Bells Are Ringing and Clowns Are … Laughing?

My grandma was no Clark Griswold in the outdoor Christmas Decorations Department.  Inside, though, she used to really go all out.  Well, at least she did before she moved to her condo.

She had a large mantle along the fireplace that she decorated every year.  She had Christmas trees, reindeer, a Santa sleigh, angels, and more.  On both sides of the fireplace, there were cement “pads” (really the only way I can think to describe them).  She usually placed a small Christmas tree on each side and surrounded them with more trinkets.  I know I had pictures of just the mantle somewhere, but can’t seem to find it. However, you get the basic idea from this cheesy photo of my brother and me.

One of the trinkets was a plastic mouse that had hair on the head.  The hair made it look like one of those toy trolls.  It never made sense to me as to why she always had that in there.  I asked her one year and she explained that she had been sick or in the hospital one time and my folks sent her some flowers or a plant or something … from me.  The mouse was part of the bouquet and she kept it.  Sadly, it is one of the things that have disappeared and no one knows where it went.

As years went by, many of the same decorations were there. Note the Mrs. Santa Clause to the right of the Millennium Falcon box below. It always seemed to be out. This particular year, there was a set of shelves next to the TV. On top of it was her manger scene (behind my brother on the left). The silver star lit up above the baby Jesus. This may have been the manger set my mom made in ceramics, I can’t be sure.

For as long as grandma was in her house on Huntington, every Christmas she would hang these melted plastic decorations up on the wall. These were very popular in the 1970’s I guess.  She had Santa in a sleigh being pulled by 9 reindeer….all Rudolph because that was all they made.

Those plastic decorations were something we had at our house, too.  I remember the snowman, the Christmas tree, waving Santa, and the wreath.  I did a search online and found that there were quite a bit of them. There were even some made for Thanksgiving and Easter.

In her front room, there was usually her big tree (eventually it was the ceramic one my mom made for her) right in the center of the front window and some garland around pictures.  There might have been a wreath on the door, too.  We didn’t go in this room much.  It was the “fancy” room.  Most of the breakable stuff was in there. Here are my grandparents in there around 1967-1968.

Bells and Clowns

I’m not sure what made me remember this particular decoration, but it was one of two very annoying things that grandma brought out every year. It was a simple, clear, red plastic bell that played music. It didn’t look anything like the bell in the video below.

I tried to search for it online and I found something similar to the one grandma had, but it isn’t THE one. Grandma’s was just a bell with a Christmas light inside of it that lit up in synch with the electronic music that was playing. I found this clip on YouTube which is almost the exact same music.

The missing holiday favorite from the clip is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Grandma’s bell played it and when it did the Christmas light inside blinked like it was a strobe light. It always made my grandma laugh. It made us laugh, too, the first couple times we heard it. After that it got annoying. She would turn it on and you’d have to listen to the first 7 or 8 carols before Rudolph played. When it did, she’d crack up. It was obnoxiously annoying.

The second annoying “decoration” she had was this scary looking clown doll. Now, what this clown had to do with Christmas I will never know. It wasn’t even dressed in Christmas colors.

This ugly thing would sit somewhere near the fire place among the rest of the decorations. Throughout each of our visits, grandma would walk over, pick it up and press the belly. Inside the clown was a “laugh box.” It would laugh for 20-30 seconds and it would crack my grandma up.

You can see the pure joy on her face in the above picture. To a degree, the laugh kind of reminded me of how my grandpa laughed, so maybe that is why she loved it so much. Every video I found on YouTube of the clown laughing, it sounds speeded up. I did, however find a video of just the laugh box and it plays at the speed my grandma’s clown laughed.

Imagine hearing that 4-5 times during an hour visit! I was always glad when that clown finally got put away!

As annoying as they were, I’d give anything to be able to go back to the days of that clown and that bell! So many Christmas memories involved my grandparents. Whether it was my mom’s folks …

… or my dad’s folks ….

I’d put up with those annoying sounds for however long I had to – just to have a few more minutes with them again!

Friday Photo Flashback

It is time for another Friday Photo Flashback. This week, it is a bit different. In the past installments, I have picked on photo and written about things in it, or the memories connected to it. Today, however, is Veteran’s Day and I have a few photos that I want to share. The camera at the top of the blog is a 1967 Polaroid Land Camera. I chose this particular camera because of the context of the photos below.

Veteran’s Day is a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all US military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who have died while in military service.

I’d like to especially thank my dad, and all of the great Vietnam veterans I’ve had the chance to meet because of him. Here is a photo of him either just before or just after basic training.

My dad served in the 9th Infantry.

He sent many photos home from Vietnam. He sent them to my grandparents, and my mom (long before they were married).

These photos were in albums for many years and there was a time that my dad didn’t talk much about his time in Vietnam. It was war after all, and he saw things and witnessed things I cannot imagine.

I knew from a shadow box that held his name tag, bars, patches, and his Purple Heart that he was in the infantry and was wounded. It was years later that he told me about that.

The above photo was one I don’t really remember. It is possible that this was one that my grandma had at her house in her albums. I’m going to guess that my dad is 21-23 in this photo.

The title on this scan was “R&R,” so my dad might be on leave in this picture. It is another one that I have a vague recollection of.

A father will usually boast about being proud of their children, but I would like to turn the tables and say that I am proud of my father. I am honored to be this hero’s son. Thank you, Pop, for your service to our country.

Before wrapping up, let me remember my grandfather, Henry Davidson, who fought in World War II and my Uncle Tom (my Godfather), who also served in Vietnam.

I love this picture of my dad and my uncle. There were friends since childhood and remained friends until my uncle passed away. What an amazing friendship they shared.

Today I thank those who have served in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines and all branches of the military. Thank you for your service to this country and thank you for the freedoms that I have, the freedoms that my family and friends have, and for the freedoms of every American citizen. You make me proud to be an American.

Throwback Thursday – Favorite Things

Today, Maggie from “From Cave Walls” is hosting Throwback Thursday. You can read her blog here:

https://fromcavewalls.wordpress.com/2022/09/01/throwback-thursday-54-raindrops-on-roses/

She wants to know about our favorite things while adolescents.  She says: Pick any period of your adolescence and think back to all your favorite things. Feel free to elaborate as much as you want.

This week’s prompt is: Favorite Things

Pick any period of your adolescence and think back to all your favorite things. Feel free to elaborate as much as you want.

I am going to go with a time when I was in elementary school.

Who was your favorite relative? Not to play favorites, but who was the person you connected with more than others? Aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent, or parent? Why were you closest to them?

I hate the thought of picking a favorite relative. I would say that I probably connected most with my dad’s dad. When my mom’s dad passed away, it was the first time I had ever lost someone to death. I realized that he wouldn’t be around forever, so I began recording his voice so I’d remember what he sounded like. The loss of one grandparent caused me to be closer with all my other grandparents.

What was your favorite TV show? Share a clip if you can find one.

I remember being in front of the TV to watch the Dukes of Hazzard.

What was your favorite book or favorite family story?

In fourth grade, I remember liking Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. The little brother, Fudges reminded me of my brother.

What was your favorite, song, record, or album. Feel free to share a YouTube video of it.

I never listened to what my friends listened to. Very rarely was I listening to new music. I was always listening to oldies or stuff my dad was playing for me. I listened to a lot of Beatles music.

Who was your favorite teacher at that age? What grade were you in and what subject did they teach?

Mrs. Gallop was my fourth grade teacher. She taught all the subjects that year. She was a lot of fun.

What was your favorite subject (not teacher) in school?

In elementary school? It was probably reading. I loved to read.

Who was your favorite (aka best) friend? What things did you do together?

Jeff. He still is my best friend. We spent a lot of time causing trouble. We made a lot of silly recordings on cassette, played video games, played with Star Wars figures, walked around the neighborhood, ate at Wendy’s, etc. It seemed like we were always together.

What was your favorite way to pass the time?

Reading or listening to music

What was your favorite holiday? How did you celebrate?

Christmas. We’d spend Christmas Eve at my dad’s folks and Christmas Day with my mom’s family.

What was your favorite toy or possession? Doll, camera, radio, bicycle?

I had a silver metal cap gun. It looked like a real cowboy gun. I used it when we played cops and robbers.

Bonus: What was your favorite adventure? Family trip, amusement park, field trip, or vacation perhaps.

I loved going to Caseville with our family, but our trips to Mackinaw and Kings Island stand out too.

September Songs

Welcome September! As the new month rings in, the realization that we have entered the final days of summer and the beginning of autumn approaches. As I wrote the date yesterday, I began to sing September Song. It is a song that has been recorded by many people, but I was first introduced to it by Willie Nelson. It was on his Stardust album, which we played many times while we were up north. My grandpa said that it was his favorite song on that album.

So that made me think that a good way to welcome the month is with songs about September. Here are some of my favorites:

September Song – Willie Nelson

September Morn – Neil Diamond

This was one I remember well from when my dad was playing guitar in a wedding band called Foxfire. Whenever he had band practice, he’d bring my brother and me along. There were plenty of nights we loathed going to those practices, but every now and then, they played a song I really liked. This song was one that my mother often sang along with as she was driving.

See You In September – The Happenings

This is one that reminds me of my days at WHND, Honey Radio. The music director was very good about making sure summer songs played during the summer and songs like this played at the end of the school year and at the beginning of September. I won’t say it is a “favorite” but it does bring back some of my favorite radio memories.

September When I First Met You – Barry White

My buddy Jeff Goodrich used to say “There’s nothing like 6 minutes and 42 seconds of Barry saying cool things!” It’s a smooth groove ….

Maybe September – Tony Bennett

The legendary Tony Bennett croons through this Song from The Oscar. The parenthetical title is actually Maybe September. Sinatra called Tony one of the greatest singers of all time. His smooth delivery blends so well with this very pretty arrangement …

September Skies – The Brian Setzer Orchestra

This is one of my favorite cuts from the BSO’s first album. It is not one that many have heard before, but I can hear the likes of Michael Buble’ doing this one, too. Tell me what you think …

September – Earth, Wind and Fire

Come on! You can’t have a list of September songs without this one! This came out in 1978 and it is STILL requested at weddings and parties! People love to dance to this one. Crank it up!

September in the Rain – Annie Lennox

Sinatra did this. So did Dinah Washington. I picked up Annie Lennox’s Nostalgia album and was blown away by her version. She’s got such a great voice and the arrangement is beautiful.

Wake Me Up When September Ends – Green Day

Every October someone will post on Facebook, “Time to wake up the guy from Green Day.” This is one of a few songs I like from them. I love the simple guitar at the beginning and how the song builds into the “Green Day” sound.

September of My Years – Frank Sinatra

A Sinatra classic, and the perfect song to wrap with. I guess at 52 years old, I am probably entering or in the September of my own years. Time flies. We see that each and every year. It seems like we just started summer, but alas, fall fast approaches.

Sing it, Mr. Sinatra ….

I’m sure I may have forgotten a few – which September song is your favorite??

The Impact They Made

When I was 11 years old, my grandpa died. I knew him as a grandson would – a fun loving family member. This was the extent of how I knew him. I knew him in family situations. He loved to golf, went to church, laughed a lot, and snored when he napped. It wasn’t until he passed away that I learned more about him.

At the funeral home, I was introduced to SO many people. “You’re grandpa was one of a kind!” “I loved your grandpa!” “He was a good man.” “You’re grandpa loved you!” “I’m going to miss your grandpa very much.” People shared stories with me, told me of how important he was to them, and showed me a side of him I had no idea existed!

A recent blog I wrote about my Godmother spoke of “waiting in the line.” You can read it here:

I wrote that before I went to the funeral home to pay my respects. Little did I know that it was foreshadowing what would happen when I got there.

The doors opened at 3pm for the viewing. I dropped the kids off at Nana’s house so I could drive down. I arrived around 3:25pm. The parking lot was full. I didn’t find this odd, as it was a big funeral home and I figured that there were other families visiting someone who had passed away.

When I walked up to the doors, I opened them and was immediately met with a group of 10 people standing in a lobby-like area between two sets of doors. The creepy funeral home person greeted me and asked who I was there to see. When I told him, he explained that I was at the end of the line to get into the room where the viewing was taking place.

Slowly, the line crept forward as more and more people joined the back of the line. The line was now out the door and down the sidewalk leading to the funeral home. It was no doubt almost to the parking lot. When I finally entered the room where my Godmother was laid out, I could see that there were already many people who had been through the line and either sitting down or looking at the various picture boards.

As I waited my turn, I watched the video that was playing on the TV in the corner. There were so many pictures I had never seen before. Pictures of her graduation, her wedding, her grandchildren, family vacations, and someone had even put the picture I posted of her and I in the video montage. I was touched by that.

At the front of the line, I hugged and spoke with her two sons and her husband. Then I paused at the casket and silently prayed. As the line continued, I spoke with her sisters (my cousins) and had reached the end of the line. I looked around the room and it was pretty much standing room only and the line was still out the door. I walked out of the room and observed that the line was indeed almost 4 times as long as it was when I first arrived.

I smiled. Just like with my grandpa, I was witnessing a facet of my Godmother’s life that I was unaware of. As special as my Godmother was to me, I thought about all of these people that were there for her. I’m sure they all had their own special memories of her to share. I thought of how many people were walking up to her grandchildren and telling them, “Your grandma loved you very much!” She touched many lives and brought happiness to a lot of people.

In a previous blog, I wrote: I understand that death is a part of life.  I am reminded of a quote from my psychology class that said, “The hardest part of losing someone isn’t having to say goodbye, but rather learning to live without them – always having to fill the void, the emptiness that’s left inside your heart when they go.”  This is so true.  Leo Buscaglia said, “Death is a challenge.  It tells us not to waste time.”  Also true.  Bruce Lee, who died at the young age of 32, said, “If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” 

In yet another previous blog I wrote: the late author Terry Pratchett says this: “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.”  This ties in with the “ripple effect” mentioned in the above picture. Life will go one long after we are gone, but as long as our stories are shared, or a memory is relived, or our name comes up – there are ripples. Based on the amount of people I saw this weekend, my Godmother will be leaving ripples for a long time.

In the meantime, we “adjust” to life without her …

Friday Photo Flashback

I have come to really enjoy this little feature. It began as a simple writing prompt that suggested going through some old photos and picking one that brought make a lot of memories or feelings. It has been fun to go back through some of the old photos from our family albums.

Today, we have a look back at “toddler” Keith …

If I had to date this picture, I’d say it is 1971 or 1972. I have to be 1 or 2 in it.

I have no idea if this is Christmas or my birthday, but I would guess Christmas. I don’t really remember much about this piano, except for these few pictures. Did it come home with us or did it stay at my grandparents? I just don’t know.

The first thing that jumps out at me in this picture is the VERY wide collar on the vest I am wearing. At least I think that is a vest. It certainly looks as though there is a long sleeve shirt under it, but it very well could be that the sleeves are attached to it.

This is one of my favorite pictures of me as a kid. As I look at it, I am still amazed at just how much hair I had as a kid! It’s a wonder that I ever grew into those big ears, too! The caterpillar eyebrows have been a thing with me since I was little, obviously.

The other thing that stands out is the smiles on the faces of (from left to right) my grandma, my grandpa, and my mom. I am sure that I am probably not playing Beethoven, or even Chopsticks for that matter! I am probably just pounding out some nonsensical and nonmusical noise, but here they are looking at me and smiling!

It looks like my grandma is holding the piano bench I should be sitting on, but as a toddler, I probably wouldn’t have sat there for long. It was probably easier for me to just stand and bang on the keys. Her beehive hairdo is not quite a beehive in this photo and the lenses of her glasses are much smaller than I was used to seeing as she got older.

My grandpa is holding something that I can’t quite make out. It almost looks like a cigar, but as far as I know, he never smoked them. Of course, it would be an ashtray he is holding. That wouldn’t be a stretch. In the picture, you can really see how crooked his nose was. You can see how it is bent to the right. (He broke it when it was hit by a crank that you used to start cars with.)

My mom’s hair looks more “beehive-ish” than my grandma’s. I love that smile on her face. I saw that smile many times in my life when she was beaming with pride over something I did. While a little blurry, I think it is safe to say that she is wearing some horn-rimmed glasses in the picture. My brother and I always made fun of her when we found pictures of her in those glasses. Glasses or not, she still looks beautiful in this picture.

That lamp in the background was one that grandma had for YEARS! I think she even brought it to her condo after grandpa passed away. The shade had hung upon the lamp for years and collected a deep yellow cigarette stain from the smoke exposure. On the table is a picture of me as a baby in yellow PJs. I’d have to find the original, but I think I am holding a baseball in it.

On the wall above my mother are two pieces of art that I do not recall at all. I always remember there being a big picture on that wall. I can’t even tell what those things are? The middle one looks like it’s a fox or something. This is where I wish I could enhance it more.

I remembered another picture taken that same day. I found it and here it is.

This piano may or many not have had a big impact on me as far as my love for music. I did take some lessons on the Hammond Organ when I was maybe 6 or 7 years old, but I really never learned how to play piano. For whatever it is worth, in the above picture, I seem to be faking it pretty good. I actually look like I know what I am doing!

Speaking to A Stone

This blog will start deep – but I promise a funny story at the end…

I recently read a blog from a friend in Scotland. She is currently visiting with her dad and they took a trip to the local cemetery to visit her mom/his wife, who is buried there. She spoke of how her dad spoke to the various graves in the cemetery. They were all people he knew. She said that each headstone represent someone from his past.

I have visited my share of cemeteries and I really hadn’t thought about it before, but I am also one of those people who speaks to stone. I’m not sure why.

It is my belief, based on Scripture, that those who die as believers in Christ go to heaven when they die. In 2 Corinthians 5 the Bible says to be “absent from the body” is to be “present with the Lord.” Now that being said, why am I talking to gravestones? They are literally big pieces of marble with a name and dates on them.

One time, I remember visiting my grandpa’s grave. I remember standing there, staring at his headstone and talking out loud. I was telling him how much he’d love his grandson (I only had my oldest at the time), and the silly things he did. I thanked him for being such a big part of my life and more.

I always talk to my mom when I visit her grave. I always seem to get more emotional when I am there alone. When I go with my wife or my kids, they almost always give me time alone at the grave. They must know.

I cry when I am there. I miss her terribly. Sometimes I feel robbed that she is not here to be a part of all that is going on. Then I remember the cancer battle and how much pain she was in. I am selfish for wanting her here, but I am grateful that there is no more pain or suffering.

I know that she’d be so happy with what I have done with my life – college, good job, an amazing wife and more grandkids. I also know she’d spoil the heck out of all of those grandbabies if she were still here. She, however, is not. So I stand or sit at her graveside and I tell her how much I miss her, our chats, and other personal things. When I have said my peace, cried my tears, and am ready to go, I take one final look at the stone and walk back to my car.

Ella at grandma’s grave

Maybe I am a bit crazy. I am well aware that I am talking to a stone with my relative or friend’s name on them. I also know that all that is under the stone is the earthly remains, and that the soul that was that person is no longer there. So why do I speak to those loved ones who are no longer here, and why do I only do it at the cemetery? I mean, I could easily do it in the car while I drive, right?

I know that I am not the only one who does this. Perhaps there is some sort of psychological answer. I don’t know. I kind of wish I had the answer.

As Promised – the Funny Story

Coming from an Italian family, there were many times where certain members of my family didn’t speak to each other. Once such case was my grandfather and his sisters. He made it very clear to my grandmother and my dad that when he passed away, he wanted no obituary. He did not want them knowing that he had died.

Those wishes were honored. He passed away in 1994, so there was no internet to look up records or anything like that. There was also no “Find a Grave” website to do a search and find where people, both famous and not famous, were buried.

My grandmother often went to the cemetery to visit my grandfather. There were many Sundays when they would go to trim around the head stone, or put out a grave blanket. Sofia from the Golden Girls reminds me of my grandma. She was a tiny, stubborn, and strong Italian woman.

One day, my dad pulled up to my grandpa’s grave and there were flowers on it. My grandma was out of the car like a shot to see what it was all about. Attached to the flowers was a note, obviously meant for my grandma to find. I don’t recall exactly what it said, but it was something like: “Dear brother. We are only now finding out that you passed away. We loved you so very much. We are sorry that you were kept from us…” or SOMETHING like that.

I have seen my grandma get mad. I was not there for this particular incident, but I can almost bet that a slow boil began in the pit of her stomach and worked its way up. I am sure with each sentence she read her anger grew and her face got red. I am also pretty sure that there was probably some sort of explosion that was audible when she finally “burst.”

(Now get that picture of Sofia from the Golden Girls in your mind as you picture the visual) She grabbed those flowers in one hand, planted herself like a quarterback getting ready to throw a Hail Mary pass, and as she fired those flowers into the air, she screamed, “F^%$ YOU!!!”

As she yelled and the profanity echoed across the cemetery, I am sure birds fluttered into the air, scared for their life. For years, whenever we brought that story up, grandma would casually chuckle and remind us of just how mad she was.

One Photograph – Your Memories

I have a blog that I want to write, but can’t really bring myself to do it emotionally. I’m still trying to sort through the feelings and the best way to write about it. So, today, I have opted to go to the Daily Writing Prompts to find my blog topic.

Today’s Prompt:

“One Photograph – Glance through some old pictures. Write about the one that brings back fond memories.”

As a Nostalgic Italian, almost every picture causes me to reflect on it and remember the moment. The one that jumped out at me today was from when I was about 6 years old.

My Brother and I in front of Grandpa’s truck.

The photo above was taken in Ohio. It was taken on our trip to King’s Island. My folks, my brother and me all packed up my grandpa’s camper and went down for a family trip to King’s Island and Sea World.

The first thing that stands out in the picture is the shirts that my brother and I are wearing. It must have been Summer of 1976. Americans were celebrating the country’s 200th birthday that year. I am guessing that elementary schools throughout the country all ordered the same shirts only with their school’s name on them. I say this because while we were on this trip, there was a family that were wearing the same shirts sitting and eating at a table. I remember getting up and walking around in front of them until the mom said, “Hey! Nice shirt!”

I don’t recall how many days we were there, but at least one day was rainy. Other photo’s from the trip show my brother and me in jackets and the King’s Island “bucket” hats.

While we walked around, they had many of the cartoon characters walking around the park. The gang from the Banana Splits were out and we got a picture with one of them. I believe my brother hates this picture, but I thought it was funny.

I remember riding a lot of the kiddie rides there. One ride had you sitting in a boat and we went through this tunnel with all kinds of characters in it. The photo is long gone, but I remember asking my dad to take a picture of these two skeletons dancing. One had on a top hat. It was one of my favorite pictures, but it was lost in a move probably.

Going back to the weather, I remember this trip scaring the heck out of me. After we went back to the camper, it began to rain hard and then a strong thunderstorm came through. Along with it, came tornado warnings. The four of us were all inside my grandpa’s camper and I was scared to death. I was terrified of tornadoes (thanks to my grandma) and I thought one was going to come through and pick us up in the camper! It was crazy. That wind was tossing us back and forth and it was the worst storm I had ever lived through.

It’s funny how one picture can bring back so many memories. This was the only time I’ve ever been to King’s Island. A buddy was just there last weekend and posted pictures on his Facebook page. As I looked at the other photos from MY trip, I have to believe that Fred Flintstone is no longer there and the Banana Splits have probably been replaced with Sponge Bob or some newer character.

It may just be time for me to take the family there for a trip! Now, if I can only get someone to make me that shirt in a bigger size….

Cast the Movie of Your Life

The Word Press App on my phone will offer a daily writing prompt to bloggers. I subscribe to a few “prompt” emails and such, and they can certainly be thought starters. Today’s prompt was one I had considered before and I may have even been asked a similar question by a Facebook friend. The prompt:

They are making a movie about your life. Cast it. (Keith adds – with any actors living or dead)

My thoughts on this are to jot down what comes to mind immediately for some (not all) of my family, and a few friends (other friends may request I suggest an actor/actress for them if they really want me to). I will then continue to ponder the question and see if, after thinking it over, I would change any of my choices.

Me

Dom Deluise – No Brainer. This has always been my answer to this question!

My wife, Sam

This was tough. I tried to think of who might look like her and carry herself like Sam. Toss up between Charlize Theron and Olivia Wilde.

My Dad

I’m not sure there would be any better than Jackie Gleason to play my dad

My Mom

Who in the world could play my mom? Tough question and still not really sure, but I forced myself to pick someone. At times, Cathy Bates’ facial expressions remind me of her, so for now – that’ my pick.

My Brother – Chris

Really difficult pick. So just because it will either make him laugh (and he needs that, because he is recovering from Covid) or it will make him mad… William Shatner (Because I wanted to post this stupid picture!)

My Grandma and Grandpa P

Estelle Getty on Golden Girls WAS my grandma! I always felt Abe Vigoda looked like my grandpa, so there ya go.

My Grandma and Grandpa D.

I have always felt like at times, Betty White reminded me of my grandma. My grandpa was tall, a bit heavy, and always smiling. John Goodman reminds me of him.

My best friend, Jeff

Another no brainer. I’ve said for years that he reminds me of Robin Williams.

My friend Steve K.

Steve always has some sort of crazy fact that seems unbelievable to tell. So, he would be John Ratzenberger – but John Ratzenberger AS Cliff Claven from Cheers.

My friend Joe K.

Joe is probably one of the smartest guys I know. At first, I couldn’t get Jeff Goldblum out of my head, and then I though Rainn Wilson is a bit more “Joe” to me.

My friend Steve M.

Steve and I wear our hair the same. My first choice was Vin Diesel, but then I though Michael Chiklis looked more like him (and he played Curly in a Three Stooges movie, so he wins).

My friend Margaret M.

She’s Italian. She’s fiesty. She is strong. She is an expert at inserting profanity into conversation. Without a doubt – Marisa Tomei.

My friend, Chris B,

Tall and funny = Conan O’Brien

Uh …… I’m Stumped

Now, as far as my kids …. I’m just not sure. My older boys (Dante’ and Dimitri) have personalities that are very established. Ella does in a sense as well. Andrew is just a smiling happy baby. How do I begin to pick who will play them? I just don’t know….

It’s my blog and my rules. Let me think a bit on this ….

If I left you out …. and you want me to think about who will play you – let me know. In the meantime ….

Go ahead and cast YOUR life. Who would play YOU?

Nice Lids!

I rarely post two blogs in one day, however, my last post made me think about something – hats. The reason for this is the first line of the song “On the Sunny Side of the Street” (Grab your coat and get your hat ….)

I guess I have always appreciated a good hat. I wish that people would dress up like they used to. It seems like there was a time when folks would wear a nice suit and tie and always had a good hat to complete the ensemble. My dad had some pretty cool hats growing up…

My dad and cousin Diane.
My dad and grandpa looking swell! Dig that hat!

When I watch an old movie I always am impressed by the way some of the actors dressed. In the Rat Pack film “Robin and the Seven Hoods,” there is a scene where Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Bing Crosby sang a song called “Style.” Frank and Dean are singing about how Bing needs to dress better.

Anyway, there is a line in the song that says, “A hat’s not a hat till it’s tilted.” As I thought more on this, so many of the great actors wore hats and they always tilted them. I love that look! I always wanted to find a hat that I could wear titled and have it make me look good! The fedora seemed to be the choice of many stars ….

Cary Grant was always looking suave –

Cary Grant

Bogey and Cagney knew how to wear a hat!

James Cagney – Humphrey Bogart

Classic Gangster – Edward G. Robinson was almost always wearing a hat….

Edward G. Robinson

Al Pacino looked great in a fedora …

Al Pacino

Harrison Ford brought the fedora back to the screen as Indian Jones..

Even the great Curly Howard from the Three Stooges looks amazing in a hat!

Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra often recorded songs with their hats on …

Speaking of Dean Martin, the first line of his song “Bummin’ Around” says, “Got an old slouch hat ….” I wasn’t aware what a slouch hat was. I looked it up online and it was a sort of military hat. Google said, A slouch hat is a wide-brimmed felt or cloth hat most commonly worn as part of a military uniform, often, although not always, with a chinstrap. This picture came up.

slouch hat

I thought it was just a floppy hat, like Curly wore in Stooges films.

Curly

…or like Cagney wore ….

Cagney

Come to find out, those hats are called “newsboy hats.” The newsboy cap or newsie cap is a casual-wear cap similar in style to the flat cap. This is the hat that I always wear in the winter. Most people call it my “old man hat.” LOL

My daughter LOVES my hat!!

Wearing Daddy’s hat!

Maybe it is just the nostalgia lover in me, but I wish that I could pull off a nice suit, tie and hat and look as good as so many of the actors from the movies ….