Happy Birthday, Gram.  I loved you beyond all reason, and you loved me back.  I will miss you always.


a familiar place then

28    Write
about a
place now
and then.

On my birthday perhaps that should be my birthplace.

I so love to be outdoors and have all my life.  I was fascinated by the brook on Genung St. and would cross is on stepping stones or dip my feet in.  I feel the shade, I feel the air.

Ironically, I was told earlier in the week that my Aunt's house next to that brook was nearly destroyed by flooding from Hurricane Irene, flooding caused by the debris blocking the brook.

How sad to think that.  How surely I know you can't ever go back.  You can look but you can't go back because it's no longer really there.


Woke up this morning thinking about television. I couldn’t sleep last night and didn’t feel like reading so I spent some time browsing Netflix Instant Watch. I finally chose a movie – Gross Pointe Blank, which so reminded me of my son, and I would never have watched if I had not been open to wasting time (by my own definition). None of the television tempted me. I don’t watch much television, and never have.

 I probably haven’t followed a dozen shows religiously in my life: 1. Partridge Family; 2. Hill Street Blues; 3. NYPD Blue; 4. Charmed; 5. Bones. There may be some I’ve forgotten. There are others I’ve happened across in the middle, and many I’ve lost interest in (House). I’ve popped in and out of Days of Our Lives for nearly 40 years, it’s become nostalgic now. I’d get in a mood to watch a sitcom and would turn on Golden Girls or Designing Women or Mad About You or Everybody Loves Raymond or King of Queens (Two and a Half Men, How I Met Your Mother), but I’ve never turned them on because “it’s 8pm Tuesday”. I’ll watch a rerun of any of those if the mood strikes, but it’s rare.

 I’ve been taking a hit or miss survey of people in an attempt to find an intellectual series that will keep my attention and enable me too, to converse about episodes at the water cooler. NCIS got enough first and singular votes that I’ve watched the first 4 episodes. So far, so good. I was talking to one of our doctors last week, who told me she got her son hooked on NCIS, so I was excited to get her vote. Someone else told me his wife loves Bones and NCIS because of the character dynamic – also a very good reason.

 I’ve watched all of Castle online, but that could fade fast. Like Ghost Whisperer, which I thought I loved. For one season. Medium kept my attention for a couple seasons, but then started to scare me. Trying on Eastwick this season. I have odd taste, no one likes those shows. It’s all reality or dancing or Law & Order or CSI, none of which I can handle.

 So, why am I bothering to write about a medium I have to force myself to entertain? It’s always the nostalgia factor. When I was a kid there were cartoons after school and Saturday. My brothers were obsessed and never let anyone (me) choose the channel(of 4). I recall that I have watched some Bugs Bunny, Felix the Cat and Speed Racer. Many nights I would stay over at my grandparents and they watched Lawrence Welk, and Wild Kingdom and any Christmas or Country Music special that was on. At some point I requested and watched Petticoat Junction. There was another point in our life when we went to my grandparents house every night for dinner. I was pre- or early teens and I sucked up the tv. Gramp let us watch the Munsters and Star Trek every night. My mother was deadset against anything scary or sci fi, but she wouldn’t argue with Gramp.

 If my parents watched tv at home it was after I was in bed. If my father was at home on weekends he would watch westerns or war movies (I also hate to this day).I was between 4 & 8 when we had a babysitter who watched American Bandstand. I HATED that show. It felt out of place in our house. I remember being other places and people would be watching The Three Stooges, or those kids with Alfalfa, or Rin Tin Tin and I hated it all. I’m not sure why and I’m curious so I’ll have to contemplate on that. Maybe I had a deep seated dislike of having all attention riveted on that box. It wasn’t because we had to be quiet, I was always quiet, but perhaps it was that everyone else was quiet. I was an observer and that had to have been deadly boring to me, especially since I had no interest in the television.

 As I got a later bedtime I saw my mother didn’t watch tv either, though I hate to admit to being like her in any way. In fact, I recall her attempting to watch Peyton Place and Bewitched when they were all the rage. When I was about 15 our television broke, I listened to the Partridge Family because the picture was faint. It wasn’t replaced for years. We lived in another house later where Charlie obsessed over cartoons again, but as a teenager I had no interest whatsoever – I only wanted to be in the woods. I did some babysitting for two little boys and we watched cartoons every Saturday. I’d be reading the Trixie Belden books I bought with my wages, but I did enjoy Scooby Doo. That was an intriguing bit of television. Those little kids loved it, but it also seemed to be aimed at my own age group.

 Gramp liked to watch baseball and the sound of it still is very soothing to me because it reminds me of being in that house, which was the only safe haven of my entire childhood. I would sit next to him and he taught me about baseball and rooting for the underdog. Family lore tells that my great-grandfather, James Seaman, played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. I can’t find online evidence, but we have pictures in his uniform. Apparently the entire family was shattered when the BROOKLYN Dodgers defected. They could never take up with the Yankees, but those underdog Mets became the family team.

 Gramp also watched the national news every night of his life (along with reading two newspapers everyday). A habit that would be very out of place now is that when the news, or the ball game, or Lawrence Welk was over he turned off the television. It didn’t run all day, he didn’t channel surf to find something else to watch, he turned it off and went about his life. There was a small rectangular button that pushed for on and off, and a dial to choose the channel. It went up to some ungodly number that I never understood (30? 50?); I asked but no one knew. (Gramp would glory in technology of today). We lived 50 miles from New York City and we got their channels through a giant metal antennae on the roof. We had channels 2 (CBS),4 (NBC), 7(ABC) and 13(public television). The networks are still the same to this day.


And, oh, another important note to my descendants – the television was all in black & white. You know, like that option on your digital camera to make photos look OLD. Although, the kids I babysat for had color – it was a little bright and alarming, but Scooby Doo in my memory is colorful!

Paracord, Small Towns & Grandma

In a sort of six degrees of separation way, paracord is related to my grandmother.

It all started with my penchant for survival gadgets, which prompted my son to send me a bracelet braided from paracord that can be unraveled in an emergency.  Next I found online instructions for making my own, at which time I asked Blaise for a source of colored paracord.  Not finding the latches, I let the whole thing stew for months.  Last week on another blog, instructions once again pop up, siting supply sources.  I checked Blaise’s recommendation for cord and it’s the same.  I order everything and notice the Supply Captain is on Western Avenue in Marlboro, NY.  I guess they’ve become popular and their website mentions their proximity to West Point.

Marlboro is a tiny little town with an IGA and an Italian bakery on the main street.  We’d stop to buy bread (and sometimes Italian cookies) on our way up the mountain to my grandparent’s for dinner.  Ziti, sausage and meatballs.  I would grate the cheese into a bowl as Grandma prepared individual bowls of salad on her small kitchen table.  I’d carry them into the huge dining/family room off the kitchen that was at one time an outside deck.  The cloth covered table was actually a large slab of wood on legs.  Apparently they didn’t make a table large enough for our entire family when gathered on holidays.

The little house, that my grandfather built, was on a hill over a creek.  The front door was level with the street, but the back had an entire staircase down to the back sidewalk that ran around the house.  Out front was a giant flagpole.  When it was time to change the flag the family all coincidentally had gathered.  Pickup trucks were backed up to the pole and the men had a grand time.  There were two bedrooms and one bathroom and a living room that was never used.  I would take a book and hide there.  Everyone eventually walked by on the way to the bathroom.  The basement was finished but not heated., and the garage housed Grandma’s little red Nissan three speed.

In the summer she tended her gardens and hung clothes on the line strung on the side hill.  The house was dark red with white shutters and there was a skinny porch on the front.  My sister and I would go out there to play Barbie or paper dolls.  The creek would be lower in the late summer and purple flowers would erupt everywhere.  Grandma fed the ducks everyday.

Reading ” Marlboro, NY” makes me want to go back to that house.  Makes me want to check the real estate listing.  Makes me imagine that it’s really fall as I cuddle in my blankets in the chilly air pretending that the heat is really on and the sliding glass door is not really open.  Is it really the house that lures me back?

Old Memories, Thanksgiving & Apple Pie

18 Nov 2001

My daughter, who has raised a 6 year old without EVER cooking, asked for my apple pie recipe yesterday.  She’ll bring the pie for dinner.  I haven’t told her how apple pie is haunting me.  How it takes me straight to the last “normal” day I ever had with Mark.  How her father hated pumpkin pie, but so loved the first apple pie I ever made he never let a holiday go by without me making them.  Since I last made an apple pie they are both gone forever.

Scott called yesterday to verify I was making apple pies. It’s all so bittersweet.  My apple pie lives on.  Is apple pie going to become part of my legacy?  How simple, how silly, how ironic that I don’t even eat it?


I’ll peel the apples, Aunt Vic…..

New York: Food & Family

Following bad weather in Ft Myers and NY, and boarding twice, we arrived at JFK late.  The flight was very smooth considering the weather. Had to take the Airtrain to rental cars which was a ways, but the renting was painless, as was the drive to Kathi’s.  I love GPS.  However, my mother thought the flight was horrible, the airport too large and the drive nerve wracking so perhaps I’ve become hardened.

I think we finally went to bed around 1:30 once all the greetings were done.  I know I took a long while to fall asleep, but I was comfortable in Danielle’s room.  I woke at 6:30 and forced myself to go back to sleep.  Lack of sleep and ensuing cranky is the bane of vacation for me.  I then woke at 9:30, made iced tea from tea Claudine had brought back from Ireland.  It was strong and wonderful.  We all went to the backporch/deck/patio.  The smell of the air is nostalgic.  They have a vegetable garden.

John made egg sandwiches on hardrolls.  I took one bite and had the urge to share.

I had forgotten about hardrolls.  We can’t get them in FL.  I wonder if I find them so wonderful because I can never have them.  The outside is hard and crusty, but only in a very thin layer.  The inside is soft and perfect for soaking up egg yolk.

It wasn’t long before that got a reaction:

Blaise0507Icon_lock@Vickianne1 that hard roll looks fuckin amazing! Now Im starving.11:39 AM Aug 22ndfrom web in reply to Vickianne1

VickiBarry@Vickianne1 Oh man. That looks so good. I want one!12:52 PM Aug 22nd from TwitterGadget in reply to Vickianne1


Vickianne1 Settling down in the hotel with a chick flick- girls night. We got FunnyBones! Forgot about those, too.8:35 PM Aug 23rd from Tweetie

jaimejo22@Vickianne1 HOLY FREAKIN CRAP!!! I NEED A FUNNY BONE!! I was ordering them direct from the manufacterer for a while.8:02 AM Aug 24th from webin reply to Vickianne1

Vickianne1If it’s Monday, this must be Wurtsboro. This trip has that surreal feel of a whirlwind, or maybe a tornado.7:08 AM Aug 24th from Tweetie

VickiBarry@Vickianne1 I think that’s the lack of sleep. most of our trips feel that way to me.



jaimejo22@Vickianne1 Hey! I remember that stuff in that cup! Is that the bread pudding I used to eat while vic was at ballet practice?2:13 PM Aug 24th fromTwitterGadget in reply to Vickianne1

VickiBarry@Vickianne1 what do you think the chances are of one of those traveling well? Probably not good, huh? Too bad. they’re my funny bones.1:49 PM Aug 24th from TwitterGadget in reply to Vickianne1

I wanted to go to Tony’s for dinner so suggested to Uncle Jimi.  Of course they aren’t open on Monday so we went to his second choice Ruby Tuesday.  I was able to tell the server it was his birthday while he was making his way to the table so they surprised him after dinner.

As my last true ancestor, I asked what he remembered most of his father.  He paused for a moment and then said, “He liked movies.”  He worked on Long Island packing milk and his only day off was Thursday and they would always go to a movie.  Aunt Joan would sit in the front row, looking up at the screen and she would stay to watch the movie again.  Uncle Jimi said his mom would ask where he left his sister.  His parent’s were both widowed and lived across the street from one another.  His father with his youngest daughter (my grandmother) and his mother.  He had three siblings from each:  Margaret, Stanley and Jennie May Seaman and Lester, Raymond and Louise Smith.

Listen my children, and you shall hear…..

locationFt Myers Beach
moodnostalgic nostalgic
music: bird song and wind

I have this set of books given to my mother, with my grandmother’s inscription on the flyleaf:  Mary Elizabeth Snyder, 29 Genung St, Middletown, N.Y.  Christmas 1946.

There are 10 Junior Classics, but I always loved the orange one.  Because on page 220 was my favorite verse.  Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  I memorized the beginning stanzas as a child, an elementary school child.

Today I am pondering that child. I loved that book, I treasured that book.   I loved that poem and read it over and over.   When assigned to memorize a poem in school, I already had it done.  As I’m looking at the book today, I recognize many of the poems and know I had read them.
But none had such meaning for me.  I recall disliking poetry in school.  I never understood the hidden messages.

I understood Longfellow.  I understood the story he was telling.  I loved that it rhymed. What an odd little girl I was.

Still today I treasure books, I love to hold them and leaf through them.  I love the stories of American history.  I only like poetry that rhymes.  I’ve never given much thought to the person I was and the person I am, that maybe much is the same.

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