Archive for October, 2014

Mondays with Melitas – October 20, 2014

HOW TO GET A VACATION                                       OCTOBER 20, 2014


The countdown has begun around here for a vacation, and it’s the Warden taking some unauthorized time off. Her automatic Christmas vacation time is 2 months away, so it would seem she was becoming quite desperate trying to think of something to get out of here.


Doesn’t this sound like her? Except it’s under her breath so I won’t hear— she should know by now that I can’t even hear when I am wearing my expensive hearing aids — To herself, the Warden is saying: “Gotta get outa here — Queenie is driving me crazy, I am at my wit’s end, and the Pow Wow with family at Christmas time is a couple of months away — well, I’ll just go have a knee replacement. That’s what I’ll do. I will be in the nice, quiet hospital. Then after 2-3 days when they want to get rid of me, I’ll go off to Rehab at the Carlota where maybe I can play possum and stay a couple of weeks. I should have some peace and quiet there.”


“And little does she (Meli) know, I have been making arrangements for my “surgical” vacation the past several weeks, and all scheduling is in place. Marcie, her niece, is waiting in the wings to take over as Vice Warden to stay for duration of my away time.”


Now it’s Meli: “Uh huh, I fathomed that there was something afoot, but did not guess a knee. Next time, she can use a bunion, or something. There were secretive phone calls, but I wasn’t paying attention, I guess. The Warden was formulating her plan, and putting it in place, and I was oblivious. There were signs I should have spotted like the freezers seem to be more stuffed.”


Warden: “She keeps telling me I should go start writing at Tammy’s school because I have all these stories to tell when I was a kid growing up over in Morenci, AZ, a little copper mining town where my Dad, a full-blood Aztec Indian worked big machinery at the mine, and my Mom, of Spanish and Mexican descent, had a mini store at the house putting out home made masa for tortillas and tamales and other goodies. There are plenty of stories to tell, but I doubt that Ms M would like to hear stories about my side of being a Warden.”


The surgery is set for Wednesday, Oct. 22, so I can figure she will be going off to Costco to lay in supplies of food for Marcie and me. I am wondering just how many rotisserie cheekin she will be hauling home. Let’s see, she will be in hospital 2 or 3 nights, then over to the Carlota Rehab Center for a couple of weeks, hopefully. How many cheekin will we need, also how much asparagus, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts for the lentils we have for breakfast? Probably 3 cheekin will do it — she won’t be having us starve. The main thing is, she knows how lazy we are, and we don’t want to do a lot of cooking, so it’s all simple stuff. While she was in Arizona for last Christmas, we didn’t bother fixing fish for dinner like we were supposed to — cheekin and asparagus much easier to zap in Micro. You may wonder why there is never any mention of Prime Rib, or Rib Eye Steak, or the like. The Gout entered the scene several years ago, and here I am — one who was raised in a cattle and sheep raising family!


Another thing I was noticing the past week or so was that lentils seemed to be on the stove cooking away more often than usual, and I went along not thinking anything of it. I just thought the brain was screwing up like when I think it’s Wednesday, and it really is Friday, or I am in the wrong month.


Quick-acting forgetfulness.


Of course, Marcie and I can always get in the car to get a bite to eat. She has her driver’s license, and mine is still good till I’m 101. We could also take a spin to the hospital or Rehab to visit the Aztec Princess only to find a “NO VISITORS” sign posted on her door.


Oh well, that’s life in the slow lane. So, not to worry.


Alba, Aztec Princess, The Warden: (All wrapped up into one)   I jest. If you are feeling lonesome out there, we wouldn’t mind if you came home early. And while you’re at it have a nice operation. This is cheaper than a get well card. We love you. The M&M’s




MELITAS FORSTER                                       MONDAYS WITH MELITAS


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Mondays with Melitas – October 13, 2014

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So here we are all gathered to give a big send-off to Vickie and her book. Once I talked her into joining the writing group, there was no stopping her. And she was trying to tell me, “Oh, I don’t think I can write stuff down, I don’t think it’s for me. You know how I do stand-up, and that’s it. But then again there may come a time when I can no longer stand up. So go ahead, Melitas, take me to this Tammy person.”


I got into this scene similarly when my friend Diane Gill said the two of us should go see what this writing school was about – she had family stuff she wanted to put down, and she told me I had all these stories I go around telling incessantly. We went. We liked. It’s either 5 or 6 years for me. My brain says Oct 2009, but maybe it was 2010.


I didn’t stop trying to coerce friends, and even strangers to come write their little hearts out. It would do them good. One day in Shelley Cooper’s Physical Therapy place, I was sitting there minding my own business. Sitting next to me, this lady asked a few questions about the therapy, and before you know it, I have her all gung ho on writing her memoirs. Pam Cooke from Oregon.


Now then, there’s a friend here today, Georgia Sobiech, whom I have been leaning on for quite some time to get her buns into class. She has 2 dumb brothers that could keep her busy just writing about them. She lives over in Sun City- Banning, so might be a little far for her.


So, I have tried to do my part to find more women who would get so much satisfaction out of pouring their hearts out on a piece of paper. It’s a real thrill. When I had spotted Vickie across the room at a golf luncheon, I said to myself. “She needs to be going to Tammy’s classes. She has one or two funny stories to tall. I’ll try to reel her in.” I grabbed her and gave her the old pep talk, telling her that she should come join the group, and she could write her 2 stories. She hemmed and hawed, and saying she didn’t think she could do that.


She showed up for classes, then before you knew it, she had her stories on a production line and here she is today, standing there with loads of books which she is going to sucker us into buying.


MELITAS FORSTER                                               OCTOBER 13, 2014


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Mondays with Melitas – October 6, 2014

AN OCTOBER BIRTHDAY                                         OCTOBER 6, 2014


In the past, I have mentioned my oldest living friend, and that would be Annie. A couple of days ago she passed another milestone — once again she caught up to me. She is now 96, and that just makes life worth living. She caught up to me, and every year when I have my birthday in April so that I am then older than she, it just drives her crazy. She absolutely hates it when I am the elder. Then she is whining around that she doesn’t think she will make it to the next one. She is much stronger than I, so is bound to be hanging around for several more years.


We met years ago – 80 give or take — playing softball for the Orange Lionettes, when we were “sweet sixteen.” She was tall and strong, and was one of our star home run hitters. She played outfield. She could track down and catch those flies the other team would hit her way. On the other hand, I was lucky to weigh in at around 110, but I could at least bunt and scamper to first base safely. I was the catcher. Well, we were world champions, after all.


It turned out that through our 40’s and 50’s, we were both in the saloon business. I had those bars in San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Beach; and there was Annie in the high rent district in Paradise at Waikiki just off Kalakaua Ave. in Hawaii with her own little 3-story hotel, only 10 rooms, but what came with them was where the action was. On the ground floor, instead of a desk to welcome guests for the hotel, there was a great little bar which opened late morning and went on into the wee small hours — that was THE LITTLE DIPPER.   Second floor, the hotel rooms, then the third floor was everyone’s favorite. A night club, THE CLOUDS, (sound of trumpets right here.)

The Clouds was so great. Entertainment from the Mainland, celebrities in the audience. You might rub elbows with Doris Duke, or Barbara Hutton, or Frank Sinatra.

Now, just to name a few — the entertainers that I can recall on short notice — Maya Angelou was on the night club circuit, played piano and sang, but she didn’t look anywhere near like later in life when she really became famous, and dressed, and no handkerchief around her head. Among others: Lenny Bruce, Billy Eckstein, Della Reese, Anita O’Day, Jerry Sothern, June Christy, Ann Weldon, Mary Ann McCall, Dick Haymes, Mel Torme (remember him? – the Velvet Fog?) Why do I ask? You are all saying – never heard of that one, or that one —. Oh well.


There was also Rusty Warren appearing there frequently, with her Knockers Up! Routine when she would have all the ladies in the audience marching around in a long line through the place with their boobs held high. Making a statement.


Every chance I had I would hop a Pan Am flight to Honolulu to see how friend Annie was doing, and she would have me tending bar at the service bar. I was in 7th Heaven up in Annie’s Clouds behind the bar.


During the day, we would schlep over to the Halekulani Hotel next to the Royal Hawaiian, languish around on the beach for awhile, have a bite of lunch, then at cocktail hour, we would plant ourselves on the Terrace where those beautiful, stately Chinese ladies in their Chinese silk gowns from neck to toe, would serve us some exotic cocktail.


I’ll leave us there on the Terrace because I’ve got to change the ending of this Birthday tale.

Dear Annie is not celebrating her 96th this year. Four or five days before her beeg day, October 4th, she had to go see her doctor — she was unable to eat or drink (!) anything because her mouth and lips were all swollen up — a terrible mess, but no upset tummy, thank goodness. Doctor does not know what she has – it could be bite of some sort. She was given Rx to reduce swelling, sent her home, and was ordered to stay home, like under quarantine, no visitors for about 10 days.


So this was not a very nice thing to happen to Annie. There she is stuck there, leaving all her friends to fend for themselves, to wait till she is out of isolation. She will then make up for lost time.


I talked to her a couple of hours ago, and we reminisced about the Clouds, and I didn’t mention this story. She had 29 birthday phone calls from all over. London, New York, Hawaii, Spain, Holland.


So, Annie, this is my way to wish you another year of wondering if you are “going to make it” to catch up with me. Maybe we should combine our 2 days and set a date in the middle — a day, say, in the middle of June.



MELITAS FORSTER                                         MONDAYS WITH MELITAS




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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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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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