Thursday, 19 October 2017

 

 "The Road Back to Hell"

 This is the bittersweet story of growing up in an extremely dysfunctional home in the 1950's and 1960's. As the oldest child of my biological mother, Bonnie, and my adoptive father, Stew, I was the only daughter who benefited from the strong love my parents shared during the early years of their marriage. Shortly after the birth of my first sibling, Judy, their marriage started to crumble.  

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Thursday, 03 August 2017 18:16

What a Fabulous Week it Was!

As I mentioned last week in my blog, a group of my West Side Friends joined me at my lake house rental for an evening of laughter, love and reminiscing! We get together every year when I am in Fluvanna, but this year we had two more friends join us―Mary from Florida and Cherrie from Georgia. They each made the night even more enjoyable. We sat on the porch overlooking the lake, eating, drinking and talking until the sun went down. At that point, we went into the living room where our jovial stories continued.

When we realized we were getting low on wine, JoAnne called her husband, John and asked him to please bring more. He did. In fact, he joined the party and took photos of all of us. Not long after he arrived, there was a knock on my door. When I opened it, there stood a local police officer brandishing a long, black flashlight. He explained he was looking for some young adults who were reportedly running through the neighborhood making noise and asked if I had seen them.

 I laughed and said, "There's a group of loud, 'old' teenagers sitting in my living room celebrating our upcoming 50th Class Reunion but none of us has the ambition to run through the yards. I hope we're not disturbing anyone." He smiled and assured me the complaint was not about us, it was in reference to young kids running through some private properties. He instructed me to call him if I spotted any of them.  After my friends departed about 1:00 am (extremely late for us), I heard some music and loud laughter coming from the house next store. I sighed with relief when I realized they were the culprits of all of the noise.

One of my closest friends, Leslie Hauck Palmer and her daughter, Lindsay arrived at my place on Friday afternoon.  I had not seen Leslie since our 20th Class Reunion in 1987 and I was overcome with emotion when she pulled into my driveway. After a long embrace and many tears, we all went into the house where we spent the rest of the afternoon 'catching up'. At one point her daughter Lindsay said, "You two amaze me. You picked up your conversation as if you had just seen each other yesterday."  I guess this is what it means to be 'Best Friends Forever'. 

In 1965, when I agreed to return to my home in Jamestown rather than stay at the home for unwed mothers in Buffalo, I made my mother promise she would not tell want anyone I was back in town.  Imagine my surprise when one day, Leslie showed up at my door! To this day, I do not know how she found out I was home, but I am eternally grateful she did. She proved to be a very loyal friend who stood by me through thick and through thin. During her recent visit, we laughed about the times I would hide in the back seat of my grandfathers' car when he drove me to her house for a visit. On one occasion, I disguised myself by dressing in her Dad's oversized clothes, in order to be 'incognito' when we walked to a small convenience store to buy some snacks.

Leslie's parents supported me from the moment they learned I was pregnant. I was truly blessed to have these two people behind me. While we were discussing those days from our past, I asked Leslie how her parents had allowed her to spend the night with me when they knew we were often at my house 'unsupervised'.  She chuckled and said, "They trusted my judgment and understood that it didn't matter if your Mom was home or not, because you were the mother."

On Saturday, I drove Leslie and Lindsay through Jamestown while we reminisced about the past. Leslie enjoyed showing her daughter where she had lived in her teens. We drove past the high school, past the former Crescent Tool building where her father was vice-president, past Lincoln Junior High and up and down the streets on the west side of town viewing the homes where many of our friends had lived. We ended our tour in Lakewood where we stood looking at the beach and remembering the many hours we had spend there during the summers. The beach was closed that day due to an algae problem that has consumed so much of Chautauqua Lake. The years have definitely taken their toll on much of our hometown.

Then we returned to the lake house to get ready for our 50th Class Reunion. Since I have absolutely no knack when it comes to fixing my hair, Leslie offered to do it.  It seemed as if we were preparing for the prom as she carefully applied the curling iron to my tresses, turning my hair into a masterpiece. When we were both dressed, Lindsay took our photo. I love this picture because it reminds me of the many great times we have shared in the past, while offering a positive picture of our renewed friendship as we head into the future.

With over 250 people attending our reunion, we were able to connect with many great friends from our youth. Under the direction of my friend, Lorrie Bush, the event was fabulous! I enjoyed every minute of it and I am looking forward to my stay at the lake next year, when I hope to entertain my high-school friends once again.

Because I am truly blessed to have so many true friends in my life, I'm closing with this quote, which best expresses my feelings about each of them―

"A true friend is not measured by how often you see them, but how much they see who you really are; someone who is willing to stand up for you when life tries to pull you down and who loves you without questions."    Anna Taylor

1 comment

  • Comment Link Kay Drscup Thursday, 03 August 2017 19:55 posted by Kay Drscup

    Diana, I absolutely love this!! Glad we got to talk for the few minutes we did!! Keep up the good work!!! Hugs & kisses!!?

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