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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A November to Remember

I'm going to make it after all!

Cherished Memories #29 and #30

#29 - Meeting Ross Valory of Journey

We were at Oakland Oracle Arena to see Bob Seger.  I had gotten us pretty good seats that enabled us to use the Club level access so we were in the Club having a pre-concert drink when Bill said, "Ross Valory is here."  Journey is one of my all time favorite bands so of course I was excited.  Bill told me to go ask him for his autograph but I was too shy so he went up to stand near where Mr. Valory was talking with some friends.  When there was a break in the conversation Bill said, "Mr. Valory, my wife would like your autograph but she is too shy to ask."  He said, "Where is she?" and Bill pointed me out to him.  He came right over to where I was sitting and stayed and talked with us for a good five or ten minutes!  He was the nicest guy.  

He very kindly took pictures with each of us and signed the back of one of my business cards, the only paper I had with me.  

I told him that we had just seen Journey at Shoreline a few months before and that it was a great show.  He asked us where we were sitting for the Seger concert and we told him.  He was sitting in a section just to the left of us.  He said Bob Seger was one of his favorites.  I asked him why he was in the Club and not backstage and why he didn't have a special badge or something and he laughed and said that he had even needed to produce ID to prove he was "somebody."  Then he shook our hands, told us to enjoy the show and went back to his friends.  

I know that some celebrities can be real jerks when you ask for autographs, especially in situations like that where they are just out to have some fun themselves, but he seemed genuinely pleased that we knew who he was and was more than gracious in spending time with us.   

 Cherished Memory #30 - My dad and his poinsettias.

My dad worked in the flower market all of his life.  At one time he was part owner in Geneva and Sunnydale Nursery, which was eventually sold and torn down to make "The Projects" in San Francisco.

We had flowers and bushes all over our yard but his most prized possession I  think was the poinsettia plant (tree) that grew in the front yard.  It took up a whole corner and when it bloomed around Christmas time it was so pretty.

One of the things he used to do every Christmas was donate some poinsettia plants in pots to the local church for their altar decorations.  I can remember going with him to load up the truck with pots and pots of these plants and then taking them to the rectory at church so the priests could put them around the altar.  That was kind of interesting because I was in a special place "behind the scenes."  Not many people got to go there.  I remember it being a very cold room.  Then, when we were at mass for the holidays I could see all the plants around the altar and felt kind of proud that those had come from our family.

I did it!  I may not have posted every day but I did manage to get my 30 Cherished Memories in.  I have so many more that I may do this again next November.  Perhaps by then I'll be smart enough to plan the posts in advance so if something happens and I get busy, all I'll have to do is hit "publish."  Hope you have enjoyed these glimpses into my memory bank as much as I have enjoyed putting them out there.  Get ready for December Reflections!    

A November to Remember

Cherished Memories #26, #27 and #28  Kids say the darndest things!

Cherished memory #26 - Amanda and the Trees:

I have three amazing kids (adults now!) and each one of them is a cherished memory on so many levels.  Today I am going to share three things they have said that just made Bill and I LOL many times over, starting with Amanda, the oldest.

She was about 4 or 5 I think, not in kindergarten yet and the Wizard of Oz was making it's annual appearance on TV.  I hesitated to introduce her to it because I was afraid that it might scare her, but it is a classic so I decided that we would watch it together and if she started to show signs that it was bothering her, I'd change the channel.  

From the moment the movie started, she was glued to the screen.  Not a bit of it bothered her at all, not even the wicked witch!  When it was over, I asked her if she liked it and she said "Yes!"  I asked who her favorite character was and she said, "Cowardly Lion" in her cute little girl voice.  Then I asked her what she remembered most about it and her eyes got big and she said, "The trees were WINDY!"  I couldn't help but laugh at the wonder in her voice.  Fortunately I have it on video, unfortunately I haven't transferred it yet so you can't get the full effect.  At any rate, that has now become a staple saying in our family whenever it is really blowing outside, "The trees were WINDY!"

Cherished Memory #27 - Jeff and the Chocolate Factory

Similarly, when Jeff was about the same age, we watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I wasn't worried about him being afraid of anything in that movie and we watched the whole thing together.  We talked about the movie but there was no stand-out moment for him, or so I thought.

A couple of days went by and we were sitting in the living room watching TV again.  I don't remember what we were talking about but all of a sudden Jeff came up next to his father and slammed his hand down on the side table and said, "You lose, good day sir!"  Bill and I looked at each other and started cracking up.  Jeff was so serious about the whole thing.  That's another one that gets used in the family from time to time, "You lose, good day sir!"  (Wish I could have said that to someone recently if you know what I mean).

Cherished Memory #28 - Rachel and the Rocking Horse

Rachel has always had a very good vocabulary.  I attribute that in part to my mom who took care of her while I worked and who was always talking and reading to her.  She would frequently use big words and mostly in the right context.  She was (and still is) big on following the rules (she used to watch the speedometer on the car and made sure to tell me if I was going over the speed limit).

On this day she and I were walking through Tanforan and as usual I was in a hurry.  In the middle of the mall they had a kids play area with mechanical animals and cars for the kids to ride.  You know the kind you put your money in and it rocks for a few minutes like these.

Anyway, as I said, I was in a hurry and Rachel wanted to ride the horsie.  Of course I said "No, we don't have time."  She pleaded, as kids do, and I said "Not today, come on."  I started to walk away from her and she said in a loud voice, "MOM,  don't you know you're not supposed to leave your child UNATTENDANCE?"  Of course I had not really gone that far away from her but instantly I looked around to see if anyone had heard her.  I could just imagine Child Protective Services coming up to me...

I still didn't let her ride the horse (we really didn't have time that day), and I went back and got her and held her hand and tried not to laugh too hard.  In retrospect, what would have happened if I had spent the extra minute or two to let her ride that horse?  She is away at college now and our times together are becoming less and less.  Every memory counts!  

So, three memories in one post!  Maybe I will make my 30 memories after all! 

How about you?  Kids say anything that still makes you chuckle? 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A November to Remember

Okay, I give up.  I know I am not going to make 30 memories by tomorrow since I still have 7 to go, but here are two more for now...

Cherished Memory #24 - The Plant

My husband is very romantic.  I love that about him.  When we first started dating, he brought me a plant.  When he gave it to me he said, "As this grows, so will our love grow."  Wow!  That was so beautiful I thought.  Also, a lot of pressure.  I wasn't exactly born with a green thumb and what happens if I kill the plant?  Here it is when he first gave it to me:

The pictures are terrible but the memories are crystal clear.  It is a small plant, as you can tell from the vase next to it.  It is sitting on the back of my headboard. 

Fast forward to about 7 years later.  That plant had gotten so big!  It had made a move from the house I was renting with my girlfriend to an apartment that Bill and I rented with one of his friends, to an apartment that we rented on our own and then to a house that we rented when the kids started coming along.

We had to keep repotting it and at one point we even split it up into two pots!  Talk about love growing!  It grew big enough that we had to start putting it on the floor instead of on a shelf or the speaker.

Unfortunately, when we made the last move to the house that we are living in now, it did not last long.  Maybe it had been weakened from all the moves.  Maybe it wasn't getting as much sun in the new house.  Fortunately, I knew that our love would keep growing even without the plant!  

Cherished Memory #25 - The Love Angel

We had gone to our annual Boulder Creek golf tournament and on the way home we stopped with some friends at a little curio shop.  We wandered around a bit looking at all the trinkets and then went back on our way home.  

When we pulled up in the driveway and were getting out of the car, my husband handed me a box and said, "Here, I got this for you."  I had no idea he had bought anything.  Not quite sure how he managed that but anyway, when I opened the box, this is what I found:

He makes me melt that guy!  He always says that he knew the minute he shook my hand and looked in my eyes when we first met that I was the one for him and this little poem says just that.  I have kept it in my wallet for all these years.  The little angel I keep on my desk because I'm afraid if I wear it, I'll forget about it and put it in the washer!

We are down to our last five memories.  Not quite the way I planned it, but being away for a week kind of threw me off.  I'll try to add some more tomorrow.  

How about you?  Got a romantic hubby?  Are you the romantic one?  Love to hear it.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A November to Remember

Cherished Memory #23 - Being in my sister, JoAnne's wedding.

It was July 1963.  I was eight.  My sister, JoAnne was getting married and she asked me to be her flower girl!  I was SO excited.  I got to have my own bouquet and had shoes dyed to match my dress.  I had some dorky bow in my hair but that didn't matter.  I'm the little one right in front!

The ceremony was long, but the reception was great and I even got to sit at the special table with the Wedding party instead of with my parents.  How grown up I felt!  My dress had a little flounce in the skirt so it was cool when I twirled.  I tried to catch the bouquet when she threw it but I wasn't quite tall enough.  

Sadly, my sister and brother-in-law have both passed away, but what great memories!  They (and my parents), were the best role models for a happy marriage.  Miss them lots...  

A November to Remember

Cherished Memories

#22 - Thanksgiving

I come from an Italian Catholic family and both my mom and my dad came from families with five children so our gatherings could get quite large.

My Mom's Family, The Restani's

My dad's family, The Stagnaro's

Pretty much all of the families lived in San Francisco but our family moved to San Bruno when I was almost two and my memories are of those times.  We had a huge kitchen that spanned the width of the house and on Thanksgiving everyone would come to our house for dinner.

I'm the little one right in front.

It was great having everyone over.  Those were the times when we got all those "special" foods like cold meats and focaccia from the deli.  I remember when I was 16 and had just gotten my driver's license my mom asked me to go to the deli to pick up our order.  What a thrill that was!  I felt so important!  Thinking back on it and being a mom now, I realize that she was probably glad that she didn't have to leave the house to go pick up stuff!

This year, since our family was apart, we were able to Facetime with each other.  Not the same as all being around the same table, but it was better than nothing!  If you look at the pictures in the bottom corner, you can see the rest of us.

Even though we were in two different states, at three different locations, modern technology brought us together.  

Hope your Thanksgiving was special as well! 

A November to Remember

November 28 -

10 memories in three days, can I do it?

Cherished Memory #21 - Our Wedding

I'm going to cheat a little bit on this one since I've posted about our Love Story before.

Something I did not mention in that post, though was about the wedding day itself and our honeymoon.  We were set to be married out on the Vista Point in Zephyr Cove (doesn't that sound romantic?).  My maid of honor and I had gone ahead and were waiting at the chapel that is nearby until the boys caught up.  We waited.  We waited some more.  No sign of the guys.  This was in prehistoric times before cell phones you know.  Pretty soon there was a call to the office that the guys would be coming shortly.  They had to wait for AAA because my husband-to-be had locked the keys to the car in the trunk!

Finally they made it and fortunately, even though we were over an hour late for the ceremony, the couple that had been scheduled before us was just finishing up.  I had not gotten a bouquet for myself because I was trying to save money and so had just ordered a wristlet like you would get for a prom.  As I was walking around the path to get to the ceremony spot, the bridal party was coming around the corner to get to their cars.  The bride handed me her bouquet and said, "Here, you can catch this bouquet!"  It matched my dress perfectly!  

After the ceremony we went into town and had a lunch at Harrah's and then walked around doing some gambling.  I wore my wedding dress the whole time and everyone was wishing us congratulations.  It was kind of fun.  

We scheduled our wedding around my husband's sports activities so when we came home from Tahoe, he had either a bowling night or a softball game, I can't remember which.  The next day we were on our way to Disneyland because he had never been there before!  I think you can tell by the smile on his face how happy he was to meet Mickey.  We had a blast. 

Since we were so close to Anaheim Stadium, we took in an Angles game and got to see history when Jack Morris and the Detroit Tigers won the game and posted a 17-game on the road winning streak, tying the Major League record at the time.  

Then it was time to come home because he had either another bowling night or softball game.  One thing I knew right from the start was that my guy is a sports fan and if I wanted to be able to share in his interests, I better get some sports knowledge.  I think I actually surprise him sometimes with the things I have learned.  

So, there's #21.  9 to go!  

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A November to Remember

Time to step it up a bit here.  I am 9 days behind on memories and so I'm going to try and catch up a bit in this post.

Cherished Memory #19 - Road trip to Disneyland with my roommate, Debbie.

We were in our mid-twenties and we decided to take a road trip to LA and see Disneyland, Universal Studios, the Hollywood Wax Museum and visit my cousin, Tony, who was going to UCLA at the time.

We planned things in advance, making reservations at a couple of different hotels since we were going to be gone for a week and were traveling to different parts of town.  We used her car and started the trip.  We took turns driving and as we got closer to LA it was my turn.  First adventure, I got a ticket for speeding (or riding too long in the fast lane, which I didn't know was a bad thing, or something silly like that).  We made it to Disneyland.  Two wild and crazy girls.

Star Trek
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Next stop was the Hollywood Wax Museum...Star Trek must have been pretty popular.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Then came Universal Studios.  The big attraction was Jaws and I remember sitting on the water side of the tour trolley.  I got a good scare when the shark came jumping out of the water at me!  I'm pretty sure we went to Knott's Berry Farm as well but I don't have any pictures from there.   Same thing with Hollywood and Vine and Grauman's Chinese Theater.  I know we saw the stars on the Walk of Fame but for some reason I have no pictures.  Kinda bummed about that.  
I think it was about this time that we changed hotels.  We had reservations at a hotel but got it into our heads that we might be able to save some money by picking a different one.  Not knowing the area very well, we found a hotel that was cheaper than the one we had our reservations at and decided to give it a try.  Adventure #2 - We used a Traveler's Check to pay for the room and when they gave us the key and we went in, it was such a sleazy place!  I think it might have been one of "those" hotels!  At any rate, we immediately decided we didn't want the room and asked for our money back.  We went to the hotel where we had made our original reservations and were definitely glad we did.  We had to make a slight detour in our plans to go to the bank to try and get the money back for our Traveler's check, which fortunately we were able to do.  

Last stop was to see my cousin, Tony.  He was either a freshman or sophomore I think and was sharing an apartment with a couple of other guys.  It was nice to see him and we went out to a restaurant down the street for dinner.  We made the trip home without any more tickets.  I'm sorry I didn't get more pictures but at least I have the Cherished Memory!  

Cherished Memory #20 -- Another road trip, some years earlier than the one to Disneyland above.  This one was a trip to Carmel with my girlfriend from high school, Margie.  It must have been about 1974.   Unfortunately, I have NO pictures from this trip.  Here's a picture of us from our 40th high school reunion. 

I can remember it well, though.  We stayed at this really neat hotel that had an indoor swimming pool.  We cruised downtown and went to a movie, The Great Gatsby.  

OMG Robert Redford is such a hunk!  It was a great movie and I cried at the end.   
We also went into Carmel and ate at the Hogs Breath Inn, Clint Eastwood's restaurant.  

Unfortunately, he wasn't working that night - LOL.  I can remember it being such a relaxing, fun experience.  I think I need to do some fun road trips like that again!  

How about you?  Any fun road trips?  Experiences in sleazy hotels?  Meet any celebs?  Love to hear about it. 


A November to Remember

November 23 - Cherished Memory #18

My first best friend, Elizabeth.  I have mentioned that my sisters were older than I and my younger sister wasn't born yet but when I started kindergarten the bus used to stop right at our corner to pick me up to take me to school.  There was a little girl who lived across the street from us and we started going to school together.  Pretty soon we became great friends and I remember going to her house to play.  These were the "good old days" and I used to just walk across to her house all the time and she would come down to my house to play as well.  Here we are showing off some puppets we made in kindergarten.

I loved going to Elizabeth's house.  She had the coolest stuff!  She had Barbie dolls, which I didn't have, and she had the "Mystery Date" game.  I usually got Poindexter.

Her family had color television before we did and I can clearly remember laying on the floor in her living room on Sunday nights watching Disney's Wonderful World of Color.  

Elizabeth's dad had been in the service and because of that he could use the club on Treasure Island.  She had some of her birthday parties there and it was so exciting to go across the bridge to the party.  I can remember playing hide and seek out in the trees.  I was at one of her birthday parties when my mom went into labor with my little sister, so they share the same birth date.    

Liz's father was a clothes buyer for a department store and that meant that he would bring home boxes of clothes.  

We used to take the empty boxes and put them in the garage and decorate them using crayons and scraps of paper and things and make them into our "cars."  We would spend hours there in the garage pretending to drive to far away places.  I'm pretty sure mine was a red race car, but I could be mistaken.  Maybe that's what attracted me to this car...

As we got older, we started hanging out less and less.  I went to a Catholic school and she went to the public schools so we made different friends.  We went to the same high school but by then we were not as close as we once had been.  After graduation we really lost touch because I moved into an apartment and we didn't see each other again until our 20th high school reunion.  How great it was to see her again.  Thankfully now with Facebook we are able to stay a little closer in touch.  

Here we are at our 40th high school reunion.  Still kids, right?  

One more Cherished Memory for the books.  How about you?  Have a best friend from childhood?  

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A November to Remember

November 23 - Cherished Memory #17

Okay, okay, I'm behind, I'm away from home so I don't have access to all the pictures I want to use and I SERIOUSLY messed up because I should have posted about our youngest daughter's birth on the 20th, which was her birthday, her real birthday, her 20th birthday, but I just wasn't prepared!

Actually, this is exactly what her birth was like.  I just wasn't prepared!  From the moment we found out I was pregnant with her, she has been one special individual.  You see, I was 42 years old and we already had a boy and a girl and were not really planning on another child at that point (although my ideal family is four children, two girls and two boys so that each child knows what it is like to have a brother and a sister - but I digress).  

At any rate, I absolutely loved being pregnant and this time, since we already had a girl and a boy, we wanted to know what the sex was going to be so that we could plan better.  I had to have special tests because I was an "older" pregnant woman and once I had the ultrasound and amniocentesis to make sure everything was going to be okay and we knew it was going to be another girl, we relaxed.  

Well, sort of.  Since we were expanding the family, the house we were renting was only a 2 bedroom one so when I was 8 months pregnant, we packed up and moved.  Also, it was discovered on one of my exams that I had gestational diabetes again (I had had it with our son, too).  At least we already had the name picked out, Rachel Lauren.  

She was to be born in late November and I was holding my breath, hoping that she would wait until the new maternity ward was finished in our local hospital.  I was still working at the doctor's office where I was an office manager and I was also president of the PTA at school and we were due to have our meeting for the month when, at 5 PM on November 19, my water broke, at least a week earlier than scheduled!  

That was a new experience for me since the other two kids had been late and my water had never broken spontaneously with either of them.  Fortunately, I was right across the street from the hospital so I called the vice president of the PTA and told her that she would have to run the meeting, called my mom to ask her to take care of the older kids and drove myself across the street to the hospital!  I called my husband and told him what was going on.  He was working the swing shift so he wasn't due home until 11 PM and I told him that I didn't think anything was going to happen for a while so he didn't have to rush home, but he came anyway because the people at work told him he should be with me.  

And so the waiting game began.  Just because the water broke, didn't mean that the baby was in any hurry to come out.  The doctor came in and checked on our progress and said that if nothing happened by 6 AM the next morning, they would induce labor.  My husband was pacing the floor and driving me crazy so I told him to go home and I'd call him if anything happened.  

Sure enough, nothing happened and at 6 AM they came in to give me the pitocin again.  This time it worked much faster than the last times and I called my husband and told him that if he wanted to see this baby being born he better hurry!  At about 6:45 he came in the room.  He said he could hear me screaming down the hall (another natural childbirth - no meds for me!) and about 7:14, Rachel was born.

What a cutie she was with lots of black hair!  Maybe that's why I had had heartburn during pregnancy.  Unfortunately, she was born too early to be in the new maternity ward and they were in the process of packing up the maternity ward at the old hospital.  There were labels on drawers and things were in a bit of disarray.  It didn't matter.  She was perfect and such a wonderful addition to our family!

It is hard to believe that this girl is now 20 years old!  She has turned out to be such a terrific young lady and definitely continues to have a mind of her own!  We are truly blessed!  I am sorry I didn't make this post on her birthday for her, but she has to know she is definitely one of my most cherished memories!

Monday, November 21, 2016

A November to Remember

November 21 - Cherished Memories #16

That time the WHOLE family went to Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm.

By whole family I mean my mom and dad and sisters and their husbands and their kids.  There were 12 of us total.  We called ourselves a convention.  I'm really sad because as I was going through my old photos to get some copies for this blog I realized that the envelope I had the pictures in got wet and so some of them are damaged.  In addition, they aren't very good ones to begin with.  My dad took them and since this was about 41 or 42 years ago, the cameras weren't that great.  I guess that is even more reason to include it here so I can preserve it.

Here we are all piling our suitcases in to the cars to drive to the airport.  In those days it didn't cost as much to park overnight.

We were definitely making an adventure out of this trip.  It was the first overnight trip we had all gone on together.

My sister waving on the moving runway at the airport.

My other sister, waving (or hiding her face because we were taking too many pictures) as we visited from hotel room to hotel room.  

First stop of course was Disneyland.  All the grandkids got to stand with Mickey.  I think I have a picture with my dad in there also but I couldn't find it right now.  He was just a big kid too.  

Then we went to Knotts Berry Farm.  A couple of Indians and an old time miner were on hand.

We had to wait to get a table at the restaurant because there were so many of us.

It was worth it.  They have great chicken and even better boysenberry pie!  We all had a great time, but it was the last time we all went away together.  My dad, oldest sister and brother-in-law have passed away and the grandkids are all grown with families of their own, but I think this is one cherished memory we all share!

How about you?  Ever been on big family vacation?  Love to hear about it!.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A November to Remember

November 17

Cherished Memory #15

Yes, I know, I'm behind but I'm having to dig a little deeper into the vault for these memories so it is taking me some time to get pictures and gather my thoughts.  I promised my daughter, Amanda, I wouldn't "flake" on this since she enjoys reading about the old times so I will do all 30 eventually.  For now...

#15 - That time I thought I was going to be a newspaper reporter...

My sister, Judy, and her husband and kids had gone away on a two week vacation so I decided I was going to make a newspaper for her of all the exciting family happenings that were taking place while she was gone.

Okay, so maybe I embellished a bit, like pretending their house was robbed while they were away, and that I got a visit from a celebrity (my crush at the time, Peter Brown from Laredo - love those cowboys!).   

I did report on some actual events, such as my little sister's birthday party and the Sears Singer Sewing School contest, which we didn't win, much to my mother's disappointment.

But, what makes this all the more a cherished memory is the fact that last month I got an email from an old neighbor of ours who was cleaning out some boxes his mother had kept and he came across a copy of this "newspaper" that I must have given her at that time since their family was mentioned in some of the articles (he had attended the birthday party for my sister and his brother had gotten a new car, which I described).  This is from 1971 mind you!!!  That means she kept this for 45 years!  I could understand my sister perhaps keeping it (she has) and I kept it (pictures prove that), but for our neighbor to keep something like this was really amazing to me.  Made me cry.  I told him he could get rid of it now if he wanted and he said he was going to keep it!  Made me cry again.  

So, have a laugh and read the San Bruno Gazette from 1971.  I was 16 at the time and did my best to recap the events of the neighborhood.

How about you?  Ever make a newspaper?  Have a celebrity come visit you?  Love to hear about it!