Category Archives: Childhood Traumas

The Show Must Go On, Usually

Of course I said yes, even though I had never before had any interest in going on stage.  It wasn’t every day that I was asked to participate.  Usually it was the popular kids who got to perform.  I certainly didn’t qualify.

But Liza was in charge, and Liza was my friend.  Liza was also the tallest kid in 6th grade.  I was the third smallest (Betsy and Annette were smaller, if you’re wondering).  So I was perfect for the part of George Washington’s granddaughter.  Liza, the playwright and tall person, would play General George Washington at the end of the Revolutionary War.

We were set to perform Liza’s play in front of the 4th, 5th and 6th graders on the big stage in the auditorium.  We were even allowed to open and close the stage curtains!


Google Image

My part was small, but important — General George Washington’s granddaughter, Nelly.  This is how my big scene was supposed to go.

Following a couple of battle scenes, General George/Liza appears in the living room of his granddaughter, Nelly, who is delighted to see him.  Nelly/Elyse runs up to Grandpa/Liza, and jumps up to give Grandpa a big hug, and say:

“Grandpa!”  Then I was to slowly get down, looking at how Grandpa George/Liza is dressed — in civilian clothes, and continue: “Where are your pretty soldier clothes?”

“I have put them away for good, Nelly,” Grandpa George/Liza responds.  “The War is over.”

It didn’t quite go that way during our performance, though.  Because you see, I was a little bit over excited.  So when it was time for my big scene, well …

The curtain opened…

“GRANDPA!” I screamed, and I ran at Grandpa George/Liza like a ball of fury, and I jumped!

I jumped so hard, in fact, that Grandpa George/Liza dropped me on my butt before falling on his.

You know the adage “the show must go on?  Well I’m assuming I’d never heard it.  I was quite young you see.

I couldn’t stop laughing long enough to deliver the rest of my lines.  Liza managed to choke hers out, somehow.  We were greeted with riotous applause when we did our curtain call.  I’m pretty sure that the kids in the audience liked the improvised version better than the original.

It was years before I would get up the courage to get on stage again.  And while I never again literally fell flat, I did have additional humiliating experiences, so obviously my fear was justified.


I tell this story because someone who followed me in school, and performed in my high school acting group just hit the big time.  And not with her butt.

Alison Porter, who won The Voice last night, also grew up in my hometown, Westport, Connecticut.  She is wildly talented.  And upright.


Of course I have never met her, or seen her perform in real life.  Still, it’s good to see a hometown girl make good, standing on her own two feet.





Filed under Acting, Childhood Traumas, Cool people, Growing up, Humor, keys to success, laughter, Memoir writing, Most Embarassing Moments Evah!, Oh shit, Theatre, Why the hell do I tell you these stories?

I Found My Donor!

Well, it’s been a while since I discussed the topic that is near and dear to my, ummm, heart.

Poop transplants!  — The ultimate solution to my Crohn’s disease woes.

OK, it’s nearer to my hiney, but you can’t claim you weren’t expecting that.

Earlier today I was discussing my future poop transplant with my boss.  (It’s true, I have no pride what so ever.)  She’s very interested in the idea.  She wants me healthy, of course, but really, I think she wants to see what happens from a scientific perspective.  And, frankly, I can’t blame her.  I want to know what’ll happen from a scientific point of view, too.  And from the perspective of a toilet paper consumer.

You may recall that  I’ve mentioned that you have to be very choosy when choosing a poop donor.  If the donor is fat, or depressed, or psychotic, well, the recipient can become fat, or depressed or psychotic.  I haven’t researched what happens if you choose someone immature, though.  Perhaps I should.

Anyway, the issue was on my mind tonight when I began reading the news. And I found my donor!

He is young and healthy, albeit a little younger than I was thinking of;  he’s living in Florida with his mother.  In fact, it was his mom who brought him to my attention.  Well, and to the attention of people with a deep seated interest in poop.

One day Katy Vasquez discovered that the Lord moves in mysterious ways.  And goes into mysterious places.  Because, You see, one day when she was changing his diaper, she saw this sign that things were going to get better.:


This picture was taken by my donor’s mom, Katy Vasques, and posted to Facebook and the Huffington Post (where I saw it).

It’s Holy Shit!  What more could I ask for from a donor?



Filed under 'Merica, ; Don't Make Me Feel Perky Tonigh, Advice from an Expert Patient, All The News You Need, Bat-shit crazy, Beating that Dead Horse, Being an asshole, Childhood Traumas, Chronic Disease, Conspicuous consumption, Crazy family members, Crohn's Disease, Disgustology, Dreams, Family, Gross, Health, Health and Medicine, Hey Doc?, Huh?, Humor, I Can't Get No, keys to success, laughter, Mental Health, Oh shit, Out Damn Spot!, Poop, Poop transplants, Science, Seriously funny, Seriously weird, Shit, Shit happens, Taking Care of Each Other, Useful thing to do with poop, Why the hell do I tell you these stories?, Wild Beasts, WTF?

Earth Day/Birthday Redux

You may have seen this before, but I tried to write something new about my sister Judy.  And, well, this piece really just sums up who she was better than anything I’ve come up with since.

She’s been gone now for 16 years.  Not a day has gone by since that I haven’t wanted to talk with her, laugh with her, or, alternatively because she was my sister, smack her.  There really isn’t a relationship like you have with a sister.  Even long after they are gone.


Today, April 22, is Earth Day!  It’s the  Anniversary of the very first Earth Day.  Here  is Walter Cronkite’s report on the first Earth Day, 1970:

It would also be my late sister Judy’s 64th birthday.

Whoever made the decision to turn Judy’s birthday into Earth Day chose wisely.  Judy was a born environmentalist and recycler.

On the first Earth Day, Judy was a new, very young mother who believed in saving the planet.  She was the first “environmentalist” I ever knew personally, and well, I thought she was nuts.  There was a recycling bin in her kitchen for as long as I can remember.  And this was back when recycling took effort.  She believed in gardens, not garbage, and she made life bloom wherever she was.

I’ve got kids,” she’d say.  “It’s their planet too!”  

But years later, Judy took recycling to a whole different level when she helped people recycle themselves.  In the 1990s, Jude, who was then living in Florida, began working with the Homeless, assisting at shelters.   Then she actively began trying to help homeless vets food, shelter and work — to enable them to jumpstart their lives.

When she died in early 2000, the American Legion awarded her honorary membership for her services to homeless vets.  A homeless shelter was named in her  honor.  So she’s still doing good works, my sister is.  That would make her wildly happy.

Jude also gave me the Beatles.  So it is very appropriate that they wrote a song for her.

You see, the night the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan, it was MY turn to choose what we were going to watch.  And we were going to watch the second part of The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh starring Patrick McGoohan on the Wonderful Wide World of Disney.  My four (all older and MUCH cooler) siblings were furious with me.  But I was quite insistent.  You might even say that I threw a Class I temper tantrum over it, but I wouldn’t admit to that.  But hey, I was seven.  And it was my turn to choose.  Fair is fair, especially in a big family with only one TV.

Somehow, Judy talked me out of my turn.  She was always very persuasive.  Thanks Jude.

Hey Jude, Happy Earth Day-Birthday.


Filed under 2016, ; Don't Make Me Feel Perky Tonigh, All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance, Beatles, Birthday, Childhood Traumas, Climate Change, Crazy family members, Family, Global Warming, Good Deed Doers, Growing up, Health, Heortophobia, Hey Jude, Holidays, Humor, It's not easy being green, Judy, laughter, Love, Missing Folks, Music, Peace, Plagarizing myself, Sisters, Stupidity, Taking Care of Each Other, The Beatles, The Blues

I Really Don’t Look for this Shit

Yeah, I know you don’t believe me. But I don’t go looking for this shit.  Really.

It’s just that, well, I spend a lot of time reading the news.  Because after all, you depend on me to let you know which way is up.  Or which way is down.  Or maybe just getting flush with it.

Because you see, a new museum has opened up, and we all need to get our asses over there.  — Mark, are you paying attention????

National Poo Museum opens doors on Isle of Wight

Just in time for you to plan your summer vacation! Can you imagine a better reward for your children, who suffered through the British Museum, the Tower of London and Madam Tussaud’s,  than the prize at the end of the tunnel than the National Poo Mueum?  The National Poo Museum, you will not be surprised to learn, is a museum dedicated to excrement, with examples from the animal and human world.

And it’s just opened up!

There are 20 kinds of poo captured in resin — who needs to bury or flush?

Poo Museum 1BBC Photo.  Because who else would claim this picture?

Because I couldn’t possibly make this up, I will just let you know exactly what they are producing at this museum:

The exhibition at the Isle of Wight Zoo features faeces from animals such as elks and lions as well as a human baby.

The National Poo Museum has been created by members of the artist collective Eccleston George.

“Poo is all around us and inside us, but we ignore it,” said co-curator Daniel Roberts.

Twenty illuminated resin spheres show off the different types of faeces with facts hidden behind toilet lids on the museum walls.

Poo Museum 2

They have handsome men offering fun activities.  Look!  Weigh your poo!  (But I promise you, this is a contest I would win.)

There is old poo and new poo.  Dino poo.  Seriously, if you have ever dreamed of dinosaur poo, this is your golden opportunity to see it.  Well, it’s probably more like black gold (Texas tea).

And I truly believe that what they say about poop is true:

“Small children naturally delight in it but later we learn to avoid this yucky, disease-carrying stuff, and that even talking about poo is bad,” he said.

“But for most of us, under the layers of disgust and taboo, we’re still fascinated by it.”

This is why I blog.




Filed under Advice from an Expert Patient, All The News You Need, Bat-shit crazy, Childhood Traumas, Disgustology, DON'T go back to your day job either, Farts, GOP, Huh?, Humor, I Can't Get No, Oh shit, Poop, Seriously funny, Seriously weird, Shit, Shit happens, Toilets, Useful thing to do with poop, Why the hell do I tell you these stories?, Wild Beasts, WTF?

Psst! Need a Christmas Tree?

Since I was a tomboy/ragamuffin hybrid as a kid, nobody called me “Princess.” And the one time I tried to be a princess – the time when I was 4 and dressed up as a princess for Halloween and fell on my face in a Queen-size mud puddle – that pretty much cured me of any princess fantasies I might have had.

But there was one time, one time, when I really did feel like a princess. I felt that like a princess because I stood in an actual ballroom.  That’s where princesses hang out, isn’t it?

I looked around the room in wonder.  It was, of course, huge.  I easily imagined hundreds of beautifully dressed dancers waltzing around the floor. There were floor-to-two-story-high-ceiling windows all along the back of the room, covered in Scarlett O’Hara’s curtains. Thick, heavy green velvet drapes with gold brocade tassels holding them back. And through them, I could see to the sea. Long Island Sound.

I had forgotten my cell phone that day in 1965, so I had to use Google Images. Tthanks, Google!

This isn’t the actual room, although there are similarities.   You see, I had forgotten my cell phone that day in 1965, and couldn’t snap a picture.  I had to use Google Images. Thanks, Google!

A balcony surrounded the ballroom on three sides, and it too rose way up. The floor is what I remember most clearly, though: Black and white marble, a massive checkerboard, without a single scuff mark in the entire room.

As was true of all of my childhood adventures (or since it was a princess-thing, perhaps I should call it a fantasy), this one came to me courtesy of my brother, Fred.

You see, Mr. Richardson, the wealthiest amongst our very wealthy neighbors, had invited us to his house. And we were to use the front door! Because we — me and Fred (and our sister Beth) — were heroes.  Heroes always use the front door.

Wanna know what happened?

Well, one hot summer day, Beth and I were out in the backyard, when Fred came racing in from the outer limits of our yard, near “the fields.“ The fields was a tract of land owned by Mr. Richardson, located behind our yard.  It stretched for several hundred acres. Part of it was meadow, but part of it was made up of small, neatly spaced and impeccably trimmed pine trees.

The Fields Behind My House. I think. Google Image. So really, it could be anywhere.

The Fields Behind My House. I think. Google Image. So really, it could be anywhere.

“Tax haven,” my Dad said, rolling his eyes, when he realized what Mr. R was planting.  “A Christmas tree farm.”

Well, yeah. Probably. Whatever.

But Mr. R believed in investing in land, and he bought anything he could. (He was away when our house went up for sale, or according to my Dad, my childhood would have been spent elsewhere.  I will always be thankful for that trip of Mr. R’s.)

Anyway, Fred came running in from the fields, shouting “FIRE!” “THERE’S A FIRE IN THE FIELDS!!”

Beth and I didn’t ask any questions, but apparently we rushed into the house, called the fire department, grabbed brooms and blankets and rushed out to where Fred had seen the fire. That’s where the fire department found us. We had contained the fire, and there was very little damage. Without our intervention, well, who knows what might have happened.

So back to the Ballroom.

Mr. Richardson had invited us over to thank us. And he gave us a gift!

“I want to thank you for putting out the fire in my fields.  You were very brave, and I am very proud of you both.  And as a reward, from now on, for as long as you and your family live in that house,” Mr. R said, “You and your family may take any Christmas tree you want from my field.”*


Before becoming heroes, we had managed to get our Christmas trees for the $2 that Dad bartered with with for as long as we all could remember.  But our heroism took us to the upper crust of Christmas trees.  Because from that year on my family did, indeed, get our Christmas trees from Mr. R’s field.  We chose the biggest and nicest of them all, cut it down, and dragged it home.

But (and you know there’s always a “but” or a “butt” in my stories), it wasn’t strictly Kosher.

You see, not a whole lot of years later, in 1972, Mr. Richardson died. He willed the land to the Audubon Society, and ever since then, the Audubon Society has been selling those very Christmas trees. No mention was made, apparently, in Mr. R’s Last Will and Testament, for heroes who got free Christmas trees. No mention at all.  Naturally that didn’t stop us. But we also didn’t mention our prior claim to the Audubon Society.

And there was another issue.

If you guessed that my brother, accidentally started the fire, well, I will simply remind you that the Statute of Limitations is 7 years.  We’re way past that.  The Statute of Limitations is still 7 years on Christmas tree theft, isn’t it?

* I think there might have been other rewards; at least I hope so. Because I’ve always thought of Mr. R as a really nice guy. After all, he let me be a princess that one time, and, honestly, it was pretty cool even if I was more Cinderella than Snow White.  So I don’t want to think he was a skinflint who just gave us kids, who wouldn’t be paying for them anyway, free Christmas trees, for saving them.  Then again, it was the 60s.  Everybody didn’t get a trophy.


Filed under Awards, Bat-shit crazy, Childhood Traumas, Christmas Stories, Conspicuous consumption, Crazy family members, Criminal Activity, Dad, Mom would die of embarrassment, Not stealing, Reluctant thief, Stealing

You Can Shake On It!

It was a month ago, and I can still feel Tracy’s hand against mine. Actually I can still feel her limp fingers brushing up against the tips of mine in the creepiest handshake ever. Ewwwww.

*     *     *

I didn’t do it to be a jerk, although I absolutely was. I just thought it was funny.

You see, I had a neighbor when I was growing up who gave me the secret to success.  Repeatedly.  Captain Leavitt would explain to me, again and again, the proper way to shake hands.

“Leasie!” he’d say. “You gotta understand this!  It’s the key to success. You’ve got to know how to shake hands properly if you want to make something of yourself.”

Captain Levitt * actually knew what he was talking about. Because he had gone from being a poor kid in Brooklyn – a high school dropout – into the owner of a posh string of shops (Custom Shop Shirtmakers) that sold, well, custom made shirts. By the time I knew him in the 1960s and early 70s, he was a millionaire several times over. He lived in New York City, but he had a weekend house down the road from mine.

He never failed to stop when he saw me to teach me the secret of success.

And I never failed to do it wrong, each and every time.

“Leasie!” he’d say, in his thick Brooklyn accent. “No, no, no!  You’re not doing it right!”

Google Image. What a smile he had!

Google Image.
What a smile he had!

He must have thought I was a moron. I’m sure he recalled the 4,396 times he’d already taught me just how to shake hands.

“You need to pay attention, Leasie!” he’d say, reaching his hand out to shake mine.

Of course I’d do it wrong.  Just so he could show me again.

“Now reach your whole hand towards mine – put the webbed part between your thumb and pointer right up against the webbed bit of mine. Wrap your fingers around mine and grasp it firmly – firmly but not too hard. Then shake it twice — three times is OK. Four times? That’s too many.”

Each time, I was a good student. By the time he walked or drove away, I was shaking his hand properly.

The next time? I’d screw it up again, just so he’d teach me again. I’m pretty sure that he thought I would likely need a lot more than a firm handshake to become successful. But Captain Levitt did what he could for me.

*     *     *

Now back to Tracy.

John and I are looking to replace my car, so I went into a car dealer one Sunday afternoon, sans husband. It’ll be my car, so I want to figure out what car I like before John insists I buy something else. So there I was, by myself in the car dealer. s

As I sat in a car that was conveniently $10K over budget, a voice came from nowhere.

“hello” it whispered.

A woman’s voice. It seemed to have no body attached to it. When I eventually saw the body that went with the disembodied voice, I quickly figured out the problem. She was hiding in my blind spot.

“I’m Elyse,” I said, reaching out to shake her hand.

“I’m Tracy,” she said in a whiny, barely audible voice.  And she grabbed the very bottoms of my fingers in her cold hand and massaged them.  Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Tracy tapped into my inner Captain Levitt. I forgot about the car, and could think of nothing except how to pass on Captain Levitt’s lesson to Tracy.  After a good handwashing, that is.

But that’s harder to give words of wisdom than you’d think, you know. Tracy is an adult! And you can’t just go around teaching adults things, you know. They don’t appreciate it.

Besides, I didn’t like Tracy. At all. The fact that she had previously been a disembodied voice AND that she shook hands like a limp lobster was only part of it. She was really creepy, like that person in the horror movie who nobody notices until she picks up the axe.

More importantly, she wasn’t helpful at all.

What on earth was she doing selling cars? It was like the car dealership version of a reality show where the contestants are assessed for the job they would be worst at. And somehow, I was written into the pilot.

Tracy couldn’t answer any of my questions about the car. She didn’t care about cars, in fact. I’m not even sure if she had driven one ever before. She explained to me that she was really a fashion designer.

“Well, you’ll look great when you get on Top Gear!” I said to her, the only nice fashion/car thing I could think to say.

“What’s Top Gear?” she asked.


So Tracy came with me on the test drive of one car she didn’t know the first thing about.

While she went to get the keys to a second car I wanted to drive, I decided. I had to do it.  Yes, I steeled myself to teach Tracy how to shake hands properly. I was pretty sure that some day, her next meal might just depend on it.  The entire future of this pathetic woman might actually depend on ME.  I couldn’t stand the pressure.

Because as Captain Levitt told me many, many times, “The key to success is in a good, firm handshake.”

I waited for Tracy to come back, trying to figure out just how to break the news to her. That her wimpy handshake was a problem in sales. In other jobs.  Hell, a shitty handshake was a problem in life itself.

So I decided to tell her about Captain Levitt, the rags to riches story of a very successful man.  And to teach her what he had taught me so many times before.

In fact, in the 30 minutes I waited for her to bring the keys to the second car I wanted to drive, I had it all figured out.

At least I did until Tracy blew me off in favor of another customer.  Yup.  The bitch walked by me with a young couple who wanted to test drive the car I was looking at. She looked up at me and waved as she got into the back of the car. WITH THEM.

So Tracy will never learn that the key to success is in a good firm handshake.

Oh, and not being an asshole. That’s on the top ten keys to success, too.


Filed under Adult Traumas, Bat-shit crazy, Being an asshole, Childhood Traumas, Growing up, keys to success, Shake, Wimpy handshakes

Other Useful Technologies

One of my favorite things about blogging, is that often, my bloggin’ buddies often give me the opportunity to tell stories that I don’t have the opportunity to tell.

Like this one.

Now you know that I had a wonderful childhood. As the youngest of five, somehow, I never felt unwanted, no matter what was going on. Except once.*

As I entered the kitchen, I noticed that my mom and two sisters, Beth and Judy, were sitting at the kitchen table, discussing anatomy.  Female anatomy to be precise..  They were discussing “holes.”  Their holes.

This might be a good time for guys to switch to another blog.

Yes, Mom, Beth and Judy were sitting at the kitchen table talking about their holes. Both of their holes.  The TWO holes in their nether regions.

I was 7 years old, and very confused.

“But …” I started saying …

They didn’t want to listen.  They continued talking, ignoring me.

Panic started to rise in me.

“But … but … listen  to me!!!” I finally practically shouted.

They all turned to me and Beth said, “OK, Lease.  What do you want to say.”

I looked around the table and said softly, in fear:

I have three holes!  There’s the one I pee through, the one I poop through, and one in the middle that doesn’t do anything.  Don’t you guys have three?”  Panic was building in me as I realized that the three of them just continued to looked at me.  Judy rolled her eyes.  She smirked.

“Nope.  You’re just weird, Lease,” said Judy.

They all looked at me, blankly, until finally I left, taking my incomprehensible extra hole with me.  And let me tell you that I was baffled about that opening for years.

For more than 50 years, I’ve wondered what that conversation was actually about. Over the years, I asked many times, but since the incident didn’t scar any of them for life, so they’d long since forgotten.

Now what does this story have to do with blogging and blogging buddies?

Well only yesterday my buddy Alice, of Coffee and a Blank Page commented on my blog piece, Tush Technologies  and linked to an article more or less on this subject. Well, on the subject of vaginas, anyhow.  Weird technological things about hoo-hahs to be exact.

‘Smart’ menstrual cup sends texts about your flow

Now I didn’t know that there was such a thing as a “menstrual cup” either.  Apparently I haven’t changed much since I was 7.  These new (to the extent anything used for Eve’s Curse can be considered “new”), more environmentally friendly collection devices.  You can shove a cup into your box at the requisite time and, well, fill er up!

But according to the article that Alice sent me, there were draw backs with the cups.  I’m sure you saw the problem leaking through, didn’t you.

Well, there was a problem Until Now.  Because there is now smart, ummm, cootch, technology to keep that cup from runneth-ing over. 

If I’m reading the article right, it will tell your smart phone when you need to, umm, dump.

Ain’t technology grand?

I don’t know exactly why, but this article made me think of something from another  bloggin’ buddy, Father Kaine of The Last of the Milleniums.


* OK, I will admit I didn’t feel completely welcome that time when I was pushing into my newly married sister Beth’s bedroom when she’d pulled the bookcase in front of the door, either.


Filed under Adult Traumas, Advice from an Expert Patient, All The News You Need, Awards, Bat-shit crazy, Bloggin' Buddies, Childhood Traumas, Conspicuous consumption, Disgustology, Family, Health, Health and Medicine, History, Huh?, Humiliation, Humor, I Can't Get No, laughter, Mom would die of embarrassment, Most Embarassing Moments Evah!, Oh shit, Out Damn Spot!, Science, Seriously funny, Shit, Shit happens, Sisters, Stupidity, Toilets, Why the hell do I tell you these stories?, WTF?