Tag Archives: staten island

Day 341: My Cousin Darren

12 Mar

Darren and me back on Staten Island

A few months ago, I returned to Staten Island to help celebrate my cousin Guy, and his wife, Diane’s, 25th wedding anniversary. My cousin and I were both married in the same year, 1986.  My wedding was in August, and his wedding was in October.  If you follow baseball, you may remember that the N.Y. Mets made it to the World Series that year. And won!  But that is beside the point.

In 1986, a week or two after our wedding, I moved to Ashland, Oregon, with my new husband.  Since that time, I have been back to Staten Island many times, but there are some people that I never get to see.  One of those people is my cousin Darren.  He is like me in one big way: he moved away from New York and only returns for a visit now and then.  The anniversary celebration was one of those times… and for the first time in more than 25 years, I spent time with my cousin Darren.

Darren was born the year that I turned 13.  The funniest (or strangest) memory I have from the time he was little was when I was walking with him (at about age 2) and my sister, Janice, who was about 5.  My boyfriend, Michael, was watching them with me and we were walking through the neighborhood when a lady came up to us and said, “The children are so cute… are they yours?”  I was fifteen years old!  and far  too stunned to say anything at all!

Darren and I caught up a bit at the anniversary party… and he honored me with a dance to repay me for babysitting all those years ago.  A few days ago I mailed Darren a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pie for him and his son, Tommy, who he named after his Dad. I want to thank him for the memories from those long ago days… and send him love and good wishes for the future.

Cousins are different beautiful flowers in the same garden – Author Unknown.

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Day 155: Aunt Gladys

8 Sep

My Aunt Gladys was my Uncle Tommy’s wife. When they were dating I was a toddler and they liked to take me out with them. The story I remember most (probably because I heard it so often) is when they took me for an ice cream cone. As I recall, we were in a red car, with me in the front seat between them (back before baby car seats!) Into my hands they put an ice cream cone and as I tried to take a bite – plop! the ice cream scoop fell onto the seat. At this point in the story, my Aunt would be laughing; I don’t remember her caring about the mess – it was a story about having fun together.

Early last Saturday morning I heard my cell phone ringing. It was my sister calling to tell me that my Aunt Gladys had died during the night. Neither of us knew that she had been in the hospital for heart surgery (which the Doctors thought was successful) and so we were (all) taken by surprise.

Had I not been booked for an event tomorrow, I would have gone to the funeral. My cousin said, “Don’t worry about coming; she’s not here.” And I told him, “I know that. I wouldn’t be going for her – I’d be going to spend time with you and your family.” It seems that’s all we can do at times like this.

Two days ago, in addition to my “pie of the day”, I baked a brownie pie with Cary’s Dark Chocolate Espresso Toffee and mailed it to my cousin’s family on Staten Island. It was my hope that it would arrive today and that the family would share it after the service. It was my way of “being with them” even though I am thousands of miles away.

After the funeral today, in honor of my Aunt Gladys, my cousin served “Bahama Mama’s.” It is the kind of cocktail that my Aunt might have had on a special occasion. Yesterday, I went out and purchased the ingredients so that I could join my family in toasting my Aunt. I needed to share this moment with them; it is still hard to believe I won’t see her again.

Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.
Eskimo proverb

Bahama Mama
1/2 oz Rum
1/2 oz Coconut Rum
1/2 oz Grenadine
1 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 Cup Crushed Ice
Combine all ingredients in blender and serve.

Day 112: Maureen

27 Jul

I first met Maureen because she had donated a certificate for a haircut to a fundraising event that was held in honor of the late Joanie McGowan. I placed a bid on and won that gift certificate and it was soon thereafter that I met Maureen.

I liked Maureen right away, especially because she listened to me before she cut my hair. That’s a wonderful trait in a hairdresser and I haven’t had my hair cut by anyone else since that first haircut!


Map of United States, Oregon on one coast, Staten Island on the other

One day a few years back, as Maureen was cutting my hair, I told her about an upcoming trip and that I was going to New York. She asked, “Do you know anyone there?” and I told her that I was born on Staten Island and that my sister still lived there. And that’s when I found out that Maureen was also from Staten Island! How strange is that??? Here we are in Ashland, OR, roughly 3,000 miles from Staten Island and somehow we are drawn together, in some way, because we were both friends of Joanie.

Maybe this was just a coincidence. Maybe not. What matters is that I feel lucky to have found someone who helps me look my best. That’s a pretty amazing gift.

Tonight I baked a Spinach, Mushroom, Sundried Tomato and Jarlsberg quiche for Maureen. I know that she doesn’t eat many sweets and I thought that she might like a break from cooking after standing all day long fixing hair.