Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hang On Sloopy

Drone view of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

It has begun, the annual assault onslaught of coastal Sussex County Delaware. Yes folks, our Summertime Visitors are and have arrived with a vengeance.  Of course the 80 degree plus sunny clear skies weather has released this damn dam of summertime visitors. 

I think I see friends there in the upper right corner under the orange beach umbrella!

Hey folks, who am I to complain? We don't make anything here on the east coast of Sussex County.  At least the Sussex County natives who live more inland raise chickens and farm crops for a living.  There are no steel mills (never were) or furniture factories around here.  Back in a previous life, the natives here on the eastern shores of Rehoboth Beach, Lewes and Milton eked out a living fishing and making Mother of Pearl buttons by punching out old oyster shells.  But those days are long gone folks, only to be seen in black and white photos in big picture books at the various historical society buildings in Lewes and Milton which very few people ever enter those doors (Bill and I being the exception).  

Folks, this annual influcks influx of flip flop wearing, tank topped attired, free spending folks from northern Delaware, and the surrounding states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey (a lot since Hurricane Sandy) and the District of Columbia (we call them "D.C.") IS our economy.  

We are a service orientated economy.  Those folks are our lifeblood.  Without them we would be just another musty, sleepy fishing village with a lot of memories.  

Works for me

Instead, we're a vibrant, traffic congested, over priced restaurants, salt water taffy eating, feed-the-seagulls Thrashers French fries community.  That said, we locals will now stay away from Rehoboth Beach until after Labor Day.  

Touristias?  It's all yours.  Open those wallets and spend freely and try not to hit any of us locals as you speed down Route One towards your hot sands beach destination of the Atlantic Ocean.  

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Here Comes the Sun

Summer has finally arrived her in southern Delaware. The sun and warm (80 degrees plus) arrived yesterday just in time for Memorial Day Weekend, and the flood of summertime fun seekers here at Rehoboth Beach Delaware.  This is the time of year, Memorial Day, where we locals (that would be me) avoid Route One and Rehoboth Beach.  We turn over the sun, sand and sea to our welcome visitors who keep our local economy going at a furious rate.

So what is this blog posting about?  A little bit of everything so fasten your seatbelt because I'll be careening and detouring all over the place.

My tongue is still sore but much better after my oral surgery on Tuesday.  It wasn't easy keeping my mouth shut for a full twenty-four hours. I didn't and couldn't go for the full recommended thirty-six hours.  The hardest part about my "recovery" was not eating my usual food.  I don't eat a whole lot but I am a creature of habit and I hate to veer from my old man habits.

I wasn't supposed to talk but yesterday morning, during my walk, I passed my neighbor who was sitting on her front stoop and I said "Good morning! Nice sun!"  Whoops!  I talked!  And my mouth (tongue) didn't start bleeding.  Good thing because I was expecting a local contractor over to replace my kitchen sink faucet.  Now I could talk to him instead of doing my lame Harpo Marx impersonation.

Our Backyard Rabbit who lives under our garden shed and eats my new flowers, every year.  Oh where is that fox when you need one?

By the way, my new kitchen sink faucet, which looks chrome is plastic.  What's with that?  Businesses cheapening up things again?  

With the sun out yesterday, I attacked my mulch piles which has been patiently laying beside my garden shed.  I think I over did myself because at around 9:30 last night, while doing my Scrabble boards on Facebook, I just ran out of gas.  I couldn't do anymore.  I was totally physically exhausted.  I didn't even have enough energy to take a shower.  Right to bed I went only to be awaken by the power going off about an hour after I was in deep rim. 

A house in our neighborhood in which no one has ever lived since we moved here in 2006.  Their backyard has gone au natural.  Actually their yard is interesting, sort of reminds me of prairie grass in the Midwest. I half expect to see bison roaming during one of my morning walks in which I pass this property in which no one has ever lived.  

 I have to go to sleep with white noise, which is supplied by one of those room filters which sounds like an airplane hanger.  Hey, noisy but that sound sends me to La La Land. So the power goes off and I'm wide awake.  The only sounds I hear are the occasional vehicle speeding down Route One. That sound doesn't put me to sleep, only annoys me.  The power finally came back on an hour later and I was off to Dreamland again.  And yes, I had a very intense dream but, of course, I can't remember it now.  What's with that?

My refurbished bike is ready.  I've arranged with my neighbor Bob to take me down to Lewes tomorrow in his pickup truck so I can bring that baby home.  That expensive baby.  I'm looking forward to breezing around the neighborhood on my new wheels. 

So what do I have planned for this Memorial Day weekend?  Just hanging around the house here folks, vegging out.  No way am I going to "the beach."  

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Medical Update

At the oral surgeon's office this morning before my appointment. My mouth is shut now for the next 36 hours. Probably the first time in my life I won't make a sound for that long. Hallelujah.

Good morning folks. I just returned from having oral surgery on this fine, sunny day. Finally we got a day without rain and here I am visiting yet another doctor, an oral surgeon this time.   This is payback for all those times I teased my Mother during the last years of her life that her life was nothing but a series of doctor's visits.  Here I am folks, yet another doctor to add to my list of doctors who are trying to keep this old (74) body together for a few more years of fabulous times.

So what happened folks that caused me to see an oral surgeon?  Well, here's the deal.  A few weeks ago during my routine dental visit, my dentist noticed a white spot under the right side of my tongue.  He suggested that I might want to see an oral surgeon to have a biopsy taken.  And of course what goes unsaid but you all understand the implication . . . . cancer.

So this morning at 11 am I traveled yet again down treacherous Route One, looking for yet another doctor's office.  I'm losing track folks of the doctors I've seen since I've "retired to Delaware."  

I found his office without too much trouble, it was nearby the Giant supermarket.  

Fast forward, the good doctor examined the white spot beneath my tongue and suggested taking a biopsy just to rule out cancer.  However, he needed my permission. I could do it later or this morning.  I thought about it for about thirty seconds and opted for NOW.  

After signing all the papers (liability issues), I got the needle in my tongue to numb the area where he was going to cut (cauterize) the affected area of my tongue.  As you can imagine the needle didn't feel too good.  As a matter of fact, it was quite painful but that seems to be my lot in life now as I enter my Twilight Years. Painful procedures.  Tortuous, painful prep for painful, uncomfortable, inconvenient procedures.

The taking of the biopsy didn't take too long.  I didn't feel a thing actually.  In fact, may tongue is still numb but I know that once the anesthesia wears off I'll be in more pain.  Welcome to my world.

Now here's the good thing, depending on your perspective, I cannot talk for twenty-four to thirty- six hours.  I have to keep my tongue perfectly still. Now you know me not talking if going to be painful to ME, Chatty Cathy that I am.  

Another directive is that I eat NOTHING but soft, cold foods for the first twenty-four hours.  The second twenty-four hours I can eat soft, warm food.  Looks I'm eating smoothies today and warm soup tomorrow. And he and his assistant were very clear that I was to eat nothing hot or spicy.  And folks, you know I like hot and spicy food (just like my men) so you know this is going to be a major sacrifice for me.  I don't know which is worse, not talking or not eating my hot and spicy.  One thing is for sure, someone I know around here (Bill) is going to get a major break.  

So there we go folks. My latest medical adventure. I was sort of hoping for a break (no pun intended, please no more "breaks" - thinking of my new bicycle that I have to pick up).  

One day at a time folks. One day at a time.  At least it's stopped raining as attested by my new banner photo taken of my backyard this morning. 

Have a great day folks!  And if you're in good health, thank your lucky stars!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Ron Buys a Bicycle

Me after purchasing a new bike from my neighbor Pete H.

Again folks, I apologize for being remiss in not posting timely blog postings.  My lame excuse is that I'm just so preoccupied with yard work (which I love), playing online Scrabble (which I also love), taking naps (which I really love) and just coasting along.  But just because I haven't been posting doesn't mean my fabulous life here in southern Delaware has slowed down.  Oh no, not one bit folks.  Not one bit.

The latest is that I bought a bike.  Yep, the old man here bought a bike.  

Me riding a bike for the first time in thirty-six years - I can still do it!  Riding a bike is like having sex, you never forget how to do it (or is it the other way around?)

The last time I had a bike was when I lived in Philadelphia.  I didn't have a car (Bill provided that transportation) but I did have a cool bike which I used often, primarily to ride around Kelly Drive by the Art Museum.

Me on my bike September 1, 1974 Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Art Museum area

When we moved out of Philly in 1980 to East Brandywine Township outside of Downingtown, a suburb 37 miles west of Philadelphia, I no longer had the use of a bike.  I sold my trusty bike to my former boss Bill Price. Yep, that bike lived on for many years.

Me filling my bicycle tires up with air prior to my Kelly Drive, Philadelphia, PA ride September 1, 1974 - oh but I can't bend my legs like that now!

So let's do a little calculation here.  I moved out of Philly in 1980 and this is 2016.  According to my calculations that's 36 years since I've had a bike.  Well, first thing:  WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?   Are you kidding me?  Thirty-six years?  Wow.  Time does really fly when you're having fun.  Not that the past thirty-six years has been ALL fun but it certainly has been interesting.

Me in Provincetown, Mass with my rented bike with a basket - yes a basket needed for those visits to the local grocery store - I rented an apartment during my summer stays in Provinctown

For the past few years I've been considering getting a bike again.  Just for the freedom of feeling fresh air caressing my old weathered face.  Old man riding a bike.  Watch out!

What kind of bike to get?  Where would I get it?  How would I get it back here?  

Well, that question was answered when I saw an e-mail from our neighborhood e-mail group.  One of my neighbors was offering his bike for sale:

He posted his phone number.  I called and expressed interest.  By the way, "$500 new"?  Is that what bikes cost these days?  Man oh man, I think I bought my paper boy bike for $39 back in 1954.  Of course $39 was a LOT of money back then but wow, $500 is a LOT today for a bike.

The next day, during a break in our spring monsoon rains, I walked over to my neighbor's place.  He was just around the corner from where I live.  How convenient.

"Pete", my neighbor opened his garage door and took the bike off the wall.  He said he couldn't use this bike anymore because of his enlarged prostrate and the seat was too high.  He needed a smaller bike.  I wasn't sure about the price of $200 (I'm a lousy bargainer folks).  I said I wanted to get the bike checked out at the local bike shop before I made a decision.  Pete immediately dropped the price to $100 "as is."  He said the difference should "take care of the tuneup and anything else." Well, I'm no dummy so I accepted his $100 price immediately.  

I then asked if I could take the bike for a test drive.  First time in thirty-six years folks that my butt is placed on one of those skinny bike seat.  Would I know how to drive a bike?  Well, you know what they say, "you always remember how to ride a bike" and I did folks.  Wow, how refreshing it was to ride that bike.  I did have a concern about the twenty-one gears but my Travel Buddy Pat assured me "that will come naturally."  But I'm telling you folks, I did like the ride.  Just have to be careful about the family jewels when hopping on the bike seat and yes, I did have an "accident" once way back in my paper boy days when I wasn't paying attention and hopped on my bicycle and . . . . well, my fellow males will understand what I'm talking about.  I saw stars that day folks.  Stars that I'll never forget. 

Me riding my first bike Boot Road, Downingtown, PA 1954 - my "Paper Boy" bike - me and that bike covered a lot of miles delivering the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin and the West Chester Daily Local News - Sunday deliveries were the toughest

I wrote out a check for $100 to Pete and left with my new bike.  

Now I had to arrange to have a tuneup and get fenders on this bike.  I don't want that mud slapping up my back when I ride my bike on a wet day.  Been there, done that.  

My kind and generous neighbor Bob M. took me and my new bike down to the Lewes Bicycle shop in his pick up truck.  No, I wasn't going to ride my bike down to Lewes and it wouldn't fit in the back of my Subaru Forester.  

At the Lewes Bicycle Shop (pictured in the blog banner on this posting), I told Glenn that I needed a tuneup, new fenders, a back rack, headlights and a tail light reflector.  Guess what?  That will come to over $200.  Hmmmm.  Now I'm think maybe I should have just bought a brand new bicycle in Glenn's shop.  He had several, bright and shiny new colorful bikes on display.  And you know me, I like NEW.  Oh well, I'm committed now to my "previously owned" bike.  I'm ready to embark on a whole series of adventures with the new worlds that are now open to me with the freedom of riding my new bike.  Yippee!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Susie Q - Memories of a 50's Teenager

Susie Cannell and Ron Tipton - 1959 Bucktown Pennsylvania - Official Owen J. Roberts High School Prom picture (her prom)

Time for another trip down Memory Lane folks. (Note: in the banner photo - I'm sixth from the left in the back row - Sophomore class photo taken 1956 Downingtown High School, Pennsylvania, and by the way folks, I can still identify EVERYONE in that Sophomore photo! How sad is that?)

This morning I read a long blog post from my longtime good friend (65 years and counting) Larry Meredith.  

I met Larry in third grade when we were both ten years old.  Larry had just outed me in our third grade teacher's class (Miss Ezrah) as having plagiarized a book report for a Scrooge McDuck comic book.  Yes folks, even at the tender age of ten years old, I was already a manipulator. 

I was giving the book report in front of the class when Larry, unprompted, said "I read that story in my Scrooge McDuck comic book!"  

Me, third grade photo - already a Little Manipulator

I didn't remember this particular incident until Larry recounted it in one of his blog entries.  But what happened afterwards sounded exactly like something I would do.  Larry was worried that I would beat him up at recess because he exposed my source for my book report.  Larry said I approached him at recess and said "You have Scrooge McDuck comic books?"  Now that sounded like something I would do.  Every the opportunist, I had just found a fellow comic book collector.  I asked him "Do you want to trade comic books?"  Thus we began a long friendship that has lasted even to this day.  Oh sure, during the intervening sixty-five years there were gaps in which we didn't see each other for years, as is the case with all of us when life goes on.  But from 3rd grade until I graduated from high school, Larry and I were best friends.  We were especially close from 3rd grade until 9th grade when his family moved away from Downingtown.  But even then we stayed in contact and double dated.  

And this leads me up to the subject of today's blog posting - "Suzie Q".  The "Suzie" is the young lady with whom I have my arm draped around rather reluctantly in our official high school 1959 Prom Date picture.  This is the photo that has appeared at the end of this blog for years and which many of you have probably wondered what the history is of that photo.  Okay, maybe most of you haven't wondered but I'm going to tell the story anyway with the help of Larry's latest blog posting.  

Larry's sketch of me - 1959

A little background first on Larry's blog posting.  He first writes about a double date I had arranged with him and a fellow band member of mine at Downingtown High School.  More manipulation by me in securing a car ride because I didn't have a car.  By the way, nothing much has changed over the years.  Remember my stay last week in Philly?  Pat rented a car to pick me up here in Delaware for the ride to Philly.  And Larry picked me up in Philly to return me to Delaware.  If nothing else I'm consistent not only in securing car rides but clever manipulation.  Even after all these years.  But I digress.  Back to the story I've been teasing for numerous paragraphs now.  By the way, this is a long blog.  Lots of words from me and even more from Lar.  Like me, Lar can be and is quite verbose but he does write well.  So hang in there for a good story for the adventures of a couple of 50's teenagers embarking on their romantic adventures.  By the way, Larry is straight and I am gay but of course back in that day Larry didn't know of my sexual proclivities.  Heck, I didn't either except that I knew I was DIFFERENT.  Sure, I went to the Senior Prom but I was looking at the guys.  And funny thing, I thought I was the only one who was DIFFERENT.  Hard to believe in this day of no privacy and everyone's innermost feelings exposed for all the world but back in the Fifties, "gay" wasn't even applied to my "condition."  I was a HOMOSEXUAL.  Which I equated with dirty old men spying on other men in public urinals and I knew I wasn't ONE OF THEM.  So I was unique, a good boy who was turned on by some members of my own sex.  And no, Larry wasn't one of them.  Larry and I were just friends.  Contrary to what some straight people think, not all gay men (or women for that matter) are attract to ALL members of their own sex.  But I'm going on way too long this morning. 

Me - 1951 at a fishing rodeo - which I won!

So what I'm going to do now is post part of Larry's blog recounting our mutual teenage dating history up to me taking his classmate Suzie Cannell to her and Larry's Senior Prom.  

From No Sparks and a Bitten thumb to Sparks Gone Wild

I had my first date with Peggy Whitely for the Junior Prom on April 25, 1958. By the end of that school year, sometime in early June, I pinned her. Now don’t misconstrue that expression. There was nothing untoward about it. I said pinned, not nailed. For the younger folk out there who may not be familiar with this practice, it meant you gave a girl your school pin and you became a steady couple (in college it would be his fraternity pin). This was kind of a prelude to giving the girl your class ring, which we didn’t have yet, to hang about her neck as a symbol that she was yours. Now I can hear the chorus of Women Libbers out there booing and hissing, Well, get over it, this was a custom nearly 60 years ago and that is what the heck pinning symbolized, like it or not.
We continued dating all summer into the fall of our senior year. Peggy was a horsewoman and I went to horse shows with her, including the big one at Ludwig’s Corner on Labor Day. She rode in some of the ring events,  but didn’t win any place ribbons.

We bowled, played miniature golf, danced, roller skated, went to the movies and went  somewhere every week, usually several times each week, but through all that time I had only kissed her good night. I realized partly that was my lack of aggression and partly my shyness, but the truth was there was no magic there. Peggy and I got along. We enjoyed the times we spent together and we had no difficulty talking.But that's a friendship, not a love affair.
Our relationship jumped the shark on a double date with Richard Wilson at the Exton Drive-in.
I suppose I must describe what a Drive-in was. I’m not certain anyone of Millennial age or younger is familiar with the phenomena. They were very popular in my youth and there were many, many around. Today they have practically disappeared from the scene. A Drive-in was a movie theater without the theater. There was a field made into a parking lot. The parking spaces slanted up on mounts of packed earth or concrete. At the front of the lot was a giant movie screen. In the middle of the lot was a small building. Inside were the projection room, restrooms and usually a refreshment stand. You could buy popcorn, hotdogs, hamburgers, fries, candy, soda and several other edible items at an inflated price. You carried your purchase to your car in a cardboard box. One of the pathetic sights at a Drive-in was some poor soul, loaded down with his refreshments, wandering aimlessly about because he forgot where he parked. They would project ads for the refreshment stand during intermission. We always laughed at the poor construction of one message. 
“Our restrooms are located in the center of the field. Please join the folks chatting and chewing…”
There was a pole with a speaker at each parking space. You took the speaker off the pole and hung it over the glass of a side window. This was how you heard the voices of the actors on the screen. The beauty of the Drive-in was the privacy. You could talk if you wished. A family could bring the kids knowing they wouldn’t disturb anyone around them if they fidgeted or fussed. Teenagers favored it as a great make-out spot. My friends and I went to the Drive-in a lot, especially to the Exton and The 202 south of West Chester. Both are gone now.

I drove on this double date, naturally. Once the movie began Richard and his date disappeared from my mirror’s view somewhere in the back seat. They were “smooching”, “petting”, “making out” and going at it “hot and heavy”. Peggy and I were watching the film. She had moved over against me. I put my arm around her shoulder.
And she bit my thumb.
She bit hard. 
I yanked my arm back from around her and we watched the rest of the movie sitting apart in silence. I knew this relationship was doomed from that moment. It was ridiculous. We had been going steady for five months and she is going to bite my hand because I put an arm around her? I wasn’t going to do anything else. I wasn’t going to put my hand anywhere it didn’t belong.

It wasn’t very long after the night of the teeth-marked thumb that  I got a phone call from Ronald Tipton. He informed me there was a dance coming at Downingtown.
“I think we should double date,” he said.
“We can’t,” I said. “Downingtown doesn’t allow students from other schools in.”
“It does if they are dates of the opposite sex.”
“So,” says Ronald, “I take Peggy in as my guest and my date takes you in as a guest and we switch inside.”
That would work, so I told him to made the arrangments.
Peggy and I picked Ronald up on the night of the dance. He directed me to his date’s home in a nicer section of the Downingtown Westside. We walk up and knock on the door. Her father lets us in. He is wearing a smoking jacket. Other than Mr. Meisel, I hadn’t ever seen anyone outside the movies wearing a smoking jacket about the house. The living room was rather ornately furnished. There was a piano in one corner, not an upright either, a grand piano. It was not a huge house and the piano dominated. Her mother arose from a chair; perhaps you could describe it as flowing up from her seat. She wore a flower print dress. Finally Their daughter made her appearance in the room and Ronald introduced her as Carmella.
After some chitchat with the parents, we left. As we headed to me car Peggy took my one elbow and Carmella took my other. 
At the car, Carmella jumps quickly into the front seat first. I shrug. Ronald and Peggy slip in the back and then I get in the Driver’s Side. It was a short drive before we arrived and parked at the high school and got out. I pulled Ron aside and asked what’s going on. He says it is all right, we have to look as if Carmella is my date. I should walk in with Carmella and he with Peggy until after we get inside and then we’ll switch around as planned.
Only inside the switch doesn’t happen. Peggy sits down next to me and so does Carmella on the other side. I now understand that for whatever reason Carmella thinks I am her date.
And I am about to do another bad thing.
Carmella is quite the contrast to Peggy. She is dark to Peggy’s 
light. Peggy is a blond with pale skin and blue eyes. Carmella’s skin is very tan, her hair almost black and her eyes brown. This girl captivated me. I pay more attention to her during the evening than Peggy. I do nothing to convince Carmella she is Ronald’s date. I dance with her more and I talk to her more and I have feelings toward her I never felt for Peggy.
It is not a fun drive from Downingtown to Bucktown that night. It was a wonder ice didn’t form on my windows. Peggy doesn’t speak. She leans against the passenger door looking angrily straight ahead. She runs from the car into her house when I drop her off. My dating of Peggy has ended. 
My dating of Carmella Cressman or Carmella Baxter has begun. She was a mysterious girl with two last names and I never did figure out which was the right one. I assume she was the daughter of the woman in the print dress for there seemed to be a similarity to their features, certainly their hair. She might have had a different father than the man in the smoking jacket that greeted us. Her mother probably remarried, but did she marry Cressman or Baxter first? You can see some resemblance between the daughter and mother. The Philadelphia Orchestra or the Academy of Music employed her father in some capacity. There was usually classical music playing in the home when I picked her up. That first night they had “The Voice of Firestone” on the TV. The Baxters or the Cressmans or whomever were very formal and genteel.
Carmella is warm to Peggy’s ice. I like her very much. I find her beautiful. I believe from the get-go this relationship will last longer and with more fire than my time with Peggy. And it might have if I had not made a fatal mistake. I decided to show her off to Richard.
No, Richard did not steal her away.
I was cruising around with Richard. I am not sure anymore why we had come all the way to Downingtown, but it wasn’t an unusual destination for us. Since we were in the area I asked if he wanted to meet Carmella. I drove to her house and we went to the door. Her dad welcomed us inside. I introduced Richard and we were standing about chatting when Richard used some course language. These were not the type of words that a teenager used in front of proper gentlemen and ladies in the 1950s. I didn’t think it appropriate, but didn’t think it got a lot of notice at the moment it happened. 
Well, I was wrong. Although nothing had been mentioned that evening it was given a lot of notice. The next time I called up Carmella to ask if she wanted to go out, she told me her parents didn’t want her seeing me anymore.
Well, thank you, Richard!
I don’t know if Richard felt bad about what happened or not. It may have been his way to make it up to me when he arranged a date with his cousin. Pamela Wilson was the daughter of Ardell Wilson, Elmer’s brother and thus Richard’s uncle. Pamela was a girl that boys turned around to look at. She was considered beautiful. Not only did she look like a model, she had the grace of one. She was younger than me, but sophisticated. She had a sense of humor and she was truly fun to be around. In more recent vernacular, she was “eye candy”.
During this same period I was carrying on a correspondence with two girls whose address I got from Ronald Tipton, Dotti Juris in Philadelphia and Linda Wood in Canada. I am using that word in the present sense, as a written communication between individuals, not in the snickering sense of dear Miss Hurloch of its meaning in the 19th century.
I began dating Pam steadily and would do so the rest of the year, but in the spring of 1959 it got complicated because Suzy also entered my life.
I had known Suzy Cannell since I came to NORCO, I guess. For most of that time she was dating one of my friends, Jon Harris. Because he was short and she was shorter they got that cutest couple tag. They had been going steady since Tenth Grade or maybe forever. But during the spring of 1959 something went sour between them. I never really found out what caused the rift. I only know that one day Suzy and I were sitting near each other and she was crying and the next thing I knew she was crying on my shoulder. In the time it takes to wipe away a tear I found myself dating both Pamela and Suzy.
There are people you like and there are people you really like. I liked Pam and she was very pretty, and it was always uplifting to walk into a room with her on my arm, but Suzy touched something deeper in me. Pam was tall; Suzy was short, under five foot. Pam was beautiful; Suzy was cute. Pam was stylish and pleasant; Suzy was always smiling and was adventurous. She was a risk-taker.
Suzy was already a pilot. She had a license and flew a Cessna out of Pottsgrove Airport whenever she could. That was one of our primary activities, flying on Saturday morning. Since she was only 17 she had to have an adult pilot with her when she flew. There were always three of us in the plane. 

At first I wasn’t sure about this aspect of our going out. I was afraid of height, now I was on a runway in this tiny plane about to go higher than I had ever been. I was in the rear set. I could see the prop spinning as the plane gained speed down the runway. It was like a wavy yellow line. The plane rose and I gripped the edge of my seat tightly. It is a wonder I didn’t pull out the stuffing. I peeked out the side window and I when I saw the wheel below hanging over nothing I felt fear in the pit of my stomach. I found if I stared ahead I lost that terror. I stared straight ahead.
After the initial flight I came to relax more, although not totally. Still, I liked being in the air with her, even if we weren’t completely alone. It proved to be a good thing we weren’t.
One Saturday she flew south. She was following the Pottstown Pike, which was like a black, tangled ribbon dropped below us. We were past the area of Pughtown and there was nothing beneath us now but trees. Suzy took the plane into a 180-degree bank. She went into it too sharp or something. The engine conked out. Now we were simply coasting on a slight downward path over all those far away trees, which were getting less far away by the minute.
Suzy was bouncing about throwing switches and so was the co-pilot. They got the engine started again and we flew directly back to the airport. Suzy stepped off the plane and threw up on the tarmac.
Next Saturday we were flying again.

The Senior Prom was on the horizon. I had already asked Pamela, but now Suzy wanted to go as well. I decided Ronald Tipton owed me for that mix up with Carmella and Peggy. I called him and asked if he would please take Suzy to my Prom. He agreed, but explained he had a school band concert the same night. He played the Sousaphone. He said the concert would be over by eight thirty and since the Prom didn’t start until nine it shouldn’t be a problem. I figured we could make it from Downingtown to Owen J. in a half hour certainly the way I drove in those days. I once drove from South West Chester to my home in Bucktown, a distance of 23 miles, in 18 minutes. That was an average just under 77 miles per hour. In those days those were mostly 2 land macadam roads, not super highways, plus I had to stop for lights. Pamela’s house was approximately 13 miles from Downingtown’s high school. Surely I could make 13 miles in a half hour.

I went to Downingtown to pick up Ronald. Eight thirty came, but the band played on. I was pacing the floor of the hallway. We were going to be late. It was nine o’clock and finally the band finished up with one last cymbal crash and Ron came out. He had to put his horn away and change into his tux. We got that out of the way and I rushed him out the door. We still had to pick up Suzy and then Pam. I was frantic. They were going to think we stood them up on prom night. As it was we were over an hour late getting to the dance, but everybody seemed to have a good time, maybe all except Ron. He was a little uncomfortable dancing cheek to belly button.
Ron was six foot four and Suzy was four foot eleven. Does this look like a guy comfortable with his date? Or he may have been uncomfortable because of other secrets he was carrying.
There was a post prom party we attended and when that ended sometime around 2:00 AM  we joined some others from my class and went bowling in Reading. There we were in the wee hours of the morning with the girls bowling in their gowns and we in our tux. We certainly brought elegance to the lanes. It was after dawn when we got the girls home. I didn’t get back from dropping Ronald off until 7:00 AM. 

I suppose it was that it was fated for Jon and Suzy to be the cutest couple. She and he made up after the prom was over and she went back to being his steady before the year ended. I continued dating Pamela well into the summer after graduation. 

Suzy and Jon did not get married. This was a high school romance that went no further. By the fifth reunion Jon was single and at helicopter school. For a while he was married to a Sue D. He must have liked the name Susan, and then later he was married to Patricia Weil and has 1 son and 3 daughters. Beyond 1994 I don’t know too much, except he is still alive and well and living in Florida.
Five years out of OJR, Suzy was married to Albert Boerner, Jr. with two children. Albert was out of the picture and Suzy was married to Gary Mahr with three children by the tenth reunion. Her adventurous spirit continued into adulthood. She took up motorcycles. One day she hit something on a ride that flipped her Harley and she suffered several serious injuries, including some damage to her nerves. She gradually recovered from her injuries.
She passed away in August of 2014. Here is her obituary from the Pottstown Merury.
Susan J. (Cannell) Mahr, 73, of Pottstown, wife of Gary L. Mahr, passed away on Saturday at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center.
Born in Pottstown, PA, she was a daughter of the late George Cannell and the late Violet (Groff) Cannell.
Susan was a graduate of Owen J. Roberts.
Susan was a member of Berean Bible Church, Christian Motorcycle Association, and was a notary & pilot.
Surviving beside her husband are two sons, Cale S. Mahr and his wife Bernadette, Sanatoga, David S. Bonerner and his wife Penny, Reading; two daughters Heidi S. wife of Craig Stout, Boyertown, Wendy L. wife of Tom Brynan, Phoenixville; a sister Patricia Laverty, Pottstown; nine grandchildren, and one great granddaughter. - 

In 2001, I combined Suzy’s flying and motorcycle accident, Jon helicopter pilot pursuits, Dick Kuntzleman’s family bar and Lane Keene’s hunting accident in to a story called, “Pour Out My Life at the Old German Tavern”.

My high school graduation was on June 2, 1959. I was 17 years old. Our class sat down the toward front of the auditorium until our individual names was called. Then we went up steps on the right of the stage, crossed to the middle to receive our diploma and exited down the steps on the left side. There were speakers around the stage and other equipment. One of the early recipients tripped on the cables starting across the stage and everyone who passed that spot afterward caused a fountain of sparks to shoot upward. Fireworks for my final day just seemed appropriate.

At our fifth class reunion I went to the bar to gets drinks for my wife and I. There was a studding blond sitting on a stool. She was wearing a black dress that barely covered her curvaceous body, and as they said about a character on Seinfeld, “they were spectacular!” I ordered my drinks and nodded at her. She smiled and said, “Hello, Larry.”
I turned and stared at her.
“You don’t know who I am, do you?” she said.
I shook my head.
“I’m Peggy.”

I guess that was her form of revenge.

Larry with his wife Lois - photo taken this past Monday, May 9th after Larry carted my behind from my stay in Philly - Larry and Lois have been married 54 years - he found his princess

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Rain, Rain Go Away

  Hey folks, I'm back! After spending a rain soaked week in Philadelphia, PA, I'm back home here in southern Delaware and it is STILL raining.  OMG! We've had enough rain already!

The banner photo at the top of this blog is of Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I took it this past Sunday, Mother's Day, one of the rare days that we had a splash of sunshine during our weeklong stay in Philly.  The short video at the beginning of this post was taken about a half an hour ago from our garage door.  Yep, it's still raining. Nice to take a nap but come on folks, we do need a little shine just like we need a little Christmas.

Pat and his mixed berry smoothie at The Marathon Grill at 19th and Spruce Streets

So how was our (me and Pat) stay in Philly?  Fabulous or as Donald Trump (he of the limited vocabulary) says:  "Fantastic!"  Yes folks, in spite of the rain, walking down narrow rain soaked streets catching our umbrellas on low hanging branches and trying to avoid getting major splashes from passing center city vehicles, Pat and I had an AMAZING time.

Me and my gigantic veggie quiche and salad at the Marathon Grill on 19th and Spruce Streets, Center City Philly - I had this meal three maybe four time while I was in Philly - FANTASTIC! We ate well folks during out week in Philly

Pat took the bus down from Toronto to Philly last week then rented a car to drive to Casa Tipton-Kelly for a three day stay.  During our stay we had our annual Old Time Photo taken with my friend Lar.  

Go "straight then make a left"? Are you kidding me? 

Then last Monday we drove to Philly for a five day stay at my friend Don McK.'s co-operative, which has a guest suite.  We've been at this guest suite before and it is very conducive and CHEAP for a center city stay in Philly.

Pat napping in our suite during one of those rainy days in Philly during our stay - rain is good for napping

I love Philly as does Pat.  We didn't have anything special planned for our stay, just to enjoy the vibrancy of center city Philadelphia.  

Pat soaking up the modern furniture decor at Libery Place while I checked out a condo for sale (which I would have purchased on the spot if I had $734,000 - fantastic views of the city!)

Pat likes to visit Old City and the modern furniture stores, which we did.  We also like to visit some of our favorite restaurants like Hip City Veg, Mama's Veg and try out new restaurants, which we did and I will write about later.  

Pat getting ready to enjoy a sumptuous vegan repast at Mama's Veg in center city Philly last week - those brown "things" are falafels - yes, Philly has falafels!

Pat also likes to check out the center city housing situation which, you guess it, we did.  We went deep into formerly No Man's Land, which was the boundary past South Street.  Folks, that area, which was Danger Territory when Bill and I lived in Philly (we lived at 24th and Naudain St, one block away from South Street) is now very expensive Millennial Heaven.  I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around taking a stroll down Fitzwater Street without the fear of being mugged and never seen again except on a morgue slab.  Yes folks, it was THAT BAD when I lived in Center City Philly (the 70's).  One just DID NOT GO past South Street if one valued one's life.  Forget about the police protecting you, they were too busy harassing gays cir circling the Merry-Go-Round at Delancey and Spruce.  My apologies to my blog readers who don't recognized there references but my Philly readers sure do, don't you?

Pat checking out a now expensive ($400,000 plus) gentrified house in the formerly low income section (i.e. "black") section of Philly

So anyway, I'm back folks and in fine fettle.  Next trip up is to another world renown city famous for it's vibrant downtown, Toronto, Canada; Pat's home town.  I take the big bird up there at the end of August and return the day after Labor Day.  

Yet more adventure folks!

I'm back!!

Random Observations on a December Morning

Late yesterday afternoon sun on our cozy home (in the background).    What? Yet another selfie of yours truly in a hoodie on his property in...