Friday, April 21, 2017

Remembering Jerry Ward

His poor old body was a shipwreck but his eyes were the eyes of a ten year old.   He was grizzled, failing eyesight, slightly stooped but inside he was still a kid. He never complained. 

Twice a week he would take the city bus from his house on the hill down to the water to the Santa Barbara Sailing Center to rent a rowing scull.  It was white with two long oars and included a rear view mirror so that he would not bump into anything. 

He loved that little boat and everyone who saw him were delighted to see him having such a fine time.  He pretty much stayed in the marina as the waters in the SB channel can get a little choppy. 

Once his little boat had been lowered and he had been assisted into the boat he would grasp the oars and set out with a rhythmic pattern feel the pressure on his legs, enjoying the easy movement over the water.  He was reminded of his boat on the river in Connecticut and as a boy he would take it out just about every day in the summer.  As he got older he built a Lightening with his dad and they sailed it on the Sound.  As a grown man he graduated into a 39-foot ketch and often sailed with his family.  He never lost his love of the water, such a soothing effect on an overworked creative mind.

His life was a metaphor for open waters, choppy and even at times chaotic but he always managed to get safely back to port.  At times he wavered into unknown waters to test his skill but returned to his dock with the knowledge that he should stick to his known routes.

He was adored at the local watering holes with his positive nature and gregarious personality.

He was a sailor at heart right up until the end.  His little boat is at dock now, filled with white rose pedals a testament to his life.  


RIP Jerry Ward 1932-2016

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter Hat Shopping

It was getting pretty close to Easter Sunday and Pandora was desperate for a new chapeau. Harriett’s Millinery Shoppe on Harrison Street had a large display of new hats and Pandora must have stood looking in the window for a half an hour before entering the store.

When she opened the door a little bell rang and Pierson Crumly, Harriet’s awkward young nephew, was on a tall ladder busy dusting the shelves and he stopped, overcome by Pandora’s beauty.

“Morning, Miss,” he said shyly.

“I’m wondering if you might let me try on the pink and white stripped hat in the window,” she said.

“Certainly, Miss, I’ll get it for you,” and he jumped off the ladder to rush to the window to retrieve the hat.

Pandora puts on the hat and admires her reflection in the mirror on the counter.  She arranged different hat angles and particularly likes it tipped forward on the left side.  She takes a side gander and seems pleased with the effect. 

“Could you please tell me the price?’ she says.

“Yes, Miss.”  He reached inside the headband and finds the price tag.  “It’s $13.50,” he says.

She looks disappointed and trying to gage the reason says” It is very becoming on you and will certainly be a prize hat a the Easter Parade.”

“I like it very much but only have $12.00 in my purse.

He tries desperately to appease her.  ‘Oh, silly me, we have a sale on today and it is only twelve dollars.”
Pandora breaks into a big grin and searches through her purse for the correct amount.

“Thank you, sir, for telling me.  I was afraid that I couldn’t afford it.”

Pierson places her hat in a big box, puts it in a shopping bag and hands it to Pandora. She turns quickly and leaves the shop.


Pierson places the $12 on the counter, reaches into his pocket and adds one dollar and 50 cents to the pile of coins, picks them all up and opens the cash register and puts the money inside and closes it. The register says: “$13.50.”

Saturday, April 8, 2017

RobertaSue Fashionista

RobertaSue is a character (who insists that her name is all one word but two capital letters) who came to me over time through daily writing prompts. My two writing buddies and I have to use the prompt in the first line, set the timer for seven minutes, then write away until the alarm goes off.  This prompt line was, "Her hats and clothes speak volumes."

Her hats and her clothes speak volumes.  I don’t know where RobertaSue gets her taste but it is as though she has never looked at a copy of Vogue, Elle, or Glamour to get some fashion ideas.  She does all her shopping in at Goodwill, Value Village and the Funky Jane’s in Fremont, and thinks she is dressed to the nines always, but I don’t want to break her illusion because she is the most entertaining sack of feathers and fabric I have ever seen on one person.

She is outrageous and I don’t want to cure her of that because she has so much fun.  She spends at least two days a week shopping for her frocks and her closet is filled with hat boxes putting Hedda Hopper to shame.

But mostly she looks like a hat rack escapee from the Daughters of the Revolution meeting hall. Her favorite outfit currently is a canary yellow-two piece serge suit, with a chartreuse collar and a huge Panama hat with blue and green Macaw feathers, looking like the beautiful bird just crashed into her head at a high rate of speed.


We were invited to a high tea at Mrs. Farnsworth’s house on Sunday and RobertaSue trying to impress this grand dame of town suited up in what she thought was her most stylist outfit.  I had to say that it certainly was a major fashion statement not to be imitated by anyone in the future.  She wore a pair of Gucci gold leather platform shoes with five-inch tall rainbow colored souls with neon pink and purple thigh highs.  She had a blue and red plaid pleated mini skirt stopped off with a white blouse and blue velvet blazer trimmed in gold braid.  Her hat was very tall and dripping with yellow and blue tulle a contender for first prize at the Royal Ascot Week.  RobertaSue thought she looked like a sophisticated English school girl but came across as a Champion Costume mannequin wantabe.  She means well and certainly brightens up a dull rainy afternoon.  Mrs. Farnsworth has impeccable English manners and didn’t bat an eye when RobertaSue walked in, or I should say tittered in, on her thick-soled shoes.  Several ladies were stifling their merriment behind gloved hands and tried not to stare.  I for one found this costumed performance a riot and had to give RobertaSue credit for having so much chutzpah and greatly livened up what would have been a prosaic gathering.