Tag Archives: childhood

Time to Cry Tuesday – Please Sign

dear mom

This is a ‘laugh till you cry’ for the last Time to Cry Tuesday of the year. There were so many very poignant things that have happened this holiday season, but for some reason I wanted to end on a funnier note. Too much heavy.

During another fit of house-purging this weekend, I came across this note. It is now hard to tell what came out of my parents’ house and what my mom gave to me over the years. It matters not, for the fact that this has survived all this time is the whole point.

This, my friends, is a peek into the life of Little Amy. By the look of the handwriting – and the fact that I switched classes for English – I would say that this was 7th grade Amy, to be exact. And that would put me in the back of Mrs. Stoudt’s English class next to my friend Kevin. So, I would guess that this was about me… and my big mouth. No surprise that in adolescence I had a tough time keeping the ole trap shut in class. I can still here her stopping class and saying, “Miss Zimmerman and Mr. Marrr-carrr-i… can you pleeeeease stop socializing.’ Hey, we had stuff to talk about! We still do, actually.

Good thing I knew I was ‘100% wrong’ and I had ‘gotten better in the past few weeks.’

Was she mad? I am pretty sure that since she saved this for 40 some-odd years, it is safe to say she was probably more amused than angry.

Dad? Thoughts?

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Filed under communities, conversations, friendship, moms, school

Time to Cry Tuesday – On Doors Closing and Opening


I always loved the phrase: When one door closes another one opens.

Last week I experienced an uber (no, not that Uber) example of those proverbial doors. I tried my very best to keep my emotions under the drama bar and go with the flow. This, by the way, does nothing more than exhaust you beyond description and is simply a control freak’s illusion, but I seem most comfortable in this state.

As with most of my life, the sequence of my doors were reversed. But this saying made for a nice thread for this post, so let’s go with it.

On Thursday, a door opened. Big time. The one to my daughter Jana’s new apartment. The apartment that she will be sharing with the love of her life – the young man who she has spent many long years waiting to live in the same city with, let alone under the same roof. In reality, the door to this apartment made it a challenge to get a queen-sized box spring through it and up the stairs to her bedroom, but this was the small stuff. (Rectified, btw, by sofasurgery.com. Quick plug for an amazing service that solved the problem in less than 2 hours from call to completion).

The opening of this door was one to the beginning of a wonderful life together and the joy I feel for them is beyond description. (And contrary to those who question this, his mother and I will not be living with them)

On Friday, a door closed. Big time. After many months of listings, contracts, deals, stops and starts, boiler and oil tank replacements, clean-outs, boxes, yards of bubble wrap, sorting, reminiscing, sales, dumpsters, tears, laughs, one broken toe and one tennis/schlepping elbow… we closed on the sale of my childhood home. With each stage of this process, no matter how much stuff we took out of this house, it still felt like the home of my childhood. My family is embedded in the walls of this place. Even that very last day, the one when the house was completely empty except for the bottle of Stoli in the freezer that we toasted one last time to my mom with, we could not help but feel that she would somehow come walking out of that kitchen.

The closing of this door? Well it certainly carries with it a bag of mixed emotions. I walked out of that closing (both the real estate deal and the door) with an odd sense of calm coupled with an overwhelming exhaustion. I certainly have said my goodbyes to that house, that life, that anchor. I am happy to be rid of the process. But there is a lingering phantom pain surrounding never being able to ‘go home again’.

Ok, so maybe I crossed over the drama bar for a moment.

The net of all this (other than my overuse of cliché and devices)? I am a women who loves signs and juxtapositions. I thrive on the meant to be and the alignment of stars. To close on 10.10 at 10am at 1010 Northern Blvd. rang that bell big time. And it was my grandfather’s birthday to boot.

But nothing rang the bell more than the site of my girl in her beginning as I was tying up an ending.

One door opens and another one closes… maybe it is ok to reverse that saying, after all.


Filed under aging parents, childhood, cliches, doors, family, sentimentalites

Time to Cry Tuesday – Being Six

1526299_10202899101262805_1167290587_nYeh, that’s me. At six.

Six was pretty perfect. Obviously from this picture I was sure I was all that. This is such an amazing shot. Hey, it got over 50 likes on Facebook in less than 24 hours! I told Gary today I think I might have peaked at six!

All kidding aside, I had the most amazing childhood. And this picture seems to embody it all. I know those are my eyes. I remember her. The way she lounged on that couch and maybe ate a little chocolate pudding out of one of those fabulous green square glass bowls. Or one of the white milk glass ones with the gold rim.  My brother and I didn’t realize that this life was not the norm at the time, but as we grow older we appreciate how wonderful it was to grow up in our house.

And now that house has sort of outlived its happiness for our family. It’s not that it has lost its beautiful memories, it is just time. The master of its charm has left the building, and so now, must the contents of a lifetime. It’s an interesting task. One that uncovers the treasures of the past buried amongst the bowling balls, slide projectors and ice skates from the 1960s. I have just begun, and I am sure there will be many tears and equally as many laughs as we dismantle what was for me, the most wonderful place on earth.

Thanks Dad, for giving me this task. Don’t feel bad about it. Don’t worry about the time it will take. You know this is my process. And you have earned the rest.

What does worry me a little is that closet in the garage, though. Mom always told me if she had a third child after raising me she would lock it in the garage closet… she was kidding, right?




Filed under aging parents, childhood, homeowner, moms

Time to Cry Tuesday – There’s no place like camp

This sign hangs on the owner’s house as you enter camp. It just about says it all. It is hard to explain this to someone who has never been fortunate enough to find the kind of connection my family has found to this place. I have written about it before, more than once, actually. But I always seem to find just one more way of articulating a place that has meant as much to me as any other in my life.

It’s not just the camp, although it is sort of the sacred ground of both my own childhood and that of my kids. But the surrounding area is so amazing. There is a clarity about being there. The way the air smells. How the water feels. The chill of the early morning and the hot sun of midday. The stars at night. There is nothing like the great expanse of a starry night in those mountains. It is a sight I will never tire of.

No cell service. Winding roads through beautiful mountains. Clear lakes. It is all so untouched. Or as untouched as it gets these days. Back when we were kids there were party lines and no new houses. Cell hot spots and new homes have sprung up in the closest town, but not a lot. For the most part the place looks very similar to the way it did 30 years ago. What a gift, to be able to visit the scene of your childhood with so little changed. There are no words to explain that elation.

And the best part. The part that I will never tire of being thankful for, is that my kids know the exact same feeling. Their bond may even be stronger. Not just because it is still so current, but because these times allow them to keep the link to all those people so effortlessly.

Life is long and camp is short, but if you are lucky, you can carry it with you till the day you check out.

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Filed under camp, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – Little Shirt

When you have lived in a house as long as we have, things have a habit of lodging themselves in the back of places and you never know they are there.

Until, you have to move your massive armoire over six inches and you have to empty the entire thing out. There, on the top shelf, behind the long underwear and old sweaters that have that funky stripe of dust on them because they haven’t been unfolded in countless years, was the t-shirt above.

Size 24 month.

That belonged to the girl who will turn 21 YEARS next month.


How it got there I will never know. It was not a particularly favorite shirt, although it does say Delray on it and Mom, I am sure we bought it at that little place we loved on Atlantic Avenue. So although the shirt itself does not hold any particular memories of little Jana, the days we spent in Florida when she was young surely do.

I held up that little shirt and a rush of memories came flooding in. The smell of suntan lotion mixed with Desitin (she used to eat so much sand it was rough going on the way out). The way she could sit in a hole that Gary dug for her on the beach for hours. Standing at the shoreline with each of us holding one of her chubby little hands and lifting her up as the waves crashed on her feet, her squealing with delight each time as if it were the first. The cry of ‘five more minutes’ when we told her it was time to get out of the water. My kids adored the beach. Nature or nurture? Both, I am sure. Salt air and sand are something ingrained in their lives and a symbol of their childhoods.

That little Jana was one handful. Loads of fun but always giving me a run for my money. She could out-stubborn me any day of the week. Those toddler years were trying as hell but damn what I would not give for just one more day of that curly-headed little whirling dervish.

And now she is halfway across the globe navigating the world as if she were riding her bike around the corner, “It’s fine mom, I’ll figure it out, don’t worry.”

Don’t worry?! Isn’t that my job?

Janny-girl, I am thinking that I just might have to save that little shirt a while longer. And no, you cannot still wear it even though I know you love tiny T’s.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under gary, Jana, moms, parenting, t-shirts, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – Where the Wild Things Are


“Oh please don’t go – we’ll eat you up – we love you so!”

I can’t help it. That line kills me.

Every time.

To say that I have a soft spot for this book is an understatement. A few weeks ago I mentioned that my son hit send on his first college app as the movie commercial aired. Danny agreed to see it with me. Part humoring me, part his own nostalgia, I suppose.

Life takes mysteriously coincidental turns. As we were leaving to see the movie yesterday, I did a quick check on the college website to see his status. Miraculously, before my eyes, the pending status changed to…

Danny_accepted-collegeAll sorts of screaming, tears, and jumping up and down ensued (that was mostly me). And then we went off to see the film. (which by the way I LOVED, but by no means should you take little kids to see this).

Sitting there in the dark with my boy – watching this childhood fave come to life – was such a MOMENT. But when that last line was spoken, those words were almost too much to bear. In my head I thought, off you go, my son, on to your next adventure. But in my heart all I could hear was…

“Oh please don’t go – we’ll eat you up – we love you so.”

Congrats to my boy who worked so hard to get all that he deserves. And I want you to always remember that no matter where you go, when you come home to your ‘very own room’ you will always find ‘your supper waiting for you’

‘and it will still be hot.’

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under advice to my son, college, college applications, danny, family, teenagers, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – Childhood


Oak School #3. From tiny acorns to mighty oaks.

This is the sign that sits in front of my elementary school. Just to the left and below the bay window that was my kindergarten room. Inside was the window seat that I sat on and watched my mom walk away the first day of school. Back in the day we did not go to pre-k. This building housed my very first moments in school.

I can still remember the way the stairs were worn in the middle of each step. The way the cafeteria smelled – a cross between tater tots and canned string beans. The nurses office where I took my first eye exam and discovered I needed glasses; the oval baby blue kind (very Brady Bunch, indeed). The amazing Austin Powers style mole on my teacher’s nose. (seriously, we even had a song for it).

The school alma mater was never so deep as to mention acorns to oaks — that sign was added only recently. Yet I do still remember every word. One of the more creative lines:

When I walk to school each day, I stop and look and then I say, “Oak School Three, is the best. It’s really better than all the rest.”

I know what you are thinking, who was the genius that wrote those lyrics?

Why the corny walk down memory lane? Because two of my mightiest oaks of childhood were visiting this weekend from out of town and there is nothing more fun than doing the tour of the formative years with people you shared them with. These particular ‘oaks’ were my brother and his best friend since 2nd grade. These guys were the coolest. Four grades above me, I was lucky if they let me watch TV with them.

This weekend we all spent time together. Going to the beach, walking the boardwalk, hanging at my parents house. If not for my adult nephews to keep us in check I am sure we could have easily reverted back to being the kids in the house. Come to think of it the conversation at brunch was as adolescent as it gets.

Just when you think you are all grown up…

your not.

Thanks guys!

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under carry a camera, family, friendship, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday-Nunley’s Ferris Wheel


Ever stumble upon a piece of your childhood and feel like your breath had been stolen? The sight of this old relic caused both Gary and I to stop in our tracks. Believe it or not, we grew up in the same town. Being way older than I – not really, but I like to say that – and having moved in his early teens, our paths did not cross until later on.

Both of us stood in front of this broken down blast from the past and realized that our very first experiences on a ferris wheel had been on this very ride. I remember exactly where it was positioned to the left of the doorway, just outside the main building that housed the carousel. And the little boats where right behind it. The thought of what was breeding in that water would make a modern day mama cringe.

Damn, that thing looked so big back then. And new(ish) for I am sure it had been around for awhile by the time I road it. 

nunley's-signNunley’s was a sweet little amusement park on Long Island that seemed like a Six Flags to me when I was a kid. If you lived anywhere on the south shore in Nassau County, you knew Nunley’s. A promise to visit this magical place made everyone happy.

It was on its carousel that I first learned about trying to catch the brass ring. When you caught one your day was complete.

I suppose many are still out there trying to catch it again. 

Me? I was just happy to visit with an old friend. And share that memory with my husband. Who says you can’t go home again?

(FYI, this old baby now resides in front of Jordan’s Lobster Farms, another great south shore landmark. You might also like to know that the carousel has been restored and you can take a ride on it at Museum Row in Garden City)

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone

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Filed under carry a camera, communities, family, museums, places of interest, signage

Time to Cry Tuesday – Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

Meatloaf Dinner

Comfort food.

Everyone has certain dishes that make them feel safe. The tastes and smells that bring you back to your mom’s dinner table and remind you of what life felt like when it was simpler. Before the deadlines and the mortgage, there was…

meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Oh, and creamed spinach. That was one of those family dinners in my house that even my brother the vegetarian could probably still get nostalgic about.

Today was Monday, literally and figuratively. It was rainy and raw. Gary had to battle a lousy commute, Danny had tons of end of semester work and I was just banging away on the keyboard in the basement all day. It was a perfect day for meatloaf and mashed potatoes. (unfortunately I did not have any creamed spinach in the house). Jana will not eat anything with the word loaf in it, so we are clear to eat this delicacy until she returns.

Funny, two people asked me what was for dinner today and when I told them, they were both jealous. Meatloaf. The universal comfort food. (nice tagline). For me it is second only to rice pudding, but I reserve that for life crisis. Meatloaf is more the everyday comfort food, rice pudding is the ‘my life is on fire’ type.

So tell me, what is your comfort food?

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog.

For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.


Filed under danny, family, moms, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – An Icon

Sorry, third time in as many weeks that I am posting about loss. However, this one is quite different.

Sunday I had the pleasure (yes pleasure!) of attending a memorial service for someone who helped shape the woman I am today.  Actually, not just me, but hundreds of women through the 60s and 70s. This woman, Alice Sternin, was the director of the summer camp I attended. I have posted about this idyllic place from my childhood before, as both my children are fortunate enough to share in the legacy.

I have never attended a service where there was as much laughter as tears. The essence of this woman was described by countless speakers. Everyone in the room shared the same memories of this tiny woman who was larger than life.

People traveled from all over the country. Family and friends spoke. One after another, stories were shared that sparked long forgotten memories for each one of us . When her famous lines were quoted, the entire room joined  in unison. Treasured camp songs were sung and tears were shed for the loss, not just of this woman, but the childhood jewel this perfect place had been for all of us.

My daughter has had the good fortune to have had this same experience. The following is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to Jana and her girls at the end of their last summer as campers. This sums up what this woman built. And her legacy will carry on long after she is gone.

You are so very lucky to have this piece of your life. Camp is something that you cannot put a label on. There are no words to describe how you feel when you are with your girls. How the sight of the lake and mountains fill your heart in a way that nothing else in this world truly can. The essence of camp is ingrained in each and every one of you. It is part of what makes you who you are, and believe me, who you will always be. We are all beyond lucky to know these feelings.

Leaving is never easy.  All these years later I still tear up as I walk out of camp and drink in one last moment of the place I love so much.

Never, NEVER, take this place for granted. Hold it close and it will never let you down.  

Today, as I sat with MY girls so many years later, I felt the full weight of those words.

Here’s to you Big Al! The toughest camp director in the East. With the biggest heart! You will be dearly missed, but rest easy, your legacy will never die.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog.

For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under friendship, Jana, loss, relationships, Time to Cry Tuesdays