My First Car

Inspiration: Ragtag Daily Prompt – Memory


My First Car
(A slant six engine will last forever!)


Fresh out of college in 1976, I was hot on a search for the perfect car.
My first car.

The budget: under $4000.

The dream: a shiny, new, reliable, 4-door ORANGE set of wheels (this was the ‘70s after all). It needed to hold all my stuff; which remarkably – back then – fit completely inside a car.

I found just what I wanted at a Plymouth dealership in Nanuet, NY one blistering June day.

A bright orange Volaré complete with its famous slant six engine, real vinyl seats and AM/FM radio. It practically had my name on it. And it was under budget.



I signed up for a “how to take care of your car” class. I learned how to change the air filter, spark plugs and fuses. I waxed it until it practically glowed, even in the dark. It was easy to locate in a parking lot.

My Volaré lasted 12 years and over 106,000 miles. It took me to my first hospital job. From the church to my wedding reception. To Chicago for my college roommate’s wedding. Home from the hospital with my newborn daughter safely secured in her first car seat.

I even won a free sunroof in a radio contest in 1986.

In 1988 it was time for a new car. The evils of rust were starting to win the battle. After I negotiated a fair price on a Corsica at the local Chevy dealership, the salesman mentioned that I could probably get $400 wholesale for my Volaré. He also mentioned the slant six engine.

Good idea!

The next day I returned to the dealership. Late afternoon, around 4pm. My son and 6 year old daughter came with me. She waited patiently in the showroom with a book. My 6-month-old son, balanced on my left hip, accompanied me to the car lot to meet with the salesman…

Who no longer thought $400 was fair.

He called for the sales manager to join us.

Sales Mgr: I’ll give you $100 towards the new car.

Me: It has a slant six engine. Those last forever! Please take it for a drive! I was told it’s worth $400.

The manager drove it around the lot.

Mgr: Okay, $200. Look at the mileage!

Me: Maybe I don’t need a new car after all. This one runs great. It even has a sunroof.

Manager walked around it again. Salesman stood behind him.
Mgr: Alright…$300

At this point my son was getting more and more squirmy. He looked straight at the manager. And blew really loud raspberries.

Me: See! We both know this is a great car!

The salesman and manager went inside to talk to The Senior Manager. They both came out and walked around the car again. Went back inside the showroom. My son and I followed.

The sales manager finally returned…to where I waited with 2 hungry and cranky children. He shook his head, looked at me…okay $400.

Me: You’ve got yourself a deal!

As I was signing the paperwork, I heard a voice call my name. It was the Senior Manager sitting behind his big elevated-on-a-riser desk. In the middle of the showroom.  I looked in his direction…as he continued…

“Hey! Anytime you need a job, just call.”

A Response

This post inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #46: Response

For this week’s challenge, I thought it might be interesting to create a post in response to someone else’s work. This might be a poem in response to an image, or an image in response to a poem. It might be an imagined dialogue, or a response that demonstrates how the other has inspired you. As always, be creative, and remember to create a link to the original piece.



Pat at 2squarewriting posted “The Art of Letting Go – Moving On Without Losing Everyone You Know” on April 4, 2019.

My response…


sitting at beach

It’s okay to
wrap up the
indignation and despair
for what was real
but really wasn’t

grateful to know
the difference

from years grown up
tethered to an illusion
of close connections

grateful to gain
the strength

to halt
the searching
for the right and the wrong

finally understanding
there’s still

to carefully
wrap it
seal it
tie the bow

leave it behind



This post inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #45: Anniversary

…pick a date (not necessarily a date of traditional significance) and look back.


In some places the leaves were just starting to change colors.
The day my friend Becky died.
On September 18, 1999.

It will soon be the anniversary of that date.

Twenty years since the woman who was my close friend for over 20 years…and partner in crime at work…left this world.

After 6 years of fighting the fast growing cells that had already spread to her lymph nodes. Discovered after a radical mastectomy in 1993.
She refused a wig and a prosthesis…too much trouble, she said. I will beat this.
She was 40 years old.
Chemotherapy. Physical Therapy. Radiation. Repeat.
Intermittent remission.
Until there wasn’t.

I’ve watched friends die of breast cancer. I guess I can do it too. She announced one evening…looking at me over her half-eaten plate of scallops and mixed vegetables. As we sat together at our favorite Chinese restaurant.

I stared at her. Speechless. But Becky always got right to the point.
She continued…You know, life is hard if what you want is pure enjoyment.

It would be one of our last dinners out. Before we switched to meeting for breakfast. When she had a bit more energy and had shifted to part time work.

By early September 1999, she was admitted to a local hospital for the last time. Coincidentally I had started working there again the year before. Where we had worked as side-by-side dietitians 20 years earlier. Before our first children were born within weeks of each other. And we began sharing the joys, fears and trials of motherhood and marriage. No subject off limits.

I slipped into her hospital room. Becky it’s me.
With her eyes closed, she asked about my 17 year old daughter thinking she was still 12. Her husband stood nearby…looked at me and shook his head.

There is nothing they can do, he said. It’s in her liver. She’s in kidney failure. Too late for the new drug study.

He may move her to a rehab place for pain management.

What about hospice? In your home? I asked.
I hadn’t thought of that, he answered.

That was where I spent my last hours with Becky. Beside the hospital bed set up in her living room. Between two bright windows…the September early morning sun peeking in at us.
No coffee. No muffins. No Chinese food or wine this time.

I pulled up a chair. Reached in between the metal rails and held her left hand in mine. The head of the bed up. Her face turned in my direction…eyes shut. Corners of her mouth turned down.

Breathe in. Breathe out. In. Out. Her mouth opened slightly with each breath.
Her hair was just starting to grow back again. Wispy buzz cut style.

Her hand was cool and smooth as I laced her fingers between mine. We were alone. It was quiet. A slight breeze blew in through the open windows.
Her leg twitched. Her arms jerked upward a bit.
I whispered in her ear…Are you cold?
Turning slightly toward me she murmured…No
I leaned closer and whispered back…You always were a hot number.
I saw a tiny crooked smile.

Her eyes opened slightly. Looked at me for an instant, their blueness in stark contrast to her colorless skin.
What is it? I ask.
But she can’t tell me.
I picked her hand up again and held it between both of mine.

Her large gray cat stepped over my feet. I felt its softness brush against my leg. I don’t like cats much. Never have. She had always teased me about it. I leaned close and whispered…Somehow this big cat got in here.
A hint of a smile…and she mumbled Be nice to the kitty. It’s a nice kitty.

It was late morning. I was still holding her hand. She shifted in bed. Sighed. Sighed again.
Breathe in. Breathe out. I stopped counting.
Becky do you remember that time when we tried to get a picture of the kids sitting on your couch? They were about 6 months old. We’d get them settled and then by the time we’d step back to snap the picture they would both slide sideways on top of each other? And they’d start to cry? And we’d prop them back up again?

A faint smile came and went. I squeezed her hand.
The front door opened and closed.
The hospice nurse had arrived.
To care for my friend Becky. Wash her. Make her comfortable. Ease her pain.

I bent down to kiss Becky on the cheek, feeling the soft coolness of her skin.
I love you Becky. I hope she heard me. But even if she didn’t, I knew she knew.

The next morning I picked up the ringing phone.
Her husband’s shaky voice… Becky died this morning.
She was 47 years old.

Even now – years later – I catch myself thinking I have spotted her in the grocery story parking lot. But of course I didn’t.

Becky’s place in my heart is rooted deep.
The epitome of strength and love and loyalty.
And what a fighter.
She loved her family and her friends and her God.
I am privileged and grateful to have known her.
I’m a stronger person for it.
And a better friend.

She will soar into my conscious thought at random times…cheering me with her signature humor. Triggering a memory of times past.
And our life adventures together.
Cut far too short.

Reminding me…of the precious gift that friendship truly is.

Becky 1984
Becky, her son & my daughter



Photo a Week – Beauty

Nancy Merrill is hosting a photo challenge. The theme this week – Beauty


The full moon of November 14 is not only the closest full moon of 2016 but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century. The full moon won’t come this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034. (NASA)


From October through December 2016 I lived across the street from the Atlantic Ocean. It was off season and uncrowded. We were renting a condo with a small balcony…and a stunning view. Sunrises. Sunsets.

And one day…a Supermoon.

The moon’s visibility began the day before…November 13, 2016, when I took this photo. At the time, I didn’t realize how rare the event really was.

It was the closest full supermoon since January 26, 1948.

If I had been living in our former home – well inland – I probably would have missed it. At the beach, however, cars pulled in to the parking lot across the street. Spectators lined up along the edge to watch. Throughout the afternoon and into the evening.
Drawing my attention as well.

Beauty from the balcony…

The Supermoon Begins
November 13, 2016
4:32 pm ET



A Memorable Tradition


Easter Sunday was for dressing up…when I was young: “fancy” pastel colored dress, white socks and black patent leather shoes.

And a hat.  An Easter Bonnet type of hat. The kind your mother wrapped in tissue and stored carefully in a cardboard “hat box.” Whisked away from your sticky little hands and tucked on a shelf, safe until the next holiday. They were often made of straw… decorated with artificial flowers. Secured on your head with a ribbon or scratchy elastic band.

I was never a dress-up kind of girl.  My hat was much simpler than my sister’s…and was usually perched askew on my head. I actually kind of liked it. Simple. Primary colors.

Along with the hat came a “Spring Coat.” Also only worn for Easter and going to church. Maybe Mother’s Day. Not real comfortable for playing outside; which was my preference. But easier to wear than the dreaded itchy wool “Winter Coat.”

One Easter – when I was 5 and my sister was 3 – we needed to pose for a photo on the new backyard swing. Complete with our traditional Easter outfits. I’m in the red coat. She’s in the yellow one.

Apparently it took a few minutes to get seated…

easter 1959-1 copy
easter 1959-2 copy

easter 1959038 copy


This Easter tradition continued for a few years with my daughter, who at 5, was also in the spirit…with a hat passed down from one of her aunts.

easter hat 1987 April


Happy Memories.


This morning at church, I noticed children in their Easter finery…including one white straw hat.

Easter Sunday…still a day for dressing up.


Inspired by April photo a day challenge
Today’s challenge: Tradition

Also: One Word Sunday
The theme: Memory




This post inspired by Ragtag Daily Prompt

A timely prompt…egg…as it is almost Easter.

In our house, while raising our children, coloring hard boiled eggs was an Easter tradition.

As it was when I was growing up…


At the kitchen table.
The smell of vinegar in the air.

Easter as a child: the anticipation…first the eggs. Then the wait for Easter morning and the hunt for hidden baskets. Chocolate bunnies! Jelly beans! Marshmallow Peeps!

The same wire holders. Newspapers spread out to catch the inevitable drips.

Tiny color pellets – one for each custard cup (in my childhood) – teacup (for my kids). Dissolving into what seemed like magical colors. Dip the egg in quick or let it soak. Or maybe dip in halfway. Turn it over and try a different color for the other half. This took practice.

Mastering the balancing act…without dropping the egg on the floor…an Easter rite of passage…

My daughter and son…each at 3 years old…experts!


easter eggs1992
Ages 10 and 4 – Go Team!


Last year around this time, I wrote a post about Easter.
I described my favorite book from childhood…featuring Easter eggs and the Easter bunny…who overslept.
The sweetest story…
And the illustrations…sigh.
Well worth mentioning again.
If you want to check it out…Almost Easter 2018