Archive for May, 2014

Loreto Writer’s Retreat June 1-8, 2014

loreto binder for website

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Mondays with Melitas – June 27, 2011 (a blast from the past)

The Year was 1932….

The year was 1932. I was 14 years old, and a lot of stuff was happening that year. My idol, Amelia Earhart, the famous aviatrix, flew the Atlantic solo, the first woman to do so. Sadly, Charles and Ann Morrow Lindberg’s baby son was kidnapped and murdered. Then there was Mahatma Ghandi going on a hunger strike. Gas was 10¢ a gallon, and there were 13 million Americans unemployed.

But by far, the biggest thing to happen to me in my world was having the 1932 Olympics coming to my back yard in Los Angeles. The plans and the building of the venues were monumental tasks. New buildings such as the Coliseum, which would be the site for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Track and Field Events; and the Aquatic Stadium nearby were phenomenal structures.

The theme was Early California, and members of the old Spanish families who still had their horses with the silver trappings worth thousands of dollars (and who would still be able to stay on the horse) were invited to be a part of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies Parades. Western Costume Co. in Hollywood designed and tailored the costumes. They were gorgeous charro suits: black velvet riding pants, a white shirt with narrow black tie, a short red velvet jacket and a handsome black felt hat. I was thrilled that my favorite uncle Titán (John O. Forster, whose wife was Mae Marshall Forster) was included in this group. He would ride his beloved, huge white stallion, who was known to buck me off every time I tried to mount him. That horse and I never did get along, and I finally gave up trying to ride him when I was 8 or 10 years old.

There were several trips into Los Angeles from San Juan Capistrano for fittings at Western Costume, and when it was time for tickets to be purchased, you can imagine how excited I was when my Aunt Mae asked me what events I wanted to see. It was a foregone conclusion that we would be seeing all we could of the Equestrian Events at Riviera Country Club. That alone would have sufficed since I was always interested in those events: the jumping, and especially the Dressage Event. It is the most spectacular to me – the rider and the animal acting as one performing the beautiful maneuvers.

I was always around horses from my earliest days. Titán was a great horseman, and actually trained horses for his friends. We would drive on Sundays to see polo games in Los Angeles at the Willowick Country Club and to the Polo Field in Montecito. On other Sundays we would drive south to Tijuana where the Agua Caliente race track was going full bore, and there was also the Casino and Spa nearby where we would visit after the races.

Now let’s get back to the Olympics. My choices for events that I wanted to see were Swimming and Diving, as many as we could work in, and one day of Track and Field.

Opening Day finally arrived, and there we were at the Coliseum seated on the south side 50 yard line. The Best! The Ceremonies commenced, the parade of athletes came through the big tunnel at the west end of the stadium, and when all the Spanish caballeros entered in their striking costumes and on their beautiful horses, with the silver bridles and saddles, I couldn’t have been more thrilled and so very proud of my Spanish heritage. I cannot tell you how many riders there were. In my memory – which could have gone south by now – it was a huge amount, and it may have been 200 or 400. Who knows? Maybe only 50.

After the Ceremonies, back to San Juan. In those days, the drive was not all that stressful, and it did not take as long as it does these days with all the freeways. My memory does serve me right on this particular important piece of information.

Then we took in all the events that we had planned on. Several days were spent at Riviera Country Club watching the beautiful horses and the brilliant riders. That left the events which were my choices. Swimming and Diving have always been my favorites in the Olympics, so we spent several days in the new Olympic Aquatic Stadium, and I was happy as a little clam; then we took in the Field and Track activities in the Coliseum for one day (still seats on the 50-yard line,) where I could get my fill of watching Babe Didrickson, a sports phenom if there ever was one. She won the gold in Javelin and Hurdles that day, but was DQ’d in the High Jump.

The Closing Ceremonies, beautiful as they were, came and went (the Spanish Horsemen rode again – no one fell off) and there it was: a life-long memory laid out for me. All this took place during the summer between my freshman and sophomore years at Fullerton Union High School. It was one of my most favorite summers — among so very, very many.


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A wedding to remember…


Rabbi Sally Olins makes the Ketubah official by signing it

Saturday evening was the wedding not to be missed!  It was a beautiful wedding of my two friends, Ed and Larry.  I was given the honor of being a witness and signing the Ketubah.  The Ketubah is a legal document in a Jewish Wedding.  I had to learn how to write my Hebrew name in Hebrew.  Special moments in our lives are not to be taken for granted.  It was a wonderful special evening…

The Handsome couple

The Handsome couple

That's my signature on the second row, the far left...Eliana Eliza Bat Abraham v Sarah

That’s my signature on the second row, the far left…Eliana Eliza Bat Abraham v Sarah



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Mondays with Melitas – May 12, 2014

AROUND THE COMPOUND                                                     MAY 12, 2014


Everything is at a low ebb.


This week’s blurb is not much to write home about — I am trying to revitalize my body after surviving the high birthday season.  I guess you know that the Warden has to always get into the act because she has a birthday the day after mine.  Maybe that’s a good thing because I was invited to festivities for a much younger group, whereas my group is practically extinct.  The celebrations finally slowed down to a crawl on the 29th of April.


I have to be all perked up and fit as a fiddle by the end of June because there will be a grand Forster Family reunion in San Juan Capistrano to celebrate the 200th anniversary of my Great-grandfather Don Juan Forster’s birth. Most of the townspeople will probably flee the scene for other climes to have some peace and quiet.  This will leave a great story for Melitas’ Memoirs.  I should take some thick notebooks, and write as I go.  Also, dozens of pens so the ink doesn’t dry up in the one pen I brought.  Safety in numbers.


Then just a few days ago, I further depleted my “Herculean” strength — I swear this darling keyboard just typed that all by itself, but maybe that little left finger may have had something to do with it. Remember, it knows how to work 6 different keys without any help from anybody — in what order, you never know until you see it in black and white.


I wonder if those people who do the Jumble Puzzles would be able to make a word with:  the tab key, caps lock key, shift key, Q,  A, Z, and sometimes an X, S, or W.


Enough of this drivel — back to the story, which isn’t much of a ……….

So, depleting just my ordinary every-day-strength, I was helping the Warden with a bit of gardening.  We had to remove a lovely plant from a pot in which it was root bound.  We had just planted a nice new rosemary bush from Home Depot, keeping an eye out on it across the patio, and it hadn’t fallen over dead yet, so now we could concentrate on the potted plant which kept emitting sounds for 9-1-1.  I even helped with the hole-digging phase — oh, my broken back!  We (and I use the term loosely) finally released it out of the pot, and Warden maneuvered it into the waiting hole, all nicely lined with some healthy plant dirt. After all our ER life-saving efforts, it may still end up in the green bin on trash day, but we know in our hearts we tried.  It was a labor of love.



MELITAS FORSTER                                              MONDAYS WITH MELITAS

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Weekend Retreat in Palm Springs!

This past weekend I had the honor and privilege of teaching these amazing women! We began on Saturday morning and wrote together, had a delicious lunch and finished around 4 pm.  We started again on Sunday from 10-12.  This month is the 5 year anniversary since the Feral Cats graduated from my writing program.  The program they finished I have since retired but they tried out my latest series which I call the Women’s Legacy Series.


feral retreatI can barely believe that 5 years have passed since we had such an extensive writing time together!


If you are interested in booking a weekend or a one day workshop with me at my Palm Springs office contact me at

One day retreats (up to 5 total) = $100.00 per writer (includes continental breakfast, lunch at a downtown Palm Springs restaurant and a fabulous day of writing and learning.  Arrive at 9:30 am and end at 4 pm.)


feral and me retreatHere is the feedback from the retreat:

Sandra:” I loved our being together!  The weekend reinforced our cohesiveness, it felt easy to share and there was no judgment.  The content was what I needed, it helped me with the prompts to be more able to “paint the picture” of the story.”

Lorie: “It was a most enjoyable weekend.  What a delight it was spending this quality time together.  Your methods of instruction have always instilled motivation to continue writing and the professionalism in which you lead your classes is first class.  Thank you for always being an inspiration to us.”

Joan: “The weekend provided a consistent opportunity to explore new vistas of thoughts and explorations deep inside that I don’t believe I would have included in my memoir.  The back to back sessions exploded so many areas of thoughts important in my life.  You forced me to go into areas deep in my mind and my life…thank you Tammy!”

Pat: “Tammy is like Lady Gaga in which she creates ‘little monsters’ who love and adore her, why?  Because somehow magically she pulls the best part of ourselves out for all to see.  Whether or not our readers or listeners relate to what  they hear – what matters most is that feeling of completion, of validation that we lived and breathed and mattered.”

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"Because of Tammy I have found confidence in my writing and feel blessed to be honored in such a way. I have found my voice. I have found freedom! I recommend anyone for whatever reason to expand their life and sign up for her writing workshops or classes. You'll be amazed at how good you are and how everyone has a story worth telling. Sign up and set your voice free!"
Wendy Price, Palm Desert, CA

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Amherst Writers & Artists

Tammy L. Coia is an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.

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