New England Interlude

One morning, at college in Montpelier, Vermont, The Kid woke up blindsided by a  ferocious wall of pain. 

It ran from neck to elbow, and felt like fire was pouring down upon my child.  But that was when no one was touching it.  At the slightest touch, The poor Kid’s pain went from a barely tolerable eight out of ten to a sanity-draining fourteen or fifteen.

Obviously, this sudden and debilitating pain needed medical attention.

Somehow, The Kid dressed and made it to the emergency department at the small Central Vermont Medical Center. 

Not actually the hospital.

At the ER, when told them the reason for the visit, and where The Kid studied (New England Culinary Institue), eyes glazed over, and acetaminophen was suggested.  They assumed my child was just one more partier from the cooking school and wanted something stronger than Budweiser and Acapulco Gold.

So, The Kid went back home and took a couple of Tylenol.

But not only did the pain continue, it got worse.  Classes and meals were missed because it just hurt too much to get out of bed.

Finally, a neighbor and good friend had seen enough.  “Get up, get dressed, I’m taking you to Burlington.”  Burlington is a university town about 30 minutes from Montpelier and the largest town in Vermont. 

They went to the emergency room at UVM, the University of Vermont.

There, serendipity occurred.

The doctor that caught my child’s case was one of the most respected teaching doctors in Vermont.

Not only that, he’d made a study that was particularly pertinent to The Kid and The Kid’s hurty arm.  This doctor had made an in-depth study on a disease, and this is the disease he thought was causing all the trouble.

He diagnosed the scourge of middleaged, immuno-compromised post-chicken pox sufferers—shingles.

My mom has had shingles, so The Kid knew from shingles.  “But I’m young, and there’s no rash!  How can I have shingles if I’m young and there’s no rash?”

The doctor asked, “Did you get the chickenpox vaccine?”

The Kid was actually in one of the final chickenpox studies at Duke.  Petey and I had always thought we did right by our child by getting the vaccine before it was approved for wide-spread use.  It had been used in Europe for years and we thought we’d saved the child from the itching that drove you crazy and those weird lumpy oatmeal baths. 

We’d saved the Kid from childhood chickenpox, but it looked like that tiny bit of virus in the vaccine stayed around inside.  And now, like the monster thought dead at the end of the movie, it had resurrected and transformed itself into shingles and risen to wreak havoc within the body of our little scholar.

But this variation had the added twist of an M. Night” Shyamalan feature.  The main identifying feature of this sickness is a rash with blisters.  The shingles The Kid had, and other young people who’d had the chickenpox vaccine produced no skin irritation.

This type of shingles is known as “Ninja Shingles”.  The lack of rash and the youth of The Kid explained the failure of the original ER to diagnose, or even believe my child was in distress.

See, you can barely see him…

The reason I got to thinking about this unpleasant interlude is because The Kid has been tirelessly haranguing me to get the shingles vaccine.  Not wanting to suffer like my child, I got the first of two inoculations last week.

OMG, my shoulder hurt.  But then I thought about The Kid and what shoulder pain could really feel like.  So, I took a couple of Tylenol got on with life.

Thanks for your time.

Contact debbie at debbie@bullcity.mom.

Two New Enterprises

Gentle Reader,

Since the matthews family band has been on lockdown at two different addresses, we’ve had a whole lot of time on our hands. And after I crocheted enough face mask ear guards for most of the ICU nurses at UNC and quite a few medical staff at Duke, I still had that time, and crocheted some more.

But no matter the weather, I’m still a true blue Dukie.

Then I discovered face mask chains; decorative chains to which you clip your mask and wear around your neck to keep it close at hand. After I made a couple for me and The Kid (Petey wears a gaiter), I kept going.

One of my creations–each one is unique, no two are alike.

Then The Kid began sewing masks, and kept sewing.

With Petey acting as house photographer, we all decided to pool our abilities and open an Etsy store. It’s called, shockingly, Matthews Family Band.

You are cordially invited to visit.

The Kid’s Plague Doctor

Our not quite right child has also opened a solo shop. The shelves in this emporium have hand-made curios that are equal parts dark and humorous. Its name is, E A Poe’s Oddities.

The Kid has asked me to extend to you, Gentle Reader, an invitation. Please come by to be impressed or disturbed (or possibly both) by my child.

Thanks for your time.

They Call Him Fluffy

Every dog has a signature move.

They have some weird quirk, or funny game, or strange physical ability.  Every single one.  If your dog doesn’t, it just means you haven’t noticed it.

Riker, our two-hundred-pound Anatolian shepherd was, literally, a big crybaby. 

He cried when he wanted love.  He would lay in the living room, look as pitiful as caninely possible and weep and wail.  He also cried at night when he went to bed, until I went over and tucked him in with his blanket and gave him a goodnight kiss.

Yeah, he wasn’t spoiled at all.

But the big payoff was when you went over and showed him some love, he would actually purr.  Like a sofa-sized kitty.  Purr.

When we go on walks, Crowley, our current pup, has one of the nuttiest moves I’ve ever seen.

He’ll take a few steps, lower his left shoulder, and drop like he’s been shot.  Then he lays there, on his side, and laughs while looking to see if I’m watching him.  If it’s not 1000 degrees or I’m not in a rush, I run over and make a huge fuss over him, “Oh poor Crowley fell over!  Whatever shall we do?”  He thinks the whole production is hilarious.

Our boy, at 4 months.

Turns out, it’s the actual technique for stuntmen to fall dramatically and also something the army teaches for hand-to-hand combat.  I’m not quite sure how Mr. Crowley Pants learned it, but I’m seriously thinking about trying to get him a gig as a self-defense instructor.

 All the love and knowledge that I have to show my dogs came from the original dog; Fluffy.

We got him when we lived in Puerto Rico.  He was the surprise love child of a chow and a Borinquen terrior, which was the colloquial term for a mutt of indeterminate lineage.  He and I would sit on the curb, watch the world go by, and share a Charms pop (I took a lick, he got a lick…).

My big brother Homer who was also stationed in Puerto Rico adopted Fluffy’s brother.  Unlike his black, extremely hirsute littermate, Eric was short-haired and as red as Opie Taylor’s tresses.

Just like that.

As for Fluffy’s move, he jumped.

He didn’t leap into swimming pools like those frenetic pooches you see on ESPN when there are no human sports to televise.  He didn’t jump over felled trees and across brooks and streams like National Velvet.

From a sitting position, he would leap straight up.  If you held a piece of cheese as high as you could, he would vault toward the ceiling, grab the nosh, and land again into a sitting position.  And all in the blink of an eye.

My dad is 6’4” and his reach is somewhat north of eight feet.  No sweat for Fluffy.  That dog would make Zion Williamson weep with jealousy.

He had one other odd “talent”.

In San Diego, we lived in a house with a chimney.  In that chimney was a beehive.  Periodically a bee would fly out of said chimney.  The first time we saw it after we moved in, Mom freaked.  She was just about to call an exterminator when Fluffy walked over and caught it and ate it.

We were afraid he’d get stung and swell up and get sick.  Never happened.  The dog just loved the taste of bees.  And for the entire time we lived in that house, Fluffy never missed one.

That dog and his insect predilection would have come in very handy a few weeks ago.  Instead of stinging me more than twenty times, Fluffy could’ve just gobbled them up.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at d@bullcity.mom.

Miss Mary

“Would you like to pet my dog?”

Yes, Gentle Reader, looking back I now realize the question sounds like it came from the mouth of a seven-year-old.

But that query fell from the lips of this loquacious scribbler three years ago.

Which was the very first day I took Crowley, our brand new puppy, for his very first walk.

My street is very small, but there are two neighborhoods very close to us.  This was where I’d decided to do the dog walk thing. 

The first development is one quiet, shaded, U-shaped street.  There are mature cypress trees everywhere.  The houses were built in the early sixties.  Until about 1995, it was still unpaved.

Most of the houses are still occupied by the original owners.  Back when the neighborhood was young, in almost every house there lived at least a couple of kids.  The streets that rang with the shouts and laughter of children in the 1960s and 70s now host sporadic visits from grand-and even great-grandkids of that first generation.

That morning with Crowley, I had just turned onto the last leg of the “U”.

There was an older man working out in the yard. I could tell he found my new pooch completely captivating (dog people recognize each other), so that’s when I asked the infamous question.

Turns out his name was Mr. LP, and he did want to meet my fuzzy, adorable boy.  He also wanted to play with him, talk to him, talk about him, and introduce him to his wife, Miss Mary.

Mr. LP told me that he’s always liked dogs but his wife was the hard-core, take no prisoners dog lover of the family.  After that first day we became friends and when they were on the porch when we were out, we’d stop and talk a spell.  Crowley adores them.

The first spring and throughout the summer I discovered that Miss Mary’s green thumb was the size of a pup tent.  A florist could make a mint with the volume, quality and variety of the blooms out front.

Out back is the vegetable garden, every year equally as beautiful as it is bounteous.  It’s like a tiny, adorable farmer’s market.

A couple of years ago, I brought her some paw-paws, a fruit native to North Carolina that’s a  member of the passion fruit family.  It looks like a chayote and is sweet and tastes of tropic-grown citrus and vanilla. 

She hadn’t seen or tasted a paw-paw since she was a child.

Last summer she took me out to the garden and showed me this enormous pawpaw bush.  I thought I had inspired her to get a plant, but I was wrong.

The year before she’d thrown the remains of the fruit I’d bought her into the garden as compost.  The bush had just sprung up, she said.

It was taller than the top of my head.

From trash.  Miss Mary casually threw an eaten fruit on the ground and a healthy, pawpaw bush sprung up.  Growing really sweet and tasty snacks.  

In 1951, Miss Mary was 16 and she and Mr. LP had been dating for six months. 

“I was sitting with Mary on her mama’s couch.  And I said, ‘Mary, can I ask you a question? Do you think we should get married?’”Mr. LP smiles before he says, “And Mary said, ‘yeah, yeah I think we should.’”

2020 is their seventieth year of marriage. 

I am furious one day when she tells me that when she got married, she was thrown out of her high school because, as her principal told her, “You are a wife now.  Go home.”  She’s philosophical about it, telling me that’s how it worked back then, no one even questioned it.

In the time I’ve known her, I have never heard a harsh tone, or a strong thing said against another.  She’s the sort of person that when they say, “Bless her heart” they mean it.  By that, I mean that they sincerely want that person’s heart to be blessed.

Miss Mary passed last week.  Honestly, she was already an angel.  Her kindness will inspire and fortify my own humanity forever.  My heart breaks for Mr. LP, their three daughters, and the rest of the family.  She was a five-foot tall walking heart, topped with a crown of curly, silver hair.

She was a giant.

Mary Elizabeth Spell
December 5, 1934 – August 30, 2020

Thank you Miss Mary.

And

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at d@bullcity.mom.

The Great Cul De Sac Battle of 2020

This time it’s personal.

Sting me once, shame on you.

Sting me twenty-five times, and I’m getting the biggest can of Raid I can find…

This time of year, I mow the lawn about once a week.  The hour or so I spend out there is both enervating and relaxing.  I work up an honest sweat, get some terrific exercise, and see immediate results of my labor.

Honestly, it’s treasured me-time.

About six weeks ago I was happily, innocently cutting the grass.  I was in our side yard, serenely pushing Hondo, our self-propelled, self-mulching mower.  Suddenly, I felt a burning sensation on my leg, similar to the feeling of being burned by a cigarette. 

I beg to differ, they left plenty of stingers.

Then before I knew it another, and another.  Then I saw wasps before being stung twice more.

I jumped around like a lunatic for a minute, swiping at already departed beasts and ran inside the house.  Petey helped me make sure they were all gone, I took a couple of pain relievers, and went back out and finished the yard.

I assumed they had built a nest on the house, under a bit of siding and vowed to be careful when mowing in the vicinity or turning on the hose, which was located there.

A week later I was again in the area cutting the grass and taking great care to give the house in that space a wide berth.  I mowed the strip abutting the flower bed with a wary eye toward the wall.

All of a sudden my world exploded.  The wasps were everywhere.  They bit exposed flesh and then dove under my clothing and began stinging.  Then they crawled under my ankle socks and into my sneakers to bite my feet.

My dancing from the week before looked like the movement of a merry-go-round horse compared to the rabid racehorse gyrations I was doing in my yard.  My language was so colorful there were colors unseen on the human spectrum (which was especially embarrassing because my neighbor,  a minister, was sitting on her front porch with visitors).

I ran inside again, and again Petey helped me both remove wasps and the many stingers their compatriots had left behind. 

In all, we counted twenty-five stings; my right elbow being the recipient of five separate and distinct attacks.  I took a couple of pain relievers along with a couple benadryl tablets to fight the vemon that was now coursing through my veins.

Then.

I.went.out.and.finished.mowing.  Looking back, it was the most badass moment of my life. 

And, I’d always thought I was a big baby.

RBG: The reigning queen of badass, now and forever.

I discovered later that the wasps were not in a nest on the house, but yellow jackets that live underground.  Hondo and I had both run over their front door.

Later that night I hurt everywhere and was red, hot, and puffy.  The next day the pain was gone and I was itchy.  The following day my lips began to tingle.  Then they began to swell.

Yup, that’s me…

Well, the top lip swelled.  I looked like a Simpson character sporting one of their extreme overbites.  The doctor gave me steroids to speed the poison out of my system and I spent the next week in a benadryl-induced fog.

I now have an Epi-pen in case of another attack and a resulting dangerous reaction.

If this was a comic book I’d end up with a tiny waist, a cute, sexy yellow and black costume, the power of flight and a lethal sting.    

But I get a fat lip and probable fatal allergy to future wasp stings.

Ah, 2020, thou art the harshest of harsh mistresses.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at d@bullcity.mom.

The State of the Union

When I started writing newspaper columns, I was the greenest of greenhorns.

I wrote for the newspaper and yearbook of every school I attended.  I was even the editor of my college yearbook for about five minutes.  But I’d never written this type of essay for a publication before.  I had no idea what was expected of me and needed to know the rules.

As it turns out, there’s only one rule.

Be honest.

That’s it.  When I write, I tell the truth. 

Well, Gentle Reader, prepare yourself for the toughest, most honest 600 words I’ve ever written.

In one more depressing example of what a profoundly sucky year this has been, I’d come to the conclusion that my marriage would end before this most annus horribilis of 2020 did.

It was all over but the legalities.

We were both stuck in our own separate quagmires of anguish.

Petey had shut down.  A man who’s made taciturnity and stoicism into an art form raised the bar to mute, celestial heights.

My misery took the form of overspending on ridiculously unnecessary trivialities.  I also binged on the darkest of music with optimistically titled songs like, “The Gallows”, “Cradle On Fire”, and “Blood For You” and feel good lyrics such as, “They will come and find you, bringing out the dead” and “Nothing lasts forever in a God-forsaken town.”

Awesome music, perfect for wallowing.

I didn’t have anything left in the tank to cushion myself from the assaults which this misbegotten year seems to deliver in a constant and unending fashion.  The daily litany of appalling new updates hit me like body blows from a disgruntled sumo wrestler.  I had a never-ending stomachache. 

In times of normal stress or deep concentration, I clench my jaw.  I was clenching so often and so fiercely I was giving myself earaches and migraines.  I’d begun wearing a mouthguard day and night.

I wanted to be alone.  I daydreamed of a hermit-like existence in a cabin deep in the woods where there was no plague, no sputtering economy, no disheartening political drama, and no spouses to hurt and disappoint.  My plan was to retreat and re-emerge, Rip Van Winkle-like, into a future where hate, fear, and the Kardashians had all disappeared.

But I wanted to be sure that we had given our marriage of almost four decades every possible chance before it was abandoned.  Petey agreed to accompany me to counseling. 

Which, for my reticent island of a husband, was a huge statement.

Our first visit was in early July. 

The first few weeks were hard but illuminating.  The therapist was surprisingly, sometimes uncomfortably, observant.  Early on it was clear he saw us and understood our dynamic as a couple.  Our homework that first week was for Petey to talk more, and me, shockingly, to talk less.

We needed someone to hold our feet to the fire and ask the hard questions; to force us to ask rather than assume.  He enabled us to reset and remember.

Turns out, we were both laboring under false impressions and wading through stagnant pools of hurt feelings and misunderstandings.

After more than thirty years of joy that came so easily, we had never learned how to navigate real, grinding hardship.  Our therapist gave us the tools we needed, and the confidence to anticipate happiness on the other side.

But I think the member of the Matthews Family Band who is the most relieved about our rapprochement is our dog, Crowley.  On our walks, he’d become the repository for my every grievance and affront.  I’m sure he’s euphoric to end his tenure as my furry, four-legged, father confessor.

Happy Crowley

Thanks for your time.

Contact debbie at d@bullcity.mom.

Harry and Bess

Does everybody that has a dog have “dog friends”?

Human friends that you’ve met while out with your dog, not friends that are dogs, although I have those, as well.

Two of my dog friends, Stu and Miri had a tough week.

When the week started, they had a determined little cuss of a snowball pooch named Darby, a bunny called Daisy, and a new puppy.

By the time the week ended, they only had Darby.  Daisy had suddenly died, and the puppy had to be returned to the shelter.

Poor Miri was gutted and shed tears from both guilt and loss.  I felt terrible for her.

Because Petey and I, years ago, had had to do the same thing.

When we’d been married for a couple of years, we got an adorable, shy, Chow puppy.  We named him Harry.  And, although he remained skittish of strangers, he loved us fiercely and we loved him right back.

When I was pregnant with The Kid, we began talking about getting a canine companion for Harry since he would no longer be an only “child” and our sole focus. 

One day when The Kid was about four or five months out, we saw an ad in the paper.  A local family had a chow who’d had a surprise litter—half chow and half something else.  They needed good homes and we thought our pup would enjoy being a big brother and teaching a youngster the doggy ropes.

We visited and came home with a half chow, half maybe-German shepherd female pup.

We named her Bess (Get it? Harry and Bess?  As in Truman?)

There is an old wive’s tale that if you want to make a dog mean, you feed them gunpowder (Absolutely don’t do this, it’s cruel and could kill the dog).  I’d never heard it before we got Bess. 

But Petey mentioned it one day.  Because Bess was in constant, destructive, mischievous motion.

She knocked over houseplants and played in the dirt.  She chewed woodwork, furniture, and cabinets.  She put holes in any clothing she could reach.

But she saved her real evildoing for Harry and me.

She seemed to like Petey.  But she chased poor old Harry upstairs and down, from one room to the next.  The only peace he ever got was when Bess slept, but he kept eyes on her because she could be awake and attacking in a split second.  He was a little faster, but she bit at him whenever she could reach him.  After a while, his fluffy Chow Chow tail was a sad, hairless, pink stalk.

For me, she had two signature moves.  She’d come up close to me and look at me with her adorable puppy face.  I’d scratch her under her chin, and she’d lean in.  Then she’d jump up and bite me in the face.  Luckily I’d just end up scratched by her very sharp puppy teeth.  And, I never learned.  I’d fall for it every, single, time.

This isn’t me, and it’s makeup.

Her second move was much more dangerous.

When I walked up or downstairs, she would weave her body in and out between my feet. 

But, remember, I was pregnant.  We tried training her out of the behaviors, but she persisted.  We had no choice, for Harry’s sanity, my safety, and the health of our unborn child; we had to give her up.

As I told Miri, finding a dog is like falling in love.  When you’re ready, the right one will come along and become a member of your family.  But sometimes the wrong one will make a brief appearance and try to bite your face off.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at d@bullcity.mom.

Things I’ve Learned in Quarantine

It may feel frustrating, or worrisome, or even boring, but this is above all a profound time we’re living through.  And, when we (hopefully) come through this astonishing, bewildering idle, we will have no choice but to settle into a new life.  Because after 2020, things will never be the same again.

And even I am not dumb enough to predict what that new world will look like—my heart is set on better, but the smart money is on the lower, yet more precarious bar of transformed.

We may not be able to count on an improved world, but we can labor, during this time, to improve ourselves.  Below is a list of some of the things I’ve learned while in quarantine.

Turtle Leeches  An animal obsessed friend was playing with Crowley when he found a small turtle, the size of the palm of a hand.  When he was showing us, we noticed small back objects clinging to both shell and skin. 

At first, we all assumed it was poop.  But then the “poop” began to move.  Turns out, they were tiny leeches with cobra-shaped heads.  In all, my friend pulled off eight leeches.

Later, I went to the Google.

Turns out, in the wonder and majesty of nature, there are leeches can only suck the blood of turtles. 

It makes sense, because in my yard there’s a swarm of rabid mosquitos who will only suck the blood of me.

Self-Soothing There’s an online business called Steampunk Tendencies.  They post videos of the creation of the items that they then put up for sale.  There’s one clip of an artist painting gold filigree around the edge of a large conference table—freehand.

The first couple of times I watched, I marveled at the skill and ease of the painter.  Viewing it a few more times, I noticed how peaceful it made me feel.  After I’d been watching it on loop for a while, I was so chill, I was almost drooling.

Honest, it’s more calming than a valium washed down with a martini.  

Talenti Chocolate Sorbetto  I always kept a tub of Talenti chocolate sorbet in my chill chest.  It was creamy and delicious and only 150 calories per serving.  I only ate it by the spoonful, from the container, standing in front of the freezer.  But when I needed some chocolate before I opened my mouth and let spill the poison darts my brain was thinking it was my delicious go-to.

Sixteen months and nine days ago, they retired the flavor—and broke my heart.

But it’s back!  There’s a few more calories, but it’s still an amazing, frozen, chocolaty treat.  In my freezer right now?  A half-eaten pint and a brand new, full container for backup.

Phone Fun for Almost Everyone  If you own a phone, you probably haven’t noticed, but each day this madness goes on, it becomes tougher and tougher to give cell phones a hard pass.  Try ordering food for curbside pickup, or checking-in for an appointment, or buying a ticket for something without a smartphone.  

Training For Rapture I am convinced that when the lockdowns are over, and people go back to work on a daily basis, there will be two kinds of folks.

The kind that took this time to work out and train, transforming their bodies into tight, rippling sculpture.

And, the kind that exercised by hiking to the kitchen,  binged a ton of TV, and existed on the four basic food groups of fat, salt, sugar, and cheese. 

Hey, whatever it takes to make it through to the other side, right?

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at d@bullcity.mom.

Heart Throb

Hello Gentle Reader,

I recently discovered that this column is very similar to another that I wrote 2 1/2 years ago.

Rather than a re-run, this essay is more of a reboot.

So, without further ado, please enjoy a tale of my elementary school love life.

Take care and stay safe,

d

This is going to date the heck out of me, but when I was in kindergarten, at Lad & Lassie School in Mobile, Alabama, I was madly in love with Bobby Sherman.

I thought he was dreamy.  I had a Bobby Sherman lunch box.

When he sang “Julie Do You Love Me?”, my besotted brain changed Julie to debbie.  He was also the star of his own short-lived sitcom.  IMDB informs us that the name of the show was “Getting Together”, but until now I always assumed, it was, “The Bobby Sherman Show”.

That’s what I called it in my heart.  My fickle, fickle heart.

By the first grade, I was all about Donny Osmond.  And I loved sister Marie; I couldn’t wait for her to be my sister-in-law.

I’d received a portable cassette player and the Osmond Brothers “Crazy Horses” cassette for Christmas.  Every afternoon, I would grab it and rush down to Cathy Ainge’s house (unlike me, she didn’t have brothers, so it was much more peaceful at her place).

We’d pop in that cassette and proceed to squeal at the sound of our beloved’s voice.  Then, we’d swoon like a Jane Austin heroine seeing her first hairy chest.  How her mother put up with it is anybody’s guess.

I read Teen Beat and Tiger Beat magazines.  But 16 (the fan mag, not to be confused with the fashion mag for older girls, Seventeen), was our absolute fave.  In addition to interviews and layouts with Donny and a host of other cute boys, they printed serials about different celebrities that ran for months.

We were about six months into a Donny serial and deeply immersed.  There were probably at least six more months to go when my dad came home from work one day to announce that our Coast Guard family was being transferred to Puerto Rico.

I was already, at nine-years-old, a veteran of these moves.  And who wouldn’t want to have a three-year vacation in a tropical paradise? 

I refused.

Of course, I would miss my friends.  I would miss the Girl Scouts and my Brownie troop.  I was also shortstop on my t-ball team, which I loved.  The kids that lived in my neighborhood were my cohorts and my squad.  The neighborhood itself was still full of places I hadn’t yet explored.

But I was a Coastie kid, and moving every few years was part of the deal; I knew I’d make new friends, have new clubs and activities, and have many new places to explore. 

No, my relocation veto had nothing to do with any of those things.

It was because of my (current) one true love, Donny Osmond.

I was staying in North Carolina because I had no idea if 16 magazine was available at newsstands in Puerto Rico—and I was taking no chances.

It speaks to my parents’ ability to wisely deal with the upheavals that came with being a Coast Guard family, that they took my objections seriously.  They proposed a plan in which I would earn the money in advance, and my mother’s best friend, Mizz Judy would purchase the magazine each month through the run of the serial, and mail it to our new home in the Caribbean.

Mizz Judy faithfully kept mailing, and I kept reading until Donny’s multi-part adventures had concluded.  And, our dreamlike sojourn in the very Northwestern corner of that little coral outcropping called the Borinquen (bo-rink-can) became one of my very favorite homes.

And, Donny was far from the last crush I had.  And as I grew up and matured, so did my crushes and the motivations for them.

Thanks for your time.

Contact debbie at d@bullcity.mom.