Monday, December 24, 2007

I've just discovered The Tiger Lillies!

Okay, so I like weird artsy fartsy stuff. Not that I think they're weird...well, okay, so maybe a little bit, but they're so DIFFERENT! Check this out:

They were just in Philadelphia a few weeks ago and I know nobody else that would even THINK to go to see these guys with me. Sigh. I'd just like to see them once. Just to see what they're like in concert.

One of these days...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I'm Inde-pendent!

Little did I know how Rudolph the Rednosed Raindeer holiday special (you know, the Rankin/Bass one?) would subliminally choose my political party when I grew up. (I'm KIDDING! GEEZE!)

But I finally decided on my political affiliation.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Leon Redbone at The Roxy!

I have been anticipating his arrival for MONTHS! Last night, he finally arrived. It was 7pm, and he was scheduled to start the show at 7:30pm. I had to get down there (I live in an apartment right above the theatre, so it wasn't difficult.) before everything started. I knew the theatre owner had a photo taken of himself and Leon back in the 70's, so I thought I'd get to meet Leon by mentioning how cool it would be to have "Then" and "Now" photos on the theatre's website ( ), of which I am the webmaster. Yup. I had an "in"!

So, here's how it went:

I walked into the Roxy with my trusty camera on my shoulder. Told my idea to the owner and he said a resounding "yes!" So, he dusted off (in fact he had to WASH off) the framed photo of he and Leon and we went downstairs to the "Green Room". And there, in the flesh, right in front of me, looking like I'd expected, was the great and awesome, Leon Redbone! OMG, he talks just like he sings. I had a big grin inside me, but didn't want to appear a goof, so I just smiled and introduced myself to Leon and shook his hand. (Oooo! I SHOOK LEON REDBONE'S HAND FER CRYING OUT LOUD!) It doesn't take much to excite me. LOL

Well, he said he'd be glad to have his photo taken again and they posed while I shot the photo. Cool. Then we went back upstairs to the theatre, while we waited for Leon to go onstage.

Meanwhile, I met a really cool guy named Jerry. Jerry was the sound guy and we chatted about our kids and families for awhile. Jerry sure loves those grandkids of his and his new little granddaughter seems to have taken up permanant residence in his heart. Here's a pic of Jerry doing his thing:

Now the lights dim and everyone gets quiet. 3 men come onstage and everyone starts clapping: the horn players and piano player. Then they announce "LEON REDBONE" and the crowd goes wild! (not really, I just always wanted to say that...but they did clap REALLY hard and whistle!)

Leon comes out wearing his usual Panama hat, vest, bow tie and dark sunglasses. He sat down on a chair in the middle of the stage. The spotlight on Leon was a dim yellow and the rest of the band was pretty much unable to be seen. They were in the dark with just a hint of blue light. Really a neat feeling to the whole thing. Kinda mysterious, like Leon himself.
Here, take a look for yourself:

So, the night wore on and he did his thing, which is WONDERFUL by the way. His calmer than calm, laidback manner and crank-it-up Victrola voice is just so soothing and fun at the same time. At one point, he asked the audience if they'd like to hear a peppier tune and when we all yelled YES, he proceeded to tell his pianist to go ahead and play something peppy. During the whole ragtimey song, Leon did nothing but sit there and make hand motions, tipped his hat, raised his eyebrows to the beat. What a guy. He hardly MOVES. LOL

There was supposed to be an Intermission, but it never happened. I was kinda not paying much attention, but suddenly Leon leaves his chair on center stage and goes backstage and reappears a few seconds later with HUGE bags of popcorn! (yeah, okay, now ya know...the Roxy uses bagged popcorn. Hey, it's still yum.) He proceeded to plop these bags in front of his guys onstage and then sat down and played some more! What a guy! What a GUY, I tell ya!

One of my favorite songs by Leon is "Ain't Misbehavin'". I was really looking forward to him singing that one, but so far he hadn't, so during a lull in his repertoire I hollered downstage, "Hey, Leon! Play "Ain't Misbehavin'"! He paused and looked out into the audience and said "What?" I said it again, and he said "Well...I'm not sure I know that I?" And then he spoke about it awhile and then...played it. I was in H-E-A-V-E-N! And so was the crowd. It was the biggest applause of the night.

After the concert was over, I went backstage and mingled with Leon a bit and then he was asked if he'd come outside to the parking lot because 3 fans were back there and wanted photos with him. He obliged, but said "They can take pictures of me, as long as I can take pictures of them." And with that, he pulled out a thin digital camera out of his vest pocket and did just that. There was Leon taking photos of people taking photos. The guy's a trip, I tell ya. He stood out there for quite a bit allowing fans to take pics and get autographs. Then he went back inside.

Oh yes, I MUST mention the fan who wanted to see Leon backstage. She said she flossed his teeth about 20 years ago. Turns out, she was a dental assistant and Leon had phoned up a dentist to get his teeth cleaned. He wouldn't give his real name, because he said he'd be known and didn't want word to get out, so he gave a fake name (which I won't mention here, in case he still uses it). The receptionist at the dentist office said, "I'm sorry, sir, but you must give me your real name." And Leon said no sirree and stuck with the fake nondeplume. So...the day of the appointment arrives and Leon gets his teeth flossed. I'm so happy to know he's conscientious of his dental health! Anyway, the woman gave him a brand new pack of dental floss and signed it with a TO: his fake name and a FROM: her name. How cool was that?

Also, there was a girl named Laura, who is a HUGE fan of Leon. She had a photo of herself and Leon from a prior concert and the photo was of her and Leon holding a photo of herself and Leon. (are ya following me here?) So, she wanted this current photo autographed and she wanted another photo of herself and Leon holding this photo! I got the autograph for her and then she somehow got into the theatre and came down to the Green Room and got her photo with Leon. So now she has a photo of herself and Leon, holding a photo of herself and Leon, holding a photo of herself an Leon. How cool is that?

Infinity Leon With Great Teeth. Yeah, baby.

In Remembrance of my 2nd grade teacher

I was Google'ing names of people I remembered the other night and typed in the name of my 2nd grade teacher, Miss Rambo, from when I lived in Laureldale, PA. I always thought so highly of her and she always had a special place in my heart, ever since I was 6 years old.

Anyway, I found a geneology site that had her name on it and that she was a teacher at Rosedale Grade school! Hey, that's my school and that was my teacher! I was so excited so see her name. I scrolled down the page and saw an email link to the person who put this file on the Internet, so I wrote to her and asked her if she'd like to hear about some of the things I remembered most about Miss Maryjane Rambo. Here's what I wrote:

We lived in a stone house on Kutztown Road, in Laureldale, PA. Miss Rambo lived next door in a home that was converted to two apartments. I think the house was red...not sure if it was brick or what, I just remember a dark red. She lived upstairs and her sister (I can't remember her name right now) lived downstairs.

Miss Rambo was pretty old when I knew her. Of course, being 6 years old, I guess everyone seemed old. LOL She was thin, had her gray hair tied up in a bun behind her head, I believe. She was SO nice and loved books. Once, while I was swinging on a tire swing my Dad had put up for me on our huge cherry tree, Miss Rambo appeared at her 2nd story window, opened it and called out to me. I went over and she lowered a couple of books down to me in a woven basket with a rope tied around the handle. I thought that was the neatest thing for her to do! And I'm still an avid reader! I know she'd love to know that about me. I wish I could tell her.

I also had the measles that year and I remember her showing up at our door with a few cans of juice for me, along with get well letters from each child in my class. (Mark Fisher, one of my classmates, even taped a nickle on his get well wish to me. Something I've never forgotten. Funny how you remember such things. LOL)

I remember her being very neat about herself and her apartment, which I visited on several occasions. Her sister's apartment downstairs was very nice too, although I don't remember ever going further inside than the foyer.

There was a time when we had to do some special arithmetic problems and Miss Rambo went out and bought this colorful, shiny paper for us to use as a cover for our math problem booklets. I'll never forget how she passed around the stack of papers and I had my eye on a bright, shiny magenta piece, that I hoped nobody else would choose. They didn't, and I got to choose that for my math booklet. To this day, I remember vividly that color and it's still my favorite!

Once, during the Christmas holiday, we had a Toys For Tots barrel in our classroom. Miss Rambo explained to the kids that we were to bring in a toy for the poor kids who didn't get presents and bring them in to put in that barrel. Well, I had this nurse doll that I had received as a birthday present, because I used to want to be a nurse. I hated that doll! She was tall and wore a nurse's uniform with the little white hat and was carrying two twin babies on each arm. (They were rubber banded to her arms so they wouldn't fall.) I was never much into the girly dressy dolly stuff, so I thought I'd get that ugly doll out of my bottom dresser drawer (it was still in the plastic and everything!) and give it to the Toys For Tots barrel. Well, the next day, Miss Rambo saw me putting that doll in the barrel, and she picked it up and called me to the front of the class. She put her arm around me, faced the class and told them all what a wonderful student I was to give some poor child a favorite dolly that was still new. I must've been a very good person to sacrifice my new dolly like that. At that young of an age, the guilt set in and I felt SO bad that she was just singing my praises, when the truth was that I hated that stupid doll and THAT'S why I gave it up. LOLOL I never did tell her. I didn't want to ruin her view of me, I guess.

I also remember when I was in first grade, the year before my 2nd grade year with Miss Rambo, there was a little girl in her class who was very sick. She would tire very easily and when I think back, she may have had cancer. I don't remember her name, but Miss Rambo would allow her to bring a pillow to class so that she could lie her head down on her desk when she wasn't feeling good. I wish I remembered who she was and if she ever got better or what happened to her.

There was also a 3rd grade teacher that I thought at the time was as big as an Amazon woman and almost as ugly. She used to scare me and when she came trudging into our class with those Time Tables...EEEK!! LOL

So, I think that's about all I can remember about Mary Jane Rambo. She was a much loved and remembered teacher to me, as you can tell. Are there any photos of her around that I could see? Do you have more info about her? This is just so exciting to me to have found a reference to her on the Internet!

Thanks again for writing back!

Lori (Shellhammer) Reed
Northampton, PA

So there ya have it. I hope she sends me a photo of Miss Rambo. I've got a memory of her in my mind, but there's no face to it. I can see her body, but not her face and I'd love so much to see what she looks like again. Weird how I don't remember.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I Have A List

I actually have a journal where I keep a list of names of everyone I ever knew that died. If I know the cause and date, I write that too. I only read it when I have to enter someone else's name and then I put it away again.

They didn't know I was paying attention.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Two Little Boys

It's so amazing to me how Life works:

I went to an auction one evening about a year ago and was browsing all the cool old stuff, antiques, retro and my favorite of favorites: kitsch, when I spotted some old photographs. Two shirtbox lids filled with old dags, tintypes and other old photos. (see photo) The one that drew me over to the whole shebang was a photo taken of two little boys who were obviously outside playing.(sorry, didn't take that photo!) They were both looking out of the photo and into my eyes. There was an old man next to me also looking at the photos and I said to him that I couldn't believe people would actually throw out or auction off photos of their relatives like this. To see these two little boys looking at me, unbeknownst to them that some lady in the year 2005 would be looking at their little faces and wondering who they were, was a sad thing. I felt as if I had to rescue these photos. The auction started and I bid $20 per box and won both box lids full of photos. I was so pleased!

The next day I sat down and went through all these photos. It was still so sad to me that this was someone's family and they just tossed all these photos aside. After looking over all of them and some documents, letters and even a baby book dated 1913, I decided to put the baby book on eBay. I researched the names and places mentioned and hoped that perhaps a long lost relative of this baby would show up on eBay and purchase back this item. After it had been up for auction for a few days, I got an email from a woman who told me that the book's illustrator was a very collectable illustrator. So I changed the item title and it sold. Then, I decided to put the dags and tintypes up for auction, as well. I really was curious to see if someone would know these people in the photos. I emailed the winning bidder about the shipping costs and the woman who won told me that her husband's relatives were named Sutts and these photos were from the Sutts family from Asbury Park/Brighton Beach area of NJ. I told her that I had 2 box lids full of photos and one large photo of a graduating class from an elementary school that was once there. I offered the other photos to her for free, she only had to pay the shipping, as I was so excited to know that these photos WOULD be saved! In fact, the Brighton Beach Historical Society was getting the large elementary school photo to display.

Now how cool is that?

They don't know

I'm a passenger in my friend's van and we're driving down the street. I can't help but see inside the house as I'm being driven past it. It's dark outside, but the lights inside show someone is home. As I'm going past the house for just a second or two, I see through the window and notice someone walking across the room. They don't see me and they have no idea I'm even there, let alone looking at them. In my mind I think how amazing it is that I am, if only for a fleeting moment, in that house with them. Seeing the framed picture hanging on the wall behind this person... I think it's a woman... walking past the window to who knows where. I wonder what she's doing. I wonder where she went as she passed the window to where I could no longer see her. Did she go to the kitchen? Is she making dinner? Did she stay there awhile or did she grab something and come right back past the window again for someone else to see her on the return trip? What's her name? Is she sickly or healthy? Is she a nice woman? Does she have lots of friends? Hobbies?

And then she's gone. Or rather, I'm gone...continuing on my drive and perhaps seeing someone else in a bit. Maybe the next person I see is eating in a restaurant while they are swallowing a bite of cheesecake, totally unaware that someone saw them swallow that last bit of goodness.