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 bête 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!