Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Happy Birthday Lynn! - Ada's Pool Party - Poem: Honda Fit - and Linda Barrett's Pool Party Poem

We're glad Lynn moved back to New Hope from Bonita Springs, Florida. My beautiful black-haired sister celebrated her 61st birthday today at Mom's.

To me, 61 sounds young. That's b/c I'm 68 and a half.

Matt Piccarilli my nephew by marriage. Jade was working so she couldn't attend the party but Matt emailed her and sent photos.

They recently moved from Lynn's condo to a huge estate of a nature preserve in Bucks County, with a pond and chickens.

Matt described what the eggs taste like. Viscous and thick, unlike store-bought eggs. Delicious but different. The yolk is a deep yellow.

 Ellen made her specialty - quiche with mushrooms and eggs and no crust. You don't need a crust.
I'd bought mom and Ellen fudge in Ocean City. Maple walnut - a bit of Rocky Road - and unpopular Strawberry were left.

I had none, nor did I have the beautiful cake from Nonno's Italian Bakery in Hatboro.

Mom will be 92 on August 8. We decided to celebrate this Sunday. Basically there's nothing wrong with her.

Her childhood friend Caroline Berkman died last week in Cleveland. They met at Majestic Specialties, Inc. where my dad also worked.

Mom was Caroline's boss in the filing department.CAROLINE L. (Berenson) BERKMAN Obituary
BERKMAN CAROLINE L. BERKMAN (nee Berenson), 91, passed away on July 17. She is survived by her brother Elliott Berenson, sister-in-law Roni Berenson, son Brian, daughter-in-law Holly Dudas, grandchildren Megan and Daniel, great-grandchildren Genesis, and Micah Soto, cousin Patti Glicken, many nieces, nephew, great-nieces, great nephews, and friends.
Published in The Plain Dealer from July 20 to July 23, 2014
- See more at:

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

BERKMAN CAROLINE L. BERKMAN (nee Berenson), 91, passed away on July 17. She is survived by her brother Elliott Berenson, sister-in-law Roni Berenson, son Brian, daughter-in-law Holly Dudas, grandchildren Megan and Daniel, great-grandchildren Genesis, and Micah Soto, cousin Patti Glicken, many nieces, nephew, great-nieces, great nephews, and friends.

I still remember Caroline's voice over the phone. Certainly the midwestern twang and a cheerful alto voice. Caroline's widowed mother worked in the coat department at one of the Cleveland department stores - perhaps Halle's or Higbee's - and died with a good mind at 105.

Mom has a very young voice.

Cake from Nonno's.  I wanna keep all of my toes. Diabetics often face amputation and then rapidly proceed to hell. Am cleansing myself today by eating lots of salad.


Okay, time to travel across The Pike to Ada's Annual Pool Party.

As I drove up, I saw cars lining the street. I always park at the end of the circular drive, ready to make my getaeway.

I think I stayed - along with Helen Kirschner - for five hours! We were the last to leave.

 Was so happy to see Marion Mulhearne. She took a cab there - $52 - and Rich drove her home. She is talking very well after having a stroke.
I really enjoyed meeting a few new people, including Kimberly who teaches at a charter school.

Last nite I saw Eli Broad (pronounced Brode) on Tavis Smiley. He's the only man to own two Fortune 500 companies.

Image result for eli broad
My next husband

Kaufman and Broad

In 1957, Broad started a homebuilding company with Donald Kaufman in Detroit. Kaufman and Broad Home Corporation (now KB Home) recognized the type of housing that would appeal to a new generation of Detroit home buyers flocking to the suburbs. By streamlining the construction process, they could price the houses so the monthly mortgage would be less than the rent for a two-bedroom apartment. The Kaufman and Broad model featured an attached carport and omitted the basement. They christened this model the "Award Winner" and priced it at $13,700.


In 1971, Broad acquired Sun Life Insurance Company of America, a family-owned insurance company founded in Baltimore in 1890. Broad transformed Sun Life into the retirement savings powerhouse SunAmerica. In 1999, he sold SunAmerica to the American International Group for $18 billion.[7] Broad continued as CEO of SunAmerica until 2000, when he left to focus on philanthropy full-time.

At 81, Broad and wife Edythe are fulltime philanthropists. See their website here.

From Detroit, they've residing in the LA area since 1963.

He's pumped billions of dollars into education. He thinks Obama is doing a great job with education. He doesn't like unions for teachers as they protect the older incompetent teachers.

Broad was a major funder of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Frank Gehry architect

And now he's creating a new art museum which charges no money to patrons. That way, he said to Tavis, people and especially children will come to the museum and learn about art.

Ada's scrumptious
poppy seed cake
chocolate chip cookies
almond cookies
fruits of every kind
 Here's Gregory in his spiffy straw hat. His wife Carole also wore a straw hat. I told them I bought one in Ocean City and love it! The top provides ventilation and the brim shades your eyes from the sun.

Steve and Harriet Rellis sit by the pool.

Hello Bill Quigley, nurse at Brooke Glen Hospital.

His stepdaughter Brandy was drinking a

I asked if I could have a sip of Brandy's Diet Coke.

I stood on the grass, took a sip - knew I wouldn't swallow it - swished it around my mouth and spit it out on the grass.

What's a synonym for Gross?

Ed is a talented musician. Are you playing the piccolo, I asked him.

It wasn't a piccolo, but was a tin whistle. His youngest daughter is taking voice lessons, as is Larry Kirschner, who left early for his lesson at Chestnut Hill College. His 23-yo female teacher is very good and tried out for some Disney roles.

I'd say about 25 people came to the party. Many of us swam.

But I was the only one who slipped on the linoleum when going into the house. Really banged myself up good. Won't tell you much about it cuz you might get weak in the knees.

Fell on my right arm which is bruised. Rich and Ada both use Arnica - ooh! it sounds like arsenic - as an anti-inflammatory.

Called my pharmacist Erich at the Giant

He ordered me Arnica from McKesson Labs which will arrive tomro. Then I called him when I got home and asked if there was an anti-inflamm I can take, knowing about my kidney transplant.

No, he said. There's nothing you can take. But I'm glad you asked and are aware of this.


Really enjoyed talking to Helen Kirschner, who loves to read. She and husband Larry go camping once a year. My ex and I camped in Montreal on our honeymoon. 

Linda Barrett wrote a poem right there, poolside. It's mighty good!

White hot sun ignites
                 July's last day
                 I travel the Huntingdon Valley roads
                 like the back of my hand
                 still getting lost three times
                 Rich stands outside
                 on the corner of CornCrib and Milkweed
                 too good-natured to be exasperated
                 by my constant phone calls
                 to bring me here
                 I finally arrive at the place
                 enter the gates
                 into a floral haven
                 found in the middle of former farmland
                 the swimming pool's tranquil blueness
                 Resembles a many faceted
                 aquamarine gemstone glittering
                 within a tiled settling

                 We all go through the rituals:
                 sunscreen and hats
                 warding off the oppressive sun
                 Ed at his guitar and harmonica
                 Shelly sings in accompaniment
                 resembles a 1920's beachgoer
                 in her dusty pink colored hat
                play placid swimming music

                Ada darts and bobs around us
                asks us if we need any drinks
                serves her desserts
                In the pool,
                I float on my back,
                as a church chime wafts
                through the surrounding trees
                reminds me
                of He who created this day
                for my enjoyment

I wrote my poem this morning as I wanted to mail  it to my friend Helene, who's locked up in a nursing home. Was hurrying b/c the mailman was a-coming. I missed him but drove up the street where I found him.

Mailman Ken said he liked the poem I wrote for him yesterday.

I choose my postage stamps very carefully. 



White as Wonder Bread
Scott and I drive his
new Honda Fit,
called Jazz in
other countries,
to our seashore
restorative hotel.

A star at the Tokyo
Motor Show, our
little white beauty
smooth and unmarred
as coconut cream pudding
was built in a factory
outside Toyko.

Can you see the workers
in their steel-tipped boots
yellow helmets
and masks over
mouth to prevent them
from inhaling deadly

Yukio has finally stopped
remembering the death
of his grandparents at
Nagasaki. While sleeping
Michiko puts a hand on
his arm as his legs
shake like an earthquake
and eyes closed, he cries
“I’ll put you back together!
“I’ll put you back together!”

Like the cars he works on
at the plant outside Tokyo.
CAROLINE L. (Berenson) BERKMAN Obituary
BERKMAN CAROLINE L. BERKMAN (nee Berenson), 91, passed away on July 17. She is survived by her brother Elliott Berenson, sister-in-law Roni Berenson, son Brian, daughter-in-law Holly Dudas, grandchildren Megan and Daniel, great-grandchildren Genesis, and Micah Soto, cousin Patti Glicken, many nieces, nephew, great-nieces, great nephews, and friends.
Published in The Plain Dealer from July 20 to July 23, 2014
- See more at:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Coupla things: Weird Al Yankovic - Wiki Vandalized - January 1946 Reader's Digest - Cinquain for Mailman Ken

An article in the Times about Weird Al Yankovic led me to watch his amazing video on YouTube, a parody of Lady Gaga.

As a courtesy, Al always shares his parodies with the original person. Michael Jackson loved his parody, called "Eat It," insteada "Beat It."

And Kurt Cobain and the rest of Nirvana laffed hysterically over his  parody on "Teen Spirit," called "Smells Like Nirvana."

No one can understand what the lyrics mean.

Can 17 million laughers be wrong? Here's Weird Al's parody on Lady Gaga.

My question about this video - and perhaps yours too - is how did he strap down his crown jewels?

The Wiki entry on Weird Al is extremely long. I wanted to hear how he was raised and found this tragic entry about his parents:

On April 9, 2004, Yankovic's parents were found dead in their Fallbrook, California, home, apparently the victims of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning from their fireplace that had been recently lit. The flue was closed, which trapped the carbon monoxide gas inside the house, suffocating them.

Was trying to locate the Yearbook I did when I was Uncle Howie's secretary at Willow Grove Day Camp. Couldn't find it but did locate some amazing forgotten treasures, including....

During WW2, my dad was stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC, and he had this 15-cent copy of Reader's Digest.

It's packed with fascinating stories, including the first one "Epic of the Arctic," condensed from the now-defunct True magazine. In 1881, Officer Greely of the Army brought his ill-fated crew of 23 men to study the weather at Ellesmere Island, 600 miles from the Pole.  Many of them froze to death.

 I turned to the Digest's famous condensed book section. Though I didn't have a chance to read "The Anatomy of Peace," I looked up the author on Wikipedia.

Sure enough, the late Emery Reeves was listed.

However, there was an error on the dates of his birth and death. I wrote Wikipedia who wanted me to fix it myself- c'mon! - and I got this note from them:

Dear Ruth Deming,

The article has been restored to a previous version to remove the vandalism. If you're still seeing the issue, please try to purge your browser's cache: , or the server's cache: .

Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention.

Yours sincerely,
Kosten Frosch

 When I was in sixth grade, the smartest boy in the class, Steve Green, found an error in the World Book. Steve, where are you now?

Founded by Dewitt Wallace and his wife, Lila, the first issue was published in 1922, the same year my mom was born.

Read about WHY Wallace founded the mag.

The Wallaces were staunch Republicans and anti-communists. I should hope so! He donated lots of money to Richard Nixon, who also wrote articles, but no poems, for the Digest. 

Listed on the above inside cover is Suggested Reading.

Ever heard of any of these books?

The Black Rose by Thomas B Costain. Historical fiction. Actually my dad had a few books by Costain. 

 Cass Timberlane by Nobelist Sinclair Lewis. I love his writing but never read it. I'll put it on my booklist and read it when I'm 105. Lewis predicted when he won the Nobel Prize he'd never write a great book again. He was right.

The White Tower by James Ramsay Ullman. Five men and a woman against an unconquered mountain. Hint: the woman was not RZD.Made into a film. Am sure it's not on Netflix.

So Well Remembered by James Hilton. The British writer Hilton, who died at 54 from liver cancer, has written loads of novels including Lost Horizon and Goodbye Mr Chips. Made into wonderful movies.

Three O'Clock Dinner by Josephine Pinckney.  

A Lion in the Streets by Adria L Langley about "the rise and fall of an American Fuhrer." Hmm, sounds a bit like Huey Long. Guess what! It is based on Huey Long. 

The Digest used the term Fuhrer b/c WW Two had just ended and I was all of one month old. Born with two fine kidneys.

The Peacock Sheds His Tail by - who? - oh, Alice Tisdale Hobart. 
Alice led a very exciting life.


Yesterday when I was running after the Mailman to give him a $50 check from the CitiCards scavengers, he was his usual sarcastic complaining self.

I told him I'd write him a poem.

Don't write me a poem, he said.

I wrote it on New Directions stationery, saying "As promised, here's a poem about you."

I did one of my Cinquins I learned from poetess Lynn Levin.


These legs
ache for rest.
To sit on the front porch
sip my beer, wave to my neighbors,
and smile.

Monday, July 28, 2014

We make Watermelon Cucumber Gazpacho and I Visit Uncle Howie and Gloria at Willow Grove Day Camp

I brought most of the ingredients to Mom's to make Watermelon Cucumber Gazpacho ala Suzi Kaitz who the Greenwolds - Ruth Donna and Ellen - visited last Thursday.

It was delicious! Ellen pulverized it in her million-dollar Vitamix blender.

Gazpacho is a raw vegetable soup usually tomato-based that originated in Andalusia Spain.

In Ocean City, NJ, I bought Mom n Ellen fudge from Shriver's Fudge Shop. Also bought Jon Katz and Suzi some. They'll be at their vacation home in Upper Black Eddy PA till the end of the week.

Although I adore fudge, I had not a single piece since I don't want my toes amputated due to diabetes.

   Bought one piece of chocolate-covered bacon - $3.75 - and took one delicious bite. Photo from the Internet.

Could not believe my chocoholic-mother didn't like it. She wanted me to take it home.

No way!  Fortunately Ellen liked it.


On the way home from Mom's down Davisville Road I got up my nerve - and yes, it did take nerve - to drive into the Willow Grove Day Camp and see if Uncle Howie was there.

First, I stopped at the Security Gate.

Andrea was very nice and phoned ahead.

I wore a badge with the name AUDREY on it, I mean Ruth.

Parked and walked, with quickening heart, up to the blue office.

The first person I saw was Gloria Zeitz.

Gloria works as a receptionist and gal Friday. When I knew her she had blond hair, wore high heels and short shorts. Still a beautiful woman, she and Howie - Harold Zeitz - live in Warwick, winter in Florida and run the camp with their son.

Harold Zeitz, aka Uncle Howie, age 83. What a great personality, as befits a camp owner, former teacher and athletic director.

I was his secretary for one season. It was important I get a job b/c my BF Chris Ray had just broken up with me and I was heartbroken.

Sarah went to the camp for free. They didn't have space for Dan, so he went across the street to the Y camp held at Carson-Simpson Farm.

I was 37 at the time. This was on the cusp of my manic-psychotic break which happened the next February. We still lived in the apartments.

 The camp is now in its 60th season! I wrote an article for the Intelligencer when the season was over. All I remember saying was Zeitz had muscled calves and a clarion voice. He told me after paying everyone, he earned $50,000.

Howie wanted to hear about my life. I told him and Gloria about my kidney transplant three years ago. He loves a good story.

Other former campers were also stopping in. Howie gave them all big hugs and wanted to know all about them.

I told him Sarah loved horseback riding and riflery. He's very disappointed that the latter has been discontinued. Parents probly got upset. The biggest problem about camp: parents.

I remember how well Howie handled the problem parents. Talked to them on the phone or in person.

I learned to use a mimeograph machine there and printed out the day's events for the counselors.

Also did the Yearbook. Took great pride in that. Early training for the Compass magazine. 

Howie mentioned that after work he often stops at the Willow Grove Giant Coffeeshop. In fact, he ordered coffee today from Kiana. I told him to try hazelnut. He said he hasn't branched out into flavors yet but might try it.
 This tall bulwark is a climbing device. We saw this in Ocean City. Quelle fun!!!
 One of the bunks.

The site of Willow Grove Day Camp was on land owned by the former Lichtenstein Furriers who had bungalows for families escaping the heat of hot Philadelphia. This is all from my article in the Intelligencer.

When I said goodbye to security guard Andrea I asked if Bill Kemp still worked there. Yes, she said. I caught a glimpse of him from my car. That's his truck. He guards the property after hours.


As an adult, I have never planted seeds, as does my sister Ellen. Couldn't remember what I planted where, but look what's come up.....

 milkweed flower, not from seed, to attract the monarchs come fall

Sunday, July 27, 2014

87 Miles to Ocean City, NJ

 We were starving when we got to Ocean City. Our first meal was at Hula Grill. Two delicious crab cakes and a salad.
 In the late afternoon, seagulls sit on the sands below expecting food. Hmmm, I wonder how seagulls taste.
 This woman and her son are making a trench that's filled with water.
Green flags indicate "Swim between the green flags."

I decided not to take too many photos.

Be in the moment.

 Bought an adorable straw hat and a pair of earrings.
 We stayed at our fave place - Watson's Regency - but only for one nite. Then had to switch over to the Forum Motel, where we couldn't find a parking space so paid $15 to park in an all-day parking lot.

Then a space freed itself up at the Forum.

 At Watson's, which has an indoor swimming pool, we snacked on fresh roasted peanuts. I brought up so much sand from the beach, I called corporate and asked them to send up someone to vacuum it up.

Fresh scallops on the left were the best I've ever had.

Got em at

Went to the Wonderland Amusement Park and went on a monorail ride around the park.

Very fun.

Thought of a new Ferris Wheel ride. Insteada sitting inside an enclosed cage, how about sitting on a horse, heavily strapped in, but you'd get more or a thrill.

It'd never pass code.

 Are these alive? Do they intermarry?
 Scott and I went on the longest walk we've ever taken last nite. My legs were killing me, but I trudged on.
 This is a fairly new bridge. We were hiking up it to view a parade of boats that we never did see.

Leader and only participant in the boat parade on right.

 Scott stands on a truncheon overlooking the bay. Ultra-thick plastic protects the onlooker.
 Original bulwarks for the bridge, built in 1933, after "the war." Guess they thought the First World War would be the last one.

On TCM, which we watched before bed, they were celebrating a WWI anniversary with a lot of great films including Waterloo Bridge with Robert Taylor, in his thin mustache, and the young and sensitive Vivien Leigh.

Berkshire Hathaway will sell you this parcel of  land.  Hmm, what shall we built there?

 Compounding the length of the walk, we traveled another mile to Mosaic Restaurant.

In photo, I pretend the shrimp curry dish is not drilling a hole through my head.

Oh, Ruthie, is it really that bad? Heaven's no, but that's b/c it's another day. 
Cradling a cup of George's homemade butter brickle ice cream with hot choc on top. The brickle was good but a bit too tame. It should've shouted out with flavor.
Loved the proportions of this Schwinn bike.

 This could be a laptop, but in fact, we're watching coming attrx at the Moorlyn movie theatre on the b'walk.
I meditated during the 30-minute coming atrax for the feature

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was overly long.  Scott slept thru much of it, while I stayed awake.

 Dig this very strange looking phone in the Forum Motel. Postcard of Forum on bedside table.
 Neat old-fashioned house. I like those pillars.
Scott stacks up on books at the shore. He bought Philip Margolin, Jack Higgins and Tony Hillerman.

  Every spare moment, I read this book. In every chapter there's a new plot twist. What's the deal with Jon Dupre?


So it's not enough that we get home from the shore, right? Well, at 3 pm, we've got the musical The Music Man to see at the Town n Country Players in Bucks County.

I drive there at a fast clip. In my seat, I fight sleep, as my Uncle Marvin used to say.

The musical was outstanding - super-talented individuals.

I'm sleeping maybe five minutes when suddenly my head bobs up -

SEVENTY-SIX TROMBONES. Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.

Okay, back to sleep.