RAMBLINGS ON A RAINY DAY IN PARIS!

THIS IS ON MY MIND TODAY. I don’t like to walk or get caught in the rain.  And it is off and on.  So, I am going to spend time with you.  The stats on Jayspeak are booming.  I now have readers from all over the world. That is so amazing to me.  But I LOVE the audience and appreciate the forum.  12,300 visitors.  46,300 views.  So, I shall keep on keeping on until I stop. And I like doing it so I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.  Thank you ALL very much.  So, what’s in store for today? 

First and most important, Janet Tallulah Jewell is back!!!! I, Janet,  took a leave of absence for 64 years, went into hiding under a different name(s), and I came back on June 3, 2021. Long-standing, unresolved issues of mine – which will never be resolved. I did not forgive. I will not forget. But somehow, I let it ALL go. I don’t know how long I have in this Life Journey, but the twists and turns have taken their toll.  I already feel better. A weight gone off my back.  That is my BREAKING NEWS for today. That is a biggie for me. I already see clearer. It wasn’t the name.  It was unresolved issues that I held against Janet. I had difficulty forgiving Janet for her mistakes.  It was a feeling of total and complete failure in all things.  Duh.  I was good at most things.  But, let me say that for now, I just am processing what happened 64 years ago.  And all the years in between.  And all the relationships in between.  So, bear with me while I just post some thoughts and some ramblings.   And a lot will remain unsaid although the message will probably be obvious.  Just let go for a minute and just BE for a minute or two.  That is what I plan to do. 

I need to see what I am doing while the dizzy spells begin to heal.   Janet knows what she is doing – when she stops hiding.  Jay did her best.  And, I have a lot of fences to tear down or mend and a lot of apologizing to my kids and some friends.   I will never be the same again.  Remember, you were here when it happened.  A MAJOR KALEIDOSCOPIC SHIFT.  A miracle has happened.

Bottom line – we have all come through life-altering experiences in this Pandemic.  I spent my time with myself in Paris.  And, talked to myself, you, some stuffed animals, and some plants.  Read, wrote, and watched British mysteries. AND, I am grateful to Facebook.  It had my back and was there when I needed it. Let’s begin. The look. Add LOTS of years.

Well, that pink tiger is so weird that I like it. I overthink everything . AND, I have already simplified my life and gotten rid of stuff, so that won’t happen. I don’t want to fly, I just want to walk and see and think again. Janet can see and think and walk. And, she is pretty. So, I need to work on all of that. Jay has had problems. Nuff said.

Best, Janet

(I have Jay’s back. FYI.)

THINK ABOUT IT! – GROWING AND HEALING

WHAT????? This is not new news. I am not healthy. I have had several brain strokes that are making me upset. Affecting my health and my pocketbook. YIKES! There is nothing like a brain stroke that can get your attention. It impacts EVERY MOMENT of my life. People either ignore it, say get over it (you are in Paris, for God’s sake!), just keep keeping on, do yoga, take deep breaths, exercise more, get a personal trainer, do physical therapy, take blood pressure medicine, put tea tree oil on cotton into your bad ear, come to the USA for better medical care, ……..

NO ONE OFFERS TO HELP. THEY CANNOT. The only thing anyone can do is to help financially. And, a few nice people have offered to help me financially. A few. There is nothing that anyone can do. I am flying SOLO here. Yet, I am not dying. I keep waking up each morning. Dizzy. And, my day begins…..

Well, nothing is wrong with my mind. Or my memory. Or my ability to think. And, I am intelligent enough to know that health and longevity don’t come about on their own.  – They need a little help.  Can a person grow and heal at age 84?  YES.  I KNOW a person can do it.   There is NO limit to how healthy, how well, how energized, I can feel. 

BUT I must have a plan.   I must be a planner. Even if I stumble, fall. Failure is not an option. Why? Because I keep waking up each morning with a day ahead of me. I must write down specifically how I want to be and feel.   What is my ideal of how I want to be and feel in all of it? How should I begin.

I KNOW. I WILL MAKE A LIST.

All of my life, I have made lists. Yes, I MAKE LISTS.  A person never outgrows making lists.  I came out of the womb making list of what I was going to do that day.  At 84, at 64, at 44, at 24, at 12, I was making a list of what I was going to do that day.

Yesterday, I knew that I was going to do my best to take a practice walk, talking photos and taking baby steps toward living outside of captivity with a foggy brain and eating breakfast at the local patisserie.  I must not worry about the toilet or anything else. That would be my goal. That is what I did. 

The day before, I knew that I wanted to eat an omelet somewhere open.  Not everything is open yet.   And I must plan my trips according to toilettes.  I cannot go somewhere without an accessible toilet.  Or it must be close to home. So I have limitations.  And my plan must include my limitations.   

And I plan my dinners. Wine or not? TV shows. Last night, I binged watched “Halston”.  I had wine.  And so it goes. 

NOW this may be too much “planning” for most people.  But that is my way.  And, it has worked for Janet Jewell (ME) all my life. 

Now, I don’t always make a written list, but I have in mind what I want to do, if I can. Unless something unexpected happens.  Maybe that is why I have had brain strokes.  It does not matter why.  I have them, and I am trying to heal and grow. 

I set goals.  Small ones.  Goals that I can accomplish, taking baby steps.  I love my lists. Lists have lists.  Categories have lists.  Thoughts have lists.  And I have no problems with not accomplishing something that is on a list.  I just erase it.  I like pencils. Pencils have erasers.  I love erasers.  Haha.  I love trash cans.  I throw a lot of things away.  I empty a lot of garbage.  I adjust to the inspiration of the moment. Or I try to.  But I don’t like knee jerk reactions.  And I don’t like last-minute anything.  Oops.  I like exploring. And walking new streets.  So, this is a lot of contradictions.   Oops. 

Well, the goal is to grow and heal.  So, I am making lists of what I think might work.  And I am taking a lot of time to think these days.  No choice. 

I want to begin using my name again. Janet Jewell.  Isn’t that beautiful? Why did I change it legally?  I know why.  But now is the time to begin using it again.  Né Jewell.    If not now, when? AND, if I am going to keep waking up each morning, I must plan to live. I have 11 items on my TO DO list. And they are all “subject to change without notice.”

Now, that has gone on a To Do list.  And it may or may not happen.  But I don’t have to remember it.  My memory is great.  I am proud of my memory.  I am simply dizzy most of the time.  So, I am trying to train my brain to work when I am dizzy.  I think it is happening.  Each day I practice, it seems better.    

When I wake up in the morning, I am so happy that I woke up, I get excited that I have another day to do stuff.

“Out of this situation only good will come, everything is resolved for the highest good of all involved. I let go and all is well in my world. I am safe. And so it is.” 

😉

 you got this 

👍

Best Jay

Please Help with the Budget.

I have had HUGE expenses that I did not anticipate. Please help. Thanks in advance, Janet Jewell aka Jay

$100.00

BREAKING NEWS!!!

JAYSPEAK

I am beginning to feel “Parisian”. BUT, there are a few snags. I need to be more patient about everything. WELLllllll – Patience is not my strong suit. So, since impatience does not work in Paris, I need to change. The Parisian French take their time about EVERYTHING. And take breaks before work.And, years to finish projects. And one can wait for hours at a doctor’s office or a store for service. So, if I want to get something done, I must be patient. And “customer service“ does not exist. SO—–I must change from being impatient and demanding to being patient and nice and waiting my turn, which comes at some time or not.

BUT how can I change without changing? And how does one change? I HATE being patient and being nice. And I love Paris. So……. What is happening? I fought back. AND……As a result, I had three…

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BREAKING NEWS!!!

I am beginning to feel “Parisian”.  BUT, there are a few snags. I need to be more patient about everything.  WELLllllll – Patience is not my strong suit. So, since impatience does not work in Paris, I need to change.  The Parisian French take their time about EVERYTHING.  And take breaks before work. And, years to finish projects.  And one can wait for hours at a doctor’s office or a store for service. So, if I want to get something done, I must be patient.  And “customer service“ does not exist.  SO—–I must change from being impatient and demanding to being patient and nice and waiting my turn, which comes at some time or not.   

BUT how can I change without changing?  And how does one change?  I HATE being patient and being nice. And I love Paris.  So……. What is happening?  I fought back. AND……As a result, I had three “vascular accidents”.  What? Brain strokes. Oops.

Am I having a Kaleidoscopic Shift?  A Fluke?  What is going on here?  Good question.  My reading tells me that I have had brain stokes because of constant stress.  I apparently was in “fight or flight” mode for the 20 years while I was practicing law, and the 60 before that, constantly on the defensive and fighting for an abused employee – the Plaintiff or a person in general.   As an attorney, my specialty was Employment Law (Government Entities in LA and Entertainment law.) I got a good reputation and was constantly busy.   Powerful law firms tried to break me because I was a woman and up in years, but they never did. 

It took its toll on me. And, then when I moved to France with Steve “to do something else”, I stayed there- in fight-or-flight mode. And when Steve died, I stayed there. And when I had a bum knee replacement, I stayed there – in that mode. And when I had a repair knee replacement on the same knee, I was furious and stayed there. And when I moved to Paris “to do something else”, I stayed there. And then when a pandemic arrived at the same time that I did, I stayed there. And, when I was unhappy in the Studio in Paris, I stayed there. And when I moved to a larger apartment in the 16th arrondissement, I had several “vascular accidents” during 2020 while trying to move out of my “fight or flight” mode. Oops. How to change the energy I had lived with for years. How to move into rest and repair mode. I had to change modes.

It is ALL a process of growth and healing and resting so I can heal.

SO, here I am in an apartment, trying to decide how one changes to get better. And, the first thought that comes to mind, is that I must change. What I had done before is no longer working. How? Oops. I went to specialists. I got tests. I just wanted to stay alive. Not die from a stroke. My knees had been botched. I still cannot walk without a cane. And I soon found out that Paris is more expensive than Nice. Specialists and tests (MRI plus) cost me my extra money. So, I am still searching for my answers. What trauma have i not released ? Or which trauma should I work on? I still have a lot of questions. And my biggest enemy was/is fear. And it all costs money. Duh.

Meanwhile, I got another shot of cortisone in my left knee. I got the Pfizer vaccine . Restaurant patios are open. Stores are open. My blood pressure meds don’t work. I have/bought good wine for the weekend. I need fresh flowers. Friends are coming to town. And I woke up this morning. All that is good. And I dumped the garbage without my cane. And I am enjoying writing this post. And a nice person helped me with a snag in my GoFundMe campaign. And, I have gotten a little financial help toward my goal of 5000 euros. So, all that is good.

At present, I am asking for help with raising money for my medical expenses because I am in a bind . That is difficult to do . I keep trying to “think”. Things are Blurry a lot of times. My vision is impacted. My balance is impacted. I live in a fog.

If you are willing to help, here is the link: https://gofund.me/8771e076

So far, I have handled things pretty well. Brain strokes make everything difficult. I do affirmations throughout the day. And I let people help me. And they are. I have tried to change my priorities and my thinking. And I have. I am forcing myself to affirm the positive. And I do. I am forcing myself to write and to think in a fog. And I am.

I think it is happening. Slowly. YES!!

I am changing. Slowly. I am in the midst of a Kaleidoscopic Shift. The most important one of my life. Ouch. It is not a fluke. I feel different on the inside. I choose to smile more.

Soon, I plan to go to lunch in a real restaurant. I will drink Perrier. I am watching my intake of wine. I sometimes just sit and think. I work daily on my French. A friend and former client is coming to Paris for a few days. So, this is a progress report. I am filled with love for most people who formerly irritated me. A lot of them still irritate me. Oops

YES! I am going to live some more. Fear, Fear, go away. Come again another day.

I read an interesting article on Facebook, posted by a friend in Paris.   I am going to share it with you.  I don’t know the writer.  I think he is in the USA.   But, it made a profound impression on me.  I am blessed.  We all are.  Some of us just don’t believe it or know it. 

So, I am finally pausing to smell the roses.  A former client will be lunching with me in Paris.  I am excited.  I have smiled all morning.  That is a good sign.  Here is the article I want to share.  I think it is interesting.  About my ancestors in England in the 1500’s.

Jeremy Hanlon, October 2, 2019, published it on Facebook at some point.  I read it this week.  I don’t know much about the writer. 

“They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken & sold to the tannery…….if you had to do this to survive you were “Piss Poor”

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot……they “didn’t have a pot to piss in” & were the lowest of the low.

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s – in England:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June.. However, since they were starting to smell . …… . Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!”

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof… Hence the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “Dirt poor.”

The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a threshold.

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, “bring home the bacon.” They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would Sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive… So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (“the graveyard shift.”) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, “saved by the bell” or was considered a “dead ringer”.

And that’s the truth….Now, whoever said History was boring?”

Best, Jay

Janet’s Story of “JESSE” in one sitting

This is what is on my mind…. Get some coffee. This is a long one but one I want to write while I can. In 2020, I had three brain strokes. And I am struggling to get better. I did not anticipate brain damage. But then, I did not anticipate moving to Nice, France, retiring, France, Steve’s death, my resulting depression, a bad orthopedic surgeon, a repair-and-replace orthopedic surgeon, a move to Paris, a pandemic, the death of my rescue cat “Missy”, an MRI, out of pocket expenses with specialists, not being able to walk, the need for another knee replacement on my other knee, and another apartment move in Paris in the middle of a pandemic. Ugh. Is this what Daddy meant when he said, “Rough Seas Make Good Sailors”? That is only a portion of the list causing me stress and anxiety. I am 84. And there is no “home” to go home to. I am there, already. I am trying not to panic. So far, so good.

Since I have been staying inside for lockdowns, I have been doing a lot of thinking.  And so, my “walks” are in planning stage.  Where? When? I plan to do more research of this area when I feel better about being outside because of the pandemic.  And so, even though I feel like I am “home” in this apartment, I have several places I plan to go when it gets warmer.  I have now been vaccinated. And, cafes are opening their patios on Wednesday. I need to get outside! And, spring is here and in the air.  Leaves are appearing on trees, and different flowers are in the plant shops.  And it is light longer during the day.  Great!  I love spring.  Hope and new life are within reach. AND, it is my year – The Chinese Year of the Ox! A good one for me, for sure.

I have thought a lot about my family of late. You know, you only have one family and every family has issues. Mine had a LOT of issues. So……as a result, I have had a LOT of issues. So…..what is my Destiny? I’m living it. I have heard that your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, and your values become your destiny.

As a result of looking at my destiny, I have begun to understand more things. I think that is good. I have done a lot of research about Daddy, Daddy’s mother, and now things have made more sense to me. I was planning to write about my findings, but I am rethinking that. Maybe things are better left unsaid. Maybe. I am still thinking about it. It is a wonderful story of strength, love, and forgiveness. It is a wonderful story of choices and priorities before our time.

My plan was to do a “Once upon a time….”. I wanted to write a novel. But, I doubt I will. And, I would have fun writing it. A little girl. Born to a slave owner in Alabama. Tallulah Dickson. She grew up and moved to Gainesville, Georgia. She met a Gainesville man and married June 1, 1897. She was amazing. One of their sons, my Daddy was an amazing man. And I understand his father now. Even more than people remember. I have discovered it. And it all makes sense to me. I am very happy that I know now. Secrets that adults keep from children. I know the secrets. And, I love them for keeping them from me. I was just one of three – the baby.

Plus, these things don’t mean anything to others.  They have their own family secrets.  But, somehow, it matters.  Daddy did a lot to help entire area, and now it all makes sense to me.  I lived it.  And I am a dying generation. 

So, maybe it needs to be told.  Maybe.  I need strength and energy to write it.  And, I make a lot of mistakes because I write with blurry vision. Brain strokes. So, we’ll see.  Maybe, through my eyes……  You see, when you start trying to recreate someone else’s world, you get outside of yourself and see through different eyes.  I have always enjoyed doing that.  That is why I loved acting so much. And they say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Well, the brain strokes have not killed me. And, my mind still works. YES!!!

In working with Daddy and his mother, Mary Tallulah Dickson, I recreated her world and childbirth, and five little babies she loved, and how she dealt with those problems in her world at that time in a small town in Georgia. She was born in Alabama. Moved to teach college in Gainesville Georgia. Most of her family of origin lived in Texas at the time of her marriage. The family moved to Texas (Wharton County – in the middle of nowhere – LAMPASAS, TX (near Houston) when she was 10. And at that time, she cooked and cleaned for her father, her stepmother, and three more half-siblings.

ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a little girl born in 1872 in the middle of nowhere, to a young couple in Alabama (Pine Level), on a plantation. The man was good-looking and strong and his new wife was, too. They named her Mary Tallulah. She was their first-born. Her mother died in childbirth when Tallulah was 2 (1874)And, Tallulah cared for her two brothers and her sister a long time because Tallulah was the oldest. It was a lot of work. I need to have more information with names and places but I don’t have them in my head because she had three step-mothers. But, this story is Jesse’s story.

So when she went to teach art at a private girls’ college in another state, she was glad to get away from all of that.  Now, you cannot just imagine what it was like without remembering a different world.  Things were rough.   Life was raw.  Indians.  Woods.   Wars. No television or machines.  No cars.  How did she learn to paint- watercolor?  I don’t know.  Why did she apply to that college? I don’t know.  Why did they accept her?  I don’t know.  She was tall.   Pretty.  Strong-willed. Brown eyes.

She probably “surrendered” about that time. My thoughts on “surrender” – “Surrender is the ultimate sign of strength and the foundation for a spiritual life. Surrendering affirms that we are no longer willing to live in pain. It expresses a deep desire to transcend our struggles and transform our negative emotions. It commands a life beyond our egos, beyond that part of ourselves that is continually reminding us that we are separate, different and alone. Surrendering allows us to return to our true nature and move effortlessly through the cosmic dance called life. It’s a powerful statement that proclaims the perfect order of the universe.– 

She fell in love and married a party boy with a good personality. Edgar Herman Jewell. He was the son of a Baptist preacher. He was 20 years older than she was. He was moody. Experimented with the drugs of that day – opium. I don’t know if I have a picture of him. I have a picture I think is him, but I don’t know. She helped ED with a feed store. And, fertilizer store. At a time when women did not work. But, she did. They had five little babies, Two girls and three boys. Ed kept trying to kill himself. Tallulah kept all of it running. And, they bought a big house with a lot of bedrooms and a barn. But, Tallulah was terrified that Ed would kill himself. She even hired people to watch him when he was alone. She really loved her babies. And she loved Ed.

And, one night he succeeded. Ed hung himself in the family barn.  Ugh.  Oh, the shame of all of it!  And one of the babies (a son), found his father hanging in the barn the next morning, July 19, 1909.  Talk about trauma.  That image living with that picture in your mind forever.  My uncle Beamus, Ed’s namesake, did. Uncle Beamus, Ed’s oldest son (age 9, going on 10) nicknamed “Beamus” (Ed, Jr.) found him that morning, hanging in the family barn., Jr. (Uncle Beamus)

Well, what happened after that is a story of survival that is so full of love and strength and giving that I still cry when I think of the beauty and the strength of it. Tallulah was relentless in her love and protection for her five babies. Aunt Mary Tallulah (named after her mother) was the oldest. She was 11 at the time.

After that, someway, Mary Tallulah Dickson Jewell met and married Leonard Cranford Loudermilk.

But somehow, she met and decided to marry Leonard Cranford Loudermilk on July 23, 1914, in Atlanta, at the age of 42. How did she meet him? I don’t know. Tallulah and Leonard got married in Atlanta in front of a Baptist preacher and two witnesses on July 23, 1914, blending two families that had five children each, and went home from Atlanta that day to a group of 10 children (ages 15 – 4), who had all been through their own individual experiences – five who suffered the death of their mother and five who experience the suicide of their father. WOW.

Let’s figure out the various ages of those kids.   First, let’s list them:  the Jewell kids were Mary (born June 1898), Edgar, Jr. (born August 1899, aka “Beamus”), Jesse (born March 1902) , Furman (born October 1903), and Margaret (born August 1904).

Two of the five Loudermilk kids are listed below. Dennis Loudermilk was the oldest (February 1898 -15 at remarriage). The youngest was Ida Mae Loudermilk, (January 17, 1910 – 4 at remarriage.) Joe and Ruby and Hershel are included elsewhere.

ON the morning of July 19, 1909, that fateful morning when each child’s father was found hanging in the barn, Mary, the oldest, had just turned 11 in June.   Beamus was 9 and would be 10 in August, the next month – he is the one who found his father.  Jesse (my father) was 7 in March.   His younger brother Furman was 5 – he would be 6 in October.  Margaret, their baby sister, was 4.  She would be 5 in August. 

WOW.  Talk about a trauma.  And, if he were suffering from drugs anyway, imagine the craziness that comes from drugs and alcohol.  WOW.  I know that crazy from personal experience. In other words, those kids were very young. And, their mother, was 37. The deceased father ED JEWELL was 52. I am not sure what age Leonard was. I think he was close to Tallulah’s age. Maybe a year younger.

Questions? What did she do for money? How did she manage with those 5 little children and the shame of that death? I don’t know.  But somehow, she did.  And they did.  For five years.  Who was Leonard? Let’s take a minute to see what we know about Leonard. I have a few photos.

Leonard Cranford Loudermilk was born (October 1875) in Habersham County and grew up and fell in love with a local girl Malala Sisk. He married her at the age of 22. Malala was two years older and beautiful, and I image they were excited and In love because their wedding day was Valentine’s Day 1897 (romantic day).

They moved to Gainesville in Hall County when he got a job, managing a company mill store for two cotton mills in Hall County. And they had five children together.  Who were their kids?  The oldest was Dennis, (born February 1898).  The next was another boy, Joe (born September 1899).  The next was another boy Hershel, born March 1902, and then a girl Ruby (born November 1906. And the baby was another girl Ida Mae (born January 1910). The above photo is a photo of Leonard and Malala and their oldest three boys. Malala died on July 28, 1913, from cancer. She was a young 40.   At the time of her death, Dennis was 14, Joe was 13, Hershel was 11.  Ruby was 6.  Ida Mae was 3.  Just babies.  Left for Leonard to raise alone.  From what I think, Leonard was a good man and loved his wife and kids.  I believe he missed Malala very much and wanted the best for her kids.  How sad. 

Within a year, he met a widow – Tallulah Dickson Jewell, with five kids of her own.  They decided to marry and blend the two families. Tallulah had a big house with five bedrooms and two baths, so the twelve of them lived there.  It was struck by lightning in a tornado in 1936 and burned.  All of the children had married by then, except Beamus, who still lived with them.    I don’t know what year this photo below was taken, but the kids look young. It is taken on the steps of the big house before the tornado in 1936 destroyed it. I was born in 1937. All of this happened when I was not present. Or even conceived or thought about. Haha. I just took it all for granted when I was young. NOT.

Another timing to note – after Malala’s death, Leonard remarried in one year. (Malala died July 28, 1913 – remarriage was July 23, 1914.) Mary remarried 5 years after Ed’s death (July 19, 1909 – remarriage July 23, 1914). Mary Dickson was 42. Leonard was 39. That fact tells me that they both needed each other, in love or not. So, they contracted to join forces to help all of the children at risk here. WOW. And they did. And they managed to rear them and send 9 of them to college.

Together Tallulah and Leonard were quite a team. Now, if that is not love, I don’t know it.  Two adults during pandemics, depressions, and world wars, working together to help families and each other.  WOW.  

Now. Daddy felt a strong need to help his mother and step-father through hard times. He was quite a son. And this story is full of love and family and amazing strength during a lot of trauma. The true American spirit. It inspires me. I lived it and did not appreciate at the time. I took it for granted. HOW WRONG OF ME.

I apologize for not being clearer about all of this. Family members may be confused. I still have a lot of blurred vision and want to write this with this MAC that keeps jumping around so I make a lot of mistakes. Sorry. But, I am amazed at all of these people who lived this amazing story during wars and hard times. And, each child has a successful story. But, this is Daddy’s story. Here goes.

His name was “Jesse”. I called him “Daddy”. It has been written “It is dangerous to say that one man in less than two decades changed the eating and food purchasing habits of the United States, saved many farmers from bankruptcy, helped found a national industry. Almost any citizen of North Georgia will readily admit that one man was at least the leading instrument, the planner and stimulating agent for this phenomenal development, and that his name was ‘Jesse Dickson Jewell’ ” . A friend said that he was born “before his time”. On the contrary, he was born at the perfect time and was able to help a lot of people.

A moment to recap – He was born in Gainesville, Georgia on March 13, 1902, to Mary Tallulah Dickson Jewell and Edgar Herman Jewell – their third child and second son. He grew up in Gainesville and attended local public schools through high school. His father committed suicide when he was seven (on July 19, 1909), when he was in the second grade. Five years later, when he was in the 7th grade, his mother remarried Leonard Loudermilk, a handsome, young widower with five children of his own. They all lived together in Tallulah’s big house and Leonard helped with the family business (a Feed and Fertilizer Store). Tallulah and Leonard got all of the children (10) to help around the house and also hired a woman to help. I don’t know if she lived there or not.  I doubt it.    

All of the kids graduated from High School and started or graduated from college. Jesse went for a short time to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and also was a Kappa Alpha at Georgia Tech for a period of time. He did not graduate. He went home to help his mother and stepfather run the Feed and Fertilizer Store.

The South was in a depression, and people were struggling. His mother was struggling. And, remember, this was a time when women did not work!! I don’t know when that store opened, but it supplied farmers with feed and fertilizer “ALL YEAR ‘ROUND” for their animals and crops. But the store could not sell any feed or fertilizer when the farmers had no money to buy it. The farmers in the area had hogs, cows, and chickens. Crops were grown to feed the family, not to sell. Some were – cotton, peanuts, tobacco, peaches. But everything was a tough sell. The land was worn out. And, on top of that, a devastating tornado wrecked the town in April 1936.

Jesse was hitting brick walls.  Did he give up?  NO.  With youthful enthusiasm, he started using common sense.  If the farmers could not buy the feed or fertilizer because they did not have any money, he had to help them get money so he could help his mother sell feed and fertilizer.  How? Pick an animal.  He picked chickens (hogs and cows were too big) Help the farmers get chickens to feed and raise.  Get baby chickens to farmers.  So, he figured out how to get baby chickens to farmers to raise.  (Somebody loaned him some money to get some baby chickens to begin this project with a few willing farmers.   Did his family do it?   I don’t know.) Somehow, he got resources.  It was a risk.  Did he dare gamble on the farmers helping?  YES.  He was going to try.  What did he have to lose?  He had already lost most of everything. He gambled. 

He GAVE the desperate farmers some baby chickens and GAVE them feed.  Most farmers were scared and unwilling, and landowners objected.  EVERYONE WAS SKEPTICAL.  A few agreed to go along. Then, he waited while his mother watched him go for it. 

When the chickens became “broiler” size (approximately 12 weeks later), he bought them back from the farmers at a market price with cash money. With that money, the farmer paid him back for the baby chickens and feed and still have a profit left. There was a LOT of trust going here. Take note.

IT WORKED!!!

People began to have money in their pockets.  Shops in town began to thrive. Jesse helped his mother and his step-father.  The feed store would survive.  The whole area responded.  People built hatcheries, more feed stores, and places for processing of the broiler-size chickens for market. The entire southeast of the United States changed.  And, from there, Jesse continued to use common sense.  It continued to work.  And the industry survives today with a highway named after Daddy. There is a lot more to this story, but it is up to others to write it. I will just keep up my friendly banter on Jayspeak in PARIS for a while yet. I am not ready to quit.

After that, I don’t know how he helped Tallulah and Leonard. I just know that he did. We visited them for over an hour EVERY SUNDAY FOR YEARS. He was into sharing. So, I can believe he shared the wealth with them and others we don’t know about. That’s our dining room. Wow.

I saw the love he had for his mother.  So for all he did, we can also thank Tallulah Dickson and Leonard Loudermilk, along with a host of others.

Yes, Jesse had problems. I know how Jesse’s story ends. But what he did for the area survives. And it will survive for many years long after our deaths. Yes, the story takes twists and turns. But, all of it is huge and in the history books. Yes, I know the rest of the story, but this is major. Thank you for sharing this time with me. I apologize for any confusion. I am glad I tried.

The picture below was the picture in an ad that Daddy bought and put into the Gainesville High School Class of 1955 yearbook in my graduating class from High School.

Best, Jay

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Jayspeak and me.

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Some Thoughts About “MOTHER’S DAY’

I am thinking about my thoughts about Mother’s Day, and I plan to think out loud today with you – as a treat to myself as a mother. I have earned my badge. I don’t get a gold star or an A+. I was a young mother, getting pregnant when I was only 19 and having a baby at 20 and another one at 24 and another one at 27. I am now 84. That’s a lot of years being a mother. So, I have lots of years that I have watched the “Mother’s Day” roll around that sun. And Hallmark has made the most of it. And See’s Candies

Some Thoughts About “MOTHERS DAY”

During my years growing up, I sent my mother a syrupy card each year and sent her a rose bush to plant in the yard from a local florist – like clockwork.  It did not matter how angry I was at her for many of those years.  I did it!  That was what I was “supposed”‘ to do. So, when I had children of my own, I expected a syrupy card and a gift.  Each year!   Haha.  Well, it did not happen.  The problem?

I did not get the Rule Book on how to be a mother or to raise children. Or the Rule Book on how to be a parent. Oh, yes, I knew it took a lot of Love, but sometimes, that was hard to give to my children. For me, anyway. And it was definitely hard to give to my mother. She taught me how to self-destruct.

My mother did not know how to be a parent. And I don’t believe she knew how to show love, either. And I am not sure she meant well. She was worse to my sister Patricia. I grew up to be the woman I am in spite of my mother and thanks to Daddy. I will never know what happened in her life to make her that way. The same goes for my children. They have their own problems. Hmmmm. So where does that leave us? It leaves me at a loss of how is the best way to celebrate (if at all) “Mother’s Day”. It has every year.

I can always look at my shortcomings as a mother. I have been my worst critic, alongside my mother and my children and their families. And I am still trying to overcome the negative scripts Mother put into my head.

But I can also look at my successes as a mother. And the successes of my children and their families. I have gotten criticisms throughout the process. I still do.

But the fact remains- I WAS and AM a mother. And I have that in common with all mothers. Good, bad, OR indifferent. We are “mothers’. And we should be celebrated. AND we cannot break any rules. THERE IS NO RULE BOOK!!!!

Motherhood is a time of extremes – highs and lows- from beginning – ad infinitum. I don’t think it is just “mother’s instinct” to know what to do. None of us KNOWS what to do. Maybe.

In all honesty, I feel genuine love for my children that is there in my heart. I do and always did feel like a Mama Bear protecting my cubs. No matter what they did or do. Or feel. Or how they treat me. AND THERE IS NO RULE BOOK!!!! And the love lives on long after death. In memories – real and/or fabricated. I just love them. Period, end of story. And positivity is a choice.

Mothers’ Day itself has always been a sad DAY for me. – People pretending to say things they don’t mean. Or not. Maybe there is “worth” in that. Pretending you care. At least, Trying not to hurt. As a result, we mothers learn early how to ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES. At least, I did. And, you can’t have it all ways. If you are a mother, the chances are good that you are the villain in someone else’s story.

So, I don’t have any answers. I only wish there was a Rule Book so that I would know when I was breaking the rules. So I could have something to blame instead of my mother.

So, Here’s to all Mothers and Mother-wanna-BE’s and those wonderful people who mothered me without the title.

I apologize in advance if I have offended you. Especially since it is now “in vogue” to LIE about everything, and if a lie doesn’t come to mind, MAKE IT UP. Fine. It all went fine. Does it matter? I think so. But, what do I know? Just a lot of years of being a mother. I love my children. They are strong independent good people who are doing the best they can without a Rule Book. We all are.

So how can the past help us frame a different future? Rewrite negative programming? Nature is resilient. Think about that on this Mother’s Day!!

Best, Jay and Happy Mother’s Day!

mother-40s

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LEGACY LATER – STEVE ORLANDELLA

TAKE A BREAK!  May Day is over. And, life is “trying” to return to the new normal. SO, settle back and give your mind a rest for a few minutes from whatever is on your mind to read some information about a man who left his fun writings after his untimely death – STEVE ORLANDELLA.  Who?  A man I was fortunate enough to have known for 23 years and to have spent 11 years of my life as his wife.  A lot of us were fortunate enough to have known him. This is an article about his “legacy”. His what?  His legacy – his eight books – his writings that will live ad infinitum.  Since I now live in Paris, and it is five years later, I have more objectivity. I hope. But first, a few words from me.

To know Steve was to love him. I did not meet one person who did not love him. I loved him. I really loved him. Now, he was not perfect. And he was not a brilliant writer, but he loved his stories. He had a “crush” on the TV sitcom “Castle” and loved their repartee. It was sooo sexy to him. So, his little mysteries were fun for him to write. I loved that he was doing something creative again. He was a sports producer (Dodgers Baseball) for years. His health became a problem. But, he was a theatre major and loved to create. I knew his mysteries were not best sellers. I thought “Titanic” and “The Game” might be. But, writing made him happy. And, I was happy when he was happy. Besides, I was writing my own books. (later posts). If you are a reader, I think you should try them. So, this post is dedicated to Steve Orlandella and his “legacy”.

Let’s get started.

After my husband, Steve Orlandella, unexpectedly died on August 31, 2016, from heart failure, I vowed to take his eight works, edit them thoroughly, and get them professionally formatted with professionally designed covers that “branded” his name on all eight books as e-books. I knew that would take time and money But, I would do it for him because that way, his books will live, and he will live, as long as there is a bookstore and/or an internet.

I started with “Burden of Proof” and went from there.  It took me two years to do it, but all eight books – e-books and paperbacks –  have now been professionally edited, formatted, and have new covers (selected by me. With professional help).   And, all eight of his e-books are live online and for sale on both Smashwords in their Premium Catalog and on Amazon’s Kindle and paperback books.   Amazon’s Kindle e-books have special formatting. And the formatting for e-books is different from the formatting of paperbacks. 

I think Titanic is his MASTERPIECE. It was the most difficult to do because of its length and numerous pictures. It is the one he loved writing the most!!! He poured his heart and soul into that book.

Here is the back story.  It all started on September 20, 2011. I, as an entertainment attorney, was invited to be on a self-help panel for members of the Writers Guild of America. The panel sought to empower writers to create new opportunities for work in film, television, new media and transmedia. Since WGA did not cover book publication regardless of format, it was thought that e-publishing could be a stepping stone towards potential work on Guild-covered adaptations. So, on September 20th, I joined members Lee Goldberg (The Glades), Derek Haas (Wanted), and Alexandra Sokoloff (author, Book of Shadows, and Mark Coker (Smashwords). Our task was to discuss the latest e-book/self and indie-publishing developments. It was a power-packed evening with information, questions, and answers. Thus, the next day I said to Steve, “You need to write a book”. To which he answered, “I have nothing to say.” I laughed. Steve ALWAYS had something to say.  Now, most of his books are fun reads.   But, his first one was his experiment to see if he could put anything on paper. Haha.  YES, he formatted a book about his beginning days on Facebook. At that point in time, it was new and a fun way to keep in touch with friends.  I STILL use it to catch up with friends.  I am one of the few ones that likes it.  I do.  Anyway, meanwhile, I digress.  Haha. 

The first book is delightful – STEVESPEAK – 3 YEARS ON FACEBOOK.

STEVESPEAK is one of my favorites for spending time with him and getting to know him better. And it is actually a paperback. Plus, it is dedicated to me: “To Janet, The wind beneath my wings, And the power behind my throne.”

In his Prologue, he writes: “I’m not sure how I got on Facebook.  Most likely it was word of mouth.  Like many of you I started small, but as my list of friends grew, so did my activity.  A funny thing happened along the way, I found my voice.  Along with connecting with friends, I had the chance to be critical, historical, passionate, and I hope, funny. This book traces almost 3 years on Facebook, and is designed to give my fellow “Facebookers,” An idea of what other people are saying. For what it’s worth, you will learn some things about me. My love for baseball, my interest in “The Titanic,” my passion for my hometown, Boston.

“Stevespeak” was coined by my wife, who insists I have my own language.  Well that’s probably not true, but there are some words that are uniquely mine. For instance, only in my world is there a planet “Smecktar.”  Those pimples on your shoulder blades are “bacne,” and “Xerocracy” is government by photocopy. If something is dead, it’s “kersfuncken.” “Inuendo” is Italian for colonoscopy.

That said, there are some things you need to know in order to navigate your way through this book.  There are many references to something called “HRB.”  “HRB” is “Her Royal Blondness.”  That would be my wife.  She is an attorney and is sometimes referred to as the “blonde barrister.” Her maiden name is Janet Jewell.  Christine became Kris and is my sister. “Tori” and “Icto” are other names for our friend Victoria Lucas.  Tori’s sister is Lil, and sometimes, Liz. The “Knife” is Joe Klinger. “Fabulous 52” was the old Saturday night movie series on CBS in Los Angeles. I stole it, (I mean, researched it) and it became the “Fabulous 42.” Most of the rest is self-explanatory.”

Next, Steve’s MasterpieceTITANIC.

TITANIC was his lifetime achievement, the one he held close to his heart.  He dedicated it to his mother.  He wrote, “To my Mother Therese, The Real Historian in The Family.”

He writes in his Foreword: “In the fall of 1960, I was a ten-year-old, growing up in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.  Even then I was sarcastic, opinionated, and well on my way to becoming obnoxious.  The phrase most often used was, ‘A little too smart for his own good.’  Perhaps.  Duplicit in all this were my parents who spoiled me rotten.  One of my numerous privileges was permission to stay up late on Saturday night…very late.

Toward the end of the 1950s, television in Los Angeles was in a state of flux.  The Country’s number three [now number two] market had seven stations, a wealth of airtime, and a dearth of programming.  The three network affiliates and the four independents turned to motion pictures to fill the void so much so that one station, Channel 9, ran the same movie every night for a week.  Hey, I love Jimmy Cagney, but how many times can you watch ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’?  The stations also had the nasty habit of cutting the films to pieces, the classic case being Channel 7, the ABC affiliate who filled their 3:30-5pm slots by slicing and dicing 2-hour movies down to 67 minutes. They came close to cutting Ingrid Bergman out of ‘Casablanca.’  Channel 2, the CBS Affiliate, had no such problem.  [They had ‘Lucy’; they had ‘Jackie Gleason’.]  ‘The Fabulous 52’ was reserved for Saturday night at 11:30pm, and, since the only things that followed the movie were the National Anthem and a test pattern, they ran uncut.  The station held the rights to a package of relatively recent films from 20th Century Fox. 

One Saturday afternoon, my dad announced, ‘Titanic is on tonight.’  I had no idea who or what was ‘Titanic’, but we gathered in the family room at 11:30.  For the next two hours, I sat transfixed, mesmerized by what we were seeing.  If you are scoring at home, it was the 1953 version with Barbara Stanwyck, Clifton Webb and a young Robert Wagner.  They had me.

In 1964, I came across a copy of A Night to Remember, Walter Lord’s seminal work on the events of April 14-15, 1912, and the following year, I saw the movie made [in England, 1958] from Lord’s book.  It was a film made by people who wanted to get it right.  This film was the game changer. 

The Fox movie opens with a page of text proclaiming that all the facts in the film were taken right from the United States Senate and British Board of Trade Inquiries.  Really?  Even then, Fox knew how to ‘play fast and loose with the truth.’  As good as their movie was – and it was good, it paled before the Brit’s film.  Fifteen hundred people did not all stand together, sing ‘Nearer My God To Thee’, and meekly sink into the North Atlantic.  They fought and struggled until their last breath, trying not to freeze or drown in the unforgiving sea.  Madeleine Astor wasn’t an elegant matron.  She was in fact a pregnant teenager.  That was it.  ‘Game On!’ 

I absorbed every book I could find, any TV program I could watch, and every newspaper on microfilm, along with help from the Titanic Historical Society.  Add that to my natural affinity for ships, and an ‘obsession’ was born.  For some, it’s The Civil War; for others, it’s the Kennedy Assassination; for me, it is The Royal Mail Steamship Titanic.

Part of the obsession stems from the fact that no event in history is so loaded with conjecture, myths, and downright lies, some of which are ‘beauties.’  One example:  A young David Sarnoff [co-founder of RCA] became famous telling the world how he was the first to pick-up the Titanic’s distress call in the station on the roof of Wanamaker’s Department Store and how he remained at the key all Sunday night and well into the next day.  Great story?  Absolutely.  Truthful story?  Absolutely not.  Wanamaker’s was closed on Sunday, and even when the store was open, Sarnoff was the office manager.  Three other employees of The Marconi Company stood the watch.

Fox reloaded and fired again in 1997.  This time, they tried it with a seemingly unlimited budget and an amateur historian calling the shots.  Movie making?  Unmatched.  Story telling?  Not so much.  History?  Nonexistent.  There is a word for what you wind up with when you invent the leading characters.  Fiction.  Now, nobody loves Kate Winslet ‘in flagrante delicto’ more than I do, but the truth is better.  Thus, ”Jack Dawson’ and ‘Rose DeWitt’ join ‘Julia Sturges’ and ‘Lady Marjory Bellamy’ as mythical creatures on a real ship.

And, since you’re making stuff up, how about a little character assassination?  The 1997 film depicted First Officer William Murdoch taking but ultimately rejecting a bribe from make-believe villain ‘Caledon Hockley.’  Murdoch was also shown shooting two passengers dead after he presumed, they intended to storm one of the remaining lifeboats.  He then saluted Chief Officer Henry Wilde and committed suicide with a revolver.  None of this ever happened.  After the picture’s director [name withheld] refused to take out the bogus scenes, studio executives flew to Murdoch’s hometown to issue his relatives an apology.  As for the movie, if you are looking for an accurate depiction of events – keep looking.  Put another way, there was a ship called Titanic, and it sank.  After that, you’re on your own.

The Civil War is far and away the all-time champion of most books. [One of Titanic’s passengers wrote ‘The Truth about Chickamauga.’]  Second?  The runner-up is World War II.  Third?  The correct guess is the Titanic.  So, what is my mission statement?  What else?  Write yet another book.  Tell her story, once again.  This time come armed with all I know and have learned in the wake of Doctor Robert Ballard’s stunning discovery of the wreck in 1985.  I will attempt to detail what is correct and dispel, whenever possible, what is not.

I spent my career working in television, the first seven years producing TV News.  What did I learn?  I learned skepticism tinged with a bit of cynicism, and it has served me well.  So, I will do your bidding.  On your behalf, I will be skeptical, factual, analytical, and when required, cynical.  There is one thing I cannot be, dispassionate.  I will stipulate to a love of all ships – but Her most of all.  By now, you may be asking yourself, ‘Why so many pictures?’  I confess that, too, is the TV producer in me.  You always try to put a face with a story.  Plus, there is always the possibility that you can’t recognize Turbinia.

If I am standing at all, it is on the shoulders of some truly great authors.  I have read, re-read, and re-re-read their work over the years and have researched – borrowed – from them all.  To the best of my ability, everything in this book is true.  I believe in the concept that, if the Lord wanted us to remain silent, he wouldn’t have given us [brackets].  So, on occasion, you’ll see a comment from yours truly.  [I’ll be that most irritating of shipmates – the loud, opinionated one.]

The longest section of the book concerns the area around the Boat Deck between midnight and 2:20am.  If it seems long [it’s real time] and overly detailed, I apologize, but to me, this is the heart of the narrative.  Hundreds of little dramas played out on a sloping deck in the middle of a freezing ocean.  Loved ones were torn apart, and families were destroyed.  And with it came the sub-plots.  Some got in lifeboats, and some did not.  Some were allowed in the boats, and some were not.  All of this begs the question, why?  Regardless, these are their stories, and on their behalf, I make no apologies.  I have tried to keep the technological parts under control and not drown my readers in facts and figures.  But the brains and skill that created the Olympic-class liners are very much a part of this story.

Allow me just a couple of more thoughts before we proceed.  There is one sentence that is common to virtually every book written about the RMS Titanic.  ‘It had been a mild winter in the Arctic.’  It had, indeed.  Ice that had been forming since well before the dawn of man was now at last free.  Unfettered, it could leave Greenland and move into the Labrador Current and begin its journey south toward the shipping lanes.  The ice was no different than previous years, only this year, there would be more than usual, much more.  There were small pieces of ice, what sailors called ‘growlers.’  There were large sections known as ‘sheet ice,’ and larger still, ‘pack ice.’  In between were hundreds of what every seaman feared most, what the Norsemen referred to as ‘mountains of ice.’  Icebergs.

If you’re familiar with the advertising business, you probably know about the concepts of ‘marketing research’ and ‘brand recognition.’  Countless studies have been commissioned to find out what people can identify and what they like.  The results are often quite surprising.  For example, inquiries have determined that far more people [around the world] can recognize the ‘Cavallino Rampante’ [in English, ‘The Prancing Horse’ aka the ‘Ferrari’ logo] than can recognize ‘Shell’ or ‘Coca-Cola.’  Then there is my favorite.  For decades, focus groups, when asked to identify the most famous ship in the world, gave the traditional answer, ‘Noah’s Ark’.  No more.  The runaway number one is now ‘Titanic’.  That’s ‘brand recognition.’

There is no way to tell the whole story in this little book, yet I will do my best.  Call me crazy [you wouldn’t be the first] and maybe a little arrogant [see previous], but I feel it’s my duty to help set the record straight for fifteen hundred souls who went to a cold, watery grave that night.  Time to depart.  ‘All ashore that’s goin’ ashore!'”

Next, THE GAME.

THE GAME is dedicated, “To My Father, for that rainy day at Fenway and A thousand games of ‘catch’”.  Steve was passionate about baseball.  He knew baseball in-and-out.  He was the expert’s expert. He would say, “I know what I like.”  Well, I’m here to tell you that he “liked”, [see also, “was passionate about”] the Red Sox, Boston, the Patriots, the Celtics, Lotus cars, Ferraris, meatballs, pasta of any kind, pundits, condiments, the Titanic, HRB, his family, and Vin Scully – not necessarily in that order. 

He writes in THE GAME Foreword: “The History books tell us that the first professional baseball game was held on May 4, 1869, as the Cincinnati Red Stockings ‘eked’ out a 45-9 win. No doubt, the first baseball story was told on May 5, 1969.  No sport – not basketball, not football, not hockey – has the oral tradition of the national pastime. And, like any good oral tradition, it has been passed from generation to generation.  Baseball stories in one form or another are as much a part of our game as the infield fly and the rosin bag.  In this book, they come in all sizes and shapes – short stories, essays, expressions, rules, jokes, and slang, to name just a few.

The first ‘Baseball Balladeer’ in my life was one Vincent Edward Scully, known to three generations of fans as ‘Vin.’ For baseball-ignorant Southern Californians, he was a Godsend. Far more than their voice, he was their teacher.  At that point, the game that had been thousands of miles away was as close as your transistor radio or the ‘am’ in your car. He gave Los Angeles the who, what, when, where, and most importantly, the why. He studied at the foot of the master Red Barber and is acknowledged as the best in the business.  I know this how? He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame 43 years ago! For nine years, I was lucky enough to be his producer. I called him ‘The Doctor’ for his PhD in baseball. Try explaining the balk rule to the man who taught you half of what you know about the game.

When I began covering the Angels, I got to know Emil Joseph ‘Buzzie’ Bavasi.  If you looked up ‘character’ in the dictionary, it would say, ‘see Buzzie.’  In the ‘40s, he was Branch Rickey’s top lieutenant and had a hand in breaking Baseball’s color line as well as dealing with Vero Beach in the acquisition of Dodgertown.  He became General Manager and earned a reputation as a shrewd and tough negotiator. Buzzie loved to tell the story about contract haggling with a certain player [still alive, so no names]. He had a fake contract with a very low salary created for the team’s best player.  He left it on his desk and excused himself for a moment, convinced that the player would take a peak. Needless to say, that when he returned, the negotiations ended quickly and in Buzzie’s favor.  He had been schooled in [and ultimately taught] the Branch Rickey way of playing the game [stressing fundamentals, nurturing talent, and the importance of a strong farm system]. In the years we worked together, I never once overheard a conversation when he wasn’t at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a story or anecdote. He lived for baseball and lived to talk about it.

In 1985, I began working with Bob Starr. Bob, or as we called him, ‘Bobo’, was the broadcaster’s broadcaster. He could do play-by-play for anything – baseball, football, your kid’s hopscotch game, anything. Bobo was a graduate of the KMOX School of Broadcasting.  The famed St. Louis radio station produced Harry Caray, Jack and Joe Buck, Buddy Blattner, Joe Garagiola, and Bob Costas, among others. He had that smooth, Midwestern style, and on the air, you’d swear he was talking just to you.  I once shared a golf cart with him for a round – four hours well-spent looking for my ball [as usual] and listening.  He loved to tell stories, some on himself. While playing 18 holes on an off day, Bob had a heart attack.  Upon arrival at the hospital, the doctors asked if he were in pain. ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘in my backside.’ Mystified, the doctors went over the test results. A physical examination revealed that the patient still had his pants on.  The source of the pain was two Titleists in his back pocket.  How we miss Bobo.

The average baseball fan may not recognize the name Jack Lang, but every player knew him and loved it when he called.  Jack was for twenty years the executive secretary of The Baseball Writers of America, and if he telephoned you, it meant that you just won the Cy Young Award, the Most Valuable Player Award, the Rookie-of-the-Year, or had hit the ‘Baseball Lottery,’ induction into the Hall of Fame.  His vocation was sportswriter [a New York beat writer], and for forty years, he was one of the best.  I met Jack in 1987.  We had been hired by Victor Temkin to do sports licensing for MCA/Universal. It was there I discovered his sense of humor, his humanity, and his encyclopedic knowledge of the game.  We would speak on the phone almost every day for an hour.  Five minutes would be devoted to business, the remaining fifty-five given over to ‘talkin’ baseball.’  I firmly believe that I could have put the phone on speaker, turned on a tape recorder, left the room, and returned thirty minutes later to find another chapter for this book.  In 1997, we took a production crew to his home for an interview. It was the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s entry into the major leagues, and who better to discuss it than the man who covered it.  Jack lived in the little village of Ft. Salonga on the North Coast of Long Island, [Vin used to refer to him as ‘the Squire of Ft. Salonga’] in a modest house with an office on the side. The office contained a desk, two chairs, and enough baseball memorabilia to open a museum. [The whole place could have been shipped, as is, to Cooperstown.]

Buzzie, Bobo, and the Squire are gone, and, believe me, this book would have been easier to write if they were still here. We still have Vinnie [long may he reign].  If there is such a thing as a sub-dedication, this is for them. They and countless others had a hand in writing this book.  I have tried to fashion a work with something for everyone, from the hard-core fan to the young people just learning about the game. In so doing, I’ve run the gamut all the way from baseball history to baseball jokes. I hope you enjoy it and hope it adds to your love for ‘the game’.”

At this point, Steve decided to try his hand at writing novels – mysteries with a lead detective and his girlfriend.  With that, Vic Landell and the Redhead appeared on the scene.  He spent hours with them in locales he loved – Sarasota, Florida, Washington, D.C., Boston, Los Angeles, New York.  The first Vic Landell mystery is BURDEN OF PROOF. 

BURDEN OF PROOF is set in and around Sarasota Florida.  It is dedicated my sister, Patricia Jewell Prince, “My Sister-in-Law Patricia, Lover of Mysteries.”

Steve begins each mystery: What’s in a Name?  “My father was born Vito Anthony Orlandella, and he didn’t much care for his name. “Vito” was all right, and in fact, he named his principal business The Vito Fruit Company – although throughout Boston he was often referred to as “Vic.” No real problem with the benign Anthony, it was the last name he saw as problematic. His one foray into show business as a record producer was done under the name “Tony Vito.” I’m not certain, but I believe he thought that Orlandella was too long and clumsy for a billboard. He had another name ready but never got the chance to use it. A clever anagram made by dropping the first two and the last letters of his name. Add to that, the remnants of his first name. Thus, was born “Vic Landell.” When it came time to name my pitcher-turned-detective, the choice was an easy one. Call it homage to my father.”

Next, CAPITOL MURDER.

CAPITOL MURDER is dedicated to me again –  “Her Royal Blondness [HRB], Long may she Reign”. It is set in and around Washington, D.C.

“What’s in a Name? The heroine of this series is Marcia Glenn. The name is borrowed from my first childhood crush – a sixth-grade, blonde goddess. For two years I pined for her from, to paraphrase Hammerstein, ‘across a crowded schoolroom.’ My passion held in check only by the fact that she didn’t know I was alive. Her sights were set on another classmate, a surfer boy wannabe with flaxen air. Sure, just plunge a knife in my heart. The irony of all this is rooted in the fact that he seemed to have absolutely no interest in her. Funny the things you remember. How this preteen vixen has now morphed into a six-foot, Titian-tressed femme fatale is a story for another time.”

MARATHON MURDERS.

MARATHON MURDERS is dedicated to Dashiell Hammett, Steve’s favorite mystery writer, “Dash, Winner & Still Champion”, and located in Boston.

“What’s in a Name?  He was born on a farm in Maryland.  He served his country in the First World War and became ill with the Spanish flu and later contracted Tuberculosis – spending most of his time in the Army as a patient in a Washington Hospital.  As a result of his illness he could not live full-time with his wife and two daughters and the marriage fell apart.  He was a firm believer in the notion that you write about what you know.  And since he was an alcoholic, his two most famous characters were as well.  He devoted much of the rest of his life to unpopular causes.  He wore his country’s uniform again in the Second World War.  His reward?  After the war he was investigated by Congress and testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee about his own life but refused to cooperate with the committee.  As a result – he was blacklisted. He was sixty-six when lung cancer took his life.  In his obituary, The New York Times said of him, ‘the dean of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction.’  For any fan of mysteries his name is said with a smile.  For someone like me, who would love to be just a poor copy of the original, it is said with reverence.”                                                                                                                                               

And then, Steve wrote his favorite, DANCE WITH DEATH.  He was an avid fan of the TV Show “Dancing with the Stars”.  It is dedicated To my Second Parents Rose & Gerry”.  It is set in Los Angeles, California.

He writes: “What’s in a Name?  She was born Marcia Colleen Glenn – her first name from the Latin, meaning ‘dedicated to Mars.’  Mars is the red planet – there is your first clue.  It also means proud or warlike – that’s your second clue.  Her middle name was chosen by her father to emphasize the family’s Gaelic heritage.  By the age of five, her sister Katelyn was calling her ‘The Marce.’  To this day, if she likes you, call her Marce.  If she doesn’t much care for you, it’s Marcia.  If she flat hates your guts – it’s Ms. Glenn.  Fair warning, if you call her Marsha, brother, you are just asking for trouble.  When she was seventeen and turned from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan, the boys in her high school started referring to her as ‘the looker.’  The lawyers at the firm where she did her internship called her ‘the stunner.’  That’s also what the crew at WWSB calls her – along with ‘the goddess.’  To the boys in Idaho Falls, she was ‘the long drink of water.’  When she knocked out a would-be assailant with one right hand, the name ‘slugger’ entered the lexicon.  There are others, like ‘supermodel’ and ‘deadeye.’  But if you’ve killed someone, she’s the ‘red menace.’  And finally, to her smitten boyfriend, she is occasionally ‘Titian’ -the shade of her glorious red hair.  She will also answer to ‘Irish,’ and for him only, ‘Honey,’ along with his favorite, ‘Baby.’  But, first and foremost she is always and forever – ‘the redhead.'”

His finale, MIDTOWN MAYHEM, dedicated to his sister, Kris Jones, “For the amazing Kris Jones”, and is set in NYC. We did not know this would be his last one.

“What’s in a Name?  It was my high-school baseball coach who first hung the nickname on me. Of the nine pitchers on his staff, eight were right-handed. When asked who the starting pitcher against Syracuse would be, he replied, “Let’s send out the lefty.” The name stuck throughout college, the minors, and my first six years in the majors. It became problematic for me when I was traded to Philadelphia – for you see, they already had a “Lefty.” He was born Steven Norman Carlton. He made his debut with the Cardinals in 1965. He was a tall, imposing man blessed with a hard fastball and nasty slider. He was soon known as an intimidating and dominating pitcher. Following a protracted salary dispute, St. Louis Cardinals owner Gussie Busch ordered Carlton traded. Eventually, he was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies before the ‘72 season for a pitcher named Rick Wise. In time, it would be recognized as one of the most lopsided deals in baseball history. Carlton hit his stride with the Phillies. How good was he? In 1972, the down-trodden Phils won a total of 59 games – 27 of them by Carlton. That won him his first of four Cy Young Awards. He finished with 322 wins and was a consensus first ballot Hall of Famer. The day before a start, the scoreboard in Veterans Stadium would list tomorrow’s starting pitcher – Lefty. Need more? There’s a statue of him in front of Citizens Bank Park. How was I supposed to compete with all that? I could not. Since Carlton is six-foot four and your humble servant is a paltry six-foot one the players started to refer to me as Little Lefty. The day my career ended, I went back to being plain old Lefty.”

Steve was writing CASINO KILLER when he died.  Forty-six pages were in the can. It was to be dedicated to “John & Gloria Cataldo, Once and Forever”.  It was to be set in and around Nice, France.

“What’s in a Name?  It is the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea in the southeast corner of France, beneath of the base of the French Alps. There is no official boundary, but it is usually considered to extend from the Italian border in the east to Saint-Tropez, Hyères, Toulon, or Cassis in the west. The area is a Department of the French Government – Alpes-Maritimes. There is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world. As the French might refer to it – beau ravage – beautiful shoreline.  It began as a winter health resort for the British upper class at the end of the 18th century. With the arrival of the railway in the mid-19th century, it became the playground and vacation spot of British, Russian, and other aristocrats, including Queen Victoria. It was the English who coined the phrase, the French Riviera.  After World War II, the south of France became a popular tourist destination and convention site. The area went off the charts in the 1950s when a beautiful girl from Philadelphia moved into the Royal palace of the one and only principality. Millionaires and celebrities built homes there and routinely spent their summers.  The region has one more name. In 1887, a French author named Stéphen Liégeard published a book about the coastline. So taken was he by the color of the Mediterranean, he used the words Azure Coast in the title – in French that translates as Côte d’Azur.”

And the rest is history.

All books by STEVE ORLANDELLA are for sale on smashwords.com and amazon.com under the name “Steve Orlandella”. 

Best, Jay

MAY DAY!!!!

HELLLOOOOOO, MAY! WELCOME! And you have arrived not a moment too soon! I LOVE MAY! It is full of good things. What, you ask? First of all, it is a holiday in France. May Day is France’s Labor Day AND the Fête du Muguet. Return of Spring. Flowers. Fun. We are ALL restored to a natural state of good health under the Law of Grace. And, so it is. Seriously,

Labor Day in France is always a designated day of action. France is never at a loss for a reason to hit the streets and take action!!!!! Haha. But, Labor Day obligates the French to do something!!!! Trade unions and other organizations take this day to organize marches and demonstrations to campaign for workers rights and other social issues.  Nobody told the French that they don’t know how good they have it. THEY DID NOT GET THE MEMO. So how did May 1st become such an important day for workers’ rights in France anyway when every day is an important day for workers’ rights in France?

Surely there’s nothing more French than protests and demonstrations, but this day of action actually gets its origins from a huge strike in Chicago in 1886.  On May 1st, 35,000 workers walked out of their jobs, joined by tens of thousands more in the next couple days, leading a national movement for an eight-hour work day.  Three years later, France decided to establish an “International Workers’ Day” with the same goal, but it didn’t officially become a paid day off until 1941 under the Vichy regime.

But May Day isn’t all protests and political events. It’s also about flowers and good luck. So, why is May Day also called the Fête du Muguet? On the first of May in 1561, France’s King Charles IX was given a muguet flower, or lily of the valley in English, as a lucky charm and liked it so much that he decided to offer them each year to the ladies of the court. 

These days, the flowers are sold in bouquets on the street around France and people offer them to friends or family members for good luck.  I bought one at the grocery store. 

And, ALSO, in 1890, May Day protesters started adorning their lapels with a red triangle, with the three sides representing the division of the ideal day in three equal parts: work, leisure, and sleep.  For those protestors who still wear pins on their lapels on May 1st, the triangle has since been replaced by a small bouquet of the lily of the valley flower tied with a red ribbon. Mine does not have a red ribbon but I believe work, leisure, and sleep.

The May 1st holiday can actually be traced back to pagan rituals. For the Celtic people, this day marked the change passage from the dark, winter months to the return of the beaux jours, or the beautiful, sunny days of spring.  The druids would light bonfires to symbolically protect their livestock from diseases.  In northeastern France, they called the last night of April the “night of sorcerers”. Children would patrol the villages and gardens, gathering objects that they would then place in the center of the village, giving the sense of a supernatural intervention. These days, the last traces of these Celtic rituals only exist in certain parts of France that still practice the tradition of the “tree of May”. I don’t think this ritual exist in the 16e of Paris. Just lots of flowers and peace and quiet.

AND – The tree of May.  France has LOTS of traditions. This rather quirky May Day tradition that has mostly fallen out of practice involves young men in some parts of France cutting down a tree during the night between the 30th of April and May 1st and then replanting it by the door of the woman they hoped to marry.  Everybody around here has concrete and that wouldn’t work. It was a sign of honor and also a celebration of the arrival of May: the month of trees, water, and nature.   We have that. Some trees, water, and nature. Other versions of this tradition saw this May tree placed in front of a church or at the home of a newlywed couple. Hmmmmmmm

Fête de la Terre.  During medieval France, this time was a celebration of the season rather than ‘work’, as it was to become. It was named “Fête de la Terre”. This was also a time to celebrate the shepherds, who worked in the land. A feast would be hosted for three days in celebration, during which time musical parades would take place with people dancing and riding mules adorned with ribbons through the villages, to an enormous banquet.  This tradition is best preserved in rural areas of France, such as the mountainous department of Isère, or the south west region of Cahors, where the weekend surrounding the 1st is still one of celebration, using it as an excuse to come together and enjoy the good weather, with parades and markets of regional products. Frankly, the French don’t need a reason to come together and enjoy the good weather. They love to enjoy EVERYTHING and to celebrate

The National Front’s “patriotic banquet” 

France’s extreme-right party the National Front is known for its yearly march from Place de l’Opéra to the statue of Joan of Arc at Place des Pyramides in the first arrondissement of Paris, which it’s been doing since 1988.  But on a recent year,  Marine Le Pen decided to scrap that plan in favor of a huge banquet at the Paris Event Center in the northern part of the city, with more than 2,000 people expected to attend. The party said the change was due to reasons of security.  Marine Le Pen’s father and the former head of the party, Jean-Marie Le Pen,  ignored the change of plans and called for people to join him at the old meeting spot anyway. I don’t know what happened. 

But, this year, May 1 demonstrations are expected through France this weekend. Historically, these demonstrations sometimes become disruptive and/or violent. U.S. citizens should be cautious throughout France. Areas of particular concern include:

  •  Strasbourg, Place du Marechal de Lattre de Tassigny towards Place d’Austerlitz, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Antifa groups protesting, with a risk of riots;
  •  Lyon, Place Jean MACE towards Place Bellecour, beginning at 10:30 a.m., antifacist protest with risk of riots;
  • ·Paris, Place de la Republique, where multiple protests are planned throughout the day.
  • Demonstration Alert – U.S. Embassy Paris, France
  • April 30, 2021,  Cities and towns throughout France on May 1

NOW, I am also going to celebrate by posting pretty pictures that make me feel good when I look at them. I have a new philosophy. I may not give credit to the photographer or to the artist. I apologize in advance, but it is laborious. And, on May Day, I am taking a holiday from obligations to give credit. Just enjoy.

So, Happy May Day, good luck, natural state of good health, and other good things. The cafes with be up and running on patios on May 17. I get my second shot next Saturday. LIVE, LAUGH, AND BE MERRY. The Best is Yet to Come!!!!

Best, Jay (just a headshot I like. )

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SPEND A MOMENT of TIME WITH ME…….

Just some of my thoughts and frustrations. I am taking a microscope to my life these days. Looking at everything with new eyes.  Who is doing what and how?  Covid has taken its toll on me.  Other people in their 80’s seem younger than I feel.  Why?  Friends are playing golf.  Others are wearing stilettos.  Others are going up and down stairs with no problem.  Oops.  Well, on the contrary, I was a late bloomer.  I got married at age 68 to my fourth husband (long story).  I thought I was invincible. Guess what? I am not!

I moved to France when I was 78.  And all of that time I had high blood pressure and lots of allergies to the medicines. BUT, I kept seeing doctors and pushing forward. SPOILER ALERT!!! I saw my doctor yesterday and some new medicine to try because my blood pressure needs to get a grip. It never got the memo. I NEED TO GET A GRIP!

Shoulda, coulda, woulda…….  I can give you lots of reasons why, but that does not solve the problem.  This is the problem.  I am exhausted and don’t feel like doing much of anything, much less exercising.  I have fought back and fought back and fought back.  Trying to ‘LIVE EVERY MOMENT TO ITS FULLEST. And, I have finally had to let go.  Not willingly, mind you.  Covid made me do it. Vertigo from brain strokes made me do it. High blood pressure made me do it. So now, I am making the best of it, trying to stay positive and motivate myself to take action.

Actually, lots of good things are happening.  I have a list.  And flowers make everything better. Besides, old is 100 or SO. 80-95 is “senior” or “elderly”. So, this Senior is still collecting photographs and paintings and memes.  But this elderly person still has lots of fears – falling, running out of money, getting sick, having to move to a cheaper place and such.  But she is holding her own.  No stairs. No stilettos.  No golf.   But she is alive and had time in Paris, surviving/thriving during a Pandemic.  Lots of “but-s” and  “on the contrary-s”

I am looking forward to the Oscars.  I have always been hostage to politically correct liberal propaganda.  I loved Nomadland. The Acting is incredible in all of the nominations.  I get most of the films in Paris with my subscription to Eurobox.  And, of course, I always wonder if I would still be working if I had not practiced law.  But coulda, woulda, shoulda.    Now I just want to walk and handle stairs and don’t feel like exercising.  Oops. 

I am having an apricot tarte for lunch with coffee with a chicken sandwich for dinner with a glass of my favorite wine. I did not buy any flowers. It was too much to carry. Flowers make everything better. So just some pictures I like for this moment in time.

Best, Jay (not a great picture of me but current. i am getting color with makeup soon. Not today. Not tomorrow. But, soon. I think I am brave to post on here. )

“ART” THOUGHTS – a brain exercise

I have avoided studying art history for years. It seemed to me that I had to pick one, or at best, two – theatre (drama), music, or art. So, I chose first music (voice and classical piano) and then drama (theatre history and performing arts). Art was not on the list. It was too complicated, and I did not aspire to be an artist. And I did not aspire to being a “pop” anything, So, I avoided museums and art classes in school. Musical Theatre was as close to “pop” as I got.

I spent time collecting works of friends and local artists that I liked and were “free”. I usually ended up with a painting that an artist friend did not want. And, it was free. I always liked it. I would frame the piece and hang it on the wall of wherever I happened to be living. I collected some beauties that I loved – over the years. I wanted to look at things I liked. Sometimes I would pay a small amount if a friend had a “showing”. And, then I would buy something I liked.

The problem is- ignoring art history did not “fit” my scholarly persona (MO) that I loved having all through the years. So, when I was moving to Paris, people would want to know which museums I planned to visit. None. Well, I had been to the Louvre in 1955 and seen the Mona Lisa, and Versailles and others and I did not need to go back and sit. I had belonged to the Getty in LA and was a patron of the LA Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the PR was what I wanted. I was a scholarly “snob”. Besides, I had received my BFA and master’s degree in Drama. I had taken courses toward my PhD in theatre history. And I was Phi Best Kappa with Summa Cum Laude grades without the sufficient course credit. So, I felt qualified to be a scholarly snob. I was “smart” and passing the California Bar Exam at age 63 proved it.

Now, it is with sheer humility that I admit these brain strokes (3 “vascular accidents”) have brought me to my knees. I make a lot of mistakes. Sorry. And I now am willing to admit that I don’t know anything about art, and I live in Paris, France. I am a “fake faker.” (song from “The Fantasticks.”). And my interest in acting even has taken a back seat to “health” issues. I have no problem not going to museums. Oh, I LOVE to act, having trained with Lee Strasberg himself. My “instrument” is rusty to not-working.

So, I am spending time with art. Online. Looking to see what I like. I sold most of my own artwork when I moved to Paris, so it is hanging on walls in Nice, Antibes, and Cannes. AND I LIVE IN PARIS!!!!!!! I kept favorites of Steve’s for personal reasons. But, I only have one or two of my favorites.

WHAT??????? I still don’t know anything about art, but I joined a Facebook group about Art and am saving photos of paintings I like. I “share” favorites. There is no rhyme or reason to it. Purely emotional. Or intuitive. Or uneducated. But I cannot tell you much about any of them. Too complicated. And, it does not interest me.

Truth be known, I was never interested in the personal information about performers. I did not care who was doing what or thought about anything. I just liked someone’s “work”. I watched programs based on someone’s work – writer’s or director’s or actor’s work. I still do, but now I don’t watch any violence. British mysteries. Solving puzzles. But it cannot be too dark. I went there and did that. No more. Oops. SO, just for fun, I am sharing with you some photos that I like – for some reason or other. And some memes. Working my brain. So far, so good. Honestly, I don’t know if forcing my brain to focus is good or not. But I am doing it and it is working (except for all the mistakes).

I have more that I have saved, but that’s enough for now. I regret I don’t know the artists but maybe you do. My point is to say that I am enjoying paintings anyway, and I think that is good. So be it. I have been to a couple of museums – in Nice and Antibes and Cannes and hope to go to more. There is no rhyme or reason to any of it. I just a sick of politics and a lot of people. I am busying myself with art and writing posts. And films seemed to be too dark.

Best, Jay

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