My show business friends are not dramatic in real life. Well, sometimes Chris Atkins sends me emails announcing “I’m in Sweden” or “I’m in Holland,” or “I’m on my way to Australia” all in one week, but that’s an exception. It takes some of my non-show business people to supply the drama. As in the situation a week ago.

We have a friend who was going to be married. Location set. Luncheon ordered. Wedding Cake specially ordered. Rings bought. Dress bought. Honeymoon in Hawaii reserved. All in order. The day before the wedding,she arrived on our doorstep, pet Bichon, Bessie, on leash, in tears and laments, wailing that the wedding was off. There had been an uncontrolled, drunken rage by the intended groom the night before and she had fled to anther friend’s house for the evening. Said friend accompanied her to our house.Another friend arrived. While the future bride sobbed and languished on our couch with Bessie beside her, the friends plus my daughter, called every wedding guest to tell them the startling news. After a couple of hours of this, I timidly asked? “Has anyone informed the groom that the wedding is off?”  There was a silence. From the couch came the answer, “No.” The two friends went to break the news to him. He had already been notified by his relatives who had received the telephone calls. That night she stayed in the same hotel where they were to be married in the room that had been reserved for them that night.

The next day, we heard nary a word. The day after that, a very rainy one,suddenly our kitchen door was flung open, and there she stood, her face far wetter than the rain,gasping for breath, hysterical, finally screaming, “What has happened to my life?”Instead of answering, “You just threw it away,” I calmed her down enough to ask, “Where’s Bessie?”  The answer was “At the apartment.” That is where she lived with her ex-groom.  “You’re back there?” I asked in wild surmise. “Well, it’s my home, too,” was the answer.  I guess so. She was in shape, finally, to drive and left.

The next day, both prospective bride and groom sauntered through our living room to talk with my daughter. They have returned several times, once to ask if they could have the wedding in our back yard. You can imagine what the answer was. They are still living together, trying to work out their problems. As long as they’re quiet about it, that’s fine with me, but I need no more drama from the bride who said, “I don’t.”


My teenage years, from 14 to 19 were spent during WW2,split between New York and California. On the east coast, we dealt with threats of German U-boats in NY Harbor. There were air raid warnings that demanded all lights off, dark curtains drawn across the windows,and created an aura of fear. Rationing was rampant: meat,butter, sugar, gasoline, silk stockings, for example.  I was a member of the Womens’ Hospital Reserve Corps at Forest Hills High School. In the summers, I worked at a local hospital as a volunteer. My boyfriend was drafted and sent to the South Pacific. My male high school friends were girding their loins to enlist in one of the armed services. It was an uneasy time, yet, being teenagers, we still went to the  drugstore to drink cokes after school, to go ice skating in the winter and to the beach in the summer. We took the subway to NY city to see plays and movies and Frank Sinatra.  When we moved to West Hollywood in California, where I spent my high school senior year away from all my friends, I had to make new ones. My father was a publicist for MGM Studio. I went to a private school from 8 to 12 as it was geared for show business teenagers. At noon, I’d rid the streetcar to the beach by myself and do my homework on the shores of the Pacific Ocean before heading for the apartment where I lived with my parents. I made friends, and most of them were connected to show business in some way.

Virgina Weidler, an extremely talented child actress, (“Philadelphia Story,” “The Women,” among many other films)was one of my first and dearest California friends.We originally met in NY when we were l6 and she was in town for publicity on an MGM film.My father  was assigned to show her and her mother around town,and he took me along. Ginnie and I hit it off right away. So,when we moved to West Hollywood, she was the first one to knock on the door and welcome me. We did what teenage girls did in those days….went to movies, lunches, and dances with servicemen who always wanted to go to the Palladium where the big bands played.  After we both married, when I returned to see my parents, Ginnie and I would take our little children out for ice cream.

I met Lucille Norman, a well-known concert singer, in a strange kind of way. My boyfriend was overseas serving in the Army Air Corps, and I was always afraid for him.One Saturday, my mother and I went to see the film “For Me and My Gal” in Manhattan and were going to meet my father for dinner at Sardi’s. In the movie, Lucille sang “Til We Meet Again,” and that did me in. I cried my way out of the theater all the way to Sardi’s.  I finally calmed down and ate dinner. After he paid the check, my father said, “There’s someone I want you to meet,” and ushered me to a table where an Army Colonel and his date were sitting. My father introduced me. The date was Lucille Norman. It was a stunning moment for me. When we moved to California, she and I became good friends, but I never asked her to sing that song.

Another friend was Eddie Ryan, a young heartthrob at the time of his appearance as the youngest brother in the film,”The Fighting Sullivans,” a real life story about five brothers who served together in the war and were all killed.  Because of that, the Sullivan Law was passed. “Saving Private Ryan” was based on that incident. Eddie was in love with Ann Blythe, who had been in a Broadway play with him, but it came to naught. He was a friend of my future husband who served in the Army  in Germany where he received a Bronze Star before serving in the Army of Occupation in Japan.He,Eddie, and I often played cards with  Eddie’s folks or went clubbing to hear Harry the Hipster and t he Slim Gaillard Trio…..if you could see them through the haze of marijuana smoke. “Benzadrine,” the Hipster would whisper from onstage, “aspriin with hash marks.”  Piano bars were popular then.

When I was an adult, working in show business, my closest woman friend was Margo Albert, a well-known stage and movie actress (“Lost Horizon) and wife of Eddie Albert, actor. She was a jewel of a human being, and one day I will write about her. She died in the 80s, and I find it hard to put down  the wonderful memories I have of her. Some day.Another close friend was Stan Jones, the songwriter and actor. He is another person I am finding difficult to write about, but that, too, will come.

Today, I am still friends with a lady I have known since grammar school. She lives in Florida, so we don’t see each other, but we call once a week and talk. We share a lot of memories. Today, in California, I have a group of seven friends with whom I go to the theatre, birthday dinners, etc. We are a mixed bunch of  a stage director,a dealer in movie posters, two CPAs and their wives,and my closest male friend…a retired Spanish teacher who used to work for Universal Studios. My closest woman friend now is Peggy Lennon, one of the original Lennon Sisters. She is one of the most loving, spiritual, intelligent people I know. On Sunday mornings, she picks me up and we attend an 8 am service at The Little Brown Church near me, followed by breakfast. Think of it…I get to sing hymns with a Lennon Sister!

I have been most fortunate in my friendships with people who are bright and caring and giving of their talents to others. They and my daughter are the truest treasures of my life.

The Anti-Social Network: Let’s Fix Facebook, If Only For a Day

If you feel the way Phil Factor does, join the rally!

Originally posted on The Phil Factor:

This is sort of my Throwback Thursday post, but I’ve decided to make this an annual thing. Two years ago I started the Facebook National No Re-Post Dayand, in spite of my much smaller number of readers at the time, the idea caught on and was shared across the interwebs. Like the Groundhog, it’s time for it’s annual appearance. Read the rest and share.


Just last weekend I noticed it. I looked at my Facebook page and I thought, Facebook is broken. This isn’t the Facebook I signed up for. When I joined Facebook I wanted to talk to people. I wanted to share with family and friends. I wanted to know how many kids you have and if they made honor roll.  Is junior in the school play or did Susie make the soccer team. I wanted to see your vacation pictures. I wanted to know what everyone…

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I, appeal!

If you know someone she can contact, please let leilasamarrai

Originally posted on Leila Samarrai:

Dear fellows writers and readers,

Due to an unfortunate circumstances, the translation of my literary works is discontinued. Since WordPress is an international community of writers, I appeal to all of you, fellow writers of good will, to reblog this status looking for a translator of my literary works from Serbian to English language.

Thank you in advance!

Leila Samarrai

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Always Up

In my aging years, I’m wearing purple, and I also have a large, red picture hat to top it off! This is an inspiring post.

Originally posted on On the Homefront:

I dedicate this to David Kanigan who is my inspiration–this poem was on his blog–this is also my column for the newsaper:

“The second half of my life will be ice
breaking up on the river,
rain soaking the fields,
a hand held out,
a fire,
and smoke going upward,
always up.” – last stanza of Joyce Stuphen’s “Crossroads”

In her poem, Crossroads, Joyce Sutphen sets the course for the second half of her life. She vows to “dress for the occasion” and her hair will be “whatever colour” she pleases. In essence she is determined to be herself. I can relate to her poem, being in the midst of the second half of my life, but I do not want those who are still in the first half not to take the same advice. She counts birthdays not as other people do as the years piling up—but as the…

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With all the great strides of technology, or so they tell us, one would think or expect that computers would be obedient, or, at least,  pliable.  Oh, No!  Continuously, mine drags its feet, circling endlessly before settling down to arrive at the place to which I sent it.It stalls, it fluctuates, it wanders around like a lost soul. My pop server, Yahoo, that is about as dependable as a train timetable, sends frequent notices that it is down and I cannot, therefore, either send or receive mail.  So, being a congenital idiot when it comes to machinery or technology, I call on a service, for which I have to pay, to doctor my computer.  It takes them a few hours. They tell me it is running so slowly because (1) someone may have been trying to get into it and (2) At&T needs to be notified that it is running slowly and fluctuating. I call them. They are working on it.  In the meantime, my business site sends me a message that the connection is not to be trusted, that someone may be trying to impersonate the site. This blog is difficult to navigate. A few other areas are totally unscrewed. Through all this, my security devices are blithely telling me all is well….not threats… problems.They’re either blind or insane or both.Therefore, I am at a kind of standstill for the moment. Whatever happened to the typewriters?

What Colors/Colours… do you see in?

Hurrah for individual differences! Educators who want a “cookie cutter” curriculum, please take note.

Originally posted on HarsH ReaLiTy:

Is your life black and white?

Fifty shades of grey?

More colours in your spectrum than a freakin’ rainbow?

I was reading last night regarding the black and blue – slash – gold and green dress and how humans perceive colour.

Turns out that we do not all share the same quantity of colour receptors (cones) in our eyes. It can range from having only two – to as many as four. The amount of colour we can determine depends on how many cones we have – more cones – more colour. It seems possible that some people are able to see even more variations than thought possible as this article on IFLscience explores regarding Artist Concetta Antico, who has the ability to see 100 million colours. The most thought possible sat at around 1 million. For more information refer to the links… but the reason I am thinking about this has…

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When I lived in Kew Gardens, NY where I went to school from kindergarten to 5th grade, my friends and I spent our free time reading movie magazines, singing the popular songs, playing jacks and jump rope and hop scotch in the summer. In the winter, we made snowmen and snow angels,sledded, and ice skated. We went inside for lunch and dinner. Nobody checked on us. There was no fear on the streets.
When we moved to a ranch in California, my girlfriend and I rode horses almost every day,up and around the mountains and valleys stampeding the cattle and remuda of horses. Sometimes, we took picnic lunches. Always, we were accompanied by seven or eight dogs out of the eleven on the ranch. We made up plays and skits. We acted out the Western movie we had seen that month. We collected tadpoles, frogs, snakes, and beetles. We had school, taught by a tutor, in one of our bedrooms and read books by kerosene lamps. No one worried about us. No one knew where we were most of the time.We were allowed to be our ages. In the summer, when our families rented a house on Balboa Island to escape the heat, we swam, sailed, bicycled, and played games like “Red Rover” with the other kids on the beach. We would be gone all day, and as long as were home for dinner, no one bothered us.
Those were the days when kids were allowed to be kids. There was no pressure to take lessons or play sports outside of school. As part of our schooling, our tutor, who had studied ballet for years, gave us lessons in our living room. We cavorted about in our jeans that had cuffs distributing hay, straw and God knows what else on the hardwood floor. Sometimes,we wore handmade costumes appropriate to the dance. We were the only students and could take our time learning. Once in a while, we decided to cut afternoon classes and head for the hills on our horses. Punishment was extra homework.
Nowadays, children are hustled around after school for lessons of all kinds. Some spend time practicing sports until early evening before doing homework and eating dinner. It seems as if parents are determined to keep their kids constantly on the move,keeping them busy,not allowing them leisure or relaxation or just being their age.
I attended two high schools, one public in Forest Hills, NY, and the other private in Hollywood, CA. In both, I had friends with whom I went shopping, to the drugstore to sip flavored cokes or sodas or milkshakes, to the movies, on walks,or horseback riding. We sang a lot. It was an innocent time. There were no drug or sex or gang problems at school. The worst sin was to smoke on school grounds, but our group was a non-smoking one, so we never got into trouble. Today,of course, there is hardly a school, even a private one, that does not have drug and alcohol issues, and sex is an expected and accepted part of dating. California students drive as soon as soon as they can and load the car with friends. Girls and boys are thrust into relationships that are beyond their age level to intelligently handle. There are unwanted pregnancies. In my day, “making out” consisted of necking and a little petting and was as far as most teenagers went. Sex was for marriage. Now, the first kiss can lead to bed.
There is no time to “just be,” to think things through. Life moves too fast. When I was teaching high school seniors how to meditate in class, I used flowers or small objects or imaginative visits to places. They enjoyed these mind trips. On stressful days, they would ask for a meditation to calm them down.
We need to give our young people more time to mature and stop rushing them into life. The times, they need a-changing again.

The Day They Remembered

This is one of the most touching stories I have read in a long time, and I want to share it with you. Thank you,Coach Muller.

Originally posted on Good Time Stories:

I love when I find stories that touch your heart and, more importantly, teach us lessons in ways that we can sometimes…never imagine. Today’s story is an example of a show of love from an unlikely source.

An amazing occurrence happened in South Africa when 31 elephants made a “Journey To Pay their Respect.” How did they know? Something that is greater and deeper than human intelligence informed them that their hero – the man who had saved their lives and many other animals – had made his transition from this earthly world. Lawrence Anthony (1950 – 2012), a legend in South Africa and author of 3 books including the bestseller “The Elephant Whisperer”, bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals during the US invasion in 2003. On March 7, 2012 Lawrence Anthony died.

Two days…

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