Saturday, May 26, 2012

I Love Lucy... and Ricky, Too


I don’t think a lot of people are aware of how difficult it was for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, married in real life, to convince television executives that they should play husband and wife in the TV show I Love Lucy that debuted in 1951. The executives thought the American public wasn’t ready to see a white woman married to a Cuban man.
Arnaz and Ball took their act on the road, and it was soon apparent that audiences loved them. They went on to become one of the most influential couples in the television industry with their own production company, Desilu Productions.
Before I was old enough to go to school, Ma and I watched reruns of the show in the late 1950s and early 1960s every morning with our buttered English muffins on paper plates and our bone china cups of tea. I learned the dialog by heart, and I found something comforting in the couple that might have been too different for the American public to tolerate. Lucy and Ricky reminded me of Ma and Dad: a couple from different places, ethnicities, and cultures navigating life together. Their relationship normalized my bicultural family life, and tied up my complicated home life into a neat half hour package.
Ma had a sharp sense of humor, not slapstick like Lucille Ball, but lightening quick, intelligent, and keen as a razor. Her words were weapons of mass destruction. I know. I’d been the brunt of them many times.
Dad was no musician, but his artistic expression came from his hands: the way he tinkered under the hood of his car, grew grass on our sandy lot, or fixed one of our old, broken bikes or toys that had been passed from older to younger siblings.
Dad was forty-five when I was born, the fourth of the five Liuzzi children spread out over fourteen years by the time my youngest brother came along in 1961. Dad’s hair was salt and pepper for as long as I remembered, but I saw the photos of him taken in Australia where he and Ma began dating during World War II. His hair was thick and dark, rakish over his brow, just like Ricky’s, and his stance was cocky for such a short guy. He looked as if he could stand up to any big guy who threw a punch at him. I liked that about Dad. He never seemed afraid.
Dad was born on March 7, 1912, and Desi Arnaz was born on March 2, 1917.  Even their birthdays were weirdly congruent.
“Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do,” Ricky threatened in just about every episode.
“But Ricky,” Lucy implored each time while sobbing giant crocodile tears.
The fights between Ma and Dad were more evocative and not at all funny. They didn’t end with a big hug, a romantic kiss, and the soundtrack of I Love Lucy swelling in the background. Ma and Dad’s fights were raw, bubbling with profanity and accusations, and contested with both bark and bite.
Still, I clung to my fantasy that they were like Lucy and Ricky. Maybe Lucille and Desi’s real life marriage was more akin to my parents’ relationship.  It was volatile, turbulent and rocked by Ball’s star power and Arnaz’s much more behind-the-scenes persona.  Added to the mix was Arnaz’s alcoholism and his penchant for women. My family lived with alcoholism, too, but it was Ma who drank, not Dad, who I only saw drink a beer or a glass of wine just a few times in my memory. Unlike my parents, the Arnazes divorced. The divorce gave them the emotional freedom to continue working as business partners for several years and to remain close friends until Arnaz’s death in 1986 at age 69. Ball died just a few years later in 1989. Dad passed away in 1981, also at age 69, and Ma in 1983. My mind makes the connection that others might not see.
I loved listening to Arnaz sing his signature song Babalu, his hair flopping wildly over his eyes, and his hands moving rapidly on his conga drum. I liked the way his feet moved in rhythm to the music, his toes pointed slightly inward. My husband Ronald is a musician and percussionist. His African ancestry makes him the extreme of the dark and ethnic look I grew up loving. I can’t help but draw another connection.
The song I loved best from the show was the theme song I Love Lucy.
I Love Lucy, and she loves me,
We're as happy as two can be,
Sometimes we quarrel but then again
How we love making up again.

Lucy kisses like no one can,
She's my missus and I'm her man;
And life is heaven you see
Cause I Love Lucy
Yes I Love Lucy
And Lucy loves me.
The song may sound corny, but I always tear up when I hear it sung by Desi Arnaz. I remember the episode in which he sang it. Lucy thinks everyone has forgotten her birthday. She ends up on a park bench where she runs into the Friends of the Friendless, a ragtag missionary band. She brings them to the club to embarrass Ricky and discovers that he and the Mertzes had planned a surprise party for her. Ricky puts his arm around her and sings I Love Lucy. I witnessed the love in his eyes as I watched it on You Tube again while writing this post.
I look for that same look from Ronald, even after thirty-six years of being together, and I catch it there still.
Both Arnaz and Ball decided that “basic good taste” would guide the humor and the story lines in the show. They never used their ethnic differences as the brunt of jokes, except for Lucy occasionally imitating Ricky’s pronunciation of certain words.  I believe that is why America could tolerate them as one of the most recognized couples of the era. They were just two people who loved one another and who were building their American dream, in their private life and in their TV life.
That’s what all couples wish for. Gay and straight, interracial and homogenous, old and young, we just want to live, love, quarrel, and make up again. What we don’t want is the rest of the world telling us they aren’t ready for us.
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz may not have realized how much they opened the minds of their audience. They just wanted to portray a couple just like them and felt strongly enough about it to go against the tide.
Now that fear has reared its ugliness and rage in America once again, this time as minority numbers grow and a minority person has taken the highest office in the land, I wish we had another TV show that American audiences might not feel ready for.  It would be a show that uses “basic good taste” in writing its story lines and which stars a couple like Ricky and Lucy or even Ricky and Louis, who win the hearts of Americans and who prove that being different isn’t all that different after all.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Demographic Evolution


For many centuries, when it was discovered that there were other lands beyond their own, people explored, traded goods and ideas, and adopted new words into their languages. Sometimes they conquered nations and ruled over them. Sometimes they enslaved the people. Other times they engaged in genocide.
Perhaps the concept of exploration and all the good and bad it embodied was needed for mankind to evolve. Now we are a global community. Progress is rapid and ideas, trends, and news are communicated in seconds. We are connected through technology and the ease of travel.
Cultures are becoming more common than different in industrialized nations, but regional and local cultural mores still operate. In such a world, I think it only matters what personal tastes an individual has in terms of where s/he wants to live, work, and socialize, but I suffer idealism.
This week on ABCNews.com I read an article about the shifting demographic in America. No doubt we knew a shift was coming. The Hispanic population has boomed, while middle class white people are aging, have been shrinking as a group, and have fewer children. Blacks remain at around twelve percent of the population, and Asians, also growing in number, are at around five percent of the total population.
The article, found here, http://abcnews.go.com/US/militias-hate-groups-grow-response-minority-population-boom/story?id=16370136#.T7epWhzeeuR, and titled “Hate Groups Grow as Racial Tipping Point Changes Demographics” states, “The data released this week revealed a tipping point in the country's demographic shift. For the first time in the country's history, more minority children were born than white children, setting the stage for an eventual non-white majority in America's population.”
This trend caused a growth in hate groups around the country. Their growth spiked in 2008 when President Obama was elected and continues to grow rapidly. Even white people who don’t consider themselves racist express fear about the changes in population. Mark Potok, spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said, “It's a generalized feeling that 'this is not the country my Christian white forefathers built. We've got to take this country back.' It's not rancid straight ahead race hate, but it is very closely tied to race and the changing look of the country."
It’s an odd anxiety in my opinion, especially because of how this country was settled. First there was genocide and the stealing of land from the native people. Then slaves were brought from Africa when it was deemed Native Americans were not hearty enough to be enslaved. Then after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the dearth of people willing to pick crops and work for low wages in the service of others caused an influx of illegal immigrants. Corporate farmers and the wealthy looking for cheap household help brought them into the country first, then others followed, both legal and illegal, looking for opportunity. Now whites are anxious that the country they considered their home and playground is changing, and they are losing their power to control the situation. It reminds me of the constant feeling that must have run rampant in the South, at the height of slavery, that there were many more blacks than wealthy whites, and if the slaves were ever able to organize, a way of life might be lost. Many of the racist fears that still haunt black men today, like the belief that they have strong sexual desires for white women, grew out of that time. Of course, other historical events and economic trends ended that way of life, but the fear remains.
America doesn’t belong to just white people. It belongs to all Americans of every race and ethnicity. And our culture shows it. The food we eat, the music we listen to, the way we dance: they are all multicultural. Jazz, the blues, Rap, and Zydeco are all uniquely American as is modern dance, tap dance and Hip Hop.  Now Salsa is popular and many businesses display bilingual signage. We are a predominately Christian culture, but we’ve been influenced by many world religions. The popularity of yoga and meditation is an example of how we’ve been influenced by eastern religions and philosophies.
America is an interesting experiment in the merging of world cultures. It makes us unique and influential around the world. I can’t see how that can make people anxious, yet it is ever present.
I’m of Italian and Irish descent with a sprinkle of English and a large dollop of Australian. I’ve spent my adulthood in an interracial relationship with my husband who is black and Seminole Indian. My daughters are interracial –we often told people they were international babies whenever we were asked, “What are they?”  I have always lived a multicultural life. I haven’t chosen one culture or ethnicity over another or felt pressured to. I’ve enjoyed learning that there are different perspectives in the world and have let them open my mind, not close it. My husband is the same way. We’ve always been open to knowing people different than ourselves. That’s how we got together. My daughters feel the same way, too. They use all their cultural influences when creating art, music, dance and theater.
In the article on hate groups, Potok said that younger generations are more accepting of the demographic changes in America. He said 95 percent of them are accepting of interracial relationships. It’s a sign that race is not an important social construct to them. In just a few generations, maybe the color of one’s skin will be unimportant. We will have the chance to enjoy the uniqueness of our global culture instead of fighting over who is American due to race entitlement and who is not due to race prejudice and oppression. Just as cultures and mankind evolved for thousands of years through exploration, we are undergoing another evolution. I can only hope it will happen in my lifetime.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Amendment One: I See Hateful People


Hateful. Ma called me that when I was little. The word summoned the image of darkness oozing out of my pores, crawling along my scalp, sliding down the strands of my snarled hair, until it filled the room like a black void. My hatefulness was the manifestation of wanting to be loved, demanding it, and wanting to destroy the world if I couldn’t have it. I felt the unfairness of Ma’s inability, probably due to postpartum depression, to bond with me. I emitted a mountain of emotion for so small a child, and my memories of it are still crisp. I know hateful when I see it.
North Carolinians, not every single one, but a majority, have shown their hatefulness, and it feels like a black void blotting out the Carolina blue sky and sunshine. Amendment One, a constitutional modification that states a marriage is between a man and a woman, was overwhelmingly passed on May 8th. The next day the rain poured down, thunder rumbled, lightening cracked open the sky, and the darkness at ground level caused me to switch on lights. “God must be crying,” I mused.
I thought that because God was plopped right into the middle of the debate. Both sides were quoting the Old Testament.
 As a vocal liberal, I’m sure most people don’t know that I am a born again Christian, as in I accepted Jesus as my savior in a private moment of epiphany. I live in contentment because of my choice. Until I wrote this post, I did not share that fact with many other people. I don’t shout it in the streets, thump my Bible, practice religion, go to church, and attempt to convert others, or tell people that God has spoken to me and that I am delivering a message. I also don’t tell people they are wrong if they do any of that. Everyone has a right to worship, or not, in the way they choose.
I try not to judge others, though I think we can all admit that can be difficult at times given our own imperfectness. I try to show compassion and love, as Jesus did, for all of mankind, maybe because I felt so unloved as a child.
So I am not condemning the people of North Carolina for their decision to pass this amendment. I condemn the amendment itself. I am deeply saddened and frightened by its passage and by the opinions and judgments expressed about the people this amendment targets, the GLBT population.
I saw the hatefulness in the remarks of a Fayetteville pastor who encouraged his parishioners to beat their children if they displayed behaviors, attitudes, or dress that veered from traditional gender roles. I saw hatefulness in the words spoken by a state senator’s wife who said the amendment was important to pass because the white race was diminishing and that “white people founded this country” and “it should be the country they founded.”
When the civil rights of one group are taken away, we are all diminished by the action. It has nothing to do with God. It has everything to do with discrimination, oppression, and hatred. It has to do with treating peers as unequal, as less than. 
Once it is socially acceptable to forcefully take the civil rights of one group away, it becomes easier and easier to target other groups.
Read my post “On Being a Creative Maladjusted” to learn how quickly Hitler rose to power and targeted groups for oppression, imprisonment, and death:
Look how Jim Crow laws gave permission to supposedly good people to torture and lynch blacks and prevent interracial couples from marrying. Look how government supported involuntary sterilization took away the reproductive rights of thousands of citizens. The darkness, the hatefulness, the fear, and the anger grow and grow inside people that might otherwise be fine citizens. A mob mentality takes over and erases all personal thoughts and actions.
The Southern cultural heritage is complicated and unresolved in my opinion. I’ve told people from down here that I am offended by the Confederate flag and what it symbolizes, and they’ve answered, “But that’s my heritage.” What does that mean, though? Do they acknowledge that their history is one of slavery, oppression, violence, and secession? Do they still cling to those beliefs? No one has ever given me a straight answer, so I can only go by what I see.
I see hatefulness. I see fear. I see aggression. I see the Southern stare.
Ronald and I coined the phrase “Southern stare” to describe what we often experience (and what I have often written about in my blog). The Southern stare is the way some people look at us. They bore their eyes into us, turn their heads, slow their pace, twist their bodies to get a better view, veer their cars across lanes, drop whatever else they are engaged in such as conversation or eating, and stare. They don’t speak to us or acknowledge us in any way. They just stare.
That leads me to believe, despite seeing quite a few interracial couples walking around besides us, that it still is not accepted. The amendment that made interracial marriages illegal in North Carolina was codified in 1875 and not removed from the state constitution until 1971, four years after the Supreme Court ruled anti-miscegenation laws illegal.  Is anti-miscegenation considered part of the Southern heritage?
Another thing we discovered is insularity. We are called Yankees. We are considered outsiders. We’ve been told we don’t belong here. It is apparent that since we don’t go to church, we are considered unworthy of friendship, and that’s been our experience with people of all races. It’s been difficult to make friends and acquaintances.
“Why stay there?” you ask. We aren’t sure that we will. We’ve asked ourselves that question a lot lately, because we feel that we’ve given it enough time but things haven’t gone as we had hoped. We’ve grown tired of conversations that are racist and one-sided, like people calling President Obama “your president” or telling my husband that they hate Tiger Woods, challenging him to disagree. We’ve grown wary of people who talk about carrying guns and shooting others or who veer their car in our direction as if they mean to hit us. (See my posts “Profiling Fatality”:
and “Do the Right Thing”:
to read about those two experiences).
Then we remember that we experienced racism in our old town up north, too.
One thing we both believe in is that we have a right to choose where we want to live. It is one of our civil rights and we exercise them with the belief that they are inalienable. We believe in them so strongly that we will fight for our right to exercise them. See my post “The Legacy of Racism” that talks about our housing discrimination suit: http://aboutracewriter.blogspot.com/2011/08/legacy-of-racism.html
However, we have been disturbed by the passage of Amendment One. It is a sign that civil rights can be taken away at will, with ill intent, and with the purpose of discriminating against targeted groups.
I don’t expect every person to like me or for me to like every person. That’s how humans are – some people have interests or circumstances in common that draw them together. Oftentimes relationships are formed based on cultural and racial commonality or similar values. Dislike is often caused by dissimilarity. But just because you don’t like someone or how someone lives, doesn’t mean you should act against him, especially if he does not cause harm to others.
Hate is different. Hate is a strong emotion. It takes energy to hate another human being. Hatred has the power to harm. Like in the case of taking away civil rights from groups who are different from the majority.
A lot of North Carolinians are upset about the bad press the state has gotten in the media. They are proud of the state, and I can see why. We wanted to claim this state as our new home. It is physically beautiful. And there is that whole thing about heritage, which, as a recent migrant, I am still trying to understand.
I watched comments fly back and forth on Facebook. People expressed offense over the meanness of certain comments that belittled all citizens of North Carolina, and I agree, there were some over-the-top ones and some terribly offensive generalizations made. There are very strong emotions on both sides of the fence.
People are shocked by the passage of this amendment now, at this time in our history.  The amendment has consequences for more than just the group of people it targets, and it diminishes our social ethos. Why would anyone deny another person the right to a mutual, consensual, loving, committed, stable relationship that protects both partners? In my mind, there was never a reason to put it out for a vote, other than to use hatred against a group and to wield power to keep them oppressed.
But then another thought entered my mind as the comments continued to fly back and forth. It isn’t the nicest thing I could think of to say, but it just seems right: When you bare your ass in public, don’t get upset when people talk about how big it is.
Amendment One is North Carolina’s ass hanging out for everyone to see and comment on. That isn’t said in hate. It is said with disappointment, sadness, fear, and wonder if we should stay in a state that can take away civil rights and use God and the Bible as the excuse to do it. This is not the first time and probably not the last time. There is a proud heritage of taking people’s civil rights away in this state.
I see hateful people. I’d like to think God had a really good cry after Amendment One was passed.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

55 Things You Might Not Know about Me


I saw a version of this in a couple of blogs, and, as a memoirist, I found it intriguing and fun.  Plus I didn’t want you to think that my interracial marriage and the way people treat us is all the stuff I am about. The other blogs did 100 things, and I think that’s too much information, so I decided to do my about to be age – fifty-five. Enjoy, and if you like, tell me one thing about you in a comment. I’d love to learn more about my readers!
1.     I spent eight months in Australia when I was a year old. Four of us Liuzzi kids were born then, and Ma took us to meet her family. We flew to San Francisco and took an ocean liner to Australia, stopping along the way in Hawaii, the Philippines, Fiji, New Zealand, and Tasmania.
2.     Some of my first words were “Tea, toast and googies!” which I learned while in Australia. Googies are eggs.
3.     I am terrified of spiders! The story goes that a tarantula was headed toward me as I sat on the floor while at the house of one of our Australian relatives, and I reached out to touch the furry creature. Ma, frightened I would be bitten, stepped on it – the first time she had ever stepped on a spider that large. The sight of a spider can cause me to run screaming, hyperventilate, and even pass out. I pay the bug man to come quarterly and lay down my line of defense. Down here in North Carolina, black widows are my bĂȘte noires.
4.     Despite my fear, I have a fascination with spiders. I watch programs on them, read about them, and even look at them in person, as long as they don’t startle me. Ronald and I trailed a tarantula in the desert at Red Rock in Nevada. I find black widows mesmerizing and beautiful with their black patent bodies and bright red hourglasses.
5.     I had an imaginary friend as a child. Her name was Sally Sunbeam and she was pictured on the bread bags we bought from the Freihofer Bakery delivery truck. The white sandwich bread was so processed there was nary an air bubble in it. Sally had curly blond hair and blue eyes, and she wore a blue and white gingham dress with a white pinafore. She often told me she was prettier than I with my stringy brown hair and amber eyes.
6.     I love reading, and I read everything from books to newspapers to cereal boxes and road signs. I didn’t learn to read until I was six, and not knowing how to read before then made me angry. Then I read several novels a week, mostly adult novels I stole from my mother’s library in the bottom of the clothes hamper in the bathroom, books like Gone with the Wind which I read at age eight and The Carpetbaggers which I read at twelve. Needless to say, I like a bit of drama in my books.
7.     I wrote and illustrated my first short story at age seven. The story was titled The Cat Who Could Fly.
8.     I started my first novel, a summer project, at age ten. It was a ghost story.
9.     I loved to play teacher when I was little. My undergraduate degree was in English Education/Speech Communication. I taught 7th grade English for half a year, but did not stay in teaching. Instead I used my teaching skills to train thousands of people over the years in workshops and seminars about records management, my profession.
10. I am afraid of the dark. I slept with the sheets tucked securely over my head for the first nineteen years of my life. Only after Ronald began spending the nights with me did I stop. I remember once when my heart was pounding, and I couldn’t breathe, because I heard a noise. After minutes passed, I figured out it was my eyelashes scraping against the sheet.
11. I see dead people, mostly in dreams, but they have delivered messages on occasion that I have taken seriously. I used to feel presences at my aunt’s house, and she told me a little girl used to come sit at the foot of her bed. I always thought it was her sister who died at age five when my grandmother was pregnant with my aunt. If my daughters and I visited her without Ronald, we would fight about which of the three of us would sleep alone. It usually ended up being me, and I’d sleep with the lights on.
12. When I was little I got up early on Saturday mornings, dumped the bag of M&Ms into a cereal bowl, and picked out all the red ones for consumption while I watched cartoons. I don’t eat M&Ms regularly anymore, but on the rare occasions that I do, I save the red and blue ones for last.
13. Red is my favorite color, but I am very particular about the shade of red, and I have never owned a red car or painted my walls red. I love red shoes.
14. I used to sing while riding in the back seat of the car when I was little. I stared out the window and sang every song I could think of, and if I ran out, I just started at the beginning again. I loved music and Dad wouldn’t let us turn on the car radio because he said it wore down the battery. Now I won’t drive unless the radio or CD player is on. I sing along with the songs, but mostly make up the lyrics. I love to listen to NPR, too.
15. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was twenty-two and only because I had been offered a teaching job forty-five minutes away. My mother didn’t drive and my father wouldn’t teach me how. I was terrible in driver’s education because my four-inch platform shoes often caused me to press the wrong pedal. It was the only class in high school that I didn’t ace. I learned how to drive in one month before my teaching job started with lessons from the owner of a driving school. He promised me he had never failed a student. Ronald took me out for additional driving time, but more than once I slammed on the brakes and got out of the car in the middle of the street. I still don’t like to drive when he is in the car.
16. I am not mechanical and tend to break things. Once I borrowed Ronald’s very expensive sunglasses, but I sat on them just minutes later and broke the metal bridge. I didn’t want to tell him and set them on my face just right. I had to keep my head very still, or they would come apart. I wore them all day, watching his band play at an outdoor concert. On the way home I asked him to stop at the grocery store to pick up a couple of things. I told him he could wait in the car. Inside the store I opened a tube of super glue (don’t worry, I bought it) and fixed the glasses like new. Three months later Ronald came home from a golf game and said the strangest thing happened, his glasses just fell apart while he was wearing them. I didn’t tell him until years later that I sat on them.
17. I’ve always given voice to my pets. Each pet’s voice was unique and depended on look and personality. I held regular conversations with them. Ru, a mini schnauzer and our current pet, has a speech impediment.
18. When my daughters were little I would hold them up in front of the bathroom mirror each night so they could say goodnight to their images. It was part of the bedtime ritual.
19. I’m a southpaw.
20. My favorite sandwich is hard salami, provolone, and red onion on a hard roll.
21. I have an aversion to condiments and seafood.
22. I had very long fingernails in high school (when fingernails were real and not acrylic) and each time one broke I saved it in a small container that I found many years later when we moved from NYS to NC. I kept the container but threw out the fingernails.
23. I collected newspaper clippings, playbills, magazines and books as a teenager. I kept the seashell collection my sister collected when we were in Australia. It is fifty-four years old. I still like to collect seashells when I am at the ocean. On Catalina Island, there were no seashells so I collected rocks. I keep them in a glass jar filled with water.
24. I shredded my trunk full of journals by tearing up each page by hand when we moved south. I was embarrassed by how histrionic I was as a teenager.
25. I started binge drinking at age sixteen but quit just a few months after turning eighteen (the legal drinking age back then). I didn’t touch alcohol again until I was in my forties. Now I drink an occasional glass of wine or a skinny margarita. One drink is best, two drinks make me woozy, and three drinks cause me to lie down.
26. I eat tomatoes almost every day, raw and cooked. My aversion to catsup is an enigma.
27. I drink two pots of black tea during the day and a cup of herbal tea before bed every night. Earl Grey, Marco Polo, and Constant Comment are my favorites.  I call my nighttime cuppa “sleepy time tea.” I use the word cuppa as in “I’ll have a cuppa,” because I learned it from my Aussie Ma just as I learned to pronounce the silent ‘h’ in herbal. I stopped drinking milk in my tea at age four and stopped using sugar in my tea at age nineteen. Ma, if she were still alive, would be mortified that I drink tea from a mug and not a bone china cup and saucer.
28. I make scones, and I pronounce them as rhyming with the word cons, not cones as is the preferred pronunciation in the USA. I’ve been corrected just as I’ve been corrected for pronouncing the ‘h’ in herbal.
29. One of my all-time favorite movies is The Desk Set, a romantic comedy starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, made in 1957 (the year I was born). It’s about two strong personalities who clash over the installation of a computer in the research library at a television station in NYC. Is the computer faster and more accurate than the library staff? No way!
30. I refused to wear jeans as a small child, preferring the fancy dresses that were hand-me-downs from my sister. Today I wear dresses just about every day. I look best in empire waist dresses and I have a lot of them.
31. I love shoes, too, but bad knees and bunions have started to limit my choices. I slobber over beautiful shoes at the store, like stop, drop and grab slobber, like my life depends on it slobber, like I can’t breathe until I can see the shoe on my foot slobber. Daughter number one shares my addiction.
32. I think Marilyn Monroe’s acting ability was overshadowed by her sex symbol status. Her acting was intelligent, comedic, deep, and amazing! Favorite Monroe movies: How to Marry a Millionaire; Some Like it Hot; The Seven Year Itch; Bus Stop; Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; Niagara and The Misfits.
33. I am a liberal, like a socialist, be like Jesus kind of liberal, but I still believe in personal responsibility.
34. I talk to myself and I have since I was little. I have some of the best conversations! I excel at extemporaneous speech because of it.
35. Some people think my job as the records manager of a multinational corporation is boring, but I love it! I use my creativity and my childhood love of collecting to make my job unique and fulfilling.
36. I love my house! It’s perfect for Ronald, Ru and me! I like to lie on the living room floor and look at the ceiling lines. They are aesthetically pleasing.
37. When I visit other cities, my must do sightseeing includes the zoo and aquarium if they have them. Favorite zoo: Cleveland. Favorite aquarium: Chicago. Favorite sentimental zoo: Burnet Park Zoo in Syracuse.
38. I also like museums. Favorite museum: Henry Ford. Favorite sentimental museum: New York State Museum in Albany.
39. I love I Love Lucy and know just about every show by heart. I also love the movie The Long, Long Trailer and have watched it many times.
40. I am afraid of clowns because their makeup hides their true identity and they look sinister. Scariest clown ever: Tim Curry in It (I didn’t like the movie because the ending was so disappointing). The most endearing clown: Jimmy Stewart in The Greatest Show on Earth.
41. When my daughters were babies I read them everything I was reading out loud, so they were exposed very early, among other books, to Shakespeare and Time Magazine. I read them children’s books with different voices and dialects and found out our neighbors enjoyed listening at the window on summer nights. My daughters are expert at imitating dialects and accents, much, much better than I ever was.
42. I used to tape books for visually handicapped students when I was an undergrad at Syracuse University. I read in different voices and dialects then, too, to make topics such as macroeconomics interesting.
43. My first car was a 1977 Ford Aspen, and it was robin egg blue. I loved that car, except driving was difficult sometimes because I am tiny and I would slide across the bench seats when I made turns. I like bucket seats and seat belts much better! I stay in place.
44. I love to move! I squiggle, wiggle, jiggle my leg, sway, dance, shake, rock, and shimmy. I taught aerobics for a few years after my daughters were born. Both daughters became professional dancers.
45. I love crossword puzzles, word jumbles, and Scrabble.
46. I was sickly as a child with lots of upper respiratory infections (Ma smoked – I didn’t have a chance) and enlarged tonsils and adenoids.  I had my tonsils and adenoids removed when I was seven. I had to take liquid iron after the surgery to get strong and it stained my teeth black.
47. I kept the letters my classmates wrote to me while I was out recuperating from my tonsil surgery for over forty years. I threw them out when I moved south.
48. I didn’t feel loved as a child, and even now I think most people don’t like me.
49. I love to read detective, police, and mystery novels a la Michael Connelly and Jonathan Kellerman.
50. I like ghost stories, too, but I am not a big fan of Stephen King. I like Peter Straub.
51. I gained fifty-three pounds when I was pregnant with my twins. I couldn’t reach my feet or put my arms around my abdomen. Ronald shaved my legs for me.
52. Some of my favorite TV shows are Mad Men, Southland, Memphis Beat, The Walking Dead, Justified, and Hell on Wheels. I also watch American Idol and America’s Next Top Model as well as HGTV, PBS, Animal Planet, and the History Channel.
53. I think Ronald and my daughters are the only people in the world who don’t care that I’m crazy. They love me just as I am.
54. I pluck my eyebrows every day and probably would not leave the house if, for some reason, I was unable to. I had a single brow during childhood, and the sting of the teasing I received from some of the boys has never gone away. I used to daydream about being stranded on a deserted island until I realized I wouldn’t have tweezers.
55. Once, many years ago, I wanted to discover if I had any past lives, so before I went to sleep, I told myself to dream about them. I dreamed I was on a girls’ softball team in the 1930s, sitting in a broken down wooden lean-to at the edge of an uncared for ball field located somewhere in the Midwest, waiting for my turn to bat. I had on one of those old style gym dresses and a bonnet.  It was hot and dry. The dream was atypically in black and white.
That’s all she wrote. Now it’s your turn to tell me something about you!