first love

It was the summer of 1970. I was just shy of 17. Jim Croce’s “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” was blasting from transistor radios all around the Bungalow pool. Everything was new and possible. Sometimes it seems like a dream from a different lifetime. Yet, I remember the first time I saw him like it was yesterday. He stood there proudly with that compact, muscular build and that smooth, tawny skin. He was totally popular with all the other girls and even many of the guys*. Okay, I must admit he was a little on the simple side, but you can’t have everything and I was in love for the first time. The only problem was he belonged to another. And “that” woman was my mother. Before, this gets too “Maury Povich “, let me start again. Continue reading


the way we were

“In a way he was like the country he lived in, everything came too easily to him, but at least he knew it.”

Hubble Gardner, a fictitious college student played by the deliciously, dreamy actor, Robert Redford (yes I am that old) penned this line in the 1973 award-winning film “The Way We Were”.   Continue reading

how about that weather?

In these days of disturbingly polarized politics, it might seem that the only truly safe subject to discuss with neighbors, relatives and a sundry acquaintances is the weather.  Continue reading

sidelined: a story of family, football and fate


I grew up in a small coal-mining town in Northeastern Pennsylvania during the 1950s and 60s. As the daughter of the High School football coach, I learned quickly that if anthracite coal was king, football was indeed his most revered son.

The town of Tamaqua lies sheltered in Continue reading

a good year: memories of sixth grade at tuscarora

roadthere she was just a-walkin’ down the street
singin’ do-wah-diddy-diddy down diddy-do
snappin’ her fingers and shufflin’ her feet
singin’ do-wah diddy-diddy down diddy-do *

The words and melody began timidly enough with just a few brave souls chiming in, then, rose slowly by increments as more and more children boarded the school bus. By the time the yellow caravan concluded its four-mile journey
at the foot of the old schoolhouse’s steep steps, the tune had reached a crescendo ricocheting off the surrounding hilltops and stretching to the far reaches of the hamlet called Tuscarora. Continue reading

going gray with no grace at all

620-hair-roots-steps-go-gray.imgcache.rev1413470740688.webI saw my first gray hair at 25 as I was adjusting the rear view mirror of my used, 1975, Datsun B-210 Honey Bee. It was a surprising sight, but it shouldn’t have been. My dad started graying at 17. In fact, I have no recollection whatsoever of him with what he used to describe as his original, chestnut brown hair. Not so coincidentally, my dad, had no memory of his own mother with anything other than her grandma white, snowy, crown. Anyway, I pulled it out. Continue reading

gabe! take that turd off your webpage!

7th Grade Advisees 2014

7th Grade Advisees 2014

The Amtrak train persists along its southward path to Philadelphia. My husband and I have just spent a perfect Labor Day weekend with family in Jamestown, R.I. Lulled by the dependably rickety sounds of this neglected railed infrastructure, my thoughts are drawn to the place where I am not. Continue reading

10 things you should never do…

Top 10 Things I’ve Learned You Should Never Do
in no particular order


  1. criticize the child of a friend or relative.

    Acorns in Pool

    Acorns in Pool

  2. build a swimming pool directly under two large oak trees (you’ll spend your   summers cleaning up acorns and leaves) unless you can afford a really cute pool technician.
  3. put anything in writing that you wouldn’t want your grandparents or parents to read (this includes sending emails or texts when angry).
  4. place eggs still in their shells in the microwave
  5. never share an apartment with your ex boyfriend’s new girlfriend.
  6. say “my child would never lie to me”
  7. consume a huge container of chili when you’re 8 and a half months pregnant
  8. hesitate to give someone a compliment
  9. fail to use ALL of your vacation days
  10. be too busy to answer a child’s question

Feel free to add some to the list?

goodbye mr. fetterman

I am wordy when I write. I will try to make this post honest and to the point, just like the men it’s meant to honor.

Walt Ligenza's grandson, Matt, Sam Pagano, Harry Fetterman, and Dick Jones

Walt Ligenza’s grandson, Sam Pagano, Harry Fetterman, and Dick Jones

This past Monday, I attended a viewing for Mr. Harry Fetterman in Tamaqua, the small town in the anthracite coal region of Northeastern PA where I grew up. Harry was a beloved teacher and football coach. He was my dad’s oldest and dearest friend. Harry and my dad, Dick Jones, knew each other as boys; they both enlisted in the Navy right after high school during World War II (Harry actually left Tamaqua High a semester early in 1943*). Continue reading

skin in the game

skin“What the heck happened here?”

Most mornings glancing at my reflection in the mirror, I feel something akin to the surprise experienced by Drew Barrymore’s character in the film “Fifty First Dates”. For those who haven’t seen this Adam Sandler classic (probably not too many of you), a young woman named Lucy is injured in a car accident losing her ability to create new memories. Each day, Lucy awakes and has to become reacquainted with what has transpired in her life since the date of the accident. And so, like Lucy, each morning, I begin shocked anew by what has transpired to my poor face, seemingly overnight. Continue reading