Friday, November 4, 2011


AFTER ALL THAT DRAMA, what does one write about next that's likely to hold your interest? I'm open to guidance from you as to what subjects would be likely to pique your curiosity. Our world has shrunk yet again and as it gets smaller, the day to day reports become more humdrum. One needs to become cleverer in the quest to command an audience. 'Tis possible, but tricky.

I'm snuggled into my oversized bathrobe, it's raining outside and today we've gone through my accumulation of Once Upon a Time memorabilia ...... old ads, including the ones we first did individually by hand, when my mailing list was small. Photographs, every monthly newsletter, for which Christopher did the artwork and I did the writing. He always came up with a seasonal border and not until the mailing piece had gone to press would I discover the pregnant girl standing in line to board the school bus on the September edition or the human heart, complete with valves in the Valentine's Day issue, hidden in the margin of hearts. Letters from authors, yellowed newspaper articles, notes and articles for a workshop I gave on the importance and joys of letter writing. So many memories and the agonizing decision to throw it all away. 36 years of a splendid, self-satisfying career, the record of which went into the trash chute today. Happily, there were customers who enjoyed my chosen profession too, but it would be dishonest to say that I did it for the good of mankind, when it was pure and simple self-fulfillment. How fortunate that other people benefitted, too, and that our own interest helped to forge a love for books and the written word in others. Among our customers were adults who discovered the joys of reading as their children's love of literature flourished.

I don't know why it seemed so devastating to get rid of all tangible trace of that experience, but some tears were shed in the process. The person in charge of Once Upon a Time now has a lot more business sense than I did which allows the business to continue; even so, it's a challenge and Maureen is largely responsible for the forty-fifth anniversary the shop recently celebrated, no mean feat in this day and age.

Now comes the tricky part of this blog. It may be a test of your comprehension, so pay attention. You'll need to read the rest of this and then go back to the notification email and play the sound file to get the whole story.

In our apartment there are two speakers over which are broadcast announcements and reminders of events about to take place. Imagine our surprise to hear this in the midst of our Once Upon a Time purging: (Because a sound file can't be imported to this blog, you'll now need to go back to the email notification and play the sound file there. Best I could do!)

"It is the ability to take a joke, not make one, that proves you have a sense of humor."  ~Max Eastman


  1. Great ! A Non Y Mouse

  2. You've been faking inside that bathrobe (was it made for King King?)
    You have snapped a long way back, lady.

  3. How did it go in the Friendship Lounge? (Sounds like a cruise ship!)

    Oh, Jane, I think many of us would have taken your artful/historical memorabilia. OUAT was a historical treasure that held great personal memories for so many! I know there comes a time to winnow....but it takes a large emotional toll and one must be self-protective in the process!

    Says LisaAnonymous

  4. Sweet! And how did it go?

  5. Really.... before you toss anything else...ask your friends. My first instinct was thinking i could drive to Glendale quick and save the lot. Alas, you did make a decision and i know it was hard for you. As i have worked at Gentle Transitions, I have come to know that saving papers and good times i had in brochures and such, will not likely be wanted by the next generation. I do not have kids, so where will my stuff go? As you have done, it is to be looked through and tossed. We here in cyber land love pictures. Did you have any other records of the newsletters???/ Oh Jane....I am proud to see you removing your life of stuff and i have no doubt you will find things in your midst to write and share about.

  6. oh no... I could have been there at 2pm instead of looking for this years xmas sweater at a thrift store. It is cute as it has ice skaters all over it, but i would have loved to be there to hear you!!

  7. The practical joke was that Chris made the recording but it didn't broadcast throughout the Manor. Just to us I'm hardly fit to go out and meet the public yet. Maybe next week I'll go downstairs to meals.

  8. This is really sophisticated use of media, Jane. From now on, don't expect your I'm-all-thumbs persona to hold water.

  9. Susan H writes: OMG it was/is hysterical. The recording sounds exactly like the announcements they make throughout the day at various times. I still startle when I hear a strange voice in the room. It was so realistic and so not anything my mother would do....I am not one to judge looks and think my mother is beautiful but I did say to her, "Please let me do a little something with the back of your hair befor you venture out". The thought of her doing a "book talk" like event regarding her current issue in the 'Friendship Lounge' in bathrobe with bed hair is both funny and horrifiying. I will miss Chris' humor when he leaves tomorrow but Tim is just as funny. Life goes on................

  10. I will have to check that out. Incidentally, you look good in the color of that robe, Jane! I bet it makes your eyes beautiful, too. You've done an amazing job on your blog, documenting life. I hope you're feeling ok. I can certainly see why you'd be sad getting rid of all the bookstore ephemera, but trust me, I'm sure many remember you and that place with great fondness. Hell, I do, and I never even visited it! I feel like I've known it, though, through all your stories of the place. It will live on through peoples' memories, including my own.

  11. Wow! Up and dressed and on a speaking tour already! You go girl.

  12. Hi Jane, Bob and Family,

    I have to tell you that I think about you when I go to bed, wake up in the morning and then again throughout the day.

    This morning you BOTH hit me right in the face.

    On the news today we learned of the passing of Andy Rooney. I simply LOVED that man.

    They showed clips from his final broadcast, which was only two weeks before his surgery. His words so reminded me of you, Jane.

    I think you could be riding in a car on very winding roads with your head hung out of a window being car sick and yes, you'd still write. It is in your blood, as it was in Andy Rooney's blood.

    He told us "I will always be a writer"....and for those of us who know you, will you.

    When radio minister, Harold Camping predicted the end of the world on not only May 21 of this year, but then again on October 21 and if it had come'd have been there writing about it to "quickly" post to us all about it before it happened. : )

    You will always be a writer, Jane. Just like Andy Rooney.

    As I watched the news reports this morning, it was as if I had Mr. Bob right in my great room as I watched TV. He has ALWAYS reminded me of Andy Rooney.

    So you see..I just can't get you two off of my mind.

    I love you guys...more than you'll ever know.
    God Bless you both and your wonderful children as well.

  13. Really happy to hear from you after your surgery. Glad you have had so much family support, That is such a special blessing . You are brave to have your pictures taken in the hospital. I didn't have that experience. I did appreciate my family and friends. Sorry you have had to go through this. Wishing you Gods ' healing blessings Gloria&George

  14. I just can’t make it at 2 PM since it’s so far away -- but it
    sounds like fun (well maybe not exactly “fun,” but certainly a nice
    event). Thanks for sending the wonderful autumn leaf pictures. Michael and I have
    lived both in Connecticut and in Virginia and really miss the fall color.
    We’re in such a drought now in New Mexico that the leaves didn’t
    turn color, they just dropped. So I loved
    seeing the photos you sent.

    Your purple robe is a big improvement over the white one and you
    look much too vibrant to have just had surgery. My mother had
    a mastectomy and lived 30 years afterwards (and they didn’t
    even have that much chemo and radiation then) so I know it
    can be very survivable. Glad your kids are there with you --
    they sounds like splendid people, but of course look who their
    mother is.

    All the best, Nancy Foster

  15. How incredibly clever of Chris. You look good and you look healthy in the picture you shared. Hope you're feeling better with each and every new day.


  16. And I missed your talk!

    Actually, my bigger sadness is that I wasn't near the trash can that received your memorabilia, Jane. Gosh.

    I treasure my reading children in silhouette from your Once Upon a Time, the Once Upon a Time Sign from the back of the store, and my lanterns from your salons. At your big everything-must-go sale from your home, Bob helped locate the other of the two readers, or I would have only the one.

    And I still rue the fact that the screen door needed to go to Maureen. Sigh. I wanted it so very much and do yet.

    Love and endurance to you and Bob,


  17. Purple suits you my dear! I as many before me have said this morning loved OUAT and still do. But I credit you and your perfect book selections for making my children love to read. Thank you Jane, you are blessed with the gift of writing and we all are so lucky that you share that gift with us and we get a visit from you now everyday. Thank you so much for Manorisms, I would not miss a single one.
    Be well! Love, Susan

  18. Hi, Jane:

    You asked what your readers might like to have you write about, so --

    You’ve probably written at great length about this but it’s always
    interesting to hear someone else’s take on growing old with
    all its attendant changes. My situation is strange,
    since I am married to a much younger (20 years younger) man.
    In some ways that keeps me young (that and the fact that I’m
    still working — freelancers don’t have to retire, altho’ retirement sounds
    attractive sometimes when I’m pulling an allnighter on deadline) -- but
    in other ways our age difference can be troubling: my husband (who is
    a wonderful person) can get annoyed if I move too slowly or forget things or
    feel (and act) less confident or empowered in certain situations than I used to.

    Although our cyber world does help.

    There’s a wonderful New Yorker cartoon (you probably know it) that shows two
    dogs at a computer. One says to the other, “on the internet,
    nobody knows you’re a dog.” I feel that way sometimes:
    “on the internet, nobody knows you’re 77.”
    But unfortunately that isn’t always true...when I apply for a freelance job
    online, I’m often checked out on one of those tattle-tale websites
    where my birth date (1/15/34) is revealed. Damn — and I thought
    age-ism was illegal!

    I’m glad I’m still alive and I have an excellent life but I do wonder
    how other people my age are coping with being my age.

    Best regards, Nancy Foster