Category Archives: nostalgia

personal history; parents/grandparents; family and personal relationships

Happy Anniversary.

August 14.

It’s always somebody’s birthday.

And, I think I often forget that.

Today was also the wedding anniversary of R.A. and Paul. Paul was a really fun traveling companion, full of energy and optimistic anticipation. Loved birds, and trails, and fishing and hunting. Took this body all the way up Mt Washington, on foot, in spite of itself. Always eager to face a new day.

Poor thing got stuck married to the wrong woman. Yeah. It happens. People do things, especially when they crack 35 years old. He played the oboe like a pro, with no college degree in music; but, that still never meant that he should be with me.

So, this would have been our 25th anniversary. Maybe there would have been a couple kids. Hopefully, not unhappy, neurotic kids, but there might have been one or two. And, maybe we would have finally gone to Montreal, today, like we should have on our honeymoon. But, life has moved along and Montreal, last I checked, was still intact.

People say single women should just travel alone. There’s a whole world still waiting to be experienced from that singular point of view. And, according to a couple I know who have already been around the globe, there’s a cruise line they take that always has at least one of us on board. To the pure, all things are pure; not my place to question why.

Sigh. Maybe it’s time to plan a sea faring wardrobe. Today could be a really sad day. But, given the number of people who think I have it made, might be time to prove that to them. Or, to myself.

Happy Anniversary. Happy Birthday. Happy Day.





© Ruth Ann Scanzillo  8/14/16   All rights those of the [single, female] author, whose story it is, and whose name appears above this line. Thank you for your deference.


One Dry Sabbath.


Well, goodness.

How were we to know that being panned for an entire Saturday in late summer would render this self – involved blogger intensely concerned that she had offended, what, an entire following collective with just one, indirect reference to a specific national heritage*?

Having toyed with taking a more brazen stance, I’d opted instead for a sort of meandering through device and subtlety, just seeing where one word would direct the next. My intentions were almost too much, even for me to face; addressing the whole thing under veil of inference was somehow safer.

So much for safe. Haven’t we been preoccupied by safe, for the better part of the last fifteen years?

I mean, I could have done the simple thing. I could have said that I’d seen a boy again whom I’d adored from a distance at a tender phase of life, a boy who, in genuine appreciation for my having jumped to the Coda precisely when he did, went the extra step and had a bouquet of flowers delivered to his accompanist’s door.

But, that would have been just too naked.

I couldn’t expose a man who’d attended an Ivy league school, been married for years, sired three sons, established a successful professional practice, and then returned home to say goodbye to his father. Rather, waxing on and off and on again about his character, and how it was sourced, with bits about how much I honored him for everything his gesture represented at a time when I couldn’t have known how pivotal such an act would be to me in my own life? That seemed almost worthy.

So, yeah.

I saw a boy again. And, it was nice. And, I wanted it to mean something. But, of course, it could only mean what it was. Just a nice little chat, at his father’s wake. Not some treatise on the comparative theological value of Judaism. Not the apologist’s view of the Jewish character from a Gentile-based mentality. No study of social construct; no mask for ulterior motivation. Just a little visit, with the boy who played Sabre Dance on the xylophone in 1974.

Call me some kind of bigot; I really have no defense. I do not know the meaning of “Anti-Semitism.” If you think you do, then by all means, judge me and cast me off.

Otherwise, have a nice, dry Sabbath evening.




*Twelve Pink Carnations.


© Ruth Ann Scanzillo  8/6/16  All rights those of the Gentile girl who wrote the piece, whose story it is, and whose name appears above this line.  Thank you for your mercy.



It takes a lot for royalty to comprehend the common man; what ordinary people take for granted is actually uncommon to them.
Such are the musings of the barber’s daughter this humid evening at the peak of summer on the Great Lake of Erie, as she watches the last private cello student walk out the door after completing the week’s lesson. Time for some uncommon entertainment.

Donning her hot pink pullover, red yoga pants, Rocket Dog flats, and widebrimmed straw hat, she drives down Liberty Street, across 12th, and right on Cranberry toward the “8 Great Tuesdays” free open concert at the Bayfront Amphitheater, just at the water’s edge.

Her friend Mike Miller on tap, with a pick up band gathered by Erie’s own Eric Brewer to include local wunderkind Hayes Moses, song stylist Brittany Morton from The Groove, vocalizing violinist Abby Badach, cover troubadour Angelo Phillips, Taylor Herbstritt (vocalist, and her former student) the show is a tribute, to the majestic musical entertainers who have passed in 2016. Prince. Bowie. Glen Frey. Natalie Cole…

She’s promised Mike. He used to be married to the eldest sister of her two cousins’ husbands, who were brothers. Ahh, Erie.

So, she gets to the parking, and it’s an hour in, and Mattie B and the Dirty Pickles are wailing Elvis’ Hound Dog, and every lot is full all the way to the edge of the two yacht clubs. Three thousand people, plus. The attendant, a teamster on a golf cart, tells her all she’s got is the Blasco library lot, where the shuttle will haul loads back to the venue.

Not one to leave a car miles away, and determined to listen from the comfort of her front seat, she stops to let a trough of imminent attendees pass, peering at the skinny old guy manning the “Boat Pass Parking Only” lot. She takes one more look at him, thanks her better graces, and keeps driving.

And, driving.
All the way out of the parking lot, and down the Bayfront to the Cranberry boulevard. Yep. In typical fashion, almost ready to bail; it has taken all she’s had to make this appearance, already her mind churning out what she’ll tell Mike later.

Then, she spies it.
A circle around.
A narrow, wending, disappearing way.
Something flips a switch. July 4th, from about three years ago?
Following the way, and her memory, she ends up at Plum, turns left, and there it is: Cascade Creek overlook, on Front Street. The sweet spot. A whole curbside, empty of cars; a grassy bank; three people, on a bench and wheelchair, respectively.

And, the music. Clear as a canyon. Every note. Every word.

Rolling all the windows down, she nestles in for an hour of nostalgia and solitude, the cross breeze just enough to keep the pink hot and the hat on.

Unaccustomed to merely sitting, she makes a list of clothes to wash. Loose fitting pullovers to hide her belly, and sleeveless for sweltering heat, and the new capri jeans with the control panel.

The Dirty Pickles finish with Johnny B Good and local newscaster Mike Shoop, whom everyone else calls Lou, leads the water balloon toss. And then, the headliners are up.

She gets out of the car. The red yoga pants have sprung a run up the center back.

The pink pullover gets a solid yank.

 Sitting carefully on a slab of concrete bench, she keeps her eyes downcast as an elderly black couple walk slowly past toward a nearby bench.

A male voice that must be Hayes Moses’ cuts across the valley; then, Brittany counters with her smoothe contralto.

She turns toward the couple, seated on their bench.
Do they think they hear Hayes Moses? And, isn’t he a multi-talented boy?

Then, unmistakeably, it’s Mike Miller. He sings a spot on rendition of Glen Frey’s “Peaceful Easy Feelin'”. But, this is the last song she will name of the evening.

Thirty two minutes later, she has heard the entire history of the tenure of Erie Mayor Louis J. Tullio. Knows all about the incinerator fire and the endless dumptruck trips over some nine weeks to the mudpit landfill. Finds out why it is that Lou Tullio is the only mayor in the city’s history to be voted in by an overwhelming majority for 27 solid years. She knows all this, because she has heard it straight from the horse’s mouth: Douglas Watson, Deputy Mayor of the City of Erie, PA.


Resting on a bench with his wife, high school sweetheart Evelyn Stewart Watson, and their white toy poodle.

Mike’s set ends. The sun, deep orange red, touches the horizon.

The only name she doesn’t get, dropped or otherwise, is the poodle’s. Strangely, she hardly notices. It has been the greatest Tuesday in her memory. She has heard the story of kings.




© Ruth Ann Scanzillo  7/5/16   All rights those of the author, whose story it is, and whose name appears above this line. Thank you for your respect.