Friday Photo Flashback

It is time for another installment of my Friday Photo Flashback. I had originally planned to post a photo of my parents at my aunt’s wedding. When I saw the date, however, I knew I had to go back and grab one from another wedding – theirs.

53 years ago this week, my parents were married. The above picture is one of many from their wedding photo album. There are other photos of the two of them together, but this one is my favorite. As I looked through their album, I saw a few people I didn’t recognize. This is where I wish my mom were still alive so I could ask who they were. I doubt that my dad knows them.

I love how they are off center in the picture to allow for the train of mom’s dress to be included in it. She is absolutely beautiful. I love that my dad is wearing a white coat with his tux. I always thought that looked sharp, and he looks dapper here. I am a bit surprised that he is not wearing spats. He did wear them to my first wedding.

I want to say that this photo was in a frame that sat in my grandparent’s front room for the entire time that they lived in their house. It may have made the move to their condo, but I don’t recall it being out on display.

9 months later, the lives of these two young lovebirds would change forever. I arrived in May of 1970 bringing them much joy and happiness.

Friday Photo Flashback

It is time for another installment of my Friday Photo Flashback. This week – a picture I didn’t even know I had.

It certainly is not a great picture of me, but it does bring back memories. The background seems dark and things behind us are hard to make out, but the people in it stir up good memories.

From left to right front row: me, Karen, and Joe. Back row: Margaret and Steve

The photo was taken at my high school graduation party. I only know this because of the clothes we are wearing (thanks to other photos from the party). It is a snapshot of an ending and new beginning for us – the end of school and the start of “real life.”

1988. The people in the photo were my best friends. Jeff would also be included in that group, and there is another photo of all of us together somewhere. The only thing that would make this a perfect snapshot of my life at that time would be Jeff in it.

I spent so much time with all of these people in high school. We always seemed to be together. it wasn’t always all of us, but you could almost be that I’d be with at least one of them!

Steve and I were practically inseparable. We spent hours in the car driving and listening to tapes I had made to “cruise” with. I’ve always said we were like Jackie Gleason and Art Carney – Ralph and Norton. I think we drove each other nuts at times, but we truly were great friends … And still are. The day was bittersweet for us because I believe the day after this photo was taken, Steve left for basic training.

Joe and I hung out almost as much, but he was always the better student and actually did his homework. A lot of the time he’d be doing that so it was just Steve and I out causing trouble. There were many times, however, that we’d all hope in the car and drive around wasting gas. I think of the three of us as the Three Amigos, or maybe the Three Stooges is more accurate. We all played cards (Pinochle) together for hours on end. Now we try to find time between our work schedules to schedule a golf outing together…

Margaret and I were as close as Steve and me. I love that she has her arm around me in this picture. We never dated – even though our folks wanted us to – but it was almost like we did. We loved each other, but never in a romantic kind of way We went to movies, dances, and dinner together and our friendship continues to this day. She is Aunt Margaret to my kids and they love her just as much as I do.

Margaret and I used to talk for hours on the phone when were in school. We still do. Both of us have long drives to work and we often chat while driving. We still vent, laugh and cry with each other. Ours truly is an amazing friendship.

Karen and I had probably just started dating when this picture was taken. She was the same age as my brother and a Freshman when I was a Senior. For some reason, she stood next to me in parade formation in marching band. It was weird because I played trumpet and she was a flute player. Not sure why we were next to each other, but it led to our relationship.

I always tried to make her laugh when we were in marching band. I usually did. As prom approached, I kind of jokingly asked if she’d want to go. She surprised me and said yes. I remember Joe and I got a limo and I think we both had top hats. I think both Karen and Joe’s date wore blue dresses. All my prom pictures are gone now, so it is hard to remember. I do have vivid memories of that night, but that is really all.

We dated for about 5 years total with a short break in there somewhere. Karen was my first love. She wasn’t my first girlfriend, but my first serious one. We had a lot of wonderful memories. She’s married now and a wonderful mother. She works hard in the medical field and I still hear from her sisters and also am friends with some of her family on Facebook. I recently DJ’d her sister’s wedding and saw her briefly. I was glad to get to say hello.

I have some wonderful memories of that graduation party. My dad gathered up members of the wedding band he had played with and they all set up and played music at the party. My Uncle Tom played drums on some songs and did some singing of old blues tunes. My cousins also joined in and played drums and guitar. It was so cool. Steve, Joe, Jeff and I all got up and sang Weird Al’s parody of La Bamba (Lasagna) like a bunch of fools.

Of course, I think of the many folks who were there, who are no longer here. My mom, my grandparents, my great grandma, my great Aunt, Steve’s dad, Joe’s mom, and so many others. Thankfully they live on in photos and memories.

It seems to me as I look at this picture that we are posing for someone else’s photo. I wonder who might have been taking it. I would certainly love to see that one. Maybe I’m wrong, though. We all don’t seem to be looking the same way. Perhaps this is just an excellent candid picture. It’s a nice candid picture where I still have hair, big glasses, and am surrounded by some of the best people I’ve ever or will ever know.

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!

Friday Photo Flashback

This is a “feature” I started a couple weeks ago with a Daily Writing Prompt. It’s been fun to find a photo to write about each week. This week’s gem comes from way back!

Yes, that is me! I’m going to guess I am about a year old in the picture. I don’t have a date on it, but judging by the grass and the fact that I am wearing a coat, I’d guess this picture was taken in the spring of 71 (although it could be Fall of 70).

Look at that fire truck! It was all metal! I can’t recall, but I think it had pedals (sort of like a tricycle) and you could “drive” it around. There are not many pictures of me with it, but I wish there were more. Somewhere my dad has old 8mm home movies and one of them has my mom pushing me down the hallway of our house in this fire truck.

I chuckle as I look at the bike horn attached to the hood of it. If you started honking it, no one would think “There’s a fire!” They’d think, “Hey! Here comes Harpo Marx!”

I remember the string that attached to the bell. You pulled it and the bell clanged, much like what you’d see in a Little Rascals short. Of course, my truck was a lot more sturdy than the truck Spanky and the gang were riding on!

I look really interested in that steering wheel, which isn’t even a wheel at all. It’s a combination oval/rectangle. It looks like the string for the bell is actually tied onto it, which makes no sense to me.

I think I am wearing a pea coat here. At least that is what it looks like. I remember those brass buttons were kind of loose and hung from the string that held them to the coat itself. They had to be loose because the coat was thick and the buttons needed to fit into the button holes.

I love to see how much hair I had as a baby. If they trimmed my bangs the right way, I could look like one of the Beatles in ’64 here.

I also love to see those chubby cheeks. Over the years, the chubbiness moved from my cheeks to other parts of my body!

I love the look of that ridiculous grill on the fire truck! The fact that there are fake headlights cracks me up. Those wheels, too! I bet they each weighed about three pounds! They were that hard rubber with thick metal – built to last!

I know this was taken at my grandparents house. I recognize the lamp post to my left in the picture. While we didn’t play often in their front yard, I remember that the pole has this crossbar that went through it.

I think it was meant to hang the numbers or a name plate. My brother and I used to reach up and try to hang from it. It was only aluminum, so I’m sure my grandpa knew that eventually the weight of one or both of us would eventually snap it, so he’d yell at us to leave it alone when we played around it.

I should have reached out to my dad before I posted this picture. I do not know whose car is in the background. It may be ours, or it may be my grandfather’s. I know that they both owned their share of black cars in the past. I am not one of those guys who can look at the style of hubcaps and tell the make and model of the vehicle either. If dad sees this, maybe he can fill in the blanks on it.

What immediately stands out about the car, beside the color, is the HUGE bumper! Those old cars had these bumpers that were like 6 inches wide and solid. One time, my dad, my brother and I were at K-mart. He was backing out of a parking spot in a ’73 Impala. He hit some woman who drove behind us. Her car crumpled like a piece of tin foil while ours didn’t even have a scratch. At that low speed, the bumper destroyed her car!

As I look at the shiny reflection off the hood of this amazing fire truck, I can only imagine the thrill that I must have been experiencing as a child. I don’t know how long I had this, but I wish I still did so that I could pass this very cool toy down to my kids. I know today they have these battery operated 4 wheelers and such that all kids seem to want. But I can tell you one thing, put one of those up against this fire truck and those plastic things would crumble, just like that woman’s car in the K-mart parking lot!

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.

Friday Photo Flashback

This is a “feature” I started a couple weeks ago with a Daily Writing Prompt. It’s been fun to find a photo to write about each week. This week, I went looking through the “photo files” and found this gem:

Pictured in the photo from left to right: me, my brother, and my dad.

I am sure that this photo was taken in our old house in Sterling Heights. My brother looks to be about 6-9 months old here. My mom is obviously taking the picture. I have many wonderful memories of crawling into my parents bed on Saturday or Sunday mornings and reading books, or wrestling with dad.

The first thing that jumps out at me in the picture is the gold satin bed spread. I remember it so well. I remember sliding off the bed numerous times because of it. I don’t recall how long my folks used that bed spread, but I recall it being a staple in that old house.

I love the look on my dad’s face here. I almost feel like my mom interrupted some sort of silly game he was playing with us to take this picture. In one game, my dad would pretend to be a bear as we hid under the bed spread in our “tent.” He would roar and grab at the bed spread and we would scream “It’s a bear!!”

Today, if you put a picture of me and my dad next to each other – there is no doubt that I’m his son and he is my dad. As I look at him in the photo, I don’t really see “me” in his face. Ok, the eyebrows – we both have huge eyebrows.

My brother is so little in this picture. I can see a little of each of my boys as babies in this photo. Just like with my dad, the older we have gotten, the more we look alike. You just don’t see that in this photo. We look very different.

I chuckle out loud when I look at myself. I really have no idea what I am doing in the picture. The whole angelic “eyes closed and hand on my cheeks” thing … I wonder what I am thinking in this picture. I look back at all that hair I had and I miss it. I remember my mom giving us a bath and then blow drying my hair while running a brush through it to give me a poofy “Elvis” hair style. There’s the old joke that says, “I used to have very wavy hair … now all that is left is the beach!”

In the same folder as the “featured” photo is one taken the same day. Whether minutes before of after, I do not know. It is a picture that I had forgot about until recently. As much as my brother and I fought with each other growing up, I just love this picture of me laying on my back cracking up, while my dad hold him on top of me. It seems that the brotherly love began right from the get go.

My Father’s Day Weekend

Father’s Day began for me on Saturday morning. We celebrated Saturday because Sam had to work on Sunday.

When I returned home from work, my kids were already up and waiting. Sam had texted me that Ella was anxious for me to come home to get my present. Ella was excited because she had seen something in the store and wanted to get it for me weeks ago. Same ordered it online so it would be here for Father’s Day.

Ella and Andrew got to play with markers (which only happens on special occasions) and decorate the gift bag my gifts would be in. She was so happy to hand me the bag.

She waited for me to reach into the bag and could hardly contain herself. When I pulled out her gift to me, she shrieked with excitement! It was really the perfect gift.

We watch Bluey together all the time. It is probably my favorite cartoon that she watches. Bandit, the dad on the show, is what ALL dad’s should be! He’s awesome. This book is just wonderful. We read it before bed last night. I don’t know who was happier about this book – Ella or me!

Andrew got some help from mommy with his gift. As I have mentioned, I’m an older dad. One of the reasons I started this blog was to write my memories and such so that in the event something happens, the memories are here. Sam took it a step further for Andrews’s gift to me.

I’m not sure who came up with the idea for books like this, but they are great. I had originally gotten one of these for my mom to fill out before she passed. She was just too sick and too tired to ever really do it. I wish she’d been able to do that.

At any rate, there are a lot of thought provoking questions in this book and Sam thought I could take it with me to work and fill it in when I was on breaks and such. I love the idea!

After nap time, the family drove up the road to look for some new pajamas for Ella. She’s starting to not fit in her current ones. We went to the Carter’s store and looked around. She was forever handing Sam and I things for Andrew or herself that she found on a rack somewhere. The funniest thing of the trip was a foreshadowing of Ella in her teen and adult years. She kept asking for shoes and even began to make a pile of ones she wanted!

Just the beginning …..

After our shopping trip we came home and made dinner. I didn’t want Sam to have to take me out anywhere, so we made chicken on the grill. We also made corn on the cob and other sides. It was the perfect way to wrap up the day.

I was out grilling the chicken and I was using a brush to put BBQ sauce on a few of the pieces of chicken.

As I am doing this, Ella is standing there watching me. She see’s me dipping the brush into the BBQ sauce and putting it on the chicken. She then says, “Daddy! You’re painting!” Priceless!

Sam kept telling Ella to say, “Happy Father’s Day” to me and it kept coming out “Happy Mother’s Day” which just made me laugh even more.

On Sunday, or “Father’s Day in real life,” as Bluey might say, we had a wonderful breakfast. I made everyone eggs, sausage, and fruit. Ella stated that it was “Deeee-lish-ous!”

We called my dad to wish him Happy Father’s Day. My oldest son called me to wish me the same. Sadly, I never heard from my second oldest son. That’s a whole blog in itself and I will spare you those details for now.

After Andrew’s nap, I decided to take the kids to the Barnes and Noble. I wasn’t sure that there was anything I wanted for myself, but I though we could pick up some new books for them.

While we were walking Ella and I were just talking. Andrew was in the stroller and Ella was walking next to me. I don’t remember what we were saying, but a woman stopped me and said that she wished she had videoed the exchange we were having. She said she was very impressed with how we were interacting. She reminded me of a teacher or something. Ella then said hello, grabbed a puzzle with dogs on the box and showed the lady.

The lady, without skipping a beat, got down on the ground and they counted dogs together, asked about the colors of the dogs, and talked about what “doggies say.” It was so cool to see. She thanked Ella for showing her and Ella put the puzzle back. The lady was so impressed with how polite Ella was. Proud parent moment.

After we got home, we had lunch. Sam took Andrew into our room when it was his nap time. Sam suggested that since one of the local ice cream places had free cones for dads on Father’s day, we should go. We wound up going somewhere a bit closer, but it still worked out because dads got a free scoop of ice cream there, too!

Ice cream is not exactly on Weight Watchers, but I had some anyway and ate carefully the rest of the day. Ella asked for “white ice cream with sprinkles” and that is what she got!

Dad may or may not have had to help her on occasion because it was melting faster than she could eat it!

She talked to everyone who came to the ice cream place! She recommended getting banana ice cream to many, even though she was eating vanilla. She was a real hoot. The owner came out and asked how her ice cream was and she said it was the “best ice cream ever!”

After the ice cream, dad decided to walk the neighborhood. Sunday, she didn’t want to ride in the stroller. So we walked together. The workout was a bit less intense than I had hoped.

About half way through the walk she tripped and skinned her knee pretty bad. So I wound up picking her up and finishing the walk with her on my shoulders. That brought the heart rate up a bit and I probably burned off about half of the ice cream calories!

When Sam left for work, it was just me and the kids. We were playing on the “nugget” and having a blast. Andrew was climbing up like nobody’s business. Once he was on the top, he would start to walk off it. Most of the time, I was there to catch him. There were a couple times where he’d do this little stuntman fall. He is fearless!

Thank you to my wife and my kids for making the weekend such a special one for me!

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?

Flashback Friday

Every few months I have to take the pictures I take on my phone and transfer them to an external hard drive. I do this so that I always have room on my phone to take pictures. As I was scrolling through the photos on my phone, I saw some of the ones I took on Easter, which reminded me of a blog idea I had hoped to blog, but forgot.

Back in the day, whenever we went somewhere for a holiday, we always dressed up. In all honesty, I still feel “out of place” when I don’t dress up for holidays. It just seems like people don’t do that anymore. Holidays are more “casual” today.

I will never forget one Easter, someone bought my brother and I matching outfits. When we see the pictures we call them the “Leisure Suits.” They are cheesy. You can tell it is the late 70’s or early 80’s because the collars are so big they’d poke your eye out if you got close to us.

Taken at our house. Look at that couch!!

We’d go to both sets of grandparents houses on Easter. Naturally, we had to pose for pictures. You can tell we are at my Italian grandparent’s house in the next picture, because for some reason we had to go outside and take a picture next to her statue of Mary.

My brother is sporting a Beatles haircut in this picture.

We’d then go over to my mom’s parent’s house. There would be more family photos taken – usually in front of the fireplace.

I love this family picture. I remember that eagle on the wall so well.

For some reason, my folks didn’t take too many pictures on Easter morning, but there is one that I treasure.

I’m not sure when this was taken. It could be the same year as the suits, or maybe a year after. I can’t tell. Here, again, my family loved getting us matching clothes – I can’t make out what is on these pajamas, but they are obviously the same.

I wish I some of these pictures were more clear. I’d love to compare them with my kids at that age.

Sorting Out My G.E.R.D.

Throughout my life, I have seen therapists off and on for various reasons: my weight, depression, grief counseling, anger issues, my divorce, etc … Years ago, I was told by someone close to me that I was not making any progress and I was wasting money and time with therapy, so I stopped going. This led to many personal issues and my coming to the conclusion that before I could really “fix” the things I was having problems with, I had to “fix” me.

This led to me finding a therapist and sorting out many things. This blog’s creation stems from some of those therapy sessions. I had mentioned how therapeutic writing used to be and it was suggested to do it again. I have found it to be extremely helpful as I continue to sort out things.

Now, let me say that I know many people who are in therapy. Some of those people have these “breakthrough” sessions where they have an epiphany of some sort. Some of them have found that “one thing” that ties everything together. I have not had anything even close to that, although over the past couple sessions I feel like I’m getting close to something.

One topic that comes up often during the sessions is the death of my mom. I am very aware that she is not here. The anniversaries of her passing and her birthday weigh heavily on my mind when they happen. There are so many events that have happened since she passed away that find me wishing she was here for them. To sum it up briefly – I am dealing with many emotions when it comes to her.

There have been other developments in my life that have often taken up the precious 45 minute sessions that have delayed me really being able to dive in to the subject lately. But with some discussion and some pretty tough questions, I am sorting through my own G.E.R.D.

When you hear GERD, you think Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease because that is what it is often referred as. While I do suffer from GERD, the GERD I am sorting through consists of four specific things that surround many of the issues I am dealing with: Grief, Expectations, Regret, and Disappointment (and/or Depression).

These four things will become the subject of talks in the upcoming sessions. I have these four words written down in a notebook. Each has a page and I hope to be able to connect certain things to certain words and feelings. As of yet, I don’t have much of anything written. I stare at those four words and know that they are important. What about them will bring a resolution and allow me to put some of the baggage behind me and move forward?

I’m working on it …..