The Day the Crabs Fled and Other Yarns

My Grandfather enlisted in the Marine Corp in 1939. He arrived at Pearl Harbor December 6, 1941. He not only survived the following day December, 7, 1941, he survived during the entire war in the Pacific. He separated from the Marines at the end of WWII and was recalled again in during the Korean War. I lived with him and my Grandmother on and off while growing up, they were the closest

My Grandfather (left)

My Grandfather (left)

thing to a mother and father that I ever experienced. I always thought his war stories were “stories” like the John Wayne movies he forced me to watch. I never understood that his wild stories of bombs going off on beaches and thousands of crabs coming in from the sea were anything more than adventures made up to entertain a little girl who loved to hear her Grandfather talk and was easily impressed. I understand now that a lot of those narratives were tales of him losing his buddies, of choices made that meant life or death. Now that he is many years gone, I get it. I know that to my older cousins he is a hero because of his medals and service records. He is a smell to me, a sound, and a story. I miss him.


Lust and Karaoke


The first time that I heard my husband sing it seemed that wild stallions took over my burning loins, transforming my warm but bland feelings for my friend into something else. I was mortified and totally turned on.
I spent years, yes, not one or two, but several trying to squash these emotions. It did not help situation that I would drop any plans I had to go see him sing, yes, like a dirty, dirty crack head. I would eavesdrop on conversations at work (yes, sigh, we worked together) and if I heard he would be doing karaoke somewhere I would either invite myself or just show up (pathetic, but junkies are junkies). While Elvis lit my burning fire, as we passed through Jagger ( oh, I WILL be your beast of burden), and Morrison (he was lighting MY fire)… total and utter humiliation grew. What was wrong with me?????
We would continue to go for drinks, have great conversations, hang out with mutual friends, and meet for poker parties, life as usual. I would study him at work and all I saw was what I had always seen: my friend, nothing more nothing less.
There was something that turned this intelligent, quiet and unassuming man into a total SHOWMAN!!! He became Billy Idol, full snarl. Jack White…..who could take me anytime on “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”…..sigh…And I turned into a randy groupie….totally ashamed. I hid it well…All these burning churning goings on in my nethers, but I still was horrified at myself. How could he jump on tables? How could he growl about wanting to do it in the road??? Who was he??? And who the fuck was I??? I really didn’t have an answer anymore.
Time passed……………………

And as all good love stories go all it took was a drink too many and softly sung “Golden Slumbers” and I was his….forever.

Love Creates and Love Ruins

Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin to followAmantine Lucile Aurore Dupin was better known by her pseudonym George Sand, was an extraordinary woman. A remarkable novelist, playwright, and an ardent campaigner of all manner of political reform. She was a rebellious, cross-dressing, cigar-smoking, scandalously-acting woman who lived at a time that was certainly much more of male dominated world than today. Composer Frédéric Chopin was one of the many famous lovers that Amantine had in her life. After their relationship fell apart, in 1847, he scarcely composed again, before his death two years later. Once again love lost ruins or creates masterpieces.

Old Songs and Railroad Tracks

My Grandmother

My Grandmother

My Grandmother helped raise me, whenever I got to be too much for my mother, or I got sick and needed more care than standard I would be shipped off to my Grandparents. I was the youngest grandchild and the only girl, I was spoiled. My Grandmother was old school. She had been raised to save everything, there was balls of tin foil, plastic bags full of bread bags, rubber bands…drawers of “just in” case stuff.

She used to sing to me, songs of another era. We would walk for miles and she would sing me melodies as we followed the railroad tracks. After each song, she would tell me a story that went along with it.When I was little I didn’t understand a lot of the words of the songs or the stories that accompanied I just liked the sound, but as I grew older I would notice how far away her eyes would get when she would sing. Like she remembered the film of her life as she sang. This made me start listening closer to the words and the stories after. It was about loves that were lost, about boys going off to fight in WW2, about trying to go on after. I think she really was reliving moments of her life as we walked along those tracks.

My Grandmother died about 10 years ago. After her death, many things came to light about her life that her children never knew. For a woman that was so predictable with her saving of tin foil, her daily trips to Mass, and her life being the same day in and day out, she kept a lot of secrets. And I think that a few of them were shared with a little girl that liked to listen to her grandma sing and tell stories.

“I am blue, I am blue, aren’t the tears in my eyes telling you?”

The Heavy Red Beacon

I have always dyed my hair red, almost everyone in my family had red hair, but I did not.  So from middle school on up I was always a red head.  I saw The French Lieutenants Woman when I was too little to understand what the movie meant but I do remember Meryl Streep’s beautiful red wig.  It stuck with me that tragic and romantic figures had red hair.

It was 7229624220_6fa7cbb5f5_zhard to keep red because while brilliant for the first few days, it fades quickly.

I met a boy when I was 14.  He love my perfume (jasmine oil) and long red hair.  I practically had my own sound track.  In my mind’s eye, I was a romantic and ever so tragic figure standing above the ocean with the wind whipping my hair about me.  That boy was my first love, he left me after a few years.  I always figured he would come back so I kept the red hair, so he would know who I was. I kept it in the same style hanging down by back, as I got older it got curly (almost like it was turning into the wig from the movie). For years I kept the hair, destroying at least one vacuum cleaner a year with my huge tumble weeds of red that would be sucked up and butchering the motor.2735169401_090fe14b25

Almost two years ago I finally asked myself why I was hanging onto pounds of hair that brought me no joy, but had at first been a beacon to a boy to find me, that had become a security blanket to hide behind. No one ever noticed me, they just noticed the hair.  Finally, I think that my hair realized that the boy was not coming, and got on board with my heart and mind.  The blond is back with a vengeance and 14 inches have disappeared.  Have felt light hearted and light headed ever since.

Meet You at Forest Lawn?

.facebook_-1730550010Carole Lombard’s most famous relationship came in 1936 when she became involved with Clark Gable. They had worked together previously in 1932’s No Man of Her Own, but at the time Lombard was married.  Years before they had worked together as extra’s on a silent film, but neither of them ever met.  When Gable was reunited with Lombard at the Mayfair Ball where Lombard was the hostess, their romance took off. Gable was married at the time to oil heiress Ria Longham, so the affair was kept quiet.

The situation actually got Gable to accept to role as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind, he had previously not wanted to play the part, but MGM head Louis B.Mayer made the deal too good to turn down when he offered Gable the money to settle the divorce agreement with Langham allowing him to marry Lombard. The divorce was final on March 7, 1939 and he proposed to Lombard at the Brown Derby on March 29, 1939, during a break in production from Gone with the Wind, Gable and Lombard zoomed off to Kingman, Arizona and were married with only a press agent present.  They bought a ranch in Encino California.

clark gable and carol lombard

Carole’s movie career hit a dark spot with Fools for Scandal she decided to move to more dramatic roles. In 1939, she took a role with Jimmy Stewart in David O Selznick‘s Made for Each Other and with Cary Grant in In Name Only.  This was still not what audiences seemed to want from her so she returned to comedy, reuniting with Alfred Hitchcock in Mrs. Smith in 1941.  This seemed to give her career the boost she needed, her last and final film unbeknownst to her was To Be or Not to Be in 1942, it would be her most successful movie.

clark gable and carole lomard.

When the U.S.entered World War II at the end of 1941, Lombard traveled to her home state of Indiana for a war bond rally with her mother, Bess Peters, and Clark Gables press agent, Otto Winkler (also the only person at their wedding).  Lombard was able to raise over $2 million in defense bonds in a single evening.  Her party had initially been scheduled to return to Los Angeles by train, but Lombard was anxious to reach home more quickly and wanted to fly.  Her Mother and Winkler were both afraid of flying and insisted they follow their original plans.  Lombard suggested that they flip a coin; they agreed and it in that instance their lives changed, Lombard won the toss.

The early morning of January 16, 1942 Lombard, her mother, and Winkler boarded a plane to return to California.  It refueled in Las Vegas and took off at 7:07 and 23 minutes later crashed into “Double Up Peak” 32 miles southwest of Las Vegas. All 22 aboard, including 15 army servicemen, were killed instantly.

Carole Lombard in Indiana selling war bonds.

Carole Lombard in Indiana selling war bonds.

Gable was flown to Las Vegas after learning of the crash, to claim the bodies of his wife, mother -in-law, and Winkler, who aside from being his press agent was also a good friend. Lombard’s funeral was held on January 21st at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.  She was laid to rest beside her mother under the name of Carole Lombard Gable.

Lombard’s final film, To Be or Not to Be (1942) was a satire about Nazism and World War II was in post-production at the time of her death. The films producers decided to cut the part of the film that Lombard’s character asks, “What can happen on a plane?” out of respect for the circumstances surrounding her death.  When the film was released it received mixed reviews, mostly about the controversial content, but Lombard’s performance was hailed as the perfect send off to one the 1930’s Hollywood’s most important stars.

At the time of her death Carole Lombard was to be in the film They All Kissed the Bride the role was given to Joan Crawford. Crawford donated all of her salary for the film to the Red Cross, which had helped extensively in the recovery of the bodies of the air crash.

Lombard and Gable on their 2nd Anniversary.

Lombard and Gable on their 2nd Anniversary.

Shortly after her death, Gable (who was inconsolable and devastated by his loss) joined the United States Air Forces, as Lombard had asked him to do numerous times after the US entered WWII. After officer training, Gable head a six man motion picture unit attached to a B-17 bomb group in England to film aerial gunners in combat, flying five missions himself. In December 1943, the United Maritime Commission announced that a Liberty ship named after Carole Lombard would be launched. Gable attended the launch of the SS Carole Lombard on January 15, 1944, the two year anniversary of Lombard’s record breaking war bond drive. The ship was involved in rescuing hundreds of survivors from sunken ships in the pacific and returning them to safety.

carole lombard and clark gable 1932

Despite being married twice more, Gable chose to be interred beside Lombard in Forest Lawn Memorial Park when he died in 1960. She was the love of his life.


No Romance in the Wee Hours




I came across a picture while doing some research, it was an entry in Theodore Roosevelt’s diary.  All it said was “The light has gone out of my life.” This lit the fire under my curiosity (I need to know or I will die).


ImageWhat light? Was he talking Politics?? Was he speaking figuratively? So as I lay in bed that night the clock ticking upwards (it is digital but seriously I hear ticking) to 2 a.m. , pondering the meaning behind this journal  entry I had to get up and get to the bottom of this. Of course, this was after I had poked my peacefully sleeping (snoring like a wild beast) husband and asked if he ever took a course on Teddy in college. He gave me his stock answer for such things, “Whaaaa-helllll, huh?” and then straight back into his snore barely missing a beat.  We, the two of us, have this routine down pat. 



Getting up I head down to the computer and what I Imagefound was scraggily, walrus mustached Teddy was very, very handsome when he was a young lad (by that I mean smoking hot in a rugged way ) and that his light was a love that ended in the saddest of tragedies.  He was a romantic that was broken early, but still became a great man despite it.


His first wife Alice was the love of his life and the light that he spoke of in his diary.  It seems that in February 1879 he met the woman of his dreams and one year and one day later she accepted his proposal.  On Valentine’s Day.Image


They were married that same year. On February 12, 1884 Alice gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Teddy was no home because he had been sure that the baby would be born on Valentine’s Day, on the 4th year of their engagement. He received two telegrams the next day telling him of his daughter’s birth and as he set out to head home another informing him that Alice was ill.  He reached home at midnight and spent two hours holding his wife, until he heard word that his mother’s health Imagehad made a turn for the worse so he went downstairs to be with her until her death that day of Typhoid fever.  Only to go back upstairs and hold his wife the last few hours of her life (she died of Toxemia) both his mother and his wife died on Valentine’s Day the 4th anniversary of his engagement.


ImageTeddy was so distraught by his wife’s death that except for his diary entry “The light has gone out of my life” he never spoke of her again.


Privately he published the following tribute to Alice:


She was beautiful in face and form, and lovelier still in spirit; As a flower she grew, and as a fair young flower she died. Her life had been always in the sunshine; there had never come to her a single sorrow; and none ever knew her who did not love and revere her for the bright, sunny temper and her saintly unselfishness. Fair, pure, and joyous as a maiden; loving, tender, and happy. As a young wife; when she had just become a mother, when her life seemed to be just begun, and when the years seemed so bright before her—then, by a strange and terrible fate, death came to her. And when my heart’s dearest died, the light went from my life forever


Alice was 22.Image






Remind me to not do research that makes my throat lumpy and my heart weepy in the wee hours of the morning.







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