Friends with Books & Writing Sexy

September 22, 2015

I have friends in this business and they often ask me to announce a new release. Tina Donahue is one of those friends. She’s part of a boxed set with some sexy-hot stories to warm you on these cooler autumn nights.

That’s my way of warning you that some of these books are probably hotter than most of my western readers prefer. I’ve warned everyone before that I have friends who write molten hot stories. I think that everyone has the right to write whatever they want and to read whatever they want!

Okay, if you’ve read any of my River City books you know I can write some very sexy stories. I just manage to do it without using certain words. Why? I don’t don’t like those words. Yet what makes certain books erotic are the words that are used. I’m not a prude, but when I write about love, those words don’t come into my head. Sex is a normal part of the whole courting/love process. Whether anyone indulges in the sex is a personal decision. Just as it is a personal decision to read about it.

If you read my westerns, they are sexy! I don’t ignore all those wonderful feelings. I think the difference is I don’t shove it in the readers face. The feelings are there, but the actions are not. In my more urban stories, such as my River City books, the reader will encounter the actions without the words that to me degrade the love. (Just my opinion!)

But boxed sets on sale for 99c are an awesome way to get to read a variety of authors for pennies a book. And I believe that the books in Falling in Love range from sexy to hot. I’ve not read any of these stories, so you are on your own! But I’m going to get my copy!

By the way, I don’t think any of these books are short stories! I think each is a full-length novel.







 Recapture the moment . . . Falling in Love

Eight sensual, heartwarming contemporary romances featuring NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors.
WALK LIKE A MAN, a heartwarming novel by award-winning author Suz deMello
A heroine to root for, a wounded hero who’s pure fantasy, two lovable characters who can’t help falling in love . . .

MAKE ME BREATHLESS, a steamy novella by bestselling author Tina Donahue
Two rugged cowboys know what they want: the biker chick who just became their neighbor. Falling in love can sometimes happen for three, not just two . . .

COMMITMENT, a sexy romantic novella by award-winning author Ann Jacobs
For these long-time lovers, falling in love means learning that commitment doesn’t have to mean losing the magic they’ve shared . . .

LOVE ME NOW, a sexy novella by USA Today bestselling author Ari Thatcher
Long ago, he inadvertently overlooked her, but he can’t get enough of her laughter now. He’ll give anything now for a chance to earn her love . . .

A KILLING TIDE, NY Times bestselling novel by PJ Alderman
He’s investigating a killing, and her brother is his prime suspect. Not the best timing for romance, but neither he nor she can resist falling in love, no matter what . . .

WORTH THE WAIT, a sexy novella by bestselling author Lynn LaFleur
Falling in love can happen at first sight. He does, and he’s determined to persuade the woman who’s given up on the emotion that Happily Ever After is not a myth, but a certainty . . .

IMPULSIVE PLEASURES, an erotic novella by award-winning author KyAnn Waters
Neither the difference in their ages nor the inconvenient circumstances that bring them together can make them resist each other. Falling in love happens when it’s least expected . . .

GEEK MEETS GIRL, a novella set in the world of sci-fi reenactments, by Kathryn Lively
A Time Lord, a Trekker, and a ghostbuster walk into a science fiction convention. One finds love, one finds trouble, one finds both . . .

Sensual Romances for Every Mood

Let me know if you buy a copy. Tina likes to know who is buying her books!

And let me know what your take is on sexy romances – just much do you like to read? Or as people say today, that’s too much information. What’s your preferred heat level?

The Faster I Go, the Behinder I Get

September 14, 2015

My out of control to-do list:

I know I must catch this site up to date!

I know, I know, I need to do my website, too!

My desk is a wreck with piles of papers that are threatening to fall over onto the floor.

The wreath on the front door needs to be changed from summer to autumn. That means the porch needs a good scrubbing before it gets too cold.

I have rooms in this old house that are begging for a deep cleaning and a coat of paint!

I have the edits that need to be done for my upcoming Christmas story. Oh, it’s cute. (Crossing my fingers that you’ll love this story.) Remember Frank from Mariner’s Cove?  The irresponsible cousin? Well, Frank’s grown up. He still loves motocross, but that accident took him out of competing, besides he’s not the right build for such a sport. Except he still loves to ride motorcycles!

Well, he’s back and the adrenaline rush that he once got from competing… Oh, he found it in the courtroom…for a little while. That concept of charging in for the win soon wore off. Now he’s run away to Mariner’s Cove to make some decisions about his life.

I have another manuscript (Clare Coleman’s story) partially written, sitting in the background that’s begging for time. I’m committed to three more stories, including a historical western that must be completed by various dates between now and spring

I’m playing with characters in my head for that historical western and just when I think I have a story – I back off from it. If I can get past one scene in my head, I think I’ll be ready to write it.

You know what a perfectionist I am. I don’t write fluffy stories. I have a wonderful female lead for this story. She’s cemented in my head. She’s feisty and gritty, has seen the tougher side of life. She’ll never be a prissy female. I love her! But creating a hero who is strong enough to handle her… I’m having my problems. So as they do in the theatre – it’s cattle calls, except they are in my head! So one scene and one hero.

Now let’s add some more real life into the mix. UGH! Yes, I have a real life, or at least, I’m supposed to have one, right?

I’ve got a guy working on my yard and I need to get him back here to do some more. He’s awesome! He knows my perennials when he sees them. He’s not cheap but he’s worth it. But I must be here when he’s here.

I also have the County Fair. I love the Fair! I’m the photographer for our local fair. I’ve been with the Fair in various capacities since before the Fair was reinstated in 1994. But being the photographer is the best job! I actually get to see the entire Fair, meet with people, and enjoy myself.

The Fair is one of those jobs that for a few days, I’m no one other than me. No one even cares that I’m an author. I’m just one more cog in the wheel that makes the whole thing happen. There’s a full year of planning and hard work that goes into the event, and the people who are doing it are friends.  Some are new and some are old.

Some have retired, declaring it’s time to let the younger ones do it. The Grim Reaper has taken a few too soon, a few have moved far away, including my very best friend, and several have had life changes that caused them to step away. So when I walk into a meeting, it’s filled with old faces and new.  But I love seeing those “old” faces.

Maybe some day I’ll write a series of books all based around a county fair. (I live in the east. We have farmers, not ranchers.) But I love our farmers. A little rain never stops our farmers – those city folks stay away if rain is predicted, but not the farmers. They aren’t going to melt! They are there to have fun! They work hard and play hard.

I also love the bull riding! Okay, I’ll admit I have this cow thing. It comes from being raised in dairy country.  There’s something extra special about playing with a calf and letting it suck on your fingers. But those bulls are raised to perform in the ring. They aren’t friendly!

BTW, I’ll let you in on a secret about bull riding.  Those four-legged boys know that when they go back to the pen after their performance in the ring, they are going to get a treat! Yep, it’s waiting for them! But they also seem to enjoy the noise or maybe they don’t. Anyway, they aren’t always good about going back. And don’t ever think that they won’t hurt the people who work with them! They are not pets. When you see those folks scrambling, they aren’t faking it! Riders get hurt, clowns get hurt, and even judges get hurt! I swear bovines are not the smartest of creatures. They fall on the low end of the scale for intelligence.

Oh, here’s another secret. There is a rope that goes around the bull’s abdomen. It’s what the riders hang onto with one hand. Many people think it wraps the bull’s…male anatomy. Nope! It does fit the narrowest part of their underside. It has to do that.  The bull rider can’t have it sliding around, therefore it must wrap the skinniest part. But it’s not there to hurt the bull. Although I don’t think the bull is real fond of having a tight rope around him. Would you be? I don’t think so!

Did you know that the bull earns points, too?  He’s as important as the rider. And if he earns enough points, he can go pro, too! That makes the bull’s owner happy.

I love the chickens. I’m drawn to certain breeds. If my memory serves me correctly, it’s the Polish chickens that always look like they are having a bad hair day. Seeing them just makes me laugh. There must be hundreds of breeds and for fun, people collect them.

And I love watching the children. The 4-H kids as they show off their lambs and goats, and the children who have never touched a farm animal. Some great photo ops there!

I’m very partial to that whole Ag (agriculture) area because for years it was my area. I was the chairperson in charge of it. I grew it from one small tent to several large ones with a chairperson for each tent. I’m definitely a proud Ag “parent” when I see all those big tents today.

So this week I will take something like 800 photos a day and then I must whittle  all the photos down to about 100 great ones. It’s a huge job that must be done in a very short time.

I think I’m off topic!  Oh, well my point is  my to-do list is getting way too long. And considering this is my county fair week, I have plenty to do. So anything that isn’t directly related to the Fair is pushed to one side. This is my week to give back to my community.

I intend to enjoy this week as I have done for the last 23 years.  I don my western hat, and my denim shirt that says photographer, arm myself with a couple of cameras, and pack a bag filled with lens, batteries, etc. My muse gets yanked in a different direction and recharged. I see old friends who I haven’t seen in a year and I make some new ones!

When it’s over and all the photos are filed, I’ll be exhausted and facing my to-do list which has lost a week. That will put me further behind. But I promise I’ll post a few photos.

Classes on Writing a Novel

September 5, 2015

The Portsmouth, Virginia library system is sponsoring a series of classes on writing a novel.

So many people think that writing a novel is easy. It’s not. Some will say there are rules for writing. That’s somewhat true. There are things that make a novel great and if you want to call them rules go right ahead. But these elements make a difference between road DSC09455-Bho-hum and oh-wow!

Lots of people think they have a great idea for a novel, but they have no idea where to begin. That’s where this class comes in handy. A story is like a road trip. You need to avoid the congestion and detours, cope with the flat tires and other things that are beyond control, and create a cohesive, compelling story. You want your readers engaged and enjoying every minute of their journey through your book.

Now here’s the fun part! It’s FREE! That’s right. FREE! Why? Because the library is library file8411260069817sponsoring it. They don’t charge! Colleges charge. Individuals charge. But libraries are there to serve the people, and they don’t charge! So this is a SUPER deal!

write file7391308350582You have the story in your head. This class will teach you how to put your words into a novel that people will love! Because in this day and age, anyone can put a bunch of words together, and call it a book. Creating a story that people will love takes effort!

The fun part of this is that the classes are in the afternoon, which allows those who live further way to make the trip to Portsmouth, VA.  Four consecutive Saturdays, starting September 26, will guide you through writing a novel. The facilities are fantastic! So bring your laptop or paper, and be prepared for a wonderful writing road trip to success!

Do you have the next best-selling novel in your head that’s begging for you to write it? Sign up for this series of classes. Class size is limited. So sign up today!

I’m cross posting this information to my blog. Please feel free to pass it along to anyone you know in the area. This is a fabulous set of classes for the newbie or a seasoned writer, and it’s FREE!

Vacation, Beach, and Children

August 3, 2015

(Re-blogged from the Authors of Main Street. Why write two different posts?)

It’s almost hard for me to comprehend not being at the beach, but I’m sure there are tons of children and adults who will be visiting the shore for the first time ever! For one of our authors here on Main Street, this coming week will be a family vacation to the Atlantic coastline. As we all wished her a wonderful holiday, I began to assemble what I thought everyone should know about traveling with children and the beach. I grew up going to the beach in the summer. And as I’ve probably mentioned, I was a surfer. Then as a teen, I moved to an island off the coast of New Jersey. I was in heaven! After I married, we moved to the SE corner of Virginia, where Virginia Beach provides some wonderful beaches tucked to the Atlantic by the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. So taking my kids to the beach was quite simple.

When you grow up with easy access to the beach, you do things almost without thinking. You assume everyone knows, but they don’t! So here are my tips for traveling with children especially for those headed for the beach!


Getting There:

  •  Turn off the DVD!
  •  Grab up a handful of plastic poker chips. The cheap ones from the dollar stores work just fine. (I’ll explain as I go. I know I was a bad mother. I even taught them to play 21. It sharpened their math skills.) Issue each child a few poker chips. Color doesn’t matter.
  •  Windows are there so children can look out and actually see something!
  •  It’s time to sing! I promise 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall can kill some time! And it teaches them to count backwards! Okay I really was a bad mother. I should have sung 100 Bottles of Milk on the Wall. But my kids learned to sing beer. They thought it was funny. If they goofed up and said the wrong numeral, they have to give up a chip. If you goof, you have to pay each child a chip.
  •  License plates are a great way of keeping them glued to what is around them especially if you are driving on a boring super highway. The person who can spot the furthest state/providence/county (must be verified) gets a chip. They learn a little geography doing this. If they are old enough to write them down, the one who sees the most plates gets a chip.
  •  And the ABC game, I’d forgotten until Pepper brought it up, is quite simple. They must do it in order. A is for automobile, B is for boat or billboard, C is for cat, chicken, corn, or cotton in the field. Take turns and each must find/see whatever starts with the next letter of the alphabet. It’s not easy! Oh, it starts easily enough, but after a while there are few letters that seem almost impossible. If they give up, they have to give up a chip! Then move to the next letter. I always allowed Dairy Queen (an ice cream/fast food restaurant here in the USA) for the Q. The X is another killer! It’s up to you if you will allow Exxon or FedEx – I figured it wasn’t exactly cheating – at least they found an X.
  •  Always travel with pillows and blankets.
  •  Super cheap cameras! There are tiny key-chain style digital cameras. Let them take pictures. A three year old can take a photo. These are their memories of their trip!

The Beach!beach DSCN0820

  • When taking the kids to swim at the beach, make certain that they have the brightest swimsuits. No cute blue, white or green ones that allow them to blend in to the ocean! You want florescent orange, brilliant yellow, day-glow red, and super hot-pink ones. When searching the beach, you want your kids to stand out!
  • Pack baby powder! And a bottle of alcohol. Baby powder removes the sand from the body especially the toes! Flip-flops and sandals feel horrible when there is sand between the toes! Or between the feet and the straps. Alcohol is for everything from cuts to jellyfish stings. It’s cheap – don’t dab, just pour.
  • Bring lots of sunscreen. I love the new ones that come in colors. You can see if you’ve missed a spot when applying. Okay, you’ve now painted your child pink, purple, blue, or green. Of course they look like freaks. It goes away in a few minutes and they will return to their normal color. Be careful, there is a one that does hold the color, but it’s meant more for those who live in the sun such as lifeguards. Don’t forget to do the part or cowlick in their hair, and to go under their suits. Bathing suits have a strange way of slipping down or riding up. And Mom, get your cleavage! OMG! It hurts if you get burned there! There are spots down there that have probably never ever seen sunlight!
  •  Oh, and salt water will remove sunscreen so darn fast! Reapply frequently. I don’t care what the bottle says. The ocean is full of sand and it just lightly sandpapers off anything on the skin! Reapply when they get out of the water! Remember, when at the beach, they are probably getting triple the amount of sun compared to what they would get in their backyard or neighborhood pool!
  • If the children have blue eyes make certain they have sunglasses – it’s harder on blue-eyed children than brown-eyed ones – same goes for adults! Be prepared. Someone will loose his or her sunglasses. Cheap ones work just fine on the beach. The sun is reflected off the water and the sand! But reflected sun in their eyes will make them tired and cranky.
  •  And, Mom & Dad, don’t forget to wear sunglasses – good ones! Trying to look across the beach or into the water to see your children with all that glare… Nope! You need good sunglasses that will cut the glare. You need to see your children. Wear a really cheap pair in the water if you don’t want to take your shades off. The ocean has a way of snagging that favorite pair of sunglasses!
  •  If you have three children, but only two adults, take turns taking them out into deeper water. Let the other two splash and play at the edge. No deeper than their knees while an adult takes one out. Mine could swim, so tossing them into the waves or letting them body surf towards shore was fun. (They have to hold their body very rigid with their hands stretched in front of them to body surf. And I guess it helps to know exactly when to push them in front of that wave.) If they aren’t swimmers, just let them jump the waves while holding your hand.
  •  Never let the children sit in the sand where the water rolls up onto them. That will pack 5 pounds of sand into their bathing suit bottoms and stretch it out of shape! Have them sit on their knees. That also means they can rise up faster if a bigger wave washes onto them.
  •  Ask the lifeguard if there is a shelf where the land drops away, sandbar, or anything you should know about. Each beach is different and most of the time lifeguards are assigned to a particular beach. They know the water and where it drops off or if there is any undertow. (I promise, most lifeguards are very well trained!) Where there are waves, there will be undertow. Most beaches will shut down if there is sufficient undertow to be a problem. But it can happen quickly and without warning. Never go out where you cannot touch the bottom!
  •  Take an overcast day and people think they won’t get any sun. Ha! You can burn quicker on an overcast day. Some people think thebeach_DSC3081 clouds filter something out which allows the burning rays to come through. (I have no clue!) See that person who is fried to a bright lobster-red crisp? TOURIST!!! But sometimes people just don’t know. Ever try to get a severely sunburned child to sleep? They are miserable! Prevention is everything! Sunburn is just as bad a burn from anything hot. Pink is a first degree. A burn that blisters later is a second-degree burn (quite common among sunbathers) and third is an instant blister. Those with super fair skin, usually found on blondes and redheads tend to have third degree burns.
  •  Mom, if you are pregnant…beware! I’m not sure what it is about the female body and hormones, but you will burn like crazy if you are pregnant! Read over all medications, including birth control before you hit the beach!
  •  If someone does get burned…Apple cider vinegar feels good and is cheap! Aloe straight from the plant or a bottle of pure Aloe juice is the most healing. There are also commercially prepared sprays available at any drug store.
  • Bring a couple of long-sleeved shirts with you. I promise someone will start to burn and those long sleeves will keep everyone much happier! Grab hubby’s long-sleeved, dress cotton shirt. It’s a great beach cover-up! It’s sexy, and with those long tails, it can hide all sorts of bumps, bulges, cellulite, and extra pounds! :-)
  •  Always make sure the children have bathed after being in the ocean. A shower may work fine for adults, but children usually do better with a bath, especially little girls. (They have all those little nooks and crannies where sand and seaweed will get caught.)

Naps, Evenings, and Meals:

  •  Plan for the children to take early afternoon naps. Or what we called siesta! My girls had to be quiet. Maybe watch TV in the hotel room? Or you could go completely quiet and have them read or do puzzle books. Do this hotel time at 12:30 until about 2:30. After siesta they can do the beach thing again. You don’t want them out during the hottest, sunniest part of the day. This also keeps them out of the strongest sunshine. If they are older, try visiting a museum or a lighthouse.
  • Be prepared to get chilled in the evenings! Extra warm skin from the day’s sun and a cool breeze off the ocean is a recipe for getting the chills. Someone will wind up with the shivers and blue lips! And I’m not talking about blue from the cotton candy.
  •  If there is a boardwalk, let them do it at night! The lights, the sounds, and the fun! A few rides and they are in heaven! There’s something about cotton candy, saltwater taffy, fudge, etc., while walking the boardwalk! It will never taste better! Try not to buy cotton candy on a really humid night! Oh does that turn into a sticky mess! If they get it in their hair, it will wash out! If it goes down the front of that pretty white dress, it usually washes out without a problem. It’s sugar and food coloring! (We won’t discus red food coloring, which seems to stain everything!)
  •  Remember, it’s vacation. Try not to fuss too much. If all they want is french fries for dinner – it’s vacation. It’s a few days. They aren’t going to get rickets from it or die of malnutrition! If they are really picky eaters consider getting one plate of food and an empty plate so that the food can be divided or order off the appetizer menu. My kids hated the children’s menus. They wanted the good stuff! Don’t buy what they won’t eat! If they want codfish balls, and crab cakes let them eat it! I had one that would inhale a 1/2 pound of shrimp and one that wouldn’t touch seafood, Chinese, hamburger, hot dogs, or pizza. Go figure! I’d rather spend a little more and have them eat it, than to fuss when they refused something.
  •  Ask! Most restaurants can fix the tuna without blackening it! They can fix a steak without seasoning, etc. If your kids drink skim milk and the restaurant is serving 2%, the kids will balk! ASK!
  •  Kids feel stuff. If you are uptight, they will be uptight. Remember it’s a vacation. It’s supposed to be fun! It’s supposed to be filled with good memories, and lots of giggles!

Back to those poker chips! At the end of each day, give them some additional chips. If they’ve been extra good, they get five chips. If they had a melt down at breakfast, they get four. Tell them why. But give them a chip just because you love them. On the last day or evening, allow them to turn in poker chips for fun stuff. Let them buy that silly, twirling, whistling, whatnot with their chips! A value can be assigned to the chips depending on your budget. That twelve-year-old daughter might want a puka bead necklace as her souvenir, whereas a son might want a plastic shark! This is their decision and let them make it. It’s their money that they earned. It gives them a chance to understand value and earning something. And it’s a great bribe!

Take advantage of whatever the area has to offer! If it’s morning bike riding on the boardwalk or an aquarium, do it and have fun! Mornings on the beach and afternoons at the hotel pool, and if you think you are tired at night? For every step you take, they have taken probably two or three. If their idea of a perfect dinner is pizza and yours is lobster, have the lobster one night and pizza another. Everyone is supposed to have fun on vacation!

Will things go wrong? Of course. There is no such thing as a perfect vacation, especially with children. The number of things that have gone wrong while I was on vacation would fill a book and no one would believe me. (A crash landing in a jet? Yep!) But I promise a vacation is what you make it. So be sure to bring your sense of humor, look at the bright side, and count your blessings. At least you aren’t home looking a the same old walls!


July 17, 2015

It’s been eight years today since I lost my husband. Eight long years. Part of me wants to cry and a few tears have already been shed. Will I ever get over it? I don’t know.

What I do know is that I am strong. He never coddled me. I hated handling the budget but he said I did a great job so why should he take it over? Because I hated it! He reminded me that he worked long hard hours to provide for us. The least I could do was disburse the money.

He taught me things about cars. No one will rip me off! And he taught me to stand on my feet. I’m standing!

They say most widows are broke in seven years no matter how much they are left. Um, left? What the heck is that? We were broke most of our married life. Has anything changed? No!

But the one thing he left me that is totally priceless is his belief in me and my writing. That belief has kept me going when I wanted to call it quits. It’s kept me writing and kept me pushing forward and following my dream.

I realize I had something that many people never will find. I had true love.  I had that incredible unconditional love.That doesn’t mean we never disagreed  because we did. It just means we managed to get over it. And most of the time it ended like this.

Are you still upset?


Are you going to kiss me goodnight?



You know it’s not fair to snuggle when I’m angry.

Yeah, I know.

You know I do love you.

Yeah. Do you still love me?

Of course.

Then why don’t you kiss me goodnight?

Because I’m still angry.

Okay. Just go to sleep. We both have to get up in the morning.

You know it’s not fair when you do that to me.

I know but I love you. Don’t ever forget it.

I’ve never forgotten it!

I’m at the Authors of Main Street’s Blog

July 6, 2015

Stop by and read about my love of coffee table books and how I used to them to lay the foundation for my daughter’s education.

See you there!

Remember when?

June 28, 2015

We’ve all seen those emails that say how we grew up in such a wonderful time, when kids played safely, didn’t get cooties from drinking water that didn’t come from a bottle, etc. Well, this was my response when some of that ‘remember when’ sort of stuff circulated on a loop with a bunch of authors. I’ve added to it and thought my blog readers might enjoy it.

I’ll preface this with I lived in the foothills so very hilly!

The swings at school were over asphalt. We learned to hold on!

I roller skated all over the place with no protection! I was an excellent skater and actually won some state competition as a junior champion. I was probably sixteen the first time I was really hurt while skating. Some sort of school function, a young child tripped and fell in front of me. I pushed my non-skating friends out of the child’s way and jumped the child, but that sent me into a wrought iron railing that I flipped over! I hurt my arm.  I helped the child off the rink floor. The rink put a sling on my arm and let me go back to skating. The child was fine! I went to the ER the next day.

I fell off my bike and scraped my knees. I have no memory of it but my mom said I lost my footing on the peddles when I was about three three years old and went flying down the hill until I fell off and scraped both knees. I could ride my sled down roads for over a mile before I had to drag it back up to the top again.  We learned not to shoot through an intersection with an oncoming car even if we were on ice! In the summer, I used a friend’s red wagon and we’d do that same sledding route except in a red wagon with no brakes. I walked a busy road for over a mile to get to my girlfriend’s house. I walked to school and often accepted rides on rainy days.  I drank from the hose. I hated the taste of that rubber hose and the hot water that came out of it. But if I went inside, I was usually forced to stay there. Some sort of water was better than nothing!

I played under the forsythia bush where no one could see me. At the age of eight, I was taught to use a rifle.  By the time end of summer, before I turned twelve, I had my junior or whatever they called it marksman and sharpshooter certificates from the NRA. Yet I grew up in a house where there were no guns. My dad had been raised on a farm, but I think he preferred not to think about how we got meat on our plates. He fed the wildlife around us and often took me to a friend’s farm so I could play with the piglets, etc.

Saturday morning was TV just for me! Sky King, Lone Ranger, Sea Hunt, I Love Lucy, Captain Kangaroo, Bullwinkle, Road Runner, Popeye, etc. I’d sneak out of bed and turn it on low and sit way too close according to my parents who were sure I’d die from some sort of radiation or ruin my sight. Maybe I sat close because I could see the tiny screen at that distance. I didn’t get glasses until I was about ten. (Guess what? I was near sighted!) As I got older there was American Bandstand, and Dark Shadows. My mom watched As the World Turns. Then there was Payton Place. Oh how risque!

I think it was too darn cold for any sandwich I might have carried to school to go bad! Sandwiches were wrapped in waxed paper and places in a paper bag! When I started school, the dairy was next door to the school. My milk was fresh from the cows. It came in small glass bottles. It wasn’t homogenized and probably wasn’t  pasteurized. When spring came and the grass turned green, so did the milk! Apparently cows love onion grass! I was thrilled when I discovered chocolate milk, it hid the green color but nothing disguised the taste of onion in the milk.

I hated PE or what we called gym in those days. The guys got to do all the fun stuff but not the girls! We had a horrid gym teacher and we slurred her German name into Outhouse. I’m sure she’s long dead! She was a total witch! We had stupid uniforms. They buttoned or the newer ones snapped snapped down the front and went to a full skirt with bloomers underneath. They were supposed to be gold – think putrid, mustard yellow except faded! They required ironing! If you did anything that had you upside-down, you had a skirt in your face!

In elementary school, I had a male gym teacher who got mad at me because I couldn’t swing the bat and hit a baseball. My neighborhood friends said to just hang tight and let them walk me to first base. (Seriously I couldn’t actually see that ball to hit it! But oh I could throw a baseball!) So this male teacher got angry because I wouldn’t swing at the ball. He decided that he’d throw the baseball (not softball or plastic Wiffle ball) and he hit me in the jaw. OMG! Blood poured from my mouth and my not so little temper flared! The neighborhood boys kept me from attacking the man.I think one of them tackled me because I had that bat in my hands and I knew how to swing it!

But after that, that male teacher steered clear of me. He knew I was p*ssed and knew he screwed up. I’m not sure my parents actually believed me when I said the gym teacher did it. If they had, he probably would have lost his job! I had a pretty black eye for days!

When I made it to HS, he was the assistant principal by then. If he came near me, I snarled at him. Oh, he knew! And I’ll admit it was fun to snarl and know I had something on him. To watch Mr. Super Stud cringe when you don’t weigh 100 pounds (seven stones) is quite heady. I really didn’t snarl that much. I’d just look at him and he’d look away.

My dad owned a Willy’s Jeep and he bought an Army surplus WWII airplane’s seat belt for it so he could strap me into the seat during the summer when he ran around with the top off and the doors off.  He was afraid I’d fall out! I promised I wouldn’t, but I truly think it was Mom’s idea to strap me in. Thinking back on that is enough to make me shudder! Even that little lap belt probably wasn’t enough to really protect me.

I went swimming/skinny dipping in the duck pond! Do you know what it’s like to swim in a duck pond? Let’s just say never put your feet on the bottom! There was several inches of duck poop down there to squish between your toes! It’s a wonder I didn’t get some horrible infection or whatever from that pond.

We’d Trick or Treat through the neighborhood and ate along our way . We knew which houses served hot chocolate or hot apple cider and freshly baked cookies! We planned our stops so we could warm up! Without fail, I swear we had our first serious hard freeze the week of Halloween! Okay, here I’ll admit we knew our neighbors and they were all good people! Most were parents of my friends or my sister’s or my brothers’. No one ever poisoned an apple or stuck needles in anything. That was unheard of in those days.

I played tennis in white PF Flyers. I never hurt my legs, ankles or feet. They were known as tennis shoes! Never used sun screen and I turned so darn dark. If it weren’t for my white hair, I think my mom would have disowned me. :-) It was her German blood that probably protected me from the sun. Even after my hair darkened to a brown, I still would tan until I was a dark mahogany color.  So far no skin cancer and I can only remember ever getting seriously burned twice, once in Miami and once in Hawaii. Otherwise it was pink in the evening and I’d wake up brown. Everyone else fried!

I had red measles, black measles, whooping cough, chicken pox, mumps, strep throat, etc. There were no vaccinations for them. My brother had polio so when that vaccine came out my mom marched me to the doctor to be vaccinated. I had a shot, then a few years later, the sugar cubes. Then they gave the cubes to everyone at school so I took it again! I’ve been vaccinated for small pox and a variety of diseases because we traveled abroad.  If I got a fever, I stayed in bed! Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem about the Land of Counterpane meant something to me. My mom gave me aspirin to break the fever. But through all of it I was raised on Adele Davis nutrition. I’m glad I was. I grew up knowing more about foods than most people.

Soda and juice were treats! I drank milk, tea, or water! And it wasn’t sweet iced tea! It had a touch of sugar in it. In the summer, Mom would make two gallons and it had three tablespoons of sugar in those two gallons. I thought that was sweet.  My dad carried a gallon of it to work and often turned over the salt shaker and generously sprinkled it with salt when it was really hot.  Sunday dinner or any important meal came with wine. I drank it, too.

By the time I was was ten, I was using the ride-on lawnmower. Afterwards, my dad and I would have a beer. Drinking never thrilled me. I can remember teen kids getting excited because they’d get their hands on a six-pack. I could have fixed anything I wanted at any time growing up. But I didn’t. I never understood getting drunk or the excitement over alcohol. I’d get the brilliant idea to fix a pitcher of beer and lemonade and no one said a thing.

I could ride the miles of bridle paths on private property, but I was told if I used them, I had to be responsible and take care of them. That meant clearing branches after a storm, etc. My girlfriend’s mom got the idea one summer that we needed to plant more bulbs along the paths so she ordered bulbs from Holland. (No it wasn’t their land either. But for any of us who rode, we just did things!) For a solid week, we planted bulbs.

I’ve been stepped on, head butted, had a saddle come loose and wound up under the horse, but never actually thrown or kicked. I owned a that black velvet over steel riding cap that was supposed to protect my head. Mostly it protected the top shelf of my closet.  (I also ice skated without a helmet.)

I was driving on the road when I was fourteen, legal age was 16, but my dad had me driving that old Willy’s Jeep. He wanted me to have plenty of road time before I got my license. I had a car before I had my driver’s license. And the day I turned 16, there was snow and ice on the ground. I passed my test with flying colors.

At fourteen, I lived through a crash landing of an airplane/big jet. No landing gear! It was exciting. I was unsinkable! Maybe I still am. I hope I am!

I don’t regret  my childhood or any of the things that I did, including the time I took a bolt of oilcloth from my neighbor’s burn pile.  I knew my Girl Scout troop could make sit-a-pons with it. But oh did I get in trouble for stealing! Really? Off their burn pile? I was forced to take it back, knock on their door, and apologize. My parents scared me to the point I thought I’d go to hell over it. The darn bolt was heavy. At least the neighbors were nice about it and told my father they had tossed it out. They only worried about me climbing on that pile and getting hurt. They suggested that the next time I ask for one of them to get whatever for me. I was allowed to keep the oilcloth. My parents made mistakes and I knew it! That’s a story in itself!

Maybe it was a different time back then, but I really don’t think so. My mother had been raised by a butcher and kept a kosher kitchen. We had a bread board for slicing bread. You didn’t cut anything but bread on that board!  She had a stone board and a wooden board for dough. She had different knives for different things. I knew which one was which. Beef was cut on this, chicken on that, pork on another.

I hated the smell of bleach, but I knew it meant clean. It was used freely. So was Lysol. I didn’t share food or drinks. My mom was a germ freak. She’d lost a sister to diphtheria and my brother had polio. If we were sick, our dishes were separated from the general household and washed with bleach. If my crew was sick, I’d add bleach to the dishwasher. Okay, I’m a germ freak, just ask my children. They will roll their eyes and tell you about it.

Am I wacko?  Yes. Well, maybe not. According to a friend and psychologist, I’m not. Being a compulsive hand washer is a good thing, as is a germ freak. Hmm.

They say we eat a peck of dirt in our lifetime. I think I’ve eaten bushels of it. I loved the garden, and mud pies just called to me! Whenever my dad had a chance, he’d bring me a bucket of concrete. I could make concrete pies and I’d leave my hand print in them. Some even had a dog’s paw print! (My dog must have really loved me.) Dad used to put them in the garden. I’m sure there are a few hundred of them buried all over that property.

I made my granddaughter use a helmet and padding to ride a bike. (Never told her that I used to jump fences with my horse while bareback. But that was my life not her life. I was very protective of hers.) Yes, we know more now.

Does that mean we did anything wrong back then?  Of course we did, but no one knew it! Mandatory seat belts is a new thing, relatively speaking, but I grew up wearing one. I can’t imagine driving without one. Yet as a small child, I used to curl up in the back window of the car and watch the moon and the stars. There was no DVD player. I looked out the windows! I saw the United States and Canada!

Yes, I saw things. I saw chain gangs and whites only signs. I saw things I didn’t understand and to this day make no sense. I learned about life along the way. I knew what it meant to respect someone one, and I knew what it meant to at least act as though I did. I also learned to take a stand and stand up for what I believe is right. Life wasn’t black or white. It was shades of gray and it still is.

I was born of privilege and it was drummed into me that I should never take advantage of it. I was taught to give back and play fair. But I was allowed to play and get dirty. My childhood was a mixed bag. To some extent, I was a normal child who did all the normal things.  On the flip side, I did things that other people only dream about. And I lived through some real nightmarish situations. No one ever said dysfunctional family back then, but I think they used mine to to set the bar. The events are there and I try not to think about them.

By the time I was thirteen, I took the bull by the horns and often became the only “adult” in the family. That also tossed me into the thick of things and set me at odds with my dad, which created even more problems for me. It took me a long time to realize that my insecurities as a child were the result of the instability within my family.  Escape for me was found in books and that set the pattern that has kept me reading for my entire life. The difference is I no longer have to sneak out of the house and sit under the forsythia bush to do it.

Do you remember when?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 87 other followers