This is a test of the Auntie Shoe broadcasting system. I have accounta at Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and more. They are supposed to be set so that posts from this blog show on these accounts. Your Auntie Shoe wants to test this system to be sure that posts aren’t showing up on one account more than once. That’s annoying. Don’t want to annoy.
Toksie Turbie Takes a Fall
Ms. Toksie Turbie arrived in Crudville in a most unusual fashion. Having fallen from an airplane, she landed, safely and miraculously, on a very large and very convenient hay stack on Farmer Frank’s farm.
Farmer Frank sighed and said, “Here we go, again.” With that, he picked up the baby (Toksie Turbie was only a few months old) and took her to Sheriff Stephanie. Sheriff Stephanie looked at the baby, looked at Frank and signed, “Oh, Frank, agaaaaaaaaaaain?!”
Sheriff Stephanie took Toksie Turbie to Mayor Mike. Mayor Mike looked at the baby, sighed a loooooong, sloooooow siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh and said, “Ooooooh, Stephanie, here we go agaaaaaain.”
You see, nearly forty years ago, when all these people were small themselves, another baby had fallen from the sky, from a different airplane. No one knew how this happened. No one ever figured out how the first baby fell out of the plane, nor did they ever figure out how Toksie Turbie fell, but fall they did.
And, well, the first time did not go very well for Crudville.
Crudville and Mortimer Thaddeus Snodgrass III, Morty for Short
At this point in our story, it is important to learn a bit about the first baby that fell on the Farmer’s haystack. But first, we need to know a little bit about Crudville.
There is no “B” in Crudville, but if there were, it would stand for BORING. Not just any kind of boring. A special kind that looks like this:
Why was Crudville so boring? Well, for one thing, ALL the houses and all the farms and all the shops and all the everything were painted beige. NO other colors were allowed in Crudville. It was against the law to paint anything any other color than beige. Yes, really, not joking. It was against the law. All the doors, all the window jams, all the fences, all the walls, EVERYTHING, including the furniture, were painted beige.
Now, there is nothing wrong with a beautiful beige home or a beautiful beige shop or a beautiful beige anything, including the furniture. Beige is a perfectly OK color. But if EVERYTHING is beige, it is really
Plus, everything had to be the same shade of beige. So, with all the furniture and the walls being beige, sometimes people couldn’t find the sofa in their own house. It was beige, same shade as the walls. Lots of times people in Crudville only found a place to sit because they bumped into the furniture. In spite of the bruises, they wouldn’t change the law, they just kept bumping into things.
And, everyone dressed alike in the same shade of beige as the houses and the shops and the fences. It was so bad, some people lost their babies when they were just crawling on the floor. Yes, the floor was beige, too.
All the homes were exactly alike. Three bedrooms, two baths, dining area, kitchen, period. Same floor plan. All beige paint. All beige bathtubs, sinks, and unmentionable utilities. Everything matched and you could hardly ever find anything.
Crudville had all kinds of laws to make sure that it remained boring. It is how Crudvillians liked it. You couldn’t dance in Crudville. Considered too frivolous. You were not allowed to ride skateboards or roller skate or play with any toys. Again, too frivolous. There was no TV or video games and absolutely no computers. Again, too frivolous. No reading either. Books were declared frivolous.
Now, this is what Mortimer Thaddeus Snodgrass III, Morty for short, had fallen into when he fell out of the plane all those decades ago. Crudville and Morty never got on. Because Morty loved hats. He had sixty-four of them by the time he was nine-years-old. He could ride a unicycle (which he rode incessantly) and balance the hats on his head at the same time. AND, worst of all, NONE of the hats were beige. Not a single one.
The town council passed ordinance after ordinance to try to force Morty to behave properly. NOTHING worked. It was bedlam from the time he fell from the sky till the day the circus came to town. Yes, circuses were banned, too. Again with the frivolous thing. But, not before the circus master gave Morty an audition. Now, as you can imagine any kid that can balance sixty-four hats on his head while riding a unicycle got hired on the spot.
And that’s how Crudville got rid, er, bid farewell to Morty and he began his own magical adventures in the circus. No one in Crudville ever gave Morty another thought until Toksie Turbie fell from the sky.
So now you know why Farmer Frank, Sheriff Stephanie and Mayor Mike were so concerned about Toksie Turbie.
Here they had the cutest little baby girl, who had fallen from the sky just like Morty. Not only that, Toksie Turbie fell in the same farm on the same haystack (well, it had new hay) as all those decades earlier.
But, the trio was heartened by the fact that Toksie Turbie was beige. Her hair, her eyes, her skin and even her teeth were beige. “Maybe it won’t be so bad this time”, they said.
This is a beige Toksie Turbie laying on a beige sofa in Farmer Frank’s beige house.
Well, we will just have to see about that.
Watch this space for the continuing adventures of Toksie Turbie.
Now it is time to feed the SEO NAG MONSTER. It wants an outbound link. So, for now, I am going to feed it the link to one of my shops. Then it will shut up. You can visit my shop and if you find something lovely, you are welcome to buy it.
ink.flagnation.com — designs using flags of various countries.
Toksie Turbie, Mortimer Thaddeus Snodgrass, III, Crudville are the properties of Auntie Shoe. Invented solely by her. Auntie Shoe is the pseudonym of a real live person. All writings, images, etc are solely owned by Auntie Shoe. All images and writing are ©AuntieShoe 2013 or © 2013 Auntie Shoe. Either way, all this stuff is MINE and Auntie will be very cross if anyone steals from her.
Hello, World, Toksie Turbie is Almost Here
The world is about to be introduced to a new character. Her name is Toksie Turbie and she is eight-years-old.
Toksie Turbie is named for the actress with a cool name, Toks Olagundoye, who plays Jackie Joyner-Kersee on ABC TV’s THE NEIGHBORS (8:30 PM Fridays, but check your local listings). Ms. Olagundoye was kind enough to allow Auntie to use her name for the character. THANKS, TOKS! BTW, following Toks Olagundoye on Twitter is a terrific experience. She’s got a great sense of humor and it is lots of fun conversing with her. There is also her Facebook page and her website. You’ll have a blast!
OK, enough about Ms. Olagundoye with the cool name. You are here to find out about Toksie Turbie.
Decades ago, before Auntie Shoe was an auntie, she had some wee little cousins many years younger than herself. Her job, a pleasant one, often was to keep said wee ones quiet. This was not always easy. So, the future Auntie Shoe would gather aforementioned cousins around, sometimes under a great big tree in the front yard of a place called Willow Glen. If weather did not permit sitting under said tree, the secret room was, at times, employed. Or, adventures on the flying bed would occur.
Wee ones gathered, Shoe would make up stories about a young person called Mortimer Thaddeus Snodgrass III, Morty for short. Morty had a magical wishing ring and a magical wishing hat and he had magical stuff happen all the magical time. Only one or two of these stories have survived because no one wrote them down. This is unfortunate.
Several years ago, when Auntie Shoe had a different persona on a place called AOL, she wrote a newsletter for children for a very brief time. She took some of her stories, one or two about Morty, and placed them in serial form in the newsletter.
One day, Auntie (though she was not yet, Auntie) was contacted by the parent of a child who received the newsletter. The parent had a book series for children in the works and was very concerned that Auntie might think her work was being copied because the book series was about a boy with magical powers. Some kid named Harry, as Auntie recalls.
Auntie read, in an instant message, all the lovely things that the parent planned to write, the plans the writer was making and how the series of books was being plotted. Auntie assured the writer, “Honey, I just sit down and make stuff up, planning has nothing to do with it.” And, thus, Auntie’s opportunity to request the petty cash fund from what became a billion dollar enterprise was lost forever. Yeah, honesty pays off, right?
All this said, it occurred to Auntie that someone, somewhere might think that Morty’s character was stolen or borrowed. In the interest of avoiding unpleasantness, a strong, fun, female character named Toksie Turbie will soon be born on this blog.
Why? Because your Auntie Shoe needs something to write about on this blog. And making stuff up to entertain people is what she does best.
So, watch this space for the continuing adventures of Toksie Turbie.
Now, the SEO thingy Auntie set up has a nag feature. It will want a picture of something. NAG, NAG, NAG it does until it gets its way. Having no picture to provide you of Toksie Turbie, Auntie Shoe will provide something from one of her designs. Yes, you can purchase it, if you wish. Frankly, Auntie doesn’t mind if you do. Not one single bit.
So to please the Nag Monster:
Nag Monster should shut up now. And Auntie loves her design. Makes her laugh. The pilgrim in the crow’s nest on the Mayflower landing on Plymouth Rock shouting, “HIAWATHA, I’M HOME!” always makes her laugh.
When I Grow Up I Wanna Be George Takei
Your Auntie Shoe has been thinking for several months about the direction of this blog. Yes, part of it is to get you to take a look at her shops and buy something, less Auntie be forced to hit the street with some hand-made sign indicating her need for income. But, Auntie has several blogs that serve the purpose of promotion of various stuffs created by her. Keep reading to find out what this has to do with George Takei.
This blog is meant to be a little bit of everything. Mostly, so your Auntie Shoe can keep better track of herself. And, with so many different topics (flags, politics, humor, awards, religion and more) in her design repertoire, she kind of needs a “flagship” blog. So, this is it. What’s George Takei got to do with it?
Well, your Auntie Shoe follows George Takei everywhere. No, not in a stalking sort of way, in a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest sort of way. Mr. Takei makes Auntie laugh. Auntie often needs a good laugh. (who doesn’t.) George makes Auntie think. Thinking is a good thing. He sends a variety of interesting items to his followers. Humor, politics, art, and much much more. Your Auntie would like to do that, too.
Several months ago, Auntie read an online article about how to get the likes of you, the reader, to follow, buy, donate, or whatever the goal is, of a particular online endeavor. The article specifically mentioned Mr. Takei and warned against doing what he does, even though the actor does it very well. Basically, it said that only George can get away with doing what George does and, don’t do it.
Auntie has never been one to do as she is told.
In your Auntie’s thought processes she has compared and contrasted herself to George Takei. They are counterparts, in slight ways. Auntie is female. George is not. Auntie is a Roman Catholic. George is a Buddhist. George is from a generation ahead of Auntie. George is Asian-American, Auntie is Caucasian-American. George is married, Auntie not so much. George is fit and trim. Auntie’s doctor believes there is room for improvement for Auntie.
Those are the ways in which George Takei and Auntie Shoe differ. But the things they have in common are worth considering, as well. For example, both Auntie and George prefer men as romantic partners. Yet, both believe that whom one loves is no one else’s business. George’s art is his acting and writing. Auntie likes to write, but she also makes fun designs to sell on stuff. She did act a little in high school and took a class in college, but she’s no George Takei in that area. Yet, in their own way, each is an artist of some kind. Auntie has seen every episode of Star Trek ever made. George was in them.
George excels at putting a smile on people’s faces. Auntie would like to think she does that, as well. At least, she would like to make an attempt.
Mostly, at this juncture in her life, your Auntie Shoe thinks it is high time she had some fun on this here Internet. So, in this blog anyway, she will write what she feels like writing and let the chips fall where they may. Hope George doesn’t mind…
Here is a link to Mr. Takei’s blog. There are links there to his Facebook page and other ways to follow him. Remember, Auntie said FOLLOW, not stalk. Two COMPLETELY different things!
The Day JFK Died
They say that everyone from my generation can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing on two occasions: 1) when we landed in the moon and 2) when they heard that JFK had been killed.
Today, I am remembering much of that horrible day, and the events afterwards, when I was six. The day a crazed gunman took the life of JFK, the first president of whom I had recognition.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic president. I was three when he was elected and, still three, when he was inaugurated. I vaguely recall Eisenhower on TV. But the first president I truly recall as actually being THE important man, was JFK.
When JFK was elected in 1960, after some long counting of ballots and such, things my three-year-old mind didn’t really understand, my mother, a devout Irish-Catholic American, shed tears. She said, “He’s a dead man”. So great was the anti-Catholic sentiment in the USA in her generation that, even today, she does not believe we will ever have another Catholic president. When I reminded her that things have changed, that Joe Biden is Vice-president and Catholic, she did smile.
I tell you this, so that you might understand the prejudice that existed, in fact still does, on the part of many Americans towards Catholics. Once, in the late 1980’s, I said something (can’t recall what) to a co-worker I had been friendly with for a few years. We often had lunch together and chatted in the office, as co-workers are apt to do. When he realized I was a Catholic, he took two steps backward. I don’t even think he was aware he did it. Then he said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” He was never friendly to me, again.
In 1963 the town I lived in, a small one, was about 30-minutes east of San Francisco and populated by many transplanted Southerners. In fact, until we moved to San Francisco when I was about nine, I had a southern accent. I fall back into it when ever I am with people from the south. I don’t even realize I am doing it.
Anyway, my father took a cab home the day JFK was murdered. When he got into the cab, the Southerner who was the driver said to him, “Well, we can call ’em (insert n-word), again.” That was the tone of the town at the time. And, a big part of why we moved to the City, later.
But for Catholics in that town it was different. JFK was OUR president. This was the FIRST Catholic president of the United States. All the times the term “papist” was used in a derogatory way, all the times we were beat up by some idiot who thought he was defending his religion by bullying us, for those older than myself, all those things were now negligible. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was president. A Catholic was accepted. It was, indeed, really big stuff. But to me, well, I thought all presidents were Catholic.
So, while we children were bewildered and scared, our parents and the other adults in our lives were devastated.
Sometime in the morning of November 22, 1963, our principal, a nun whose name escapes me, made an announcement that President Kennedy had been shot. Immediately, my first grade class, under the tight control of Sister Mary Julius, began to pray for JFK. Not long afterwards, the principal announced that she was feeding a news report to the classrooms.
I recall listening to the feed, not really understanding anything that was being said. And then, the reporter said, “The president is dead. I repeat, the president is dead. I repeat, the president is dead. I repeat, the president is dead.” Over and over and over again, he said, “I repeat, the president is dead.” Finally, sister cut the feed and said that we should pray for the president, and also for the reporter because he was obviously in shock.
And we did pray. There really wasn’t much else you could do. I remember we had lunch. And I remember after lunch we went to church and prayed. Then we went home.
We prayed because we were so helpless and it was all we could do. Our president was dead. Murdered. Gone. When people die, you pray for them and their families. We were Catholics. We were in Catholic school. He was a Catholic president. So, we prayed.
Sister Mary Julius, in trying to explain all this to fifty (yes, there were 50 first-graders in her charge) said we should pray for John-john and Caroline because they lost their daddy. To this day, I often shed tears at the mere mention of Caroline Kennedy’s name. To many, she is JFK’s daughter, but to me she is the little girl, the same age as myself, who lost her daddy when she was not quite six.
I never felt threatened by the JFK’s death. Sister Mary Julius, for all the times she terrified us with “GOD SEES ME” to be sure we kept quiet, made sure we understood that Lyndon Johnson would be president and all would be fine. I guess that was our civics lesson for the day. We learned what happens when a president dies. Sometimes, I think a lot of what she said was to calm herself. I never saw any of the nuns cry. Just the lay teachers. The nuns kept it together so as not to frighten us.
All this was difficult for a child to comprehend. I had never seen my parents so upset. My mother cried for days. But, mommies sometimes cried over things, I knew that. It concerned me, but it not frighten me.
A day or so after JFK’s death, my father, watching events on TV broke down. He sobbed like I have never seen anyone in my life sob. Through his sobs I could comprehend the words “the son-of-bitch that killed my president”. This frightened me because daddies just didn’t cry. I’d never seen one do it. I never saw my father shed a tear again until my grandfather’s death, and never after that. Nothing frightened me more than my father’s tears. Because I knew something really horrific was happening.
We went to church the day of Kennedy’s funeral. We had Mass, just like on Sunday. We did not have school that day. I recall my paternal grandfather, Greek Orthodox by faith, went to church with us that day.
On the day of JFK’s funeral a man came to the door to sell encyclopedias. A normal sales call. My dad grabbed him by the neck and told him to show some respect. That this was a national day of mourning and, JFK, our president was buried. This was not a day for play or income making. The man ran for his life. I think my dad may have even punched man in the nose, but I don’t recall for sure. Some of the other kids made fun of me because of my dad’s actions. They weren’t Catholic and their parents were Southerners.
These are the memories of a six-year-old when her president is murdered.
Lastly, to Caroline Kennedy, who will probably never see these words, I am sorry you lost your daddy.
This is the page the White House put up on November 22, 2013, the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death.
Me and Mr. Joe — the Beginning
This is the story of a 10-year-old girl (me) and a famous Italian American baseball player (why ruin the suspense?). It takes place in San Francisco, in the mid-1960’s. This blog post is dedicated to comedian Billy Crystal. An explanation will be given at the end.
It begins very simply. I was a student at the Sts. Peter and Paul’s Grammar School in a, mostly, Italian American neighborhood. We had moved back to San Francisco about a year earlier. We did not have a television until later that year, and I was never a big sports fan.
Even though I was only 10, I had a great deal of freedom. Things were different back then, then they are now, you could let your child walk all over the streets of the North Beach area of San Francisco, without any fear. On my travels with my parents, friends, or alone I had often noticed a tall man in a light-colored suit. Always the same color. Everybody seemed to know him and he smiled and waved at everyone that acknowledged him.
Mr. Joe Gets His Name
One day, I was walking home from school and I noticed that the man in the light-colored suit was walking to my left. Because I was 10, I just said, “Hi”. He smiled and said, “Hello”. And we talked for a while. He asked me about school and stuff. He asked me my name, and I told him. Then I asked him his name. He got a kind of funny look on his face and he said, “You don’t know my name?”
I thought to myself, “Why would I know your name?”, but I just said “No.”
He asked me if I liked baseball, and I shook my head “no”.
He laughed and he said “That’s for boys.” And I nodded my head “yes”.
He asked me if I watched much television, and I told him we didn’t have one.
He asked if I was new in the neighborhood, and I told him, a little indignantly, that my parents and I had lived there about a year. To, me, that was not new. But he said, that that was not a very long time, as some people had lived there for many, many years.
After a little more question and answer, the tall man in the light-colored suit told me to call him “Joe”.
Now, I am ten. And I know that no way, no how, am I supposed to call a grown-up by his first name. I asked him his last name, figuring I would call him “Mr. Whateverlastnamewas”. But he insisted that I should just call him, “Joe”.
Well, that was something I just could not do. I mean this guy had gray hair and everything. I mean it was ALL grey. There was no way I was gonna be calling him by his first name. I remembered a story my mom had told me about a Southern family for whom she used to babysit. The children were never to call her by her first name, nor her last. She had the title of “Miss”, followed by her first name.
So, I said to the nice, tall, reeeeeeeally old man (I mean, with all that grey hair he must have been at LEAST a zillion years old), “I better call you Mr. Joe.”
Mr. Joe tried to convince me that it was OK, that all the other kids did.
And I remembered my father asking me, whenever I said all the other kids were doing something he didn’t want me to do, “If all the other kids jumped off the Golden Gate bridge, would you do it, too?” So, I stood my ground to the tall man in the light-colored suit, and insisted that I would call him, “Mr. Joe”.
More Me and Mr. Joe
For a long time, on a regular basis, Mr. Joe and I walked the same route for a few blocks. He was going to work at a restaurant. I was going home from school. I remember feeling a little sad for him that he had to work at night. But we used to chat about this and that.
Sometimes, when he was playing baseball with the boys from the Sts. Peter and Paul’s Boys Club, he would see me walking past and holler for me to wait. He would run to catch up to me.
I never thought it was odd that a man of his years would want to talk to a child of my young years. I do not know why, but I didn’t. And I enjoyed talking to him. Mr. Joe was tall and he made me feel important. And he listened to me as if the happenings of my fourth grade year actually mattered.
Sometimes he would talk a little bit about his wife. She had died and I felt that that was sad.
The End of Me and Mr. Joe
Our schedules changed, probably Mr. Joe’s more than mine, and I no longer saw him regularly. I would see him playing bocci ball in the North Beach courts with the other old men. They always seemed to be happy to play with him and, it seemed to me, treated him as though he were very special. The old Italian men always got a puzzled look on their faces when I said, “Hello, Mr. Joe”.
There was nothing to the “relationship” we had. Just two people in a big city that talked now and again. It ended because we stopped running into each other.
And then, when I was 12, my parents and I moved to the other side of San Francisco, to an area known as Eureka Valley.
Hey, That’s Mr. Joe!
Now, by this time we had a TV. I was happy about this addition to our family’s modern conveniences. And I watched it quite often.
One day, or evening, I do not recall which, I see a commercial for this brand spankin’ new coffee machine. You know who was doing the advertising? MR. JOE! Mr. Joe was on TV! But hey, in the beginning of the commercial, he introduced himself and said, “Hello, I’m Joe DiMaggio”.
“HUH!”, I says to myself, “THAT’S Joe DiMaggio?” I knew who Joe DiMaggio was, but I had never seen a picture of him. I thought no one would ever believe me, and I was several years past forty before I told anyone. When I told my mom, she laughed and said that everyone knew him in North Beach, so why did I think she wouldn’t believe me? Well, because when I was twelve, I didn’t think that famous people would ever know me, so why would anyone believe that I met one? When you are twelve, things look different than when you are 40.
When I was an adult, I began to wonder why this grown man would seek out the company of a child. And then I remembered the look on his face when he realized I did not know who he was. He had asked why I was talking to him. I said, “Because you are walking in the same place as me”. He smiled and asked, “So, you just like to be friendly.” I nodded.
When I met Mr. Joe, he was about 57-years-old. I was 9 or 10. I think he liked to talk to me because he knew I just liked him. I didn’t want to play baseball with him. I didn’t want to be around him because he was famous. I just liked him.
Why This Blog Post is Dedicated to Bill Crystal
Years ago, I was watching something on TV. Billy crystal was interviewed. Apparently, Mr. Crystal is a bit of a baseball fan, particularly the New York Yankees. In the interview, Billy said his major regret in life was that he never had the opportunity to meet Joe DiMaggio.
The irony was not lost on me. Once upon a time, I, a nine or ten-year-old girl, who didn’t even like baseball that much, shared a small part of her day with Mr. Crystal’s idol, and did not even realize that anything special was happening in her life. Moments like those would have meant the world to people like Billy Crystal, who idolized Mr. Joe.
Anyway, that’s why this lens is dedicated to Billy Crystal. Because I am sorry he never got to have the moments I did with the man known as, and who truly was, “Gentleman Joe”.
If you would like to know more about Joe DiMaggio, the Wikipedia thingy about him is here.
Joe DiMaggio was an Italian-American. This are two of my shops that sell designs using the Flag of Italy.
Year of the Horse Scarf from IconDot
Auntie Shoe did something today she doesn’t do very often. She went into a forum at Zazzle.com. Once there, she noticed that there was a thread hanging about. (Actually, there was more than one thread hanging about, but there is only one in particular that is the subject of this post). The thread was about promoting each other’s designs on products. The idea was to post one of your designs on a product, then pick at least one of the others to promote. Auntie thought to herself, “What the heck” and here she is writing about her experience.
Why this horse on a scarf? Because Auntie liked it right off. Auntie likes horses. Never ridden, never been around horses, but likes them just the same. And this one seems especially lovely.
BTW, Zazzle has this affiliate code thing. It automatically adds itself to code Auntie copies from the site, if she is logged into her account at the time. She was, so there is code. All it means is, that if you just LOOOOOOOOOVE, as in GOOOOOOOOTTTTTTAAAAAA have right this second, this scarf, and you click on the links to buy it, Auntie Shoe gets some money. Doesn’t cost you a thing. No worries. But Auntie gets a little money so she can buy her own stuff once in a while.
IconDoIt wrote this about the scarf above, “Good Luck For Year Of The Horse — Chinese New Year for 2014 begins Feb. 4! Hot new extra long cotton jersey scarf featuring IconDoIt’s original digital painting of a golden horse, Chinese characters for “Good Luck” (top left) + “horse” + top & bottom borders of a firey red pattern. Unisex. Choice of scarf color.”
If you are looking for a scarf with a particular flag on it, try my shop, Flagnation or Flags-of-Nations at Zazzle.