The Long Re-Entry

Here I am. So much goodness, this past week. Lots of research, for one thing....

Iverson Mall! We went there, Jim and I. "It's so SMALL!" I spurted, incredulous, because the place was such a Big Deal when it was built. And it loomed so large in my memory.

Oh, how I remember Marlow Heights... occasionally we'd eat Sunday dinner after church at the Hot Shoppes here. The Hot Shoppes is no longer here, and neither is the piano store where my father and mother bought our piano, but I remember well this shopping center -- I'll bet the sign hasn't changed in all these years.... what do you think?

Lots of reconnecting with family -- Jim met some of my family. "You've got a good man, there," said Sandy. "So do you," I said about her new husband... my how time and life changes us.

How I love these folks... every one of them, even though they all didn't make it into the end-of-day photo op.

And, because I know that family is a circle of friends who love you, I count these folks as family also, who showed up at the Urbana Regional Library to cheer me on -- it was Old Home Week -- I'll post more photos of our great gatherings later this week, and I'll link to the rest on a Picasa webpage album.

I met more of Jim's family. Look! I have lovely, loving nieces and nephews! Family galore... right in Baltimore, right under my nose those 25 years I lived there, and now, right inside my heart. What sweethearts. "We've been waiting for you!" said Bernie. Be still my heart -- here I am!

We couldn't stop taking pictures of one another...

...or the harbor at Fells Point in Baltimore, where we ate dinner together.

Dessert at Maggie Moos... all over.

There's more to show you: "old" family, new family, friends galore, good food, the Urbana Carnival, library programs, and lots and lots of stories.

AND... I want to ask you something... something that relates, I hope, to your own life and your own stories, as I show you these photographs... so until later this week, then..

In the meantime, here's where I'm clicking this week, as I research and write forward in Book One of the Sixties trilogy. Any of this familiar to anyone?

Frankie Avalon singing "Why, Because I Love You." Oh, puleeeze! Someone say you know this song. I woke up one morning this week with this song in my head and knew it must be part of Book One, and when I asked Jim, he said he'd never heard of it. Yes, it's saccharine, and it's silly and it's SO FIFTIES... but that's the point. I'm using it (among other things) to showcase the great change from the fifties to the sixties. Who knows this song? It can't be just me....

"Tammy" sung by Debbie Reynolds. My mother sang this song (it was from TAMMY AND THE BACHELOR, 1958), mostly to my little sister Cathy, who loved it (or she loved that my mother sang it to her, but still... I well remember it).

Bert the Turtle teaching us all how to "Duck and Cover" I saw a film like this one, in third grade, and it petrified me. So, of course, Franny has seen this film, as has her brother Drew.

Guide to rat finks
(you are right, all of you who answered the earlier quiz!):


Unstrung Heroes takes place in 1962 and has only a passing reference to the Cuban Missile Crisis, but the uncles in this movie remind me of Uncle Otts in END OF THE ROPE.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Word Wealth Junior: (Franny, Our Hero, loves Word Wealth Junior)

Thanksgiving 1961 -- the Les and Stella Thacker family

Celebration of the flight of Friendship 7/John Glenn, Feb. 1962

History of Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs, Maryland.

I was there, at Andrews, this past week, and also got to walk through my old schools, both Camp Springs Elementary and Taney Junior High (now Thurgood Marshall Middle). Went by the old house in Frederick, in Camp Springs, went to western Maryland... more photos later this week. I want you to think about your own past, your own stories, and how you can capture them on the page.

I'm visiting my past with the intention of writing a novel that is purely fiction, but based on the past, especially my own memories of my own past. Is it autobiographical, this novel? I don't know yet. I know that it's historical fiction. 1962. Now I have landmarks, recently revisited, and I am writing ahead, full blast, ready to talk with editor Kara later this week, and ready to make this story a reality, a book you can hold in your hands.

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