Chronicles of The K-9 Boys and Girls on Locus Street seriesre

Chronicles of The K-9 Boys and Girls on Locus Street seriesre
Rescued Dogs' Stories

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Hamptons

'Do you like to read? Wouldn't you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well, you came to the right place! Join the MMB Open Book Blog Hop each week and they will tell all. Every week we'll answer questions and after you've enjoyed the blog on this site we'll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.'

Our topic this week is where do you live?


Check out Patti Fiala blog and her first book in the Rolling Thunder series, Dog Days of Summer - your pick Amazon or Amazon UK or Amazon Canada

I grew up in a downward spiraling neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. During the summer, my grandparents would pick up, along with my brother and I, and take off to The Hamptons for a three to five-month vacation.

Summer was always spent in The Hamptons, but the timeline was a variable, depending on the weather. We would bustle about, packing only the necessities, weeks before the closing of the school. The day after school let out, we were standing at the local Long Island Rail Road station awaiting departure to the country. This ritual had started long before even our school days did. 

My aunt, who married late in life, bought and gave the Southampton property to her parents. Her dad had become disabled in his thirties. He was a small, wiry man who had made a good living as a jockey. In the late 1930s and early 1940s chronic kidney disease was not very treatable - which meant an early retirement - making him the first house husband I knew. Aunt Betty went off to work during the day and Grandma had her work as Superintendent of our building, that kept her busy most of the day cleaning or repairing. 

But, at least, the summer was away from the heat steaming up from the subway line that ran the row of buildings along our street. Our building was on the corner of Fulton Street, so there was easy access to buses for trips to Macys or Korvettes and the subway lines below to Delancy Street for our yearly shoes or decorations for Christmas. 

Winter was played on the street with snow forts lining both sides of Portland Avenue. Ammunition stacks piled high awaited our skirmishes each day. We, the ones good at aiming, had the job of taking out our opponents. Others on the team would continue to make the encrusted ice snowballs while still others had the job of transporting the ammo in a timely fashion. 

When the streets and sidewalks were clear of snow or ice, we could skate or play games that were popular before the advent of television or the far distant, unheard of, the personal computer. 

Skating was adventurous because the slate slabs that made up what passed for sidewalks were few and far between.They were launching pads for the skates that hopefully remained attached to the shoes or, horror, sneakers.We shot like human projectiles around corners, down hills, skirting adults as if they were hurdles earning us scores. 

For the first eight years of my life, I was the only girl on the block. This meant learning to play stick ball or aim snowballs was a given. Out skating or out running the boys was a challenge only because I was the shortest but not the youngest. I'd found a place in their ranks because I did not wail if I skinned a knee. I was always willing to take on a challenge, even if I had only a slim chance of winning. There was always a margin of error on some one's part and first place sometimes came to the runt - giving me more incentive to participate in the next race or contest.

 But the summers, at least in the beginning, had a different flavor. My cousin was nine months older than me, a softer girl who did not punch or kick and would look in horror if she needed to physically defend herself. She was the sweet country bumpkin and I was the competitive city sophisticate. 

She showed me how to make mud pies and dress cats - pushing them about in an old baby buggy. I taught her how to talk younger siblings or friends into babysitting our dolls as we would peddle the shared three-wheeler down our road, waving goodbye as we went off to work. 

But we were both soon outnumbered by boys and she, too, learned to play boy games. City skates are not useful on dusty roads but graduating to two-wheeled bikes soon gave us the
freedom and advantage to race alongside boys who would outstrip us on foot. 

Limbs tore off still standing trees after hurricanes, became our trusty steeds as we emulated the lifestyle of our favorite radio or television cowboy. Climbing trees, hanging upside down and allowing ourselves to pretend to fall out of trees was a deliciously danger-filled fun time.

 I still have the galvanized tubs my grandmother washed and rinsed clothes in on the one day a week we did not use them for our swimming pools. Looking at these same containers today brings back sweet memories of lazy days spent in water browning like a ripe berry, and now, wonderment on how small they appear to my adult eyes. 

My grandchildren have a different childhood lifestyle. They make play dates because chance encounters even in this serene country setting can be deadly. They must be shrouded in sunscreen and bug repellent. 

The short dusty road we raced on, free of fear from cars or predators is now paved up to our driveway where an abundance of cars and delivery vans run by daily. They speed along unaware of the natural depression I refuse to fill. If they do know it's there, it merely slows them to a 'crawl' of forty-five. I am almost ashamed to say, I wish broken axles or chassis upon these racers. Almost, but not. 

This sleepy neighborhood, three miles from town, is now dotted with summer homes which are rented out up to ten months a year. I understand the reluctance to return to the high-stress-level of the typical walk-up apartments, and these neighbors are owners who, as my grandparents did, love the relaxed lifestyle away from the cares of the city. And too, these once city folks get to chime in with the native residents as they bemoan the dirty or deadly antics of the careless or belligerent transients.

Our yard, fence-less for sixty years is now enclosed, keeping animals and children safely inside. We had the joy of running the roads - which is all but suicide today. They have a half acre which, while being more than most get, is still so much less than their forefathers. I can do little but shudder, as I envision their grandchildren's future, country lifestyle. {Excerpt from award- winning story, Estival Interlude Lament}

Thanks for stopping.  On your way out, check Lela Markham's blog and here is her link to her first book, The Willow Branch
 in the Daermad series at Amazon<

Monday, July 13, 2015

Homegrown Honeymoon

Do you like to read? Wouldn't you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well, you came to the right place! Join the MMB Open Book Blog Hop each Wednesday and they will tell all. Every week we'll answer questions and after you've enjoyed the blog on this site, we'll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

This week’s blog, you may have entered through the portal of P J Fiala
Her recently-published Designing Samantha’s Love                             

If you came straight into my blog, please take a moment to check out P J Fiala blog this week, too.

When I married fifty years ago, my future husband told me to pick out and pay for our rings. 

He would be providing the honeymoon – it was to be a surprise. 

The surprise? We spent the three-day honeymoon camping.  Camping on Lake Follensby in the Adirondack Mountain area at the then family camp in upstate New York; the structures within the site were wooden to waist high and then upper canvas sides and roofs. 

The second night of the honeymoon, the first in camp,  a mouse {I hope that was what it was} ran across my face.


The first time to use facilities, be greeted in the outhouse by a spider the size of a dessert plate in one corner and another small dinner plate size hanging in the opposite corner. Not a broom in sight and I a city girl with summer country roots.

We left our reception on Long Island and drove to Saranac Lake, New York. Our first stop for the night was to be spent at his ‘favorite’ sister and husband’s home. I had heard about Tootie during our courtship and this paragon had already earned her spot at the top of my ‘hate’ list. To be told we were to stay at her home on the first night of our marriage was ... dismaying. 

The then ten to the twelve-hour trip was accomplished in eight in my husband’s MG. The beautiful Adirondack scenery sped by, clothed in a gown of darkness only broken by the high beams cutting a swathe as we climbed the winding Cascade roads. 

We arrived at Tootie and Ron’s after one a.m to a house seemingly utterly mad. A man with arms a windmilling holding the screen door open with his left leg, followed by a bathrobed woman. Kerchief covered hair in pin curls,  wielding a broom as a weapon in one hand, a can of beer in the other, and a cigarette held firmly between her lips. 

This is Tootie?! Tootie’s real name is Ruth; why and how she got the tag Tootie, is hidden in family mystery.

The icebreaker antics were due to a flying squirrel who insisted on being there for our arrival. We were enlisted in the fray to encourage this bushy-tailed rodent to return to his or her family on the outer side of the door. How this was accomplished without their daughters being awaken, to this day, I do not know.

When sanity again reigned and introductions were made, we were ushered into the kitchen where a humungous pot of spaghetti was heating, awaiting our arrival. They had even delayed their eating to celebrate with us.

Ron and Tootie were in the process of building onto their home during this period of time. Their bedroom was made up for us to enjoy the first night as man and wife, but we were told some construction was still in the building process. Not something we would have noticed.

How can one keep a person on a ‘hate list’ when they keep their kitchen open all hours to feed the family and an unknown bride? How can one even think such a jealous thought when given their bed while the hosts bunk down on the living room floor?

The three honeymoon days are a blur of meeting the people important in my husband’s life. Very few of all I met can I recall, but my first meetings with his older sisters were memorable. 

His eldest sister Joan and her family while not as madcap as his ‘favorite sister’ and family, had their moments too. Their daughter Linda recently had open heart surgery to correct a hole in her heart. Linda almost three years old and very proud of her operation…and the scar asked us if we wanted to see it, as she whipped up her shirt. (Excerpt from Tootie, Our Favorite Sister - a memoir for her children)

Our days at camp were spent skinny-dipping,

       and our nights had camp fire snuggling, and star gazing.

Our life together started unconventionally and has continued in the same vein.

Photo's courtesy of, free photo archives; Virginia Shene Whitelaw; Stephen Gregory Shene; and, Paula Shene
Onward to Stevie Turner's blog and her book for pre-order for the 20th of July 2015,

Monday, July 6, 2015

Splatter Platter

'Do you like to read? Wouldn't you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the MMB Open Book Blog Hop each Wednesday and they will tell all. Every week we'll answer questions and after you've enjoyed the blog on this site we'll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.'

Welcome, you all, that have come through TL Clark's portal - take a look at TL Clark's latest at Amazon and Right now it is on sale for .99 cents in the States or pound in the UK.

This week's muse is creativity, and capricious as she may seem to be, if you remember she's there for you, anything goes and she will be pleased.  There are times mine seems to have a Loki spirit, laughing as I attempt to swallow all I have bitten off. I laugh with her... Or at her.

I had another picture in mind, but with all the problems I've had with my computer lately, not to mention my chaotic home life, I've substituted this for the original picture in mind.  It somewhat resembles the multi-colored toy gecko, if you squint.  That is the first rule of any project: substitute if necessary.

Throughout my life I've had my needs met even if it meant juggling, but extras were a definite luxury seldom expected or sought.

One period of our lives was spent in Navy stateside hops.  While housing on base was a fantastic help to the monetary stipend, it was not always readily available.  Our third son was born after my husband was transferred to Mare Island, California.

I remembered the soft books with textures for tiny fingers and bright colors to catch a baby's eye. I had as a child and I loved them. The ones selling in the PDX while indestructible were expensive. The local thrift shops did not have any but the heavy board books which were good,but not exactly what I had in mind.

However, the thrift shop did have a swatch of heavy muslin, in pink.  Not to be deterred or even thinking pink is not for a boy, I snatched it up and went diving for yarn. Discovered that item in another bin. I even found embroidery thread and a set of needles. At home, I had my cloth pens that made it into the small amount of belongings I had carted with me cross county and additional needles and thread. For a couple of dollars I had the rest of my craft supplies.I was ready to build a soft baby book.

Laying the book out for continuity and stability took the most time.  The book was to end up a 6"x12" with a front and back cover and the complete alphabet each with a drawing, some embroidered, some painted, and others crossed stitched again for texture. I used embroidery hoops for stitching and for coloring the pages.

Each section started out 12" x 24" with the top edge of the page at the 6 inch middle mark and the spine at the 12 inch mark. I worked front to back, right to left, that is:  24 x 12 inch square laid flat, front cover on right side bottom, back cover left side bottom, turn top to bottom, page 1 under front cover, last page under back cover.  I used chalk and a ruler to make into four equal areas. sewing chalk is best but in a pinch white chalk lightly used will work. It needs to be easily brushed off so a light touch is essential.  Oops...pressed too hard? then wash after assembly, on gentle.  It will have many more washes as time goes on.

When the first 24 x 12 section was done, TOTALLY dried, I folded top to bottom, inside out, stitched around edges, then pulled right side out with only a tiny area in one corner open to pull through.Next, I completely whip stitched the outside edges with the blue yarn.  This was when I still had an ironing board - I covered the section with a towel and ironed, on LOW. Don't want to transfer the paint.

My finished pile I laid face up with first and last page showing. Each inside page had six items, for instance, page 1 had an A and a drawn picture of an Apple and the word apple and under that a B and a drawn picture of a Ball and the word ball. The last page, had a Y and a drawn picture of a Yak and the word Yak, and a Z and a drawing of a Zebra and the word Zebra, continuing the sequence until it meets in the middle with  M and N getting their own full page. If you cannot draw, then use transfers.

I doubled up the letters because I did not want the book to be too unwieldy for little hands to hold.  In total I used four 12 x 24 inch pieces, each piece eventually folded into four pages.  If you halve the amount you will have a much smaller book, but the size of the book is up to you.

I did not number the pages until I finished.

All the edges and the spine were whip stitched with the yarn making it a sturdy, lasting product. Prescott, now my illustrator for children's books, had his name on the front cover, along with it proclaiming to be his First Book. He was almost five months old.

That book traveled all over the United States and made six of our seven cross county moves.  The last trip across, items were lost including all my pads of sketches and Prescott's First Book..  He was twenty-five, remained behind, and married.

Next up on our MMB Open Book Blog Hop is P J Fiala 

and her latest book at Amazon and

TL Clark's Blogspot: Advice for New Authors

 See, I told you!

TL Clark's Blogspot: Advice for New Authors: Wow; that was a spectacular disaster! So, you’re happy to read, but don’t want to talk to me? That’s OK. It’s your choice. So with an overwh...