Artie and Tommy are Together Again

Writing my book, Always Look for the Magic, started out as an exercise to keep memories alive, to keep those stories that my dad told from disappearing. It turned out to be much more than that for me as I wrote and edited. It became a connection with my parents and their families before me. Especially Tommy (my Uncle Tom).

Uncle Tom passed into Heaven last month. My dad, Arthur, the big brother, has been there since last October. It is a comfort to know they are together again.

I grew up in Maryland and lived close to tons of relatives on both sides of the family. My parents grew up across the street from each other, so everyone knew everyone else. When I was six, we moved from the Baltimore area an hour away to near Andrews Air Force Base where my dad worked. I’m not sure exactly when, but at some point, Uncle Tom, Aunt Audrey, and their three kids moved our way. We saw them a lot.

I know that as a kid I didn’t appreciate what was being built by those times together. It may have looked like eating dinner, playing badminton in the backyard, an epic game of Monopoly, or listening to the more musically inclined jamming in the basement; but it was family building blocks. Blocks of time that knitted us together.

Now we are all over the country. My three siblings and I and those three cousins all live in different states. Different regions, too. We don’t see each other often – in some cases it’s been over a decade.

Arthur and Tom, 1930

My cousin, Mark, and I have kept in contact more due to the fact that we both had our dads living with us and both had the privilege of being with them during those last days and weeks. We understood each other. It was comforting.

How does it work when you haven’t lived near each other in over forty years, that you can talk like best of friends? It works really well. For us, it’s aided by the fact that our dads both were Christians and we are, too. But I also know that somewhere deep in the foundations that were built when we were young, there was always a bridge to family. It’s like a draw bridge that you can lower and reach out to each other across the miles whenever you need to make the connections. It’s amazing.

I had a texting conversation with my cousins that lasted nearly two hours. We sent each other pictures and reconnected where necessary. We joked around and made fun of each other. I laughed and I cried. What a gift!

As a tribute to my Uncle Tom, I want you to know that he was a truly wonderful uncle. When Bob and I moved my parents into our house last September, he was on the phone to me with unsolicited (but good) counsel. “Bonnie, it’s not easy living with old people,” he told me.

I’m not sure if that was a quote that he picked up from my cousin when they moved under the same roof or if down in his basement he kept an even older person than his 88-year-old self, but I appreciated his call.

“Remember,” he warned, “it’s your house. You don’t need to change everything for them.”

Hum, I wondered, what had it been like for my poor cousin and uncle during their transition? I’ll be sure to never ask!

“Also, my brother can be difficult,” he added.

Can’t we all!

After my dad died, Uncle Tom called my mom about three times a week to check on her. They had been like best friends/siblings growing up together. They shared their love for the Baltimore Orioles and music and, of course, my dad.

As my father’s hearing reached the point that made telephone calls difficult, Uncle Tom and Mom did most of the communicating, especially during baseball season. Uncle Tom would call and complain about the Orioles or they’d relive the highlights of a victory.

Two of my own sons are Oriole fans like their grandmother and uncle. Eleven years ago, our son Jesse was growing concerned that his grandmother had not been to Camden Yards since its opening in 1992, so we made it happen.

Of course, we took Uncle Tom with us to the ballgame. This was the first up-close-and-personal experience that Jesse had with his great-uncle. It was love at first sight as Uncle Tom let Miguel Tejada have it for messing up at shortstop – standing up and booing him and telling anyone who would listen that the Orioles should get rid of him (in so many words). Since my dad was more of a fan-by-marriage, Jesse had never experienced a rabid Oriole fan of the male persuasion. It made his day.

What a fond memory that is for me – four generations at the iconic ballpark bonding over the Baltimore Orioles.

More important than his love for the Orioles, he was a prayer warrior and vocal about his walk with Jesus. I liked the way he referred to my dad as his big brother. I also can’t forget hearing him call his two sons “the beauties.” He was always part of my life whether near or far. I will miss him.

We Interrupt My Regular Blog for This FREE OFFER!

The perfect summer read

I have a short post for you today. So many of you have encouraged me along my journey of publishing my book, ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE MAGIC. So many of you have bought and read it. I’m very touched by that and very grateful.

I do know that sometimes people intend to do things and put them off, because that’s what I tend to do way too often. So, I won’t assume that all of you who would like to purchase my book have. With that in mind, today through Friday, you can download the kindle version for free. I wanted to make sure that you know so you can take advantage of this offer.

So click away right now and get it free today through Friday. Don’t wait, get it today!

When you click the link and see that it’s the Kindle version that is free and you don’t have a Kindle (you can always buy one or), don’t worry, you can download the Kindle App and read it on your tablet or computer.

Don’t forget to leave a review when you finish! And please share this post! Thanks again!

I’ll be back tomorrow with my regular posts. Until then!

 

The Royals

Royals! They are all the talk lately – from the royal wedding to royal babies. But there’s a lot more royalty out there than what you find across the pond. I have royals that I love to interact with and read about in my everyday life. Common royals – kind of an oxymoron. (more…)

Stream It! – Part II of my Book Signing Fun

Wouldn’t you, like to buy a book, from me?

It was a beautiful day for my first book signing. Bob and I were joined by our friend and Prevail Press publisher as we set up in front of the Barrel of Books and Games in Mount Dora. I wasn’t nervous, I’ve sold things before, but this time it was like I was selling myself. (You know what I mean). For years I was a Tupperware lady. That is a lot like being a stand-up comedian who specializes in food freshness. You engage people and make them laugh until they realize that, not only do they like that bowl, but they must have it. It translates – yesterday a bowl, today a book.

We barely had my books on the table when an extremely friendly woman literally ran up to us saying that I had been chosen as one of two that she was going to stream live. She was using all the right wording to make me believe that she was a sweet Christian lady and probably worked for the Chamber of Commerce. We all looked at each other in that way you do when you can’t quite believe you’ve found such good fortune.

But, soon we realized that we had indeed found something, and it was a far cry from good fortune. (more…)

Postpartum Post

My baby book is one month old now! I thought I’d give you a little update.

The gestation period was extremely difficult and terribly long and drawn out. Sometimes I wasn’t sure I would deliver a healthy book. The last few weeks before the birth were sprinkled with anxiety, and I had trouble sleeping. There was so much on my mind. Would everything go okay? How was my life going to change? Had all of the characters developed properly? (more…)

So, Now I’m Famous(er)

I am overwhelmed by the love and support I have received from you, my wonderful readers and friends. You shared my post about my new book over 20 times, and I have received an enormous amount of encouragement from you in my comments and on my Facebook feed. Thank you!

I have to say, I’m having the time of my life. This is a dream come true for me. It is made possible by my friend and writing mentor, Rob Swanson, who is the creator of Prevail Press, the micropublishing company that has walked me through the entire project to create this beautiful book (illustrated by Anna Kester). Rob has a vision to enable good writers to publish good books. He knows the challenges of traditional publishing and the time involved in that pursuit and realizes that it won’t work for everyone – actually it won’t work for most of us. I love his business plan. You can check it out here and see what is going on in these beginning stages of Prevail Press, as well as meet their other authors.

In addition to all of this, I am now a YouTube star! I know what you’re thinking – it was just a matter of time. Please check out my video explaining why I wrote the book. Filming it was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever done, but you have to give the public what they want!

https://youtu.be/NWygNFDc0BE

Thanks again and remember, just in case you haven’t ordered it already, ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE MAGIC is available through Prevail Press and on Amazon in both print and electronic versions.

Click here to order on Amazon.

 

We have Winners!

I had the hare-brained idea to get my dad’s Bunny Rabbit out of retirement to select the names of the two people who have won a copy of my book. He was so excited, he spent all afternoon at the hare dresser.

(When you read my book, ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE MAGIC, this will make more sense to you, if you can’t figure it out already.)

Bunny Rabbit was always a wild and crazy guy. He’s a little unconventional. He usually made a huge mess when he would assist my dad with his magic act. He is soft-spoken (he does have a hare lip), but his heart is in the right place.

One at a time, Bunny Rabbit!

I put all the entry names in his hat and asked Bunny Rabbit to choose one and then another. I don’t think he entirely understood me as he immediately started throwing things around. So, I adjusted my plan accordingly and decided the last two names in the hat would be my winners.

Congratulations to Melodye Jones and Kim Sutter. You are the winners! I will contact you soon about getting a book to you.

Congratulations, Kim and Melodye!

Remember, Always Look for the Magic is available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/097932517X.

 

THE BIG REVEAL

Once upon a time a woman began writing down the stories her father told about growing up in Baltimore during The Great Depression. Knowing that one day her father would not be around to share them, she wanted to make sure that they weren’t lost for her children and grandchildren. She had always been entertained by the antics that seemed to be an everyday part of his younger life, and she loved the way his eyes would twinkle when he told those stories.

As she began to write down those stories, they took on a life of their own and became a work of fiction – my work of fiction. Yep – I’m the woman!

So, here’s the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m excited to tell you that my new novel, ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE MAGIC, is now available on Amazon, both in print and digital formats!


Here’s the link where you can order it: https://www.amazon.com/dp/097932517X

This is a light-hearted book, full of warmth and laughter, that will be enjoyed by people from 8 to 88.

I hope you will click on over there and order a few dozen for yourself, your children, your grandchildren, your neighbors, and your neighbors’ children.

Also, after you read it would you kindly give me a review on Amazon? That would be so helpful. Thank you!

 

AND, THERE’S MORE! You can win a copy of this brand-new book! Here’s how to enter:

1 entry for commenting on this post.

1 entry for sharing on Facebook.

1 entry for sharing on Twitter.

(You can use the hashtag #look4themagic.)

I will do a random drawing tomorrow (Thursday, Feb 1) at noon and announce two winners. Winners must reside in the United States.

Thank you so much!