Love The Beach

One of my favorite TV shows of the late 80’s was China Beach, a drama about a scrappy nurse stationed at My Khe beach¬† (in Da Nang,Vietnam) during the Vietnam War. China Beach was full of strong female characters, even the fluffy Red Cross volunteer named Cherry White turned out to be a bit badass. I remembered this show when I was driving and “Reflections” by The Supremes came on the radio (yes, I am one of the few people to still use the car radio!) Check out the opening sequence:

 

I wish there was somewhere I could catch it in reruns; I watched it over and over when it had a second life on the Lifetime Channel. Captain Colleen McMurphy was a nurse at the evac hospital, Airman Wayloo Marie Holmes was a journalist, Major Lila Garreau ran the show, and Private Frankie Bunsen was assigned to the motorpool (she later became a DJ.) Early on the USO performer Laurette Barber befriended Colleen and helped her to loosen up a bit (that’s them in the opening sequence in the sparkly silver dresses.) I fell in love with the soldier turned lifeguard Boonie Lanier and was fascinated by the hooker with a heart of gold KC Koloski. There were other guys stationed there but Boonie was the only one that mattered to me. The stories were gripping and gritty, taken from the stories of actual veterans. Colleen had seen more than her share of tragedy and violence and the show did start to address her PTSD in Season 4, when they used flash forward scenes during some of the episodes, a novel way to tell a TV story at the time.

You know I am a sucker for sweetness and light, so anytime that Bonnie and KC had scenes together it was compelling because they seemed to bring out the best in each other, she was softer and so was he. When Boonie threw a prom for everyone, he really hooked me. I think it was my favorite episode. Another couple that was fun to watch was uptight Major Lila and Sarge Pepper (yes, I know, Sargeant Pepper.) This romance was a slow burn that lasted for almost the whole run of the show, but so worth it when they got together. And for some comic relief in Season 3 Ricki Lake joined the cast as Red Cross volunteer Holly Pelegrino. She spent a lot of energy trying to make the evac hospital a bit more fun, and her relationship with Boonie was another one that I loved to watch.

All of this research has me jonesing for another look at this great show. Maybe it’s on cable TV somewhere. Is cable TV still a thing? Lol.

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Queen Solomon

People are always trying to get me in the middle of something. I never just agree with someone without finding out what it is going on and I try really hard to play fair. Family drama is always just one call away. The call today came from my sister Judy and her son Diego, each of whom were sure I would side with them. The situation of the day? Judy was ordering Christmas presents on a website and the package was delivered on Friday, along with a wallet she purchased for herself. Diego maintains that because it was purchased in November, it needed to be put away until Christmas, just like all of his gifts. Judy said that this wasn’t the same because she bought it for herself. Diego had taken the wallet and threatened to hide it upstairs until the holidays, which is not really fair because her wheelchair doesn’t go up the stairs. As much as I love that scamp Diego, I did have to agree with Judy and then yell, “Don’t go upstairs with that wallet!” which wasn’t really a threat from 2o minutes away.

Now that I have had some distance from the situation, I just have one thing to say to Diego: here’s a picture of my wallet. Aunt Buddy definitely needs a new one. I have changed my mind – could you hide that wallet from Mom and sneak it to me?? I will love you forever…

 

Books I Love

Selling books for 22 years and loving books for 56 years, reading stories is a big part of my life. My mom loves to tell about the very first book I ever read as a toddler, the Sears catalog. I spent hours flipping the pages and pretending to read each one. Reading allowed me to see lives lived differently than my own and it helped me to escape my life when it was boring or overwhelming.

My mom took us to the library every chance she had and I remember leaving the Beauchamp branch library with piles of books every time. We moved to the near west side when I was 13 and was so excited when I was old enough to walk the ten blocks to the main branch of the Onondaga County Public Library in the gorgeous Carnegie Building. I am so grateful to my parents for fostering a love of reading and imagination and for putting up with all the family gatherings where they found me with my nose in a book!

With all that I’ve read over the years, people may wonder which books are my favorites. My four sets of bookshelves would suggest that there are too many to choose from, but I will try. This list is in no way complete, and most of them are available at Barnes & Noble (of course!)

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More Glory Days

So many songs came to mind after my blog post Glory Days was published a few weeks ago that I just had to do a part 2. The only group missing is the parody band Tone Deaf from SUNY Oswego. These guys made anything an instrument and the goal was to be bad on purpose. They deserve a whole post all their own. In the meantime, enjoy some of these classics!! And share some of your favorites!!

 

Play That Funky Music White Boy by Wild Cherry

One day Jenny’s roommate came home all excited about the new song she found out about while shopping downtown. None of us had the heart to tell her it had come out almost 10 years before. Maybe we should have. That may have kept her from torturing us with it over…and over…and over…and over again. 30 years later, whenever Mobius Jones plays this song, I see her face.

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Sock Monkeys For The Win!

“Pittsburgh has over 400 of these…” the moderator said and we all looked at each other with blank stares. “Hills?” someone across the table asked the group. “No, I think bridges” Chick said. We all discussed the possibilities between bites of dinner, and decided on hills. Once the answer was handed in and the guesses scrutinized, the questions in that round were recapped and the correct answers were revealed. “Question number 4, the answer is bridges.” “See, you should have listened to me! I lived in Pittsburgh for a few months years ago” Chick said.¬† “You should have said so.” someone retorted. The scores were updated, “…and the Sock Monkeys in the lead with 240 points!” Everyone at our table erupted in applause, along with others at surrounding tables who were competing in the trivia game. Our usual trivia place was full up, so we traveled across town to give somewhere else a try. And we were rockin’ it!

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IAWABAD, My Own Version of NANOWRIMO

On This Day is one of my most fun things about Facebook. For those who don’t know, it shows all the things posted in that newsfeed on that date in previous years. Included in today’s list on mine were entries from different years that all had one thing in common, an optimistic and enthusiastic post talking about NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) and how THAT year would be the year I would hit the coveted 50000 words. I started out strong, mathematically calculating how many words per day (1667) and then recalculating at the end of each week as I fell short of the intended goal. By mid-month, things would look bleak, and by the time Thanksgiving week arrived, my retail life had taken over and I would slink toward November 30, vowing to do better next year.

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There’s Always Room For One More

My mom excitedly introduced me to John, a guy that she and her grandtwins got to know this past summer at Great Camp Sagamore. “This is John! Ty really enjoyed him this summer”, she exclaimed with a huge grin. I smiled.”Nice to meet you. It sounds like you had a great time with my mom!” This happens all the time, whether it is church or the bookstore or at one of my band gigs. So many times someone has said to me, “Are you a Horan? Are you related to Carole?” And my answer is always yes. My mom collects people the way some people collect stamps or shells.

 

 

From a very young age, our family dinners always included others, whether it was one of our friends or someone living with us. An overfull table didn’t seem out of place. It wasn’t until years later that I found out that most people only ate with their nuclear families. And it wasn’t just food we shared, it was also our space. We moved to the Near West Side when I was 11, and the two family house provided all the space we needed for our family of 9, plus whoever. Here’s a pic of the seven of us with some guy named Tony we picked up along the way. My parents wanted to help out in the neighborhood and at St Lucy’s church, and that included giving shelter to those who needed it. The upstairs mirrored the downstairs, and it was really fun for the kids to have our bedrooms be in the kitchen or the living room. I paired with most of my siblings throughout my time there, and once Judy and I got the front room with the balcony! There were a lot of us but there was always room for one more at Our Father’s House.

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