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Babs

May 25, 2017

….my sister.  I’m 9 years younger than her, so she was always kind of mysterious.  As well, she was married and moved away when I was only 12 years old.  Because of these things, Babs was more of a mother figure to me when I was growing up.  Many years during the summer, our parents sent us to sleepover camp in New Jersey.  I was just 6 the first year I went.  It was because Babs was there to watch out for me that I was able to go at such a young age.  It seems so strange to think of it now, but I was a little girl, one of the youngest campers, and Babs was a counselor.  Both of us loved camp (I went for 8 summers) and sharing those memories is something we both cherish in our lives now.

She was born Babette Carol Scher and was called Babs.  Our dad called her Babbit the Wabbit, or just Wabbit which is now a cherished memory for her.

In 1967, Babs married Dennis Sepe, our neighbor from 2 doors away.  This year they celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary!  Babs and Dennis love each other so much and have one of the sweetest relationships I’ve ever seen.  They really take care of each other and are best friends – something that’s pretty rare.  Memory – probably in the early 1960’s – our parents were out and Babs was babysitting for Judi and I.  Because of the curve of our street, when we looked out the window in the back of our house we could see into the back window of Dennis’ house.  Babs would get my father’s binoculars and spy on Dennis in his house.  She would then threaten me not to tell our parents that she did that and I guess that I was ornery even then because I negotiated with her and she paid me (25 cents) to keep my mouth closed.  LOL!

Babs has suffered from Crohn’s disease for almost 60 years.  Back when she was diagnosed they called it ileitis. She’s had many surgeries and stuggles to this day but keeps a good attitude and forges on.

When I grew up and married, Babs and I really got to know each other.  We have a special closeness that is only possible with sisters.  Babs is loyal and loving and is always there for me.  She has a very strange, dry sense of humor that cracks me up!  Because we live far apart (she’s in FL), it’s hard to get to see each other very often.  In January, I was able to travel to FL and see her.  We talked and reminisced and it was very healing, a lovely time.

With our parents gone, it’s comforting to know that Babs is there for me.  I love you, my sister and always will….

Tired

May 18, 2017

Dear friends and family,

I’ve been remiss with my blog posts the last couple of days.  Life’s been wonderfully full, leaving me with not much left over at the end of the day.  I’m going to give myself a pardon for a short time until things slow down, and then I’ll be back with more stories about different people who’ve impacted my life.  Even as I sit here and write my apologies, I see faces and remember experiences that are so dear and special.

Until then when I share more of them with you, I send love!

Amy

Dr. Kildare

May 15, 2017

….the tv series from 1961-1966.  I was 11 years old when it first aired and I was hooked.  It was one of the 1st medical dramas.  Richard Chamberlain played the dashing doctor and I was in love with him!

My mom….

May 14, 2017

She was born Madeline Polin on March 26, 1923.  When she was 18 she legally changed her name to Marilyn.  What’s funny about this is that my dad, whom she married soon after, couldn’t pronounce her name correctly because of his Hungarian accent, and always called her Malynn!

My earliest memory with her is driving home at night from either the city (if you’re from NY it’s always “the city”, never Manhattan) or upstate.  I remember that it was very dark out with not a lot of lights on the road we were on. My dad was driving, and I don’t remember if either of my sisters was with us, but I was in the back of the car with her.  I was cuddled up against her, she had her arm close around me, and I felt so warm and protected.  I was probably 2 or 3 years old.

My mother was beautiful, a real lady.  She always did her hair, makeup, and nails and told me  that these things were a reflection of how one feels about themselves.  Ironically, I went through several “hippie” years when I not only could care less about makeup, hair and nails, but ceased shaving my legs and underarms.  The tail-end of this period was when Bob and I came home to my parents house from the commune we were living at. We stayed with them until we married (a month later, and no…I wasn’t pregnant.  Just eager!).  Anyway, my mom was horrified that I was unshaven and begged me to shave before my wedding.  Which I did.  A little for her, but mostly for me!  I was planning on wearing sheer stockings and the unshaven/stockings look was not an option.

My issues with my dad started when I became a teenager.  I was a really good girl, but he was old-school, very strict and controlling.  I rebelled against his rules and restrictions (some of them just plain ridiculous) but on occasion my mom would provide some sort of subterfuge for me.  Like the time that my friend Randi and I were going to a party with our boyfriends.  My dad wouldn’t allow me to ride in a car with the boys driving (even though I was probably 15 or 16 at the time), so I told them that Randi’s mother was picking me up.  When Randi and the boys honked outside the house I ran out to the car and we sped away.  Later that evening, I was beckoned to the phone at the party.  It was my mother!  I almost fainted.  How had she found me? She had called Randi’s mother to find out where the party was (no doubt at my dad’s insistence), was told by Randi’s mom (another Marilyn!) that she hadn’t driven us, the boys had.  Somehow my mom figured out where the party was, got the # and called.  I’ll never forget what she said to me….”I won’t tell your dad.  Just make sure to be home by your curfew”.  She didn’t and I did, but obviously her kindness really impacted me and paved the way to be that kind of mother to my boys.

We always had an easy relationship with few, if any issues but we became very close when I became a mother.  I remember her telling me that I need to take care of myself, that it’s not selfish to do things for myself away from my kids, and that I’ll be a better mom by doing so.  It was hard not having her close by as I raised my boys, but we talked every week and she visited as often as possible.  We loved to cook together, and would talk for hours, laughing, crying, reminiscing.

She was a professional knitter, never without her needles and yarn.  She tried to teach me when I was a teenager, but I didn’t like having to rip out stitches to fix my mistakes and so I didn’t take to it.

As mom got older, and especially after my dad died in 2002, she seemed more at peace with herself and others.  She accepted the opinions and decisions of others and would say, “everyone does what they need to for themselves”.  She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2010, right about the same time that I found out I was going to be a grandma.  Bittersweet, to say the least.  Mom hung around long enough to meet her newest great-grandson and for that I’ll be forever grateful.  Her passage from this world was gentle and profound.  Babs, Judi and I were all in her bed with her when she took her final breath.

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Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  I feel your presence with me, in me, around me, always, never distant, forever close.  I miss you and love you and thank you for bringing me into this world and teaching me how to be the best woman/wife/mother I can be.

Dominic Quagliano

May 13, 2017

He sat next to me in typing class in either 9th or 10th grade.  Our seats were in alphabetical order, and he being a “Q” and me being an “S” (for Scher), his seat was directly to the left of mine.  He was a big, Italian guy.  I don’t think he ever said a word to me, but at least once every week he would take his right foot and push me into the the aisle to my right. It wasn’t vengeful or mean, just odd!  Invariably, the teacher would look at me and say, “Miss Scher, please move your desk back into your row”.  Nothing else, just a memory from who knows where in the vast resources of my brain….

Aaron Daniel Bennett

May 12, 2017

….born 37 years ago today.  Happy Birthday to my baby!

I was in labor for 7 days (seriously!) when he was born.  Aaron was a big boy, just under 9 lbs, and 22-1/2 inches tall.  When his shoulders were born I said, “thank God”!  Aaron was such an easy-going, mellow baby.  He hardly cried, would just make a little sound when he was hungry and wanted to nurse, and then started sleeping through the night at 10 days old.

When his hair came in it was as blond curls.  He would say, “mommy, don’t cut my curls”!  Aaron loved cars and played with them all the time.  He loved The Dukes of Hazard, and then the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  He walked around saying, “okee dokee Dr. Jones” until we begged him to stop!  As a little boy, in the early 80’s, there wasn’t much accomodation for grocery store baskets.  I would prop him up with loaves of bread!  He figured out how to reach behind him in the basket and grab food.  Among the many things he chomped down on were bananas (in the skin), and blue cheese (in that waxy, blue cover).  Both were spit out immediately, but clearly his love of food started early.

Bob played “boogie woogie” on the piano, and Aaron would say, “daddy, play that huggie buggie for me”.

When Aaron was about 7 and was learning to read it was like there was a whole, amazing world that he hadn’t known existed.  He would read signs on buildings as we drove past, and was mesmerized by weather reports on tv.  One time we were watching the news when the weather report came on. He was transfixed as the weather man pointed to the screen where it said something like tomorrow, 95% humidity.  Aaron turned to us and said, “wow.  That’s a lot of humditty”!!

At 15 years old, Aaron started working in restaurants.  His first job was for Karen Mulholland at her Louisville restaurant, The Country Kitchen.  He did a 3 year culinary apprenticeship program, learning “on-the-job” at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, CO where his love of classic French cooking began.  His list of culinary accomplishments since then is pretty impressive, including Executive Chef at The Ritz-Carlton Club, Aspen Highlands at 26 years old.  Bob and I loved getting to eat at all of the high-end, out of our stratosphere restaurants, especially during his 13 years in Aspen.

I’ve written previously on this blog about Aaron’s brush with death just a year ago that brought him back to us in Lafayette.  I always hold true to the belief that there’s good that comes from bad, and having my boy living here again is definitely the “good”.  Aaron and I share a very special closeness.  As both mother and son, and also as friends.  We both have pretty whacked out senses of humor and if our conversations were ever recorded there’s no telling what others would think :-0

Aaron, my son, I can’t imagine what life would be like without you.  You are sweet and kind and loyal to a fault.  I wish for you a lifetime filled with more good health and happiness than seems possible!

Judi

May 11, 2017

My sister….

I was always jealous of her – skinny, pretty, and popular!  I was the little sister so basically a pain.  We shared a room until she was a teenager (maybe 16? which would have made me 11)  when she talked our parents into letting her move into a room in the basement (basically to get away from me!).  I remember sitting with my mom in the kitchen when a bunch of long-haired, barefooted, bell-bottomed guy friends of hers came in through the side door and proceeded to go downstairs to paint her new room.  Which they did – in black paint, adding a black light that when turned on and the normal lights were turned off, made the addition of a “day-glow universe” explode!  I doubt our parents had any idea what they had agreed to.  Needless to say, as soon as Judi left home for college, I moved down into her basement room!

Judi is really funny, crazy funny!  She’s giving beyond belief, would do anything for family or friend in need.  Our parents moved to MI in the late 70’s to be near Judi and her family.  When Mom and Dad each got sick and eventually passed away, it was Judi who was there for them day in and day out. I will always feel grateful beyond belief for how she took care of them with a selflessness that is rarely seen.

I can’t actually say when we became as close as we are, but it was probably 20-25 years ago when we went on several trips together with our Mom and really got to know each other.  Now we are more than family, we are best friends!

Today is Judi’s birthday.  Happy Birthday to a one-of-a kind, amazing human being, my sister Judi.

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