floor in the kitchen with stiff legs, twirling around in circles, jumping high in the air, chirping. He doesn't bend his legs when he does this. None of the other cats play in quite the same manner, and I know, even when I am in another room, that he is the one doing this.

Onyx doesn't "meow", he chirps. He only makes loud noises when one of the other "boys" attacks him, then he screams. They all pick on him, although they are getting better about that.

What's Been Happenin'

Luckily, the weather has been gorgeous around here lately, so going out to sell at a flea market on Sunday wasn't too hard to take. The worst part was getting up at 3:00 A.M. to do so. I didn't get rich, but I did sell over eighty books to one customer. These are books that I took out of my Amazon inventory. The guy was riding a motorcycle, so it was quite a sight beholding him laden down with bags of books. He is filling a container to be shipped to Thailand, where he is opening a used book store.

Then, yesterday, I got up at 4:30 to go to a new casino with the seniors. This one is high on a hill (mountain to some people), with an amazing view. The road winding through the vineyards, then up the hill, is beautiful. The whole trip was very scenic. California has seasons, too, and the trees and grapevines are in wonderful hues at this time. The air was great, with a hint of mist. When we arrived at the top of the hill, the view in the early morning consisted of coastal mountains with mist filtering across the peaks. The vineyards stretched across the valley floor, with the occasional Victorian house to anchor property lines.

This panorama can be viewed from the restaurant, through the Arts and Crafts designed French doors, and from the outside dining area. The casino is in the Geyserville area, a bit north of the Russian River.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

It Must Have Been the Walnuts

One day recently I looked in the mirror - "What the....? My teeth are black, and my gums are, too. Even my crowns are black!"

The last time that happened was after receiving massive doses of IV antibiotics while in the hospital with pneumonia. Well, I haven't been on antibiotics, and have not been taking any new medications, therefore I had to try to figure out what caused this latest problem.

"Maybe a change in toothpaste caused it? Or the use of blue mouth wash? I have been eating a large amount of walnuts that I bought from a man at the Marin Farmers' Market."

They were so good, freshly picked the week I bought them.

I stopped eating the walnuts, and also discontinued use of the mouthwash. It took a few weeks, but my teeth are back to normal. Tonight I ate two walnuts, stirred into mixed berry yogurt. Hopefully, my teeth won't get black after eating just two of them.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Writing Group

Last night was my first meeting with the night writing group where my instructor is the leader. This was held at a woman's condo. It was great fun, and the hours flew by. One member teaches many groups, and some are not in writing. He has a current events class, and an art in video group. Apparently he spends every waking moment in creative endeavors.

We read various writings to each other, and all of us critiqued the work. I received many great pointers and ideas. At least they felt that my writing has some merit, and it made me feel great. I can't wait until our next meeting. I also may end up going to other classes at locations other than my local Senior Center


All of my aunts were great, but one of them was truly special. Betty and I were kindred spirits when I was a young girl. She was my mother’s youngest sister, and never had any children of her own. She treated me more like a sister or girlfriend than she did a child, however. She was seventeen years older, but when I was a teenager the difference did not seem great.

We had such marvelous times together. I lived in town, but Betty lived in the country, in an old farmhouse, with barns and fields. I spent a great deal of time at her home, because I loved it out there. The kitchen was definitely a farm kitchen, with a big sink attached to the wall and a Hoosier cabinet that was basically her only work surface. It still had the flour sifter attached, and she used it. Many years later, she was to have a state-of-the-art kitchen, straight out of a magazine. There was a formal dining room, and a living room with her ever-present piano, burgundy horsehair furniture, and deco tables with blue mirrored glass tops. I always loved those tables.

Her house was full of huge cats, and she was a total nut, much worse than I am, about each of those felines. They were her life, and a good share of the time, she refused to go somewhere if she could not account for all of them.

There are so many rich memories, it is difficult to know where to start. As a very young girl, I can remember a wedding reception at my grandmother’s house when another aunt was married. She was a widow with two girls, and eventually met a wonderful man to marry and be with through the birth of two sons, until he made her a widow again. I remember Betty playing the piano at the reception, as did my father. Betty had taken lessons while young, and could play beautifully – music such as Rhapsody in Blue. It was a very happy time, and I still can feel the atmosphere of that day.

When one of my cousins was married, I was a bridesmaid. Betty helped my mom get me dressed. I was growing up, and my companion was always there to partake in my exposure to the treasured moments of life. She became my Godmother when I joined the church where my grandmother and parents had become members.

While I was hanging out with Betty, she took me roller skating, along with some young boys who helped her on the farm with her chickens, and with other chores. This became a regular pastime, and led to skating at roller rinks in Buffalo when my own children were older. Betty, the boys and I would play penny ante poker on long winter evenings, snug and cozy in her farmhouse.

Toward the end of my senior year in high school, I started dating a man who was Betty’s husband Stanley’s nephew. We would all go to dances together, along with Stanley’s brother and his wife. This could be regular ballroom dancing, polkas at the Happy Landing, or square dances at one of the nearby schools. I loved dancing, and every evening that we went out together as a group added to my wonderful experiences of the joys to be had with dance and music.

After graduating from high school, while I was working at the local variety store, I still spent much time at Betty’s house. At one point we had a terrible snowstorm, the worst that I can remember in that area. The snow was as high as the electric wires, and most roads in a huge area were closed for weeks. At one point, while I was near the stores in town, I saw a cousin, her husband and other relatives in town with a truck to get groceries and supplies, including a tank of kerosene. That cousin lived up the road from Betty. I asked if I could hitch a ride with them out to the farms. The roads had been plowed to an area near the cousin’s house, so we had to roll that kerosene tank up the bank, with great difficulty, to the top of the snow at the electric wires, and then roll it to their house. I then carried groceries across the top of the snow, down the road to Betty, and snuggled into her farmhouse with her. She had tunneled down through the snow to get to her chickens in the barn. That was a vision straight out of a book about snowstorms on the prairie.

One of the evenings while I was there, she and I bundled up, took flashlights, and walked along the roads, electric wires at our feet, up her road to a corner, turned and walked along another road, turned that corner and walked further, to Stanley’s brother’s house. We spent time with the brother and his wife. I guess it was something to do when you can’t drive anywhere.

When I eventually went to New York City to live and work, I don’t know who was more broken-hearted at parting, Betty or me. She insisted that I call her collect all of the time. Her phone bill must have been enormous. She looked forward to my visits when I would try to get to the area for a weekend. She knew all of my secrets, and I believe that my mother was always a bit jealous of our relationship. My mother was so busy with all of my brothers and sisters, she didn’t have time to give me a lot of individual attention. But that was alright, most of the time, because I was doing my own thing.

When I married my ex-husband, Betty gave me a gift for me, not for a house – a silver fox stole, with my initials embroidered inside. It was gorgeous. I could not believe that she would give me such a wonderful thing. I was still living in New York City, but eventually moved back to the Finger Lakes Area, although I lived an hour or so away from Betty then. I did not see her very often. My ex-husband did not want me to hang out with Betty. He said she was always trying to convince me that I was crazy. This was not true. She had her own issues, and had been seeing a psychiatrist while I was young. This basically had to do with being an alcoholic, I assume. She had told me she was an alcoholic, but I never saw her take a drink in my whole life, therefore she must have been a recovering alcoholic. She even took me with her to meet her doctor. I can’t remember for sure, but I think that was because I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do after high school. He just told her he would talk to me, but she was there in the office at the same time and it didn’t have anything to do with being crazy.

I was busy having babies and taking care of a house. I also had fairly serious health issues at the time, so life just sort of rolled on. Betty moved to New Jersey. She and Stanley had parted, and both had remarried. Then, I rarely saw her. My grandmother died in 1963, when my third child was a month old. I saw Betty at the funeral.

Much later, after my divorce, I suppose I could have taken pains to go to New Jersey to visit her. I was always traveling all over the country, by myself, or taking a teenage daughter with me, but for some reason it never really occurred to me to include Betty’s home as a stop along the way.

We wrote to each other, eventually, and exchanged Christmas cards. We always had our cats in common, when I finally reached the point when I would include a cat in my life. I called her at times, and she asked me to visit. I told her that I would try to get to New Jersey.

My sister, Dottie, is the one that visited her every year. I don’t even have an excuse at this point for not doing so. She brought me great photos of Betty, so that I could see her as a senior citizen.

In December 2001, Dottie called me here in California to tell me that Betty had died of cancer, alone, with no family near. Dottie and her husband had been to visit her in October, but Betty never let her know that she had cancer and was not going to live much longer.

I will most likely never forgive myself for being so selfish in my own life that I did not take the time to go see my special aunt, my friend. The last time I saw her was in December 1963, when my grandmother was buried.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Catching Up

On Election Day, I went to the polls right after opening hour, then returned home and spent many hours working with my plants. It was a beautiful day, very warm, and I decided I should try to get as much outside work done as possible. I can't believe that there is so much work to do when my "garden" is strictly a container garden.

I moved huge plants to different locations, and repotted several others into much larger containers. The Boston fern was a huge undertaking, because it is unbelievably large and had outgrown its fancy California pottery container long ago. I thought I might have to break the pottery piece, but I managed to salvage it. I guess I'll put my oxalis that I love so much in that pot.

I have other ferns, each one different.Some are volunteers. I have always liked ferns. They are very happy living under my porch roof, summer and winter. I have much more work to do with the plants, more rearranging so I have a better path through the plants, and more transplanting.

It is a good thing that I spent the time that day, as the weather took a definite turn for the worse the following day. It got very nasty around here. Since then, I have been doing the usual puttering in the house, cleaning, and taking care of merchandise.

Lunch at the Senior Center some of the days, and attending my writing class, and then the week is gone, again. I sold at Alemany Flea Market in South San Francisco last Sunday, and this Sunday is a day at Alameda Antique Show, on the site of the former Naval Air Station. All of this has meant getting up earlier than normal for me. I am almost getting used to it.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Day

Election Day in California is not the same as it was in New York State when I was growing up in the forties and early fifties. It was a really big deal to everyone in my town and the areas around us. There was excitement in the air, along with the chill of approaching winter.

After the adults voted, there would be Election Night dinners in area churches, with all manner of wonderful home cooked food. Sometimes I would go to the church that was on the hill behind my house. Other years saw me accompanying my grandparents, and aunt and uncle, to the Grange Hall across the road from my grandparents’ house out in the country. I really looked forward to going there. It is the oldest Grange Hall in the United States, and is in danger of being demolished. My grandmother and aunt worked at the polls, then helped with the wonderful dinner we all enjoyed. They also had a hand in the cooking, and the baking of desserts. This was a special time every year.

My uncle ran for office every two years as Superintendent of Highways. He held the position for many years. This was another reason that Election Day was important to my family. When I was old enough, I started helping to serve at the dinners in the church. I was happy to do my part, and enjoyed being with all of the townspeople. It seemed like one big, happy family. It was a tradition.

The summer between my Junior and Senior year of high school, I was chosen to go to Empire Girls’ State. This was sponsored by the American Legion, and was held at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. I was one of two girls in my county chosen to attend this week of intensive political studies. Before we went to Saratoga Springs, we were feted at a dinner, so girls in surrounding counties could meet each other. When it was time for our week at the college, we took the train to the area. It was my first time on a train.

This was one of the most exciting weeks of my youth. We learned about politics on the state, county and local level, campaigned, had rallies, chose candidates for state office, held elections, and sat in the Assembly and Senate Chambers in Albany, the State Capitol. We lived in dorm rooms for that week, and ate in the cafeteria, played tennis, and did all kinds of fun things.

Much later in life, I became very involved in the political scene. This was in the Buffalo area, and there was much going on because of the size of the city. I knew many people because of jobs I had had, and because of groups I was involved with, so it just seemed natural that I started working on campaigns. The first was a campaign for the Mayor of the City of Buffalo. My candidate was a very impressive man, and after I met him, I volunteered to work on his campaign. It was my first time to do something of this nature for a real candidate, and it was very exciting. I even kept the campaign office open at night, with my young son for company. This man didn’t win, as the two major candidates were defeated in an upset by a minor party candidate, but we became good friends. He went to Washington, DC, to run Senator Jacob Javits’ office. Eventually, he came back to Buffalo, to his law practice.

One day we ran into each other on the bus on the way downtown. I worked at City Hall at the time. He asked if I would be interested in working for Javits in his Buffalo office, and I told him that I would. He started the procedure for my employment, and I heard from the Senate after I had a security clearance to work for the government. I loved this job. There were just two of us working in the office, in the Federal Building, and I was usually alone running the place, taking care of constituents. The job was very involved, as Senator Javits was Senior Senator, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, along with being on many other committees. I made many friends there, those that worked for other major government agencies. Shortly before the Iran Hostage Crisis, Senator Javits and his wife received threats, therefore I was instructed to leave the office door open at all times and the Federal Police periodically checked on my welfare. Much of the time, the head of the ATF office next door sat in the chair in front of my desk while I worked.

I later worked on campaigns for Erie County Executive, United States Congress, some New York State offices, and Presidential campaigns. I was a friend of a previous County Executive while he was in office, just before he became New York State Comptroller. I did a lot of work in Congressman Jack Kemp’s office, after I had completed my job for the Senate. I was offered a job in his Washington office, but I didn’t really want to move out of my house and go there. I considered it, but didn’t follow through. I wonder what would have happened if I did go to Washington. I had loved that city from the first time I saw it, as a high school senior.

The work in the various offices was very interesting, the campaigns were exciting, with all the hoopla of rallies, and hanging out in hotel ballrooms on Election Night. I even had the pleasure of going to a party in a suite of hotel rooms with the County Executive, his family, and his cronies on the night he won the election. Those days are gone forever, now. I am too old for that stuff, but I sure had a wonderful time when I was involved in politics.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Trick or Treat

I was totally exhausted last night when it was time to answer the door and hand out treats. We got up at 3:00 A.M. to go to an antique market and try to get rid of some of our "stuff". After being in the sun all day, plus wind in the afternoon, I would have preferred just totally collapsing on the couch with the TV.

However, as soon as the first little ones came up the porch steps and I saw their faces, no masks here, I was really into the whole trick or treat thing. This is not your normal middle class WASP neighborhood. Our trailer park has become a completely integrated multi-cultural community. The sweet boy and girl faces saying "Trick or Treat" were a mix of Mexican, Fiji Islanders (Indians), and African Americans. They were in groups, accompanied by their very pretty young mothers, laughing and having a great time.

The tiniest ones, or those without English yet, did not say the words, but just held up their bags or baskets. You could feel the awe in their little bodies as they looked at their treasures, and walked back down the steps.

I know that I would always want to live in a multi-cultural neighborhood, so that I could be exposed to these beautiful young people all of the time. This is not a high class place, but there are always smiles on faces, cheerful greetings.