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Coop and DietrichGene Autry only kissed his horse.  Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers danced their way to romance.  Humphrey Bogart showed Ingrid Bergman how much he loved her by sending her away.

I was fascinated by the movies of the 1930’s and 1940’s.  My brothers were fascinated by sports.  The inevitable battle would break out on who could watch their program on the large color television set, instead of the small black-and-white one in the back room.  They usually won, because the games were in color, and my movies were in black-and-white. 

The magic of romance transcended the stark colorless screen, however, and I would melt into the kissing scenes, as the camera panned to the moon and the viewer was left to his or her imagination.


Humphrey Bogart-Lauren Bacall

Key Largo
Gone With the Wind
Wuthering Heights
Love Story
A Place in the Sun
African Queen
An Affair to Remember
Doctor Zhivago


Spencer Tracy-Katherine Hepburn

It Happened One Night
The Lady Eve
Pillow Talk
Harold & Maude
The Awful Truth
What’s Up Doc
The Palm Beach Story
I Was A Male War Bride
The Thin Man
My Man Godfrey

What is your favorite romantic movie classic to watch this Valentine’s Day?

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At the end of an event I recently attended, two gentlemen discussed their respective fountain pen collections.  I listened in as they conversed prices and types (cartridge, inkwell).  An image of my father using a fountain pen (and complaining of its leakage) surged out of my memory banks, quickly followed by Koko the Clown.


Koko_2koko_3The cartoons were a creative combination of animation and live action.Although originally created during the silent movies, a later version was created for television in the early 1960s, and I remember avidly watching them, as they intrigued me to no end. (Trivia: Larry Story of “F Troop” fame supplied many of the voices.) Fountain pens are used by Presidents to sign important legal documents. Artists and writers benefit from the meeting of the literal flow of the ink and the metaphorical flow of the creative processes.

How would you describe the benefits of an ink pen over a ballpoint or gel pen?

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Legend has it that Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words.   His response:  “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” 

Smith Magazine decided to tap into that creative exercise as to one’s life story, and produced a book of compiled six-word memoirs, entitled “Not Quite What I Was Planning.”  Examples of submissions:

404: Life could not be found.


Rode the hare instead of tortoise.


Found success, lost relatives, then friends.


Ignored instructions; still picking up pieces.


I still miss my big brother.


Took road less traveled. Skinned knees.


Always the last in from recess.



Submit your own six-word memoir here.


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How accurate will your biography be? 

Dorothy Parker, writer and wit extraordinaire, was witness to two plays written about her.  One was written by Ruth Gordon, and the other by George Oppenheimer, which made her leery about writing her autobiography.  “If I did, George Oppenheimer and Ruth Gordon would sue me for plagiarism.”  Read the rest of this entry »

What did your grandmother do before you knew her?

Mine was a sharp shooter.  It was news to me!  Never saw her hold a gun in my life, which is probably a good thing.  She was always yelling at us kids to get out of the house, because we were making it dirty.  If she had a gun, I wouldn’t be here writing this …

Ask a grandparent about their childhood; what they did for fun when they were little.  Share here what you find out.

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A fellow historian recently attended an aging conference in Switzerland, where she learned that, in Germany alone, there are over 10,000 residents over the age of 100.  One of them was quoted as saying, “I stopped worrying about my children when they entered rest homes.”

Who is your oldest relative?  What is his or her earliest memory that you find really interesting?

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Some of my fellow historians were caught in the path of Hurricane Ike and are struggling with the lack of electricity, food and water.  How would you handle such a crisis?

One woman’s 89-year-old father is a veteran of WWII. His experiences during the war include his submarine’s reconnaissance of Iwo Jima prior to the invasion. He lives in Baytown (east of Houston) and his house was severely damaged in the hurricane. The eye of the storm traveled through his neighborhood, toppling seven huge trees in his yard, including one (30 inches in diameter) which tore through his home office and the bathroom next to it. Fortunately, he had evacuated to his son’s home in Austin so he wasn’t hurt, but it’s going to require a major effort to repair his house.

He had been scheduled to be a panelist for a WWII symposium at the National Museum of the Pacific War (Nimitz Museum) to speak about his war time experiences. Although he could have easily backed out, he was determined to fulfill his commitment. So, just a few days after the trauma of losing part of his house — including many of the papers he’d been working on for the presentation — he attended the symposium and spoke to the attendees.

The human spirit is capable of strength, clarity and wisdom. Each person has this spirit within him or her, regardless of the situation.

In your family, who has set such an example?

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Grammie's drawing




My grandmother drew this in 1928 – her senior year of high school.


Simply put, a will of inheritance leaves valuables; an ethical will leaves values.


This non-legal document is basically a letter to loved ones; an opportunity to articulate thoughts and feelings that you may not be able to say face-to-face.  It could convey your good wishes, how much they have meant to you, ask for forgiveness, provide forgiveness, etc. 


This letter will take but a short bit of your time, but to the recepient, the gift will last a lifetime.


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“Indiana Jones.” 


Hear the soundtrack? 


Imagine the movie without the soundtrack.


Doesn’t have the same impact, does it?


What types of music best apply to your life soundtrack?  That is, which categories would amplify and best express events that have occurred throughout your life?


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